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Basic
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Posted: 10/9/2008 3:24:33 AM EST
I've tried to search this topic with not much explanation on the differences, pros and cons. Help me understand the difference in quality and durability.

Thanks.
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Link Posted: 10/9/2008 3:35:27 AM EST
For difference see Devl's post here: www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=395810

And here's a few more on this subject (note: "search" works better for Team Members, hint hint....)

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=397816

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=393575

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=391012

happy reading....
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Link Posted: 10/9/2008 5:26:11 AM EST
Billet = more expensive! Only the top tier manufactures use billet...Larue is the only on I can think of. And you will PAY for it. Most manufacturers (RRA, Bushmaster, Armalite, everyone else) use forged lowers. That said there's nothing worng with forged. Unless you plan to disassemble your rifle and use your lower as a towing coupling between truck and trailer, I think you'll find forged can stand up to what you throw at them. Afterall if it's good enough for the GI's it's good enough for the rest of us.
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Link Posted: 10/9/2008 2:33:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By BumpFireNHaveMoreFun:
Billet = more expensive! Only the top tier manufactures use billet... That said there's nothing worng with forged... I think you'll find forged can stand up to what you throw at them.


I think you may have the wrong idea. The extra cost of billet lowers is for the customized, cool look, not performance. A forged lower is as strong or stronger than a billet part.
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Link Posted: 10/9/2008 2:36:31 PM EST
Unless you're building a safe queen and you also intend on spending the money on a billet upper, stick with forged.
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Link Posted: 10/9/2008 4:12:39 PM EST
MY son and I start out with 7075-T5 Forged lowers like this...

http://www.dsarms.com/Lowers--Uppers/products/59/

Then we put the milling and finishing touches to them and your get one of these...










Were working on another batch this winter.

Double tap...show them that you care...
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Link Posted: 10/9/2008 4:18:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/9/2008 4:19:58 PM EST by davis9588]

Originally Posted By Shadow_Grey:
MY son and I start out with 7075-T5 Forged lowers like this...

http://www.dsarms.com/Lowers--Uppers/products/59/

Then we put the milling and finishing touches to them and your get one of these...
i125.photobucket.com/albums/p80/Shadow_Grey/guns/Guns016.jpg

i125.photobucket.com/albums/p80/Shadow_Grey/guns/Guns018.jpg

i125.photobucket.com/albums/p80/Shadow_Grey/guns/Guns020.jpg

i125.photobucket.com/albums/p80/Shadow_Grey/guns/Guns028.jpg

i125.photobucket.com/albums/p80/Shadow_Grey/guns/Picture051.jpg

Were working on another batch this winter.






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Link Posted: 10/9/2008 4:40:02 PM EST
There is really NO advantage what so ever to having a billet over a forged
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Link Posted: 10/12/2008 8:44:03 AM EST

Originally Posted By vicious_cb:
There is really NO advantage what so ever to having a billet over a forged


You talking about a billet lower or a billet upper?

Because there IS an advantage to a billet upper. Especially if it has thicker side walls.
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Link Posted: 10/12/2008 5:13:30 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/12/2008 5:13:47 PM EST by vicious_cb]

Originally Posted By MarineSniper8541:

Originally Posted By vicious_cb:
There is really NO advantage what so ever to having a billet over a forged


You talking about a billet lower or a billet upper?

Because there IS an advantage to a billet upper. Especially if it has thicker side walls.


Well you have to remember that both the lower and upper are not stressed during firing at all. So unless you are chucking your rifle around on concrete the strength difference is moot
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Link Posted: 10/13/2008 2:26:12 PM EST
The major advantage to a billet lower is not to the customer as much as to the manufacturer, especially if they are a smaller shop.

Billet means that the whole lower is carved out of one solid block of aluminum. Forged starts with a "forging" (duh) and is milled from there.

Milling from a forging takes less time, less tool wear, etc. and is thus generally cheaper. However, the manufacturer is somewhat at the mercy of the forging vendor. Thus, for a small custom shop, milling from a billet can make more sense.

Strength and durability is as much a function of the alloy and heat treat as it is the manufacturing process. Most billet parts are made from 6061-T6, as this is the most commonly available and easily machinable alloy. 6061 is not as durable as 7075, but as was mentioned above, neither component is really stressed.
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Link Posted: 7/24/2009 4:11:52 PM EST
I notice a lot of people are saying that forged lowers are better because of
A. The grain being re-patterned due to the forging process, or
B. a lot of billet lowers are 6061.

