Affordable AR Upper


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Mamertine
February 29, 2012, 09:09 PM
I'm in the market for an affordable AR upper. DPMS has some in the sub $500 range that I am looking at. What else is out there in that price range?

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Liberty1776
February 29, 2012, 09:20 PM
Well, myself, I'm sort of interested in a Model 1 target upper for my Plum Crazy spare lower... E R Shaw makes good barrels and the upper is priced at $375

http://www.model1sales.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=152

KansasPaul
February 29, 2012, 09:23 PM
Check Karri's guns - upper for under $400. Karri's also has a barrel kit and upper that can be had for $300 (you put it together). You might want to check Palmetto State Armory, the equipment exchange on ar15.com and the rifles for sale on this site. Be patient - you can find a great deal on an upper if you look around.

Paul

kwelz
February 29, 2012, 10:33 PM
http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=UPR-BCM

BCG will put you just over 500 but the quality is far better than the DPMS or M1S that was listed above.

crracer_712
February 29, 2012, 10:34 PM
Midway has a DMPS A3 flat top on sale for 372 at the moment.

gshipps
February 29, 2012, 10:50 PM
I just got a CMMG. Haven't shot it a whole bunch yet but so far... Very nice.

wacki
February 29, 2012, 10:56 PM
According to the folks at AR15.com, Lewis Machine and Tool is the best. They are mil-contact and super expensive.


LMT also makes (on contact) M&A parts uppers. I picked up a mid-length for $300. Given the price & who makes them, I honestly don't know why those uppers aren't more popular. Maybe it's their crappy website.



.

Odinforever2000
March 1, 2012, 12:44 AM
What about DSarms uppers. They have some complete uppers minus BCG,and charging handle for under 300$http://www.dsarms.com/Lowers%20&%20Uppers/products/59/

Strongbad
March 1, 2012, 01:29 AM
Palmetto has some that are sub-500. At any given time there are a few DPMS for < $500 available on MidwayUSA.

jennyfell55
March 1, 2012, 02:08 AM
Surplus ammo and arms has sub $500 uppers. I just got a 16" HBAR upper complete with bcg and charging handle for $420 plus tax and shipping. Runs great so far :D

Johnsonator
March 1, 2012, 08:37 AM
JSE Surplus is another good place to pickup a quality upper at a great price.

Sergeant Sabre
March 2, 2012, 07:56 PM
There are FAR better uppers available in that price range. Palmetto is one. BCM is just above it, but for a few dollars more for a BCM, you will get a huge improvement in quality over DPMS

jem375
March 2, 2012, 08:07 PM
Nothing wrong with DPMS, if that is what you want, buy it...

Brockak47
March 2, 2012, 08:13 PM
palmetto state armory, slow shipping sometimes, but you won't be dissapointed

atblis
March 2, 2012, 08:16 PM
According to the folks at AR15.com, Lewis Machine and Tool is the best. They are mil-contact and super expensive.
Ah, you're behind a little bit. The fanbois have moved on to Noveske and BCM.

M1Sales and Blackthorne are the only two makers I tend to avoid. In all fairness, I probably would buy a used M1S if it were cheap.

PSA for the win.

DJW
March 2, 2012, 08:30 PM
Del-Ton Inc. will sell you an upper from $400. They will sell you a "kit" with everything except a stripped lower for just under $500. They are a decent company to deal with as well.
Best, Dave

tundraotto
March 2, 2012, 09:07 PM
+1 for PSA

Casefull
March 2, 2012, 09:12 PM
Make sure you are apples to apples when comparing uppers as some include bolts and some do not which explains the wide variance in prices. I recently ordered a model 1 in the russkie caliber.

Skyshot
March 3, 2012, 09:46 AM
they're all good, we've got two of the DPMS oracles and the run just as good as our spikes or stags do, for $379. at midway they are a bargin.

Lee D
March 3, 2012, 11:10 AM
fwiw, i had much better luck with DPMS stuff than i did w/ Bushmaster... if it was me id just buy a used Mini14 and get to shooting.

kimbershot
March 3, 2012, 11:47 AM
hey, check out these guys

http://www.dsarms.com/

:evil:

Mamertine
March 4, 2012, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the input everyone.
I'm pretty sure I'll be going with this,
http://www.surplusammo.com/dpms-ar-15-complete-a2-upper-receiver-assembly-16-1-9-barrel-5-56/

Sergeant Sabre
March 4, 2012, 10:52 PM
Holy crap, do some more reading before you go with that thing for $439, when for the same price you can have something with that actually has an HPT/MPI bolt, HPT/MPI barrel, a 5.56mm chamber that is actually in-spec, and a properly-sized 0.63" gas port so it isn't terribly over-gassed, and that's just to start. Plus, are you sure you want an A2 upper?

