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boytoreckonwith
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Posted: 10/19/2012 10:06:19 PM
I know there are a lot of people flaming the polymer lowers. I'm not going sell them to you but I understand there are some people interested either for lower budget or low weight builds - say for a 22lr rifle or one for the wife who shoots on occasion. I bought a New Frontier complete lower for $100 and an ATI Omni for $39 stripped. I'm making this post not to weight benefits of purchasing a polymer, but ONLY for those whom already want to purchase one, to make a comparison. There IS definitely a difference in build quality between the two:

ATI Omni Fit/Finnish is close to a "satin" paint in finish. Unfortunately it is not uniform in sheen. Some parts look like smudges but don't go away. Also annoying, the Serial number stamp is crooked and even the letters are crooked and overlapping - and do they really have to leave holes around the serial numbers?
New Frontier is a flat finish. It seems more attention to detail is given to their lower, although they must have hired the same 12 year old to do the serial number as ATI...
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/bothfinish.jpg
:Just to give another example of overall attention to detail, compare here the threads for the buffer tube. On the ATI OMNI the thread cuts are frayed and leaves pointy ends sticking out. Certainly not a utilitarian problem, but for aesthetics, its a no go. On the other hand, the New Frontier threads are ended inside the lower and looks very professional and maybe even a little more sturdy.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/boththreads.jpg

And finality the DEAL BREAKER: The ATI OMNI has a fatal flaw - the magazine release spring hole is CUT THROUGH the magwell. The most obvious problem here is getting dirty and eventually sticking closed or open, neither of which is good. That's not the worst part: the whole is cut so big, with so much play, that the magazine release ALREADY sticks open sometimes if pushed in too much. The New Frontier actually has some discoloring and scratches in the same spot but it doesn't feel weak so hopefully it is discolored from reinforcement. My only beef with the mag release is aesthetic in that I think the level looks cheesy which makes it obviously plastic looking.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/bothmagwell.jpg

That's it really it. Here is a look at the cheesy mag release
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/NFmagrelease.jpg

All said an done, if its a budget build, I'd get a New Frontier complete lower, but If it was a weight thing, I'd get a New Frontier stripped lower and use a lower build kit because the only other thing I didn't like was the pivot and take down pins were not smooth on the complete lower, as they were polymer and I'd prefer metal as much as possible in the little parts.

That being said, go ahead and get your flame over with and share your opinions. These are just my observations and opinions of the two lowers. BTW, I have never had a plum crazy lower, but my best friend had one for his primary rifle for a few months and had no complaints - he sold the whole gun to get a pistol. I guess his fever broke. I personally can't wait got get my uppers on them. Too bad palmetto takes so long...

PS - I'm gonna return (hopefully) the lower - what a pain with the FFL and all. I'll never get an ATI part again - a first and a last for me.
ImpacTT
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Posted: 10/20/2012 2:18:51 AM
great review. thanks
SC-Texas
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Posted: 10/20/2012 3:49:02 AM
[Last Edit: 10/20/2012 3:49:19 AM by SC-Texas]
How do the triggers feel?
"Providing NFA Trusts and Counseling to Texans"

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rcassettyjr
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Posted: 10/20/2012 6:19:34 AM
I have a bunch of the complete NFA polymer lowers and the trigger on them is very nice with a clean break and very little creep. I actually like the polymer fcg over my PSA one. One of the lowers has over 4k on it and still feels just like new.
OlCrow
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Posted: 10/20/2012 7:15:13 AM
I will never own one, not even if I was paid the cost of it.

It's a solution for nothing.
-Proud Supporter- Wounded Warrior Project

boytoreckonwith
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Posted: 10/21/2012 1:59:00 AM
Originally Posted By OlCrow:
I will never own one, not even if I was paid the cost of it.

It's a solution for nothing.


Like I said, I wasn't posting to sell you on the benefits of it, just so people who are interested can know there is a difference. That being said, it is a solution for a few things:
1) Low Budget - for some people even $15 is a difference - especially if it will be a "once and a while" shooter or a first timer not sure if they want to jump in
2) Light Weight - I know aluminum isn't the heaviest metal, the more important weight is, the more you would weigh polymer as an option
3) "Toy" Gun - why go all out for a 22lr pea-shooter or for a rifle your idiot friends will treat like crap?

