Why is RRA (AR 15) so bad?


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briang2ad
August 20, 2010, 09:04 AM
When I post anything about RRA, folks trash them - even the lowers. I know that they are pretty far LEFT on the chart, but they advertise 1" groups with Black Hills ammo. So... why so bad? When Milspec is 2" at 100, why is RRA trash?

Also, while chrome lined bores seem to be the minimum standard for an AR, and RRA generally doesn't put them on sub $1000 guns, why is the chrome lined thing all the rage? 5.56 is all non-corrosive. Some say NON-chromed is more accurate.

People seem to trash their feed ramps specifically.

Also, is 4140 so much poorer than 4150 or 'milspec'?

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Z-Michigan
August 20, 2010, 09:24 AM
My guess is that much of it is a reaction against RRA's marketing claims, mostly the DEA contract and claiming that it made them the most wonderful thing out there (this is about 7-8 years ago, I think). They also managed to develop a bit of a fanboy club, much like Shrubmaster, and that often causes people to overreact to condemn them.

They are a good solid AR but do not score well on "the chart."

Non-chrome-lined barrels are often more accurate. RRA seems to emphasize accuracy, and also has offered a 2-stage trigger for a while. As a sporting AR I would see no problem with them at all. For life or death use, I'd go with something higher on "the chart."

4140 is inferior to 4150 CMV, but without full auto it's not going to matter much in the real world.

Wahoo95
August 20, 2010, 09:36 AM
RRA makes good rifles, the problem is you can buy better rifles for the same price or less so why settle.

jmorris
August 20, 2010, 09:57 AM
I only have two RRA uppers, a .223 and 458 socom, I have had zero problems and both are quite accurate.

As far as trashing the lowers some might be surprised to learn that the lower they have was built by the same company. Most all lowers, excluding billet ones, are made by a handful of companies and then the selling "manufacturer" cleans them up, stamps their logo on, and does the finish. here's a list of most of the manufacturer(s). Granted, the finish out and QC processes by the company that stamps their name on the side does vary:

Lewis Machine & Tool

LMT
Lauer
DS Arms
PWA
Eagle
Armalite
Knights Armament
Barrett

Continental Machine Tool

Stag
Rock River Arms
High Standard
Noveske
Century (New)
Global Tactical
CLE
S&W
MGI
Wilson Tactical
Grenadier Precision
Colt

LAR Manufacturing

LAR
Bushmaster
Ameetec
DPMS
CMMG
Double Star
Fulton Armory
Spike's Tactical

JVP

Double Star
LRB

Mega Machine Shop

Mega
GSE
Dalphon
POF
Alexander Arms

Olympic

Olympic
SGW
Tromix
Palmetto
Dalphon
Frankford
Century (Old)

Sun Devil
Sun Devil billet receivers

Superior
Superior Arms
__________________

TexasRifleman
August 20, 2010, 10:03 AM
Huh, someone needs to tell my RRA that it's bad, it clearly doesn't know after so many thousands of rounds.

Tirod
August 20, 2010, 10:06 AM
The Chart documents whether the carbine listed has the milspec features required by the government and specified, item by item. That's all it does.

Whether a buyer NEEDS a milspec feature, or if the milspec is even the BETTER type out there is open to discussion.

Chrome lined barrels were spec'd in 1968 as a method to reduce corrosion, principally for full auto fire, and the majority of that actually erodes the throat just forward of the case mouth. That area is critical for accuracy. To chrome a barrel, it has to be rifled oversized and plated back, which can and does affect accuracy, too. Milspec chrome barrels shoot 2MOA on the average. Precision shooters use stainless, and avoid chrome like the plague.

Another item is Magnetic Particle Inspection, which discovers if the bolt has cracks or flaws. Milspec is every bolt gets tested, civilian, maybe five out of a hundred, and the batch approved. Obviously one might slip through, Customer Service was invented as it was cheaper than testing every single item. Some prefer the Superbolts in stronger alloy, and for all the marketing, I've yet to see them claim MPI testing was done on every one. Maybe I missed it.

