AR Manufacturers Parts 1, 1.5 and 2

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    • #102705
      First Sergeant
      Moderator

        Save all the hand wringing, wailing, gnashing of teeth, pitchforks and cries of burning at the stake. What will follow is by no means an in depth study of all of this. Books have been written on the subject. The first part and most of the second part will cover the history of the AR system. You can verify that yourself by doing your own research. When we get to the portions that cover the different manufactures of AR’s, it will be based on my experience. Yours may be different. We can discuss your opinions, but it will not turn into “mine is the best because”. You will get facts and the why. You’re an adult, you can make your own decisions based off of the recommendations that I and others will make. You may not like those recommendations, but I can’t help that.

        I am going to split this up into parts. It will be easier to absorb that way.

        First we have to start with some history. Why? You have to know how all this started to be able to understand where we are today with the AR platform.

        Armalite was a small arms engineering company in California. In 1954 it was made a division of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. They were never meant to be a manufacturer. They came up with small arms concepts and designs that were meant to be sold or licensed to other companies. Soon after, Eugene Stoner was hired as chief design engineer. The first successful design to be adopted for manufacture was the AR-5. It was a bolt action survival rifle in .22 Hornet. It could be disassembled and stored in the butt stock. The Air Force adopted it as the MA-1 Survival Rifle. The spin off from that was the AR-7. A semi automatic designed in the same way. It could be disassembled and stowed in the butt stock and it floated. Henry Repeating Arms still makes them today.

        The next design was the AR-10. It was submitted to Springfield Armory(the real one, not the knockoff that bought the rights to the name that we know today). It competed in trials to replace the M1 Garand against the FN-FAL and the Springfield Armory T-44. It lost, and so did the FN-FAL. After the test results were basically thrown out the T-44 was announced as the winner and it was adopted as the M-14. The M-14 would be the downfall of Springfield Armory.

        In 1957 Armalite licensed the AR-10 to a Dutch arms manufacturer for 5 years which resulted in less than 10,000 made in four years. Variants were adopted in limited numbers by Portugal, Sudan, Italy, Cuba, Guatemala and Burma.

        Have you figured out what AR stands for yet? It ain’t “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle”.

        Unhappy with the lack of interest in the AR-10. Armalite focused on a smaller version to meet the requirements of the U.S. Air Force. They wanted a small light weight rifle for base security. That became the AR-15 in 5.56×45 MM. Since they didn’t have the manufacturing capability, they were forced to license the designs to Colt in 1959. Shortly after that Colt bought the patent rights to the design.

        The Armalite company that exist today is not the original. the name was bought.

        I am not going to cover all the trials and test. You can look those up on the net if you want. But I am going to cover the start of all the bullshit that still persist to this day in reference to the AR. When the M-16 was finally fielded, it was issued without proper training and virtually no cleaning supplies. That started the myth of a bad design. Journalist started claiming that men were dying because of the weapon. That caused a congressional investigation that found two problems that were linked. The first was fixed by providing adequate training, cleaning supplies and tweaks to the design. The second problem caused some of the first. When the round was designed, it was meant to use a certain type of ball powder. That was changed during contract production. The military wanted to use up old stocks of .308/7.62×51 powder. That caused more fouling and exacerbated the lack of training and cleaning supplies. All of that resulted in the M-16A1.

        Those problems disappeared, but the myth of the AR system being a bad design didn’t. It still persists to this day. It can be found anywhere when you hear the proponents of the M-14 being a true battle rifle and chambered in a real rifle round, the 7.61×51. Although he ones screaming the loudest have never laid their hands on a real M-14. They can only get the knock off M1A from the knock off Springfield Armory. I had two M-14’s in my platoon during my first tour in Afghanistan. I was the only one in the company that knew how to field strip it. I got one running out of the two.

        Sorry for the side track. The willful ignorance of some people.

        Remember when I mentioned above about Colt owning the licensing rights and the patent rights to the AR-15? Here is where people lose their damn minds. Colt also owns the TDP(Technical Data Package), the government doesn’t.

        Why that matters will have to wait for part two.

        FILO
        Signal Out, Can You Identify
        Je ne regrette rien
        In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

      • #102706
        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
        Moderator

          You’ll need to work a lot harder for pitchforks! :yes:

        • #102707
          Thomas
          Participant

            This is an excellent piece of writing. Thank you, First Sergeant.

            You are correct that the next part will make heads explode.

          • #102710
            First Sergeant
            Moderator

              G.W.N.S.,

              Oh, I don’t think I will have to work hard at all when we get to part 3. :wacko:

              Thomas,

              Thanks.

              FILO
              Signal Out, Can You Identify
              Je ne regrette rien
              In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

            • #102711
              DiznNC
              Participant

                Good job 1st Sgt. Excellent survey of the early history of our piece. I think it’s criminal what Colt and senior mil/gov personnel did in fielding this design. The combination of wrong powder and no chrome lined chamber in a highly corrosive jungle environment caused cases to stick in the chamber. Especially since there was no cleaning gear to swab out this caustic mix left in the chambers. Why people weren’t shot over this disgrace is beyond me. Many a Soldier and Marine were found dead beside a “jammed” rifle with cleaning rod sections hastily assembled, trying to clear the case.

                A Marine LT finally wrote his congressman a letter and documented the deaths in his platoon from the matter. That helped start an investigation which eventually fixed these problems (that should have never been). The LT received an UNSAT fitrep for his actions. Of course all guilty parties got raises and promotions. Fucking Marine Corps Commandant at that time KNEW about the problem and played along for his own career while Marines were dying.

                Anyways, not that I’m bitter or anything, but I’ll never own a fucking colt for that reason.

              • #102712
                Thomas
                Participant

                  Diz, the problems don’t rest with Colt. They belong to the senior leadership of the armed services and the congressional leaders who failed their oversight duties. In the end, the government ran the tests, wrote the contracts for rifles and ammunition, and wrote the specs for all of it.

                  I trust that there is a special level of hell for senior officers who put their careers ahead of the lives of their charges. I don’t pray that someone suffer, but, I hope that every senior leader that ever tried to advance a career at the expense of Joe pay for eternity for that transgression. And, yes, I am bitter.

                  Perhaps someone will start a thread on “why I despise flag officers” so that I can vent my spleen.

                  My apologies to the group for moving so far off topic.

                • #102713
                  First Sergeant
                  Moderator

                    Diz,

                    I hear ya. What was done was criminal, but it wasn’t the fault of Colt. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the Army Ordnance Board. Stay with me, it’s gonna take a little explaining.

                    I guess I will call this Part 1.5. I had not planned to go into this, but based on what Diz said above, I need to cover it. The reason why will become clear later.

                    At the time the AR was adopted small arms procurement for all services was governed by the Army Ordnance Board(AOB). All development, testing and upgrades was all done through the them. Most done at Springfield Armory. Going all the way back to the first standardized musket for the U.S. Army, the 1795 Springfield Musket. Any of you that have seen the symbol for the U.S. Army Infantry, mistakenly called crossed rifles, have seen it. They also developed the 1873 Trapdoor Springfield, the M1903 Springfield, M1 Garand and the ill fated M-14. A side note, John Garand(inventor of the M-1 Garand) worked at Springfield Armory at the time and received no monetary compensation for his invention.

                    Remember in part one when the AR-10 was submitted for testing and I said the test results were thrown out, the “not invented here syndrome”. The AOB had already decided that the T-44 would win, no matter what. It was developed at Springfield.

                    Fast forward and General Curtis Lemay saw the AR demonstrated at a BBQ in Texas. He wanted the rifle for SAC airfield security. At the time Air Force was using M1 and M2 carbines. He submitted the request and the AOB squashed it. Fast forward a little bit more and Lemay is now Chief of Staff of the Air Force and places an order for the AR.

                    Here is where it all goes to hell in a hand basket that resulted in the closure of Springfield Armory, the disbandment of the AOB, the downfall of the M-14 and the adoption of the M-16.

                    Secretary of Defense McNamara and his whiz kids got involved.
                    While trying to get the AOB under control, he and his kids got in way over their heads. The AOB was completely wedded to the M-14. One of the main reasons was because the senior officers were WW2 and Korea vets and had a lot of respect for the M1 Garand. What they didn’t understand was that warfare had changed and with it the weapons needed to fight those wars. What they proceeded to do was everything in their power to make sure the AR was not adopted. When McNamara had an IG investigation done into what the AOB was doing, he ordered the test redone under the supervision of ARPA. The AOB still attempted to screw up the test and recommended so many changes that McNamara ordered the weapon adopted as is with no changes.

                    At the end of WW2, it was mandated that all small arms have a chrome lined chamber. This was due to experience gained from that conflict. Colt knew this and wanted to add it. They were told no. Now whether this was done by the AOB still trying to sabotage the whole thing or by McNamara is up for debate. There is a quote that is attributed to McNamara, to paraphrase “If Stoner wanted it to have one, he would have added it”.

                    So thus began the teething problems with the adoption of the AR system. With the adoption of the M-16A1, all of that went away.

