AR Varmint Uppers


February 7, 2012, 01:59 PM
Several days ago I asked for your opinions on flat top AR receivers and I appreciate all of the suggestions. My intent was to change my carry handle upper receiver to a flat top for optics use. After a lot of thought I have decided to use a dedicated upper of the varmint variety. This will be used as a second prairie dog rifle and target rifle. I will keep my carry handle upper for plinking. I have a budget of $400 and don't really need the bolt carrier group but some of the options have them. I think i would also prefer a2 0" barrel for the added velocity for longer range shooting (400 yds) but am not completely sold on 20". Below are some uppers I'm considering. I would appreciate your experiences and thoughts as well as any other suggestions you may have.

Option 1: DPMS 16" Lo Pro Bull with Glacier Guard Handguard, $359.99
Option 2: DPMS 20" Stainless Bull w/ Free Float Handguard, $464.99
Option 3: Model 1 Sales 20" Stainless Bull w/Free Float Handguard $375
Option 4: DSA 20" HBAR w/standard Handguard (this one is a mil spec style), $290

Options 1 and 2 have BCG's which I don't really need. Option 2 is above my budget but I didn't know if the features were worth the extra $100. Option 3 has me concerned because of some negatives that I have heard. Option 4 isn't a varmint style but is much cheaper if it could provide reasonable enough groups for prairie dogging.

Once again thank you very much for your suggestions!

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February 7, 2012, 04:45 PM
This upper ( from AIM caught my eye recently. $420 with BCG for a 1:8 FF upper should be pretty accurate with quality ammo even though it doesn't have a Wylde chamber.

February 7, 2012, 06:11 PM
I have shot several of the Model 1 set ups and they are killing machines IMHO. I am shooting Shilen, Olys and BHW barrels at the same time and the Model 1 did quite nicely for the young man I am mentoring that was shooting beside me.

I would put my money down on one in heart beat if I was on a very tight budget.


PS: You NEED a dedicated BCG for each upper as the wear patterns will be different.

February 7, 2012, 06:23 PM
wnycollector, I just saw that and was about to post it!

I would probably go with the 20" DPMS.wait a few extra weeks of saving and spend the extra 60 bucks now. Buy once, cry once.

February 7, 2012, 07:11 PM
My first "home built" AR was with a Model 1 20" bull bbl (.223 1-9 twist). An honest 5 shot 3/4 m.o.a. rifle with good loads.

I still enjoy stopping the hay & bean eating habits of local groundhogs with it.

Would I buy another? Probably not. But that's only because now I know there are bbls just as accurate, and a whole lot lighter.

February 7, 2012, 07:22 PM
The DPMS will be a shooter...Get the longer barrel. You won't regret the extra velocity for varmint hunting. Here's my Bull 20"

February 7, 2012, 09:09 PM
Thanks guys! That AIM upper is intriguing. I had a feeling that the 20" DPMS was probably the best option. I have always been one willing to spend more for better quality. I don't really know what got into me! I will still gladly listen to all opinions and suggestions though! I'm not a stubborn man!

Owen Sparks
February 7, 2012, 09:27 PM
Have you looked at 24" uppers? After all you are not going to be using it indoors for close quarters combat. The added velocity and flatter trajectory might be worth the extra barrel length on a dedicated varmit rig.

February 7, 2012, 10:15 PM
I have the DPMS SS20" Bull upper but if I could do over I'd get the 1-8 twist if you plan to shoot heavier bullets mine has trouble with 68gr+ pills for some reason others with 1-9 twist don't, but mine does.

ALTHOUGH the 50GR VMAX bullets shoot great out of it!

February 7, 2012, 10:39 PM
Owen, I haven't considered the 24". I like the idea for the reasons you mention but am afraid it would be way too heavy if I used it on some coyote hunts. Just seems like the 20" is a good mix. Thoughts? I do have a CZ 527 Varmint in .204 that has taken prairie dogs at 500 yds with 40gr bullets so I'm not terribly concerned about squeezing every extra fps out of this.

February 7, 2012, 11:35 PM
I can't speak for the others but I have a 16" Model 1 Sales varmint AR. That sucker is heavy, on the other hand it will consistently drop 1/2 to 3/4 MOA all day long, providing I am not bumpfiring 30rd mags or anything like that (not a good idea in my state, draws unwanted attention even if technically within the law).

February 8, 2012, 09:13 PM
GL mentioned that I need a dedicated BCG and I appreciate the advice. Does anyone run the same BCG with two different uppers without problems? I may try the Model 1 because of the positive experiences here but if I must have a dedicated BCG then the point would be moot and I would go DPMS.

Thanks for your thoughts!

February 8, 2012, 10:41 PM
Get a BCG for each rifle IMO. I've never tried to run both of mine on the same BCG so couldn't say if there would be any issues.

February 9, 2012, 06:22 AM
If not two BCG's at least two bolts.

February 9, 2012, 09:51 AM
Not sure about your options but I have been very happy with my Rock River and Stag varmint rigs.



Both shoot very well at 100 yards:

February 9, 2012, 10:35 AM
you should look at they use shaw barrels and the couple uppers that ive seen shoot well. they arent real expensive either.
this is the one id get.
for 25extra bucks this one is a shoe in

February 9, 2012, 05:12 PM
Thanks for the help guys! I will definitely go with a dedicated BCG.

Also, nice rigs!

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