Spike's or PSA lower?


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Archangel14
August 6, 2012, 01:55 PM
Hello fellow enthusiasts. Recently I inquired about S&W and Stag ARs. From the responses, I'm convinced now that there are quality ARs, but not "top tier" (thank you TonyAngel and Surf).

Thus, I've decided to obtain a "high end" AR. But more to the point, I've decided to piece one together myself. In doing the research I've learned that Spike's makes very good products. I can get a Spike's stripped lower for about $110. But I also see that Palmetto State Armory sells what appears to be a quality lower for about $80. Is there a big difference when it comes to lowers? If I want to go "top tier" should I stick to something like a Spike's or Colt lower.

And while we're at it, what do you guys think of JD tactical products? Thanks!

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TonyAngel
August 6, 2012, 03:43 PM
Odds are that either lower would be just fine, but I usually use Spike's lowers because the have several choices of roll marks and they can be had color filled. Sorry to give such a juvenile answer, but I think the Spike's lowers look really cool.

Walkalong
August 6, 2012, 04:05 PM
I doubt it makes a difference. Wiser folks than me said unless it was a Vulcan/Hesse, pick a logo you like and go with it. After owning and playing with several brands of lowers, I agree with them. My last lower was a Surplus Arms & Ammo (http://www.surplusammo.com/surplus-ammo-arms-ar15-stripped-lower-receiver/). It is very nice, and the trigger group that came with the parts kit is better than most. I picked it up for my .300 BO upper I built.

The lower just holds some parts together. Not much stress on it and not much to go wrong.

Fishbed77
August 6, 2012, 04:48 PM
I have bothe PSA and Spikes recievers. There is no fuctional difference between the two, and both are high-quality. The finish of the PSA recievers tends to be ever-so-slightly "flatter" than the Spikes recievers. Other than that, the only difference is the rollmark.

silicosys4
August 6, 2012, 05:55 PM
I have no horse in this race, but I'll add my $.02
I hate the "mall ninja" craze... and can barely stand the "tacticool" thing. The "full auto" setting on the spikes tactical that is a fake made to look "tacticool" really rubs me the wrong way. Its the same reason I suppose, that I don't want a bunch of zombies, biohazard signs, grim reapers, or superheros on my gun.
That said, from the few that I've handled, they seem to be well made.

Quentin
August 6, 2012, 06:15 PM
I think Walkalong said it best above. Choose the rollmark you like best as long as the lower is milspec. You do want 7075 T6 alloy not cheaper 6061 or polymer. Spikes or PSA are high quality. I've bought and built up stripped lowers from S&W, ArmaLite, Valkyrie Arms (JD Machine), Quentin Defense (US Army Edition) and Charles Daly. All were fine, no issues at all. I prefer the S&W and Valkyrie because they had a nicer finish and nicely flared magwells but the others were acceptable too. The QD Army lower is billet not forged and very nice as well, though more expensive.

holdencm9
August 6, 2012, 06:15 PM
I do like the Spikes Spider Logo, but can't speak to the quality. The PSA logo ain't bad either, and I like the 2 I have. They fit. I am also not a fan of the fake full auto or zombie theme stuff. But you can get the Spikes with regular logo and regular safe/fire. Seems like the PSA is out of stock though so that may make up your mind for you....

Frankl03
August 6, 2012, 06:34 PM
Either Spikes or PSA should work great. PSA seems backed up and out of a lot of stuff recently. If you shop around you can get the Spikes for under a hundred $. With the buying craze going on it may be hard to find one in stock.

Hope that helps!

Walkalong
August 6, 2012, 06:54 PM
as long as the lower is milspec. You do want 7075 T6 alloyYes, should have noted that. Thanks.

henschman
August 6, 2012, 07:02 PM
Yeah, the quality of the lower is not really something that sets a rifle apart as "top tier" or not. The main things you need to make sure are good to go are the barrel, bolt carrier group, and upper. Lowers and lower parts kits are pretty much ubiquitous (as long as they don't go cheap on the metal).

TonyAngel
August 6, 2012, 07:31 PM
Lowers and lower parts kits are pretty much ubiquitous (as long as they don't go cheap on the metal).

I don't know that I'd go as far as to say this. Although I suppose I'd say that the lower is less important than the upper, it's still important that the lower be made right. Meaning that all of the pin holes are in the right place and the right size.

I've seen lowers where the buffer retaining pin hole was too big, making it necessary to fudge the buffer tube to make it work right. I've seen lowers with the FCG holes either too close together, too far apart or cocked. Mag wells that were a tad on the tight side so that some mags would drop free and others wouldn't.

