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mrblueagian
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Posted: 7/17/2011 8:44:25 AM
I recently asked a local AR15 dealer/Custom builder if they could order me a lower from BCM or Spikes. They said they couldnt and then he told me that all the lowers are the same why pay the higher price of other ones when he has plum crazy lowers, cmmg, and superior arms lowers in stock. They are the same as BCM and Spikes. I was like Ummm no! I then asked him how can this be. He then told me there are only 3 places that make lowers. They make them and send them out in the white with no roll markings to other companys such as BCM, Spikes, RR,Bushmaster, Ect. Once at the other companies , that company then adds there roll marks and numbers to the reciever and then coat it. I found this hard to believe as I have had many AR15's and many lowers, some of the cheaper ones the finish and fit were no were near as good as the higher end name ones. So how can that be if they were all made in the same places? Is he giving me a line? I have had LMT, Bushy, Stag, DPMS, Noveske, BLACK RAIN ORDNANCE, CMMG, Superior Arms, all with different prices and all had varying quality areas. So am I just being ignorant and not believing him or is he wrong and just trying to sell me his crap?
gunner_71
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:01:54 AM
[Last Edit: 7/17/2011 9:04:06 AM by gunner_71]
as long as they are within specs, they are all fine. with all other things being equal, it really comes down to what roll mark you like. my next lower will be a Palmetto State Armory. and yes there is only a handful of forgers that make the lowers.
Bhart89
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:02:33 AM
For the most part he's right. CMT (Continental Machine and Tool) is one of the largest suppliers of lowers. Someone will be along shortly to name the others.

I've built AR's with Bushmaster, Armalite, Rock River, CMMG, Stag, DPMS and even Roggio without problems. All went together easily and in spec.
KJ4MZE
mrblueagian
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:06:40 AM
So is it safe to say that some of the companies that say they make all parts in house are not talking about the recievers? Really Im in a state of "awwww" right now cause Ive payed for higher quality stuff just to find out there pretty much the same.
shotar
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:11:42 AM
Pretty much. I bought a High Standard finished lower on Friday at Camp Perry. Can't see any difference between it and the various Armalite, Bushmaster etc that I've had over the years. Slapped an upper on it and we were off and running.
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Thefryzone
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:13:48 AM
[Last Edit: 7/17/2011 9:23:08 AM by Thefryzone]
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_12/318113_AR_Lower_Receiver_FAQ__56k_beware__MMS__CMT__LAR__LMT_compared___.htmlReceiver FAQ Version 0.3 (please note this is still rough, and is not nearly finished)

I see a lot of threads asking these questions about overall quality and suggestions for which brand of receiver any particular person would recommend, so I thought I might document the aesthetics of final finish machining info into an info thread of it's own.

Who makes the best receiver? Which receiver is the best? Which receiver is the highest quality?

Of course the answer is that all of them are pretty much the same. The actual brand of receiver means little to nothing. When deciding on which receiver you should purchase you should take into consideration two factors. Price and manufacturer. Of course if price is not an object, get the receiver that has the logo or emblem that you want. I know that is superficial, but the best receiver really boils down to the one you like the best.

There are currently FOUR manufacturers that produce the majority of lower receivers for the AR market. MMS, CMT, LMT and LAR receive orders from many licensed manufacturers who obtain an ATF variance to have them cut and logo receivers on their behalf. JVP and Superior Arms cut for a couple of different companies as well, but currently I will only focus on the four main manufacturers differences.

Mega, Stag (CMT), LAR and Barrett (LMT):

Not all inclusive, and a few brands have had more than one manufacturer cut their receivers. Many companies receive CMT and LMT cuts in the white and finish them themselves. I have not seen a LAR or MMS cut that was finished by a third party company.

LMT = LMT, Lauer(old), DS Arms, PWA, Eagle, Knights Armament, Barrett, Bushmaster (?)
CMT = Stag, RRA, High Standard, Noveske (old), Century (current), Global Tactical, CLE, S&W, MGI (1st batch), Wilson Tactical, (some?) Colt, Ratworx
LAR = Grizzly, Bushmaster (L Prefix), Ameetech, (?)DPMS, CMMG, Double Star, Fulton, Spike's Tactical, Noveske (new)
MMS = Mega, Gunsmoke, Dalphon, POF (forged), Alexander Arms, Stinger, Spike's Tactical(old)
JVP = Double Star, LRB
Olympic = Olypmic, SGW, Tromix, Palmetto, Dalphon, Frankford, (old) Century
Superior = Superior Arms, Lauer (current)
Grenadier Precision
Sabre Defence (?)

