AR15.Com Archives
 Who makes the best Lower for a AR-15?
Allan1881  [Member]
8/9/2010 5:04:04 PM
My question to everyone is this. Who makes the best lower for the AR-15? How does it rate on strength (for non standard calibers)? Fit (how tight are the upper and lower to each other & in the magwell)? Finish (texture & looks)? Cost? I am looking to build in the 6.8 spc, 30 rem, and in the 458 SOCOM. I am looking for a standard stripped receiver that will be able take accessories such as stocks, grips, and the like. Can anyone help me out and provide some advice. Thanks, Allan1881
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strat81  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 5:56:40 PM
Rock River generally has some of the tightest fitting forged upper and lower receivers.
altopwescap  [Member]
8/9/2010 6:15:43 PM
Take your pick.



LMT
Lauer
DS arms
PWA
Eagle
Armalite
Knights Armament,
Barrett
Stag
Rock River Arms
Red River Tactical
High standard
Noveske, Century
Global tactical
CLE
S & W
MGI
Wilson Tactical
Grenadier Precision
Colt
LAR
Bushmaster
Ameetec
DPMS
CMMG
Double star
Fulton Armory
Spikes tactical
Grizzly
LRB
Charles Daly
Mega
GSE
Dalphon
POF
Alexander Arms
American Spirit Arms
Olympic
SGW
Tromix
Palmetto
Frankford
Century
Sun devil
Sonja - SI Defense
SNOS
SNS Industries, Inc
Larue
Superior Arms
Defensive Edge/CY6
Aero Precision
Yankee Hills Machining
Iron Ridge Arms
Territorial Gunsmith’s
Six Sigma Arms
Tactical Innovations
Hughes Precision
Essential Arms
Kaiser Defense
Cavalry Arms
Anvil Arms
Delaware Machine
Carolina Mountain Tactical
Magpul
R-Guns
TNW
Tactical Machining
RGM, Inc
Del-Ton, Inc
ADS (Advanced Defense Systems)
AGP Arms
Coastal Gun Mfg
Ardel Enginering
Denny’s Guns
Sabre Defense
Sharps
Tom Sawyer Mfg
Bravo Company
Liberty Tactical
Mohawk Armory
Gunsmoke Enterprises
US Tactical Arms Corp
SOG Armory
BHG, Inc
Roggio Arsenal
Black Rain Ordnance Inc
McKay Enterprises
Daniel Defense
Noveske
Surplus Ammo & Arms
Coastal Arms Inc
Tactics LLC
Henderson Defense Industries

kaiserworks  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 6:30:39 PM
Originally Posted By altopwescap:
Take your pick.



LMT
Lauer
DS arms
PWA
Eagle
Armalite
Knights Armament,
Barrett
Stag
Rock River Arms
Red River Tactical
High standard
Noveske, Century
Global tactical
CLE
S & W
MGI
Wilson Tactical
Grenadier Precision
Colt
LAR
Bushmaster
Ameetec
DPMS
CMMG
Double star
Fulton Armory
Spikes tactical
Grizzly
LRB
Charles Daly
Mega
GSE
Dalphon
POF
Alexander Arms
American Spirit Arms
Olympic
SGW
Tromix
Palmetto
Frankford
Century
Sun devil
Sonja - SI Defense
SNOS
SNS Industries, Inc
Larue
Superior Arms
Defensive Edge/CY6
Aero Precision
Yankee Hills Machining
Iron Ridge Arms
Territorial Gunsmith’s
Six Sigma Arms
Tactical Innovations
Hughes Precision
Essential Arms
Kaiser Defense
Cavalry Arms
Anvil Arms
Delaware Machine
Carolina Mountain Tactical
Magpul
R-Guns
TNW
Tactical Machining
RGM, Inc
Del-Ton, Inc
ADS (Advanced Defense Systems)
AGP Arms
Coastal Gun Mfg
Ardel Enginering
Denny’s Guns
Sabre Defense
Sharps
Tom Sawyer Mfg
Bravo Company
Liberty Tactical
Mohawk Armory
Gunsmoke Enterprises
US Tactical Arms Corp
SOG Armory
BHG, Inc
Roggio Arsenal
Black Rain Ordnance Inc
McKay Enterprises
Daniel Defense
Noveske
Surplus Ammo & Arms
Coastal Arms Inc
Tactics LLC
Henderson Defense Industries



Half of those are made in the same machine shops

Bretshooter  [Member]
8/9/2010 6:31:53 PM
Um, you forgot Plum Crazy...
j_king  [Member]
8/9/2010 6:31:57 PM
Best???

KAC for sure. No other lower has the features built in that it does. Link

ETA: I do believe however that POF has a certain version lower which does have ambi-bolt release built in.
UNDERTOW4507  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 6:33:38 PM
KAC is really nice, yes. Practical @750.00 a pop, no.
Aimless  [Site Staff]
8/9/2010 6:36:38 PM
Mega makes nice receivers.
a308garand  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 8:04:26 PM
Come on, you know the ARFCOM receivers are in the top tier!