                    So if you want to blame anybody, blame the AOB for starting the shit show to begin with. If they hadn’t have had their heads so far up their fourth point of contact, none of the problems would have materialized.

                    While all of this was going on, Colt was also developing the XM177 or CAR-15. It is basically the forerunner of the M-4.

                    For further reading on the subject:

                    https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/papers/2008/P6306.pdf

                    http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Warning, this one is long and very technical but if you are interested in this stuff it is well worth the time.

                    Standby for part 2

                    FILO
                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                    Je ne regrette rien
                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                  • #102714
                    DiznNC
                    Participant

                      For additional reading, see “The Gun”, a little tome on the AK-47, which goes into the story of the AR, and the Marine Lt who blew the whistle on it’s failings. It also documents who the players were, from the “whiz kids”, to the Colt guys, to the top leaders of the mil services, who shoulda known better, but for political reasons (or monetary gain) went with what was being pushed. But yeah, 1st Sgt is right, the dissolution of the AOB led to the design being developed by amateurs, and all parties, for whatever reason, let it slide. And of course the grunts took it in the ass. Again.

                    • #102715
                      jane
                      Participant

                        Great stuff! I always love telling people that the AR is an Air Force rifle! :-)

                      • #102716
                        First Sergeant
                        Moderator

                          Jane,

                          Yep, the Air Force started it all. The initial ones that the Air Force adopted had no forward assist. The AOB mandated it. For a while, Colt was turning out two different rifles.

                          FILO
                          Signal Out, Can You Identify
                          Je ne regrette rien
                          In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                        • #102717
                          JustARandomGuy
                          Participant

                            …I had two M-14’s in my platoon during my first tour in Afghanistan. I was the only one in the company that knew how to field strip it. I got one running out of the two.

                            Woah, wait just a second there…
                            You’re saying the ’14 is NOT the ultra-reliable Taliban-slayer that all our troops are ditching their M4’s for….
                            ;-)

                            Speaking of history- if we can have a “part 1.75”- what was with the US mil and the 20 round mag? Maybe I’m reading into this wrong but they seem to have had a bit of a love affair with that capacity…. :unsure:

                          • #102718
                            Yankee Terrier
                            Participant

                              Excellent post First Sergeant. I was a very young kid in southern California at the time of Armalite developing “things”. Our next door neighbor was a mechanical engineer with considerable contacts over at Armalite and your history is correct. Armalite did make small production runs essentially a very very limited number of prototypes just as you said, the ball powder fiasco also involved demilling artillery shells if my memory serves me…Lady Bird Johnson owned a significant portion of Olin as was talked about back in the day.

                            • #102719
                              Max
                              Keymaster

                                Note: This is not Max’s response/content. Just a glitch from the transition to subscription.

                                Thanks for taking the time to write all this. I’ve heard various pieces of the tale over the years, never all together. It is much clearer to me what happened.

                                No pitchforks here, I’ll shoot an AR or Springfield M1A :good:

                              • #102720
                                First Sergeant
                                Moderator

                                  JustaRandomGuy,

                                  Part of the problem was that the M-14’s had been in storage for who knows how long, there was no logistics train in place, no training plan and were shipped over in a hurry. Magazines that ran right was a big problem. The knowledge base didn’t exist. There were very few left in the Army at the time that had any experience with the rifle.

                                  The only Soldiers who knew anything about it were guys from the Old Guard and guys like me. I had experience with it through the M-21 sniper rifle. Long before snipers were grouped in the HHC of an infantry battalion in the scout platoon, snipers were in each platoon of an infantry company. I got assigned as a spotter to a school trained sniper. We had M-24’s and M-21’s. So that is how I got trained on the M-14.

                                  As to the 20 round magazine. All of the 7.62 rifles that were being designed then had 20 round mags. The M-14, FN-FAL and the G-3. When Stoner designed the AR-10, he designed it with a 25 round mag. When it went to trials at Ft Benning, he was told to change the magazine to 20 rounds for ammo conservation during combat. The AR-15 is nothing but scaled down AR-10 from the trials, hence the 20 round magazine.

                                  When Soldiers and Marines in Vietnam started to encounter the AK-47 with it’s 30 round magazine, they started asking for one for the M-16. It took some time to develop one that worked. That is due to the taper of the 5.56 round and the way they stack. A constant curve like the AK mag wont work. It took a while for the design that we know today to get developed. Initially they were only shipped with the XM177(CAR-15) and those were only going to special units. From what I have read and to Vets that I have talked to, they didn’t really start showing up regular line units until ’70 or ’71, and then only in enough numbers for troops to be issued one 30 round mag and the rest 20 round mags. I have read of guys in country ordering them by mail through ads in gun magazines. It wasn’t until the later part of the ’70’s that the 30 round mags were really getting into the supply system. When I went in ’89, there were still a crapload of 20 round mags still in the system.

                                  20 round magazines still have a place on the battlefield. During my first tour we found that it was a lot easier to get in and out of vehicles with a 20 round mag in the gun vs a 30 round mag. Being shorter, there was less to get tangled up on. As a platoon sergeant, my 20 round mag was loaded with all tracers to mark targets with.

                                  When I started using a battle belt under my body armor, I found that 30 round mags stuck out to much and got hung up on my armor. I keep 20 round mags on my battle belt for that reason.

                                  Another piece of magazine trivia, they wanted disposable magazines and they were going to made out of plastic. They would come already loaded. When they were empty, hit the mag release and forget about it. That never panned out.

                                  Yankee Terrier,

                                  The part about artillery shells is partially correct. Depending on the type of powder, it could be recycled. That was done then.

                                  The reason for the problems with the powder initially used is that it had too much calcium carbonate in the powder. That powder was fine for rifles chambered in 7.62 and the same powder was being used to load 5.56. Once that was found out, problem solved and that powder got its own designation.

                                  Glad everyone is getting something out of this. I never planned to go this in depth into the history of it. It has caused me to knock some of the dust of my library and my brain cells. If you have any more questions, please ask. By this weekend I will have Part 2 up that will have the recommendations for which manufacturers to go with.

                                  One correction to Part 1, I said they used powders for .30.06. I meant .308/7.62×51. I had M1 Garand on the brain when I typed that. Sorry for that. I have corrected it.

                                  FILO
                                  Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                  Je ne regrette rien
                                  In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                • #102721
                                  Brian from Georgia
                                  Participant

                                    Excellent thread!

                                  • #102722
                                    gunnerbob
                                    Participant

                                      Very informative, thank you!

                                    • #102723
                                      Yankee Terrier
                                      Participant

                                        Yes very informative thank you.

                                      • #102724
                                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                        Moderator

                                          Do have any thoughts on the early barrel twists rates?

                                          I’ve never had an opportunity to try an AR with 14:1 twist, they are now available though rare. Don’t have too much extreme cold dense air down here to worry about.

                                          This trip down memory lane has got me thinking about it again, Never done much shooting beyond 100 yards with the heavier bullets with my SP1 (12:1 twist), wondering if the relative instability with heavier bullets could result in similar performance to early reports of the original 14:1 twist.

                                        • #102725
                                          Thomas
                                          Participant

                                            I was issued seven 30 round mags from the company supply room at my first unit in Germany in 1978. The armeror had a foot locker of 20 round mags that went to the range for rifle qualification.

                                            I am trying to remember if we were issued 30 rounders in basic train. I think so but am not sure. It has been a day or two since I went through. :unsure:

                                            GWNS, I suspect you will get unstable performance out of the heavier rounds with the 1:12 twist. If you try out the combination, please post the results.

                                          • #102726
                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                            Moderator

                                              Thomas wrote:
                                              “I suspect you will get unstable performance out of the heavier rounds with the 1:12 twist. If you try out the combination, please post the results.”

                                              I this case, I define performance by the damage it does not tight groups.

                                              The limited 62 grain (not M855) use at a 100 yards worked fine for the plinking I did with it.

                                              I am curious to see what will stabilize in my SP1, but be ready to tumble on impact.

                                              The early 14:1 barrels were reportedly given damage beyond what would normally be expected from a 5.56mm round, but most of this has been anecdotal information.

                                            • #102727
                                              DiznNC
                                              Participant

                                                I first qualified with a M-16A1 pencil bbl at Quantico. I assume this was a 14:1 bbl. You could honestly shoot out to 500m with IRON SIGHTS with the 193 ball. It was a full sized black on white target, similar to the FBI style targets you see. In the early morning light, you could just make out the targets over the KD range. The coaches called it the “shooter’s light”. We were slung in tight (GI sling on biceps, TIGHT), with no mag touching the deck. In fact, I think we shot 20-rd mags at the time. But the off-hand elbow was as close to directly under the piece as you could get. Which allowed you to leverage against the mag. Being slung in so tight forced you to drive the buttstock into your shoulder pocket, hard. It was pretty rock steady. Anyways, that was the deal, with a 20″ bbl of course.

