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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 6/22/2003 8:48:30 AM EDT
Not trying to start a flamewar. I am trying to set the record for longest thread!

Anyhow, I am curious about what makes the various AR manufacturers different:

Do they manufacture their own parts or do they all subcontract them out?

Same subcontractors or different ones?

What are the differences in the quality of their rifles and various parts?

I have got largely Colt uppers on non-Colt lowers. I'm looking at a couple of other uppers(M16A4 and 9mm) and though I do like Colt uppers they are expensive and sometimes hard to get.
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 12:33:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/22/2003 12:47:10 PM EDT by DarkStar]
These are some of the questions I've wondered about as well. Who is doing the actual manufacturing and machining work. There are only a few raw forging manufacturers out there... does ArmaLite or Colt had different specs on their production runs they order? Hummmmm... Are parts made to different specs for different vendors? That I'd love to know the answer to... Does one vendor specify a cheaper steel or heat treating process on, say, lower parts kits? Does one vendor specify a higher grade? Or is the difference between a lower parts kit from Rock River or Bushmaster or J&T nothing but final packaging? I suspect that Colt, ArmaLite, Bushy, and RRA barrels are coming off the same line... somewhere... built to the vendors specs. Just as long as it isn't Ruger turning out those barrels... I'd hate to find out under it all that my AR's were really just Rugers...[puke][;)] Edited to add: With as many members as we have here on ARFcom, someone will know the answers!
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 12:37:51 PM EDT
Even Colt farms out work when it has to. Most of the newer Colt M4 flat top uppers I've seen lately have been made by Diemaco. That's not a bad thing though....
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 12:58:30 PM EDT
Diemaco makes excellent ARs. I've installed parts from Colt, RRA and Bushy. I'll be damned if I can tell any difference on inspection. If parts are the same then concerns become upper rec, barrel, bolt and carrier. There may be some reason to consider Colt bolts superior but what about the rest? Who makes the barrels for the various builders? I DID hear a rumor that Ruger made them for Colt. RRA's are Wilson barrels, correct? What about Bushy? And DPMS? I guess that if small parts are same that then upper rec and barrel are most important. At least to me.
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 1:16:53 PM EDT
I'd heard the same about Ruger turning out barrels for Colt... that's why I was being a smartass... [;)] I've HEARD, but have no proof, that DPMS actually supplies bolt carrier assemblies to near all the vendors... could be internet myth... But I do agree, it's hard to see much difference in most of the parts from the major players. All things being equal, the bolt carrier assembly and the barrel are my most important concerns...
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 1:34:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 3:08:37 PM EDT
I think my Bushmaster is great, but it does fall short in comparison to my boyfriend's Colt. TT [wave]
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 4:01:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TitaniumT: I think my Bushmaster is great, but it does fall short in comparison to my boyfriend's Colt. TT [wave]
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How? They both go bang. GG
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 4:20:51 PM EDT
Id prefer for my gun to go bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang. (but only once a trigger pull of course [;)])
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 4:58:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/22/2003 5:00:32 PM EDT by Derek45]
Colt and Bushy have forged sight towers and chrome lined bores. Most of the other brands are using Wilson barrels with cast front sight towers. Wilson barrels are accurate, however chrome lining means longer life and better reliability. [b]Reliability is very important to me.[/b] Colt and Bushy claim to magnetic particle inspect there bolts. Colts are marked. I've compared my Bushy and Colt bolt carriers to My friend's DPMS, up close, they look different. I only use Colt or Bushmaster barrels and bolts. My rifles have been extremely reliable. I imagine many small parts are coming from the same vendors. I've heard rumors that some of the lower priced guys are using Chinese parts. China makes an M16 copy. Some of the new carry handles are marked "imported", I suspect alot of the unmarked so-called "FN" parts that the gunshow bargain are really chinese. Real FN barrels are marked [b]FNMI[/b] and are chrome lined and excellent.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 11:44:16 AM EDT
Anyone know of any differences in manufacturing?
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 1:35:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 1:39:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2003 1:41:38 PM EDT by Forest]
Originally Posted By Derek45: Colt and Bushy claim to magnetic particle inspect there bolts. Colts are marked.
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Good post - 1 minor point. Bushmaster's are also marked that's the 'MP' in 'B[b]MP[/b] 5.56 NATO' The difference is Colt keeps records on their barrels testing.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 1:49:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Troy:
Originally Posted By drjarhead: Anyone know of any differences in manufacturing?