The point is, for all the items on the chart, it's an institution's checklist, and not guaranteed the leading edge. Nitriding the barrel is now very common, hammerforging is poised to take over when the machines get paid. Very likely in the near future, milspec might get changed to Nitride Hammerforged - like most European makers have been doing for a long time. Almost all pistol barrels are hammerforged, and quite a few civilian sporting rifles. It's the ancient milspec that requires button rifling, and it's arguably old tech and needs to go away.

Don't let the RRA bashers dump because it doesn't have a check on the chart, look into it and see if it's even necessary for you. They haven't got the lock on technology, the effort most of the time is to forewarn against the cheaper guns that can and do have failure prone parts - if they are used like combat carbines with high round counts through them.

Heavies
August 20, 2010, 10:20 AM
My brother has a RRA, flat top, heavy 16' barrel, and it is bad.
Bad A$$ that is.:what:
It'll shoot 3/4" at 100 no sweat with hand loads, and not much worse than that with any thing else you want to throw in it. The trigger is excellent, much better than any other AR versions I have tried.
If I were to get an AR platform I would not mind running a RRA.:)

Justin
August 20, 2010, 10:26 AM
Huh, someone needs to tell my RRA that it's bad, it clearly doesn't know after so many thousands of rounds.

Yeah, same here.

boricua9mm
August 20, 2010, 10:28 AM
Nothing wrong with them at all, except to people that sit around making and ogling spreadsheets about rifles.

I've had my chrome lined RRA M-Faux for 10 years now, got a few thousand through it. It has never failed to go bang, extract, and feed another round. It's pretty damn accurate too. Last week my old man took my RRA topped with a Trijicon TA01 and put 10 rounds into 2 inches at 100 yards using an old batch of XM193. This rifle has one heckuva track record for a POS! :D

It cost me $700 back then and it has proven to be worth every red cent.

longdayjake
August 20, 2010, 10:47 AM
Mine has out shot and out functioned many of the "mil-spec" rifles I have used. That said, I have taken really good care of it and broke it in really well. Once they get about 1-2000 rounds through them they seem to work no matter what. Mine does anyway.

jem375
August 20, 2010, 11:06 AM
Most of the criticism comes from dealers that sell something else and like to downplay any other AR so they can sell their products. There is nothing wrong with RRA's and all they do is to shoot accurately with hardly any problems..

SlamFire1
August 20, 2010, 11:10 AM
Civilians shooting RRA NM A2 rifles have won the President's 100 at Camp Perry, so I don't know what the beef is against RRA.

RRA has a store on Commercial row, provides darn good discounts, and the NM A2 rifles I purchased from them were 100% correct in all details and shoot all rounds into small knot holes.

Match rifle barrels are a step above service grade, and they are not chromed lined.

If people have an issue with match barrels on their rifles, well that is not my problem.

TonyAngel
August 20, 2010, 12:05 PM
As has been said, most knocks on RRA or Bushmaster are due to the fact that you can get more for your money at the price point where RRA or Bushmaster sit for any particular model.

Must of the knocking going on is over stated. From what I've seen, both RRA and Bushmaster build a nice product. As nice as they are, you can still look else where and get some added advantages, like better steel in the barrel, bolt and carrier and have those parts that have already been MP and HP tested. Will all of that matter to the average user? Probably not, but if you're paying for something, why not get the most for your money, whether you will actually benefit from it or not.

Personally, I don't worry too much about recievers. From what I've seen, with a few exceptions, a receiver is a receiver. I do, however, get a little particular about the barrel and bolt/carrier group. I'm not the average user. For me, going shooting is like golf is to others. I do it every week, rain or shine.

I don't know how many rounds I have through my beater carbine, but since January, I've accumulated 13 empty boxes that the 500 rounds lots of Silver Bear come in, so I've put at least that many rounds through my carbine. Doing that kind of shooting, I get a little piece of mind knowing that I have parts that are a step above the run of the mill.

I'm not knocking the likes of RRA and Bushmaster, I'm just saying that you can get better for the same money.

boricua9mm
August 20, 2010, 12:09 PM
...I'm just saying that you can get better for the same money.