There are also a number of custom cut billet lower receivers:

MGI multi-caliber
COBB multi-caliber

JP CTR-02
SOCOM Diamond (out of business?)
Sun Devil
POF - 415/416 Gen 1 (no trigger guard), Gen 2 (integral winter guard), Gen 3(integral guard + ambi bolt release)
Smith & Wesspon M&P-15PC Performance Center Model

7.62x51 receivers
POF - P-308 Gen 1 (winter trigger guard + ambi bolt release)
DPMS Panther LR-308
Fulton FAR-308 (made by DMPS)
Hesse HAR-10 (bleh... really crappy machining)

Wishful thinking:
Oberland Arms / HK 416/417 (billet)
Magpul (soon I hope)
LaRue (people have been asking.... lol)
Vltor (you never know...)
LMT (very wishful thinking...)

Not sure if RRA .308 vaporware will be forged or billet.


Characteristics of the manufacturers (please note, the most typical characteristics are listed, and each manufacturer may have substantial sample variation between lots):

LMT usually leaves forge flash underneath the trigger well, and roughly cuts them between the receiver extension and pistol grip, while leaving a vertical mold flash line on the front lip of the mag well, as well as having other "fingerprint" marks... no bevel cut for the charging handle on the rear lug for the receiver extension, as well as particular mill marks in between the pivot pin tangs. They also have a 'fingerprint' cut in the receiver on the shelf, and below it where the FCG goes. Notice the diagonal mill mark on one of the pivot pin supports. Also unique is the radius in the grip tang pocket, which is not as smooth a transition as the other manufacturers.

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sjd996
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:14:37 AM
This thread pretty much covers it:

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_12/318113_index.html

Even lists who makes lowers for whom and highlights differences etc...
Matt_Krush
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:15:42 AM
The forgings for the lowers are pretty much the same.
The final machining is what sets lowers apart.
That being said, most companies machine within mil-spec tolerances making the finished product fairly universal.

The question that needs to be asked is " who makes a non usable lower ?"
gunner_71
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:16:25 AM
Originally Posted By mrblueagian:
So is it safe to say that some of the companies that say they make all parts in house are not talking about the recievers? Really Im in a state of "awwww" right now cause Ive payed for higher quality stuff just to find out there pretty much the same.


they do all the machining, but the actual forging of the upper and lower is done by another company, so as long as their machining is done well you have nothing to worry about. same thing applies to the barrels...none of these companies have their own steel refineries. get it?
Bhart89
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:17:22 AM
For the most part he's right. CMT (Continental Machine and Tool) is one of the largest suppliers of lowers. Someone will be along shortly to name the others.

I've built AR's with Bushmaster, Armalite, Rock River, CMMG, Stag, DPMS and even Roggio without problems. All went together easily and in spec.
KJ4MZE
mrblueagian
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:21:16 AM
Thanks Now that I have that all cleared up on to my next build I guess (cheaper lower of course.lol )...
Staticxd00d
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:21:55 AM
The one exception to what he said (shop guy in OP) was the Plum Crazy lowers. Those are not forged aluminum... they are made out of polymer.
mrblueagian
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:25:42 AM
Originally Posted By Staticxd00d:
The one exception to what he said (shop guy in OP) was the Plum Crazy lowers. Those are not forged aluminum... they are made out of polymer.


I had a plum Crazy lower once (gun show for $100 complete) and it was ok but I didnt really like it much so I ended up using it for a dedicated .22.. Now its great..
Staticxd00d
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Posted: 7/17/2011 9:33:16 AM
Yeah, wasn't necessarily knocking it, just pointing out that it wasn't forged from one of the main companies that forge them, so it doesn't really apply to what the guy was saying as far as them all being made by 3 or 4 places.
mrblueagian
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Posted: 7/17/2011 10:12:03 AM
Originally Posted By Staticxd00d:
Yeah, wasn't necessarily knocking it, just pointing out that it wasn't forged from one of the main companies that forge them, so it doesn't really apply to what the guy was saying as far as them all being made by 3 or 4 places.


