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Green_Frog
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Posted: 2/6/2013 2:38:10 PM
As a relative newbie to the fast moving world of AR's, I am trying to catch up with a rapidly steepening curve, and am getting more confused the more I read on the following subject. In plain words, what constitutes a high quality upper and/or lower receiver? I see multiple references to "top tier" "second tier" and "bottom tier" products, but there seems to be no objective description of which products (other than the one under discussion at the time) fall into which level and further it seems that one person's top tier is another's second, and so on.

Can somebody please tell me how the major names (by this I mean those most commonly encountered) may be ranked for quality, consistency, durability, etc? In the words of the great Lou Costello, "Who's on first?"

Froggie
FourLoko
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Posted: 2/6/2013 2:50:45 PM
there's a lot of brands, list a few

not like they're in stock anyway
PFran42
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Posted: 2/6/2013 2:57:16 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 2:58:46 PM by PFran42]
Find "the list" as it shows which manufacturers comply with which portions of the "Master Spec Sheet". From there you just have to do a lot of reading to determine which parts are above mil-spec, how much above mil-spec they are and how inflated their perceived value is due to marketing.

One thing I have found is that customer service goes a long way in the AR world. I would rather have something rated a solid B coupled with stellar customer service than an A+ product coupled with a manufacturer that does not answer emails or return phone calls.

After you finish your 8 months of research you will most likely come to the conclusion that you can easily piece together an expensive high-quality rifle comprised of parts that have been heavily researched, tested and scrutinized. You also will probably reach the conclusion that manufacturers such as BCM, Daniel Defense, Colt, LWRC, Larue, Noveske and KAC are built utilizing better materials and processes and thus have found their way into the "top tier".
hatexoc
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:06:30 PM
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.
Green_Frog
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:22:48 PM
I've seen it mentioned that Aero Precision machines lowers (and uppers) for a variety of brands. Do they forge their own parts as well, and do all of the distributors of their product get the same specs or does it vary by seller name? Is there a single list of whose forgings are used by whom? I see this product or that product mentioned without any real one-to-one comparison,so I guess the real question is, "Where can I find 'the list?' "

It seems like a lot of names (many advertisers on this forum) get tossed about by various posters, and it may be a "Ford vs Chevy" debate, but I think all of us recognize the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Yugo... does that range of quality exist among the well known producers?

Froggie
rjghdublife
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:24:48 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 3:25:39 PM by rjghdublife]
Originally Posted By hatexoc:
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.


Top tier
LaRue
Noveske
BCM
Daniel Defense
In that order. Colt is not top tier, their quality doesnt even come close to the ones listed above.
Barliman
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:33:27 PM

Originally Posted By hatexoc:
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.

+1 on this list - sad to think that a mere 8 weeks ago you could have bought anyone of those brands at a great price. Heck, on December 16th, one of the better stocked vendors had a representative from each of those brands at the local gun show for a really good price. I should have bought ALL of them. Ah well ....



OH, goodie! the Colt h8r's are already popping up.

(They will ignore reality [i.e. 6940] and sing the glories of THEIR favorite brand)

BTW, Aero is not top or second tier ... but it may be the best you can get for a while.


Barliman

Guns are tools not teacups. It's OK if they get dirty or scratched.
strat81
Misanthropic Realist
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:33:37 PM
Originally Posted By rjghdublife:
Top tier
LaRue
Noveske
BCM
Daniel Defense
In that order. Colt is not top tier, their quality doesnt even come close to the ones listed above.


That didn't take long.

rjghdublife, what objective standard did you use to compile your list? Please tell us what quantifiable measures you examined to reach your conclusion.
"I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people all day long and I assume they deserve it." - Dogbert

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j_king
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:34:17 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 3:35:19 PM by j_king]
Originally Posted By rjghdublife:
Originally Posted By hatexoc:
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.


Top tier
LaRue
Noveske
BCM
Daniel Defense
In that order. Colt is not top tier, their quality doesnt even come close to the ones listed above.