Some problems have been no big deal to remedy and others made the lower downright unusable. What really sucks about a lower is that once you pay for it and do the paper work, it's yours. At best, the vendor/manufacturer will do an exchange, but that still leave you with paying an additional transfer fee, if it applies to you. At worst, you're just stuck with it.

Yes, my road to learning the AR was really bumpy at first. I tried all sort of stuff. From trying the build the cheapest reliable rifle possible to no holds barred builds. These days, I just try to stick with vendors/manufacturers that are reputable and try to stay away from no name brands.

Considering the overall cost of an AR, I don't think that spending an extra $20 to get something from BCM or Spike's, rather than something that is just cheap, is a waste of money.

Quentin
August 6, 2012, 10:14 PM
...I've seen lowers where the buffer retaining pin hole was too big, making it necessary to fudge the buffer tube to make it work right. I've seen lowers with the FCG holes either too close together, too far apart or cocked. Mag wells that were a tad on the tight side so that some mags would drop free and others wouldn't...

TonyAngel has a good point here, while normally you can expect most name brand lowers to be good, there can be problems. Lately I've seen reports of CMMG lowers that have tight magwells and over the years have heard of other problems like he mentioned. Normally though you can expect precision machining.

If buying a lower from a local shop it would be a good idea to bring along a PMAG to see if it drops free from the magwell. PMAGs tend to be a little more snug than GI mags so are good for pointing out a tight magwell.

I also agree with him that there are significant differences in LPKs too. I've had good luck with Stag and Daniel Defense. DPMS and Del-Ton, not so much.

TonyAngel
August 7, 2012, 12:22 AM
I hate the "mall ninja" craze... and can barely stand the "tacticool" thing. The "full auto" setting on the spikes tactical that is a fake made to look "tacticool" really rubs me the wrong way. Its the same reason I suppose, that I don't want a bunch of zombies, biohazard signs, grim reapers, or superheros on my gun.

Actually, the Spike's lowers are of the low shelf variety which allow the use of a registered drop in auto sear (rdias). If you happen to have an rdias, then the full auto position might come in handy. It isn't a mall ninja thing.

Assumptions.....

TrailWolf
August 7, 2012, 12:40 AM
Spikes gives you a lifetime warranty and are really not that much more than PSA... I like that piece of mind and have now bought 2 spikes lowers - one for a BCM upper I am saving up for and one to save for a future build.

Here's a pic to get you all hot and bothered :D

http://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm33/harry1922/d5d1bf93.jpg

Snowdog
August 7, 2012, 03:48 PM
I had that same dilemma a few months ago (back when one could actually find a PSA lower) and went with the PSA... simply could not be happier, it's perfect.

silicosys4
August 7, 2012, 04:53 PM
The only spikes receivers I've seen ALL have the full auto markings on them. As far as I know, you have to special order one without, or they just aren't as common. Sooooo....how many people can legally have, or do have, a fully auto sear? Not nearly as many as there are receivers produced and sold with the "full auto" graphic. Not to mention its the most obnoxiously big selector graphics I've ever seen. They are meant to be noticed, because its definitely a marketing gimmick. Yes, there are a few people that will purchase a spikes "fully auto" receiver because they want a receiver capable of taking a fully auto sear, and marked as such...but the majority of people who will want this receiver won't, and Spikes knows this....and are marketing more to people for the "kewl" factor. Nothing wrong with Spike selling a bunch of lowers because of it, but lets be real...Its marketing, not demand, and people who buy a receiver because it looks like its fully auto, knowing they don't have a full-auto sear, and that it never will be a full auto gun, are displaying traits of "mall ninja-itis".

IMO this is also asking for any LE to take a real close look at your gun, and your paperwork and ID, perhaps even at the station while you explain to them that the "full auto" really means nothing, and why, since you have no NFA license, you'd even have a receiver capable of being fully auto to the point it is marked as such. LE doesn't think "fully auto" markings are kewl, if you aren't NFA.

LE doesn't necessarily care on the spot if it doesn't click into full auto, or if it doesn't fire full auto. They are going to want to take a good close look at the gun and take it apart to make damn sure it contains NO illegal parts. Remember, a gun doesn't have to be fully auto to contain illegal parts, and most LE knows that.

Just like this:

http://www.thegunzone.com/mall-ninja.html

only even more obnoxiously "I'm fully auto, lookatme!!"

Read the letter at the bottom of the article for what the MANUFACTURER has to say about fully auto markings on semi-auto receivers. Something about being braindead to have one in a public area if you don't have a registered sear.