personally, I'm gonna buy metal next time. It was curiosity which got me this time. But what's $40 on a polymer lower when you have black rifle fever? You know you're gonna spend in the $1000's anyways
gee223
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Posted: 10/21/2012 2:14:47 PM
[Last Edit: 10/21/2012 2:16:12 PM by gee223]
So it's $110 plus shipping and a $20-30 transfer fee, we'll call it $150 total plus wait time to take possession. I can locally buy a complete DPMS lower with my choice of stock for $214 including tax, and it's actually a 7075 forged aluminum receiver. On top that, lots of guys are swapping out their plastic fire control groups which adds another $40-50 plus shipping, or $70-80 to just grab a LPK locally. Why on God's green earth would anyone want the plastic crap? Cheaper, not really. More durable, hell no. Better track record, LOL, not even close. They are a little lighter, but at the expense of quality material.
jfagan601
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Posted: 10/21/2012 2:35:50 PM
Originally Posted By gee223:
So it's $110 plus shipping and a $20-30 transfer fee, we'll call it $150 total plus wait time to take possession. I can locally buy a complete DPMS lower with my choice of stock for $214 including tax, and it's actually a 7075 forged aluminum receiver. On top that, lots of guys are swapping out their plastic fire control groups which adds another $40-50 plus shipping, or $70-80 to just grab a LPK locally. Why on God's green earth would anyone want the plastic crap? Cheaper, not really. More durable, hell no. Better track record, LOL, not even close. They are a little lighter, but at the expense of quality material.


Wow getting burned eh? Nfa complete lower shipped 105 to ffl.Transfer fee $10.Thats comes out to 115.You could probably shop around and get better deals than that
gee223
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Posted: 10/21/2012 2:38:37 PM
[Last Edit: 10/21/2012 2:44:04 PM by gee223]
Originally Posted By jfagan601:
Originally Posted By gee223:
So it's $110 plus shipping and a $20-30 transfer fee, we'll call it $150 total plus wait time to take possession. I can locally buy a complete DPMS lower with my choice of stock for $214 including tax, and it's actually a 7075 forged aluminum receiver. On top that, lots of guys are swapping out their plastic fire control groups which adds another $40-50 plus shipping, or $70-80 to just grab a LPK locally. Why on God's green earth would anyone want the plastic crap? Cheaper, not really. More durable, hell no. Better track record, LOL, not even close. They are a little lighter, but at the expense of quality material.


Wow getting burned eh? Nfa complete lower shipped 105 to ffl.Transfer fee $10.Thats comes out to 115.You could probably shop around and get better deals than that




LOL, no. Getting burned is buying a plastic lower and thinking you got a deal, then realizing it's a disposable turd.

Save your money for quality components. Buy cheap, you'll weep.
cole_bie
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Posted: 10/21/2012 2:45:51 PM
Originally Posted By gee223:
So it's $110 plus shipping and a $20-30 transfer fee, we'll call it $150 total plus wait time to take possession. I can locally buy a complete DPMS lower with my choice of stock for $214 including tax, and it's actually a 7075 forged aluminum receiver. On top that, lots of guys are swapping out their plastic fire control groups which adds another $40-50 plus shipping, or $70-80 to just grab a LPK locally. Why on God's green earth would anyone want the plastic crap? Cheaper, not really. More durable, hell no. Better track record, LOL, not even close. They are a little lighter, but at the expense of quality material.


Stripped NFA lowers are $45. I think a lot of people buy them for the weight savings though. As far as track record, I have seen no issues reported so far with the NFA lowers and they have been selling like hot cakes apparently. The AR has been using plastic successfully now for a long time. I am sure when they started using plastic and aluminum instead of wood and steel there were guys that said the same thing you are saying now. I am not saying that these particular lowers are perfect, or that they are stronger than an aluminum one, but I think they are a step in the right direction. Lighter is better. Look at the new rifles coming out. Plastic receivers galore, including uppers. I would like to see a polymer lower for an AR with a better design, and we probably will see that at some point. I'm not arguing they are better, just trying to give you some perspective.
gee223
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Posted: 10/21/2012 3:57:13 PM
[Last Edit: 10/21/2012 3:59:00 PM by gee223]
oops.
gee223
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Posted: 10/21/2012 3:58:09 PM
Originally Posted By cole_bie:
Originally Posted By gee223:
So it's $110 plus shipping and a $20-30 transfer fee, we'll call it $150 total plus wait time to take possession. I can locally buy a complete DPMS lower with my choice of stock for $214 including tax, and it's actually a 7075 forged aluminum receiver. On top that, lots of guys are swapping out their plastic fire control groups which adds another $40-50 plus shipping, or $70-80 to just grab a LPK locally. Why on God's green earth would anyone want the plastic crap? Cheaper, not really. More durable, hell no. Better track record, LOL, not even close. They are a little lighter, but at the expense of quality material.