Girodin
March 5, 2012, 02:34 AM
For that price I would get a PSA. They seem to be to be the best bang for the buck AR right now.

Tex4426
March 5, 2012, 03:08 AM
If ur just wanting something cheap to shoot with less than a 3" moa then it really doesn't matter wat u get...anything mil spec will shoot under 3" moa...if u want under1" prolly gonna have to go match gradr

Sergeant Sabre
March 5, 2012, 04:11 AM
Mamertime,

I felt I should add to my post above. First, let me give you the bottom line up-front: There is no reason to buy that DPMS upper for that price, which has a barrel and bolt of unknown steel type, nobody knows if the bolt is shot-peened, the bolt is not HPT or MPI tested, the gas key is not staked properly, the bolt carrier doesn't have a shrouded firing pin, and the chamber very well may not be truly 5.56mm, when you can get an upper from Palmetto State Armory that has a carpenter 158 steel, shot-peened, HPT/MPI bolt, 4150 steel barrel, perfectly-staked gas key, M-16 bolt carrier, M4 feed-ramps, and a properly-cut 5.56mm chamber.

Start reading at the below links to see why people recommend the rifle brands they do. It's not just price-snobbery. There are actual specs that come with the price, like a bolt made of the correct type of steel, properly shot-peened and tested, so you can be sure it is as durable as possible.

It's up to you to decide if you need any of these things or not, but my advice to you is don't buy that DPMS, with none of the "correct" specs, when something else is available for the same price (or slightly more) that is known to be made of the proper materials and with the correct construction and testing methods.

Explanation of the proper specs and why they are important. Note the chart linked in the yellow field at the top specifies that DPMS did not respond to requests to provide the information. That's a clue:
https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pwswheghNQsEuEhjFwPrgTA&single=true&gid=5&output=html

Here is a 51 page thread discussing different brands and how they fit into the specs above:
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=6642

If you read all of that, and still want a DPMS, well, it's your money.

Redlg155
March 5, 2012, 04:55 AM
I've used DPMS products before and have been very happy. Their 18" barrels are some of the most accurate I have seen. I used one on my last build. If I'm not mistaken, DPMS builds AR rifles for Remington.

Shop around for the best prices as you can definitely get uppers cheaper. I would also reconsider the A2 and look at a flat top upper.

Tex4426
March 5, 2012, 05:16 AM
If its a deal your looking for check out gun broker...u don't have to ship an upper to an offline...I've found many deal on uppers on there but opted to order a custom rock river built upper..cost me about 750 shipped + a 60 day lead time..that upper includes match stainlees HBAR..quad rails bcm gunfighter latch, chrome bolt...in my opinion for what I wanted it was priced right

fatcat4620
March 5, 2012, 07:44 AM
Go to the PSA website right now

Mamertine
March 5, 2012, 10:06 AM
I appreciate the input.

I want an attached carry handle. DSA and PSA don't seem to sell them. In fact many of the manufacturers don't seem to sell uppers with a carry handle.

regarding The Chart, I'm not too worried that DPMS declined to submit data to a forum where they get a lot of abuse. I'm aware that DPMS isn't a high end manufacturer.

The recent comments have had me look around a bit more, specifically at Olympic Arms, so I do welcome all input.

Tex4426
March 5, 2012, 10:21 AM
No offense mamertime but u sound like another Guy building something to mimik what the military uses( not always a bad thing) but do urdelf a favor at least get one with a removable handle...I have one with a carry handle...even with a 3/4 inch cheek riser its hard to see down the sights ...will have an a4 as soon as I have time to switch out the recievers...u can always raise the sights but u can't lower an a2

jem375
March 5, 2012, 10:29 AM
Mamertime,

I felt I should add to my post above. First, let me give you the bottom line up-front: There is no reason to buy that DPMS upper for that price, which has a barrel and bolt of unknown steel type, nobody knows if the bolt is shot-peened, the bolt is not HPT or MPI tested, the gas key is not staked properly, the bolt carrier doesn't have a shrouded firing pin, and the chamber very well may not be truly 5.56mm, when you can get an upper from Palmetto State Armory that has a carpenter 158 steel, shot-peened, HPT/MPI bolt, 4150 steel barrel, perfectly-staked gas key, M-16 bolt carrier, M4 feed-ramps, and a properly-cut 5.56mm chamber.

