101 AR Lower Receivers

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by HGUNHNTR, Feb 6, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2,541
    Location:
    Georgia
    Alrighty, the differences in quality of AR uppers has been discussed into the ground. How about lowers? Is there really any difference in quality aside from all machining being done to the correct tolerances, and trigger quality?

    I would rather save a few bucks on the lower and put a little extra into a high end upper.

    Your thoughts.
     
  2. HOLY DIVER

    HOLY DIVER Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    spartanburg,SC
    well i have to agree spend your money on the upper!
     
  3. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    5,592
    Location:
    Yakutsk, Sakha Republic
    Most are too similar to make a difference. As long as you get one built to spec your fine.
    Some are cheap cast AL, but that deosn't matter much. You could probally make a lower out of paper and glue.

    My picks:
    LMT, Stag, Spikes, CMMG, Cavalry Arms (polymer with fixed stock)

    Avoid: Colts with the odd big holes, RRA (too tight fit sometimes), Vulcan, Hesse.
     
  4. tju1973

    tju1973 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    471
    Location:
    Texas
    I think lowers sometime are overpriced due to a roll mark-- although someone at I think AR15.com (?) posted picts of some brand of $80ish striped lower that was poorply machined with crooked holes and one side of the receiver thicker than the other. As long as you stay with a decent well known brand, or the specs are good, then all most people are paying for is a roll mark-- I think some cast lowers have been made poorly, and the verdict is still iffy on some polymer/carbon lowers-- BUT the Cavalry Arms type seems to be good, and to tell you the truth, I bid on a Dutch Auction on a PlumCrazy complete polymer (?) lower due to the $99 price tag-- if I get it, I may try to use it for a .22 build-- not sure how tough it is, but as the lower is a low stress item, it may work fine.... I would spend the real money on good uppers, BCGs, and LPKs....
     
  5. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Messages:
    3,892
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    DPMS builds a good lower.
     
  6. juk

    juk Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    875
    Location:
    Alabammy
    I just bought two Sabre lowers. They were 109$ each out the door. I feel that I got quality and value rolled into one. I am building a carbine on one and a rifle on the other, both of which will be "value minded" builds.
     
  7. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    17,608
    Here's a list of some of the manufacturer(s) of various lowers. Granted, the finish out and QC processes by the company that stamps their name on the side does vary:

    Lewis Machine & Tool makes
    LMT
    Lauer
    DS Arms
    PWA
    Eagle
    Armalite
    Knights Armament
    Barrett

    Continental Machine Tool makes
    Stag
    Rock River Arms
    High Standard
    Noveske
    Century (New)
    Global Tactical
    CLE
    S&W
    MGI
    Wilson Tactical
    Grenadier Precision
    Colt

    LAR Manufacturing makes
    LAR
    Bushmaster
    Ameetec
    DPMS
    CMMG
    Double Star
    Fulton Armory
    Spike's Tactical

    JVP makes
    Double Star
    LRB

    Mega Machine Shop makes
    Mega
    GSE
    Dalphon
    POF
    Alexander Arms

    Olympic makes
    Olympic
    SGW
    Tromix
    Palmetto
    Dalphon
    Frankford
    Century (Old)

    Sun Devil
    Sun Devil billet receivers

    Superior
    Superior Arms
     
  8. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,805
    Location:
    Northern Idaho
    From what I have seen, there are two types of AR-15 lower receivers. Mil-spec and non mil-spec. The mil-spec lowers have a 99% drop in fit rate and the non mil-spec lowers require fitting on some parts but have tighter tolerences between upper and lower.
     
  9. MCMXI
    • Contributing Member

    MCMXI Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    9,096
    Location:
    NW Montana
    I bought a POF stripped lower (P-415-SA-GIII) last year because it has an integral ambidextrous bolt release and an integral trigger guard, two features that I wanted. It wasn't cheap at around $300 but the POF upper that sits above it wasn't cheap either. I have a couple of Bushmaster lowers that are well made and I have no complaints about BM quality.

    http://www.pof-usa.com/lower/lowerreceiver.htm

    :)
     
  10. Zach S

    Zach S Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,533
    Location:
    Western NC
    That POF lower is billet. As far as forged lowers, the only real difference is the rollmark.

    I really dont care. I'll get whatever the FFL has in stock or can get.
     
  11. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2,541
    Location:
    Georgia
    Thats kinda what I thought. I bought a RRA complete lower at a gunshow this weekend because it was a decent price-- $289. It looks pretty good and fits my other uppers very well.
     