KAC deserves to be 1st or 2nd on that list

ETA: spelling
M4A1
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:39:59 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 3:42:46 PM by M4A1]
Originally Posted By rjghdublife:
Originally Posted By hatexoc:
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.


Top tier
LaRue
Noveske
BCM
Daniel Defense
In that order. Colt is not top tier, their quality doesnt even come close to the ones listed above.


There is always an ill educated minion in the threads...
Gun control is like trying to reduce drunk driving by making it tougher for sober people to own cars.
BB
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:44:20 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 3:54:55 PM by BB]
Easier to say who to stay away from.
Personally, I like KAC and LMT guns. Colts are great rifles as well. So are Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, Spikes.
High end are the Larues, Noveskes, LWRC, etc.
While farther from the "TDP" in materials, Rock River, CMT/Stag, Armalite are solid choices as well. Heard good things about the SIGs, but I've experienced bad QC from them personally, YMMV.
Palmetto State Armory seemed to be doing a good job on what to build an AR with but QC seems to have slipped a bit. Bushmasters quality slipped a lot, for a long time. Windham Weaponry is picking up where the "old" Bushmaster was in terms of quality.
carterbrunelle
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:44:31 PM
Originally Posted By rjghdublife:
Originally Posted By hatexoc:
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.


Top tier
LaRue
Noveske
BCM
Daniel Defense
In that order. Colt is not top tier, their quality doesnt even come close to the ones listed above.


Please explain this stupidity. I fail to see how any of these brands are inherently better than the others, so please share your superior knowledge.
BB
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:48:10 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 3:56:02 PM by BB]
Originally Posted By carterbrunelle:
Originally Posted By rjghdublife:
Originally Posted By hatexoc:
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.


Top tier
LaRue
Noveske
BCM
Daniel Defense
In that order. Colt is not top tier, their quality doesnt even come close to the ones listed above.


Please explain this stupidity. I fail to see how any of these brands are inherently better than the others, so please share your superior knowledge.


Obviously, the uneven rollmarks and occasional toolmarks, coupled with the lack of modern, improved midlength gas systems relegate Colt to bottom-of-the-barrel lowest-bidder garbage that should be avoided at all costs.

oh yeah: J/K
j_king
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:53:15 PM
Originally Posted By BB:
Easier to say who to stay away from.
Personally, I like KAC and LMT guns.


This is true.
DesertDog1
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:55:17 PM
Originally Posted By BB:
Originally Posted By carterbrunelle:
Originally Posted By rjghdublife:
Originally Posted By hatexoc:
In no particular order
Noveske
Lmt
Daniel defense
Bcm
Colt
These are all "top tier" rifles and you can't go wrong with any.


Top tier
LaRue
Noveske
BCM
Daniel Defense
In that order. Colt is not top tier, their quality doesnt even come close to the ones listed above.


Please explain this stupidity. I fail to see how any of these brands are inherently better than the others, so please share your superior knowledge.


Obviously, the uneven rollmarks and occasional toolmarks, coupled with the lack of modern, improved midlength gas systems relegate Colt to bottom-of-the-barrel lowest-bidder garbage that should be avoided at all costs.

oh yeah:


I threw my Colt down the driveway so it would look cool and match the uneven roll mark. Now it looks even cooler and still shoots every time!
Kevv
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:56:34 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 3:58:35 PM by Kevv]
OP, read this, then read it again, and a third time for good measure. This will give you lots of info regarding your question.

Beginners FAQ

ETA: this post will have lots of info to educate you on what makes a rifle "top tier" and who makes them.
Green_Frog
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Posted: 2/6/2013 3:56:35 PM
OK, it looks like a "Ford vs Chevy" discussion coming up here. Is there an objective list of comparisons available, or is it all opinion? What makes BCM better than KAC or worse than Noveske? Why is Noveske at the top of one responder's list and in the middle of another?

Can anybody give me an understandable definition of what constitutes a "top tier" gun and why?

I'm assuming that some day we will be able to order receivers and parts of our choice and I don't want to get too far down the food chain buying parts just because they are currently available.

