AR-15 manufacturers, comments plz


August 17, 2004, 12:04 AM
I've been researching AR-15's on this board,, 1911forum, glocktalk, etc.

It appears to me that of all the manufacturers of these types that Colt, Armalite, Bushmaster & Rock River Arms in no particular order produce the best/ highest quality AR's. Anyone care to differ or add to this?

Not trying to start a flame war and don't want to offend Olympic owners or anything like that. Just seeking some final comments.

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August 17, 2004, 01:38 AM

I won an Olympic and a RRA. The Olympic is flawless and shoots better groups. The RRA has a tighter fit and a slightly better finish.

I truly recomend a RRA lower mated with an upper that is suited to your needs.

For a SHTF gun, I prefer anything but Colt, so I can switch uppers if need be. The Bushy's I've shot have run very nicely, but never held great groups. RRA uppers in stainless have been very good to me. I honestly cannot comment on Armalite since I have never shot one.

August 17, 2004, 01:50 AM
Ive always found that Colt and Bushmaster are about equal in quality.....RRA is too new to tell...

Keep in mind that basically they are all the same...


August 17, 2004, 02:18 AM
I'm almost finished with my first build, an LMT. Real nice pieces, though the lowers are somewhat scarce.

Can't go wrong with a Bushy, RRA or a Colt, though.

August 17, 2004, 02:48 AM
I don't hold any allegiance to a particular maker, but I have always noted that RRA represents an outstanding value. High quality parts, priced below the bigger names. They are not "new" anymore.

August 17, 2004, 07:54 AM
Bushie and Colt are good. RRA is pretty good, too, but I wish they were cheaper - for about the same price as a RRA AR-15, you can get a Bushie.

Just remember that every so often a lemon gets through. I recall Werewolf had huge problems with his Bushie and eventually got rid of it.

August 17, 2004, 08:04 AM
in no particular order I disagree with that. Only the Horse for me.

August 17, 2004, 09:11 AM
Take a look at a thread on labeled "AR Deficiancies". Some well known AR armorers/instructors who see hundreds of different brand AR's come through their classes give their thoughts.

August 17, 2004, 09:20 AM
Colt performs quality assurance tests that other companies don't. For example they Magnaflux bolts and barrels and proof fires.

The ones you mention are ok, but I prefer Colt.

August 17, 2004, 09:22 AM
Have two Colts, an Armalite AR-10 and a Oly carbine in .45ACP. No complaints with any of them. Think a lot of the hype is a like a "Tastes Great!! Less Filling" argument. Maybe if survayed over thousands of examples, and after thousands of rounds, enough data can be put together to point to one brand over the other. I do expect to get a better looking, fit and finish from more expensive units, but think operation is pretty much the same with all AR units.

Now I'll have to get a Maine Made Bushy and see if I'm not just blowing hot air.:D

August 17, 2004, 09:35 AM
Maybe if survayed over thousands of examples, and after thousands of rounds, enough data can be put together :uhoh:

What has the Armed Services been using since 1964? Ain't nothin but a Colt.


August 17, 2004, 09:42 AM
I thought FN has been making the M-16's for awhile now.

August 17, 2004, 09:44 AM
Colt has the contract for the M4 and some A4 rifles. FN has a contract for A4 rifles.

August 17, 2004, 10:59 AM
In my original post I didn't mean to slight any Olympic Arms owners. After researching AR's at you'd think they were held together with baling wire! The further I get into this it appears that it comes down to a lot of personal preference. I'm leaning towards Colt because of their tradition with the AR. I understand that I may not be able to swap parts as easily as I can with some other brands, but that doesn't seem to be too big a deal.

Thanks for your time gentlemen. More comments are always welcome.

August 17, 2004, 11:24 AM
One LEMON does not a trend make BUT here is my experience with a Bushmaster XM15E2S 20" Fluted barrel:

New out of the box the thing would fire 10 to 30 rounds and then start stovepiping. Local Gunsmith (usually very knowledgeable) didn't have a clue so after about 100 rounds I sent it back to BM. BM charged me freight (both ways - does one have to ask them for a label or something). Problem was with the extractor. When the bolt heated up after firing for a bit the extractor pin expanded just enough that it failed to work.

