Quantcast

Any complete uppers worth considering?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Exile, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. The Exile

    The Exile Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    207
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I'm thinking about getting the Aero M4E1 Upper, it seems like a pretty neat setup at a price in my budget but I don't want to just get excited about the first possible candidate and get tunnel vision. Anything else in that general price frame I should check out too?
     
    stillquietvoice likes this.
  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2018
    Messages:
    8,219
    Location:
    Up State New York
    Does it come with the bcg and charging handle?. You have a link. Bca and psa make nice uppers for cheap, the aero are nice to.
     
    stillquietvoice likes this.
  3. The Exile

    The Exile Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    207
    Location:
    Minnesota
    No BCG or charging handle, I'm fine with that though. There is a complete rifle version that I might get too, pretty much just want to see what the price would be between buying all the parts and buying the complete rifle then having to swap out the stock and grip.

    https://www.aeroprecisionusa.com/m4e1-556-16-mid-complete-upper
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  4. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2018
    Messages:
    8,219
    Location:
    Up State New York

    https://www.bearcreekarsenal.com/upper-assemblies


    https://palmettostatearmory.com/ar-15/barreled-upper-assemblies.html


    Here are some others you can look at to, but get what you like
     
    stillquietvoice likes this.
  5. ZGunner

    ZGunner Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    715
    Location:
    South GA
    Wow, how do the Bear Creek uppers shoot at that price. That is way cheaper than what I’ve been looking at.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  6. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,639
    Location:
    Hawkeye East
    I purchased the short barrel version for a pistol build for ~$330 (no CH/BCG) and assembled the stripped Aero lower. $80 ToolCraft NiB BCG, $30 Strike Industries CH, $40 KVP linear comp for a total of $480 into the upper.

    The uppermost pictured rifle has an assembled upper that began with a Ballistic Advantage mid-gas nitride pencil barrel, BA gas block, and BA nitrided gas tube at $150 total, Phase 5 15” M-LOK rail for $95, $55 Aero stripped upper, $15 Aero upper kit, $75 ToolCraft nitride BCG, $45 Fortis Hammer CH, and $40 KVP linear comp for a grand total of $475.

    Very close to even money spent on the uppers but considering the longer 15” rail, nicer CH, nitride barrel in a profile I got to choose I’d say it was the far better “value” of the two. Nothing at all wrong with the complete Aero, it’s been great, but I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of choosing exactly what I wanted as other members had long encouraged.

    I’ve also purchased two full uppers from PSA, both 18” SS rifle length with NiB BCGs and standard CH for $280 and $430 that work well. Whatever you choose, now is a phenomenal time to be shopping for value priced ARs like these.


    70772BC3-416C-4A7C-BF64-94D5A370163D.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  7. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    7,200
    Location:
    Denham Springs LA
  8. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,731
    Location:
    Ohio
    I had a hole in my AR collection that needed to be filled with a scoped long(ish) range gun. I had the lower sitting around that I used for stock service rifle competitions but I sold the upper last year. I picked up this little gem from PSA and it arrived yesterday. Since I had a couple hundred $ in credit card reward points, it was extremely inexpensive.

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...er-with-mbus-sight-set-bcg-ch-5165448415.html


    It is amazing to me what you can buy for so little money.
     
    LoonWulf and troy fairweather like this.
  9. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2018
    Messages:
    8,219
    Location:
    Up State New York
    They shoot good, they warranty it will shoot moa with good ammo. There 20'' ss 6.5 grendel side charger is on my short list,
     
    boom boom and LoonWulf like this.
  10. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,198
    Location:
    Kalif Kollective
    LoonWulf likes this.
  11. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    11,665
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I'm considering a 24" Side charger myself....The BCAs usually shoot pretty well and function fine. they are also usually rougher than the other "nicer" uppers.
    Still tho, I really LIKE right side reciprocating so the BCAs are mostly what I'll use now.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  12. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2018
    Messages:
    8,219
    Location:
    Up State New York
    Ya 24 would be nice, I'm still thinking what length I would get.
     
    LoonWulf likes this.
  13. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,627
    Location:
    East Texas
    those side charger bear creeks have internal milling marks on them like a ruger american receiver. They function, but they're noisy. also, they're billet, so they're heavy, and if your handguard has anti-rotation tabs you're going to have to do some fitting. But as a lefty I love them. I just wish they were using a forged upper rather than a billet one.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  14. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,669
    Location:
    Heart of Dixie
    How’s it shoot? I’m looking for a decent (& cheap) upper for shooting 300-500 yards. I only need to hit a coyote sized target.
     
  15. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,693
    Location:
    Missouri
    I have the same upper except with keymod hand guard that I bought in 2016. It has been quite accurate so far for me. I haven't had a chance to really push it at distances past 200 yards yet. I used M855 bulk ammo to break it in and even that shot well at 100 yards. I put a Primary Arms 4-14x44 MIL MIL scope on it. Quarter size groups at 100 yards.
     
    DeepSouth likes this.
  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    8,521
    In the current environment, it has become difficult to build your own upper, even seeking sale prices, for cheaper than an assembled basic upper on sale, unless you have access to dealer discounts. The only way it really works is to wait for each piece to be on sale more than 15% off AND free shipping. Sales on complete uppers are just too easy. That’s before you even talk about tool costs. Or... you have to scrimp on some lower grade components and reduce the gross price, for example, getting blemished forged uppers instead of factory firsts, and a cheaper dust cover and FA kit, cheaper gas block and BCG, but then using the same barrel and handguard. The end result offers the same performance, but at a lower gross component cost, even before sales and free shipping.

