Stag or S&W AR?


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Archangel14
August 4, 2012, 02:10 PM
Okay then. Which AR shall I obtain? I live in a desert and plan the obtain an AR for situations where some "difficulty" may arise. Thanks.

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Surf
August 4, 2012, 02:42 PM
What type of "difficulty"? What is your budget?

Ar180shooter
August 4, 2012, 02:48 PM
Between Stag and S&W, I'd base my selection on pricing and availability. Both are relatively well made AR's, and in their base configuration, neither offers any significant advantage over the other.

My $.02

Archangel14
August 4, 2012, 03:10 PM
Thank you AR180shooter. That was my thought. I can actually get the basic S&W for about $150-$175 less than the Stag. But is seems that the Stag has a few more NECESSARY parts, like a receiver dust cover. Do I need such things, or will the S&W fit my purposes?

To Surf: by "difficult" situations, I mean a situation whereby I need to defend my family. I do not want to start talking about "doomsday" scenarios here, as that is not the purpose of this forum, and I've caught some heat for posting about such scenarios in the past. The problem I find is that on other sites where such topics are discussed, I can't seem to find simple, straight forward answers to my simple questions. The discussion always seems to degenerate into something about "zombies" or the 2nd Amendment. I won't be hunting with the AR I plan to obtain. Nor will it be my primary home defense firearm. I will go to it only if things get very silly in my area, a la riots, lack of police assistance, Katrina scenarios. Thanks for your input.

Quentin
August 4, 2012, 03:33 PM
I would aim higher myself but between the two you listed I'd go with the S&W Sport and save the $175. The Stag isn't that much better plus it is in the PSA price range.

meanmrmustard
August 4, 2012, 04:07 PM
Which model of each? The least expensive?

What two models are you asking about?

Warp
August 4, 2012, 04:11 PM
What intended use(s)?

meanmrmustard
August 4, 2012, 04:24 PM
Thank you AR180shooter. That was my thought. I can actually get the basic S&W for about $150-$175 less than the Stag. But is seems that the Stag has a few more NECESSARY parts, like a receiver dust cover. Do I need such things, or will the S&W fit my purposes?

To Surf: by "difficult" situations, I mean a situation whereby I need to defend my family. I do not want to start talking about "doomsday" scenarios here, as that is not the purpose of this forum, and I've caught some heat for posting about such scenarios in the past. The problem I find is that on other sites where such topics are discussed, I can't seem to find simple, straight forward answers to my simple questions. The discussion always seems to degenerate into something about "zombies" or the 2nd Amendment. I won't be hunting with the AR I plan to obtain. Nor will it be my primary home defense firearm. I will go to it only if things get very silly in my area, a la riots, lack of police assistance, Katrina scenarios. Thanks for your input.
If you are going to run it in the mud, take a deuce in it, shoot it, and repeat, then you may want another rifle.

The S&W Sport was tested in Arizona, over a three day course, and purposely abused and mistreated to offer up a failure for the Smith reps (mostly to show necessity for the DC and FA). No go: no failures, period. Purposely dumping sand into the receiver, shooting prone with dust cycling with the bolt couldn't stop the Sport. The FA and DC are contingencies, things that could remedie a problem should it arise. I DO NOT find them necessary, and would trust my life and those of my loved ones to a S&W product, mainly the Sport, should it arise. They cut costs, so what? They trimmed unused fat, and I agree with that. If you need those things for any reason, then don't buy a Sport, but Smith has MANY other AR models that DO have DC and FA. I'd take them to war.

Warp
August 5, 2012, 12:23 AM
They cut costs, so what? They trimmed unused fat, and I agree with that. If you need those things for any reason, then don't buy a Sport, but Smith has MANY other AR models that DO have DC and FA. I'd take them to war.

Compared to a top tier AR, Smith cuts more corners (err, cuts more costs) than simply doing away with the dust cover and forward assist. I mean, let's be honest here...those two missing things are absolutely not the only, or really even the biggest, difference vs a Colt/DD/BCM/Noveske/etc

baylorattorney
August 5, 2012, 12:44 AM
I bought a M&P about 4 months ago...fired 3000 rounds so far with no failures in some pretty sandy and muddy conditions killed a few ferel hogs in the process and makes a nice enough group at a 100 yards. 169423. Made a few mods to it and still under 1000 bucks. I. Happy. I have a BM and a Colt, they feel different but they are all effective the same.

coalman
August 5, 2012, 02:16 AM
Stag.

jmr40
August 5, 2012, 07:06 AM
They are close, but I'd give a slight nod to the Stag. Both are in the same price and quality range. It depends on which feaures are more important to you and which you can get the best price on locally.

meanmrmustard
August 5, 2012, 09:35 AM
Compared to a top tier AR, Smith cuts more corners (err, cuts more costs) than simply doing away with the dust cover and forward assist. I mean, let's be honest here...those two missing things are absolutely not the only, or really even the biggest, difference vs a Colt/DD/BCM/Noveske/etc
Well, true. First on that list being their nitro carburizing over chrome lining the bore. I prefer it, but that's me. You and I have had that discussion, so we'll just note it.

If you NEED MPT, then no, the Sport isn't the rifle. Sadly, never worried about it. But, if I did, other Smith rifles at MPT'd, so there's another base covered for mil spec folks.

Other than that, I don't know off the top off my head what else differs. Barrel steel, but once again, never cared really. I don't see it failing, and I'd dare say I would run it right along side the supposed "top tier" (I.e.: more expensive for really no reason) rifles. I would not feel undergunned. If I did, that's what the M&P 15T is for. Still uses the same barrel steel as the Sport, but once again, I don't see it as inferior to the point of buying another AR.

Warp, you know me! Where an AR could fail, I'd grab my nearest AK. But so far, the Sport runs like a rifle several hundred more dollars in price. You can have them top tiers, I'd like to own one of the LaRues one day, but I'm not spending $1600 on one rifle when I could buy two that are just as good with money left over. I'm no mall ninja!

