AR-15: Best Models - need advice


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wolfe
February 3, 2011, 10:44 PM
I am in the market for an AR-15 chambered in standard .223 but don't know which brand to go with. I am usually hardcore with the brand and don't settle for knock offs but I know there are some really good quality AR-15s out there.

If you had to rate the following brands which would be highest?

Rock River
SPMS
COLT
Bushmaster
Armalite

Thanks for the info. I love this forum for all the great opinions.

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Joe in fla
February 3, 2011, 10:50 PM
Colt, hands down! I always wonder what kind of shortcuts the imitators took and what they did to cut costs. It doesn't help that I've seen a number of them that were out of tolerance and parts didn't fit like they should. I should add that all my Colts are older models and are MIL-spec. I don't know what they've done to the newer ones since they lost the US military contract.

snakeman
February 3, 2011, 10:51 PM
https://www.del-ton.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=RFTH20-C

browneu
February 3, 2011, 10:51 PM
It depends on how much you want to spend and what you're using it for.

Out of the list provided I think you're going to see an overwhelming response for Colt.

Other brands you should also consider are S&W, Daniel Defense, LMT, and BCM.

Z-Michigan
February 3, 2011, 10:52 PM
Of your list, Colt, by a large margin.

Not on your list, but equally good or in some cases better:
Daniel Defense
Bravo Company (BCM)
Noveske
LMT (Lewis Machine & Tool)

DoubleTapDrew
February 3, 2011, 10:55 PM
Out of the models you listed I'd go with Colt. If you were open to other brands I'd definitely look into BCM or LMT.
Here is "The Chart" (desirable mil-spec features and major manufacturers):
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pwswheghNQsEuEhjFwPrgTA&single=true&gid=5&output=html
Keep in mind most (and all mil-spec) guns will be chambered for 5.56 rather than .223. You can shoot .223 in 5.56 guns but not vice versa. .223 only is usually reserved for match/varmint guns more concerned with accuracy than reliability.

JQP
February 3, 2011, 10:56 PM
I like Colt of the ones on your list.

I like LMT, BCM, Daniels Defense and Noveske, which are not on your list, as Z has stated.

I'm watching Spikes. They seem GTG.

snakeman
February 3, 2011, 10:58 PM
The most rewarding is to build it yourself and watch the 1st bullet hole appear then slightly get a little bigger with each shot! Out of your list...rock river or armalite.

Flash!
February 3, 2011, 11:02 PM
Colt all the way for factory rifles....... if you want to build one from scratch we would need more info as to what you want it to do......

wolfe
February 3, 2011, 11:08 PM
I like to shoot for fun and I just like owning firearms. Have a nice collection of good qualtity pistols and now need to start on the long guns. I am a clay target shooter by trade :) but my local club has some rifle matches for braggin' rights etc.

I'm open any brand as long it is is HIGH quality and worth the $$$$$$. Firearms to me are a great investment. They are fun to shoot and retain their value well if maintained how much better can an investment get.

Thanks and keep the opinions coming.

BTW don't think I'm into building one. not overly mechanically inclinded.

Chris Rhines
February 3, 2011, 11:18 PM
Colt, by a lot.

All of the other brands that you name have shortcuts taken in their construction and/or material quality. These shortcuts will increase the odds that you will get a lemon, as well as significantly decreasing the service life of your rifle.

-C

Double Naught Spy
February 3, 2011, 11:27 PM
Here is "The Chart" (desirable mil-spec features and major manufacturers):
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...=5&output=html

Note that The Chart only pertains to the M4 and pattern M4 variants only and not even to other military versions. While the information is very useful if you want an M4 or variant, the data have absolutely nothing to do with any other models.

In regard to the accuracy of the The Chart, it is apparently kept updated when there are changes in models, but the model you buy may not have the exact features noted on The Chart. This isn't because The Chart is wrong per se, but because manufacturers are apt to use what is on hand when they are building the guns build differences may occur with who is doing the work. For example, most of the models come with a chrome-lined bore, but you may fine that a model that is supposed to have this doesn't. Models noted with properly staked gas keys sometimes have gas keys that are not properly staked.

In the last AR15/M16 armorer's course I attended with Sully Sullivan (http://www.slr15rifles.com/Default.asp), only one of the four M4 variants in the class actually matched The Chart.