Mine is very well made and went together smooth

Said in a liquor store clerk voice: "You buy now!"

http://store.ar15.com/store/product.html?cat=9&prod=235
j_king  [Member]
8/9/2010 8:12:44 PM
Originally Posted By UNDERTOW4507:
KAC is really nice, yes. Practical @750.00 a pop, no.


Lower with FULL ambi controls - Check
Built-in QD Sockets - Check
KAC Two Stage Trigger - Check
LMT Sopmod Stock - Check

Sounds like a deal to me
terpdx  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 9:19:11 PM

Originally Posted By kaiserworks:
Originally Posted By altopwescap:
Take your pick.



LMT
Lauer
DS arms
PWA
Eagle
Armalite
Knights Armament,
Barrett
Stag
Rock River Arms

yada, yada, yada...


Half of those are made in the same machine shops




It would be much easier to tell you which ones to avoid, rather than "who makes the best".

Bladeswitcher  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 9:25:05 PM
It's lower. What difference does it make?
CB1  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 9:34:01 PM
most forged lowers are good to go.
pick your favorite pictogram and enjoy!
Wildomar_AR  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 9:45:10 PM
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Mega makes nice receivers.


+1
+1
+1


mamasboy  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 9:51:59 PM
I like Spikes
Allan1881  [Member]
8/9/2010 10:30:47 PM
What I'm really concerned about is whose lowers can stand up to thousands of rounds of 458 SOCOM. The standard AR-15 lower receiver was designed for a .22 caliber. It can possibily stand up to thousands of rounds of up to 30 cal rounds. However, was it designed for larger rounds than that? I'm sure that everyone has seen the 50 BMG bolt action uppers that someone is selling, how many rounds can the lower take before cracking? I guess what I'm really asking is two fold and here is my criteria. Who makes a lower receiver capable of handling the 458 SOCOM for a reasonable number of rounds (2500+)? Also,who makes a lower receiver bulit for accuracy? I'm told RRA makes some of the tightest lowers out there, does anyone make a better one or of the same quality. They must sell both complete rifles as well as sell their lowers and be a name brand. Also, how does YHM rate compaired to RRA in their lowers and uppers? Thanks, Allan1881
locke12  [Member]
8/9/2010 10:34:26 PM
You may want consider the following: Re-sale value to the layperson. Layperson will more readily recognize Colt, LMT, Bushmaster, Armalite, Smith & Wesson, etc. YMMV
PS: Welcome to the illness.
Bladeswitcher  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 10:41:32 PM
Originally Posted By Allan1881:
Also,who makes a lower receiver bulit for accuracy? . . .


I guess I need education. What is there about a lower that could affect accuracy? Seems like everything that has anything to do with accuracy is on the top half.
locke12  [Member]
8/9/2010 10:49:09 PM
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By Allan1881:
Also,who makes a lower receiver bulit for accuracy? . . .


I guess I need education. What is there about a lower that could affect accuracy? Seems like everything that has anything to do with accuracy is on the top half.


Trigger goes in the lower.
Alpha-Romeo3  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 10:51:55 PM
Originally Posted By terpdx:

Originally Posted By kaiserworks:
Originally Posted By altopwescap:
Take your pick.



LMT
Lauer
DS arms
PWA
Eagle
Armalite
Knights Armament,
Barrett
Stag
Rock River Arms

yada, yada, yada...


Half of those are made in the same machine shops


http://a.imageshack.us/img31/4487/duffbeer.jpg

It would be much easier to tell you which ones to avoid, rather than "who makes the best".



I would personally avoid Hesse, Vulcan, and Blackthorne.


Allan1881: Check out the differences of different brands of lowers in this tacked thread.


AR Lower Receiver FAQ MMS, CMT, LAR, LMT Compared... - link


Bladeswitcher  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 10:54:26 PM
Originally Posted By locke12:
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By Allan1881:
Also,who makes a lower receiver bulit for accuracy? . . .


I guess I need education. What is there about a lower that could affect accuracy? Seems like everything that has anything to do with accuracy is on the top half.


Trigger goes in the lower.


Yeah, so? . . . .