Now, I will admit that nowadays, this is mostly true. The prices on RRA rifles and halves jumped up dramatically when the DEA contract was all the buzz. There are people paying $1k+ for a RRA rifle, and I agree, at that price point it is not such a good buy. On the other hand, I have recently seen new-in-box RRA rifles up for sale from private owners as low as $700 - $800.

Welding Rod
August 20, 2010, 12:16 PM
RRA is one of the very few manufacturers of firearms I will order and buy sight unseen. I have owned about 10 over the years and examined probably 10 more. All of mine had a perfect trigger, a properly clocked barrel that required almost no windage adjustment on the rear sight, centered sight aperatures, crisp cornered front sights, centered mill cuts in the front sight tower, rear sight assemblies that fit tightly to the back of the reciever without clocking to an oblique angle, had smooth and perfectly blended feed ramps, and had a good upper to lower fit. Judging by measuring the ejected brass with a RCBS Precsion Mic, all have had headspace dimensions towards the minimum side. All were supplied with NHMTG magazines.

They all easily shot within their accuracy guarantees. None of the guns ever suffered a single functional problem. I did have some malfs with C Products mags that were welded together with the feed lips way too far apart, but that had nothing to do with the gun or RRA.

All were bought buillt to my exact specs from my dealer for substantially below MSRP.

I have had two issues. One safety had a shallow detent cut so it didn't click crisply in to the fire position, though the gun functioned fine. One 458 Socom had an extractor that looked overground. It worked fine but RRA sent me a new one anyway.

What some guys can't seem to understand is that not every one wants an M4 copy. Personally I am most interested in 20" guns, normally with A2 recievers, with match triggers, that will easily shoot sub MOA, without over stretching the brass. So when someone asks about an AR in general and folks instantly start comparing M4 clone specs I just roll my eyes.

BTW despite what people keep parroting in the forums, you can get chrome lining in any 223 Wylde/556 RRA carbine or rifle barrel that isn't stainless. I have yet to hear of a report of 4140 causing any kind of functional shortcoming... same with the hand blended feed ramps.

Sure I keep one of cool kids' guns for SHTF.... a 20" flat top with (RRA) carry handle and fixed stock. It has a complete BCM upper (which stretches the brass quite a bit more than my RRAs), a heavy single stage military trigger with an excessive amount of sear engagement, and a wobbly fit between the upper and lower.

But with that out of the way, I feel no need to put up with those things in my range shooters.

I have owned RRA, Colt, Bushmaster, CMMG, and own a BCM upper. I have handled many additional ARs over the years and have seen lots of manfacturing sloppiness despite a gun's material or testing specs. Everything is trade off. Extra care in machining and holding tight tolerances brings its own costs. I would much rather have a perfectly serviceable barrel that is clocked true than a canted barrel of "milspec" material. I would rather have minimum headspace and a batch tested bolt than more sloppy headspacing and a bolt that was individually tested. I would rather have a rear sight that sits true and doesn't clock oblique to the line of the bore and have hand blended feed ramps than get "M4" feed ramps. I would rather have a 1:8 stainless barrel than a 1:7 chrome lined barrel. I would rather have a light and clean two stage trigger than a gritty heavy "milspec" trigger with excessive sear engagement.

If I were to buy another AR for shooting (not collecting), it would likely be another RRA. The only real beef I have with RRA is they don't offer a light or medium profile 20" barrel.

briang2ad
August 20, 2010, 12:56 PM
I was thinking of this:

http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=462

And...

A BCM Middie (they only have the middie in my price range now) build with either a RRA, STAG, or Delton lower

What do you think?

(Third option is a Smith)

migkillertwo
August 20, 2010, 01:00 PM
From what I understand they're a good rifle, but they're pretty overpriced. Their entry tactical is 1000$, for the same amount of money you can get a MUCH better rifle from Spikes or Bravo Company. Hell you could get those rifles AND add a CMMG 2-stage trigger group and you'll still be ahead of the Rock River

30mag
August 20, 2010, 01:06 PM
4140 is inferior to 4150 CMV, but without full auto it's not going to matter much in the real world.

What are AK receivers made of?

kwelz
August 20, 2010, 01:07 PM
Ask the DEA how much they love RRA. (here is a hint, they don't).