Got the thing back and voila - no more stovepiping. Cool. Now I had a chance to sight the thing in. Rear sight had to be almost all the way to the right to get on paper. Started at 25 yards for zero. Moved to 50 yards had to adjust rear sight to the right. Moved to 100 yards - had to move rear sight further to the right. Now it was off zero at 50. This is total BS so I call BM and find out that they had a run of uppers where they over torqued the barrel. They said a Gunsmith could fix it for about $2 in parts and labor or I could send it to them and they'd fix it under warranty. Screw that.

I ended up trading the thing for an M1 Garand and never looked back. The M1 works great.

The day may come when I want to acquire an AR again but when I do it won't be a Bushmaster that's for sure. As the saying goes: Burn me once - shame on you. Burn me twice - shame on me!

August 17, 2004, 11:38 AM
My standard Bushmaster XM15E2S has always functioned flawlessly, but when new, it had a problem with an improperly timed barrel - zero at 100 yards took about 17 clicks of windage. Bushmaster issued a call ticket, had the upper picked up, and returned it to me about 10 days later, fixed properly under warranty, all at no cost to me. Bushmaster is also supposed to be closer to milspec than other brands. (Note that NO civilian-legal, currently manufactured AR15 clone can be TRULY "milspec.") I wouldn't hesitate to buy another.

I have a sour feeling toward Colt's because based on my personal experience (though not with an AR-15) Colt's does not honor their warranty, if it calls for actually fixing a defect. I also don't like Colt's because they went PC before the law required them to, by switching to non-standard size pins, removing the bayonet lug, and installing a block in the lower which makes trigger work harder. (I will admit, a buddy's preban Colt HBAR does shoot well.)

No first-hand experience with Armalite or RRA . . . but I understand Armalite is issuing coupons good for a "free" barrel threading after the AWB expires. If this is true, in my book that's the mark of a good company.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 17, 2004, 11:55 AM
My experience has been that Colt's does the most thorough quality assurance; but that if something does slip through the customer service was atrocious (it has been years though so maybe they have cleaned up their act).

Bushmaster on the other hand has excellent customer service but you stand a greater chance of having to use it. Overtorqued barrels, improperly staked gas keys, purple finish... I'd rate them a second to Colt.

Olympic is much hated on and qualifies their lifetime warranty to such an extent that it will be difficult to actually qualify for it; but the one Olympic I owned never gave me any trouble at all and was a good gun.

August 17, 2004, 01:23 PM
Zero problems with my 16" Armalite. A very nice rifle.

August 17, 2004, 03:12 PM
I have run just under 1000 rounds through my 20" Olympic Arms AR-15. Nary a problem. Occassionally I have had to use the forward assist to make up for my sloppy handling. But I love the gun!

August 17, 2004, 05:23 PM
I like Armalite, but DPMS, Bushmaster and Rock River are all okay IMO. My father has a National Match DPMS upper which will hang with my Armalite National Match pretty well.

The old Colt Sporter is wonky. Over-torqued barrel requires major windage usage. You need a PAIR of screwdrivers to seperate the upper and the lower. Plus you need a special adapter to fit a standard pin upper on, which means you can no longer just swivel the recievers apart. BAH!! Make mine another manufacture's. Although, the cool factor of the SP-1 is hard to get over sometimes. It is lighter than most of the "lightweight" carbines sold now, and is just plain fun to shoot.

August 17, 2004, 07:54 PM
DPMS/Rock River

In that order. I've been hearing good things about LMT but haven't seen one in person yet.

I've had problems with other people's Colts I've shot (failure to extract, double feeds etc) that I didn't with the other brands, but then again the Colt M16A2 I had in basic was flawless with live ammo except for one jam cleared in two seconds (an empty bounced back into the ejection port off my finger I think, it double fed more or less with the next round. A quick SPORTS and a whack and it was in action again.