Oh yeah, and not to start a fight, but what separates Aero from the upper quality items? Again, specific data, not unsupported opinion, please.

Froggie
BB
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Posted: 2/6/2013 4:05:31 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 4:10:41 PM by BB]
In short, the majority of folks use the TDP (technical data package) owned by Colt for the US M16/M4 rifles as the yardstick for how an AR should be made, using what materials and Quality Control standards. For this reason, many believe that Colt, who builds their ARs from the same parts on the same line as the military rifles as the standard for ARs. I tend to agree with those folks. Manufacturers that try to stick as closely to the TDP as possible are usually considered higher quality; those include (surely not limited to) Spikes, Daniel Defense, Bravo Company, PSA. Bearing in mind, we must trust these manufacturers at their word, whereas Colt is subject to DoD over site to ensure quality standards are met.

Then there are the companies that exceed the standard, bring innovations in design, quality and materials that take the design to new levels. Those companies are Knights, LMT, Noveske, Larue and LWRC, among others. Some of these are considered "boutique" ARs. You would need to research these to see what each brings to the table to make an informed decision on purchasing one.

IMO, a newbie should just buy a Colt and shoot the hell out of it to determine what they like/dont like, and then move forward (if they want) from an experienced position. If they decide to get something else, the Colt will resale better than most, and initial cost is relatively inexpensive for the quality you get.
urbanredneck
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Posted: 2/6/2013 4:10:22 PM
I think for the most part the end results are more or less the quality of fit and finish in the end. The difference as to whether your rifle has a little rattle between upper and lower. Whether the finish matches between all the parts. And maybe....the quality of the some of the internal parts.

Back in the day, some companies may have used cast receivers which be a little easier to break but I don't think anyone casts their uppers and lowers anymore. If you are buying from a major player and really don't think you have too much to worry about. That being said, there are still a couple names to avoid. Hesse and Vulcan being the two I can think of off the top of my head. Some are steering people away from Rguns.
M4A1
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Posted: 2/6/2013 4:10:46 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 4:15:37 PM by M4A1]
Originally Posted By Green_Frog:
OK, it looks like a "Ford vs Chevy" discussion coming up here. Is there an objective list of comparisons available, or is it all opinion? What makes BCM better than KAC or worse than Noveske? Why is Noveske at the top of one responder's list and in the middle of another?

Can anybody give me an understandable definition of what constitutes a "top tier" gun and why?

I'm assuming that some day we will be able to order receivers and parts of our choice and I don't want to get too far down the food chain buying parts just because they are currently available.

Oh yeah, and not to start a fight, but what separates Aero from the upper quality items? Again, specific data, not unsupported opinion, please.

Froggie


Typically "top tier" is who ever is closest to mil spec. Mil spec involves the TDP (Technical Data Package) which was invented by Colt for the M4 cabine. BCM is there, LMT is pretty much there too (Not covering all the brands)
There are also companies like Noveske that have better than mil spec quality control and gauging. For example, their headspace isn't the typical "go/no go" that you would find on an M4. They actually hold their barrels within a 2000th window.
Also, noveske won't typically let a rifle leave the house with a blemish on it. Colt builds guns for war, so they may not always come out "pretty" 100% of the time, but Colt doesn't plan on their guns being stored as safe queens.
Gun control is like trying to reduce drunk driving by making it tougher for sober people to own cars.
carterbrunelle
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Posted: 2/6/2013 4:14:32 PM
Originally Posted By Green_Frog:
What makes BCM better than KAC or worse than Noveske? Why is Noveske at the top of one responder's list and in the middle of another?



Personal preference is the main difference. One might be more catered toward one crowd over another. Someone who flat out says one is better than another is more than likely just preaching from a keyboard.
Augee
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Posted: 2/6/2013 4:15:24 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 4:17:17 PM by Augee]
There are no fucking tiers. There are dozens of different manufacturers which different degrees of compliance, deficiencies, or subjectively exceeding what is published of the MIL-SPEC and TDP for the M16 and M4 Family of Weapons.