  12. notorious

    notorious Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,094
    Location:
    Behind Enemy Lines
    I bought a Plum Crazy lower and it does not fit my RRA upper. The plum crazy lower has an open channel behind the hammer where it is normally closed and there are two bars that close off the channel somewhat but that blocked the rear pivot on the upper from seating into the pivot channel is on the lower.

    In English, the upper won't close because the lower blocked the upper rear pin. Now I am bummed... again.
     
  13. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    5,592
    Location:
    Yakutsk, Sakha Republic
    It's plastic. Time to get the dremel out.
     
  14. halfded

    halfded Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    826
    Location:
    Virginia
    Get one on sale from Spike's. They've got one now for $85, can't beat it!
     
  15. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,857
    Location:
    SW MO
    Add to list: AGP. Nice roll mark, beveled mag well, trigger set screw standard, superior machining ( they do aftermarket turbocharger parts, high standard and quality required.)

    There are about 6 drop forge platter makers, they and about 7 or 8 others machine for all the rollmarks out there. If it's forged, it's basically the same product CNC machined to conventional blueprints.

    None are milspec because A) they aren't automatic with the extra pin hole, and B) they have to be accepted by Tank and Armaments command.

    Billet, cast, or polymer, take your chances. Billet isn't drop forged, and won't be lighter. It will have generally superior CNC work because that's all it is, a machined chunk of aluminum.

    Once down the list of conventional lowers, you can find custom rollmarks, individualized serial numbers, choices of color, engraving, and even one with modular components and changeable mag wells for other calibers.

    Something new every year, and more to come.
     
  16. ants

    ants Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,710
    Be careful of the finish, if that's important to you.

    Five or six machine tool companies make most of the bare unfinished lowers for the dozens of other distributors listed above, but the distributor applies the finish. And they all have a different idea of how to finish it.

    There seem to be a thousand different colors of black. Two dozen different colors of desert tan. A bunch of different greens. And some finishes are baked on enamel or epoxy rather than anodized aluminum. If matching the color and texture of your upper is important to you, pay attention.
     
  17. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,857
    Location:
    SW MO
    Good point. There are those who bought a Teflon upper with a matte lower. Both are black, the teflon looks 5 shades darker. And good luck with the rest of the furniture, too, as Dark Earth, Coyote, Desert Tan, Olive Drab, and Foliage Green vary with each maker, some significantly.

    Others make that work, buying whatever was on discount. A recent post on arfcom showed one like that, only two parts the same color. It actually didn't look bad, almost a purposeful camo.

    Then there is the Krylon or Duracoat answer, which will make everything the exact same color no matter what. The Army is putting out a set of instructions on how to do that for Afghanistan.

    There are anodizers out there who will refinish to customer specs if something consistent or special is needed. Given some lead time and what can be done with aluminum, lots of possibilities exist. Polished chrome has been done, it's done daily on big dub rims for SUV's.

    Lotsa ways to spend dollars. Contact cement and $100 bills is another. :evil:
     
  18. Quentin

    Quentin Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    NorthWest USA
    You can definitely save some money going with a $100 or even lower stripped lower but stick to the name brands recommended above. I got a S&W M&P-15 lower and love it.

    Something to think about - you might want spend a little more and get the same brand stripped lower as your upper. This makes it more likely they will fit nicely and have matching finishes. Also if you ever need to sell it the rifle should be worth more if you can honestly say it's a S&W or RRA or CMMG - not a FrankenAR. Mine is ArmaLite on S&W and it fits, looks and functions fine but informed people can figure out that the upper is not S&W (for one thing S&W doesn't make a midlength upper).
     
  19. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    13,043
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    As was said before, a lower is a lower is a lower, AS LONG AS IT IS IN-SPEC.

    I recently discerned that nearly ALL lowers are made by three or four companies. I am in the middle of a couple of builds, I plan on seeking out a couple of LAR lowers just because they are a Utah company.

    Like quentin said, when you build like this, it looks like a Frankengun, BUT, at the same time, there is no guarantee when you buy a used AR that it was built any better just because the upper and lower match. I was seeking parts with this in mind, and a friend asked me; "Do you ever plan on selling this gun?" I thought about it for a second. "Nope". I build it for ME to MY specs and preferences, and I'll beat the snot out of it. I built it, I can fix it.

    I suppose if you want to be very picky, you can look at the difference between forged, machined, or carbon fiber. I'm not that picky, forged in-spec is fine with me.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice