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Basic
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Posted: 10/10/2009 9:45:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/10/2009 9:46:14 AM EST by kwrangln]
Flipping through the latest Centerfire Systems flyer while sitting on the throne I noticed they advertised billet AR uppers and lowers for the same price as normal forged stuff. So I checked their site and found out they were made by TNW Firearms out of Oregon. Anyone know anything about them? I'm not really in the market to build another AR, but was shocked enough at the prices that I figured I'd post to find out what folks think of them. The finish looks to be parked instead of annodized, but that may just be the pics, hard to tell.

Centerfire page for the billet lower.
Centerfire page for the billet upper.




TNW's page.
Basic
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Posted: 10/10/2009 10:37:19 AM EST
If I'm not mistaken these are the people who build the semiauto .50 BMG advertised in the gun Digest.
They also have a piston AR upper advertised too.
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Posted: 10/10/2009 11:17:19 AM EST
They look like Black Rain Ordnance
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Posted: 10/10/2009 11:25:35 AM EST
They build some sweet shit.
"Life is tough. . . but tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne
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Posted: 10/10/2009 12:00:41 PM EST
The ones picture look scratched.....
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Posted: 10/10/2009 2:54:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By houstonmedic:
They build some sweet shit.


+1, I need to win the lottery.
...believe in me, I'm with the High Command.
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Posted: 10/10/2009 4:46:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By kwrangln:
Flipping through the latest Centerfire Systems flyer while sitting on the throne I noticed they advertised billet AR uppers and lowers for the same price as normal forged stuff. So I checked their site and found out they were made by TNW Firearms out of Oregon. Anyone know anything about them? I'm not really in the market to build another AR, but was shocked enough at the prices that I figured I'd post to find out what folks think of them. The finish looks to be parked instead of annodized, but that may just be the pics, hard to tell.

Centerfire page for the billet lower.
Centerfire page for the billet upper.

http://www.centerfiresystems.com/productimages/ar-15/ARLOWER-MACH-RGB1-B.jpg
http://www.centerfiresystems.com/productimages/receivers/ARUP-A_3STRIPPED-B.jpg

TNW's page.


Has to be anodized, you can't parkerize aluminum.

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Posted: 10/10/2009 8:13:03 PM EST
How did they do the magwell? EDM?
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Posted: 10/22/2009 1:11:18 AM EST
Originally Posted By tolson68:
They look like Black Rain Ordnance


It's definately not Black Rain Ordnance...here's a picture of theirs:

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Posted: 10/22/2009 2:26:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By kwrangln:
Flipping through the latest Centerfire Systems flyer while sitting on the throne I noticed they advertised billet AR uppers and lowers for the same price as normal forged stuff. So I checked their site and found out they were made by TNW Firearms out of Oregon. Anyone know anything about them? I'm not really in the market to build another AR, but was shocked enough at the prices that I figured I'd post to find out what folks think of them. The finish looks to be parked instead of annodized, but that may just be the pics, hard to tell.

Centerfire page for the billet lower.
Centerfire page for the billet upper.

http://www.centerfiresystems.com/productimages/ar-15/ARLOWER-MACH-RGB1-B.jpg
http://www.centerfiresystems.com/productimages/receivers/ARUP-A_3STRIPPED-B.jpg

TNW's page.


Wow.. That's pretty cheap... $79 bucks for a Billet lower.... Does anyone have any info on these guys? I would like to pick one of these up, but some feedback would be welcome..
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Posted: 10/22/2009 7:19:50 AM EST
"This stripped receiver has been CNC machined from solid 6061 T6 aluminum billet."
Not as strong as a 7075 T6 forging. Prettier, but not as strong.
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Posted: 10/26/2009 2:49:34 PM EST
Assuming that both lowers were built the same way, with the exact same profile, etc. Yes the 6061 is going not going to be as strong as 7075.

But billet lowers tend to be machined in such a way as to reinforce the lower, generally make them stronger than the standard profile.

In the real world, you're not going to break either one.

But if it helps you sleep better knowing that yours is made of 7075 T6, by all means, get the 7075...
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Posted: 10/26/2009 4:24:13 PM EST
I noticed yesterday that TNW had an industry page here on the site, so I posted up some questions, feel free to add your own to the thread. Still waiting on a response though.