As many others have said. They aren't terrible rifles. They tend to be better than DPMS and the like. However they are not great either. They tend to fail in Classes and for the money you can have a far superior rifles. But for someone who considers 500 Rounds a year overkill, they will probably be fine.

benEzra
August 20, 2010, 01:08 PM
It's not that they're so bad; mine's a Rock River, and I like it. However, there is the (justified) criticism that for the price they're charging, they ought to get more of the details right, though. Bravo Company isn't much more expensive than RRA and they sweat the details a lot more.

For example, gas key screw staking. Mine was very poorly staked, so a LE armorer on M4carbine.net kindly staked mine for me using the proper fixture, but there's not much excuse for not doing it right from the factory. And the castle nut on mine wasn't staked at all, so I staked my own with a $5 spring punch; again, something RRA should have done at the factory. Mine does appear to have a fully shrouded bolt carrier, at least, but I may pick up a BCM bolt at some point.

Chrome lining is a good thing on an all-around rifle, IMO, but my RRA is chrome lined (it was a $40 option), 5.56mm chamber. I also replaced the flimsy RRA charging handle with a BCM Gunfighter Mod 4.

Upsides of the rifle---fit and finish was good, the trigger is marvelous, and the accuracy is very good. And it can be good and reliable, but you may have to fix some of the neglected details yourself.

migkillertwo
August 20, 2010, 01:11 PM
What are AK receivers made of?

steel

briang2ad
August 20, 2010, 01:12 PM
From what I understand they're a good rifle, but they're pretty overpriced. Their entry tactical is 1000$, for the same amount of money you can get a MUCH better rifle from Spikes or Bravo Company. Hell you could get those rifles AND add a CMMG 2-stage trigger group and you'll still be ahead of the Rock River

BCM will cost you plenty more with less features than the entry elite...

Spikes - you will wait.... and wait, and you cannot talk to them.

boricua9mm
August 20, 2010, 01:23 PM
Ask the DEA how much they love RRA. (here is a hint, they don't).

Please cite a source.

They tend to fail in Classes and for the money you can have a far superior rifles.

Ah yes, the good old "fails in high round count classes" argument, which completely neglects the numbers of how many actually make it through without any problems. There is a solid good counter-argument to the "fails in classes" stance. For example, I don't recall ever seeing any photos or reading any accounts of actual soldiers in an active warzone that carry 1k rounds of ammo for their carbine. The loadout is usually closer to 1/4 that amount, IIRC...

Welding Rod
August 20, 2010, 01:34 PM
They tend to fail in Classes and for the money you can have a far superior rifles. But for someone who considers 500 Rounds a year overkill, they will probably be fine.


Highpower / CMP shooters seem to think highly of RRAs. I would have thought they shoot more than 500 rounds a year. Or maybe they just don't spend enough time looking at "the chart" to realize they are shooting a far inferior rifle?

M2 Carbine
August 20, 2010, 01:36 PM
Why is RRA (AR 15) so bad?
Bad? That's news to me.

I have a RRA, 2 Bushmasters and a Colt. While they are all good guns and the only problem is the Bushmaster's terrible trigger, the RRA is somewhat better in most every way.

Are there better AR's than the RRA? Probably, but the RRA is far from "bad".

Z-Michigan
August 20, 2010, 01:57 PM
What are AK receivers made of?

:)

As already noted, steel. Probably something comparable to 4130 or 4140. US-made AKM stamped receivers are typically one of those two grades.

But 4140/4150 in the AR15 context has nothing to do with the aluminum receiver, instead with the barrel material. And as I already stated, if you don't have the happy switch, it's unlikely to matter in the real world. Notably S&W uses 4140 in their AR15 barrels.

benzy2
August 20, 2010, 02:00 PM
I don't think you can get more rifle for the money, at least not in my uses. I shoot ?aper and the rare groundhog. For me accuracy is first priority, and everything else comes after that. For me, I avoid chrome lining. I don't care if a bolt or barrel is mip tested. I don't care about a lot of the checks on the list and have a few to specifically avolid. Sure, rra doesn't do everything to make the absolute most reliable rifle. They do things to make a darn accurfate rifle and make it as reliable as possible from there. To me, that makes it a great buy.

