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Why is RRA (AR 15) so bad?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by briang2ad, Aug 20, 2010.

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  1. briang2ad

    briang2ad Active Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    When I post anything about RRA, folks trash them - even the lowers. I know that they are pretty far LEFT on the chart, but they advertise 1" groups with Black Hills ammo. So... why so bad? When Milspec is 2" at 100, why is RRA trash?

    Also, while chrome lined bores seem to be the minimum standard for an AR, and RRA generally doesn't put them on sub $1000 guns, why is the chrome lined thing all the rage? 5.56 is all non-corrosive. Some say NON-chromed is more accurate.

    People seem to trash their feed ramps specifically.

    Also, is 4140 so much poorer than 4150 or 'milspec'?
  2. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Senior Member

    May 19, 2008
    My guess is that much of it is a reaction against RRA's marketing claims, mostly the DEA contract and claiming that it made them the most wonderful thing out there (this is about 7-8 years ago, I think). They also managed to develop a bit of a fanboy club, much like Shrubmaster, and that often causes people to overreact to condemn them.

    They are a good solid AR but do not score well on "the chart."

    Non-chrome-lined barrels are often more accurate. RRA seems to emphasize accuracy, and also has offered a 2-stage trigger for a while. As a sporting AR I would see no problem with them at all. For life or death use, I'd go with something higher on "the chart."

    4140 is inferior to 4150 CMV, but without full auto it's not going to matter much in the real world.
  3. Wahoo95

    Wahoo95 Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    RRA makes good rifles, the problem is you can buy better rifles for the same price or less so why settle.
  4. jmorris

    jmorris Mentor

    Sep 30, 2005
    I only have two RRA uppers, a .223 and 458 socom, I have had zero problems and both are quite accurate.

    As far as trashing the lowers some might be surprised to learn that the lower they have was built by the same company. Most all lowers, excluding billet ones, are made by a handful of companies and then the selling "manufacturer" cleans them up, stamps their logo on, and does the finish. here's a list of most of the manufacturer(s). Granted, the finish out and QC processes by the company that stamps their name on the side does vary:

    Lewis Machine & Tool

    DS Arms
    Knights Armament

    Continental Machine Tool

    Rock River Arms
    High Standard
    Century (New)
    Global Tactical
    Wilson Tactical
    Grenadier Precision

    LAR Manufacturing

    Double Star
    Fulton Armory
    Spike's Tactical


    Double Star

    Mega Machine Shop

    Alexander Arms


    Century (Old)

    Sun Devil
    Sun Devil billet receivers

    Superior Arms
  5. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ft. Worth
    Huh, someone needs to tell my RRA that it's bad, it clearly doesn't know after so many thousands of rounds.
  6. Tirod

    Tirod Senior Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    The Chart documents whether the carbine listed has the milspec features required by the government and specified, item by item. That's all it does.

    Whether a buyer NEEDS a milspec feature, or if the milspec is even the BETTER type out there is open to discussion.

    Chrome lined barrels were spec'd in 1968 as a method to reduce corrosion, principally for full auto fire, and the majority of that actually erodes the throat just forward of the case mouth. That area is critical for accuracy. To chrome a barrel, it has to be rifled oversized and plated back, which can and does affect accuracy, too. Milspec chrome barrels shoot 2MOA on the average. Precision shooters use stainless, and avoid chrome like the plague.

    Another item is Magnetic Particle Inspection, which discovers if the bolt has cracks or flaws. Milspec is every bolt gets tested, civilian, maybe five out of a hundred, and the batch approved. Obviously one might slip through, Customer Service was invented as it was cheaper than testing every single item. Some prefer the Superbolts in stronger alloy, and for all the marketing, I've yet to see them claim MPI testing was done on every one. Maybe I missed it.

    The point is, for all the items on the chart, it's an institution's checklist, and not guaranteed the leading edge. Nitriding the barrel is now very common, hammerforging is poised to take over when the machines get paid. Very likely in the near future, milspec might get changed to Nitride Hammerforged - like most European makers have been doing for a long time. Almost all pistol barrels are hammerforged, and quite a few civilian sporting rifles. It's the ancient milspec that requires button rifling, and it's arguably old tech and needs to go away.