Here's the thread in their section.

http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=2&f=367&t=180796

Yes, this thead is linked to the post, so don't bother clicking the link in the thread, figured I'd save ya that much.
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Posted: 10/26/2009 6:14:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By Desert__Punk:
How did they do the magwell? EDM?


Thats pretty much the only way to do it. Definately the cheapest way.
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Posted: 10/26/2009 6:45:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/26/2009 6:46:17 PM EST by wrenchmonkey]
I just went ahead and ordered 3 of them from Centerfire. At that price, there's not really much to lose. I can probably sell them locally for the same, or more money, if I decide I don't like 'em.

I'll post up some pics and try and make a decent and unbiased review of what they're all about. I've already got one of their billet uppers, and it appears to be pretty decent quality. I'm interested to see how tightly it fits the lower.

Also, I wouldn't be so quick to say that they're EDMed magwells either. I know TNW does a fair amount of broaching on some of their products, such as their MG53 receivers, etc. Broaching is not an expensive process, and they're already set up with the tools to do it, so it's hard to say.

Hard to say. I guess we'll see if I can tell, when they get here; hopefully next week.
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Posted: 10/26/2009 6:52:59 PM EST
Yeah they could be broached, but the time is money factor comes in to play, and I would think EDM would be a lot faster once setup
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Posted: 10/26/2009 7:05:25 PM EST
You'll get no argument from me there. I'm just saying, these appear to be a brand-new product, and I don't know of anything that TNW has EDMed to date. It's very possible that they invested in an EDM machine to do magwells, but it's not a far shot to say that they may be using tooling that they already have, at least until they get into full-production swing on these lowers.

My guess is that the reason they're so cheap right now, is because it's a brand new product, and they want to build a reputation for good quality at a fair price. I don't think they'll stay this cheap for long, but again, it's all speculation. I'm trying to do as little of that as possible, until I've got them in my hands, but based on what I've seen from from these guys in the past, I'm expecting [hoping for] good things.
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Posted: 10/27/2009 4:34:31 AM EST
Originally Posted By Bretshooter:
"This stripped receiver has been CNC machined from solid 6061 T6 aluminum billet."
Not as strong as a 7075 T6 forging. Prettier, but not as strong.


maybe it is, maybe it is not. the material may not be as strong but the design could make it as strong or stronger.

another question to ask is.. does it matter which is stronger? if they are both at acceptible strength levels then who cares which one is stronger.
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Posted: 10/27/2009 4:58:06 AM EST
I'm not sure the cheap price is to get into the market, I think it's supply and demand. No one is buying the 100% lowers at the moment, the last 3 gun shows I went to in the Houston area many dealers had them stacked deep and high in all brands and the prices ranged from $99 and up.

After our last election people went into panic buying modes and prices shot up and supply dried up but the dealers keep ordering them on backorder, well most folks bought everything they ever thought they would need and supply started catching up and that's where we are today.

The $79 lowers look like one of the best deals I have seen and being billet just makes it even better but they are just trying to get a piece of a small market at the moment.

This last round of panic buying has almost killed the gun shows here, stuff's not selling and prices have dropped back a lot, even on the ammo.

If I knew what to do with any more lowers I might jump on this sale, I may however buy a few of the uppers.
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Posted: 10/27/2009 9:16:40 AM EST
Originally Posted By JimM44:
I'm not sure the cheap price is to get into the market, I think it's supply and demand. No one is buying the 100% lowers at the moment, the last 3 gun shows I went to in the Houston area many dealers had them stacked deep and high in all brands and the prices ranged from $99 and up.

After our last election people went into panic buying modes and prices shot up and supply dried up but the dealers keep ordering them on backorder, well most folks bought everything they ever thought they would need and supply started catching up and that's where we are today.

The $79 lowers look like one of the best deals I have seen and being billet just makes it even better but they are just trying to get a piece of a small market at the moment.

This last round of panic buying has almost killed the gun shows here, stuff's not selling and prices have dropped back a lot, even on the ammo.

If I knew what to do with any more lowers I might jump on this sale, I may however buy a few of the uppers.


Even in this market, $80 for a billet lower is a phenomenal price. Hell $80 for ANY lower is a pretty damn good price. No doubt, they would need to be priced competitively in this market, to sell. But I just sold 3 Doublestar lowers locally for $100 each, to fund this purchase of billet lowers.

There's definitely still a market out there, and I guarantee they could easily be getting $120+ for them. Methinks they'll be doing that soon enough, but at the early stages of a new product, in this particular market, you've gotta get a name for yourself. I think $80 lowers is probably the PERFECT way to do it. I'll bet they're selling them at close to cost, and will decide to make a price bump, once they've got a reputation worth a higher price tag. I'm just guessing though. Only time will tell if I'm correct in my guess.

What I don't get, is how people are still selling LPKs for $55-$80 each. I was in my local gun shop yesterday, and they were selling a crappy DPMS LPK for $75...

Ammo hasn't come down yet out here either.
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Posted: 10/27/2009 1:47:49 PM EST
Originally Posted By wrenchmonkey:
I just went ahead and ordered 3 of them from Centerfire. At that price, there's not really much to lose. I can probably sell them locally for the same, or more money, if I decide I don't like 'em.

I'll post up some pics and try and make a decent and unbiased review of what they're all about. I've already got one of their billet uppers, and it appears to be pretty decent quality. I'm interested to see how tightly it fits the lower.

Also, I wouldn't be so quick to say that they're EDMed magwells either. I know TNW does a fair amount of broaching on some of their products, such as their MG53 receivers, etc. Broaching is not an expensive process, and they're already set up with the tools to do it, so it's hard to say.

Hard to say. I guess we'll see if I can tell, when they get here; hopefully next week.


Been looking at these for a while, if u can please let me know how they look thanks
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Posted: 10/27/2009 1:53:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By dano357:
Originally Posted By wrenchmonkey:
I just went ahead and ordered 3 of them from Centerfire. At that price, there's not really much to lose. I can probably sell them locally for the same, or more money, if I decide I don't like 'em.

I'll post up some pics and try and make a decent and unbiased review of what they're all about. I've already got one of their billet uppers, and it appears to be pretty decent quality. I'm interested to see how tightly it fits the lower.

Also, I wouldn't be so quick to say that they're EDMed magwells either. I know TNW does a fair amount of broaching on some of their products, such as their MG53 receivers, etc. Broaching is not an expensive process, and they're already set up with the tools to do it, so it's hard to say.

Hard to say. I guess we'll see if I can tell, when they get here; hopefully next week.


Been looking at these for a while, if u can please let me know how they look thanks


I'll post pics, and a review. I have 2 M4 kits coming from Del-Ton this week, and 4 lightweight DPMS kits coming from JSE distributing early next week. I'll be building at least 1 kit on the Billet upper that I have that matches these lowers.

I'll probably creat a new thread with pics, and a review, when everything gets here. I'll update this thread with a link as well, for those who have tagged it.
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Posted: 10/27/2009 4:27:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/27/2009 4:30:31 PM EST by 1967Camaro]
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Posted: 10/27/2009 11:39:42 PM EST
I will be following this thread carefully. I shouldn't have opened it because I don't need a 3rd lower yet. I just finished up my first in 5.56 and am about ready to start the second in 5.45. I need to keep telling myself that I don't need to buy this lower to build a cheap .22lr setup...
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Posted: 10/28/2009 4:01:23 AM EST
"Vernonia, OR" When I'm home...they're close to it, maybe I'll check them out. If a TNW rep checks this site, if I stopped by (can I?), could you sell direct?
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Posted: 11/3/2009 2:34:36 AM EST
Updates? Reviews?
Post your deals in the ARFCOM bargains thread (team members only):
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=75&t=843677
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Posted: 11/3/2009 5:21:52 AM EST
Originally Posted By Mateba:
Updates? Reviews?


None yet. UPS tracking says they'll be delivered to my FFL this afternoon. I'm still at the mercy of UPS.




In related news, it is believed that Fed-Ex lost a shipment of 4 kits this week; FedEx representatives declined to comment.

However, according to sources within UPS, a delivery of M4 kits from del-ton is scheduled to arrive in Orem, Utah, early this afternoon.

This has been Wrenchmonkey, reporting live from scene.

––ARFcom News.
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Posted: 11/3/2009 7:17:12 AM EST
I'm picking one up tonight. It'll be a week or so before I put it together, so I won't be able to comment on the fit yet. I'll let you know how it looks though.
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Posted: 11/3/2009 11:51:09 AM EST
I am very curious how the qaulity is, they arent maybe 30 mins away from me. I may have to go check one out.
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Posted: 11/3/2009 12:31:47 PM EST
Just got back from picking up my uppers.

UPS delayed the delivery of my M4 kits AGAIN (Total of 4 different "delivery dates" so far).

So I have nothing to build until either UPS, or FedEx gets their shit together, and brings me some kits.

Anyway, I'll take a few pics of the lowers themselves, and post a writeup of my initial impressions.
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Posted: 11/3/2009 1:23:16 PM EST
Looking at the images on the website, the finish really looks like crap!

I hope the product looks better then the images.

It's kind of odd to have bad pictures on the web site, you would think they would put their best product on display.

The price is good...

Also, the Logo or lack of, on the mag side is not very appealing, If I where in charge of their marketing and sales I would be making some changes other than pricing...

I look forward to seeing pics from those who have ordered.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 12:37:05 AM EST
Also, the Logo or lack of, on the mag side is not very appealing


I actually like the idea of not having a horse or a bat or anything on the receiver. I have one of the TNW piston kits. It works fine. I may have to pick up a billet lower at that price. I imagine they are trying to break into the market. David
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Posted: 11/4/2009 1:18:39 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2009 1:19:14 AM EST by wganz]
Originally Posted By Weber:
Also, the Logo or lack of, on the mag side is not very appealing, If I where in charge of their marketing and sales I would be making some changes other than pricing....


OH, let's put some big deer head on it like that Stag company so that everyone will be REALLY happy with it and we would get all this free publicity on these interwebz forums with people saying that they would buy our product if it only had minimal markings.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 3:54:51 AM EST
IIRC the original M16Anothing was 6000 series - it was changed because they would corrode in extreme conditions - like not being cleaned for months in a wet tropical environment using dirty ball powder ammo. So the decision to move up wasn't for strength as much as long term corrosion prevention.

Anytime you screw ferrous and aluminum together, you get eventual corrosion from electrolytic action. It's why spark plugs in aluminum heads should be the bright plated ones - or you pay to helicoil the holes.

That leaves the question of forged or billet? Which can be stronger? I've heard reports of forgngs being squeezed too tight and having thin walls after machining. Does forcing the material to shape compensate enough? CNC billet can certainly hold a wall thickness dimension, and the programmer can make it even bigger - if they are told where to do it. But who is bolting these into fixtures and measuring the deflection?

If soldiers use their M16's going Qugley in urban areas, mortaring them to fix stoppages, and falling on them with running drop and rolls, the difference between the two is not so much. There is a lot of other stuff to bend or break first - as reported.

That leaves esthetics - finished shape and surface treatment. A fancy CNC logo that can't be seen five feet away only impresses those who care about that sort of window dressing. Whether surface radii are left too coarse is up to the shooter handling it, and the color being a deep lustrous black with no flaws comes off as a street corner selection process. Use an AR enough, it will get scarred up anyway. It's called patina in the collector trade, something that was actually used.

Mint NIB is nice, but that lasts about one trip to the range, right?

With that in mind, a billet should be cheaper simply because there is less shipping or extra work. The entire forging process is eliminated, the billet is chucked into the machine, which has to cut more out, but can anyway. Magwells are a draw.

Forging was the economic choice of the '50's because CNC didn't exist, and they were finished up with a lot of hand machining on separate machines. These days, cast/forged is at a disadvantage in smaller lots because of energy expense.

That makes billet more eco-friendly. They should be required to finish them Foliage Green.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 3:58:00 AM EST
Picked one up last night. I was pleasantly suprised with the quality and aesthetics of the lower. It looks many times over better than the example shown on the centerfire website. Got as far as putting in the trigger group, but that's about it. It didn't have that flat or dull finish shown in the picture, the finish was consistent. The color matches a DPMS upper perfectly, a little lighter than a Bravo Company receiver I have. No sharp edges or burrs that I have noticed yet. Overall, I'd get another for $80.00 any day of the week.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 4:45:52 AM EST
Picked 2 up...so did a co-worker. As long as there in Spec (I see no reason why they wouldn't be) They should make a nice rig. Considering the price of other billet lowers going for $250-350. Its a steal.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:56:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By dwhitehorne:
Also, the Logo or lack of, on the mag side is not very appealing


I actually like the idea of not having a horse or a bat or anything on the receiver. I have one of the TNW piston kits. It works fine. I may have to pick up a billet lower at that price. I imagine they are trying to break into the market. David


I agree, some logo's are just to much and don't make sense for the product.

