What is your AR-15 quality list?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Tortuga, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. army_eod

    army_eod Member

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    So all of mine are excellent.

    Troy XM177 E2
    Windham carbine
    FN DMR
    Fulton Armory Retro
    Grendel Hunter upper on Spikes lower with a Aero BCG.

    I carried the M-16 and an M-4
     
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  2. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    According to that chart my only AR is at the poverty level. Back in the Obama years I bought a blemished M4 profile rifle kit from PSA. Then I ordered a blemished lower from them & put it all together (there was a small scuff on the barrel, I could not find a blemish on the lower). Later when they came out with their EPT trigger I bought the kit & put it in. If I recall correctly the trigger kit came with a lower power hammer spring. I did not use it but left the original stock spring in. I don't know what the pull on the trigger would measure but it feels a pound lighter than it was originally just because of the smoother trigger parts. The only problem I have ever had it was caused by a dummy (me) installing the hammer spring backwards but at least it was easily remedied. Interesting that the kit I bought back then would be considered Premium Cold Hammer Forged & cost twice as much now. Here is a link to the current version PSA 16" Carbine Length CHF M4 5.56 1:7 Rifle Kit - 505097 | Palmetto State Armory
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
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  3. Mosin77

    Mosin77 Member

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    My RRA feels very nice in terms of fit and finish compared to a friend’s PSA or a DPMS. I suspect all of them would go bang every time and hit minute of man if carried in a battle. I also have a friend who bought a Knight’s and it had issues right out of the box. Brand reputation means something but these days most are going to be “good enough” -with extra fit and finish, accuracy, or even-better-than-standard-durability the advantages of laying out more cash.
     
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  4. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I knew a guy that made (actually assembled) BCG’s. Something like 300,000 per year. He sold the exact same ones to every tier of manufacturers. He couldn’t say who due to non-disclosure, but he said it was very well known names
     
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  5. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    In reality, there are a few manufacturers of AR parts that supply to the majority of builders, including uppers, lowers, and barrels. The field expanded a bit since the last big run (during the First Dark Age,) but by and large, it's a pretty small core.
     
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  6. army_eod

    army_eod Member

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    The forged upper and lower receivers are mostly made by just a few manufacturers.
     
  7. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    The beauty of the AR, is that the lower does nothing, and the upper forging almost does nothing.

    As long as the lower doesn't snap apart at the stock, and the upper can hold a barrel in place, you're good to go. I switched to billet uppers though, for my serious AR's.

    If you can get your upper assembly perfected, you can go as cheap as you want on the lower. Any lower you can find, with a BCM upper is almost assuredly going to be really good.
     
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  8. Aim1

    Aim1 Member

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    Nice.
     
  9. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    The fact that you started with DPMS and Rock River, I had to check the date on the post, making sure this wasn't like 2009
     
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  10. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    As a few have pointed out, ARs are a lot like store bought PC- there are dozens if not hundreds of brands, but crack the case and the all the components come from a few manufacturers and are just assembled from bins of off-the-shelf parts. A few boutique makers are making at least some parts in house and rare few make everything but that's pretty uncommon. A fairly small number of companies are making the lowers, and an even smaller pool is making barrels. Very often if you drill down into the fine print you'll find companies saying that the parts are "made to our exacting specifications" ie made for us by someone else.

    Any list of the "best brands" would have to be revisited often. To consider a Remington or Colt firearm you'd have to look at eras, between which periods of bankruptcy and under which hedge fund or holding group. At various points Winchesters or Marlins were considered fine guns but at any given time who's making those guns?

    I suppose we can try to rely on "milspec" as a baseline; that should guarantee a certain level of product & specs...but of course, nearly everything in the military is farmed out to the lowest bidder. Holding up an item for veneration because the military uses it is comical on several levels. At least you can be sure it was made as cheaply as humanly possible and still conform to the RFP!
     
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  11. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    My first AR15 is a DPMS A1 carbine.