    Personally, I rarely have use for or interest in basic uppers, as most of the AR’s I build use will have $400 in the barrel and gas blocks alone. For a low cost, blasting AR, a guy really has to ask himself whether a $400 upper does anything more than a $400 complete rifle - and start asking themself if they really have a relevant use for a low cost carbine. Making noise sounds like a lot of fun until you have the money sunk, and then realize that blasting looses its novelty pretty quickly.
     
  17. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,693
    Location:
    Missouri
    I have to agree with what Varminterror said. It is definitely hard to build an upper cheaper than you can buy a complete one now days. An inexpensive basic rifle is great for your first rifle. As I accumulate more AR's I build them with a certain purpose in mind.

    I bought the PSA 223 Wylde SS upper to try my hand at more precision shooting without breaking the bank. All of my shooting is informal. If I were to get into competition shooting, then I would go with the best I can afford.
     
  18. BSA1

    BSA1 member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Messages:
    7,492
    Location:
    West of the Big Muddy, East of the Rockies and Nor
    As a AR junkie I enjoy learning more and more about them and the relationship of the various parts for accuracy and reliability. I do consider complete uppers a bit of the roll of the dice.

    My first AR build is a big disappointment for me. Not knowing anything about AR’s I brought a complete upper with a Wilson air gauged 5.56 Wylde 1 in 9” 16” barrel that a co-worker that is a AR addict recommended. Internet wisdom is this a accurate upper but alas I can not get it to shoot accurately with 55 gr. bullets. I have switched the bcg, installed a better fcg and recently switched the lower. Later this year I am going to try 62 gr. bullets. If it still will not group well then I am going to either sell the barrel or the entire upper.

    On the other end I have a PSA Freedom Rifle kit that is very accurate. The kit included a complete 16” 1 in 7” barrel upper. Again Internet wisdom says 1 in 7” barrel is not a good combination with 55 gr. bullets.

    I am giving a lot of thought for future builds and may buy a complete upper(s) if I find the right combination of parts to trip my finger so to speak.
     
  19. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2018
    Messages:
    3,684
    Location:
    Not DFW
    Wasn't there a bad batch of .223 Wylde reamers at one time?
     
  20. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    9,596
    Location:
    Middle Tn
    That’s almost exactly what I want. It’s probably a good thing I haven’t seen one in 6.8 set up similarly. The boss would question why I needed to spend money on another 6.8 upper... and lower... and other stuff to go with it.
     
    troy fairweather likes this.
  21. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,639
    Location:
    Hawkeye East
    I risk rightful ridicule for the following as it may be both counter intuitive and/or counter productive but here goes. Despite the barrel being the heart of a rifles’s potential accuracy it may be advantageous to consider it as an area for initial cost savings. See what I mean?

    The why of my train of thought would be to maximize spending on those parts that interface with the shooter: stock, trigger, handguard, optic. While the chance of getting sub-MOA accuracy from a $40 barrel is IMO astronomical, it provides you with a useable upper.

    Saving $50 by choosing a milspec charging handle and another $20 here or there to build an ergonomically challenged rifle with a really accurate barrel might leave you wanting to throw the whole thing out. Initially budgeting for an upgraded stock, trigger, handguard, selector switch, etc. might get you a rifle that is inherently user friendly with lack luster accuracy but you’ll know by group size where the deficiency resides and be 1 part away (hopefully) from changing that.

    Of course if you have the money upfront don’t monkey with a cheap barrel, just do it right. I’ve read enough accounts of heart stopping accuracy with bargain basement parts to think there will be some challenges on that basis alone to which I’ll stand firm and repeat my disbelief. For those who say my methodology is still poor for not budgeting for accuracy at the start I can only plead for empathy and acknowledge that many of us simply cannot afford to satisfy our wants except by piecemeal.
     
  22. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    I'll go with the flow and just say buy a barreled upper. By the time you get done buying the tools to build it, like an armorer's wrench, barrel vise, etc, any savings on buying individual parts on a $400 upper are long gone.

    If you want to go full-custom and have all your parts in mind, build your own. If you just want to geek out on the AR and see how everything works, build your own. If building is a means to an end and you just want a working upper for a fun gun - buy one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  23. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,410
    I just picked up a Windham MPC complete upper and it is pretty nice.
     
  24. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    5,639
    Location:
    Hawkeye East
    $86 plus a vise, a cheap armorer’s wrench, a few other punches and tools I already owned. That’s the totality of my “AR” tool collection. It’s a modest one, but useful beyond initial assembly for maintenance or cleaning.



    8CE18BD8-092B-487B-B298-67F23D1A4B42.png


    4D824752-989F-41F3-B706-9CD1F399DC17.png


    8855AFB8-D4D2-44D4-BDB7-34358720D833.png


    B61A94D8-82B1-4BC9-8119-91D8760D715C.png
     
    <*(((>< likes this.
  25. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,530
    $~100 in tools (counting the armorer's wrench) isn't bad at all, and if you're going to amortize them over a couple different builds, they make a lot of sense. But I don't think you are going to save $100 building one upper piece-by-piece versus just buying an assembled one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
    troy fairweather likes this.
  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