So if you get a M4 or variant, The Chart is a good guide to the features, but not necessarily 100%. For other models, don't expect The Chart to be representative of any of them.

To answer the original question, I have been pleased with both Colt and RRA AR15s. The downside to Colts, I have found, is that they tend to cost more than similarly made guns from other manufacturers. However, it has been my experience that the factory Colt trigger pulls are crisper than what I have with my RRAs.

M&PVolk
February 3, 2011, 11:33 PM
From your list, I would rank Colt at a large margin better than the other choices. From there, Armalite, followed by a tie with Bushmaster and Rock River. Honestly though, I would be more inclined to go with Daniel Defense, Spike's Tactical or Bravo Company. It isn't that I don't think Colt is good, it's just that, IMHO, you get more for your money with DD, ST, and BCM.

benEzra
February 4, 2011, 12:06 AM
Regarding "standard .223", do make sure you think through the choice between .223 Remington chamber vs. 5.56x45mm NATO chamber, which are not precisely identical. The NATO chamber will safely shoot all .223, but the .223 chamber's somewhat tighter throat may be less tolerant of some 5.56x45mm. Basically, if you are a match shooter, will never be shooting any milsurp or cheap imported ammo, and value accuracy at all costs (even over reliability), get a .223 chamber; otherwise, you *might* be better served with a 5.56 chamber.

DoubleTapDrew
February 4, 2011, 12:25 AM
So if you get a M4 or variant, The Chart is a good guide to the features, but not necessarily 100%. For other models, don't expect The Chart to be representative of any of them.

Agreed. It's not the end-all-be-all guide, the buyer needs to go over all the details of the particular gun they are purchasing. I just think it's useful for determining what steps a manufacturer takes on their rifles which can help determine the overall quality they put into their builds.

BTW don't think I'm into building one. not overly mechanically inclinded.
If you buy a complete upper and a complete lower, it's not really "building" one. It's pushing two pins. And if you aren't up to that you are going to have a really hard time cleaning it. Most (maybe all) of the BCM models are complete upper receivers. I went with a LMT lower on mine but I understand BCM builds great lowers as well. It took me all of 20 seconds to assemble the rifle.

ColtPythonElite
February 4, 2011, 12:29 AM
I, along with 60 of my closest friends, have Bushmasters issued to us. We've had 'em nearly a decade and have had very few problems.

jpwilly
February 4, 2011, 01:27 AM
I don't know who SPMS is but DPMS builds a lot of rifles. I have two they work. They aren't mil spec. I don't care. Given that when I purchased them Bravo Company and Spikes etc weren't even around or I didn't know they were. Could have had a Colt for twice what I paid for the DPMS. I'm still very happy with my purchase they are very accurate and go bang every time.

husker
February 4, 2011, 02:42 AM
Colt












Bushmaster
Rock River
Armalite
SPMS

1911WB
February 4, 2011, 10:51 AM
As you can see from the "chart" the differences in AR brand quality comes down to the grade of barrel steel and receiver aluminum, and the testing of barrels and bolts that is done (or not). Daniel Defense, LMT, BCM and Spikes Tactical all use 4150 steel barrels (or better) instead of lesser brands which use 4140. Receivers of those brands are of 7075 alum. instead of the typical 6061. Barrels and bolts are all individually HP and MP tested at DD, LMT, BCM and ST.

Colt is in that group too, but is often overpriced, and you have to watch out for "large pin" models which do not mate up with most other brands "small pin" receivers without special conversion pins. WB

Z-Michigan
February 4, 2011, 11:09 AM
Receivers of those brands are of 7075 alum. instead of the typical 6061.

No one is using 6061 on a forged receiver. 7075 forged platters are too cheap now for 6061 to be worthwhile. Everyone is currently using forged 7075 other than a few of the billet receivers using 6061 (many billets are now 7075 also). You can get quality stripped lowers of forged 7075 for just $60 (Aero Precision, AP custom brands, some specials on DSA).

Re: Colt, historically overpriced but lately the Colt 6920 has been going for as little as $1100, which is quite reasonable for the quality and name.