                                              • #102728
                                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                Moderator

                                                  As I recall all of the M16A1’s had 12:1 barrels, it was the early select fire AR15’s (before the M16 designation) that had the 14:1 barrels.

                                                  Some of these early AR15’s had made it to American Vietnam advisors and Vietnamese troops for testing.

                                                  The just stabilized rounds were creating some remarkable terminal results, according to accounts.

                                                  The change to 12:1 from 14:1 twist was due to Arctic testing, supposedly in the colder dense air the 5.56 rounds keyholed almost immediately. There was some disagreement to how testing was conducted.

                                                  The 12:1 barrels that I have used from SP1’s and M16A1’s were certainly accurate enough.

                                                  I have wondered if the heavier rounds with the 7:1 twist rates is perhaps too stable?

                                                  Resulting in very accurate .22 caliber holes in target, but causing less damage in humans.

                                                  As I have described in the past, my AO is denser with less opportunities for long range engagements. So for me, having a less stable round with increased effectiveness at closer ranges could be an advantage.

                                                  This is the theory, even though it goes against much of the current wisdom regarding AR’s.

                                                  Different AO’s and missions may dictate other choices, remember I am no longer concerned with worldwide deployment just my AO.

                                                • #102729
                                                  gatlinggun
                                                  Participant

                                                    The story of the M16 reminds me of the story of Army Ordnance ramming the 7.62x51mm cartridge down NATOs throat in the Mid-50s and then “skipping out” and unofficially adopting the 5.56. NATO “standardization” went right out the window. Blake Steven’s books on the FNFAL details the acrimony between the US and its NATO allies in great gory detail. To those who know the story the name Col. Rene Studler will mean something. I guess this all goes to show that government can and will screw up everything.

                                                  • #102730
                                                    First Sergeant
                                                    Moderator

                                                      gatlinggun,
                                                      That is another screw up unto itself. And you are right, a bureaucracy can and will screw thing ups.

                                                      G.W.N.S.
                                                      I never really got into the bbl twist rate. I know the history behind it and have read some of the things you talked about in reference to the 1:14. This link to an article at Weaponsman explains it a lot better, the comments have some good info in it also. http://weaponsman.com/?p=7291

                                                      One of the biggest things to remember is when a general issue weapon is developed, there are some compromises. It won’t be perfect at any one thing, but it is sufficiently capable of doing several things. The M-16 family is a prime example of that. The weapon as it exist now has had not only had testing done in controlled environments, but in real world applications in some of the harshest terrain and weather conditions. From the jungles of Southeast Asia, Grenada and Panama to the deserts of the Arabian peninsula to the desert heat and sub freezing temperatures of Afghanistan. It works. Anyone who says otherwise has no clue what they are talking about.

                                                      So the M-16A1 is in service. Based on knowledge gained from Vietnam, some changes are considered. Some good, some not so good. The good include a heavier profile bbl with reduced twist to handle the heavier M855, round hand guards(dissipate heat better), improved rear sight, improved flash hider and brass deflector. The bad is the three round burst trigger group. Ammo conservation in combat rears its ugly head again. Several of these improvements had been developed by Colt in the ’60’s. All of this resulted in the M-16A2.

                                                      In the 80’s work started on what would become the M-4.

                                                      Everything leading up to now would require a book. Hell, everything that has been discussed requires a book. If you really are interested in all of the developments, I recommend “Black Rifle” parts 1 and 2. And read all of the pages of this: http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html

                                                      So here we are. When it comes to which manufacturer to choose from, how do you decide? Which one is good? Which is bad? You go on the internet and read forums and blog pages supposedly full of people who have all of the correct information. If you are really feeling froggy, you talk to someone at your local gun shop. If they work there, they should know all there is to know about guns, right? Wrong. The internet is full of half truths, myths, lies, bias and “just as good as”. Gun shops are the same.

                                                      THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “JUST AS GOOD AS”.

                                                      Read that again. And again until it sinks in.

                                                      The manufacturer either has a reputation of producing quality rifles or it doesn’t. Now is not the time to cut corners or try to save a dollar. Now is not the time to talk about an up and coming manufacturer. Now is not the time to “build your own” cause it’s cheaper(in the long run, it’s not). Remember those “frankenguns that were built in your mom’s basement” that we talk about?

                                                      We talk about those things because it we have seen it over and over. Those rifles will fail in a shorter amount of time than one from a quality maker. Do the good ones occasionally have a lemon? Damn right they do. It will happen with anything made by man. But the good companies have systems in place to make sure that very rarely occurs.

                                                      Here are the ones that I recommend based off of experience that was earned by hands on and by studying this particular topic.

                                                      Colt-I can hear the howls of outrage. Your bias will not change fact. Colt is the standard when it comes to the AR platform. They are the standard because of making the guns for over 50 years. All of the things they have learned over the years and the feedback from the military goes into what they produce today. Remember that TDP(Technical Data Package) that I talked about in Part 1? They own it. Even if the military wants to have someone else make the M-4 for a contract, they don’t have access to that data. Doesn’t matter if you think that is right or wrong. That was part of the contract that was signed with Colt. And the contract that FN got to produce M-4’s? They got access to the TDP for the duration of that contract. A royalty gets paid to Colt for every one that FN produces. FN is barred from using any of that data to produce guns for civilian sales. When that contract is fulfilled FN has to destroy the data that they used.

                                                      Get a Colt 6920.The same quality, attention to detail and inspection of parts that goes into the guns produced for the military goes into the 6920. You can find them for between $700.00 -$900.00 if you shop around.

                                                      The rest are in no particular order:
                                                      BCM(Bravo Company Manufacturing)
                                                      Daniel Defense
                                                      LMT(Lewis Machine and Tool)
                                                      Knights
                                                      Larue

                                                      Let’s talk about “mil-spec” and what that means. Military Specification, in its simplest terms means that the part complies with the specifications laid out by the military. Dimensions, interchangeability, reliability, material used for manufacture. In other words, standards. The only way to truly get a “mil-spec” rifle, is to enlist and have one issued to you. The closest you can get is a Colt. All of the parts are mil-spec, but the completed rifle is not because it was not accepted for a military contract. They own the TDP. The other companies have reverse engineered the AR platform. Some have done it better than others. So just because a company uses that term in its advertising doesn’t make it true. It has been misused and abused for years.

                                                      FILO
                                                      Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                      Je ne regrette rien
                                                      In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                    • #102731
                                                      Brian from Georgia
                                                      Participant

                                                        That’s a good list on the “better” rifles. The PSA rifles, at least the ones with the FN produced barrels, are the best value out there. Mine have been 100%.

                                                        Here’s an excellent thread on which brands perform well over many rounds. You can also deduce what spare parts you want to keep around.

                                                        https://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_118/677135_High_round_count_AR_M4_s__over_100_000_rounds__and_how_they_have_handled_on_our_range.html

                                                        DoD contractor Mechanical Engineer’s opinion here. First Sergeant is spot on for what makes a good rifle. It’s sound design (documented in the TDP), proper materials and processes, and high QC standards.

                                                        The critical parts for reliability on an AR are the barrel, barrel extension and bolt carrier assembly. They are the parts that are under high load and high wear. Their dimensions (controlled by good QC) are critical as well. Even a barrel gas tube hole drilled a little off will cause cycling issues.

                                                        It is best to buy a complete “top tier” rifle if the budget allows. If you are on a budget and want to build your own, buy a complete PSA upper with cold hammer forged FN barrel, their “premium” bolt carrier group and all the rest of their parts to assemble your own. I’ve assembled several lowers using their parts and they have all performed flawlessly.

                                                      • #102732
                                                        RRS
                                                        Participant

                                                          Yep what 1st says. I bought a no name upper from a local company, could not get on paper at 25 yards, took it to a smith, he looks and finds the barrel is crooked out of the upper, total junk and probably not even safe.

                                                        • #102733
                                                          DiznNC
                                                          Participant

                                                            Not to start off a blaze of “my favorite AR is…” posts, BUT, one thing I would add is that PSA has some smoking deals on what I would refer to as “tier 1” rifle parts, for “tier 3” prices. There are many choices out there. Lots of them are even good. But for the money, you just can’t beat what PSA has for sale. For a good, rack grade, field rifle.

                                                          • #102734
                                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                            Moderator

                                                              Well I put my pitchfork back in the barn! :-)

                                                              Your recommended AR’s are solid choices, BCM is the only one I have no hands on experience with.

                                                              I haven’t decided on whether to get another AR or just an additional upper for the SP1.

                                                            • #102735
                                                              devildog70
                                                              Participant

                                                                If you wait for sales, it’s very easy to buy a BCM for 800ish. G and R Tactical runs them fairly often. Grab a blem lower, an upper and a bcg/ch, and you’re set.

                                                                Colt does not currently offer any midlength gas systems for sale (if you are into that), although there are a couple prototypes out there. So, if you want midlength, you’ll have to go with a different company.

                                                                I own a couple 6920’s, but they currently live in my safe. Great rifles, never given me a problem. I just prefer midlength, so use BCM predominately.

