New Frontier Armory Polymer Lower


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Dr.Rob
February 9, 2012, 05:52 PM
Ok it's the big day, I picked it up this morning in a no-frills UPS box wrapped in bubblewrap. No manual (not really expected). It feels light, handy. The 6 position stock clicks positively, the graphics are attractive and the finish is VERY similar to a Mag-Pul magazine. The lower feels really solid but as you can see, no ability to swap out the trigger gaurd.

I was not expecting the hammer to be made of polymer and if there is a weak point I expect it to be this. With rimfire will there be enough mass to do the deed? With centerfire? How will it stand up to hitting firing pins. The Hammer is marked ACCU-GROUP Made in USA.

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allaroundhunter
February 9, 2012, 05:54 PM
What upper are you planning to top it off with?

Dr.Rob
February 9, 2012, 05:57 PM
The magazine button is oversized and surrounded by a raised rail so you can feel it in the dark, it's also raised on the opposite side.

The stock has this marker's mark if anyone recognizes it, please chime in. The buffer tube is aluminum, the stock looks like the the same sort of plastic as my Colt 6920.

Buffer is a std (Not H marked) carbine buffer.

Dr.Rob
February 9, 2012, 06:03 PM
Pistol grip is attached with a hex screw head and lock washer, otherwise looks standard. (Plan on getting a Hogue Monogrip like my Colt).

There are some casting burrs here and there on the internals but not where they matter. The safety did feel pretty stiff the first few times I worked it on and off. Could be I was polishing a few burrs there.

Magazines from Colt, Mag-Pul and C-Products all fit well, with the Mag-Pul seeming to lock in the most solidly.

Dr.Rob
February 9, 2012, 06:21 PM
CMMG 22 LR mags fit just fine as well.

But when fitting Colt and CMMG I had some issues.

First off the pivot pin came out and the detent (plastic as well) went missing for a half an hour. That took some doing to put back in place but we'll call that one my fault.

The spacers in the rear half of the stock are right at the same width as my Colt's locking lug, and ditto for the CMMG upper. Thing is the Colt's lug is tapered more, so it fit easier. No when I say EASIER, understand that it took some gentle finagling to get either one to fit. I did not alter any part in any way. No sanding, no tricks. This MIGHT NOT be something you want to do at a range bench out doors. It's a TIGHT fit with either upper, but with the Colt upper, the rear pin will NOT push in witout a gentle tap from the right side and a little oil. After being on and off the CMMG upper a few times the pins were easier to push (finger pressure only), it's getting the upper SEATED on the Poly lower that took a little "English" to get right. The Colt upper slides into place easier, but as I said that rear pin doesn't want to go the last 1/8 without a 'tap' (I used a rubber toe stop, didn't take much.)

Side by side you can see the internal differences, Colt on right, NFA on the left. Plastic at the magwell looks thicker than the aluminum of the Colt (I can measure if anyone wants). The Colt has more material behind the hammer thats reamed out for the locking lug recess. The NFA design is open. Again you can see how the sides are built up to form 'tabs' that surround the rear locking lug.

With the Colt upper fitted theres no rattle at all.. it's a tighter fit than my 6920 lower.

Dr.Rob
February 9, 2012, 06:25 PM
Here is a comparison of the NFA lower with my CMMG 22 cal upper next to my Colt 6920.

There is a significant difference in weight, the NFA lower definitely saves you something there.

So far I am pleased with New Frontier's lower. My total price, including shipping and transfer fee/background check was just over $132.

Total to build my CMMG 22 rifle with 3 magazines, triangle handguards, UTG carry handle, and UTG 4x scope and New Frontier complete poly lower to date: $585

I had some gift credit on Amazon so I have a monogrip and a rubber US butt pad on the way for a total (to me) of $7.

Total build: $592


Up next: shooting tests with the .22 cal upper.

jpwilly
February 10, 2012, 01:10 AM
Thanks for putting this info out there. I'm getting ready to purchase one of these lowers to mess around with. Thanks agian.

Tim the student
February 10, 2012, 02:00 AM
Thanks for the review.

ifit
February 10, 2012, 02:40 AM
thanks Dr.Rob for the review and pics:cool: will be placing an order for one tomorrow:)

madcratebuilder
February 10, 2012, 06:54 AM
The stock has this marker's mark if anyone recognizes it, please chime in.

Tapco?

Good review, thanks.

taliv
February 10, 2012, 12:13 PM
nice review so far! looking forward to hearing how well the stuff goes together and what that trigger is like and how it holds up after a few thousand rounds.