R3PTIL3
August 7, 2012, 06:05 PM
Back when I built my AR I debated between the Spike's and Palmetto lowers. I ended up purchasing a Spike's stripped lower for $90 and I don't regret it one bit. Needless to say I would not hesitate to get a PSA lower for another build.

justice06rr
August 7, 2012, 08:30 PM
I doubt it makes a difference. Wiser folks than me said unless it was a Vulcan/Hesse, pick a logo you like and go with it. After owning and playing with several brands of lowers, I agree with them. My last lower was a Surplus Arms & Ammo (http://www.surplusammo.com/surplus-ammo-arms-ar15-stripped-lower-receiver/). It is very nice, and the trigger group that came with the parts kit is better than most. I picked it up for my .300 BO upper I built.

The lower just holds some parts together. Not much stress on it and not much to go wrong.

Yes it can make a difference. The lower doesn't "just hold parts together"; it is still a very important part of the rifle because of the trigger group and buffer system, both of which can affect your rifles function. And for legal purposes the lower receiver is the actual firearm, not the upper.

to the OP, I highly suggest Spikes. I have 2 complete lowers and they have an excellent finish/quality. PSA is good too, but I think Spikes is a notch better.

TonyAngel
August 7, 2012, 09:20 PM
Man, with all of the guys spending upwards of $300 to put a free float rail system on their rifle that they really don't need and flack is flying because there is a full auto position on a lower receiver.

OK, I concede. I'm a mall ninja. That red color fill really makes all of the markings pop, doesn't it.

Infidel4life11
August 7, 2012, 10:46 PM
I think it comes down to you. A lot of guys out there building there "top tier" AR using Spikes lowers, PSA is just as good IMO. You can't go wrong with either. Personally I'm thinking about Spikes Anniversary set and build a two tone "black and nickel" AR not something you see everyday.

Infidel4life11
August 7, 2012, 10:58 PM
Man, with all of the guys spending upwards of $300 to put a free float rail system on their rifle that they really don't need and flack is flying because there is a full auto position on a lower receiver.

OK, I concede. I'm a mall ninja. That red color fill really makes all of the markings pop, doesn't it.
A mall ninja with 30rds of eff ur day up! I don't give a crap about whats on your AR! Does it shoot? Can you shoot it? Those are more important who cares if it's rainbow colored. This is AMERICA do what ever in the heck you want to just be able to embarrass people who make fun of your pink paint job........ Just saying

SSN Vet
August 8, 2012, 11:58 AM
which one should you get?

the one that you can get.... have you checked availability lately.

jump on the first one that you find in stock.

TrailWolf
August 12, 2012, 06:00 PM
The only spikes receivers I've seen ALL have the full auto markings on them. As far as I know, you have to special order one without, or they just aren't as common. Sooooo....how many people can legally have, or do have, a fully auto sear? Not nearly as many as there are receivers produced and sold with the "full auto" graphic. Not to mention its the most obnoxiously big selector graphics I've ever seen. They are meant to be noticed, because its definitely a marketing gimmick. Yes, there are a few people that will purchase a spikes "fully auto" receiver because they want a receiver capable of taking a fully auto sear, and marked as such...but the majority of people who will want this receiver won't, and Spikes knows this....and are marketing more to people for the "kewl" factor. Nothing wrong with Spike selling a bunch of lowers because of it, but lets be real...Its marketing, not demand, and people who buy a receiver because it looks like its fully auto, knowing they don't have a full-auto sear, and that it never will be a full auto gun, are displaying traits of "mall ninja-itis".

IMO this is also asking for any LE to take a real close look at your gun, and your paperwork and ID, perhaps even at the station while you explain to them that the "full auto" really means nothing, and why, since you have no NFA license, you'd even have a receiver capable of being fully auto to the point it is marked as such. LE doesn't think "fully auto" markings are kewl, if you aren't NFA.

LE doesn't necessarily care on the spot if it doesn't click into full auto, or if it doesn't fire full auto. They are going to want to take a good close look at the gun and take it apart to make damn sure it contains NO illegal parts. Remember, a gun doesn't have to be fully auto to contain illegal parts, and most LE knows that.

Just like this:

http://www.thegunzone.com/mall-ninja.html

only even more obnoxiously "I'm fully auto, lookatme!!"

Read the letter at the bottom of the article for what the MANUFACTURER has to say about fully auto markings on semi-auto receivers. Something about being braindead to have one in a public area if you don't have a registered sear.
In addition to Spikes, BCM, DD & Noveske lowers also have a low shelf for RDIAS but they just do not have it advertised on the lower as the Spikes does - its unlikely that an any us will be able to build full auto, but it is nice to have the option as opposed to having to mill out a high shelf lower - who knows how gun laws will change in the next 10 years. Stranger things have happened.