It didn't like blanks, due to lack of gas to make the thing go, but otherwise, that particular M16A2 was fine. :)

August 17, 2004, 08:07 PM
Colt performs quality assurance tests that other companies don't. For example they Magnaflux bolts and barrels and proof fires.

Bushmaster magnafluxes their barrels, too, IIRC - not sure if the "MP" inspection is done after they receive the barrel blanks, or before.

My Bushmaster runs well - but then again, I've only used XM193 and USGI 30-rounders.

Jon Coppenbarger
August 18, 2004, 12:09 AM
I will put it this way the colt rifles I have bought in the last year total 2 , bushmaster around 5, armalite about the same and a couple of dpms's,
The hands done winner everyone wants is rock river with over $25,000 worth of rifles and parts bought from them this year for clients.
I think that # will grow and all of those orders were ordered and paid for by clients before I bought them.
At camp perry alone I bought 3 complete rifles and a upper and ordered another upper not counting the parts I bought also and that does not go on the $ figure from them. Looking foward to see what kind of more programs they have at the shot show again in Jan. in vegas as that is where I set up our stocking dealer program last year.
Going to order colaspible stocks and some other parts tommorrow also as I think I will need them in around a month for the cust's.

Most highpower shooters I know are getting the rock rivers but armalite does put out a great product also.

I have a safe full of ar's and only sold one of my own this year and it was the only colt I owned out of my match rifles that I was willing to part with.

JWH 223
August 18, 2004, 10:54 AM
Armalite...I have owned 4...I still have one and it is my Varmint/target gun. It shoots great and the fit & finish is top notch...I would buy one again.

Bushmaster..I have owned 6-8...I still have 4.....They are all very reliable. My Bushys are all carbine type guns so I have never done any real accuracy testing. Fit & finish is very good, sometimes colors don't match exactly from upper to lower...These are my favorite carbine type ARs.

DPMS & Olympic....I have had parts, but never full factory guns. Some of the parts wouldn't fit right and the receiver finish seems rough compared to BM and Armalite.

RRA....I have had many parts from them and also complete uppers. Everything fits and finish on receivers and barrels is very good and very nice color matching on receivers...I have had some small parts (gas blocks, etc..) that had some rough machining and poor finish. I have also had issues with ARMS rails not fitting on thier flattop uppers.

Colt..I refuse to buy anything based on a Logo...I'm sure they are great.

Overall, I'm a Bushy man for blasting and an Armalite guy for punching paper.....

My $0.02

August 18, 2004, 11:02 AM
I have two Bushmaster lowers both with RRA uppers on them. I happy with all of it. I really like RRAs NM trigger.

JWH 223
August 18, 2004, 11:12 AM
I've been adding RRA's NM triggers to my ARS also...they are bye far the best trigger for the money.....

Carlos Cabeza
August 18, 2004, 03:07 PM
Werewolf must've gotten a bad apple. I recently bought a 20" DCM Bushmaster and have not had any trouble with it. Runs like a top. The first several outings with it I cleaned and lubed religiously to be sure any mated surfaces had gotten some time to "mate". Accuracy is pretty damn fine. It shoots better than I do.;) I bought several GI 30's magazines and only shoot quality XM193 ammo.

Jon Coppenbarger
August 18, 2004, 05:14 PM
We have not had any function problems really with the bushmasters other than the following.

A2 match sights not tracking correctly in windage and in some rifles at the wrong time.
two stage triggers going south and not being able to fix them.

We have like 15 bushmasters in our club we issue to members who qualify and to use for our junior programs and clinics.
Out of the 15 rifles we have had to do sight work on 2 rifles and trigger work on 9 of them. all of these weapons have less than 1,500 rounds threw them and are well taken care of and some with less than 700 rounds threw them.
We were able to adjust 6 of the triggers and the other 3 lowers I took back to camp perry with me to the bushmaster rep. as they do great service work and he said he worked on them for hours eliminating what parts were defective. one was just the trigger, one was hammer and trigger and the other was the complete trigger assembly. It was explained to me they had a few issues but have since corrected that problem and the lowers I got back from them fixed the next day are working very well.
Would I buy from bushmaster again, yes I would.