Robert
February 10, 2012, 12:55 PM
Dr. Rob,
You should run this thing at the matches this summer and see what it will really do. Not trying to break it of course, but give it a good running.

Dr.Rob
February 10, 2012, 03:15 PM
I'm holding off my thoughts on the trigger until I've fired it for real. And Gus, I plan on using the lower at Pueblo West for at least some of the matches.

BoilerUP
February 14, 2012, 09:58 PM
Very interested in your thoughts once you shoot the thing a couple times...

Also curious which model CMMG upper you have.

Tim the student
February 14, 2012, 10:45 PM
Very interested in your thoughts once you shoot the thing a couple times...

Me too. Please go and put a couple thousand rounds through it this week. :neener:

kozak6
February 15, 2012, 03:57 AM
Accu-Group is Plum Crazy's fire control group. Hmm.

RhinoDefense
February 15, 2012, 04:40 AM
Accu-Group is Plum Crazy's fire control group. Hmm.
Yep. Expect the same results. Looks like a Plum Crazy lower with a marking variance.

Be sure to post how this holds up under heavy use. I'm curious.

Dr.Rob
February 15, 2012, 05:32 AM
It's a CMMG Evolution M4 upper 16 inch WASP coated, with front sight. 22LR no bolt hold open.

I might not get to shoot it until Friday. Will keep you all appraised.

Hacker15E
February 15, 2012, 08:39 AM
Looks like a Plum Crazy lower with a marking variance.

New Frontier Armory has been on this site and others while developing it -- there's no reason to believe that it's a PCF lower with new markings:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=628545

ns66
February 15, 2012, 02:52 PM
Ok it's the big day, I picked it up this morning in a no-frills UPS box wrapped in bubblewrap. No manual (not really expected). It feels light, handy. The 6 position stock clicks positively, the graphics are attractive and the finish is VERY similar to a Mag-Pul magazine. The lower feels really solid but as you can see, no ability to swap out the trigger gaurd.

I was not expecting the hammer to be made of polymer and if there is a weak point I expect it to be this. With rimfire will there be enough mass to do the deed? With centerfire? How will it stand up to hitting firing pins. The Hammer is marked ACCU-GROUP Made in USA.
plastic hammer?
i have bushmaster carbon upper and lower, 5lb without mag, the hammer and trigger steel

Dr.Rob
February 16, 2012, 03:01 AM
Ok gang made a run out to the Pawnee National Grasslands this afternoon. And while I didn't find a shooting spot til almost 3:30 and limited myself to 25 yards (getting this scope and irons on paper before taking my nephew out Friday) I ran about 200 rounds though the rifle set up with the .22LR CMMG upper.

First things first:

The safety still has a rough spot when I rotate it off, it doesn't look like there are casting burrs that cause this but right where I show it 'stopped' is a sticky point in its rotation. If you flick yours with authority you'll never notice but my ambient temp out on the plains was 34 and if I move the safety slowly you can feel resistance before it pops to FIRE. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning.

The Trigger:

I was worried while at home that the trigger would feel mushy compared to my Colt and was fully prepared to say so at first. But I figured I'd better shoot it for real. The trigger is stiff. Thats all I can say. I'm being subjective and I didn't shoot it side by side with the Colt this time, but its not the sort of trigger I'd want on a precision varmint gun. Again, for 100 bucks I wasn't expecting it to feel like the Colt. The re-set was positive and I did several rapid fire strings of 5 10 and 25 to try to make it not work. Didn't happen.

The Hammer:

To be honest this is a pretty old stockpile of 22 ammo. It all went BANG, so the hammer was doing its job. Side note on my CMMG upper: I fired 50 40gr Federal lead Round Nose (red box) bullets and the rest Federal 36 gr plated HP bulk pack. The plated stuff shot better. I also shot a string without my slip over flashhider and my groups improved significantly. I MIGHT have to take that thing back off and use the standard one.

The Day:

Long drive to find an easily accessable part of the grasslands open to shooting with a good backstop (you can see how flat it is out there) and not a thing to stop the wind.

Dr.Rob
February 16, 2012, 03:09 AM
The Magazine Fit and Function:

All 3 of my magazines worked flawlessly, even the one that I over sanded and has a little back and forth slop. I was concerned the New Frontier lower would malfunction with that magazine and it didn't. My Colt might have malfuntioned with that mag, so +1 to NF in that category over Colt using the 22 upper. Note for CMMG info: in the Evolution model the magazine follower acts as a bolt hold open, locks on the last shot but when you pull the mag the bolt wll shoot forward. (BHO models allow the bolt release and forward assist actually function, in mine they don't.)