I personally just don't care for how the utlized the space.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 7:02:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By wganz:
Originally Posted By Weber:
Also, the Logo or lack of, on the mag side is not very appealing, If I where in charge of their marketing and sales I would be making some changes other than pricing....


OH, let's put some big deer head on it like that Stag company so that everyone will be REALLY happy with it and we would get all this free publicity on these interwebz forums with people saying that they would buy our product if it only had minimal markings.
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The only reason to be concerned with the type of alloy is if you're running a .50 BMG upper on it. Otherwise, for 5.56, just put it together and go.








Well, it that was the case then you would be stupid not to put it on there....

There are lots of reasons people buy a product.

If you look on this site, you will see that the large percentage of rifles pictured are built for looks purposes and not function.

Not that they wouldn't function if used, but the amount of revenue spent on these items and upgrades were for appearance, not function.

I have nothing against this company or their product, and I'm really looking forward to seeing some pics of the finish.

But that doesn't mean they couldn't do more with the product line.


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Posted: 11/4/2009 11:59:41 AM EST
I'm guessing that the upper is not cut for M4 feedramps since it doesn't say in the description. Anyone with this upper that can give me the real scoop?
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Posted: 11/4/2009 2:42:20 PM EST
Originally Posted By Dogue:
I'm guessing that the upper is not cut for M4 feedramps since it doesn't say in the description. Anyone with this upper that can give me the real scoop?


You are correct. No M4 ramps in the upper. I personally couldn't give two shits about M4 ramps, because they're not necessary. If you want M4 ramps though, the upper ain't got 'em.

Matched TNW upper/lower combo, with a 20-round Pmag. The colors match perfectly. The color is unique to any other lowers I've handled. It's very smooth, and has not been coated with anything. The color is black, but it has a slight blue hue to it, like a blued steel, almost.

Pmag fits in with very little wobble, but plenty of clearance to drop free. I no longer own any GI mags, so Pmags is all I can test with.

Color comparison to a RRA upper. Not too far off, but as I said before, the color is unique, The way the flash reflected off of the two surfaces was different, and makes it appear that there is a lot more color difference than there is. The lower seems to have reflected the flash more than the upper. Probably due to having a smoother surface...


The lowers also seem to have had something spilled on them. I don't know if this happened at the mfg. or at the distributor's, but there seem to be two different substances on them. One of them is a crusty clear substance, like dried out egg white (I haven't tried cleaning it off yet, so I don't know how persistant it will be). The other substance is a white powdery substance. Almost like what you get on a car battery when it corrodes. I'd guess it was left-over sulfuric acid from the anodizing process, but obviously, they went through a dying process, so it can't be that. Maybe some sort of a sealing chemical was used? Don't know, ultimately, don't really care... Going to give it a good rinse anyway.




I also took a couple comparison shots between one of my doublestar lowers, with the teflon coating. The lighting from the flash, agan doesn't allow for an exact comparison of the colors in normal light, but these few seem to be the most representative of what I could capture. Each is a bit different, but you should be able to get the idea.





The overall surface machining seems to me to be SLIGHTLY amateurish. There are a few squiggles that are visible in just the right light. You have to hold it just right to be able to see it, but if it were me, I would have probably brushed them a bit better before sending them to finish. It's not a big deal, and you really do have to hold them just right in the light to see it, but it is one of those attention to detail things... I think this is a big part of why they're $80, instead of $200.

I took several shots, even took them outside, but I can't seem to really get them to show up on camera clearly. They are quite minuscule, and I'm a total amateur when it comes to photography. I even tried getting some outside light on them. You can catch just a hint of them in the photos below. The one that is really the easiest to spot is right above the mag catch bump, and is almost the exact same diameter.

In the 3rd pic, you can see a few more on the magwell too.