But to my knowledge no one has adressed 7075 T-6 billet lowers like the POF ones. Given the high quality aluminum and thicker walls, are the POF ones stronger? Would it be more suitable to use a billet lower on a more powerful rifle like .50G or .308, etc? I also recall reading something about PSI ratings and that forged receivers can take up to around 80,000 but only 40,000 for the 6061 billet ones, does anyone have any specs on the 7075 ones? How much of an effect does the grain pattern have on strength? Is it something that can be overcome by thicker aluminum or is it a HUGE difference?

Also, another common response is "Well the lower receiver doesn't really take that much stress from firing." But what about *outside* stress like dropping the gun, getting run over by a truck, etc?

The POF guns look very rugged, but there are also other quality lowers out there like the Larue Stealth. Another point of interest is that billet lowers have more design freedom, like the POF's ambi controls. I like the extra features but don't want to give up durability for them. Also (bit off topic), what about billet uppers? And advantage/disadvantages there?

I am sort of a clutz and drop my guns a lot and generally subject them to a lot of stress.
This is why I am asking to see if a quality billet lower will last longer than a forged one. Basically, I just want to figure out what the MOST rugged and durable AR build will be. OR maybe I should get a steel lower? Yes I know that a standard milspec AR is good enough but I'm looking for something better than "good enough" and already have a milspec AR.

Not trying to claim that one is better than the other, just trying to take all the variables into account. Can anyone shed any light on this situation?
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Link Posted: 7/27/2009 8:36:38 PM EST
The reason i bought a billet lower was because it wasn't much more at the time I bought mine and it is really an extremely noice piece comparred to a standard lower.
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Link Posted: 7/27/2009 10:37:08 PM EST
Originally Posted By vicious_cb:
Originally Posted By MarineSniper8541:
Originally Posted By vicious_cb:
There is really NO advantage what so ever to having a billet over a forged


You talking about a billet lower or a billet upper?

Because there IS an advantage to a billet upper. Especially if it has thicker side walls.


Well you have to remember that both the lower and upper are not stressed during firing at all. So unless you are chucking your rifle around on concrete the strength difference is moot


If that was true Vulcan lowers wouldn't break and Oly plinker lowers wouldn't wallow out the hammer trigger pin holes.
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Link Posted: 7/28/2009 12:17:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By BumpFireNHaveMoreFun:
Billet = more expensive! Only the top tier manufactures use billet...Larue is the only on I can think of. And you will PAY for it. Most manufacturers (RRA, Bushmaster, Armalite, everyone else) use forged lowers. That said there's nothing worng with forged. Unless you plan to disassemble your rifle and use your lower as a towing coupling between truck and trailer, I think you'll find forged can stand up to what you throw at them. Afterall if it's good enough for the GI's it's good enough for the rest of us.


you're slightly incorrect on all of your statements here. LaRue is not the only one using billet lowers, they are not necessarily stronger. I happen to have a billet lower for sale right now which is not made by LaRue, but rather Sun Devil. there are a few other manufacturers as well.
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Link Posted: 7/28/2009 5:07:19 AM EST
Originally Posted By Otacon237:
I notice a lot of people are saying that forged lowers are better because of
A. The grain being re-patterned due to the forging process, or
B. a lot of billet lowers are 6061.

But to my knowledge no one has adressed 7075 T-6 billet lowers like the POF ones. Given the high quality aluminum and thicker walls, are the POF ones stronger? Would it be more suitable to use a billet lower on a more powerful rifle like .50G or .308, etc? I also recall reading something about PSI ratings and that forged receivers can take up to around 80,000 but only 40,000 for the 6061 billet ones, does anyone have any specs on the 7075 ones? How much of an effect does the grain pattern have on strength? Is it something that can be overcome by thicker aluminum or is it a HUGE difference?

Also, another common response is "Well the lower receiver doesn't really take that much stress from firing." But what about *outside* stress like dropping the gun, getting run over by a truck, etc?

The POF guns look very rugged, but there are also other quality lowers out there like the Larue Stealth. Another point of interest is that billet lowers have more design freedom, like the POF's ambi controls. I like the extra features but don't want to give up durability for them. Also (bit off topic), what about billet uppers? And advantage/disadvantages there?

I am sort of a clutz and drop my guns a lot and generally subject them to a lot of stress.
This is why I am asking to see if a quality billet lower will last longer than a forged one. Basically, I just want to figure out what the MOST rugged and durable AR build will be. OR maybe I should get a steel lower? Yes I know that a standard milspec AR is good enough but I'm looking for something better than "good enough" and already have a milspec AR.

