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SOCOM Mfg Diamond Series AR lowers

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by SRMohawk, Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. SRMohawk

    SRMohawk Member

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    Gentlemen,
    I had the most intriguing telephone conversation late this morning with one of the proprietors of a small little speciality AR parts firm that has previously been known as 'SOCOM Mfg'. Mind you all, I'd never heard of the outfit until recently, when I saw something online about the AR lower they make. It seems they are made of such special material (i.e. a super-grade aluminum) and hewn or machined in such an unusual way that they come out having absolutely no equal. Brownells has sold them in the past, but informed me that the firm responsible for them simply 'dropped off the face of the earth'. Nonetheless, they had a phone number for them. And when I called the man that talked to me said that his products had become so coveted in the Special Operations community that the Pentagon simply walked into his shop one day and told him to stop selling to the general public because he would be providing them with every unit he could turn out. Said it damn near bankrupted him, too.

    The good news is, the Pentagon recently let him off the hook and he'll now be selling his hardware to the general public again. For my own part, I want one of these ostensibly incredible lowers. But they're expensive! Any of you ever handled one or even had the opportunity to operate a rifle based on one?
     
  2. asknight

    asknight Member

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    Sounds like a far-fetched story to me. Brownells is a HUGE distributor, and he just dropped off the face of the earth and didn't tell them anything? Sounds like he's trying to somehow repair a previously ruined reputation with a pie-in-the-sky story.

    I'll stick with my other "Mil-Spec" lowers, thank you. They meet every single criteria to be issued to any Pentagon employee mandated to carry a weapon.
     
  3. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    If he's selling all of his production, how does the name of the customer matter?

    This sounds bogus.
     
  4. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    Sounds quite improbable to me, for various reasons.
     
  5. ScottsGT

    ScottsGT Member

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    Buy the gun, not the story.....
     
  6. SRMohawk

    SRMohawk Member

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    So none of you are at all familiar with the subject product?
     
  7. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Not me - sorry.
     
  8. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    1) About 1/3 the references to SOCOM Manufacturing I could turn up on Google had to do with the owner being charged by the ATF with some felony counts pertaining to MAC-11 kits or something.

    2) Like the ATF, military JAG considers the lower receiver the "weapon" with issue M4s and M16s. Lots of SOF units get away with using non-standard upper receivers and other components, but I have yet to see anyone using a non-USGI lower from Colt, FN, or some of the older manufacturers (have seen SPRs built on H&R A1 receivers, for instance).

    The two taken together lead me to think that the "Special Ops buys all my lowers, can't talk about it, wink wink nudge nudge" story is BS, probably to cover serious interruptions in production due to sorting out legal action from the ATF.
     
  9. SRMohawk

    SRMohawk Member

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    Lies and all withstanding, I'm dying to see one of these lowers, 'cuz the Brownells tech support guy I talked to said that while he'd never seen a gun built around one, that in their 'naked' state they made lowers even from DPMS and Rock River Arms look second rate. He also informed me that Brownells placed an initial order for 50 of them back in '06. They sold them so fast, subsequently receiving so many calls for more, that they placed a second order for 300. The owner(s) of SOCOM Mfg then told them they just simply couldn't provide any more for the time being. So Brownells just wrote 'em off.

    So right after getting off the phone with Brownells, I called the number they'd given me on this 'mystery' outfit and got the earful I initially reported above. So we'll see. Supposedly there are gonna be more of these lowers available to the public by this summer.
     
  10. gofer

    gofer Member

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    Here is some pics. It was a custom cut billet lower receiver. This was purchased from the first run of lowers. The retail price was $300. They came in various anodized colors. The colors that I remember are silver, blue, and black. They eventually came out with a matching upper that was available for a short period of time. There are more photos at photobucket.com album jgufer
    I found one of the pages I was looking for that describes the receiver.

    [​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
    http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn73/jgufer/
    23 pictures
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  11. AR-15 Rep

    AR-15 Rep Member

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    Hard to believe.... any more photos of the internals? I will see what I can find out about this...
     
  12. squirrel sniper

    squirrel sniper Member

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    looks cool, but it seems like there's a whole lot of unnecesary weight. Most of thoses cuts seem more cosmetic than functional. You could spend 1/2 that on a complete mil-spec lower and you probably wouldnt know the difference. But i could see this being useful for somebody putting to gether a .50BMG AR, that extra mass and strength would probably be welcomed.
     
  13. BigBoreFan

    BigBoreFan Member

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    A very cool piece of metal........but.......

    I have some intimate knowledge of this. I used to frequent the manufacturer as a very regular customer. He was a dealer and manufacturer of class II and class III hardware in N Augusta SC. A brilliant machinist and really got the wrong end of the stick from a certain alphabet agency. He make kits from M 249 SAWs and I believe MG 42s allowing registered M 10s and M 11s to be fitted to a belt fed kit arguing that the M 10 or M11 was the machine gun. He also designed? and sold the diamond receivers. Supposedly had his ducks in order, advertised in SGN, and sent out kits. Well, low and behold you now have people who had belt fed machine guns and that didn't sit right with the feds and was subject to much and well documented legal issues that can be found all throughout the machine gun community. Also liked to put a stick in the ATFs' eye by having a signed letter in his case that a boot lace needed to be a machine gun because it could cause reciprocating action. He took them on in court and of course they have more time, money, and resources so it didn't turn out well. I'm sure the serial compliance inspections didn't help either. A whole lot of stuff went down during that time which I'm not privy to, but would make a good story for some aspiring journalist. I'm pretty sure the receivers had Seneca SC on them so there may be another partner that could be manufacturing them. I wish i would have bought several of those recievers.
     