Stripped NFA lowers are $45. I think a lot of people buy them for the weight savings though. As far as track record, I have seen no issues reported so far with the NFA lowers and they have been selling like hot cakes apparently. The AR has been using plastic successfully now for a long time. I am sure when they started using plastic and aluminum instead of wood and steel there were guys that said the same thing you are saying now. I am not saying that these particular lowers are perfect, or that they are stronger than an aluminum one, but I think they are a step in the right direction. Lighter is better. Look at the new rifles coming out. Plastic receivers galore, including uppers. I would like to see a polymer lower for an AR with a better design, and we probably will see that at some point. I'm not arguing they are better, just trying to give you some perspective.


I've got perspective, one is 4 the other is 8. I want weapons I can give to them someday after I get to use and abuse the hell out of them. Tupperware doesn't usually get passed down, it breaks or warps and sometimes melts. Metal pots and pans last for generations and take one hell of a beating along the way. Plastic definitely has its uses, but it will never be as strong or as durable as metal. It's an item that the government could very well ban from purchase by the public some day, would you really want to be stuck with interior lowers knowing you can't get a new one for $45 anymore?

cole_bie
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Posted: 10/21/2012 5:19:20 PM
Originally Posted By gee223:
Originally Posted By cole_bie:
Originally Posted By gee223:
So it's $110 plus shipping and a $20-30 transfer fee, we'll call it $150 total plus wait time to take possession. I can locally buy a complete DPMS lower with my choice of stock for $214 including tax, and it's actually a 7075 forged aluminum receiver. On top that, lots of guys are swapping out their plastic fire control groups which adds another $40-50 plus shipping, or $70-80 to just grab a LPK locally. Why on God's green earth would anyone want the plastic crap? Cheaper, not really. More durable, hell no. Better track record, LOL, not even close. They are a little lighter, but at the expense of quality material.


Stripped NFA lowers are $45. I think a lot of people buy them for the weight savings though. As far as track record, I have seen no issues reported so far with the NFA lowers and they have been selling like hot cakes apparently. The AR has been using plastic successfully now for a long time. I am sure when they started using plastic and aluminum instead of wood and steel there were guys that said the same thing you are saying now. I am not saying that these particular lowers are perfect, or that they are stronger than an aluminum one, but I think they are a step in the right direction. Lighter is better. Look at the new rifles coming out. Plastic receivers galore, including uppers. I would like to see a polymer lower for an AR with a better design, and we probably will see that at some point. I'm not arguing they are better, just trying to give you some perspective.


I've got perspective, one is 4 the other is 8. I want weapons I can give to them someday after I get to use and abuse the hell out of them. Tupperware doesn't usually get passed down, it breaks or warps and sometimes melts. Metal pots and pans last for generations and take one hell of a beating along the way. Plastic definitely has its uses, but it will never be as strong or as durable as metal. It's an item that the government could very well ban from purchase by the public some day, would you really want to be stuck with interior lowers knowing you can't get a new one for $45 anymore?



A polymer lower isn't going to warp, and isn't going to melt. It might break, but a properly designed polymer gun is no more likely to break than an aluminum one. You could put an aug through war and an m16 through war and they will both survive, including the plastic on the m16/m4. Plastic has properties that can be useful as well. Strength can be defined in different ways. Metal is very strong which makes it brittle. If it fails it will crack. Plastic has the ability to flex and return to its original shape. This allows it to absorb shock and maintain it usability where an aluminum product may not. Look at the NFA torture tests of their polymer lower. They crush the magwell and the polymer drops free because it snapped back into shape, where the aluminum one was permanently bent (biased test of course, but an example of the point I was trying to make). Again I am making an argument for polymer in general because you seem to be attacking polymer parts in general. I think all guns produced should be polymer. I think its usability and ruggedness has been proven in firearms, and you will see Augs/Tavors/FS2000s/G36s/RFBs/Polymer pistols/Polymer traditional rifle stocks/ and ARs with plastic, just to name a few, will all be passed down for generations just as other firearms have. With all the polymer on AR15s I really don't see why there is such a strong backlash towards the polymer trend moving into lowers. They aren't a high stress part. They may need some design changes, but jeez guys not everyone is planning on taking their ar15 to war, and you guys act like these lowers break if you blow on them too hard.
VARMINTPOPPER223
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Posted: 10/21/2012 7:20:08 PM
Just curious how many of those flaming the polymer lowers carry a Glock, XD, H&K ect. as a sidearm?