Not trying to claim that one is better than the other, just trying to take all the variables into account. Can anyone shed any light on this situation?


I just reread my old post on the subject and supprisingly I addressed your questions... it does not matter and you will never notice a difference. Stop worrying about "theoretical" and spend money where you can actually have a NOTICABLE difference. A high end stainless barrel will have a NOTICABLE reduction in group size vs a milspec barrel. Regular vs polygonal rifling, button rifled vs hammer forged, billet vs forged... these are not places you can tell a difference. One might have "theoretical" improvements but you will NEVER see them in real world use... apply money to improve things that you will actually notice like a better barrel, trigger, optics, mounts, etc. The only difference you will notice in a steel receiver in real life is that it weighs more and, if you have a strong enough surface finish, that it wont scratch quite as easily. The only thing you will notice in a billet receiver is that it is "prettier" than a forged receiver.
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Link Posted: 8/1/2009 8:58:12 PM EST
Heh, sorry but I tend to obsess over these things. Minute differences and such. I did read your previous post, and I agree that most users (myself included) will probably never notice a strength difference, but it bugs me when I have second best; it's just something that sticks in the back of your mind. It's like cars, some guys spend hundreds of dollars and hours to squeeze a few extra horsepower out of their engines even though they'll likely never push the car to it's full potential. Don't know, I'm just weird like that (and it's a real PITA sometimes). Oh well, I guess I need to do more homework.
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Link Posted: 8/1/2009 11:41:04 PM EST
I am sort of a clutz and drop my guns a lot and generally subject them to a lot of stress.


You can't be any harder on your AR than soldiers.
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Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:30:50 AM EST
Taking a non-firearms application as an example, almost all of the critical pressure containing elements used for upstream oil & gas production are machined from forgings.

I would argue that forged is actually better than billet, unless one is into bling. As DevL mentioned, spend your money on a quality barrel if you want something that will actually make a difference.
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Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:32:55 AM EST
Generally speaking, billet receivers (or billet parts in general) have better manufacturing tolerances that forged ones. That's not to say you can't get some really nicely finished forged lowers, but generally forged ones are geared towards fast and cheap. Usually billet machined parts are more consistent than forged ones, especially on the outside. The outside isn't all that important, but in some places like the flat and radius where the upper and lower mate can be really off if they are not cleaned up.

For example I had a billet lower with the top and radius within a thousandth of the spec and it would not mate to one of my uppers. I spent a long time trying to measure where exactly my lower was off, and they I finally decided to look at the upper (forged) the radius was visibly off round, especially where the FA joined the body. After I cleaned that up it fit great. Keep in mind this was a fairly cheap upper, Olympic, I believe, but it did fit some forged lowers. If you get a billet upper and lower from the same company, maybe even different companies of they are both on the same side of the spec, you will not believe how well they fit together.

As for strength, if you had a forged part and a billet part that both had exactly the same dimensions, the forged would be stronger. Both are strong, and I would like to see anyone break one under even the hardest use (not running it over with a bulldozer). But the forged one will be slightly stronger. also 7071 is more brittle than 6061, guys that make a regular habbit of snapping off trigger guard ears might want to look into a 6061 billet lower
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Link Posted: 8/2/2009 9:38:19 AM EST
If billet is really better, would you slap a billet Sun Devil lower in a Noveske N4 upper than a forged Noveske N4 lower?
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Link Posted: 8/3/2009 8:22:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/3/2009 8:27:57 AM EST by LaRue_Tactical]
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ETA - We've done the math. ;-) You learn things while building 100,000+ mounts ... and we include it in every mount going out our door. ML
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Link Posted: 8/3/2009 9:36:25 AM EST
Originally Posted By RD001:


As for strength, if you had a forged part and a billet part that both had exactly the same dimensions, the forged would be stronger. Both are strong, and I would like to see anyone break one under even the hardest use (not running it over with a bulldozer). But the forged one will be slightly stronger. also 7071 is more brittle than 6061, guys that make a regular habbit of snapping off trigger guard ears might want to look into a 6061 billet lower


Then why do $100,000.00 Top Fuel engines use billet rods and crankshafts, because they are weaker?