If all you want is a riflwe built to run 2000 without any cleaning, go with something else. If you want a rifle that will shoot the lights out and function well also, grab the rra.

MinnMooney
August 20, 2010, 02:04 PM
1st off - "Wow!"

I didn't know that RRA had a bad reputation.

My son and I have several RRA AR-15s and absolutely love them. They are flawless in performance and more accurate than my Bushmaster "Varmint Special" or several bolt action rifles that I own.

You didn't quote any "bad-mouth" references so I'm not sure where you're coming from.

BushyGuy
August 20, 2010, 02:05 PM
I plan on buying a RRA "16 inch M4 in the future there are 4 AR15s on my must buy list,

RRA
LMT
Daniel Defense
Stag

i currently own a Bushmaster -its a great rifle i have over 1500 rounds thru it and it hasnt had a single hiccup yet and its a 11.5" with 5.5" flash hider it gives me superb accuracy for a short barrel!

redbullitt
August 20, 2010, 02:24 PM
My rra carbine can hit what I need it to and runs well. Not the best of the best, but quite workable for what I paid for it.

TonyAngel
August 20, 2010, 02:49 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention this, but if you're interested in a Rock River rifle, look up a place called legal transfers, LLC. Back when I had the hots for RRA stuff, I believe they had the best prices.

Mags
August 20, 2010, 03:36 PM
Their CS sucks! I am still waiting for a response on emails and phone calls I made through last November to January. I eventually got rid of the RRA I had. The rifle is accurate but that is all that can be said. The castle nut and ejector cover hinge pin both broke on my RRA, and their CS was nonexistent. I just replaced the parts myself and got rid of the damn thing, but at least it was accurate.

12131
August 20, 2010, 03:41 PM
Bad? Sure, absolutely. According to the mil-spec fans and "The Chart" worshippers, that is.:evil:

TonyAngel
August 20, 2010, 03:48 PM
As far as their customer service goes, I can't comment. One thing that I try to do when I buy anything is to buy from someone that believes in and will stand behind what they sell. It helps to make things a bit less painful when things do go wrong.

I also forgot to mention adco firearms. I've bought RRA stuff from them and the service is good.

TexasPatriot.308
August 20, 2010, 03:53 PM
one of my favorite ARs I own is the RRA Car15, accurate, handy, helluva weapon

RP88
August 20, 2010, 03:55 PM
Also, is 4140 so much poorer than 4150 or 'milspec'?

in certain areas, yes.

Although, even with a happy switch, a 4140 barrel is still unlikely to die on you like people make it out to be.

The main differences between the higher steel count is a bit more stiffness and a better resiliency to adverse temperature change (i.e. extremely high temperatures and extremely adverse temperature changes that can cause "quenching" that will ruin or warp a barrel), as well as quicker heat dissipation. The stiffness and heat dissipation is important because it can lead to more consistent (note: not better, just more consistent) accuracy over longer firing periods.

However, even with a 4140 barrel, you'd have to do some very unholy things in some very unholy environments to your AR (things that would make your handguards melt, your bolt sheer its lugs off, and put the gun at risk of cook-off of newly chambered rounds assuming that the gun doesn't start locking up by time those things happen) to get the barrel to break, assuming it is of quality manufacture.

Zerodefect
August 20, 2010, 04:10 PM
I've heard good things about RR national match rifles and the varmit rifles. But I haven't shot those.

All the more combat oriented RRA rifles I have shot kinda fell short.

http://i584.photobucket.com/albums/ss290/zerodefect2533/zzzzRRA-AR1238.gif

I'd happily pay $600-700 for the above flattop. But not a penny more, and I'll bet it's more than that.

When Carbines get in the $1000+ range I want a BCM, Colt, Noveske, or something I build myself with top shelf stuff.

So the biggest thing I have against RRA, is IMO, it's a waste of money that could be put towards are far better weapon for a little bit more money.

The other thing I don't like, no Recce RRA's.

HGUNHNTR
August 20, 2010, 05:23 PM
I don't hear too many folks saying they are bad, there are just better deals to be had. As previously mentioned Spikes and BCM take more care in assembling uppers and bcg's correctly. It is more about reducing the likelihood of a malfunction down the road, and less about better accuracy.

