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AR-15: Best Models - need advice

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by wolfe, Feb 3, 2011.

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  1. wolfe

    wolfe Member

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    I am in the market for an AR-15 chambered in standard .223 but don't know which brand to go with. I am usually hardcore with the brand and don't settle for knock offs but I know there are some really good quality AR-15s out there.

    If you had to rate the following brands which would be highest?

    Rock River
    SPMS
    COLT
    Bushmaster
    Armalite

    Thanks for the info. I love this forum for all the great opinions.
     
  2. Joe in fla

    Joe in fla Member

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    Colt, hands down! I always wonder what kind of shortcuts the imitators took and what they did to cut costs. It doesn't help that I've seen a number of them that were out of tolerance and parts didn't fit like they should. I should add that all my Colts are older models and are MIL-spec. I don't know what they've done to the newer ones since they lost the US military contract.
     
  3. snakeman

    snakeman Member

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  4. browneu

    browneu Member

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    It depends on how much you want to spend and what you're using it for.

    Out of the list provided I think you're going to see an overwhelming response for Colt.

    Other brands you should also consider are S&W, Daniel Defense, LMT, and BCM.
     
  5. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Of your list, Colt, by a large margin.

    Not on your list, but equally good or in some cases better:
    Daniel Defense
    Bravo Company (BCM)
    Noveske
    LMT (Lewis Machine & Tool)
     
  6. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    Out of the models you listed I'd go with Colt. If you were open to other brands I'd definitely look into BCM or LMT.
    Here is "The Chart" (desirable mil-spec features and major manufacturers):
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pwswheghNQsEuEhjFwPrgTA&single=true&gid=5&output=html
    Keep in mind most (and all mil-spec) guns will be chambered for 5.56 rather than .223. You can shoot .223 in 5.56 guns but not vice versa. .223 only is usually reserved for match/varmint guns more concerned with accuracy than reliability.
     
  7. JQP

    JQP Member

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    I like Colt of the ones on your list.

    I like LMT, BCM, Daniels Defense and Noveske, which are not on your list, as Z has stated.

    I'm watching Spikes. They seem GTG.
     
  8. snakeman

    snakeman Member

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    The most rewarding is to build it yourself and watch the 1st bullet hole appear then slightly get a little bigger with each shot! Out of your list...rock river or armalite.
     
  9. Flash!

    Flash! Member

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    Colt all the way for factory rifles....... if you want to build one from scratch we would need more info as to what you want it to do......
     
  10. wolfe

    wolfe Member

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    I like to shoot for fun and I just like owning firearms. Have a nice collection of good qualtity pistols and now need to start on the long guns. I am a clay target shooter by trade :) but my local club has some rifle matches for braggin' rights etc.

    I'm open any brand as long it is is HIGH quality and worth the $$$$$$. Firearms to me are a great investment. They are fun to shoot and retain their value well if maintained how much better can an investment get.

    Thanks and keep the opinions coming.

    BTW don't think I'm into building one. not overly mechanically inclinded.
     
  11. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Member

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    Colt, by a lot.

    All of the other brands that you name have shortcuts taken in their construction and/or material quality. These shortcuts will increase the odds that you will get a lemon, as well as significantly decreasing the service life of your rifle.

    -C
     
  12. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Note that The Chart only pertains to the M4 and pattern M4 variants only and not even to other military versions. While the information is very useful if you want an M4 or variant, the data have absolutely nothing to do with any other models.

    In regard to the accuracy of the The Chart, it is apparently kept updated when there are changes in models, but the model you buy may not have the exact features noted on The Chart. This isn't because The Chart is wrong per se, but because manufacturers are apt to use what is on hand when they are building the guns build differences may occur with who is doing the work. For example, most of the models come with a chrome-lined bore, but you may fine that a model that is supposed to have this doesn't. Models noted with properly staked gas keys sometimes have gas keys that are not properly staked.

    In the last AR15/M16 armorer's course I attended with Sully Sullivan (http://www.slr15rifles.com/Default.asp), only one of the four M4 variants in the class actually matched The Chart.

    So if you get a M4 or variant, The Chart is a good guide to the features, but not necessarily 100%. For other models, don't expect The Chart to be representative of any of them.

    To answer the original question, I have been pleased with both Colt and RRA AR15s. The downside to Colts, I have found, is that they tend to cost more than similarly made guns from other manufacturers. However, it has been my experience that the factory Colt trigger pulls are crisper than what I have with my RRAs.
     
  13. M&PVolk

    M&PVolk Member

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    From your list, I would rank Colt at a large margin better than the other choices. From there, Armalite, followed by a tie with Bushmaster and Rock River. Honestly though, I would be more inclined to go with Daniel Defense, Spike's Tactical or Bravo Company. It isn't that I don't think Colt is good, it's just that, IMHO, you get more for your money with DD, ST, and BCM.
     