Edit: Not everyone who has expensive guns are mall ninjas, so no offense.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
August 5, 2012, 01:56 PM
Warp, the Sport isnt ment to be a top tier AR, it is ment to be a budget reliable platform. I have the standard model M&P 15. It has all of the features of my DD V4 except the twist is different. I will be honest for someone to shoot and have fun with, the S&W is a better choice, in cost a few hundred less than the DD. If I were going to war with one, I would go with LMT or LaRue. The fact is that the sport model is more than most people ever need.

To the OP, the Stag and S&W are both very fine rifles. Either one will most lokely do what you need. If you want a dust cover and forward assist then look at the Stag and the other S&W models.

flyskater
August 5, 2012, 04:12 PM
I find that Stag is better quality than S&W M&P by a hair.
Also, Stag has a lifetime warranty. M&P have a 1 year warranty.

meanmrmustard
August 5, 2012, 04:16 PM
S& W products have a one year warranty, but I've sent in products of theirs for non warranty work being a second owner to the firearm. No cost, no shipping, no questions asked. Is Stag gonna do that? That's not a bane on their product, it's a testament to Smiths customer service, which I've found is second to none.

TonyAngel
August 6, 2012, 02:44 AM
How much of a price difference is there between the Stag and the Sport? If the Sport will do it for you, go with that. Personally, I could probably do without the forward assist, but I really like having the dust cover.

The little test that Smith did with the Sport by dumping sand into the action has been mentioned MANY times, as though the Smith is the only rifle that will do that. Whether any rifle will run with sand in the action, isn't the question. The question is why would you want to. I think that a little doo hicky that keeps wear causing debris out of the action is a good thing.

If you aren't going to be dragging your rifle through the mud and sand and you are looking for a high bang for the buck AR, the Smith Sport may be for you.

If you decide that the Smith isn't for you, and the Stag is anywhere in the neighborhood of around $850 or so, I'd be looking at either a Bravo Company or Spike's Tactical.

tonytor58
August 6, 2012, 08:37 AM
I have a stag model 1 and I like it a lot! Great for a range toy and self defense if needed. I do think u would ne happy with either 1 but Im glad I went with the stag for $100 more.

HoosierQ
August 6, 2012, 10:44 AM
I have about 500 rounds through my Stag Model 4 (20" bbl model with the fixed stock) and not one single malfunction of any kind at any point...not the first, second, third, or 500th round. Having closely inspected all the internal parts, all the guts are in fine shape too. Stag makes a very good AR.

They also sell some nice spare parts kits and I got a spare bolt, a bunch of spare extractors, firing pins, cotter pins, springs of all sorts etc. I'll probably spring (no pun intended) for a second bolt carrier as well.

They do stake their gas key. Whether or not it is "properly" staked I suppose remains to be seen. After 500 rounds it's tight as a drum.

My upper and lower fit perfectly, no wiggle or wobble. Nor is there any wiggle or wobble in my forend.

Can't speak frankly to any other brand. I am very happy with my Stag. Two buddies has Stags and feel the same way...one of them uses his for 3-gun.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
August 6, 2012, 12:28 PM
The earlier S&W's were actually made by Stag. S&W then bought new machines and started doing the work in house. As far as S&W's customer service, I cannot say anything bad about them. The have always gone above and beyond. Stag makes great rifles and should be held on par with the majority on the market.

mastiffhound
August 7, 2012, 01:36 AM
I would pick the S&W. A few years ago Stag seemed to be a up and comer, but people seem to have soured on them. I have no idea why. My guess is the are less than mil-spec by too much. I would go with Palmetto State Armory as mentioned. They are the best bang for your buck as far as quality, fit, and finish. They will have a longer wait time though, success isn't all good for us consumers. After doing my homework they had the best price for what I wanted. I know that you can get a Colt for $1100 or $1000 or $1200 or any other number. I can't remember my last price lookup but I think it was less than $775 for a full mil-spec PSA (upper and lower separately) or less than $800. Get what you want but remember to have fun. With what you save you could get some ammo to practice with your new toy!

meanmrmustard
August 7, 2012, 05:23 AM
How much of a price difference is there between the Stag and the Sport? If the Sport will do it for you, go with that. Personally, I could probably do without the forward assist, but I really like having the dust cover.

The little test that Smith did with the Sport by dumping sand into the action has been mentioned MANY times, as though the Smith is the only rifle that will do that. Whether any rifle will run with sand in the action, isn't the question. The question is why would you want to. I think that a little doo hicky that keeps wear causing debris out of the action is a good thing.

If you aren't going to be dragging your rifle through the mud and sand and you are looking for a high bang for the buck AR, the Smith Sport may be for you.

If you decide that the Smith isn't for you, and the Stag is anywhere in the neighborhood of around $850 or so, I'd be looking at either a Bravo Company or Spike's Tactical.
It's a rifle that did it without forward assist or a dust cover. No one purposely puts crap in the action unless they want to hurt the gun, or in the case of the "little" test, to see if it would fail by not having an uneccesary flap on the side of the receiver. It didn't, go figure. After your first shot, the thing is open anyway, and the dust cover is not able to keep 100% of dust/sand out if it really wanted in there. So, other than being a sorta/kinda preventative, it's useless to ME. Never understood why they had one on the Praire Panther, but oh we'll.

I haven't heard anything bad about Stag. Really, just haven't heard much. Like, not too many people I know, including myself, have owned one.

jdh
August 7, 2012, 01:50 PM
Leaning against the desk as I type is a Stag upper on a S&W lower. (It was the only 6.8 SPC upper the dealer had in stock).

RE: Stag customer support
Stag had me as a customer for life when they replaced a lower that I broke during assembly and paid shipping both ways.

Fiv3r
August 7, 2012, 02:10 PM
I only own a Stag, but my 2L has been fantastic. No one failure in the last 9 months or so. I got the left handed version because I wanted just one rifle that didn't fling brass toward my line of sight yet would be a competent rifle that could do most everything I would need it to do from camping defense to home defense to affordable plinking.