                                                                Buying an upper and lower separately saves you about 10% as the parts are not taxed like the whole.

                                                                I’d also add Warsport and Hodge to your list, although they are in-line with Larue pricing.

                                                              • #102736
                                                                jane
                                                                Participant

                                                                  Nothing against Colt, but I will stick with my builds with BCM uppers. I love my Geissele triggers, H buffers, mid-length gas systems. These are all non-minspec, uh non-milspec. Btw cold hammer forged barrels are also not milspec… M4 TDP calls for button rifled barrels?

                                                                • #102737
                                                                  devildog70
                                                                  Participant

                                                                    Nobody that is talking knows for sure. Colt owns the TDP. All copies of it must be destroyed, if Colt “rents” it out to another company, once the contract expires.

                                                                    The spec the military demands is not there for competition. It is accurate “enough,” with reliability being far more important. There is a reason it exists, and it isn’t the “lowest bidder” that gamers make it out to be.

                                                                    50 years of use, in every environment you can name, and units that quite literally get whatever they want still use milspec rifles to kill smelly bearded dudes in man dresses. That might be a clue.

                                                                  • #102738
                                                                    jane
                                                                    Participant

                                                                      DevilDog, that was actually a rhetorical question. Yes, the minspec M4 is button rifled, NOT cold hammer forged. That includes Colt, the 6920 series, and also FN M4s. FNH actually has a separate button rifling line along side their CHF line to produce M4 barrels.

                                                                      First Sergeant, I noticed that you didn’t include FNH in your list, even though they also make real M4s for the military, and have semiauto counterparts available (see http://www.fnamerica.com/products/collector-series/). Is there a reason for that?

                                                                    • #102739
                                                                      devildog70
                                                                      Participant

                                                                        I am not denying that milspec rifles are button-rifled. My point was that no one knows if that is a requirement of the TDP, or if that just happens to be the most cost-effective way of meeting the TDP. Does it say how the barrel must be rifled, or does it merely say they must be made out of x type of steel, and rifled in 1:7? Unless you have seen the TDP yourself, you don’t know.

                                                                        Again, with the “miNspec.” The spec is there for a reason. That reason is there to make sure that the rifles the military purchases are good at two things. Performing in harsh environments and killing bad guys. At a price-point that allows Uncle Sammy to buy and upkeep large quantities of them.

                                                                        Are there process and materials that are better than what the military uses? Of course there are. Which is why First Sergeant mentioned manufacturers like BCM and Larue, and why I mentioned Hodge and Warsport.

                                                                        I thought it was fairly obvious that First Sergeant was listing rifles he had experience with that performed well as fighting rifles. I also thought it was fairly obvious that he listed several manufacturers at different price points to allow people to choose one based on their budget.

                                                                        There are plenty of things that work great in competition that bring very little to the table in terms of a fighting rifle. Every Marine has to qualify out to 500 using that “minspec” button-rifled barrel, and stock trigger. Say what you will, but it works.

                                                                        I have one rifle with 73,000 rounds on it, one with 24,000, and one over 17,000. Many of them in mud, rain, snow, sleet, and dust. In decades of carrying a gun professionally, I have never worried about a “better” trigger, or how my barrel was cut. I have only ever worried if the gun would go bang when I pulled the trigger, and if I could hit what I was aiming at. Milspec has seen to the first, and never kept me from the second.

                                                                        Very few situations require a hardware solution. Most of the time it is the software that breaks down.

                                                                      • #102740
                                                                        HiDesertRat
                                                                        Participant

                                                                          I have recently picked up a Windham Weapons AR, former owners of Bushmaster, when they were good. Put through about 2k rounds, various manufactures of ammo, brass and steel case also. No FTF, no FTE, nothing, it just shoots and accurate if I do my part. Examination reveals close tolerances, nice finish, good fit of components, everything suggests excellent quality throughout. Price was reasonable and has lifetime warranty which is transferable. Optic currently Trijicon tritium reflex, saving up for their ACOG. Thats my .02 .

                                                                        • #102741
                                                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                          Moderator

                                                                            First Sergeant has provided both historical background and some excellent examples of available AR’s with proven performance.

                                                                            Ultimately it’s our choice to weigh his experiencing with our own and then decide.

                                                                            Just be sure your making your choice for sound reasons, not emotions.

                                                                            Realistic training in all conditions will prove your choice, not a day of plinking at the range or some competion.

                                                                          • #102742
                                                                            First Sergeant
                                                                            Moderator

                                                                              What is “minspec” that everybody keeps using?

                                                                              Jane,

                                                                              FNH does make rifles for the military. When they were given the contract they were given access to the TDP by Colt. They had to sign a NDA(Non Disclosure Agreement)/non use agreement that forbids them from using any knowledge gained from the TDP for civilian sales.

                                                                              So the rifles they are selling are reversed engineered like everybody else. They are basically using the ignorance of the average gun buyer to their advantage. Most people will just see that they make AR’s for the military so they think that the one they are buying is the same gun. It isn’t. I have had my hands on a couple of their guns and I wasn’t impressed. From others that own them I have heard the same thing. FN has a well deserved reputation for making really good guns, they screwed this one up. They couldn’t even get the roll marks right for their “collector series”. They would be the company to buy a belt fed MG from. They designed the MAG 58. Also known as the M240, GPMG and L7A2.

                                                                              The average gun buyer will not take the time to do the research before they buy a gun. They will see an ad in a gun magazine, see and ad on TV, see it in a video game, their wife’s niece’s cousin twice removed said or the gun store know it all trying to make a sale said that this gun is the one used by “insert whatever super secret squirrel unit” and that it is good to go. And then when they get told that the gun they bought is not what they thought it was, they get defensive.

                                                                              As far as why button rifled and not CHF bbl’s I can go over that if anyone is interested.

                                                                              I said this in the optics thread, but I need to repeat it. I take the time to do this because I care. I see what is going on in this country. And because I have studied history I have an idea of what is coming. I want good people to have the right training and the right equipment to get through it. Even though most of the time it is a software problem and not a hardware problem, as devildog70 said above, good hardware with the right software can make all the difference in the world.

                                                                              Make your own choices, but the choices you make could mean the difference between life or death.

                                                                              FILO
                                                                              Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                              Je ne regrette rien
                                                                              In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                            • #102743
                                                                              jane
                                                                              Participant

                                                                                First Sergeant, I would be interested in why the M4 barrels are all button rifled and not CHF, and what your thoughts on each are. I understand that CHF is always sold as having a much extended life, especially with full auto fire that we won’t likely be doing. How much of this matters to us with our semi auto ARs?

                                                                                I appreciate the research you put into this.

                                                                              • #102744
                                                                                DiznNC
                                                                                Participant

                                                                                  When it comes to BCM, and a few others, I think it’s fair to say some have met or exceeded the mil-spec. I currently run BCM mid-lengths and love them. The fact that colt doesn’t make them and/or they’re not mil-spec doesn’t concern me because I think they have a proven track record at this point. Some dudes have even used them in combat.

                                                                                  That being said, what the 1st Sgt is saying is very important. If you think that uncertain times are ahead, pick your weapons wisely. If you have no verifiable knowledge of a weapon, stick to the proven ones.

                                                                                  You know, having too many choices can be as bad as having too little, or none at all. If you only had one choice available, you could stop obsessing over choices of hardware and concentrate on training.

                                                                                  If you stick with any good brand that 1st Sgt mentioned, you should be GTG. How my bbl was formed or whether the grain structure is more uniform in one method or another doesn’t really concern me. If I can hold 1 MOA at 100m with 77gr ammo, my rifle and I are both doing our job.

                                                                                • #102745
                                                                                  HiDesertRat
                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                    G.W.N.S. :

                                                                                    Your point is well taken, I wasn’t attempting to just throw my opinion in there haphazardly, just my observations. I happened to procure my weapon before this thread had started so did not the benefit of First Sergeants’ wisdom/experience. Time will tell about my choice of course. We all benefit from the insight of professionals from the fighting arena and glad it is shared here.

                                                                                  • #102746
                                                                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                                    Moderator

                                                                                      HiDesertRat, my comment was far more general in nature and not at you specifically.

                                                                                      I have no experience with the products under the Windham Weaponry brand name. The limited experience I had with the original Bushmaster (Maine) was decent enough, the people I know who owned them have not had problems despite some contrary information.

                                                                                      Many have already acquired their AR’s and there are a few brands I think will work fine even though they aren’t part of the list.

                                                                                      Statistically the brands First Sergeant listed should provide outstanding performance, but on the other end some lesser brands even with less known records can also work.

                                                                                      Even brands with many known problems can get it right now and again.

                                                                                      Regardless of which AR acquired I would follow my previous statement even with the First Sergeant’s list.

                                                                                      “Realistic training in all conditions will prove your choice…”

                                                                                      This applies to everything we will use for life and limb, not just weapons!