Start reading at the below links to see why people recommend the rifle brands they do. It's not just price-snobbery. There are actual specs that come with the price, like a bolt made of the correct type of steel, properly shot-peened and tested, so you can be sure it is as durable as possible.

It's up to you to decide if you need any of these things or not, but my advice to you is don't buy that DPMS, with none of the "correct" specs, when something else is available for the same price (or slightly more) that is known to be made of the proper materials and with the correct construction and testing methods.

Explanation of the proper specs and why they are important. Note the chart linked in the yellow field at the top specifies that DPMS did not respond to requests to provide the information. That's a clue:
https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pwswheghNQsEuEhjFwPrgTA&single=true&gid=5&output=html

Here is a 51 page thread discussing different brands and how they fit into the specs above:
http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=6642

If you read all of that, and still want a DPMS, well, it's your money.
Well, at least you got one thing right, it is his money.....

Mamertine
March 5, 2012, 10:50 AM
Tex4426 That's an interesting point that I may have overlooked. I'm going to have to make sure that is where I want the sights. I like open sights and my first experience with an AR was with a carry handle, but at that point I hadn't learned the advantage of getting a good cheek weld.

briang2ad
March 5, 2012, 11:15 AM
PSA is worth a look.

Why spend $500 on a piece of junk? You can save a bit more, and get a BCM upper in the ballpark of $600. It will be made right - period. You'll save money to spend a bit more for a real upper.

StrutStopper
March 5, 2012, 03:30 PM
Tex, you can remove the handle... with a hack saw. Getting a removable one or just an M4 upper may be a better option after all. This may be worth checking out

http://vtsupply.com/lmt-basic-16-upper-receiver-assembly-1-7-5-56-223-flash-hider.html

Sergeant Sabre
March 5, 2012, 04:33 PM
The recent comments have had me look around a bit more, specifically at Olympic Arms, so I do welcome all input.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire. If that's the other option you're going to look at, just get the DPMS.

gotboostvr
March 5, 2012, 05:20 PM
The price difference between a DPMS and a standard BCM is 20 dollars. either upper still needs a Bolt carrier group and a charging handle.

DPMS uses lesser materials in their builds, and skips some desirable features.
BCM is considered top of the line and are very consistent.
For a 20 dollar difference I think this is a no brainer.

For your BCG, again BCM produces one of the best ones on the market, while DPMS makes one with faulty gas key staking which is such a easy to do task it makes you wonder what else they glassed over. again the price difference is only about 20 dollars.

Charging handle? grab a cheap used one, or a slick ambi/over sized one if you feel like paying just a little bit more.

GandRtacitcal.com has some good deals on BCM parts and the Grant seems like one of the most stand up guys in the firearms business right now.

Buy once, cry once. Just because they look the same dosen't mean they are the same. If you don't feel like going with BCM, Palmetto State Armory also puts out some fantastic looking gear at slightly lower prices.

35 Whelen
March 5, 2012, 06:51 PM
Del-Ton Inc. will sell you an upper from $400. They will sell you a "kit" with everything except a stripped lower for just under $500. They are a decent company to deal with as well.
Best, Dave
+1. I put a Del-Ton kit on a PSA lower and have been pleased. I shot it again Saturday in a High Power match and shot an Expert score (715). Nothing to write home about, but I'm new to AR's as I've never been a fan of them. that's my third match and the only problems I had were in the first match when occassionally the bolt wouldn't completely close on a chambered round. A couple of drops of oil, and that's never happened again in over 250 rounds of competition and load development.
So, given the fact that I'm not all that fond of them and not that familiar with shooting them, I think they're OK. Really, I think they're all fairly similar in quality with the possible exception of the barrel.
I'm curious, what makes, for example, a BCM better than the others? If they're all mil-spec, shouldn't they function the same? I've noticed with AR fans, people seem to get all wrapped up in a name, which means lots of folks are likely paying alot more $$$$ for the same quality.

35W

fatcat4620
March 6, 2012, 08:06 AM
+1.
I'm curious, what makes, for example, a BCM better than the others? If they're all mil-spec, shouldn't they function the same? I've noticed with AR fans, people seem to get all wrapped up in a name, which means lots of folks are likely paying alot more $$$$ for the same quality.