Personally I prefer the aluminum lowers, but I built the wife's gun on a polymer lower and cannot find any issues with it. It is her only ar and she shoots it about as much as I shoot all of mine together, no problems have surfaced from it in the approximately 4 years she has owned it. I am planning on trying a few of the NFAs to see how they do.
RobertV77
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Posted: 10/21/2012 7:29:54 PM
Considering the ATI receiver comes with metal lower parts installed, and hasn't been out long enough for pics if it breaking at the pivot pins to surface, I would go with the ATI if it came down to these two at the same price. Of course I should probably support an american made injection molder but all the electronics and gasoline i buy is foreign so what the hey.
colklink
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Posted: 10/21/2012 7:43:32 PM
I really have no desire for a poly AR lower but that was a good side by side comparison. When they first came out I handled one at a local gunstore, I was interested by the price but after getting my hands on one, its not for me. I couldnt tell the difference in weight comparing a complete poly and aluminum lower, but the flex in the plastic one told me what I wanted to know.
viashavin
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Posted: 10/21/2012 10:47:11 PM
Love the review I myself have been looking at both companies for a build for my wife and now I`m sure to go with New Frontier. Both for weight and on quality. Thanks for the info.
Espos1111
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Posted: 10/21/2012 11:40:29 PM
I have read that the ATI has more reinforcing around the receiver extension and the pivot pins. I can see the receiver extension, can you take a picture of this area on both? These seem to be the most troubling spots on these lowers. Thanks in advance.
boytoreckonwith
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Posted: 10/23/2012 12:33:07 AM
Originally Posted By Espos1111:
I have read that the ATI has more reinforcing around the receiver extension and the pivot pins. I can see the receiver extension, can you take a picture of this area on both? These seem to be the most troubling spots on these lowers. Thanks in advance.


My wife took off to work (night nurse) with the camera in her purse, so sorry in advance for lower quality shots - I used as much lighting as possible to make up for the cell-phone cam. Hope this was what you wanted - I would have taken off the buffer tube on the NF and taken shots of the backs but I think my wrench was in my gun case I just sold.

Here is the extension. I'll let you make your own judgement on which would be reinforced, but with crude measurements, the NF appears thicker although it looks thinner because it has a outer ring that is set back a mm or two. And by crude measurement, I mean I don't have calipers and I laid them on a level surface, put them next to each other, and put a level on top of them. NF by a little. If you meant extra support on the sides, see picture 3.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/bothtube.jpg

The pivot pins look about the same as well, although the ATI does have the mag-well come all the way up flush with the top of the receiver, whereas the NF is cut off short of the top (see picture). That *could* make the ATI more strong on the pivot pin. The NF appears to have a thicker wall on the front of the mag well, but it does not - it was shaved off above where the mold begun to curve out. The side mag-well walls themselves look thicker on the ATI from above, but it is in fact only thicker-looking from the larger support "bar" that runs horizontal on the side (see third picture). The NF does have a thicker wall where the pivot pin actually goes though, but by a small margin. I'll have to buy calipers to be able to tell, but it's a mm or under - probably under, but it is noticeable with the eye if lined up right against each other.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/bothtopview.jpg

Here is the side view. The ATI does continue the bar for the detente/spring across the whole lower mag-well. ATI would have had NF beat here, but WHY do they have a hole in it? so it gets dirty and the pivot pin becomes impossible to move? Good idea (larger support); poor execution (put holes in it?). The ATI receiver extension's thickness continues down lower on the receiver than the NF but the NF's is continued forward more, so they are different more than one being better than the other.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/bothsideview.jpg

The only other thing I'm worried about is ATI's new composite trigger design. Its a completely new AR15 trigger design. Not sure how it works but it's like a wierd trigger and hammer in one..
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/triggerjoke.jpg









Okay, that was from my weed-whacker. I couldn't help myself.