    I quite literally beat that little carbine over the almost 2 decades of use. Had to replace the hand guards after a 308 ricochet smashed em and gouged the barrel, fired 1k of tracer through her at a night shoot and shot till the barrel was red, left on the bed of the truck and forgot about her and then proceeded to drag her about 1 mile by the sling caught on the ball hitch before I realized. Thousands of inert grenade and golf ball/soda can launches.

    Stock/extension replaced after the sling broke and it tumbled into a wash breaking the release mechanism off and most of the bottom of the stock . (have a colt 6920 that did almost the exact same thing years ago, it just bounced and then javelin-ed into a dirt mound and filled the barrel about 6" with dirt and broke the toe off the stock. The aim point pro stayed on and still works but the lenses are scratched to hell. )

    3-4 inch carbine then and still a 4 inch carbine now, just with a lot of wear and tear on her. And she still keeps ticking.
     
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  12. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    I look for chrome lined 4150 barrels and cold hammer forged is good.
    High quality bcg, proper steel and hpt/mpi marked. Well-staked gas key.
    Taper pinned fsb.
    Quality of fit and finish. Controls and detents all snap into place like they should.
    Good quality M4 feed ramps.
     
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  13. SamT1

    SamT1 Member

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    Upgrade furniture to something nice and tight fitting.
    Check lower for plastic parts, there’s parts kits floating around with lots of plastic in them.
    Put a good trigger in it. Rock river national match.

    seems uppers and lowers and barrels and BcG are all pretty dang good. An old timer told me one time a DPMS Oracle was better than what he had in Vietnam. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but someone here would know.

    I like them all, I’ll shoot the crap out of a poly delton even. Seems about $900 buys you a pretty descent gun. Spend it all up front or spend $600 on a good bones gun and upgrade what’s rough. I’m not sure if I’d ever buy one of the over $1000 AR15’s, I’ve fondled them and I can’t see/feel the value.
    I have an off brand AR10 I probably have $1000 in that gets cleaned less than yearly, shoots MOA at 800 yards, rides in the pickup. I’ve emptied a magazine several times hunting with it, but I’ve never done a real mag dump.

    I saw a kid at the range onetime that had just got a bump stock. He had a cheap PSA and he ran ammo through it until he had mowed down the 2 telephone poles we had set with plywood across them for targets. I don’t know how much money he spent, but he shot like he was getting a divorce and the wife got all the ammo that was left in an hour. I was pretty impressed with the PSA, we were pretty pissed about the poles though.
     
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  14. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    One really great thing about an AR, all dimensions are referred off the datum line of the chamber. That means if their manufacturing meets certain specs, (assuming quality workmanship) any bolt should be able to drop Into any carrier & put into any upper w no issues. Quite an achievement when you think about it.
     
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  15. Tortuga

    Tortuga Member

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    Thanks for everyone's replies! These have definitely been very helpful.


    Honestly part of the reason I asked this is because I was talking to someone about buying a used HBAR and he was insisting selling it for $1300. He bleated endlessly about the quality of Colt AR-15, and I didn't mention that I was in the military and was actually issued two different Colts while in service. I'm probably going to catch a lot of crap for this, but I really found the S&W M&P Sport to be much more accurate and generally higher quality than both weapons I was issued in military service. I don't know if it was stress or what, but my performance with this rifle I borrowed is superior to the ones I had in the army

    Still, everyone talks about Colt like they're God's Gift to shooters. I do like Colt, but I'm just not seeing the shock and awe because a Rock River National Match LAR-15 A2 literally shoots sub MOA with all the holes touching at 100 meters with open sights from a kneeling position. I have no experienced that accuracy with colts.

    May I asked where you worked where you were issued a Bushmaster AR-15?


    I agree with this almost wholeheartedly.


    Honestly I really believe this is a very important point. I've brought this up in other posts before (usually resulting in an angry mob trying to crucify me), but I've owned 3 Ruger weapons in my entire life. Each one had a catastrophic failures. I sold every one of them. Not saying Ruger is a bad company (I carried a Ruger for years). I just really think that even good companies sometimes turn out a lemon.