I plan on getting a plain Jane standard upper for a just-in-case situation where a niche left handed rifle may be a liability to get parts for. However, at rate I am going, I doubt I'll ever wear any part of the bolt assembly out. Maybe a spring or something, but nothing that is "left handed".

hacksaw
August 7, 2012, 03:03 PM
Love my Stag. They have been making AR's since the beginning of time just about. Their parent company, CMT is/has been a MAJOR supplier of AR components to the majority of Manufacturer's. They make a damn fine rifle...

justice06rr
August 7, 2012, 09:04 PM
If you are going to run it in the mud, take a deuce in it, shoot it, and repeat, then you may want another rifle.

The S&W Sport was tested in Arizona, over a three day course, and purposely abused and mistreated to offer up a failure for the Smith reps (mostly to show necessity for the DC and FA). No go: no failures, period. Purposely dumping sand into the receiver, shooting prone with dust cycling with the bolt couldn't stop the Sport. The FA and DC are contingencies, things that could remedie a problem should it arise. I DO NOT find them necessary, and would trust my life and those of my loved ones to a S&W product, mainly the Sport, should it arise. They cut costs, so what? They trimmed unused fat, and I agree with that. If you need those things for any reason, then don't buy a Sport, but Smith has MANY other AR models that DO have DC and FA. I'd take them to war.

I saw that Smith&Wesson desert torture test video of the M&P Sport and was pretty impressed. Although if you are a picky individual, I would opt for the regular version of the M&P15 with the DC and FA.

meanmrmustard
August 7, 2012, 09:11 PM
I saw that Smith&Wesson desert torture test video of the M&P Sport and was pretty impressed. Although if you are a picky individual, I would opt for the regular version of the M&P15 with the DC and FA.
Technically, the thing really only lacks DC. The scallop in the bolt can be used as FA, either with a gloved hand if hot, or pretty much anything rigid enough to push it till its chambered the round. As for DCs, look at my post history: I don't believe in em. But, some folks do. Never found myself buried in snow during winter deer hunts wishing I had that stuff, or crawling around crick bottoms looking for old yotes.

Infidel4life11
August 7, 2012, 11:09 PM
My money would go to S&W, I have a sport and if you really need a DC and FA other S&W models have those too. I've got a buddy who came up in the Army with me and he has a stag and he has shot every AR I've ever owned he's always enjoyed his stag more til he shot my bare bones sport 2days ago now he wants the sport.

Infidel4life11
August 7, 2012, 11:12 PM
Technically, the thing really only lacks DC. The scallop in the bolt can be used as FA, either with a gloved hand if hot, or pretty much anything rigid enough to push it till its chambered the round. As for DCs, look at my post history: I don't believe in em. But, some folks do. Never found myself buried in snow during winter deer hunts wishing I had that stuff, or crawling around crick bottoms looking for old yotes.
haha you said crick, everybody makes fun of me for saying that so I never type it.

meanmrmustard
August 8, 2012, 07:08 AM
haha you said crick, everybody makes fun of me for saying that so I never type it.
Sticks n stones, but crick bottoms is where I does my best huntin by golly!

Yeah, I get it. I say "crick", folks automatically deduct 100 IQ points.

SwampWolf
August 13, 2012, 07:22 PM
Yeah, I get it. I say "crick", folks automatically deduct 100 IQ points.

I don't know why. Everybody knows a crick is a small creek...:)

jdh
August 13, 2012, 07:29 PM
I have a small creek in my neck in the mornings?

meanmrmustard
August 13, 2012, 07:38 PM
I have a small creek in my neck in the mornings?
Easier to find the fishin hole.

Hit_Factor
August 13, 2012, 07:40 PM
I thought Stag made the ARs for S&W, so which is better? Both.

Sent by someone using something.

meanmrmustard
August 13, 2012, 07:43 PM
I thought Stag made the ARs for S&W, so which is better? Both.

Sent by someone using something.
Not so, unless at one time they did, which may be so. They do not, however, at this time use Stag. Their barrels are TC, but they're owned by S&W now. Other than that, in house to my knowledge.

hercster
August 14, 2012, 07:30 PM
I did a bunch of looking and decided on a Stag Model 3r. As is the gun is fully featured but comes without sights and included a drop in modular rail system. I bought the very cool flip sights by DiamondHead and have an Eotech XPS2 that I will co witness. The Stags imported into Canada come with the "plus" package which upgrades the internals to Mil spec. Stags have a good rep here and I'm a happy camper with the carbine as is. I have also take delivery of a dedicated CMMG .22 upper per and so am well equipped for how I like to shoot. I will compete in carbine matches this winter while in Texas and will use the .22 upper for Steel Challenge.

Dang these AR's are fun!!

Tom609
August 14, 2012, 08:47 PM
I have the S&W Sport and have been thoroughly satisfied. Dollar for dollar, the best value out there. As far as where it's made, American Rifleman (TV) had an episode on them a few months ago and they are built totally in-house.

ryno31
August 24, 2012, 01:41 AM
I own a Stag model 3 and its been a great rifle for me. I'm not in the desert nor using it to fight for my life but it hasn't had a single issue after 700-800 rounds (which in the grand scheme of things is a drop in the bucket if you plan to run it hard). I recently upgraded to a Noveske lower and a BCM upper but that was my goal to begin to with it definetly had nothing to do with the performance of my Stag. Stag makes a hell of a rifle and if I'm not mistaken they do offer plus packages with the rifles for an extra $100 the barrel and a few other key componets are upgraded to mil spec. but I haven't looked in awhile so do your own research on that. Stag also has a lifetime warranty on their rifles, I'm not sure what S&W offers but I believe a previous poster mentioned a year warranty which doesn't sound very appealing to me personally. All in all your not gonna get screwed if you choose one over the over as I've shot a few M&P's and they are excellent as well.