Quentin
February 4, 2011, 11:41 AM
From your list, I would rank Colt at a large margin better than the other choices. From there, Armalite, followed by a tie with Bushmaster and Rock River. Honestly though, I would be more inclined to go with Daniel Defense, Spike's Tactical or Bravo Company. It isn't that I don't think Colt is good, it's just that, IMHO, you get more for your money with DD, ST, and BCM.
I agree.

My new Daniel Defense upper has been excellent and I can see why it, BCM, Colt and others are considered the best. My ArmaLite is middle of the pack with S&W and others. Bushmaster, RRA and others fall further back though they do work for most people. Do more research then pick the one that has your specs and the best quality at your price point.

longdayjake
February 4, 2011, 01:19 PM
I would have to say that it depends on what it is that you want the rifle to do. If you want it as a fighting gun then Colt is probably your best choice. However, Colt has less options for barrels than any of the others. So, what you get with Colt is a reliable and mostly accurate bullet thrower. With some of the others you can get something that is slightly less reliable but it will shoot tighter groups. It really just depends on what you want.

X-Rap
February 4, 2011, 01:53 PM
The choices are so much greater today from even 5 yrs ago, the last 3 that I got were built from pieces from different makers one with SDM billet receivers the others with Spikes and DD. All three had SS barrels so they don't show on the list.
My others include Colt, BM & DPMS, I can't say I see much difference in any but none of them get anything close to extreme use aside from one DPMS.
I understand all the testing and the process but I question its value for the most part with out some credible reporting of failure rates. I don't think these guns (AR's) breakdown that often, lemons exist in all things and perhaps at a greater frequency with some brands but the shear quantity of the rifles produced by the various makers needs to be taken into account as well.
I think more lowers are probably built with DPMS kits than any other brand and account for the most moving parts.
I have yet to see a barrel fail or a BC. Bolts certainly are parts that see the brunt of abuse in the system and buying top quality BCG for an extra 20 bucks can't be a bad idea if your building your own.

PS if anyone is aware of another firearm in civilian hands that has as much scrutiny and wide spread dispersal as the AR platform I would love to hear what it was. If there were mass failures causing injury or death due to failure by defect it would be widely promoted by those who dislike the gun.

kwelz
February 4, 2011, 03:33 PM
Of the ones you listed only the Colt is worth looking at.
Others to consider have already been mentioned. DD, BCM, Spikes, Noveske.

wolfe
February 4, 2011, 11:18 PM
thanks for all the great advice. Since what I want needs to look like the original colt I think I'll go with a colt unless I see something that hits the nail on the head.

I have looked at all the models suggested and they are all awesome.

This is as much of an investment and collectible. There are some really sweet firearms out there.

DoubleTapDrew
February 4, 2011, 11:57 PM
PS if anyone is aware of another firearm in civilian hands that has as much scrutiny and wide spread dispersal as the AR platform I would love to hear what it was. If there were mass failures causing injury or death due to failure by defect it would be widely promoted by those who dislike the gun.

The only one I can think of is Glock. There have been a few failures (like you said, there are so many out there it's bound to happen occasionally) but thanks to the Internet everyone gets to hear about it.

Since what I want needs to look like the original colt I think I'll go with a colt unless I see something that hits the nail on the head.


You can't really go wrong there, plus Colt is the original (well, Armalite was, but Colts seem to hold value best).
I'd suggest looking into CDNN, the email blasts they send out usually have some great deals on the Colts.

leatherneck448
February 5, 2011, 12:09 AM
definitely what z-michigan said


all four are top notch companies/manufacturers
(daniel defense, LMT, Noveske, and BCM)

and in my opinion are way better than anything in there price range.

you can buy a killer bcm/ DD/ LMT build for right around the same general price that you can buy a colt LE6940 complete build for new.

noveske is a little more on the pricy side, but you get what you pay for
(from what i know, pac-nor barrels come stock on all their rifles)

just my two cents,
Kenny

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2011, 12:10 AM
well, Armalite was, but Colts seem to hold value best

Although "Armalite" was the original, that's a different Armalite from the current company based in western Illinois. The current Armalite, Inc. of western Illinois, previously Eagle Arms, bought the name from its third (?) owner who really had no use for it any more. Great name, also a great company, but not the same company.

CDNN had the Colt 6920 at $1095 within the last week or so. You need to add shipping and FFL transfer fees, but that's still a great deal on it. Oh, you can get an equal quality DD or BCM in the same range or possibly a bit less, but there is some appeal to the Colt.

crossrhodes
February 5, 2011, 12:19 AM
I love Colt and you know what your getting, but here is my history. I own a Colt, two bushmaster's and three DPMS, which two are LR 308C's and one Light. I've shot well over 10,000 rds through each rifle and never had any issue due to manufacturing. As I'm a retired Marine with 20 plus years in the infantry ( no DI or recruiting bull****, hell I got 12 years in one battalion alone)
I'm a firm believer in MIL SPEC for real world stuff and go with the chart. If your just banging out rounds and doing some friendly competition a Bushy will do you fine. If your planning on shooting matches or varmint hunting then your going to be more concerned with other things like SS bull barrels and match triggers and all the other stuff that's not MILSPEC or as reliable. I have a friend who's into 3 gun matches and he uses a bushy and replaced the bolt with a MILSPEC BCG, no problems.
Just my 2 cents.

Water-Man
February 5, 2011, 01:56 AM
Colt, BCM, DD, Noveske.

wolfe
February 5, 2011, 10:00 PM
I looked for CDNN http://www.cdnninvestments.com/ and didn't look like they have any firearms just accessories, parts etc.

If I am looking at the wrong site let me know.

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2011, 10:06 PM
Wolfe - you have to download the PDF catalog, they don't list guns on the website itself nor can you order them over the web. The PDF has most of their inventory. You also need to get on their email weekly specials mailing list to know about everything. The $1095 Colt 6920 was in the weekly email a week or two ago.

RockyMtnTactical
February 6, 2011, 12:54 AM
I'm partial to BCM.

wolfe
February 6, 2011, 12:54 AM
Great Thanks for the info on CDNN z-michigan

wolfe
April 9, 2011, 05:44 PM
Well the debate is finally over. My local gun dealer found a new in the box Colt Match hbar .223 that looks like a classic m-16.

Also had several 10 and 30 round clips. Thanks for all the advice.

Mr. T
April 9, 2011, 06:29 PM
My Bushmaster has never failed me in any type of use. I pull the trigger and it always goes "BANG". I've used damn near every type of commercial ammo in it and I've never had a jamb or hang up with any of the ammo. I know a lot of people on here seem to bash the Bushmaster, but I have never had a problem with mine. I do however clean it everytime I use it. I've shot thousands of rounds through my "Patrolman's Carbine" and it has never had a FTF. It is accurate as I could expect any of my weapons to be; it will consistently shoot 3 shot clover leafs at a 100 yards with a 2 MOA red dot optic, when I do my part. I will with hold telling you what I think you should get, because I would expect that there are better AR's out there, but I did want to share my experience with my Bushmaster. Good Luck in picking yours! :-)

Slotback
April 9, 2011, 06:33 PM
Wolfe, there are lots of high quality ARs out there. But there is something to be said for building your own gun the way you want it.

However, should you buy off the shelf, you can't go wrong with Colt, Bushmaster, Armalite, etc.

PapaG
April 9, 2011, 08:35 PM
I'd have to say Colt if for no other reason than resale value and initial quality.
That said, I just shot my new Bushmaster (looks just like a sixties M16) and after getting used to the trigger it delivered a five shot 5/8" group at 100 yards. First was 1 1/2, second was 1".
I can't get over how these things perform. I had a Savage 112V in 22-250 and never got a 5/8" group...even with eyes thirty five years younger than they are now.
Rock River, DPMS, heck, they're all good.

Brian Williams
April 9, 2011, 09:15 PM
I have a Franken Rifle, I do not plan to fight with it, run many gun games, it works. Get one, shoot it and have fun.
Get good mags, lots of ammo, shoot it. When you get good enough that you have broken it, fixed it then get what you know you need.

Gunsby_Blazen
April 9, 2011, 10:13 PM
i would go with LMT, Daniel Defense, Noveske, and (my favorite) JP Enterprises.

Armalite are good, Colts have the Colt name, Ruger's AR has a carrier tilt problem (i am usually a ruger fan, especially on SA revolvers), i have had problems with poor machining on parts with Rock River.

the top two companies in my opinion that make the best ARs are Noveske and JP rifles.

here is a picture of a JP upper (tactical upper not their standard competition uppers) on a Mega Machine Shop billet lower
(i highly recommend you build your own from parts... you can build a really high end gun, much better than Colt, DPMS, RRA, Armalite... ect...)

i started to build it trying to save money but have dropped way more than a standard rifle costs. right now, w/o optics it is costing more than a noveske...

i wouldn't change a thing, i LOVE my rifle and especially the way it looks...
build one to your liking, a webstore called
RAINIER ARMS is a good place to look if you want to build a custom gun on a billet lower.
all of their stuff is top of the line!
http://www.rainierarms.com/
no, i dont work for them but i was able to find stuff there that i haven't been able to find anywhere else


MIL SPEC
if you want MIL SPEC, just make sure the one you are looking at is MIL SPEC, mine is not Mil Spec, but it is by far not a POS.
MIL SPEC means MIL SPEC, not "BEST", but it is built to a specific standard. some stuff that isnt Mil Spec is bad, other stuff is better. MIL SPEC is kind of like piece of mind i think for most consumers...
personally, i could care less

if you are not looking to build, i would look at the companies i mentioned here (NOVESKE, JP, and (oh yeah, forgot) Knight Armament (which is the company that Stoner went to after he left Armalite, but these things cost so much that it will make your head spin and are perhaps the premier AR company); second choice after those are Daniel Defense, Patriot Arms (good stuff), LMT, Colt (starting to make better guns, quality control is getting better); third choices are Armalite, then RRA, Spikes Tactical (something about them i like and something about them i dont and i cant place it, just a gut feeling), Yankee Hill (a good company too), DPMS, Stag Arms, CMMG, S&W, and Bushmaster.

honestly though, all AR companies are pretty good, just avoid Olympic!!!!

check out this link to AR15.com's AR manufacture list/forum:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/board.html?b=2

GOOD LUCK!
any questoins just message me, i dont check in here often but i have the same handle on ARFCOM, GRM, RUGERFORUM (both), and a few others...
always up to giving advice and what i know....
most my time is on ARFCOM and Rugerforum.

anyway, my 2 cents, here is my pic of my JP upper (i highly recommend them, expensive but worth the price)
JP's website... http://www.jprifles.com/

stickhauler
April 9, 2011, 10:38 PM
Personally, I like my Stag L-1. When I decided I wanted to buy an EBR, they were the only company I found that makes a left-handed option. After years of hot brass flying down under my collar, shooting the Stag is a true joy.

helotaxi
April 10, 2011, 01:40 PM
Of all the brands out there, Olympic wouldn't even make the top 10 of brands to avoid.

Planned use should drive all decisions. Real world, for anything other than a fighting rifle there are only 3 major components where mil-spec matters: upper, lower and BCG. With everything else you're better off finding something suited to your needs rather than just going with mil-spec. Even for a fighting rifle, mil-spec should only be considered the minimum for the other components and certain aspects of mil-spec are more important than others.

Do research, decide what matters to you, plan your purchase accordingly rather than blindly following some brand, mil-spec or "the Chart."

Wolvee
April 10, 2011, 01:44 PM
The absolute best bang for your buck AR right now has to be a basic model M&P AR15. I paid $800 for my MOE edition through Buds Gun shop.

Gunsby_Blazen
April 10, 2011, 05:31 PM
seriously avoid Vulcan

i think Olympic is bad, as i said earlier, but Helotaxi does not seem to agree,
maybe he would agree that Vulcan is surely one to avoid.

i am talking about the big AR manufactures, not the smaller outfits

helotaxi
April 10, 2011, 06:48 PM
Vulcan, Blackthorne and Hesse are the top of the list.

Oly wouldn't be my choice for an M4-gery but their more specialized rifles are of good quality.