                                                                                    • #102747
                                                                                      jane
                                                                                      Participant

                                                                                        I have an old Maine-produced Bushmaster that has 10s of thousands of rounds through it – no problem. Has aftermarket NiB BCG, H buffer & Geissele S3G trigger in it. It is reliable, accurate and light for what it is, and will chow down on any kind of ammo. Competition and choices are good.

                                                                                      • #102748
                                                                                        HiDesertRat
                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                          G.W.N.S. :

                                                                                          no problema, buy you a cerveza when we meet.

                                                                                        • #102749
                                                                                          First Sergeant
                                                                                          Moderator

                                                                                            What Diz said is spot on. Don’t get sucked into chasing the rabbit down the hole.

                                                                                            I am not saying that anyone has to go out and get rid of the AR they have now and get one of the ones I recommended. I have gotten questions over the years about which one to go with. Max and I have had this discussion because of some of the problems we have seen. If you do some research you will find that the ones that I have not listed are the ones that tend to have issues in greater numbers. Can you get one that is to spec with the gas key staked correctly, the castle nut staked correctly, the front sight post straight and all of the holes in the lower done to spec? Yes. Some makers have gotten better over the years. Some haven’t and got into the AR game to make a buck. The average AR owner will probably put 500 rounds through their gun a year if that and it doesn’t really matter to them.

                                                                                            Button rifled vs CHF bbl’s.

                                                                                            The CHF bbl was invented in Germany in 1939. It was done to facilitate the production of MG-42 bbl’s. The MG-42 rate of fire was 1200 rounds per minute and they needed a lot of bbl’s. CHF bbl’s didn’t really start in the U.S. until about 40 years ago. The machines are expensive and the majority of all of them come from one maker in Austria. The majority of all gun companies in Europe use CHF bbl’s, even for pistols. There are several companies in the U.S. that do it also. A piece of gun trivia: most of the CHF bbl’s offered by several of the AR makers in the U.S. all come from the same plant in South Carolina. FNH.

                                                                                            Button rifling was the way it was always done in America. When the AR was developed that was the way rifling was done. I would guess that’s the way the TDP reads because Colt and FN use button rifling for the M-16’s and the M-4’s they produce for the military.

                                                                                            Which is better? The CHF bbl’s are supposed to last longer. How much longer? From everything that I have read there are no specific numbers on that. Accuracy? Traditionally button rifled bbl’s are more accurate.

                                                                                            Based on everything that I have read on the test that have been done, the CHF bbl’s offer no substantial improvement to the AR. One of the reasons why we are still using it is that no one has come up with anything that offers that huge next step. That is why none of the rifle trials for the military resulted in a new rifle.

                                                                                            Personally I see no reason to spend the extra money just to get a CHF bbl. Most will never shoot enough rounds to wear a bbl out. As to them being better for full auto fire, yes, but not substantially more. Most of that comes down to training with full auto i.e. short controlled burst, not going cyclic and just dumping mag after mag. I never used the three round burst on any of my deployments. Never had a reason to. I do know guys that did, but it was for a specific set of circumstances.

                                                                                            I’m not saying they are bad, I just don’t see a need for them in an AR.

                                                                                            Remember that rabbit hole I said not to go down? We just did. ;-)

                                                                                            FILO
                                                                                            Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                            Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                            In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                          • #102750
                                                                                            DiznNC
                                                                                            Participant

                                                                                              Agreed. I would look at this as a tutorial for a newbie picking out a rifle, not as a condemnation for everyone with a brand not listed. I have seen QC variances in other brands over the years. Sometimes they made good weapons, sometimes not. I do not dismiss other brands, out of hand, however, I am leery of them until proven. I would take it to a competent gunsmith for a complete check before depending on it. And that really is the difference between a lot of companies. Some have rigorous QC, and some, not so much. Some take the time to cull out bad parts, and assemble things correctly, and some don’t.

                                                                                              Another point well taken. Most guys will shoot well under 500 rds a year, so a lot of this is mute point.

                                                                                            • #102751
                                                                                              jane
                                                                                              Participant

                                                                                                First Sergeant, thanks for your button rifled vs CHF thoughts… good stuff!

                                                                                                I have been working to get all my friends & neighbors to buy ARs in light of our current state of affairs in this country. Some really can’t afford premium brands, and Colts are uncommon around here, I have yet to see a LGS that carries them. So the non-premium brands they are left with are mostly not mentioned in this thread. Some are good, some not so much.

                                                                                              • #102752
                                                                                                DiznNC
                                                                                                Participant

                                                                                                  Yeah that is a factor, when you have guys n gals looking at entry-level kit. What the gunshow or LGS carries may/may not be the best choice.

                                                                                                  Broken record time, but PSA is running some smokin’ deals right now. If you just pick up a stripped lower, local, then buy a parts kit, you can build a decent rifle for a very reasonable price. As long as you have a buddy with all the tools n know-how.

                                                                                                  It’s funny but in 34 years and many AR’s, I never bought a complete rifle. 8 lowers that I recall, plus twice that many configs. Everything from “CAR-15’s”, to “M-4’s”, to mid-lengths. It’s not ALL that hard to build, but some tools and experience come in handy.

                                                                                                • #102753
                                                                                                  jane
                                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                                    Diz, that’s simply not realistic for what I’m talking about. First of all, those low-priced PSA uppers are not legal here, and you would have to find a gunsmith to which to ship them and make them legal before you take possession (incidentally this is why you don’t see Colt 6920’s in the LGS’… they would rather stock ARs from manufacturers that already ship in legal configuration).

                                                                                                    Secondly, my friend Susie Soccer Mom, who I just convinced to buy an AR, is NOT going to go out and build one. Heck, her only experience ever shooting a rifle was trying out mine in the backyard. The kinds of questions she is asking is “what is a good brand”, and “what kind of warranty do they offer”, and “can I get one for less than $800”.

                                                                                                    The common brands here are Stag, S&W, Ruger, Windham, Bushmaster (the Remington one). I wish that Colts were around here – I have a couple who I convinced to buy their first AR, and they specifically want a Colt “because it must be a good brand if the military uses it”. They too don’t want to pay over $800.

                                                                                                  • #102754
                                                                                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                                                    Moderator

                                                                                                      Jane, the advice given applies to most people, however as you note there are places “behind the lines” that don’t.

                                                                                                      It may be helpful if you mention where you are talking about if you need specific ideas.

                                                                                                      With companies like PSA and Aero Precision most can still order a complete lower, complete upper, BCG, and charging handle to save money by catching the sales. In this case while the most basic assembly is required, it isn’t a build.

                                                                                                    • #102755
                                                                                                      jane
                                                                                                      Participant

                                                                                                        G.W.N.S., let’s just say that we are under the ’94 Clinton gun ban… no bayonet lugs, flash suppressors or threaded barrels, no folding or adjustable stocks. Muzzle brakes are okay if they are pinned or welded.

                                                                                                        PSA is unheard of here, and would be a tough sell, especially in parts. Suzie Soccer Mom has heard of S&W on the other hand – her husband has a S&W pistol. Therefore, she will probably go with a S&W AR.

                                                                                                      • #102756
                                                                                                        Thomas
                                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                                          @Jane, Colt makes rifles that conform to yout limitations. The series is the Match Target HBAR, MT HBAR II, M4, etc.

                                                                                                          Here is a link from gun-broker
                                                                                                          http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=545156817

                                                                                                          This example is a 6731. The price is just over $1K.

                                                                                                          The series of rifles and carbines are fully Colt without the bad features. The key parts are individually magnetic particle inspected, barrel/chamber is chrome lined, etc. These are manufactured to the TDP.

                                                                                                          If your friend goes with a choice other than what 1SG recommended, get the gun to a knowledgeable AR armorer and have the bolt key and castle nut properly staked, and, ensure that the extractor is properly set up. Many of the “other brands” of AR are over gassed and the pins will be out of spec on some. A competent armorer can correct most of the problems and make the gun reliable.

                                                                                                          If you already know this stuff, I apologize for wasting your time.

                                                                                                        • #102757
                                                                                                          First Sergeant
                                                                                                          Moderator

                                                                                                            Jane,

                                                                                                            Sometimes I forget that we have people on the board who live in occupied territory.

                                                                                                            If I had to make a choice out of that list you provided, go with the S&W. Have it checked out like Thomas said.

                                                                                                            Sometimes you have to make do with what you have. Nothing will ever be perfect. Get them started and maybe upgrade later.

                                                                                                            FILO
                                                                                                            Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                            Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                            In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                          • #102758
                                                                                                            gunnerbob
                                                                                                            Participant

                                                                                                              This doesn’t add to the conversation but, whatever. I recently picked up a NIB Ruger AR556 for a good price for the purposes of testing the snot out of it. I’ve only been able to put 180rds through it but, in the coming month I’ll be putting an additional thousand down the pipe. Anyway, I wanted to get a “budget” AR to see how it’d hold-up to abuse and this seemed like a good choice. I’ll chime in again after a few thousand more rounds or when I break it, whichever comes first.