The Triggerguard:

AS you can see its molded into the lower, but that also means there's no 'grip gap' that some people buy spacers or use RTV to plug. Also the scallops in the sides actually made using it a breeze with my fingerless gloves.

Dr.Rob
February 16, 2012, 03:21 AM
After the shoot:

The internals looked very clean. There was some powder dust in the mag well, some particulates in the action but the hammer just had a tiny smudge that I thought was a 'peening' spot.. nope it wiped right off. Buffer had marks from impacting the 22 bolt carrier but that was expected.

I can see no signs of wear or worry when opening it up.

Cleaning:

Those sharp edges on the plastic upper catch EVERY BIT of fuzz you can imagine: from q-tips, shop towels etc. The MFG gave no recommendation for what solvents or oils to use or avoid so:

I used a bit of ED's Red on the upper and lubed with CLP. I have the lower a wipe down with CLP and put it away for Friday.

I think aluminum is easier to clean.

The range I am going to Friday will NOT allow me to swap uppers on the bench or shoot rapid fire. So I will probably just leave the .22 upper on it for now

juk
February 16, 2012, 03:49 AM
I have always been curious about those polymer lowers. The only one I ever got to put my hands on was a Sabre Lightweight. It was a light rifle, but the lower had a A2 style stock molded in with the rest of the lower. That was a big turn-off for me. One of these days, if these polymer lowers work out, I wouldn't mind doing a "light as possible" build.

I was hoping my KISS carbine wouldn't be too heavy. It's just a standard M4gery. I was real happy with it until I found out it is 8 pounds. lol. It might go on a diet.

ns66
February 17, 2012, 12:22 PM
The Day:

Long drive to find an easily accessable part of the grasslands open to shooting with a good backstop (you can see how flat it is out there) and not a thing to stop the wind.
i am always curious if you can find a grassland that looks safe to shoot, can you shoot there? is there a law about this? finding a good place to shoot especially longer range has been my biggest problem

CHALK22
February 17, 2012, 12:37 PM
I will say it looks a lot like my Plum Crazy lower. And that stock was made by Tapco for PCF. I have never has any problems with the polymer hammer, in fact I also use the JP Springs lightened spring kit in it, and still no FTFs. I have never had any problems overall, and the fit and finish seems good to me. I will say a friend of mine did have the front takedown pin (polymer)on his PCF lower break, but he was also shooting in VERY cold Montana temps. He replaced with aluminum pins, and everything is fine. I got lucky, I was one of the first orders with PCF, and I got mine for $100 shipped and papered. And mine is actually marked "Plum Crazy Firearms" before they went with the more PC "PCF" markings.

Mizar
February 17, 2012, 12:45 PM
Plastic firing control groups are nothing new under the sun - if engineered right there should be no problems. Steyr AUG has an all plastic firing control group (except for the springs of course) and it works without any problems.

Boris

Well, except for the not-so-bright inner 3 round burst switch... :rolleyes:

Hacker15E
February 17, 2012, 09:56 PM
Interesting...reports on some other forums say that the LW-15 lowers actually are the same mold as PCF, but with a different polymer blend (so sayeth JoeBob Outfitters).

Dr.Rob
March 17, 2012, 01:39 AM
Taking it out Sunday for a tactical match mated to my Colt 6920 Upper. Pics and notes to follow.

Buck Kramer
March 17, 2012, 04:01 PM
^^^Nice I've been checking in on this thread for a while now:)

Dr.Rob
March 19, 2012, 12:26 PM
OK as promised I shot an entire rifle match in challenging conditions Sunday (heavy winds, dust storm conditions at times, running and gunning, through barricades etc.). There were a total of 3 stages and I went through about 150 rounds of Prvi M193 mil-spec 5.56mm 55gr ammo. (I shoot a lot of this stuff through my Colt 6920). I had no failures of any kind but there were some minor things I noted. My ONLY mods to the lower were a Hogue monogrip and a rubber bumper pad on the stock.

(Sorry there are no actual match pics I was running as an SO/RO as well.)

1. I mated the lower to my Colt upper and have to say I noticed a few issues right away. As I said before the fit is VERY tight, I'm not sure if this will 'loosen up' over time, but even charging the rifle seems WAY stiffer than it ought to be.

2. My DPMS leather sling won't fit through the rear sling mount on the NF Lower. I know most of you probably don't use a heavy leather sling on your rifles, but I do.

Dr.Rob
March 19, 2012, 12:41 PM
After the match you can see just how dirty/dusty conditions were that fine stuff got everywhere. In the mag well, in the upper, in my hand guards, etc.

The rifle ran just fine.