    Dude I agree with this 100%. Which is why nobody is talking about Rock River. Like why does nobody cares.


    Do you have this graphic?

    Honestly I'm seeing this to be a pretty common assessment -- particularly for SHTF rifles. Even WASR AKMs are selling for more than Mid-Quality ARs at this point.

    I've heard this before too.


    Why do you say this? Just curious because the Rock River I shot was back in 2009. :rofl:

    I've always wanted to bring this up. It seems like a lot of civilians flex on the concept of "Milspec" when I sincerely believe civilian firearms are manufactured to higher quality. Like I said in this post (and expect people will want to start a fight over), I really honestly feel like I got better performance out of the S&W M&P 15 I shot a few months ago than either the Colt M16A2 or Colt M4 I was issued in the military.

    For the record, I think "Milspec" is a starting point. As in, There are plenty of AR-15s that do not meet military specifications because they're not accurate enough. When someone tells me a weapon is "milspec," I expect at least 1 MOA performance..

    Holy cow dude you beat those rifles to death! I baby all my firearms. If they sit for a few weeks without being cleaned after firing I feel bad!


    I'm beginning to think that this is the answer. That is, the consumer market in the US has created such a high demand for reliable ARs at this point that you can basically expect pretty awesome performance from even "low" quality AR-15s. More money usually means you'll get a better product, but the accuracy and reliability from most of those is probably more than sufficient.
     
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  16. Tortuga

    Tortuga Member

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    Can anybody vouch for this? If I'm buying spare parts it would be easier to just buy a few general bolt carriers.
     
  17. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    The AR is the only one I'm aware of that has that level of interchangability. FALs were close, but you still had to breach them & get a locking shoulder. If you built an AK in a non-communist country, it would almost surely cost as much, perhaps more then a good AR. FN under bid Colt for the original M16a2 @ 112$ per. (Circa 1985) That's it. The rest of the cost is license, fees, tax, etc.
     
  18. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    I don't know of any low quality AR's per se, generally you pay more for certain features and premium upgrades. Not always though, in some cases you can expect to pay $400-$500 more just for a logo....

    Budget/entry level:
    Ruger AR556
    S&W Sport
    PSA freedom
    Delton
    BCA
    Anderson


    Duty grade/mid tier
    COLT
    BCM
    FN
    PSA Premium
    Windham
    Bushmaster
    Spikes
    AERO

    Gucci grade/top tier
    KAC
    Daniel Defense
    Rock River
    LMT
    Geissele
    LaRue
    Noveske


    There are many others. Can't list them all. People have different opinions about this but I think my list reflects a general consensus. Some of them may go +/- in grade depending on features of a given model but generally speaking....

    I had a hard time placing the Aero. They are (were) affordable enough to belong to budget/entry level but could easily be considered mid tier by some.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  19. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    "Colt firearms" is the elcheapo knockoff of the real "Colt defense". Two different production lines. Likely a civilian model produced w dated & worn production equipment when Colt defense got new tooling for GI contracts. Colt defense is a true top tier. Gotta be careful w brand names.
     
  20. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  21. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    This blows my mind. Almost to the point that I would question your accuracy. Heck, the M1 Garand was $86 in WWII, 50 years prior. I mean, $112 is still less than $300 in 2021 inflation adjusted currency.
     
  22. army_eod

    army_eod Member

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    Does FN still have the mil contract?
    Where do Wilson Combat weapons fall in here?
     
  23. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    Remember the AR15 is all about modern manufacturing. If you are pumping out multipules 10,000 @ a time, you realize a big savings. Nobody but large govt contractors have that capacity. A small producer could never get his costs that low.
     
  24. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Further, the M1, and the following M14, were very expensive to produce, requiring extensive machining... an AR/M16 does not.
     
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  25. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I rank the phrase 'MilSpec' right up there with 'the check is in the mail,' along with a few others that I won't enumerate here. MilSpec is probably one of the most abused terms in all of Firearmdom. What is MilSpec?
     
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