No it would be silly if the Spikes was high shelf yet still had the full auto marking, but it isn't.

And lets not kid ourselves, Spikes DOES target that mall-ninja crowd more than say BCM or DD as evidenced by their punisher/zombie/pirate lowers. BCM and DD market themselves to more "serious" shooters.

Like I said before, what drives me to the Spikes is the lifetime guarantee and no BS customer service. Yes it is unlikely the lower will crack, but it has happened before. I would go BCM for the same reason, but their lowers are a decent amount more expensive.

FMJMIKE
August 12, 2012, 09:26 PM
I like Spikes !!!

madcratebuilder
August 13, 2012, 07:44 AM
There is little difference between the $100 lowers, roll mark and surface finish. Most all new lowers are low shelf. I haven't had any issues with the dozen or so PSA lowers I have assembled.

My last two personal builds have been with the AXTS lowers (http://axtsweapons.com/products/A-DAC-F). The A-DAQ-F is just a few more dollars and offers several enhancements. The AXTS AX556 offers even more, but it is spendy as lowers go.

The LPK parts are important also. The small details, like true roll pins vs split pins, double headed detents, ambi safety selectors.

powder
August 13, 2012, 08:41 AM
PSA just had a great sale, and they were in stock. Not sure if they still got em as the free shipping deal ended yesterday-picked up a case of 223 though! I like PSA and do business with them, not much difference in lowers besides prices.

Mot45acp
August 13, 2012, 11:49 AM
The only lowers I ever had that were out of spec were Spikes. That said they were still usable, you just had to modify a plastic magpul trigger guard to get one to fit.

CCH71
August 13, 2012, 12:53 PM
Spikes knows this....and are marketing more to people for the "kewl" factor.

Remember, a gun doesn't have to be fully auto to contain illegal parts, and most LE knows that.

I understand where you're coming from, but to a degree I fail to see what's wrong with the "kewl" factor as you describe it. I really don't spend too much time critiquing any avid shooters regardless of their preference for customization. I have a bigger issue with "safe ninjas" who spend thousands on LWRCs, LaRues and the like with ACOGs on top then spend more time bragging about them than actually putting any rounds downrange.

I've had many AR variants. All of them are different, enjoyable and useful in their own way. I've shot my share of automatic versions as well in M16 and M4 configurations. Part of what makes the ARs such an enjoyable choice is the degree of customization possible and the mind numbing amount of available parts. Yes, the whole "zombie" thing is getting old but to each his own. If you're safe, proficient (or at least working to be) and friendly I don't care if you've got a pink Hello Kitty AR.

You had mentioned containing "illegal parts." Which parts? If there's no RDIAS or "third hole" with an auto sear I'm not sure what parts you're referring to. As long as the gun only fires one round per trigger pull, it's legal in regard to NFA auto restrictions. Full auto carriers etc. are legal. My understanding is that if you don't have all of the parts on hand that have the capability of being combined in one weapon to render it fully automatic, you're in the clear. Likewise, if you have a perfectly legal weapon with no "evil" parts that malfunctions and results in a runaway magazine you may very well get hauled in such as was the case with David Olofsun and a few others.

I used to serve with a Sergeant that was a BATFE field agent when she wasn't with us for her "one weekend a month." She was generally pretty enlightening on a lot of these topics.

ny32182
August 13, 2012, 01:19 PM
The only difference between Spikes and PSA is the roll mark.

You will have to go out of your way to get any illegal parts into your AR.

Tell me more about these people who have been arrested for a selector marking on the lower.

Hacker15E
August 13, 2012, 01:44 PM
Spikes gives you a lifetime warranty and are really not that much more than PSA... I like that piece of mind

PSA has a lifetime warranty as well. What is it that gives you additional 'peace of mind' by buying Spike's?

Mot45acp
August 13, 2012, 01:49 PM
Good luck with Spikes warranty. They never responded to me. I gave em numerous chances to reply before I went public.

CCH71
August 13, 2012, 02:02 PM
PSA has a lifetime warranty as well. What is it that gives you additional 'peace of mind' by buying Spike's?

Not sure if there is anything additional. FWIW, I've built three ARs on Spikes lowers and have had no issues with any machining or other dimensions. My own experience has been favorable with them to date. Of course the same goes for DPMS, DEL-TON, Stag, PSA, Rock River, and Daniel Defense on the other ones. I don't doubt that bad ones get made from time to time, but I have yet to personally experience a stripped lower that was out of spec.

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