DNS
August 24, 2012, 03:01 AM
Smith.

The 5R rifling makes for great accuracy. Its waaaay outshot what some consider top tier rifles.

Storm
August 24, 2012, 10:14 AM
My AR is a Stag Model 3 upper and an M&P lower. I didn't plan it that way but I am very pleased with the rifle.

henschman
August 24, 2012, 10:22 AM
Does anybody know the specs on the parts Stag uses? They don't say on their website, other than saying they have "mil spec" uppers. Any idea what grade steel the bolt and barrel are made of? Whether the gas key screws are staked in? Whether either the barrel or bolt is high pressure tested or magnetic particle inspected? That's the kind of stuff I like to know before I go out and buy something, and when a company doesn't list the specs, it makes me wonder why. That's why I like PSA and BCM -- they list all the relevant specs for you to see.

It appears to me that while Stag rifles do offer chrome lined barrels, they are only available with 1/9 twist. That's fine if all you shoot is surplus, but I greatly prefer the 1/8 twist that the S&W Sport has. It will shoot any surplus AND it will shoot the heaviest bullets you can fit in a mag. Also I prefer the nitrided barrel on the Sport to chrome... I hope that is a trend that catches on in the gun world.

As for the construction of the Smith, I have opened one, and it had a MPI-marked bolt with the gas key screws staked properly. I don't think the barrel is MPI, but I know Thompson-Center makes them for Smith, and TC makes a good barrel. If not entirely mil-spec, I think the Smith offers very good quality for the price.

ryno31
August 24, 2012, 12:55 PM
I know that their bolts are shot peened, milspec lower...etc, I can't paste the link or get more in depth at the moment due to being at work but if anyone is concerned with milspec Stag does offer the "plus package" which is only an extra $100 that makes the rifle completly milspec...good deal if you ask me and if thats the limit of your budget. However, for another $100-200 you could buy a Colt or BCM but I know that extra $100-200 can be a deal breaker for some...I know it is for me. So check out the plus package deal, I don't believe S&W has a deal like that but I'm not as familiar with S&W as I am Stag.
From Stagarms.com:

For those wanting a rifle with extra testing and also with features for the constant firing of 5.56 ammunition Stag Arms offers the Plus Package. This package includes individual Magnetic Particle (MP) and High Pressure (HP) testing of the bolt and barrel, upgraded barrel steel, and other features listed below. Available only as a complete package.


Stag Arms standard carbines (Model 1, 2, 2T, 3, 8 and their left-handed equivalents) feature:

- Carpenter 158 shot peened Bolt with black extractor spring
- Shrouded full circle AR15 bolt carrier with side staked carrier key
- 5.56 NATO chambered barrel with chrome lining, 1/9 twist, double lead lapped, and parkerized under the front sight base
- M4 feed ramps
- F marked front sight base with taper pins
- Double heatshield handguards
- Mil-Spec size 7000 series aluminum receiver extension with staked receiver nut (also known as castle nut)
- One 30rd USGI Magazine*


In addition to our standard features listed above the Plus Package includes:

- 4150 CMV barrel steel chrome lined
- 1/7 Twist rifling
- Individually MP & HP tested and marked Bolt & Barrel
- M-16 Bolt Carrier
- Heavy (H) buffer assembly
- One extra 30rd USGI Magazine (two total)*


Cost:

Rifle: $100
Upper half: $75.00 (Does not include magazine or heavy buffer)

Warp
August 24, 2012, 01:54 PM
Smith.

The 5R rifling makes for great accuracy. Its waaaay outshot what some consider top tier rifles.

People don't consider rifles Top Tier because they make small groups on paper at the range. That is not the goal of the gun or the intended use of most of the people who care to buy them.

If shooting for groups is the purpose of the gun you are probably better served with the Smith.

If betting your life on the reliability and durability of the gun (LE, HD, SHTF, etc), or if takinge courses or other activities that qualify as hard use is the purpose of the gun, you are probably better served with a Top Tier rifle.

henschman
August 24, 2012, 02:04 PM
Stag Arms standard carbines (Model 1, 2, 2T, 3, 8 and their left-handed equivalents) feature:

- Carpenter 158 shot peened Bolt with black extractor spring
- Shrouded full circle AR15 bolt carrier with side staked carrier key
- 5.56 NATO chambered barrel with chrome lining, 1/9 twist, double lead lapped, and parkerized under the front sight base
- M4 feed ramps
- F marked front sight base with taper pins
- Double heatshield handguards
- Mil-Spec size 7000 series aluminum receiver extension with staked receiver nut (also known as castle nut)
- One 30rd USGI Magazine*


In addition to our standard features listed above the Plus Package includes:

- 4150 CMV barrel steel chrome lined
- 1/7 Twist rifling
- Individually MP & HP tested and marked Bolt & Barrel
- M-16 Bolt Carrier
- Heavy (H) buffer assembly
- One extra 30rd USGI Magazine (two total)*


Cost:

Rifle: $100
Upper half: $75.00 (Does not include magazine or heavy buffer)

Damn, that Stag with the plus package sounds like a really solid rifle. How much are they? I still wish they had more options as far as barrel length/profile and gas system length though. That is one thing that makes me really like PSA.

ryno31
August 24, 2012, 02:33 PM
I believe the model 3 on stagarms.com was listed at $865 so throw a hundred on top of that your looking at a little over $1000 with ffl fees and shipping. Not a bad deal at all but I'm sure if you shopped around you could find the plus package deal for the same price as the standard model just not on stagarms.com obviously. Then the obvious argument arises that for another $100-200 you could get a "top tier" rifle but I know alot of people who don't want to or can't spend more than a grand on a rifle so that plus package sounds like a hell of a deal to me personally.