Are you suggesting that the name on the side of the lower affects how the trigger performs?
a308garand  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 10:55:28 PM
Originally Posted By Allan1881:
What I'm really concerned about is whose lowers can stand up to thousands of rounds of 458 SOCOM. The standard AR-15 lower receiver was designed for a .22 caliber. It can possibly stand up to thousands of rounds of up to 30 cal rounds. However, was it designed for larger rounds than that? I'm sure that everyone has seen the 50 BMG bolt action uppers that someone is selling, how many rounds can the lower take before cracking? I guess what I'm really asking is two fold and here is my criteria. Who makes a lower receiver capable of handling the 458 SOCOM for a reasonable number of rounds (2500+)? Also,who makes a lower receiver built for accuracy? I'm told RRA makes some of the tightest lowers out there, does anyone make a better one or of the same quality. They must sell both complete rifles as well as sell their lowers and be a name brand. Also, how does YHM rate compared to RRA in their lowers and uppers? Thanks, Allan1881


I believe you will wear out a barrel before you stress/wear out a lower from a quality maker. The barrel (the extension and bolt) is where the high pressure is contained during firing. Recoil is directed rearward into the bolt carrier buffer assembly. The lower basically just keeps the fire control parts and magazine feeding into the upper; not alot of stress there.

Rock River and Olymic Arms seem to purposely make their receiver/upper "tight" fitting because that's what some people look for––-it does make it more difficult to swap parts later on due to fitting issues. Not bad unless you plan on switching uppers/lowers among other platforms.

Go with a good quality lower and you can not go wrong. Both Bravo Company and Noveske offer "belm" lowers that are a discount on their standard price. Then you have a whole bunch of others in the mix,,,,,,,use the search feature here and you will get a wide variety of opinions. Your pocketbook is what is going to dictate your purchase.
BurtSaun1049  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 11:30:17 PM
Originally Posted By UNDERTOW4507:
KAC is really nice, yes. Practical @750.00 a pop, no.


That price is absurd. If I'm paying 750 for a lower, the safety better be fingerprint activated and come with an espresso maker built in

As to what the OP asked, well......just read what everyone has just said.
j_king  [Member]
8/9/2010 11:57:58 PM
Originally Posted By BurtSaun1049:
Originally Posted By UNDERTOW4507:
KAC is really nice, yes. Practical @750.00 a pop, no.


That price is absurd. If I'm paying 750 for a lower, the safety better be fingerprint activated and come with an espresso maker built in

As to what the OP asked, well......just read what everyone has just said.


Not really if you breakdown what your getting.
tel0004  [Team Member]
8/9/2010 11:58:40 PM
Choose the upper first, then choose a matching lower. I think it looks better when a gun is from one manufacturer, the should be a better match as far as fit and finish, and to some people, resale might be higher.

I love my S&W lower, but if I could do it again, I would have got a BCM lower, just because my upper is a BCM. I guess I will correct it on build 2 though.
altopwescap  [Member]
8/10/2010 1:12:44 AM
Just one?
lunyou  [Member]
8/10/2010 3:06:04 AM
I had an essential arms lower. Th lower was to spec and my dpms, LPK fit right in. The biggest issue was it didn't fit quite snug with the DTI upper. Nothing bad just not "matched" tight.
locke12  [Member]
8/10/2010 7:06:23 AM
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By locke12:
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By Allan1881:
Also,who makes a lower receiver bulit for accuracy? . . .


I guess I need education. What is there about a lower that could affect accuracy? Seems like everything that has anything to do with accuracy is on the top half.


Trigger goes in the lower.


Yeah, so? . . . .

Are you suggesting that the name on the side of the lower affects how the trigger performs?


No, what I mean is the trigger affects accuracy, and it does not go in the upper.
Bladeswitcher  [Team Member]
8/10/2010 7:24:54 AM
Originally Posted By locke12:
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By locke12:
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By Allan1881:
Also,who makes a lower receiver bulit for accuracy? . . .


I guess I need education. What is there about a lower that could affect accuracy? Seems like everything that has anything to do with accuracy is on the top half.


Trigger goes in the lower.


Yeah, so? . . . .

Are you suggesting that the name on the side of the lower affects how the trigger performs?


No, what I mean is the trigger affects accuracy, and it does not go in the upper.


Yeah, but the choice of lower doesn't affect how the trigger works. Triggers are replaceable/swappable parts and their performance is determined by the quality/design of the trigger. Put a good trigger in a cheap lower and it's still a good trigger.

Oh, and, technically, the trigger doesn't affect accuracy –– it affects the shooter's ability to shoot accurately. There is a difference.
locke12  [Member]
8/10/2010 7:29:25 AM
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By locke12:
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By locke12:
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By Allan1881:
Also,who makes a lower receiver bulit for accuracy? . . .


I guess I need education. What is there about a lower that could affect accuracy? Seems like everything that has anything to do with accuracy is on the top half.


Trigger goes in the lower.


Yeah, so? . . . .

Are you suggesting that the name on the side of the lower affects how the trigger performs?


No, what I mean is the trigger affects accuracy, and it does not go in the upper.


Yeah, but the choice of lower doesn't affect how the trigger works. Triggers are replaceable/swappable parts and their performance is determined by the quality/design of the trigger. Put a good trigger in a cheap lower and it's still a good trigger.