TheGrimReaper
August 20, 2010, 05:30 PM
RRA bad??? I have had 2( only 1 now) and they both were/are awsome!!!

SlamFire1
August 20, 2010, 05:55 PM
I've heard good things about RR national match rifles and the varmit rifles. But I haven't shot those.

Maybe it is due to the sort of person attracted to the different sports.

If you shoot XTC you only shoot 88 rounds in a day. (assuming no alibis). Each and every shot has to be perfect. Malfunctions ruin your score, ruin your day. And it is an eight hour day, might be a 16 hour day. Many people drive hundreds of miles to shoot in a XTC match and pay a match fee. You would expect they are going to be extremely particular in ensuring that their guns are clean and lubricated and that their ammunition is perfect.

You will find that many experienced Highpower shooters use gages, special tools, expensive sizing and seating dies, often weigh charges, and they make ammunition to a extremely high level of precision. Many of these guys have the skills to build rifles.

Given this expertise, care and detail to attention, I would expect less malfunctions in their rifles than in the rifles of rock busters who are shooting the highest volume of the cheapest darn stuff they can find, in the shortest time possible and who only occasionally clean their rifles.

TexasRifleman
August 20, 2010, 06:04 PM
Funny the thread started on how "bad" RRA is and about all anyone has actually mentioned that's "bad" is price.

Zerodefect
August 20, 2010, 06:33 PM
Funny the thread started on how "bad" RRA is and about all anyone has actually mentioned that's "bad" is price.

Egg-zactly!

If they were half the price of a like equipped LMt/BCM/Colt, then I'm cool with that. But I have had some issues with RRA carriers and stocks.

Thier prebuilt .gov models with the optic and everthing, show how out of touch the bigger older Ar makers have become. I can spot a dozen things that need help just by the picture. And either of those are serious $$$.

BCM's quality is insane. Way better than my Colt and LMT. Not a scratch, not a mark anywhere. And thats on my Mk12 SPR Mod3x with a 14" DD Lite rail. Building an upper with a DD lite rail on and timed perfectly without so much as a knick anywhere.......is something I've never been able to do myself.

TexasPatriot.308
August 21, 2010, 02:52 AM
dont believe everything you read, you know what they say bout opinons. I own Armalites, Bushmasters and RRAs, and they are all good, my opinon, now make your own. llike I said dont belive everything you read, most of these guys have very little experience but opine on what little they know. me, served 38 years ago, used so many combat rifles and still shoot lots, I know a little...like I said make your own opinon, you can always sell it...

TexasPatriot.308
August 21, 2010, 03:05 AM
dont believe everything you read, you know what they say bout opinons. I own Armalites, Bushmasters and RRAs, and they are all good, my opinon, now make your own. llike I said dont belive everything you read, most of these guys have very little experience but opine on what little they know. me, served 38 years ago, used so many combat rifles and still shoot lots, I know a little...like I said make your own opinon, you can always sell it...

mrnkc130
August 21, 2010, 06:21 AM
never had any problems with any of mine, I dont think the prices are that bad either.

I have emailed them a few times and they always responded by the next day. Called a few times too, website said several month wait on complete uppers, CS rep said it would only be a few weeks for a 10.5 inch since there is not as big of a demand. Got it 2 and a half weeks later.

I plan on getting a 20inch A2 upper soon and it will probably be a RRA too...

briang2ad
August 21, 2010, 07:20 AM
I started this, because I got little feedback on them and what little I got was negative - this from a post here and on another forum, and from comments I've seen on still other forums. Of course the context was "the chart" and such. They are commercial. But, sounds like they are good guns. I do think the ones they have on sale right now are very decent deals. Thanks all.

carbine85
August 21, 2010, 09:26 AM
Two thumbs up from me for both of my RRA's. For that matter two thumbs up on my Bushmaster. The RRA's have a perfect matching finish and the uppers and lowers fit tight.
IMHO RRA claim to fame is the Varmit and Preditor series. My Varmit can shoot the balls off a tick at 100 yards.

Art Eatman
August 21, 2010, 09:28 AM
And that's a good closing statement...

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