                                                                                                            • #102759
                                                                                                              DiznNC
                                                                                                              Participant

                                                                                                                Jane: I sometimes forget you have people in occupied territory with limited choices. After living in Kali for twenty years, believe me, I feel your pain. But believe me, there are folks out there with rifles tubed up and in the ground. Talk about hard-sell to suzie soccer mom!

                                                                                                                The day I left Kali, I stopped and flipped it off, when I crossed over to Arizona for the last time. It was such a liberating feeling. My first order of business was to get a local CCW, after being denied for so many years. And promptly building two new “M-4gerys”.

                                                                                                                Sure, it’s so easy to say: “just move” but we finally did it. And I’m damn glad we did.

                                                                                                                It is not for me to say, on open forum, what you need to do. Or I should say, what I would recommend you do.

                                                                                                                I totally understand what you’re saying. We also have friends that are like suzie, but this goes to mindset. Even if you can own a good rifle, it doesn’t mean you will.

                                                                                                                I guess we all just need to move to the Appalachian Redoubt.

                                                                                                              • #102760
                                                                                                                First Sergeant
                                                                                                                Moderator

                                                                                                                  I am making this a sticky do to recent questions about it.

                                                                                                                  FILO
                                                                                                                  Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                                  Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                                  In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                                • #102761
                                                                                                                  gunnerbob
                                                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                                                    This doesn’t add to the conversation but, whatever. I recently picked up a NIB Ruger AR556 for a good price for the purposes of testing the snot out of it. I’ve only been able to put 180rds through it but, in the coming month I’ll be putting an additional thousand down the pipe. Anyway, I wanted to get a “budget” AR to see how it’d hold-up to abuse and this seemed like a good choice. I’ll chime in again after a few thousand more rounds or when I break it, whichever comes first.

                                                                                                                    Here’s a follow up to my post:

                                                                                                                    To date, I’ve got 1500 rounds through my AR556 and it has performed well. About 1100 of those 1500 have been Tula 55 & 62gr loads, giving me three (3) malfunctions in all. Two (2) of those were stuck cases before the 1K round mark, and the third was a FTF post-1K rounds. I was able to remove those stuck cases easily with a cleaning rod, and have prevented (I think) any further stuck cases by spraying the chamber with Rem-oil every 150 or so rounds during training. Average accuracy with the Tula is around 2″ @ 100 yards, not bad. The barrel is 1-8″ twist, btw. So far, the rifle has been 100% with all brass-cased ammo (PMC, American Eagle, & handload equivalents)… as expected.

                                                                                                                    The Ruger BCG has a cutout on the underside exposing the shoulder of the firing pin to the hammer during cycling. There is some wear on that shoulder, the hammer putting a slight angle on it but, it hasn’t impeded function that I’ve noticed.

                                                                                                                    Everything else looks good, I’ll keep posting updates every so often in case anybody is interested in these rifles.

                                                                                                                  • #102762
                                                                                                                    Max
                                                                                                                    Keymaster

                                                                                                                      Note: This is not Max’s response/content. Just a glitch from the transition to subscription.

                                                                                                                      The First Sergeant posted a great list of Mil Spec of better rifles, if ya’ll are looking for another name to add to the list check us out

                                                                                                                      http://www.sonsoflibertygw.com

                                                                                                                      Our rifles really are mil-spec or better, small parts from Schmid Tool, KNS Stainless detents, 158 Carpenter Bolt Carrier groups with upgraded Sprinco extractor springs, High Pressure Tested and Magnetic Partical Inspected. Everything we sell is guaranteed for life, even against shooting out your barrel. Not saying you won’t shoot it out, but if you do, you shoot alot and thats the type of customer we would gladly replace a barrel for free.

                                                                                                                      Check out some high round count reviews on our rifles currently being done by Primary and Seconday (5000 rounds), and Mrgunsandgear on youtube.

                                                                                                                    • #102763
                                                                                                                      Max
                                                                                                                      Keymaster

                                                                                                                        Note: This is not Max’s response/content. Just a glitch from the transition to subscription.

                                                                                                                        It’s all the First Sergeant’s fault.

                                                                                                                        Listening to all the commentary on the radio about how AR15’s are evil and how they caused the Orlando massacre….I decided to go to Sportsmans Warehouse to buy a couple of extra AR mags.

                                                                                                                        And there sat a Colt 6920 on sale.

                                                                                                                      • #102764
                                                                                                                        Thomas
                                                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                                                          And I hope that specific LE6920 is now safely secured in the loving arms of a guy who blamed 1SG and is no longer on sale to the public!

                                                                                                                          Good score. Lube the crap out of it and shoot it!

                                                                                                                        • #102765
                                                                                                                          Max
                                                                                                                          Keymaster

                                                                                                                            Note: This is not Max’s response/content. Just a glitch from the transition to subscription.

                                                                                                                            It is.

                                                                                                                            But if my wife finds out; she will be very mad at the First Sergeant.

                                                                                                                            Slip 2000 and several hundred rounds should break it in

                                                                                                                          • #102766
                                                                                                                            Thomas
                                                                                                                            Participant

                                                                                                                              First Sergeant has broad shoulders. He can take the burden.

                                                                                                                            • #102767
                                                                                                                              First Sergeant
                                                                                                                              Moderator

                                                                                                                                Since we are going to be seeing some new members, I am bumping this to the top.

                                                                                                                                FILO
                                                                                                                                Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                                                Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                                                In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                                              • #102768
                                                                                                                                Wysharpshooter79
                                                                                                                                Participant

                                                                                                                                  Are the PSA (Palmetto State Armory) AR’s still good? Got an old M1 garand I am thinking about selling and getting another AR as backup for my Colt 6940 and for the wife to keep around the house. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                • #102769
                                                                                                                                  DuaneH
                                                                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                                                                    Are the PSA (Palmetto State Armory) AR’s still good? Got an old M1 garand I am thinking about selling and getting another AR as backup for my Colt 6940 and for the wife to keep around the house. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                    UH, No. At one time their better and best rifles were very good and near equal to other top tier. That was many years ago.

                                                                                                                                    Now I consider them econo-ARs. Particularly since they are manufacturing some of their barrels in house and within the past year they started making their own lower receivers. Some of the QA mishaps I have seen from them recently are almost comical

                                                                                                                                    I’ll also give you a hint. I live about 15 miles from their current manufacturing facility and I have known people who work(ed) there. I don’t trust PSA anymore.

                                                                                                                                    With the AR marketplace at an all time low, there is no reason not to buy a Colt M4 or BCM. The primary criteria of a rifle suitable for combat is reliability and durability. Cost, coolness, uniqueness, etc.. is secondary. Even to some extent accuracy.

                                                                                                                                  • #102770
                                                                                                                                    veritas556
                                                                                                                                    Participant

                                                                                                                                      I know there is a thing against building your own but… my 2 cents…

                                                                                                                                      Aero Blem upper and lower… $135
                                                                                                                                      Larue Stealth barrel – unmatched accuracy at this price point. $245
                                                                                                                                      BCG – BCM $160
                                                                                                                                      Trigger – Larue again – best drop in trigger for the money bar none – $90

                                                                                                                                      The most important guts of the rifle for $630. The rest of the parts more or less are preference IMO.

                                                                                                                                    • #102771
                                                                                                                                      First Sergeant
                                                                                                                                      Moderator

                                                                                                                                        Listen to what Duane said.

                                                                                                                                        By another Colt.

                                                                                                                                        FILO
                                                                                                                                        Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                                                        Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                                                        In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                                                      • #102772
                                                                                                                                        DuaneH
                                                                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                                                                          I know there is a thing against building your own but… my 2 cents…

                                                                                                                                          Aero Blem upper and lower… $135
                                                                                                                                          Larue Stealth barrel – unmatched accuracy at this price point. $245
                                                                                                                                          BCG – BCM $160
                                                                                                                                          Trigger – Larue again – best drop in trigger for the money bar none – $90

                                                                                                                                          The most important guts of the rifle for $630. The rest of the parts more or less are preference IMO.

                                                                                                                                          I’m not going to say whether you should or should not build your own. That is your decision to make, plus I don’t know what your skill set is. I have a friend of mine who would never buy a factory built gun, but he is a machinist/CNC operator at FN and has a CNC in his garage.

                                                                                                                                          I will tell you some of the problems I have seen with home built guns at classes.
                                                                                                                                          1. Non pinned gas blocks tend to work loose over time.
                                                                                                                                          2. Drop in trigger packs getting jammed or just breaking.
                                                                                                                                          3. Gas port over/undersized and not matched to the recoil/buffer assembly causing cycling issues.
                                                                                                                                          4. Barrel nuts for free float handguards working loose.
                                                                                                                                          5. Guns that just don’t work. Google stacking tolerances.
                                                                                                                                          6. 80% lowers with walking trigger and hammer pins.
                                                                                                                                          7. Non chrome lined barrels being shot out at the 5-6k round mark.

