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AR receivers: Steel or Aluminum?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Rabbi, Nov 10, 2004.

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  1. The Rabbi

    The Rabbi member

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    Sorry to keep popping in with these questions. There is a lot to know about ARs because everyone makes something for them. I guess thats one of the advantages of the gun.
    Anyway, I see both aluminum (I guess the mil-spec) and also steel receivers. Obviously some difference in weight and a big difference in price. But is there any practical difference and why would someone opt for one over the other.
     
  2. usp_fan

    usp_fan Member

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    Usually the steel recievers are for building heavy target type rifles. The reciever in the AR design is a very low load component. Steel doesn't offer much except an increase in weight which is important to shooters trying to mitigate the effects of heartbeat, breathing, etc... on their rifles when shooting long distances.

    Just my 2 cents.

    --usp_fan
     
  3. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

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    Only other thing I remember is some manual saying "don't dissamble your lower receiver group for cleaning 'cause you'll open up the pin holes with wear." I imagine a steel receiver wouldn't have that problem, but um.... don't know why I'd care. :)
     
  4. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    I guess it would be nice if you had one of those "Shrike" belt feed conversions on a selective fire rifle.

    Well, if the Shrike actually existed. :p
     
  5. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Steel receivers are unneccessary on an AR. They are both heavier and less resistant to corrosion than anodized and phosphated aluminium. As for wear and tear, I've seen aluminium receivers marked XM16E1 in service with the military as late as 1992. This would mean that lower was purchased between 1963 and 1967 most likely and served 25+ years in the military and was still being used.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2004
  6. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    +1 steel is a waste.

    AR lowers can be made to last out of polymer/nylon. Just look at what Cavalry Arms is doing. They've shot tens of thousands of rounds full auto without failure.

    -z
     
  7. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Bartholomew Roberts said;
    I can personally verify that some of these receivers were in service as late as 2002. I haven't seen it myself, but my son tell me there are some of these receivers that are now overstamped M16A4 in his unit's arms room at Ft Benning now.

    Don't continually push the steel pins in and out of the holes and keep them from corrosion and they'll last forever.

    Jeff
     
  8. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Steel receiver is only needed if you intend to build a rifle with a very heavy 1" or 1 1/4" diameter 24' or 26" target barrel.
    These large heavy barrels can cause the front pivot pin lugs to crack and break off on aluminum receivers.
    If you plan on building and average, run of the mill AR, the forged aluminum Mil-Spec receiver will work just fine.
     
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    As said before, steel is for target guns. I have a steel lower, but have yet to buy a 1.1" (axle shaft) barrel to assemble to an upper.
     
  10. ckyllo

    ckyllo Member

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    the only other reason I can see for a steel reciever, is if you where to get a 50 bmg upper. for the weight stress and recoil stress. other than that save the money for ammo.
     
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