  14. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Regarding "standard .223", do make sure you think through the choice between .223 Remington chamber vs. 5.56x45mm NATO chamber, which are not precisely identical. The NATO chamber will safely shoot all .223, but the .223 chamber's somewhat tighter throat may be less tolerant of some 5.56x45mm. Basically, if you are a match shooter, will never be shooting any milsurp or cheap imported ammo, and value accuracy at all costs (even over reliability), get a .223 chamber; otherwise, you *might* be better served with a 5.56 chamber.
     
  15. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    Agreed. It's not the end-all-be-all guide, the buyer needs to go over all the details of the particular gun they are purchasing. I just think it's useful for determining what steps a manufacturer takes on their rifles which can help determine the overall quality they put into their builds.

    If you buy a complete upper and a complete lower, it's not really "building" one. It's pushing two pins. And if you aren't up to that you are going to have a really hard time cleaning it. Most (maybe all) of the BCM models are complete upper receivers. I went with a LMT lower on mine but I understand BCM builds great lowers as well. It took me all of 20 seconds to assemble the rifle.
     
  16. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I, along with 60 of my closest friends, have Bushmasters issued to us. We've had 'em nearly a decade and have had very few problems.
     
  17. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

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    I don't know who SPMS is but DPMS builds a lot of rifles. I have two they work. They aren't mil spec. I don't care. Given that when I purchased them Bravo Company and Spikes etc weren't even around or I didn't know they were. Could have had a Colt for twice what I paid for the DPMS. I'm still very happy with my purchase they are very accurate and go bang every time.
     
  18. husker

    husker Member

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    Colt












    Bushmaster
    Rock River
    Armalite
    SPMS
     
  19. 1911WB

    1911WB Member

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    AR15s

    As you can see from the "chart" the differences in AR brand quality comes down to the grade of barrel steel and receiver aluminum, and the testing of barrels and bolts that is done (or not). Daniel Defense, LMT, BCM and Spikes Tactical all use 4150 steel barrels (or better) instead of lesser brands which use 4140. Receivers of those brands are of 7075 alum. instead of the typical 6061. Barrels and bolts are all individually HP and MP tested at DD, LMT, BCM and ST.

    Colt is in that group too, but is often overpriced, and you have to watch out for "large pin" models which do not mate up with most other brands "small pin" receivers without special conversion pins. WB
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  20. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    No one is using 6061 on a forged receiver. 7075 forged platters are too cheap now for 6061 to be worthwhile. Everyone is currently using forged 7075 other than a few of the billet receivers using 6061 (many billets are now 7075 also). You can get quality stripped lowers of forged 7075 for just $60 (Aero Precision, AP custom brands, some specials on DSA).

    Re: Colt, historically overpriced but lately the Colt 6920 has been going for as little as $1100, which is quite reasonable for the quality and name.
     
  21. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    I agree.

    My new Daniel Defense upper has been excellent and I can see why it, BCM, Colt and others are considered the best. My ArmaLite is middle of the pack with S&W and others. Bushmaster, RRA and others fall further back though they do work for most people. Do more research then pick the one that has your specs and the best quality at your price point.
     
  22. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    I would have to say that it depends on what it is that you want the rifle to do. If you want it as a fighting gun then Colt is probably your best choice. However, Colt has less options for barrels than any of the others. So, what you get with Colt is a reliable and mostly accurate bullet thrower. With some of the others you can get something that is slightly less reliable but it will shoot tighter groups. It really just depends on what you want.
     
  23. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    The choices are so much greater today from even 5 yrs ago, the last 3 that I got were built from pieces from different makers one with SDM billet receivers the others with Spikes and DD. All three had SS barrels so they don't show on the list.
    My others include Colt, BM & DPMS, I can't say I see much difference in any but none of them get anything close to extreme use aside from one DPMS.
    I understand all the testing and the process but I question its value for the most part with out some credible reporting of failure rates. I don't think these guns (AR's) breakdown that often, lemons exist in all things and perhaps at a greater frequency with some brands but the shear quantity of the rifles produced by the various makers needs to be taken into account as well.
    I think more lowers are probably built with DPMS kits than any other brand and account for the most moving parts.
    I have yet to see a barrel fail or a BC. Bolts certainly are parts that see the brunt of abuse in the system and buying top quality BCG for an extra 20 bucks can't be a bad idea if your building your own.

    PS if anyone is aware of another firearm in civilian hands that has as much scrutiny and wide spread dispersal as the AR platform I would love to hear what it was. If there were mass failures causing injury or death due to failure by defect it would be widely promoted by those who dislike the gun.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  24. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    Of the ones you listed only the Colt is worth looking at.
    Others to consider have already been mentioned. DD, BCM, Spikes, Noveske.
     
  25. wolfe

    wolfe Member

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    thanks for all the great advice. Since what I want needs to look like the original colt I think I'll go with a colt unless I see something that hits the nail on the head.

    I have looked at all the models suggested and they are all awesome.

    This is as much of an investment and collectible. There are some really sweet firearms out there.
     
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