                                                                                                                                          So a confession: Up until 2016, I only owned one factory built AR. They rest I built myself to some degree or other. Most of them are built from parts from a single source (Palmetto State Armory back when their stuff came from FN) and all of them have been through a high round count class.
                                                                                                                                          My machining skills improved so I got more bold and then I made a rifle that wouldn’t make it through a class at MVT. Went home, took it apart and gave the parts away with a warning.

                                                                                                                                          Currently in the process of replacing my first choice grab and go rifles with factory built rifles.(Colt, BCM). Not getting rid of my tried and trued home builts, but relegating them to long term storage and second line.

                                                                                                                                          I have toured the FN factory, I can say that it is not about whether it is assembled correctly so much as it is quality assurance of each and every individual part that goes into the rifle.

                                                                                                                                        • #102773
                                                                                                                                          RobRoy
                                                                                                                                          Participant

                                                                                                                                            Duane don’t get riled up but in 2014 when you showed up with an AK wasn’t it the usual American Gun Culture Snowflake Syndrome rearing its head?

                                                                                                                                          • #102774
                                                                                                                                            Wysharpshooter79
                                                                                                                                            Participant

                                                                                                                                              Howdy folks,
                                                                                                                                              Thanks for all the replies. As far as building a rifle, I probably have the aptitude to do it, but being a father, working a job, and farming on the weekend, my time is limited. Dont really have time to build one plus I dont have a CNC like the guy you mentioned. Have not had any problems with my 6940, will probably look around for a 6920. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                            • #102775
                                                                                                                                              Anonymous
                                                                                                                                              Inactive

                                                                                                                                                6. 80% lowers with walking trigger and hammer pins.

                                                                                                                                                So for those of us in super commie states who would like to eventually build an 80% lower while we still can, would anti-walk pins be a good investment?

                                                                                                                                                I’m still planning to make sure my primary SHTF rifle is all professionally done, my current lower is an assembled PSA lower before they got crappy, still trying to find someone to help me assemble my upper right, might have to hunt down a gunsmith because the ex-armorer who kept promising to help me is terrible at keeping in touch. Just wouldn’t mind taking a whack at an 80% lower as a pet project eventually.

                                                                                                                                              • #102776
                                                                                                                                                DuaneH
                                                                                                                                                Participant

                                                                                                                                                  6. 80% lowers with walking trigger and hammer pins.

                                                                                                                                                  So for those of us in super commie states who would like to eventually build an 80% lower while we still can, would anti-walk pins be a good investment?

                                                                                                                                                  I’m still planning to make sure my primary SHTF rifle is all professionally done, my current lower is an assembled PSA lower before they got crappy, still trying to find someone to help me assemble my upper right, might have to hunt down a gunsmith because the ex-armorer who kept promising to help me is terrible at keeping in touch. Just wouldn’t mind taking a whack at an 80% lower as a pet project eventually.

                                                                                                                                                  Not sure. From my own experiences, the pins walk because the holes weren’t lined up precisely(I think), so the anti walk pins may work. There always seems to be a little wiggle room in those 80% jigs that can cause the pin holes not to line up. I am not a fan of the trigger packs, but they may help the situation as well.

                                                                                                                                                  I guess moving is not an option?:)

                                                                                                                                                • #102777
                                                                                                                                                  First Sergeant
                                                                                                                                                  Moderator

                                                                                                                                                    I know some of you are behind enemy lines. I get it.

                                                                                                                                                    Listen to what Duane is saying. I have seen the “build” guns fail time and again. Don’t get me started on 80% lowers.

                                                                                                                                                    Do some of them make it through? Yes. Long term I would not put my faith in them.

                                                                                                                                                    Stick with a known manufacturer. The time, money and aggravation you save will be worth it.

                                                                                                                                                    FILO
                                                                                                                                                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                                                                    Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                                                                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                                                                  • #117017
                                                                                                                                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                                                                                                    Moderator

                                                                                                                                                      Bump ;-)

                                                                                                                                                    • #117021
                                                                                                                                                      First Sergeant
                                                                                                                                                      Moderator

                                                                                                                                                        Joe, thanks for finding this and bumping it.

                                                                                                                                                        Some of you are new here. You need to read this post.

                                                                                                                                                        FILO
                                                                                                                                                        Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                                                                        Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                                                                        In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                                                                      • #117084
                                                                                                                                                        Healthhokie
                                                                                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                                                                                          Excellent read and information!!

                                                                                                                                                        • #117188
                                                                                                                                                          Anonymous
                                                                                                                                                          Inactive

                                                                                                                                                            Any new folks on here, this is good information, I’m still pretty new to ARs myself (finally got mine together but I don’t know ARs like I know an AK) but this helped me get a good footing on where to start. :good:

                                                                                                                                                          • #127726
                                                                                                                                                            willm
                                                                                                                                                            Participant

                                                                                                                                                              I’ll only speak of what I know. One of the best AR makers is Diemaco, now Colt Canada. Thick chrome lining on bores that taper slightly towards the muzzle to maintain accuracy with wear. Trigger axis pins do not break on full auto. Built to highest standards to operate in hot and cold climates. https://www.coltcanada.com/
                                                                                                                                                              Having used and maintained these AR type firearms for years. The worst I saw was a bent barrel from being sat against an APC track. The APC was moved slightly during a repair, no fault of the C7 rifle. And don’t use oven cleaner unless you like a mottled finish.

                                                                                                                                                            • #127764
                                                                                                                                                              DiznNC
                                                                                                                                                              Participant

                                                                                                                                                                Getting yourself a “rack grade” but utterly reliable AR-15 is easy but hard at the same time. We all come from different backgrounds and have different talents. Sometimes I forget this. The AR market is so crammed full of vendors at this point that it can be hard to separate the sheep from the goats.

                                                                                                                                                                Colt has finally got it’s head out of it’s ass and is selling the model of rifles we have always wanted. So the 1st Sgt is right, if you know nothing else, go get one. Next would be Daniel Defense. Then BCM.

                                                                                                                                                                Lots of other vendors out there; if it’s built right you’ll probably be OK. Windham, Rock River, LMT, LaRue, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                I used to love PSA, but they have slipped hard lately so I would stay away from them.

                                                                                                                                                              • #127771
                                                                                                                                                                Robert Henry
                                                                                                                                                                Participant

                                                                                                                                                                  Bought a Bravo Company Mod 0 a little over a month ago. Have around 600 to 800 rounds through it so far.

                                                                                                                                                                  The action is noticeably smoother than my M and P, a franken AR I have and a PSA. The wider charging handle is very nice. Coming from an AK background where there is little “fine” motor skills involved, the larger charging handle is a plus.

                                                                                                                                                                  I ran AR’s in the 90’s and had terrible results with a couple of very popular manufacturers and on the 2nd go around followed all the prescribed cleaning procedures, use this type of ammo not that type of mag only shoot on a Tuesday when moon is 1/4 full, etc. and still had problems with it.

                                                                                                                                                                  I have good expectations for this BCM. Shooting that and then shooting the PSA is like shooting an Arsenal AK and then going to a WASR10.

                                                                                                                                                                  The Mod 0 was on sale one weekend at Primary. I talked to 1st Sgt and he said they are GTG so I pulled the trigger- the 6920’s were all gone by the time I moved on a “better” AR.

                                                                                                                                                                  www.jrhenterprises.com

                                                                                                                                                                  Lost my MVT class list- been here a time or two :)
                                                                                                                                                                  Team Coyote. Rifleman Challenge- Vanguard

                                                                                                                                                                • #127783
                                                                                                                                                                  First Sergeant
                                                                                                                                                                  Moderator

                                                                                                                                                                    I’ll only speak of what I know. One of the best AR makers is Diemaco, now Colt Canada. Thick chrome lining on bores that taper slightly towards the muzzle to maintain accuracy with wear. Trigger axis pins do not break on full auto. Built to highest standards to operate in hot and cold climates. https://www.coltcanada.com/
                                                                                                                                                                    Having used and maintained these AR type firearms for years. The worst I saw was a bent barrel from being sat against an APC track. The APC was moved slightly during a repair, no fault of the C7 rifle. And don’t use oven cleaner unless you like a mottled finish.

                                                                                                                                                                    That’s nice and all, but you can’t get those rifles in the U.S.


                                                                                                                                                                    @willm
                                                                                                                                                                    , that wasn’t a dig on you personally. Just some frustration leaking through.

                                                                                                                                                                    FILO
                                                                                                                                                                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                                                                                    Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                                                                                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                                                                                    • #127876
                                                                                                                                                                      willm
                                                                                                                                                                      Participant

                                                                                                                                                                        I’ve read that some C8’s were sold to US police forces and have since been sold off, some in the US and some back to Canada. In Canada we can buy new versions or build the old C8’s using surplus parts and a new stripped lower that is not machined out enough to allow for auto sear installation. To use all surplus Diemaco/Colt Canada parts and new Colt Canada receiver it’s about $1200 Can. to build a C8. The aluminum carbine butts are not cheap, price depending on remaining finish. The complete uppers can be like new. :good:
                                                                                                                                                                        The only part considered as the firearm is the serialized stripped lower. Yes our mags are pinned to only allow 5 rds but the pistol 10 rd mags can be used.
                                                                                                                                                                        Can’t believe it was about 1985 when Canada first issued the C7/C8 firearms.Before that we had the FNC1 and FNC2.