In short, the only two possible advantages ATI has over the NF would be the non-chopped mag-well by the pivot pin and the larger horizontal support on the top of the mag well (vs just a piece big enough to hold the spring/detente on the NF) In truth, I like the quality of the NF better but I was able to bend the mag-well on it with my thumb but was unable to on the ATI because of the large horizontal support. (hows that for flamer's fuel - yeah, I moved it with my thumb - OoOoOoOoHh - guess what, it didn't break or stay bent though. Commence flaming)
wanderson
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Posted: 10/23/2012 12:51:31 PM
Nice write-up, I first started seeing the ATI Omni poly lowers at our last gun show, but hadn't read much about them. I've had a Plum Crazy lower for about a year with no issues, bought a New Frontier poly lower for a new dedicated .22 build and I was surprised how closely the Plum Crazy resembled the New Frontier, even down to the texturing of the plastic. Only noticeable difference is the PCM has FIRE/SAFE marked only on the left side of the receiver while the New Frontier has the graphics on both sides. And the buffer that came with my PC lower was painted black and had a lot of rattle to it, so I replaced it with a spare RRA buffer I had lying around, while the NF had a buffer identical to my old RRA. Cost-wise I did better, I purchased both lowers from the same dealer, paid $119 for the PC last year and $109 for the NF, same price as the ATIs. IMHO the New Frontiers are the better poly lower.
boytoreckonwith
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Posted: 10/23/2012 3:00:38 PM
Got an email back from ATI. They want to "inspect" my lower. We'll see how long it takes for some customer service.
Espos1111
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Posted: 10/23/2012 6:04:24 PM
Originally Posted By boytoreckonwith:
Got an email back from ATI. They want to "inspect" my lower. We'll see how long it takes for some customer service.


I must have missed something. I didn't see that you contacted them about a problem. What is the issue?
cole_bie
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Posted: 10/23/2012 8:28:26 PM
Originally Posted By boytoreckonwith:

The only other thing I'm worried about is ATI's new composite trigger design. Its a completely new AR15 trigger design. Not sure how it works but it's like a wierd trigger and hammer in one..
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4993071/AR15/triggerjoke.jpg

Okay, that was from my weed-whacker. I couldn't help myself.


Haha! You definitely confused the shit out of me for a second.
boytoreckonwith
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Posted: 10/23/2012 11:30:57 PM
[Last Edit: 10/23/2012 11:33:55 PM by boytoreckonwith]
Originally Posted By Espos1111:
Originally Posted By boytoreckonwith:
Got an email back from ATI. They want to "inspect" my lower. We'll see how long it takes for some customer service.


I must have missed something. I didn't see that you contacted them about a problem. What is the issue?


Yeah, I assumed all along that the spring showing through the mag-well was a defect. It was a deal breaker still, not because I thought it was part of a bad design, but because of the poor quality of workmanship/quality-assurance. I had bought two but my FFL buddy sold it at a gun show for me the day after I got it so I never had a chance to smoke over the other model.
RobertV77
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Posted: 10/24/2012 12:25:36 AM
The same low post count shills that infected ar15.com for months concerning Plum Crazy are back at it again. I got the feeling most of the posters in this thread are the ops troll accounts.

As for the comparison, its clear the ATI receiver is meatier around the front take down pin.
Big-Bore
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Posted: 10/24/2012 7:34:26 AM
It is also thicker around the rear detent/spring area. That is the only place I had a real problem with my two NFA lowers. I drilled and tapped, rather tapped, the rear take down spring/detent hole for a set screw to capture the detent and spring and you could see the impression of the threads on the outside of the lower. The polymer is paper thin around the NFA rear takedown spring/detent area. Also, on both of my lowers I replaced the plastic pivot pin and rear take down pin with steel units. On the rear take down pins one went in fine but the other was tight. Instead of getting some paper out and buffing the hole a little to enlarge it for the take down pin, I just pressed it through the hole. Bad idea. The polymer on the off side popped an eraser sized chunk out of the lower. This particular lower was on a .22 LR dedicated build so I super glued the chunk that delaminated back in and put the polymer pin back in. It has not given me any more trouble but has pointed out to me that the polymer lowers are not quite there yet. Close, but not yet. I had hopes the ATI would be all the way to the finish line but having the spring show through an opening in the mag release area is a pretty good indication that ATI is not quite there yet either. Personally, I hope they do get the polymer lowers perfected. I like the lighter weight and I just like polymers in general. I am old enough to remember what they said about AR-15 when they first came out and how they were chided about being toy guns when compared to the Garrand or the M1, but look at us now? I also remember when Glocks were first introduced and all the steel-o-philes went crazy, and again, look where we are now. First it is steel and wood only, then it is aluminum only, and who knows, there may be something after polymers, but polymers in the AR-15 are coming and when they do, don't be in the old foggy crowd whining that if it ain't steel and wood it ain't crap.
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