Quentin
April 10, 2011, 10:42 PM
Colt, BCM, Daniel Defense, Noveske and LMT are about as good as it gets. I'm very pleased with my latest build with a DD upper. To be honest though, my first build with an ArmaLite upper has been flawless however I can see better quality in the DD.

firemanstrickland
April 10, 2011, 10:55 PM
i absolutely love my armalite, i would put it up against any AR, just my .02

Gunsby_Blazen
April 11, 2011, 01:25 AM
the best:
JP Enterprise, Noveske, Knight Armament

THEE Top three
they are more like luxury ARs....
all are outstanding performers..

of these three, JP (i own) and Knight are the only two i would spend money on if i wanted a Cadillac AR

for a Chevy AR, i would get an Armalite, Rock River, S&W, LMT, Daniel Defense, Stag, CMMG, DPMS, Bushmaster (of these i consider Daniel Def. and LMT the best, but none are bad guns at all, all good!)

i am just saying that a lot of folks seem to forget about Knight and JP

Gunsby_Blazen
April 11, 2011, 01:26 AM
Oly wouldn't be my choice for an M4-gery but their more specialized rifles are of good quality.
-helotaxi

what more specialized rifles are you referring to?
the pistol caliber carbines?

mc223
April 11, 2011, 01:59 AM
If it aint Barrett. They are all junk.


The Barrett is the hands down best of the best. Just Sayin.

http://www.barrett.net/firearms/rec7




o

Rmiller31
April 11, 2011, 09:58 AM
What's your budget? And are you open to suggestions for rifles not on the list?

helotaxi
April 11, 2011, 11:04 PM
what more specialized rifles are you referring to?
the pistol caliber carbines?

I was thinking specifically of their WSSM and .30 OSM uppers. Their NM rifles have a good reputation as well.

JP makes great stuff, but they are very much race guns. Knight is very proud of their stuff. Kinda like POF and LWRC. All are well into the realm of diminishing returns.

Personally when I think top shelf ARs I think Les Baer, Noveske and Wilson. Barret makes a great rifle, but I'd spend my money on one of the previous 3 first.

SpeedAKL
April 12, 2011, 11:36 AM
Of your list, Colt, by a large margin.

Not on your list, but equally good or in some cases better:
Daniel Defense
Bravo Company (BCM)
Noveske
LMT (Lewis Machine & Tool)
This

wolfe
April 17, 2011, 09:58 PM
Had not idea there were so many options but I went with the COLT mostly because of the name.

Most of my firearms are brand name and I consider myself a name whore when it comes to firearms.

Thanks for all the information. Much appreciated.

DBryant
April 17, 2011, 10:30 PM
I'm curious about CMMG. They were only mentioned in passing by Gunsby Blazen. How do they stack up to companies like DD, BCM, and LMT?

Welding Rod
April 18, 2011, 12:48 AM
I was not at all impressed with mine. After extensive warranty work I sold it at the earliest opportunity.

DBryant
April 18, 2011, 01:09 AM
Really? What, specifically, was wrong with it? I'm curious because I'm looking for an upper to complete my Cav-15 build.

1stmarine
April 18, 2011, 02:24 AM
There is an alternative to both chambers that is the wylde chamber.
It will be the best shooter, RRA has a 16" and a 20".
RRA mills the parts in the same place as Delton and Colt.

All awesome systems. Never had anything out of spec. If you want make sure you get shrouded firing pin. M16 bolt carrier and the bolt with delton are mil spec. and bolt MP tested. The RRA 2 stage trigger measures up with other expensive triggers.

There are many good others.

Things to look for from most critical to less critical in an in-pigment system.

BCR
-Shrouded firing pin (M16 carrier?)
-Mill spec Bolt MP tested
-Properly stacked gas key
Barrel
-Chamber up to spec (I have seen some ARs, even expensive ones, with the chamber out of spec and a reamer was required)
-Properly squared gas block/sights
Lower.
-up to spec trigger group (obviously if a trigger is not function correctly then this is the first thing you need to consider)
-Mil spec Buffer spring and buffer
-Function of all controls should be smooth and work flawlessly.
-A Mil spec colt magazine should drop free when empty.

A mill spec receivers they all are virtually the same with some great new ones that have a little more meat but you don't really need that. The rigidity of the system comes
from how well a specific billet fits together. I also use nylon wedges in some of mine that help stabilize both receivers as one.
What makes a real difference is to make sure that the internals are good quality and properly squared and inspected.
Is not the usual but sometimes you see out of spec systems and the reason is because the quality control is not there.
I build my own and regardless of maker if I get a complete upper I check if everything is up to spec, starting from headspace, BCR, staked key, etc...
This is paramount if you shoot a lot, like in defensive shooting training. For the occasional shooting and if occasional stoppages are not an issue then most ARs sold
are going to be ok. Ask around and see if you can try one you like.
If you like accuracy over durability on the barrel then do not get the chrome lined barrels. The difference is marginal but some people like to shoot slower and more
precisely. Barrels and other parts are cheap compared to ammunition anyway.