                                                                                                                                                                    • #127785
                                                                                                                                                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                                                                                                                      Moderator

                                                                                                                                                                        That’s nice and all, but you can’t get those rifles in the U.S.

                                                                                                                                                                        I think he is Canadian.

                                                                                                                                                                        In which case they can get one* with a Restricted Possession Acquisition License (RPAL).

                                                                                                                                                                        Though I am only vaguely familiar with process.

                                                                                                                                                                        *Semiautomatic version and five round magazines.

                                                                                                                                                                      • #127816
                                                                                                                                                                        First Sergeant
                                                                                                                                                                        Moderator

                                                                                                                                                                          That’s nice and all, but you can’t get those rifles in the U.S.

                                                                                                                                                                          I think he is Canadian.

                                                                                                                                                                          In which case they can get one* with a Restricted Possession Acquisition License (RPAL).

                                                                                                                                                                          Though I am only vaguely familiar with process.

                                                                                                                                                                          *Semiautomatic version and five round magazines.

                                                                                                                                                                          I figured that. Anyone talking about experience with the C7 is either Canadian, British or from a European country. There are very few in the U.S. that have a lot of experience with them. I got my hands on a couple while if Afghanistan while doing a couple of joint patrols with the Canadians. From what they said and what I have read about them they are good rifles.

                                                                                                                                                                          I’d still take a Colt over it. That pisses people off because they don’t want to hear that. They want their god damned feelings massaged and I am past the point of caring about anybodies feelings.

                                                                                                                                                                          FILO
                                                                                                                                                                          Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                                                                                                                          Je ne regrette rien
                                                                                                                                                                          In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                                                                                                                          • #128088
                                                                                                                                                                            willm
                                                                                                                                                                            Participant

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes I’m Canadian, retired weapons technician. I agree that if you have the choice use what you have most confidence in. In the past I did a mag dump full auto with a C7. 10 mags, 30 rds in each.
                                                                                                                                                                              Got so hot I used my beret under the handguard. After the 300 rds it still functioned well.
                                                                                                                                                                              The beauty of the 5.56mm round is that you’re not burning lots of powder and therefore the rifle takes longer to heat up than if a 7.62mm.
                                                                                                                                                                              Diemaco is a good company that could make changes and develop things fast compared to Colt that was bogged down in red tape. Now Colt has bought out Diemaco and is Colt Canada, but still uses the Diemaco trademark.
                                                                                                                                                                              I remember in the mid ’80’s Uzi gal was perfecting his mini uzi at Diemaco. For me it was a rare opportunity to meet a famous firearms designer. :good:

                                                                                                                                                                          • #127846
                                                                                                                                                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                                                                                                                            Moderator

                                                                                                                                                                              I am glad my concerns you were going to start “sugar coating” your answers were wrong! :yes:

                                                                                                                                                                            • #127858
                                                                                                                                                                              DiznNC
                                                                                                                                                                              Participant

                                                                                                                                                                                I understand the 1st Sgt’s frustration about the dialogue surrounding your choice of AR, specifically concerning Colt. He is right, in that the current Colts are “gold standard”, as it were, but I would also say that it took them 40-odd years to quit fucking around with neutered bolt carriers, lower sear blocks, enlarged pins, funky take down pins, and longer than needed bbls, and sell the public at large the rifle we wanted. The mere fact that they did all these things created a whole fucking industry here. So yes, he is right, NOW you can buy a really good rifle from them, and perhaps you should. But there’s no denying the fact that their refusal to sell a CAR-15/M-4/Mk18 to us for years spawned a whole industry of people willing and able to do so. The problem now is trying to sift through all the different choices and buy or build a good rifle. And, all the bubbas merely trying to defend their choices because they get butt-hurt about being called out about them.

                                                                                                                                                                                IF we can put all this aside, and dispassionately examine the facts, then yes, a 6920 is a very good choice. Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. And even if you do, if you can put aside all the past history and just take it for what it is, at the present, it is still a good choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                But that is what it is, a choice. Peeps will still buy gun show specials and still defend their choices. They will still show up at class and their rifles will keep choking. Some will see the light and upgrade their shit accordingly. Some won’t. In this day and age I think too many choices is just as bad as not enough. And everybody’s POV is declared equal, as legit subject matter experts have their opinions drowned out by all the noise. But, I would say to any new-comers here, this here website is a legit source of knowledge on all this stuff. If you take Max and the 1st Sgt’s advice on training, weapons, and equipment, you will be light years ahead of the average bear. And I say that as a guy who has been involved in all this for 40+ years, and seen it all come and go.

                                                                                                                                                                              • #127899
                                                                                                                                                                                SeanT
                                                                                                                                                                                Keymaster

                                                                                                                                                                                  Bought a Bravo Company Mod 0 a little over a month ago….

                                                                                                                                                                                  The action is noticeably smoother than my M and P…
                                                                                                                                                                                  The wider charging handle is very nice…

                                                                                                                                                                                  Robert, I grabbed on when on sale too, worth it to me to have another bet your life on gun( still breaking it in, lol)
                                                                                                                                                                                  The BCM medium charging handle is the definitely a great choice and in Scott’s list of gtg.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I also have a M&P so I will agree with you on that but that rifle went thru a full weekend at MVT without being cleaned as a test, which it passed.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The BCM pistol grip is nice and the flash hider seems to have good timing engineering so the muzzle flip is more N/S than my other rifle with A2. Different gas lengths tho so not an even compare.

                                                                                                                                                                                • #128009
                                                                                                                                                                                  gramma
                                                                                                                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                                                                                                                    RampantRaptor – check into Duffy’s Gun Shop; they’re local-ish to you – for help.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • #128201
                                                                                                                                                                                    Anonymous
                                                                                                                                                                                    Inactive

                                                                                                                                                                                      RampantRaptor – check into Duffy’s Gun Shop; they’re local-ish to you – for help.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, I actually wound up finding Duffy’s on my own when I finally decided to quit dwaddling and get my AR built one way or the other. Pretty much the best shop in the Baltimore area, most others around here will have a few ARs but still focus on less scary hunting rifles and shotguns but Duffy’s has as good a selection of modern rifles as I’ve seen in Maryland, was the first time I saw AKs here since the ban. The staff is also really helpful, I wish I had found them sooner.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Regarding the Canadian stuff, I’m slightly jealous they get the Colt Canada and Norinco stuff, beyond that I fear for them since Trudeau promised to ban more guns if re-elected.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • #128214
                                                                                                                                                                                      willm
                                                                                                                                                                                      Participant

                                                                                                                                                                                        Trudeau may not be able to ban Ar’s since he has a minority govt he’ll need other parties to vote along with him on that. Still a major concern, this socialist govt if allowed to continue will be a real threat, look what they tried doing to a Canadian Admiral recently and fired his justice minister for pursuing criminal acts of Trudeau (dictator). Trudeau is using Stalin’s and Hitler’s play book by controlling our media etc., human history will repeat itself, very troubling.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Back to the real topic, yes Norinco sell lots of stuff here. Well enough made but not highly finished.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Having lots of surplus 7.62×39 to shoot at first is fun but accuracy is poor with surplus acidic primer and steel jacket and steel core bullets. I don’t like Norinco’s AR’s and not sure if parts are interchangeable. Of course Trudeau’s Canada trades with China as Trudeau admires their basic dictatorship.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I choose to buy American and Canadian made because it really does matter who you support (and don’t). :yes:

                                                                                                                                                                                      • #128256
                                                                                                                                                                                        DiznNC
                                                                                                                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                                                                                                                          RR, good to see you are getting into the deal. Let us know whatcha end up with. I have a few spares and might be able to help ya out. Now start planning your E&E route to Romney!

                                                                                                                                                                                          On the Canadian front, well, we’re not that far behind ya, Mate, we just have a guy who is thwarting their plans for awhile. We don’t like the Reds very much either but we also buy the shit out of their products.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I will say this about that. We have been going on here about buying the best AR you can obtain. Which if that’s the case, then you should do it. But most insurgencies have been fought with what is at hand; the point being the sack to get out there and fight, not how Gucci your weapons and equipment are. Extreme case, Warsaw ghetto. Granted not a happy ending, but point being they held off a highly trained division of assault troops for months with a few rusty antique firearms. So if you are in highly infringed countries, with very limited sources, all is not lost. Remember, you can always trade up.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Not to get too far off topic, but I’ll say it again. Never in human history has a people had the time, resources, and wherewithal to prep for hard times. I mean, you can see history repeating itself, if you can kick your normalcy bias and look Hillary, I mean, the devil in the eye. Get the best AR you can afford, whatever that may be. And get ready. Better to have a marginal AR but get training at MVT than a Colt that gathers dust in the safe.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by DiznNC.
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