35W
35 Whelen,
milspec is a bare minimum requirement and upper level companies go above and beyond those specs. An example would be to go backpacking with in milspec boots, sleep on amilspec tent, and carry a milspec pack.

briang2ad
March 6, 2012, 08:44 AM
You can go "cheap" with a hunting rifle. I'm SURE you can buy a Savage 110 from a pawn shop and be just as successful on your hunting trip as a guy who buys a SAKO. It can be done.

It is a completely different thing in buying an AR - totally different. If you don't know the terms "shot peened bolt, or "staked carrier" and "TDP" don't buy an AR till you do. It just isn't worth trowing away hundreds of dollars. Read.

jimbombo
March 6, 2012, 10:10 AM
I just picked up my second psa upper, was so pleased with the first one! I just ordered the 16" mid length cmv classic with a bcg with shipping for little over 400. I am no ar expert but the first upper I got from them looked awesome and worked flawlessly! I am sure the dpms Is just fine. But for the same money psa is advertising CMV steel, chrome lined bore and chamber, MPI, staked bolt! And more importantly everyone here (most everyone) agrees psa is a great value!

briang2ad
March 6, 2012, 11:12 AM
Milspec is not a desireable thing or 'nice to have' - there is a reason for it in a AR. They are things that make sure the AR does what it is designed to do - and not just for full auto firing.

If you must "save" go PSA. Save a bit more, and by BCM.

MPI, HPT, "properly staked", 4150, CMV,and TDP are things to know about an AR, before spending several hundred dollars.

35 Whelen
March 6, 2012, 06:00 PM
35 Whelen,
milspec is a bare minimum requirement and upper level companies go above and beyond those specs. An example would be to go backpacking with in milspec boots, sleep on amilspec tent, and carry a milspec pack.
So "bare minimum" is always bad?

When I read these type threads I always see brands names thrown around over and over. It seems the general consensus is if it isn't expensive, it won't work. This goes against my limited experience with my home-built, $500 rifle which easily groups 1 1/2" and less @ 100 yds. and has gone "bang" every time for somewhere around 500 shots fired.

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/AR%20and%20Mini%20Groups/P1010002.jpg

Seems to me how it does when the trigger is pulled and how well it groups is far more important than what name is stamped on it.

And BTW, I strongly suggest a flat top even if you plan to use a carry handle and sights. I've found that being able to switch back and forth between a scope and carry handle without losing zero to be very convenient.

35W

Sergeant Sabre
March 6, 2012, 09:38 PM
So "bare minimum" is always bad?

When I read these type threads I always see brands names thrown around over and over. It seems the general consensus is if it isn't expensive, it won't work. This goes against my limited experience with my home-built, $500 rifle which easily groups 1 1/2" and less @ 100 yds. and has gone "bang" every time for somewhere around 500 shots fired.

Seems to me how it does when the trigger is pulled and how well it groups is far more important than what name is stamped on it.

And BTW, I strongly suggest a flat top even if you plan to use a carry handle and sights. I've found that being able to switch back and forth between a scope and carry handle without losing zero to be very convenient.

35W

This is what usually follows posts about what materials and construction methods will result in the bare minimum for a reliable, durable AR. First off, group size is nothing to judge reliability and durability by. Second, 500 rounds is not even close to a lot. Not even slightly.

Consider this: The US Department of Defense says most bolts on an M4 Carbine will develop cracks by several thousand rounds, and all of them will crack by 6,000 (I think that's the number. I can dig up the brief if you want), with bolt failure occurring at an unpredictable time after that. That's for a carpenter 158, shot-peened, HPT, MPI bolt. The bolt in your Bushmaster, DPMS, or Olympic is none of those. How long will it last? The bolt is a very high-stress, high-impact part on an AR. It's no place to cut corners.

The fact is there are AR makers out there cutting a lot of corners on their rifles counting on uninformed consumers buying them for way too much money because they think they are "just as good" as a properly-constructed AR. These makers count on those consumers putting pathetically low round-counts through those rifles in a few range sessions per year. Read back and see how many "My DPMS has been fine through 200 rounds!" posts, or others in that vein, there already are in this thread through less than two pages.

I guess if all one plans on doing is shooting a few hundred rounds a year, if that, in a couple of range sessions, a DPMS may be enough for you. But if you're set on that price range why would you buy DPMS when, for the same price, you can get a PSA that at least has all the right materials in the right places, the correct gas key staking, and everything else considered critical under the TDP? What could possibly be the down-side, compared to a DPMS or Olympic?

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