Upper and lower with RRA charging handle installed:



Upper internal machining is pristine:






My overall first impressions are, I WANT TO BUILD ON THEM! They look like good pieces of hardware for what they cost. It's hard to speak for the quality and functionality without fitting everything to it, and seeing how well it goes together.

All in all, I think it's a HELL of a bargain for a billet upper and lower. You can get the pair of them for $178. Which is about what it usually costs for just the lower from most mfgs offering billet receivers.

Could they be better? Sure.
Is the difference between these and the lowers costing 2-3 times as much, enough to justify the difference in cost? That's up to the buyer, but in my book, absolutely not. If you're concerned about the surface machining, which, like I said before, isn't noticeable without looking closely, you could always shoot some duracoat, or similar product over them, and never know the difference.

I hate to say much more about them without building on them, because I really don't know what they're going to be like in terms of function, but all of the holes seem to line up properly (to the naked eye), and seem to be in the right places (to the naked eye).

I considered measuring them out with a slide caliper and a set of prints, but I was afraid I might have to take the bandsaw to them, if I discovered that they were even a thousandth of an inch off.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 3:31:51 PM EST
OK, I got one of these lowers and uppers combo over at Centerfire Systems last week when I was in Lexington. (They are about 40 minutes from where I live). On inspection the upper and lower fit together nicely. The finish is better than in the pictures. Visual inspection passed.

Started putting the lower together today, then the problems began. First, the mag catch. It fit, but it was a tight fit. When I first got it in it didn't want to work. I oiled it well and kept working it back and forth and finally got it to function fairly well. Not as good as my other lowers, but OK. Seems to improve with usage.

Next, went to put the safety in, now the problems begin. The safety won't fit. I tried two different ones, a DPMS and a Double Star, neither will work. I pull out a RRA lower I have and measure the hole for the safety. Its .375" (3/8th of an inch). The new lower is .371" four thousands too small !! What to do? I could drive back over there and exchange it but will the next one have the same problem? Everything else is working OK so I decide to drill and ream the hole. I don't recommend this to everyone. You can really screw up if the hole is not perfect and perfectly aligned with the hole on the other side. I have "some experience" with these things and I fix the bore for the safety. All is well. Now, I have to go finish the trigger and all is GTG. I am using this lower with a M4 barrel I stole off another upper I have. I wanted to match the lower and upper as they look good together. I will post pictures if I get it done by this weekend. I have lots of other things going on right now so this is a back burner job.

Even with the minor problem, I am still happy with this build....as long as the rest of the parts work OK!!

BTW, I am using a DPMS LPK on this build as it has that nice rounded hammer that works well with everything especially the .22 conversions and my dedicated .22 upper.
I will post pictures if time permits.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 4:15:11 PM EST
Thanks for the info guys
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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:18:05 PM EST
The build is done. I have one hastily taken photo. Ran out of time but here it is. I have the matching receiver but haven't had the time to build it up. This is with a Double Star upper I had in the safe. This is NOT the slick shiny one they have now, rather its last years model with the more mat finish. The picture is with a flash so its not perfect. I can tell you that when this thing is together and oiled up the upper and lower match pretty good. Of course its matching billet upper receiver is a perfect match. Mine is a very low serial number, one of the first 50.

Once I got the mag latch smoothed out and then drilled the safety hole so it would fit, the rest of the build went fine. The trigger group works great and everything else went together quiet well. One thing however. That gap you have between the factory lower grip and the trigger guard, the one a "Gapper" thing would normally be used to fill, well that opening doesn't exist on this lower. So, I had to use the factory grip for now. I will have to do some mods on my other grip to make it fit.

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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:18:49 PM EST
Well, about an hour and a half ago, Santa Clause showed up in a brown truck.

I FINALLY got my Del-Ton kits that I've been waiting on since June. For those wondering, their "M4" kits don't come wit an M4 upper... As I mentioned, I don't give two shits about M4 ramps, but something that's advertised as an M4 kit oughtta come with an M4 upper and barrel extension. Whatever, that's beside the point.

So, where was I? Oh right, brown truck...

So I opened up the box, skipped over to the safe, and grabbed one of my lowers. I've assembled enough of these things that I should have had it together in 15 min.

I throw in the front takedown pin, throw in the mag catch, throw in the trigger, hammer and safety selector, safety selector detent and spring, pistol grip... So far so good. Then I put in the pistol grip screw and start turning. Just when I expect the grip to start chinching down tight to the lower, the screw stops turning.