There are many good options out there. You might go crazy with the replies and options. Keep it simple.

Cheers.
E.

helotaxi
April 18, 2011, 11:23 AM
High pressure testing followed by magnetic particle inspection is a more comprehensive test. If the MP testing finds a crack without HP testing, there is a serious problem with manufacturing.

Gas key staking is not nearly as important as proper gas key assembly.

I've never seen a gas block that was staked. The standard front sight post is pinned to the barrel with a pair of taper pins. I've also never heard of a properly installed clamp on style coming loose.

I've also never seen a buffer referred to as "mil-spec," the receiver extension is a different story. For a really hard use rifle, a mil-spec receiver extension makes sense and it opens up more options for stock assemblies.

DevoBill
April 18, 2011, 12:55 PM
Mega Machine Shop
http://megamachineshop.com

I have many Colt's and Mega Gator's, I find them both of very high quality. The finish on Mega is so black, when compared to Colt the colt looks blue.

JARD triggers are very crisp and clean.
http://www.jardinc.com

+ 1 on Wylde chambers.

ol' scratch
April 18, 2011, 03:03 PM
As you can see from the "chart" the differences in AR brand quality comes down to the grade of barrel steel and receiver aluminum, and the testing of barrels and bolts that is done (or not). Daniel Defense, LMT, BCM and Spikes Tactical all use 4150 steel barrels (or better) instead of lesser brands which use 4140. Receivers of those brands are of 7075 alum. instead of the typical 6061. Barrels and bolts are all individually HP and MP tested at DD, LMT, BCM and ST.

Colt is in that group too, but is often overpriced, and you have to watch out for "large pin" models which do not mate up with most other brands "small pin" receivers without special conversion pins. WB

According to this add from Brownells who is selling the RRA upper and lower, RRA uses 7075, or at least in their NM model http://www.brownells.com/1/3/ar-15-upper-halves

I can't speak for the others, but I do love my RRA NM rifle.

1stmarine
April 18, 2011, 04:57 PM
Having a better Mil-B-11595E barrel steel that has been pressure tested and MP inspected is the best but it would be one of the more costly to replace and would be the part less likely to fail.
The key points above are just a summary of the different check points of the armorer's QC checklist.
Properly alignment and stacking of the key is paramount. This is from a stag upper that obviously missed that step....
http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/AR15/BCG_not_Staked.jpg
This is one stacking tool, not great but functional...
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=29337/Product/AR_15_M16_CARRIER_KEY_STAKING_TOOL

The MOACKS tool from michiguns is probably the best in my opinion...
http://www.m-guns.com/tools.php

Gas blocks need to be squared and properly pinned or bolted. I have seen several sold with canted sights and gas bleeding problems.

Mil spec for the M16 have been evolving since it was issued in 1966. A mill spec spring requires four critical dimensions: outside diameter, overall length, number of coils and the wire diameter in thousands of an inch. This is critical to adjust the proper timing as the M16 was not designed in the current M4 (carbine) configuration where tolerances are even smaller. This is critical to work in unison with he dwell time for proper operation sometimes requiring a proper buffer that helps compensation during reward travel.

The fact that we do not know or have never seen any of these situations adds little value to the discussion so lets stay focused to helping the requester of this thread and be open minded.

Cheers,
E.

stevereno1
April 18, 2011, 06:05 PM
Spikes Tactical.

1stmarine
April 19, 2011, 12:51 AM
I found a picture of one of my piston AR's. This is a RRA upper with Adams piston, American tactical lower and RRA 2 stage trigger, heavy barrel profile, Non-chromed lined and around .6-.7 moa with good loads.....

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/30%20cal%20bullets/RAULrifle003.jpg

This is a new AR in 6mmx45 caliber I am working on that uses a Lothar Walter match barrel cut in rifle length with a custom design. It is not broken in yet...