Warp
August 24, 2012, 03:13 PM
I believe the model 3 on stagarms.com was listed at $865 so throw a hundred on top of that your looking at a little over $1000 with ffl fees and shipping. Not a bad deal at all but I'm sure if you shopped around you could find the plus package deal for the same price as the standard model just not on stagarms.com obviously. Then the obvious argument arises that for another $100-200 you could get a "top tier" rifle but I know alot of people who don't want to or can't spend more than a grand on a rifle so that plus package sounds like a hell of a deal to me personally.

You can get a top tier rifle for "a little over $1,000"

Well, currently in stock you can get a Colt for $975, plus I suppose shipping and transfer fee.

ryno31
August 24, 2012, 03:20 PM
Just out of curiosity where is this in stock $975 Colt you speak of? I shopped for hours upon hours for days at a time and couldn't find a deal like that but then again I'm still a relative "noob" at knowing where to find the really good deals.

Warp
August 24, 2012, 07:31 PM
Just out of curiosity where is this in stock $975 Colt you speak of? I shopped for hours upon hours for days at a time and couldn't find a deal like that but then again I'm still a relative "noob" at knowing where to find the really good deals.

http://dsgarms.com/ProductInfo/COAR6720.aspx

If you are serious I'd jump on it. They had about 4 different Colts in stock for right at $1k several weeks ago and are down to just the 6720 for $975 now. The 6920 and 6920MP (which they had in two different colors) have all gone out of stock.

ryno31
August 24, 2012, 08:08 PM
Thank you for the heads up! Definetly gonna take a look at that!

CharlieDeltaJuliet
August 24, 2012, 09:42 PM
The fact of the matter is no AR (without a tax stamp) is 100% milspec. The lower receivers need more milling for the milspec trigger group to fit.

Stag made the earlier S&W's. S&W now makes them in house. Either are fine rifles but if you get caught up in milspec, go pay $15,000 for a real tri burst AR.

The Sport is one tough cookie, but the Stag is honestly a great all around rifle. Either will work for 99.9% of the AR owners, it is a very few people that treat their weapons as poorly as the military....

Warp
August 24, 2012, 10:21 PM
The fact of the matter is no AR (without a tax stamp) is 100% milspec. The lower receivers need more milling for the milspec trigger group to fit.

Stag made the earlier S&W's. S&W now makes them in house. Either are fine rifles but if you get caught up in milspec, go pay $15,000 for a real tri burst AR.

The Sport is one tough cookie, but the Stag is honestly a great all around rifle. Either will work for 99.9% of the AR owners, it is a very few people that treat their weapons as poorly as the military....

Top Tier quality costs more than $600. That's just the way it is.

TonyAngel
August 24, 2012, 11:10 PM
I was just taking a look at another thread on THR where a guy is asking about the cant of his gas block because it isn't on straight. Apparently, he called Stag about it and was told that their acceptable tolerance range for cant on the block is +/- 5 degrees. It appears that Stag isn't so much worried about the block being straight as they are about the gas port just lining up so that the rifle will run.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
August 25, 2012, 04:18 AM
Warp, I never said you could buy a top tier AR for $600. LOL..... I just think either one that the OP asked about has their own pros and cons and either will do what most AR owners expect them too. He obviously wasn't wanting a tier 1 rifle. I think he was looking at an entry level and just wanted bang for the buck.

Bushpilot
August 25, 2012, 12:41 PM
I think you will be happy with either one. I'd probably go with the one I got the best deal on (that had forward assist and a dust cover). If they were both the same I'd probably opt for the S&W.

357SIG
August 27, 2012, 12:21 AM
Being of "top tier" quality is not a guarantee of anything, as people have had problems and disappointments with all flavors of ARs. Being HP/MP tested is not a guarantee of anything either, only a measure for peace-of-mind. For these and other quality benchmarks to be superior in any way, there would have to be documented faults with the other parts and processes, faults that are inherent to those processes as a whole. To my knowledge, there are no such problems. This is exclusive of the cheapest cost-cutting measures employed by some companies that make AR rifles, of course.

I propose that a run-of-the-mill, budget AR From a respectable company will survive in the sands of Iraq just as well as any Colt rifle already over there. I propose the non-spec features will not hinder it in any way. This should also translate to civilian self-defense roles as well. An indication that this proposition is correct is the number of real-life torture tests conducted on non-spec rifles by individuals and government agencies over the years. By all means, prove me wrong, if anyone has evidence-based proof, not merely theory and conjecture. A little snake oil can separate a fool from his or her money.

Since the post was in regard to the Stag or S&W, I prefer the S&W based on price point. It will be every it as reliable as a full milspec "tier one" gun without the extra $300 price tag. That can buy a nice red dot, a bunch of mags, or a case of ammo. Be happy, and rest assured, in knowing that your $600 rifle will work when needed under any circumstance.

Warp
August 27, 2012, 12:36 AM
Be happy, and rest assured, in knowing that your $600 rifle will work when needed under any circumstance.

That seems to be a pretty bold claim.

357SIG
August 27, 2012, 01:56 AM
It's a claim based on observed evidence, as opposed to a claim based on theory. Again, please provide evidence of it being incorrect. One of the biggest fallacies in the AR world these days is that a reliable rifle should meet milspec. There are easily an exponential amount of lower-than-"tier one" rifles out there that perform flawlessly, even in abusive environments like carbine courses and gun games. There are no widespread documented problems with any. There is no evidence to support a claim that milspec is superior to non-spec at all. This is reality. It is unfortunate, but "tier one" has become the equivalent of Glock "Kool-Aid." Yes, everyone knows they are excellent guns, but they are no better than any other pistol made by a reputable company. It's merely a personal preference.

Rather than to simply repeat something one has heard, or read about on the internet, a person should apply critical thinking when such claims are made. By asking oneself and/or others appropriate questions, one can make a truly informed conclusion and decision on the subject.