"Shit" I think, "I must have an out-of-spec pistol grip." Pull it back off, and try another pistol grip. Same story. Pull it back out, and examine the screw. It's the proper length. I thread it into the lower until it bottoms out, mark the screw and pull it back out, then thread it into another upper. The other upper takes the screw WELL past the mark.

Time to pull out the tap set.

After taking 30 min. to find the right tap, I went ahead and tapped it all the way through. I'll be getting a 1/4"x28 set screw to adjust the trigger pull with later on, so I figured I'd just tap it all the way through while I was in there. Also went ahead and tapped the rear takedown detent hole with a 4-40 tap, but couldn't find my baggie of set screws for that...

Anyway, aside from the grip screw, everything else on the lower is PERFECT.

Lockup between the lower and billet upper is as good as I've ever seen. Super tight and movement that is barely present. The only better lockup I've seen is between this lower, and the billet upper that matches it.

Tomorrow I'll be transferring the upper over to the TWN billet upper. This rifle is a keeper!

So, if you're considering one of these, keep in mind that you MAY need to tap your lower for proper installation. I COULD have cut a 1/4" off the grip screw, and been fine, but I figured that I'd be tapping it anway for a set screw, so it was no big deal to me. Although it did throw off my mojo a little bit, and make me say a few bad words.

I'll be ordering these for my builds from now on, as long as they're under $100.

Anyhow, here's how she looks until tomorrow, when I'll be transferring everything over to the billet upper.

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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:23:06 PM EST
Mine was up first!

Has anyone else had problems with the hole for the safety? Mine was low numbered and may have been a fluke.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:35:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By forever4:
Mine was up first!

Has anyone else had problems with the hole for the safety? Mine was low numbered and may have been a fluke.


I noticed that. Although, I did have pics of my lowers first. I guess now we're just in a race to get the barrel assembly transfered to the TNW uppers. ;)

Anyhow, I bought three of these lowers, and they all seem to be okay in the safety selector hole dept. Interesting that yours was properly tapped, and mine was not, however. I hope that all problems encountered are as straightforward as a bit of tapping or reaming...
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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:36:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By forever4:
One thing however. That gap you have between the factory lower grip and the trigger guard, the one a "Gapper" thing would normally be used to fill, well that opening doesn't exist on this lower. So, I had to use the factory grip for now. I will have to do some mods on my other grip to make it fit.


So the Magpul trigger guard or MIAD grip with integrated guard doesn't work with this lower?

Thanks for the info.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:37:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By Mateba:
Originally Posted By forever4:
One thing however. That gap you have between the factory lower grip and the trigger guard, the one a "Gapper" thing would normally be used to fill, well that opening doesn't exist on this lower. So, I had to use the factory grip for now. I will have to do some mods on my other grip to make it fit.


So the Magpul trigger guard or MIAD grip with integrated guard doesn't work with this lower?

Thanks for the info.


The trigger guard is part of the lower.
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Posted: 11/4/2009 6:43:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By wrenchmonkey:
Originally Posted By Mateba:
Originally Posted By forever4:
One thing however. That gap you have between the factory lower grip and the trigger guard, the one a "Gapper" thing would normally be used to fill, well that opening doesn't exist on this lower. So, I had to use the factory grip for now. I will have to do some mods on my other grip to make it fit.


So the Magpul trigger guard or MIAD grip with integrated guard doesn't work with this lower?

Thanks for the info.


The trigger guard is part of the lower.


Doh! OK, I see now.
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Posted: 11/5/2009 4:11:11 AM EST
I had a small issue with the mag catch cutout being tight but the grip went on easily as well as the selector.
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Posted: 11/5/2009 4:58:06 AM EST
I had to drill the safety selector hole. Fixed it fine, but I hated to have to chance that repair. I got the mag catch to work, but honestly its not working as nicely as any of my other lowers. I need to work more on that part.

This is not the greatest nor the worst lower I have ever seen. Mine was a very low serial number, perhaps they have improved them. While it was not terribly expensive I think if I needed another lower I would spring the extra $40 for a RRA. I don't regret this one as its unique, but I would not want it as my only rifle.
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