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/6x45/100_6534B.jpg

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/6x45/100_6546B.jpg

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/6x45/100_6541B.jpg

This is a ballistics chart comparison I put together...
http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/6x45/223vsOthers_charts.jpg

A comparative of .223 bullets LEFT vs. 6x45mm RIGHT.
http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/6x45/100_5973.jpg

That's a delton, very nice too...
http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/30%20cal%20bullets/100_5948.jpg

This is a 20" National Match barrel with all chromed inside and SS rifle length heavy barrel profile and the Wylde chamber. This is around .35 MOA consistently...

http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z327/fotoeiro/30%20cal%20bullets/100_5946.jpg

Cheers.
E.

Welding Rod
April 20, 2011, 12:34 AM
Really? What, specifically, was wrong with it? I'm curious because I'm looking for an upper to complete my Cav-15 build.

Check your PMs.

1stmarine
April 20, 2011, 12:45 AM
If the CAV-15 is not good let folks know. I don't know about these much but I was thinking to get a lower for a specialty built and I have been told the mag well is a bit more generous in dimensions and that is what I need for a single stack VLD magazine that I am building for long range 6x45 bullets.
Anything you can share is welcome. I can open a new thread if you like.

Welding Rod
April 20, 2011, 12:50 AM
I have no knowledge of the Cav 15, he was asking about a CMMG upper.

1stmarine
April 20, 2011, 01:02 AM
ohh. sorry. I might just put a new post to see if I can find out about those. CMMG looks like they have some decent stuff out there. Their piston system didn't catch as much as the Adams that it is hard to beat but anyway CMMG's piston enjoy a substantial advantage IMO. It will work with many handguards where the Adams will not, due to the width of the barrel nut piece.

barry960
April 20, 2011, 01:53 AM
I had a FNH as my service M-16 A2, and now have a RRA upper on an PWA lower. DEA uses RRA, and the price at the time seemed more than reasonable, best priced complete upper I found. The only thing noticably lacking is select fire. Colts just always seem overpriced to me.

BigBore
April 20, 2011, 05:40 AM
Most surely Colts..LMT is another good one..

1stmarine
April 20, 2011, 10:57 AM
The reason the colts are more expensive is because they are mil spec, good quality but the most important aspect, it is a payroll issue. They spend the most time making sure they are perfectly squared. Their check list is larger than others. Where they fail is in customer service for civilian customers, just like FN so it is a good thing they get their systems right the first time although QC has been going a tad down lately.

But, this doesn't mean much in the end as you can get other great systems from many other vendors.

There was a great article in the Guns&Ammo - Combat Tactics magazine from summer 2010.

I build and or break a part every system and check everything with gauges and tools and I can tell you never had a single issue with any of the following:

Colt
Rock Rivers
Delton
LMT
Bushmaster
SI defense
Sun Devil receivers
H&K
POF
Adams Arms
DPMS (Remington, DPMS and Bushmaster they are all the same company/group so they share a lot of things)

Many makers just put a logo with a skulk or something fancy on their receivers and make sure the systems are tight but the parts are milled in the same place as the most expensive and inexpensive ones, like Delton and Rock River that have parts come out from the same mill as colt and come out with high quality standards and affordable.

I also share my experiences with a few close friends that are armorers and gunsmiths, one currently servicing our troops systems overseas.
I am always learning something new.

Cheers,
E.

benzy2
April 20, 2011, 11:14 AM
I have a Franken Rifle, I do not plan to fight with it, run many gun games, it works. Get one, shoot it and have fun.
Get good mags, lots of ammo, shoot it. When you get good enough that you have broken it, fixed it then get what you know you need.
Bingo. The forum should default to automatically post this quote every time a similar question is asked.

The real truth of the matter is that if you don't know what you need, most any of them will fit your use. Once you've used the rifle enough to know what you need, you won't have to ask what rifle/parts to buy. It's fun to see everyone toss their opinions in as to what the best/better rifles made today are, but in the end, a guy who has to ask what is a better rifle and what isn't is a guy who probably wouldn't see a difference between the group in his real world use of the rifle. The most important issue is to buy a rifle, any of them, go out, shoot a bunch rather than worry which is the best, gain experience and skill, and then, when you find a flaw in either the design or the quality of work, swap it out for a more appropriate part.

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