3. Have to say though the rifle was hard to charge to start, it just stayed that way. You can see here that if you DON'T let the bolt fly forward from fully back it catches with the bolt open, the handle not fully down and it takes multiple bumps 2-3 on the forward assist.

4. The trigger SUCKS. Have to say it, sorry but there it is. I know it's a 100 dollar lower but the difference between my Colt lower and this is night and day. It goes bang, but it feels like I'm pressing 2x or more as hard as I need to to make it go bang. You can't make an accurate rifle with a crappy trigger. I was getting hits but I was really working for them at long range. Our close 'flash' target (where you must pop a small kill circle on a heavy steel ipsc target) was giving me fits.

Dr.Rob
March 19, 2012, 01:15 PM
5. Even after cleaning the assembled rifle, when compared to my Colt feels stiff as a board. Heavy action, heavy trigger , mushy heavy safety.
I took my Colt lower along (fits perfectly in my Midway range bag) but I didn't need it.

6. These features didn't bother me as much mated to my CMMG 22 cal upper. First off the action/charging handle works smoother--perhaps the tolerances on my Colt are simply tighter.

Overall subjective impressions to date:

I could tell a significant difference in the operation of this set up over my Colt. That feel MAY have affected my shooting. (I suspect it played a part.)

Overall objective impressions to date:

This is NOT a precision match grade high end lower. Yes, it works as advertised. It's tough and didn't let me down. It ran JUST fine even when really dirty with talcum powdery sand and dust and grit. But remind yourself this is a hundred dollar option when building an inexpensive AR. It might be a great way to build a kit gun on a budget or for a dedicated 22 upper. However its STIFF. It binds when not fully slingshotted. It may fit your mil-spec uppers too tightly. Newbie shooters might struggle with the controls (charging handle, safety) as compared to a stock rifle. Some parts may not fit it (even simple ones like a sling).

Optimism:

I'd bet NF's complete rifles mate together better than a kit bash gun and some of these quirks may 'wear it' and loosen up over time. It's pretty unfair to compare a plastic 100 dollar lower to a high end Colt, but it made the lower's shortcomings more evident. I would recommend buying one of these and trying it out for yourself, or you and your friends to pitch in for one and swap it around on various uppers.

I can see this being a good basis for a lightweight shorty carbine--11 inch with a pinned/welded long flashhider or skinny profile barrel or even a 9mm upper. I don't see this as a 'great' lower for a long range rifle or dedicated varminter with the factory trigger.

I am going to keep it.. I MAY swap out the trigger at some point but I have already gotten $100 worth of satisfaction out of it. I plan on buying another upper at some point--if the price is right I might even buy one from New Frontier.

wrangler708
March 21, 2012, 11:14 PM
Thanks!

I enjoyed reading your learned opinions on this lower.

tundraotto
March 21, 2012, 11:34 PM
say no to AR rifles with plastic lowers....nothing to do with safety or gas pressures....rifles endure torque and plastic does not hold up well in that environment....great in pistols - not so much in AR lowers....JMHO

RockyMtnTactical
March 21, 2012, 11:34 PM
I just got a chance to check one out. Here is my review on my blog.

http://www.ar15pro.net/2012/03/new-frontier-armory-lw-15-polymer-ar15.html

Dr.Rob
March 22, 2012, 12:42 AM
say no to AR rifles with plastic lowers....nothing to do with safety or gas pressures....rifles endure torque and plastic does not hold up well in that environment....great in pistols - not so much in AR lowers....JMHO

I was of this opinion until I bought this lower. Only time will really tell and that means thousands of rounds and multiple cleanings but I was still impressed. It's not a 'target' trigger but it appears to be a robust and ready piece of kit.

This to date is my ONLY 'plastic' gun.

REBELLIOUS
March 22, 2012, 03:07 AM
Thanks for the review. Looking at picking one of these up, just because... :)

R.W.Dale
March 22, 2012, 03:19 AM
say no to AR rifles with plastic lowers....nothing to do with safety or gas pressures....rifles endure torque and plastic does not hold up well in that environment....great in pistols - not so much in AR lowers....JMHO

Just like a glock lower the biggest stresses the lower sees on an ar is the tension on the hammer spring pin. You could probably make a lower from wood and it'd work. If you could devise a way to keep a buffer and return spring behind the bolt and a way to hit the firing pin you could shoot an ar with no lower at all.


This said I prefer cav arms style lowers with intigrated stocks. Because if your lower fails it'll do so where the buffer tube attaches ill wager

posted via mobile device.

mookiie
April 26, 2012, 09:14 PM
Dr Rob +1 for a really thorough review. If I am looking to put together a nice 22 ar option this seems like a decent way to go. Thanks again.

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