Oh, and, technically, the trigger doesn't affect accuracy –– it affects the shooter's ability to shoot accurately. There is a difference.


Yeah, my mistake...sorry about that. I agree, the lower should make no difference.
DirtyDrew  [Member]
8/10/2010 10:15:13 AM
Caliber should make no difference as there really isnt any stress on the lower when an AR is fired. I have built on Noveske and Aero Precision. Big difference in price, no difference in performance.
strat81  [Team Member]
8/10/2010 10:45:36 AM
Originally Posted By DirtyDrew:
Caliber should make no difference as there really isnt any stress on the lower when an AR is fired. I have built on Noveske and Aero Precision. Big difference in price, no difference in performance.


Pretty much this. The proof is in the plastic lowers sold by Cavalry Arms.

And frankly, if you can afford a bigbore upper and enough bigbore ammo to wear out the lower, you can afford a new lower. They're $100-$150. What does a case of .458 SOCOM go for these days?

If I needed a lower today, I'd buy one of the AR15.com lowers. The price is very reasonable, they're well made, and the rollmark looks good. As a bonus, it helps support the site.
nicholsmf  [Team Member]
8/10/2010 10:53:28 AM
For the most part, a lower is a lower. I have built on Spike's, DPMS, RRA, Bushmaster, Stag, Tactical Machining, Predator Custom Shop (Sabre), and CMMG. They are all the same in terms of functionality.

Say away from Vulcan, Hessee, Blackthorne, and whoever else makes plastic, ceramic, etc. lowers and you will be good to go.
CTbuilder1  [Team Member]
8/10/2010 10:58:43 AM
If I were to get a stripped lower I would go with a Defensive Edge. They have a tacked thread in their industry section that details what makes their lowers stand apart from most others on the market. Not all parts are created equal......even lowers and uppers.
jkingrph  [Member]
8/10/2010 5:32:54 PM
I have built 7 lowers, all using RR lowers. They were the best price around and I only had one other choice locally.

I went with a local stocking dealer to avoid the transfer fee hassel ect. and have not been disappointed.

The RR lowers are consistantly tight, trigger and hammer pins very snug and the takedown pins , as well as front pivot slot are very tight.

It is generally viewed by experts that the lower has virtually no effect on accuracy, the only thing there that affects accuracy is the trigger. All other accuracy issues are in barrel quality, gas key not hitting gas tube, gas tube properly centered on and on and on with little details, all dealing with functions in the upper.

My limited experience seems to prove this.


Good Luck
Allan1881  [Member]
8/10/2010 7:53:52 PM
As someone once said "your chain is only as strond as your weakest link". Wouldn't a stronger, better made lower be better than a weaker lower? Also, does all of the force from firing and recoil get put on the barrel extension and bolt? Doesn't the buffer spring take some force from the bolt carrer as it travels rearward? Where does this force terminate at? Where the buffer tube screws into the reciever? Could a lesser made lower handle the force generated? Absolutely, but for how long? There was a time when the lifespan of a automobile could be mesured in hours and now they can last 10 to 20 years before something major breaks. I know that when I buy a lower there will be a finate amout of time untill it breaks, however, buying a quality lower would last longer than one of a lesser quality, right? Who's lower is one of the best ones. I konw RRA makes quality ones, who else? And at what price? I don't see spending more than $500 for a lower unless it can make the bullet turn at right angles or can make a 22 hit like at 105 howitzer. Unless someone wants to spend that much money because of the options and how it is configured. I aslo know that every one has their own opinion as to who makes the best lower, i was just hoping that there was just some general consensus as to who makes a better or one of the best lowers. How does RRA's lowers compare to YHM's lowers? I know cost is close to the same, is the tightness about the same? and what about the finish? Thanks for letting me share my two cents worth and thanks to all that have been posting, Allan1881
Bretshooter  [Member]
8/10/2010 8:17:23 PM
Considering that most receivers are machined from the same 7075 mil spec forgings, they will be of the same basic durability. And if 50 BMG uppers aren't breaking or damaging them, they are plenty strong for a lifetime of use. Do you want to break one? Run an A2 buttstock with a carbine buffer. The gas key will pound on the receiver ring until it breaks off at the rear take down pin hole.. Or use the rifle as a club with the buttstock as the striking end.

The question to be asked is, who machines the forgings the most consistently in spec. And with modern machining centers being used today, they will all be about the same. Some will occasionally put out a run of out of spec lowers, but that seems to be the exception.
Bladeswitcher  [Team Member]
8/10/2010 9:17:09 PM
Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
If I were to get a stripped lower I would go with a Defensive Edge. They have a tacked thread in their industry section that details what makes their lowers stand apart from most others on the market. Not all parts are created equal......even lowers and uppers.


Do they have a chart? Can't be no good if it ain't got a chart.
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