August 18, 2004, 05:19 PM
Bushie and Colt are good. RRA is pretty good, too, but I wish they were cheaper - for about the same price as a RRA AR-15, you can get a Bushie.

You can get a RRA in most any configuration for $650 NIB through RB precision. (RB precision is also an excellent comapny to do business with. Can you point me to a new bushie at that price?


August 18, 2004, 05:23 PM
For my money it's all Colt for me. I've had Bushmasters and shot several other brands. Not that the others are JUNK by any means. I just prefer the Colt, and the additional Quality Control they have to go through. JMHO

August 18, 2004, 05:48 PM
I have an OlyArms pliker(cast reciever). Not the most accurate thing (would help if I took the time to sight it in better), but never has had any malfunctions, other than those caused by my cheapo 10dollar mags.

Of course, a Bushmaster will be mine shortly after the ban expires and a friend is talking about taking the Oly off my hands...or maybe I will keep it.:D

August 18, 2004, 07:44 PM
Over the years I've owned 4 Colt AR's, and currently have 2 of them. They have all worked very well for me. Never owned or shot any of the other brands so I can't comment on them. And I wish I still had the 2 I sold!

August 19, 2004, 02:03 AM
Colt is the highest quality overall and the only one that makes mil spec parts. The only other mil spec AR15 company is FN and they don't sell to anyone but the military. If a company says it has mil spec parts call them and ask for the mil spec number. They will not have it. Colt will. I place Bushmaster in a distant second to Colt. I have no experience with RRA. But I hear they are good. I have had bad luck with Oly and I feel they make crap based on personal experience. We issue DPMS AR15''s at my department and we have had some problems. I saw some serious problems at a Patrol Rifle Class I taught in Seward Alaska. Their DPMS guns were having serious extraction difficulties. My Colt Ran fine as I taught the Class. I ended up loaning it to many a students to keep them in the class while I attempted to keep their guns running. Armalite I have had some issues with a couple of guns I have bought from them. I would put them as a lower tier company.

August 19, 2004, 09:28 AM
I have two Armalites.

My first is a M-15A2 Eagle Arms version. I have had it for six years and never a problem. It was vaccurrate right out of the box.

My second is M-15A2 NM which I just purchased last month. Great gun so far but have only put about 200 rounds through it.

August 19, 2004, 01:25 PM
I may be one of the few to say so, but if you get an AR15 of any manufacturer, buy the proper tools to maintain it and tear it completely apart. The AR15 is a simple beast and your ability to tear down the rifle at home (and install new components) will greatly augment your ability to own and enjoy the AR15.

I just swapped an upper receiver in about 20 minutes at home. Fired off thirty rounds and had one failure on the last round. I blame the magazine.

The ability to build more and fix problems should be reason enough to spend the 100 dollars and get the proper tools for stripping the gun down to the barest essentials. I thought I was going to get an AR15 and move on to pistols or some other crap. I was dead wrong. The AR15 became my favorite personal weapon and in less than a year I had three. I sold the other two to friends and am using the funds to build more AR15s for personal use in unique configurations after 9/14.

I will recoment the following manfs in this order:

Bushmaster RRA Armalite
DPMS OLY Everyone else.

You will find the upper echelon of the companies have better quality controll and a more consistant product from batch to batch. That means less lemons in circulation. They all make guns that go bang, but some more than others will put out a gun that is not up to spec.

August 19, 2004, 01:41 PM
Just thought I share my Trouble Free Bushmaster with ya.:D 1000 rounds and just getting broke in.:)


August 19, 2004, 01:49 PM
And my first RRA build. When I compleated the lower I slapped the Bushy upper on it and ran 200 or so rounds through it and the combo worked just fine.:D


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