Yup.. Im not knocking them either.. I just prefer it on my dedicated .22. something about the feel of metal on a weapon makes me all warm and fuzzy inside..lol
gotigers
Buck Ofama
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Posted: 7/17/2011 10:17:22 AM
great post

Originally Posted By Thefryzone:
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_12/318113_AR_Lower_Receiver_FAQ__56k_beware__MMS__CMT__LAR__LMT_compared___.htmlReceiver FAQ Version 0.3 (please note this is still rough, and is not nearly finished)

I see a lot of threads asking these questions about overall quality and suggestions for which brand of receiver any particular person would recommend, so I thought I might document the aesthetics of final finish machining info into an info thread of it's own.

Who makes the best receiver? Which receiver is the best? Which receiver is the highest quality?

Of course the answer is that all of them are pretty much the same. The actual brand of receiver means little to nothing. When deciding on which receiver you should purchase you should take into consideration two factors. Price and manufacturer. Of course if price is not an object, get the receiver that has the logo or emblem that you want. I know that is superficial, but the best receiver really boils down to the one you like the best.

There are currently FOUR manufacturers that produce the majority of lower receivers for the AR market. MMS, CMT, LMT and LAR receive orders from many licensed manufacturers who obtain an ATF variance to have them cut and logo receivers on their behalf. JVP and Superior Arms cut for a couple of different companies as well, but currently I will only focus on the four main manufacturers differences.

Mega, Stag (CMT), LAR and Barrett (LMT):

Not all inclusive, and a few brands have had more than one manufacturer cut their receivers. Many companies receive CMT and LMT cuts in the white and finish them themselves. I have not seen a LAR or MMS cut that was finished by a third party company.

LMT = LMT, Lauer(old), DS Arms, PWA, Eagle, Knights Armament, Barrett, Bushmaster (?)
CMT = Stag, RRA, High Standard, Noveske (old), Century (current), Global Tactical, CLE, S&W, MGI (1st batch), Wilson Tactical, (some?) Colt, Ratworx
LAR = Grizzly, Bushmaster (L Prefix), Ameetech, (?)DPMS, CMMG, Double Star, Fulton, Spike's Tactical, Noveske (new)
MMS = Mega, Gunsmoke, Dalphon, POF (forged), Alexander Arms, Stinger, Spike's Tactical(old)
JVP = Double Star, LRB
Olympic = Olypmic, SGW, Tromix, Palmetto, Dalphon, Frankford, (old) Century
Superior = Superior Arms, Lauer (current)
Grenadier Precision
Sabre Defence (?)

There are also a number of custom cut billet lower receivers:

MGI multi-caliber
COBB multi-caliber

JP CTR-02
SOCOM Diamond (out of business?)
Sun Devil
POF - 415/416 Gen 1 (no trigger guard), Gen 2 (integral winter guard), Gen 3(integral guard + ambi bolt release)
Smith & Wesspon M&P-15PC Performance Center Model

7.62x51 receivers
POF - P-308 Gen 1 (winter trigger guard + ambi bolt release)
DPMS Panther LR-308
Fulton FAR-308 (made by DMPS)
Hesse HAR-10 (bleh... really crappy machining)

Wishful thinking:
Oberland Arms / HK 416/417 (billet)
Magpul (soon I hope)
LaRue (people have been asking.... lol)
Vltor (you never know...)
LMT (very wishful thinking...)

Not sure if RRA .308 vaporware will be forged or billet.


Characteristics of the manufacturers (please note, the most typical characteristics are listed, and each manufacturer may have substantial sample variation between lots):

LMT usually leaves forge flash underneath the trigger well, and roughly cuts them between the receiver extension and pistol grip, while leaving a vertical mold flash line on the front lip of the mag well, as well as having other "fingerprint" marks... no bevel cut for the charging handle on the rear lug for the receiver extension, as well as particular mill marks in between the pivot pin tangs. They also have a 'fingerprint' cut in the receiver on the shelf, and below it where the FCG goes. Notice the diagonal mill mark on one of the pivot pin supports. Also unique is the radius in the grip tang pocket, which is not as smooth a transition as the other manufacturers.



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jmreagan
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Posted: 7/17/2011 10:28:36 AM
Originally Posted By mrblueagian:
Originally Posted By Staticxd00d:
Yeah, wasn't necessarily knocking it, just pointing out that it wasn't forged from one of the main companies that forge them, so it doesn't really apply to what the guy was saying as far as them all being made by 3 or 4 places.


