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What AR15 brands should be avoided?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by 12Pump, May 7, 2016.

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  1. 12Pump

    12Pump Member

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    I've noticed when doing searches for opinions in google on different AR rifle brands, it seems that no matter what brand I type in, most people who have it seem to be happy. I've tried DPMS, Del-ton, Windham Weaponry, and others that feature price tags in the mid $500 range at my LGS, and the vast majority of owners writing on sites like this seem to be happy with it.

    I'm just wondering if people here could give me some input on brands to avoid. So far, I haven't really found any. But it's a little hard to believe since AR rifles can range in price from the mid $500s to a few thousand. The lowest priced ones obviously don't have as much quality, QC, or whatever drives up the price, but that doesn't seem to make their owners unhappy. So now I'm curious as to whether or not I could be safe buying a "bargain-priced" AR. However, I'd like to avoid the junk ones.
     
  2. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Keep in mind that many buying a $500 AR are buying it with the expectation of getting a $500 value. Similarly, the guys dropping $1500-2500+ on DD, Noveske, etc, are looking for specific features and quality you'll find in that price range.

    Just because everyone's generally happy doesn't mean the rifles are even close to the same level of quality. Ex: I can buy a car for $500, and if it gets me from home to work and back for one year before crapping out, I'll be very happy. Another guy might buy a $500 car expecting it to have AC, a nice sound system, offer a quiet, smooth ride, etc. He's gonna be disappointed.

    So the question is, what are you looking for?
     
  3. spazzymcgee

    spazzymcgee Member

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    In this day and age, it's very uncommon for guns to be total hand grenades, and even the lowest end AR's generally work fine. I personally think that for the money, some of the "bad" ones are Bear Creek Arsenal and ATI. Those are the only ones I've dealt with where I really thought that the quality was poor, but I'm not saying they're terrible or that they wouldn't work.
     
  4. 12Pump

    12Pump Member

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    I guess what I meant by which brands to avoid is:

    If you're looking for a basis rifle with basic features, but also want it to actually function properly (go bang each time), which brands should be avoided?
     
  5. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    Lots of brands get a lot of hate. I dont really think its because all their rifles are bad, its more because you can get a better value elsewhere.
     
  6. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Agree. There are varying levels, as reflected in their prices. However the performance gap is smaller than the price gap. My DPMS will run with the more expensive brands when it comes to reliability and accuracy. By the time you put all the bells and whistles on the cheap gun like better sights and trigger the price gap becomes very small.
     
  7. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Honestly I don't know of ANY company producing AR15s that is absolutely, consistently atrocious. There are numerous companies making acceptable entries in the $600 range, to the point that I think it's more work than it's worth looking for companies to avoid at all cost.

    Of those worth considering, PSA and S&W are probably the most popular here on THR. Both are very safe bets. For the money, I personally wouldn't look elsewhere for a budget AR. The AR for my kids/loaner will be all PSA components.
     
  8. VoodooMountain

    VoodooMountain Member

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    Only ar I bought and regretted was an upper from runner runner guns. Poor qc and customer service.
    I haven't shot this gun a whole lot but it has functioned though it isn't as accurate as any of my psa builds.
     
  9. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    +1. Their specials are awesome. I picked up this m4 upper, blem lower, FN barreled, free-floated hybrid rail for under $560. I added a CMC trigger group and optics, and it shoots 1/2 MOA W/ MK262 rounds.
     

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  10. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    If you're going to shoot a couple hundred rounds a year, expect 3 MOA, and just want a fun gun to shoot once in a while, the major manufacturer basic offerings should all suit you well.

    I expect my AR's to be able to go to a week long training class where I may shoot 1200 rounds and just keep it well lubed for the class, no cleaning until after the class is over. I also want it to be capable of shooting thousands of rounds per year at a range with minimal maintenance.

    I carry spare parts that break, like bolt, extractor, etc., because stuff that is run hard breaks...

    I expect the barrel to last 25K rounds or more and keep 2MOA. I expect the critical parts and components to be mil spec or better, tested to mil specifications.

    So what companies to I avoid? Companies that do not meet my expectations.

    Easier to say what companies I support (with my dollars)...BCM, Daniels Defense, Colt, Sionics, and a tiny company in San Antonio doing it right...Sons of Liberty Gun Works.

    YMMV...


    Take Care,

    Buzz
     
  11. aka108

    aka108 Member

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    I have never purchased one. The reason I haven't is that there are plenty of them being used at the the range where I shoot. I have never seen anyone take the rifle out of the case, load it, shoot it and recase it and go home. Somewhere during their shooting session something occurs that causes them to partially take the thing apart, do something, fiddle with it, put it back together and continue shooting. Just seems they all have to fiddle with them. I enjoy the AK and SKS rifles as they seem bulletproof and very seldom have a stoppage.
     