Just to pull out one example, look at the obsession some have with barrel steels. The simple-minded conclusion for many is to say "I need 4150 because it is mil-spec, and the gov't has a good reason for picking it over 4140. Why buy the inferior alloy when I can have the best? My life is worth the added expense." This person goes on blindly believing that 4150 is the only way to fly, meanwhile they have no knowledge or evidence at all to back the claim. When challenged, they simply use false logic in an attempt to convince others that what they say is correct, or they ignore the challenge questions and attack the person himself to save face.

Flip to the critical thinker. He has asked and researched numerous questions, like the following:

What is the difference between these two alloys?
What properties of each make them better or worse for gun barrels?
Under what conditions will a failure occur for each alloy?
Do any of these conditions exist outside of the testing environment?
Are there any documented failures of either that are attributed to the composition of the metal itself?
Does heat treating and chrome lining negate the differences?

and so on. This person is much better informed, and can actually make a solid decision on the issue. This person will likely say that the difference is so minuscule, it doesn't matter, and will be happy with either. When challenged, they will be able to answer with correct and valuable information that may help another. Additionally, if Anyone researches the topic extensively, they will see that the consensus is just that; the difference cannot be realized in the real world. This guy might have saved himself $100 on a barrel, simply because it is 4140 steel instead.

The point is that no person should just take blind statements with no backing as truth, especially when it means it will cost them an extra $300 or more only to find that they got nothing over the cheaper product in the end. It's all about making informed decisions. Those informed decisions might lead someone to a Colt anyway, but at least they didn't follow the pack like another sheep in the herd. Go to ar15.com and view any of the numerous threads on the subject, then ask the critical questions. It would be no surprise to me if you find the same thing I did, that the milspec crowd cannot produce any type of evidence to support their claims at all, and simply rely on emotional pleas to argue. One example of such a plea is to play heavily on the peace-of-mind that comes with milspec, and cast doubt on things that are not. The blind follow and the informed usually disagree, citing a lack of evidence of problems to make the added testing necessary. In the end, no one wins, because you can't beat emotion and theory in an argument with facts and evidence. We all know it from arguing with anti-gun people.

Warp
August 27, 2012, 02:03 AM
It's a claim based on observed evidence, as opposed to a claim based on theory

Same here. When people's ARs are messing up it usually seems to be a cheap rifle. It is rarely a top of the line manufacturer. That is my observed experience in a nutshell. How hard to run the guns, and in what conditions, is a factor as well.

Similar example, with pistols: KelTecs seem to have far more than their share of problems. I have observed this over and over, and even (unfortunately) experienced it myself back when I used to own KelTecs (sold them all off, won't buy any more). This is all based on accumulated observed evidence.

357SIG
August 27, 2012, 02:20 AM
Well, i guess I can't sit here and tell you that you may have seen some crappy Hesse, or a home build, or a garage gunsmith-tinkered rifle fail, as opposed to a factory stock RRA, S&W, or Bushy, because I wasnt there. I can say I have a hard time swallowing the idea that factory S&W, Bushy, etc. rifles in normal condition are failing left and right in front of your very eyes, while Colts and LMTs go on trouble-free. I think many would find it hard to believe as well. I can say I've seen my fair share of Colts fail, and I've seen so many rifles people claim as Brand X, only to find the receiver is the only part by that company, or that they rebarreled it themselves and added aftermarket parts. In the latter case, it is not accurate to say Brand X failed, because the rifle was modified from original. If you're including Internet posts/complaints in your analysis, you shouldn't.

Warp
August 27, 2012, 02:24 AM
Well, i guess I can't sit here and tell you that you may have seen some crappy Hesse, or a home build, or a garage gunsmith-tinkered rifle fail, as opposed to a factory stock RRA, S&W, or Bushy, because I wasnt there. I can say I have a hard time swallowing the idea that factory S&W, Bushy, etc. rifles in normal condition are failing left and right in front of your very eyes, while Colts and LMTs go on trouble-free. I think many would find it hard to believe as well. I can say I've seen my fair share of Colts fail, and I've seen so many rifles people claim as Brand X, only to find the receiver is the only part by that company, or that they rebarreled it themselves and added aftermarket parts. In the latter case, it is not accurate to say Brand X failed, because the rifle was modified from original.

That certainly happens. On another forum recently some guy was ranting and raving about his brand new BCM :cuss: not working. Turns out it was a BCM upper/BCG but a different (he never did tell us who) lower and LPK, and it was the hammer spring causing the problems. I'm sure the same type of thing happens often enough to all supposed brands.

Another factor I wonder about, and that has been brought up before but a lot of people don't seem to think it has value, is that it seems to me people who try to save money by buying a less expensive (often cheaper) rifle also try to save money other places. Ammo, magazines, lube, you name it, and that could be a factor in seeming to see a lot more issues in the cheaper guns.

357SIG
August 27, 2012, 02:32 AM
Agreed.

Let it be known to the other folks reading this (and you, Warp) that I am in no way saying that all are created equal in all respects. There are garbage rifles out there, as well as top-of-the-line versions, and all in between. I think one is well-served with anything by a reputable company, and the risk of failure from here up is minimal at best. Do you get more reassurance with MPI/HP testing? Sure. Is it worth it? For peace-of-mind, yes. For function, it's debatable, but can't hurt. To me, I would rather spend $300 elsewhere. For $50-100, I would be more open to it. Of course, it's a personal choice. For what the S&W Sport has been able to take, it seems to be utterly amazing, in my eyes. I also like the 1/8 barrel and the Pmag and Magpul rear flip sight that comes with it. A friend bought one and loves it. He's hit close to 5000 rounds in it with no hiccups, and has owned it maybe 7 months.

Typing on this iPad is awful. Sorry fo the edits.

TonyAngel
August 27, 2012, 02:46 AM
357Sig, what observed evidence are you referring to? Your whole argument sounds like the flip side of the coin to a person who is arguing for milspec without any substantial data. It is without foundation.

That is a nice laundry list of questions that you have to consider, but why even think about it when all you have to do is buy a milspec part and know that it is superior to lesser parts. If I'm going to spend X number of dollars on a rifle, I'd much prefer to get the most for my money. I'd much rather have a rifle that's been over engineered or over built than get a rifle that is just "good enough."