They primarily cater to different sectors of the market, and though there is a lot of overlap - there are clear "class leaders" in their respective markets. Everything from game/space guns, precision high end boutique guns, fleet/production guns, hobby builder, hobby buyer, "I want to say I have an AR15 but will never shoot it" buyers, ect. ect.

Decide - while being honest with yourself - what class of buyer/shooter/consumer you are, and determine not only what the specific specs are, but why they are what they are, and determine whether that is something you do or do not need, because you will pay for it if you do.

Then look at companies and their reputations for QA/QC and CS, and you'll find it's really not as difficult of a decision as people make it out to be.

Considering nothing is in stock right now for a reasonable price - consider yourself lucky that you have the opportunity while you wait for in-stock items to come along to thoroughly get to know and research the information that is out there and widely available before figuring out what you want to put down your hard earned money for.

There's a lot of information out there, and most of it's easy to find with a modicum of effort, and when you can't find it, there's many posters more than willing to help you - but for the love of god, at least try Google before asking the question.

When you open a thread and are about to ask a question, please, for five minutes, stop - go to Google (most browsers have a convenient search bar already there for you) and type in the exact words you were going to use for your title before opening a new topic. The results may surprise you.

~Augee
PFran42
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Posted: 2/6/2013 4:17:05 PM
Originally Posted By Green_Frog:
OK, it looks like a "Ford vs Chevy" discussion coming up here. Is there an objective list of comparisons available, or is it all opinion? What makes BCM better than KAC or worse than Noveske? Why is Noveske at the top of one responder's list and in the middle of another?

Can anybody give me an understandable definition of what constitutes a "top tier" gun and why?

I'm assuming that some day we will be able to order receivers and parts of our choice and I don't want to get too far down the food chain buying parts just because they are currently available.

Oh yeah, and not to start a fight, but what separates Aero from the upper quality items? Again, specific data, not unsupported opinion, please.

Froggie


Did you not see where I told you to look for the "list"? It all starts there.
azoutdoorsman
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Posted: 2/6/2013 4:48:08 PM

Originally Posted By Augee:
There are no fucking tiers. There are dozens of different manufacturers which different degrees of compliance, deficiencies, or subjectively exceeding what is published of the MIL-SPEC and TDP for the M16 and M4 Family of Weapons.

They primarily cater to different sectors of the market, and though there is a lot of overlap - there are clear "class leaders" in their respective markets. Everything from game/space guns, precision high end boutique guns, fleet/production guns, hobby builder, hobby buyer, "I want to say I have an AR15 but will never shoot it" buyers, ect. ect.

Decide - while being honest with yourself - what class of buyer/shooter/consumer you are, and determine not only what the specific specs are, but why they are what they are, and determine whether that is something you do or do not need, because you will pay for it if you do.

Then look at companies and their reputations for QA/QC and CS, and you'll find it's really not as difficult of a decision as people make it out to be.

Considering nothing is in stock right now for a reasonable price - consider yourself lucky that you have the opportunity while you wait for in-stock items to come along to thoroughly get to know and research the information that is out there and widely available before figuring out what you want to put down your hard earned money for.

There's a lot of information out there, and most of it's easy to find with a modicum of effort, and when you can't find it, there's many posters more than willing to help you - but for the love of god, at least try Google before asking the question.

When you open a thread and are about to ask a question, please, for five minutes, stop - go to Google (most browsers have a convenient search bar already there for you) and type in the exact words you were going to use for your title before opening a new topic. The results may surprise you.

~Augee


shrimpmoney
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Posted: 2/6/2013 5:01:09 PM
Who cares if it operates Tier 1 so long as it LOOKS Tier 1.

And all you need to achieve that is a $29.95 quad-rail from UTG and the mini-flashlight you got as a stocking stuffer this past Christmas.
SYSTEM
Posted: 2/6/2013 5:03:18 PM
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 5:03:18 PM by Eric802]
Read Augee's post above. Locking to prevent further purse swinging and butthurt.