  14. dennisH87

    dennisH87 Member

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    haha, those lowers look like ****. It looks like a high school shop teacher machined them.
     
  15. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    I don't really see the advantage myself. A lot of extra weight and cost there to prevent against stress fractures in the lower receiver, which aren't exactly common in the A2 lowers anyway, especially not in ones not belonging to Uncle Sam.

    Also not a fan of bogus stories as marketing either; but that is another issue.
     
  16. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Exactly, and in my experience, as long as the lower is cut to spec, (which the vast majority of them are,) then the real precision required is in the upper, barrel, and bolt setup. I fail to see what accuracy or reliability advantage this design offers, how it makes other mfrs look 'second rate', or what it can do that THEY CAN'T DO.
     
  17. BWB

    BWB Member

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    Couple of things to consider.
    "T-6" is a description of the heat treatment and reveals nothing about the alloy.
    Actual Mil spec receivers, upper and lower, are heat treated 6061 aluminum. Obviously sufficient for the intended purpose.
    Many premium quality component manufacturers (Bushmaster is one) use 7075 T-7 aluminum, which is roughly twice as strong as 6061 T-6, and harder, therefore more wear resistant. Same stuff Kimber uses for their alloy 1911 frames.
    This "machined from billet" stuff is misleading also. That means bar stock - a very inefficient way to do it these days. Unless you are a relatively small shop without the equipment or resources to source forgings, which are better anyway and produce far less machining waste.
    There are some machined cast aluminum parts out there. Not for me.
    Caveat Emptor.
     
  18. asknight

    asknight Member

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    7075 aluminum. ;)
     
  19. Kenati

    Kenati Member

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    Pics of a completed Black Diamond SOCOM BR-15 (AR-15)

    Gentlemen-

    I apologize for digging this thread out from the grave, but out of curiosity, I was doing a search on SOCOM Mfg. and came upon this. I was wondering what happened to the company and Ernie, the man who designed and built the "Bench Rest 15" (BR-15). I'll say first and foremost that based upon multiple conversations, I think he is a fine man and I have a lot of respect for his work and his honesty.

    Your interest (and skepticism) of these fine lower AND upper receivers forced me to register so that I may share more information about them. (I frequent other hunting/shooting & archery forums, but I have lurked on here for a long time).

    Below are a few pictures of my rifle, completed in 2005. If there is enough interest, I would be happy to post the full details in a separate thread.

    Notice that the (perfectly) matched upper receiver is a SIDE COCKING mechanism. Notice also that the lower receiver has built in trigger adjustment screws and a "jacking screw" in the rear to tighten the fit between receivers, if desired. In my biased opinion, the machining work is second to none. (Far from a "high school shop teacher's work" as someone mentioned above)

    Before he had all the unfortunate troubles, Ernie was working on an BR-10 version. I was going to be one of the first to test and build a rifle on that action... but it never came. It's sickening what they did to him. :mad::(

    Anyway, hope you enjoy!

    IMG_1464.jpg

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    IMG_1463.jpg

    CertainDeath4.jpg

    CertainDeath-1.jpg

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    CertainDeath2-1.jpg

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  20. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    Very interesting!
    I like the "Flash Enhancer" on the muzzle. ;)

    Could you post a pic of the bolt handle from the top? Does it use a standard AR bolt carrier and head?
     
  21. Kenati

    Kenati Member

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    The bolt lever flips outward when cocking and then lays back down flat when forward. It does not move with regards to firing the rifle; it's only purpose is for cocking.

    Yes, the standard bolt and carrier are used. Ernie milled a small groove in the carrier (free of charge) for the side cocking lever to operate within.

    Here's a picture of that:

    IMG_3763.jpg

    I am still at work, but I can take more pictures in a day or two.
     
  22. redneckdan

    redneckdan Member

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    Lower unit doesn't do jack as far as accuracy is concerned other than how it fits the shooter. All the upper reciever does is hold the parts together. Its all in how the bolt, barrel extension and barrel fit that enhance or hurt accuracy. People trying to 'tighten up' the fit between the upper and lower can actually hurt accuracy by stressing the upper and causing the bolt to drag, similar to how the gas key dragging on the gas tube can cause vertical stringing.
     
  23. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    i dont think, ever in the history of the United States has any company "almost gone bankrupt" by getting a government weapons contract.
     
  24. ScottsGT

    ScottsGT Member

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    That's a broad statement since you have no idea at what this gentleman placed his bid at. Just because he won a military contract doesn't mean that he knew how to bid for it properly.
     
  25. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    well in which case he would have gone bankrupt anyway. if he doesn't know what it costs him to make a lower, or more importantly what it costs for him to make the order of properly spec lowers he wasn't gunna make it anyway.

    lots and lots of people are getting very fat on gov weapon contracts. the money is there.
     
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