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Link Posted: 8/3/2009 10:03:28 AM EST
I have a Billet lower made by a small company here in Florida, they are selling them for a little over $200.00 . At that price it is easy to step up to billet. The companies name is DarQ Hardware in Altamonte, FL. It is a really nice piece.
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Link Posted: 8/3/2009 12:57:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/3/2009 1:04:52 PM EST by LaRue_Tactical]
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ETA - We've done the math. ;-) You learn things while building 100,000+ mounts ... and we include it in every mount going out our door. ML
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Link Posted: 8/3/2009 6:34:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/3/2009 6:38:21 PM EST by Skyyr]
.....
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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 6:14:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/4/2009 6:43:27 AM EST by LaRue_Tactical]
God Bless Our Troops ... Especially Our Snipers.
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ETA - We've done the math. ;-) You learn things while building 100,000+ mounts ... and we include it in every mount going out our door. ML
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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 9:43:47 AM EST
God Bless Our Troops ... Especially Our Snipers.
www.LaRue.com

ETA - We've done the math. ;-) You learn things while building 100,000+ mounts ... and we include it in every mount going out our door. ML
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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 10:29:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By LaRue_Tactical:
And another thing ...

If LaRue-made billet uppers could be shown to be weaker than a forged ...

... you could again bet your sweet a$$ that there's a number of our haters that would have broke their damn necks to show evidence of such by now.

And they've had plenty of time.




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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 11:04:47 AM EST
I threaded your barrel.

Oh and Contoured and reparked it.
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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 11:09:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/4/2009 11:43:30 AM EST by LaRue_Tactical]
God Bless Our Troops ... Especially Our Snipers.
www.LaRue.com

ETA - We've done the math. ;-) You learn things while building 100,000+ mounts ... and we include it in every mount going out our door. ML
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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 11:17:25 AM EST
I threaded your barrel.

Oh and Contoured and reparked it.
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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 11:20:19 AM EST
God Bless Our Troops ... Especially Our Snipers.
www.LaRue.com

ETA - We've done the math. ;-) You learn things while building 100,000+ mounts ... and we include it in every mount going out our door. ML
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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 4:16:54 PM EST
Originally Posted By LtBlue425:
I am sort of a clutz and drop my guns a lot and generally subject them to a lot of stress.


You can't be any harder on your AR than soldiers.


True, true.



Originally Posted By LaRue_Tactical:
Google is your friend ... never mind all the ones claiming theirs is the superior for whatever ...

Here's an excerpt from one sampling ...


Abstract:

Distortion of heat-treated aluminum forgings during machining has always been a problem. The obvious economic and engineering advantages of large aluminum forgings resulted in the US Air Force heavy press program at the end of World War II. Though they proved cost competitive, these larger forgings introduced increasingly severe machining problems due to distortion. Acceptable finished parts could be produced by competent machine shops, but often only with elaborate machining sequences and slow removal of metal.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––-
Blah, blah, blah, findings, tests, more findings, more tests ...
________________________________________________


Conclusion:

While most large aluminum forgings can be processed to produce a machined part relatively free of distortion, this can only be accomplished by close cooperation between the forger and the machine shop. About 95% of the time, the forgings will machine satisfactorily. Occasionally, there will be distortion problems, and accurate feedback from the machine shop becomes vital. Sometimes a slight change in machining practice or sequence will solve the problem; there have been many instances where one shop machined a forging with no problem, while another shop had severe distortion problems on the same forging.
If the problem cannot be solved at the machine shop (or would require increased costs to solve), the best is to go back and look at the entire process. Knowing the problem, it is possible to make intelligent alterations to the process, like calling for more or less deformation in specific areas. It is possible to recommend redesign of the part to provide more uniform metal removal during the machining. With relatively few exceptions, it is achievable to provide forgings that could be machined with acceptable levels of distortion.



What I have yet to find is a white paper with evidence of any sort that says taking a distortion-plagued aluminum forging and cutting / skeletonizing 95% of it's starting weight away will leave it stronger than the same machined-from-a-blank component.

ML


ETA - Don't confuse large and monolithic work-hardening steel forgings with this aluminum situation. `


Sounds good, it seems that even if there are differences, they are too minute to actually make a difference. TBH I was really impressed with some of the new billet lowers, and wanted to know if there are any major concerns with billet machinings.

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Link Posted: 8/4/2009 5:11:29 PM EST
Originally Posted By LaRue_Tactical:
Originally Posted By GreenM4Guy:


Forged =

Billet =

Yes, I can see we have an understanding.




Quote of the century right there...

Billet receivers HAVE to be better, they are more expensive and they look SOOOO much better, too!

I think it all comes down to the end user's definition of "better".

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