    Don't let the RRA bashers dump because it doesn't have a check on the chart, look into it and see if it's even necessary for you. They haven't got the lock on technology, the effort most of the time is to forewarn against the cheaper guns that can and do have failure prone parts - if they are used like combat carbines with high round counts through them.
  7. Heavies

    Heavies New Member

    Oct 30, 2009
    My brother has a RRA, flat top, heavy 16' barrel, and it is bad.
    Bad A$$ that is.:what:
    It'll shoot 3/4" at 100 no sweat with hand loads, and not much worse than that with any thing else you want to throw in it. The trigger is excellent, much better than any other AR versions I have tried.
    If I were to get an AR platform I would not mind running a RRA.:)
  8. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Yeah, same here.
  9. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Participating Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Nothing wrong with them at all, except to people that sit around making and ogling spreadsheets about rifles.

    I've had my chrome lined RRA M-Faux for 10 years now, got a few thousand through it. It has never failed to go bang, extract, and feed another round. It's pretty damn accurate too. Last week my old man took my RRA topped with a Trijicon TA01 and put 10 rounds into 2 inches at 100 yards using an old batch of XM193. This rifle has one heckuva track record for a POS! :D

    It cost me $700 back then and it has proven to be worth every red cent.
  10. longdayjake

    longdayjake Senior Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Genesee, ID
    Mine has out shot and out functioned many of the "mil-spec" rifles I have used. That said, I have taken really good care of it and broke it in really well. Once they get about 1-2000 rounds through them they seem to work no matter what. Mine does anyway.
  11. jem375

    jem375 Participating Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Most of the criticism comes from dealers that sell something else and like to downplay any other AR so they can sell their products. There is nothing wrong with RRA's and all they do is to shoot accurately with hardly any problems..
  12. Slamfire

    Slamfire Mentor

    Dec 29, 2006
    Civilians shooting RRA NM A2 rifles have won the President's 100 at Camp Perry, so I don't know what the beef is against RRA.

    RRA has a store on Commercial row, provides darn good discounts, and the NM A2 rifles I purchased from them were 100% correct in all details and shoot all rounds into small knot holes.

    Match rifle barrels are a step above service grade, and they are not chromed lined.

    If people have an issue with match barrels on their rifles, well that is not my problem.
  13. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    As has been said, most knocks on RRA or Bushmaster are due to the fact that you can get more for your money at the price point where RRA or Bushmaster sit for any particular model.

    Must of the knocking going on is over stated. From what I've seen, both RRA and Bushmaster build a nice product. As nice as they are, you can still look else where and get some added advantages, like better steel in the barrel, bolt and carrier and have those parts that have already been MP and HP tested. Will all of that matter to the average user? Probably not, but if you're paying for something, why not get the most for your money, whether you will actually benefit from it or not.

    Personally, I don't worry too much about recievers. From what I've seen, with a few exceptions, a receiver is a receiver. I do, however, get a little particular about the barrel and bolt/carrier group. I'm not the average user. For me, going shooting is like golf is to others. I do it every week, rain or shine.

    I don't know how many rounds I have through my beater carbine, but since January, I've accumulated 13 empty boxes that the 500 rounds lots of Silver Bear come in, so I've put at least that many rounds through my carbine. Doing that kind of shooting, I get a little piece of mind knowing that I have parts that are a step above the run of the mill.

    I'm not knocking the likes of RRA and Bushmaster, I'm just saying that you can get better for the same money.
  14. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Participating Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    Tampa Bay, FL
    ...I'm just saying that you can get better for the same money.

    Now, I will admit that nowadays, this is mostly true. The prices on RRA rifles and halves jumped up dramatically when the DEA contract was all the buzz. There are people paying $1k+ for a RRA rifle, and I agree, at that price point it is not such a good buy. On the other hand, I have recently seen new-in-box RRA rifles up for sale from private owners as low as $700 - $800.
  15. Welding Rod

    Welding Rod Participating Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    RRA is one of the very few manufacturers of firearms I will order and buy sight unseen. I have owned about 10 over the years and examined probably 10 more. All of mine had a perfect trigger, a properly clocked barrel that required almost no windage adjustment on the rear sight, centered sight aperatures, crisp cornered front sights, centered mill cuts in the front sight tower, rear sight assemblies that fit tightly to the back of the reciever without clocking to an oblique angle, had smooth and perfectly blended feed ramps, and had a good upper to lower fit. Judging by measuring the ejected brass with a RCBS Precsion Mic, all have had headspace dimensions towards the minimum side. All were supplied with NHMTG magazines.