As for your questions, you're asking the wrong ones. It isn't just about what materials go into a rifle. It's about the attention to detail that goes into the manufacturing and assembly of the parts. I've seen barrels made of milspec steel that have had canted front sight bases, over sized gas ports, receivers that fit so tight that you needed a tool to remove the pins, etc.

Getting an upper tier rifle not only assures quality of the components, but also helps to assure the quality of the manufacturing and assembly. I'm not saying that there aren't cheap rifles out there than run well. Heck, there was even a post on AR15.com where someone was torture testing a black rifle and they had something like 10,000 rounds through it, without cleaning it and the bolt was from Model 1 Sales. All I'm saying is that getting an upper tier rifle helps to assure trouble free running.

As for your list of questions, you're asking the wrong ones. I suppose that in the end, you are right in that guys shouldn't get all caught up in the milspec fray; however, they should be concerned with performance.

The questions should include considerations like....
1. How many rounds do you have through that rifle?
2. How many failures have you had?
3. What caused the failures?
4. Does the zero wander when the barrel gets hot?
5. How sensitive has your rifle been to being dirty?
6. Is your rifle ammunition sensitive?
7. How hard have you run the rifle and have you broken anything in the first 5000 rounds?
8. Does you rifle need to be overly wet to run right?

If you find an owner of a rifle and he has run that rifle hard and has positive answers to the above questions, the rifle is likely a good rifle. As an end user, I really don't care if something has met milspec. I just want a rifle to run no matter what and to help insure this, I'd buy quality.

I'll tell ya, I don't have a dog in this hunt. My rifle is a parts rifle that I put together from parts that I just happened to have laying around. My opinion is based on the number of parts that I've had to replace and brand new rifles that I've had to fix to get them running again. That and the number of rifles I've seen choke on the firing line.

I could probably take a rifle that's made of most substandard parts available, assuming that all of the holes are in the right places, and keep it running; but my experience has told me that quality parts last longer and give fewer headaches.

357SIG
August 27, 2012, 11:28 AM
Tony, the evidence is that non-spec rifles are able to take the same abuse as spec ones. Look at examples like DEA selection of RRA. The non-tested parts are not failing over the tested ones. (Have you ever seen a failure of a bolt that wouldn't have occurred if it was MP tested?). There are easily quadruple or more non-spec rifles in this country (as shown by ATF production data), and there are no problems with them. Conversely, the problems you do see are not limited to only non-spec rifles. You see high-end rifles with similar problems.

My questions were in regard to one issue, and not all-inclusive for all scenarios. It is obvious, as I said it was an example. Different questions are needed for different issues.

As you said, function is the important issue. As it sits now, a M&P 15 Sport that costs $620 is doing everything the same as a Colt 6920 that cost twice the price, including being reliable in desert sand. One can't really argue the truth of this statement, which is why they appeal to fear and emotion instead.

TRguy
August 27, 2012, 11:49 AM
STAG - I have shot and handled both

Own a Stag and have for many years. I prefer BCM uppers but my Stag has over 3000 flawless rounds through it. It has been very reliable in opinion.

S&W makes a fine rifle as well.

TonyAngel
August 27, 2012, 12:10 PM
OK Sig, so you're basing your opinion on what you have read. Not what you have OBSERVED.

357SIG
August 27, 2012, 02:10 PM
OK Sig, so you're basing your opinion on what you have read. Not what you have OBSERVED.

Well, you cannot make that statement with any accuracy, as you do not know what I've observed. I have only observed Colt rifles and home builds fail on the range. I have NEVER seen a DPMS, Bushy, RRA, or any factory stock rifle fail. Ever. That's my observation. However, I do not just take a simplistic view on the situation and claim Colts are junk, while the others aren't. I have seen many that do well, and they have a record of being great rifles throughout the industry. I also don't rely fully on what I've read, as there are many situations where a person does not tell the whole story, or doesn't want to admit their goof-ups, so they tell everyone that their factory rifle is a pile of junk. When called out on it, they reluctantly start admitting key facts, like the used no name barrel they put on to save money. That's the pitfall of listening to everyone's complaints online. However, there is good information online, and it can usually be picked out pretty easily.

Unfortunately, whether you mean to do this or not, you are arguing with the tactics I spoke of above. Rather than counter the issue, look for a flaw in the argument and focus on that. I am not personally attacking you with this statement, so I don't want you to take it as such, but I just want to point out how we are getting away from the meat of the argument, and how this is a common problem in a discussion like this. The fact is there is no rational reason to discredit non-spec parts in favor of milspec, other than just the peace-of-mind. If that peace-of-mind is worth the cost of an Aimpoint to you, then by all means, spend it. I don't see any reason for it at that cost, and would only spend a minimal amount to get it (like $50). It is not a problem for someone to feel this way personally, but it is when people tell others that their choice is inferior, that it becomes a problem. These people could NEVER show you how their belief is so, and cannot back their statement without appealing to emotion, or using unproven theory. I got into this discussion on another board with a member who supposedly is a resource on all things AR, and even he said "some of us are smart enough to look beyond milspec." That statement should say a lot, whether the guy is a resource or not, whether he is a rifle builder, or a store cart pusher. The idea is solid; milspec does not make a great rifle, nor does it impart any extra reliability to a weapon in any way.

TonyAngel
August 27, 2012, 02:22 PM
Well, I guess everyone has different experiences and have to base their opinions on those experiences.

My experiences have been that I've seen several Bushmasters, RRAs and especially DPMS rifles not running right out of the box.

Warp
August 27, 2012, 02:46 PM
The fact is there is no rational reason to discredit non-spec parts in favor of milspec, other than just the peace-of-mind.

Well...if there is a spec to meet, and the part meets it, you kind of know what you are getting. If there is no spec to meet (from any source)...what are you getting?



If that peace-of-mind is worth the cost of an Aimpoint to you, then by all means, spend it.