  12. ColoradoShooter77

    ColoradoShooter77 Member

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    I've read some threads on Ar-15.com about Del-Ton bolt failures, I'd be a little leary of those.

    I haven't really read anything bad about about ATI either.

    In the budget category, I'd stick to Ruger, S&W, Colt, and PSA.

    I've put 2200 rounds through my S&W Sport so far and not a single problem. Its a fantastic rifle for $640, couldn't be happier.

    I'd bet this rifle would run through a week long course and 1200 rounds just fine.
     
  13. SVTOhio

    SVTOhio Member

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    Love my psa uppered smith and Wesson m&p 15. Thing will shoot 1.5" moa all day and have never had a failure through almost 1000rds.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  14. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Add Radical Firearms to the GOOD budget category. It's an absolute killer package for the money.
     
  15. MErl

    MErl Member

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    I have a lower made by AR57 of Kent, WA that is horribly out of spec. Took some major work with a file to allow an upper to fit and go bang.
     
  16. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    I don't like Century.
     
  17. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    Well you asked, 12Pump, so here's a general answer. There are some AR brands I wouldn't consider buying - complete rifles or even parts. And other people feel the same way. However there's no reason to name them because it just starts flame wars. In fact about ten years ago there was a spreadsheet called the M4 Compatibility Chart that ranked about 15 or so brands of ARs in terms of quality and compatibility with the military M4 (other than barrel length and the select fire trigger group). IIRC the best "M4geries" got 21 out of 21 details right while the worst ones only got 3, 4, 5 or so details right. People got extremely angry if their brand was ranked low and infuriated if someone said their manufacturer "cut corners" or sold a "tier three" AR.

    Today most of the low rated brands have improved, so again no need to name names so let's put it this way - I avoid any brand that uses a commercial diameter receiver extension. If a manufacturer can't get that one very simple thing right (using a milspec diameter buffer tube) then I'd expect other problems that might be harder to detect.

    Using that quick benchmark, milspec buffer tube, on a few low priced ARs the S&W M&P-15 Sport II and premium PSA may just deserve the high praise you often see and even the new Colt Expanse. Quite a few brands mentioned earlier in this thread cut this corner.

    Really, as has been said already, it's better to look for the good brands, not a list of brands to avoid. And again, most ARs are pretty good these days so go with the one you like unless you're a details person. If you are then definitely look at the BCG and barrel specs.

    The Vulcan/Hesse/Blackthorne of yesterday are nearly extinct today.
     
  18. DaisyCutter

    DaisyCutter Member

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    The carbon lowers got a bad rap some years ago. Personally, mine are all mid level I suppose. I have a Stag and a S&W M&P. The Stag is a 16" LH model. It came with a 20" extractor spring & bushing that would cause it to fail to extract when it got hot. It was a cheap $5 fix. It works perfectly now, and is scary accurate, enough to routinely hit golf balls at 100 yards. The M&P has been very reliable, but not as accurate as the Stag.
     
  19. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Member

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    I own a $650 Ar that has never failed to fire, feed, or eject everything I've fed it, only time its been taken down even so little as splitting the upper and lower has been to clean it. It just "works". At this point, its been every bit as reliable as my AK, and MORE reliable than my pristine SKS.
     
  20. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    The same company that keeps changing their name. Junk.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  21. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    I'd bet you are likely correct.

    I have several friends who have S&W Sports and their experiences are similar to yours. They are solid and a great choice (and I typically recommend them) for an AR below $800.

    But they just got some tough competition at that price point:

    http://www.gandrtactical.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=CE1000
     
  22. Averageman

    Averageman Member

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    I hold the Colt 6920 as the Benchmark.
    I wont go below that, but I may go way above. The 6920 is a great rifle, the standard of quality.
    At their current prices I see no reason to stray.
    I read a lot of stuff here about "I bought" or "I built" stuff concerning discount guns, I often take those posts with a grain of salt. They are either extremely lucky that the non mil spec parts are working or are in for trouble with hard use and time.
    Colt, BCM and Daniel Defense, I don't see and cannot fathom a reason to go with anything of lower quality on a weapon I may defend myself with.
     
  23. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Thats the key though, a vast majority of rifles (of all types) have very low round counts.
     
  24. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    This is likely due to poor assembly, more than parts failures. I've seen some interesting things on poorly home built AR's. Lots of folks know what they are doing, but even more do not...:scrutiny:

    I found this barrel nut on one gunshow upper. They couldnt get the gas tube to line up, so they filed off a tooth.....:rolleyes::p

    DSC00775_zpsvbzp7gig.jpg
     
  25. krimmie

    krimmie Member

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    The above posts illustrates why I'd never buy a home built AR...see them all the time on florida gun trader site.
     
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