Yup.. Im not knocking them either.. I just prefer it on my dedicated .22. something about the feel of metal on a weapon makes me all warm and fuzzy inside..lol


I would definitely own a Plum Crazy lower........ but just like you, only on a dedicated .22 upper.
boomhower1820
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Posted: 7/17/2011 11:23:36 AM
The main difference as mentioned is final machining and quality control. For instance BCM has very strict quality standards and may turn away lowers that other companies will not catch out of spec tolerances on.

Others are different and make in house or custom, Daniel Defense and Noveske's new flared lowers come to mind.
gee223
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Posted: 7/17/2011 11:30:20 AM
Originally Posted By Staticxd00d:
The one exception to what he said (shop guy in OP) was the Plum Crazy lowers. Those are not forged aluminum... they are made out of polymer.


Anyone who says these are as good as a forged needs there head examined, or they are trying to sell them.
chuck1022
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Posted: 7/17/2011 11:57:35 AM
[Last Edit: 7/17/2011 11:58:10 AM by chuck1022]
anymore I think you have to be crazy ( i use that term nicely) to order an expensive lower. My cap is $70, If BCM/spikes/XXX can explain why there lowers are worth the extra money, I will consider them. I hope the industry is trending towards Palmetto State Armory. Quality (hopefully, need some people to shoot a bunch of rounds through them) at a decent price. If i can buy a quality upper for $200 less than an equivalent BCM, why would I own a BCM
Ben762
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Posted: 7/17/2011 12:36:28 PM
I can notice slight differences between most mfgs (as covered in the above threads) but the only lower I've had that gave me trouble was a Roggio. Out of spec paperweight.
iNeXile556
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Posted: 7/17/2011 1:13:27 PM
[Last Edit: 7/17/2011 1:19:12 PM by iNeXile556]
There are many more then just 3 manufactures, but the most stupid thing that the dealer told you was that lowers were sent out in the white and only needing roll mark, numbers and anodizing. The problem is these 3 operations are not necessary for a functioning firearm and if the first shop was to do that they would be shipping illegal firearms. If the lower is capable of being turned into a firing firearm without need of further machining, not just adding roll marks, numbers and anodizing, then they are considered a firearm and must be marked accordingly.

There are only a few companies that supply the raw forging but there are many shops the do the machining into finished lowers. They may supply them without roll marks and in the white but they must have a serial number, manufacture and city/state engraved on them as they are firearms. 80% lowers are the exception, these can be shipped out without markings because they are not considered firearms.

Although the same shop may machine a lower for different manufactures, that does not mean they are the same. The machining is done to the customers specifications which may or may not be different. The customer may also supply the raw forging so even that may be different.

That being said, most lowers are machined to accept standard mil-spec parts and perform properly. As long as they meet this requirement then there is no real difference between lowers except the roll mark and the finish applied.
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Medicfrost
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Posted: 7/17/2011 2:54:01 PM
[Last Edit: 7/17/2011 2:55:00 PM by Medicfrost]
Resale is the best reason to choose a big name over small in my opinion. If you build identical rifles with same parts on a Spikes receiver and a Surplus Ammo receiver, you'll have an easier time selling the Spikes.
bdawg998
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Posted: 7/17/2011 3:12:37 PM
Originally Posted By Medicfrost:
Resale is the best reason to choose a big name over small in my opinion. If you build identical rifles with same parts on a Spikes receiver and a Surplus Ammo receiver, you'll have an easier time selling the Spikes.


Not necessarily, Joe Blow on the street has never heard of Spikes. S&W, Colt, Armalite, etc. yes. But the majority of people will have never heard of Spikes.
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jcrowl
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Posted: 7/17/2011 3:38:09 PM
[Last Edit: 7/17/2011 3:39:03 PM by jcrowl]
Colt makes their own, I think JD Machine (old Kaiser Defense) out of San Diego makes some for Spike's
mrblueagian
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Posted: 7/17/2011 5:59:33 PM
I kinda thought that to higher quality lower brings in a better price.. The reason I say this is because I built a AR15 (one of my first ones) and I used a Superior Arms lower. when I took the rifle in to trade it towards something else they said they had to go according to the lower on resale because people dont see whats in it or on top of it they see a name. So he offered me trade in on a superior rifle with same features as mine and it was way less than I put into it. Well I never did sell that Ar but I have been told by every sporting shop here thats how they have to resell it. Had it had a bushy lower I wouldve gotten more, even more yet had it been a Colt or Noveske.

Sounds like names mean alot now a days even if thats all they have going for them?
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