    They all easily shot within their accuracy guarantees. None of the guns ever suffered a single functional problem. I did have some malfs with C Products mags that were welded together with the feed lips way too far apart, but that had nothing to do with the gun or RRA.

    All were bought buillt to my exact specs from my dealer for substantially below MSRP.

    I have had two issues. One safety had a shallow detent cut so it didn't click crisply in to the fire position, though the gun functioned fine. One 458 Socom had an extractor that looked overground. It worked fine but RRA sent me a new one anyway.

    What some guys can't seem to understand is that not every one wants an M4 copy. Personally I am most interested in 20" guns, normally with A2 recievers, with match triggers, that will easily shoot sub MOA, without over stretching the brass. So when someone asks about an AR in general and folks instantly start comparing M4 clone specs I just roll my eyes.

    BTW despite what people keep parroting in the forums, you can get chrome lining in any 223 Wylde/556 RRA carbine or rifle barrel that isn't stainless. I have yet to hear of a report of 4140 causing any kind of functional shortcoming... same with the hand blended feed ramps.

    Sure I keep one of cool kids' guns for SHTF.... a 20" flat top with (RRA) carry handle and fixed stock. It has a complete BCM upper (which stretches the brass quite a bit more than my RRAs), a heavy single stage military trigger with an excessive amount of sear engagement, and a wobbly fit between the upper and lower.

    But with that out of the way, I feel no need to put up with those things in my range shooters.

    I have owned RRA, Colt, Bushmaster, CMMG, and own a BCM upper. I have handled many additional ARs over the years and have seen lots of manfacturing sloppiness despite a gun's material or testing specs. Everything is trade off. Extra care in machining and holding tight tolerances brings its own costs. I would much rather have a perfectly serviceable barrel that is clocked true than a canted barrel of "milspec" material. I would rather have minimum headspace and a batch tested bolt than more sloppy headspacing and a bolt that was individually tested. I would rather have a rear sight that sits true and doesn't clock oblique to the line of the bore and have hand blended feed ramps than get "M4" feed ramps. I would rather have a 1:8 stainless barrel than a 1:7 chrome lined barrel. I would rather have a light and clean two stage trigger than a gritty heavy "milspec" trigger with excessive sear engagement.

    If I were to buy another AR for shooting (not collecting), it would likely be another RRA. The only real beef I have with RRA is they don't offer a light or medium profile 20" barrel.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  16. briang2ad

    briang2ad Active Member

    Sep 3, 2005
  17. migkillertwo

    migkillertwo Member

    May 29, 2010
    From what I understand they're a good rifle, but they're pretty overpriced. Their entry tactical is 1000$, for the same amount of money you can get a MUCH better rifle from Spikes or Bravo Company. Hell you could get those rifles AND add a CMMG 2-stage trigger group and you'll still be ahead of the Rock River
  18. 30mag

    30mag Active Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Where West meets South, Texas
    What are AK receivers made of?
  19. kwelz

    kwelz Senior Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    Henryville, IN
    Ask the DEA how much they love RRA. (here is a hint, they don't).

    As many others have said. They aren't terrible rifles. They tend to be better than DPMS and the like. However they are not great either. They tend to fail in Classes and for the money you can have a far superior rifles. But for someone who considers 500 Rounds a year overkill, they will probably be fine.
  20. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 25, 2002
    Down East in NC
    It's not that they're so bad; mine's a Rock River, and I like it. However, there is the (justified) criticism that for the price they're charging, they ought to get more of the details right, though. Bravo Company isn't much more expensive than RRA and they sweat the details a lot more.

    For example, gas key screw staking. Mine was very poorly staked, so a LE armorer on M4carbine.net kindly staked mine for me using the proper fixture, but there's not much excuse for not doing it right from the factory. And the castle nut on mine wasn't staked at all, so I staked my own with a $5 spring punch; again, something RRA should have done at the factory. Mine does appear to have a fully shrouded bolt carrier, at least, but I may pick up a BCM bolt at some point.

    Chrome lining is a good thing on an all-around rifle, IMO, but my RRA is chrome lined (it was a $40 option), 5.56mm chamber. I also replaced the flimsy RRA charging handle with a BCM Gunfighter Mod 4.

    Upsides of the rifle---fit and finish was good, the trigger is marvelous, and the accuracy is very good. And it can be good and reliable, but you may have to fix some of the neglected details yourself.
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