Why do you say aimpoint? Why not EOtech? Why not burris or vortex or primary arms? What can you point to that makes Aimpoint better?



I got into this discussion on another board with a member who supposedly is a resource on all things AR, and even he said "some of us are smart enough to look beyond milspec." That statement should say a lot, whether the guy is a resource or not, whether he is a rifle builder, or a store cart pusher. The idea is solid; milspec does not make a great rifle, nor does it impart any extra reliability to a weapon in any way.

You do have to look beyond milspec. Personally, I look to the reputation of the builder. To the reputation of the manufacturer of the parts. To how long that company has been making that firearm, and if their reputation has been proved through the test of time. Many have, and not just the "Tier One" rifles. Many have not.

batmann
August 27, 2012, 03:51 PM
I happen to like my S&W M&P a great deal. Mine is the 'older' version Magpul with chromed lined barrel etc and it has been 100% with any ammo I have run throught it.
Mil-spec and my S&W is, 'top tier' etc are buzz words for more $$$$$$. Yes they are fine rifles, but do no more than what the average AR style will do. If my AR platform goes bang everytime with the cheap Russian crap I feed it, then I doubt that the 'top tier' names will do any better.

Warp
August 27, 2012, 04:10 PM
I happen to like my S&W M&P a great deal. Mine is the 'older' version Magpul with chromed lined barrel etc and it has been 100% with any ammo I have run throught it.
Mil-spec and my S&W is, 'top tier' etc are buzz words for more $$$$$$. Yes they are fine rifles, but do no more than what the average AR style will do. If my AR platform goes bang everytime with the cheap Russian crap I feed it, then I doubt that the 'top tier' names will do any better.

How many rounds do you have through it?

What's the hardest you have run it?

PS: Mil-spec isn't a "buzz word", it is a very specific, known quantity. ;)

ugaarguy
August 28, 2012, 12:25 AM
Stag made the earlier S&W's
NO THEY DIDN'T.

CMT (Stag's parent company) supplied receivers and some other parts to S&W for the very early M&P rifles. Bbls were supplied by OF Mossberg. Those CMT receivers were often out of spec, which is why S&W very quickly severed the relationship, and began bringing production completely in house.

The very early M&P rifles are easily distinguished by the 5.56 Nato (as opposed to NATO) marking on the bbl forward of the gas block.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
August 28, 2012, 09:29 AM
Well they were made in house in the same factory as Stag, by the same company. I seen it first hand in early 2009. It was in New Britain,CT. For the first few months S&W did not even assemble them. S&W had not even set up the eqipment they needed until the middle of 2009. So say what you want there, but I seen the M&P logo come out of that factory... The only piece that was not made by Stag was the barrels. S&W wanted a slower twist.... I have no idea who made the barrel blanks for them then...

CharlieDeltaJuliet
August 28, 2012, 09:49 AM
Here is the marking that ugaarguy was talking about

http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff464/ChadJohnson1976/ab205e8c507b44b0334ad20b91a62e30.jpg

Sorry for the quality, the IPad .....not so good on detailed photos...

SwampWolf
August 28, 2012, 02:19 PM
There is no evidence to support a claim that milspec is superior to non-spec at all. This is reality.

I'm still waiting to see 357SIG's challenge to cite empirical evidence supporting the notion that milspec is superior to non-spc refuted. And, until it is, I think he's right: "This (the absence of documentation supporting the claim) is reality".

Warp
August 28, 2012, 02:22 PM
I'm still waiting to see 357SIG's challenge to cite empirical evidence supporting the notion that milspec is superior to non-spc refuted. And, until it is, I think he's right: "This (the absence of documentation supporting the claim) is reality".

If it meets milspec, you have a pretty good idea what you are getting.

If it doesn't meet milspec...what does it meet and what are you getting?

SwampWolf
August 28, 2012, 02:36 PM
Your points probably have merit-but the question remains: Where is the documented evidence to support the claim that milspec is superior to non-spec? Which isn't the same as saying it isn't; only that I'd like to see the empirical data proving the claim. And, until it is, I think 357SIG is right: "This (the absence of documentation supporting the claim) is reality".

Warp
August 28, 2012, 02:42 PM
Your points probably have merit-but the question remains: Where is the documented evidence to support the claim that milspec is superior to non-spec? Which isn't the same as saying it isn't; only that I'd like to see the empirical data proving the claim.


How do you compare to an unknown variable?

Is this not like asking that somebody prove a negative?

Are you admitting that you don't necessarily know what you are getting when there is no known specification for the part you are buying?

CharlieDeltaJuliet
August 28, 2012, 02:48 PM
But again, no AR on the market without a tax stamp is full milspec....it is like 80%.... (barrel,milled receiver, trigger group...etc) even commercial AR's can accept milspec parts... Who's to say that "joe schmo" makes his AR's to higher tolerences than that which the military accepts as "within proper tolerences".

There are too many variables to say one is better than the other. But the milspec rifles we can go to the lgs and buy the same day are just closer...to what the government issues...and I stress closer..

But back to the OP's original question, either are fine choices....

Blade37db
August 28, 2012, 02:57 PM
Paid a $980 for a Stag Model 2 with the plus package. First AR. Not a problem thru 500 rounds of M855. Outside of a small unpainted spot inside the triggerguard, it was good to go. Waited 8 weeks for it.

Warp
August 28, 2012, 02:58 PM
But again, no AR on the market without a tax stamp is full milspec....it is like 80%.... (barrel,milled receiver, trigger group...etc) even commercial AR's can accept milspec parts... Who's to say that "joe schmo" makes his AR's to higher tolerences than that which the military accepts as "within proper tolerences".

There are too many variables to say one is better than the other. But the milspec rifles we can go to the lgs and buy the same day are just closer...to what the government issues...and I stress closer..

But back to the OP's original question, either are fine choices....

So all of the parts that ARE made to a certain specification...you are just ignoring them?

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