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You mean, aside from all of the ones mentioned or reference in this thread? -Troy
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Yes. The chart you mentioned specifies finish type, forged vs cast rec's etc. I'm curious as to whether they all make their own rec's, barrels, parts. If so, or not what are the differences. After all, Colt seems to think that their product is superior to all of the others. Based on what? If they manufacture their own parts and rec's then what do they do different from others that makes them better? Will their rec's hold up better? Are their barrels more accurate? Longer lasting? Are their small parts less prone to failure? Same goes for the rest. Putting it together is important but it does not take a genius to assemble an AR-15. I figure they are all pretty equal in this regard. Could assemble myself if I need to. Your chart was informative but does not really answer all of my questions. Actually, I almnost asked you this via IM as I figured if anyone would know it would be you. But I'm sure you get plenty of this shit anyhow, and it may also be informative to others. If Colt is better, I will drop the extra cash. If not I want to get the best parts/uppers for my money.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 2:08:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By drjarhead: If Colt is better, I will drop the extra cash. If not I want to get the best parts/uppers for my money.
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You might also want to check out the availability of Colt parts. My understanding is that Colt nolonger manufacturers parts for sale to the public, only the military. That and up until very recently they had a terrible website and their Head Office in CT used dial up. They don't exactly cater to the civilian populations. TT [wave]
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 2:18:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TitaniumT:
Originally Posted By drjarhead: If Colt is better, I will drop the extra cash. If not I want to get the best parts/uppers for my money.
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You might also want to check out the availability of Colt parts. My understanding is that Colt nolonger manufacturers parts for sale to the public, only the military. That and up until very recently they had a terrible website and their Head Office in CT used dial up. They don't exactly cater to the civilian populations. TT [wave]
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They sure don't and this definitely counts against them. However, I can probably get whatever parts I want. At least I think I can! Ya gotta wonder what they are thinking. Their business decisions have to be costing them millions yearly.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 2:54:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By drjarhead: [If so, or not what are the differences. After all, Colt seems to think that their product is superior to all of the others. Based on what?
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Tweak (in the Troubleshooting section) is a great one to ask this kind of thing. Its been a topic of discussion on TF & AR15-L. Things like Shot-Peening the Bolt to make them stronger (only Colt does this). MP inspecion of every single Bolt & Bolt carriers (again only Colt seems to do this and their parts are so marked). Thickness of the anodizing (Colts is thicker - thus making the lower a bit more durable). I suggest go talking with Tweak for the scoop..
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 3:42:54 PM EDT
Thanks, I will do that.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 3:59:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2003 9:02:43 PM EDT by A_Free_Man]
OK, what is the first thing someone said to you when you showed them your shiny new, very first, AR15? "Hey, you gonna convert it to shoot full auto?" So, Colt has been getting this crap ever since civilian AR15's began to hit the market. You could go to gun shows and buy all the M16 internal parts you wanted, and while there, pick up a "drop-in auto-sear" (aka DIAS). Some brave souls would buy these M16 parts and a DIAS, go way out in the woods, blast off a few mags at full auto, and then run home, hoping no one heard them... to bury the parts in a mason jar out back somewhere. ATF frowned on this, so you had the strange situation where you could go to gun shows, buy the M16 internals from one dealer, a DIAS body from another dealer, the pin and spring from another dealer, and the sear itself from yet another dealer. And walk out of the show with all you needed. A wink and a nod. That soon came to an end, too. A fun time was had by all until about 1981 when the DIAS was ruled to be a "machine gun". In fact, at that time, 1960's-70's, Colt AR15's many times already HAD M16 parts, just no auto-sear and auto-sear pin. So, naturally, they got a lot of grief from ATF over this situation. They began to make the lower parts in "AR15 configuration", notched hammer, ramped bolt carrier, etc. Fast forward, and the "evil legal machine-gun" thing got started. Ban these guns! Colt began doing even more to try to head off problems with the ATF and anti-gun legislation by adding the steel "sear block" in the lower receiver and going to the "large pin" hammer and trigger. You see, NO M16 hammers and triggers are made in large pin configuration. And the sear block keeps them from working full auto by using a "lightning link". Colt began equipping their rifles with HBAR barrels and heavier, and using names like "Sporter" to present, at least in name, the "target rifle" image. They have probably been threatened with loss of goverment contracts for catering to civilians with their AR15 sales. Truthfully, I am quite surprised that they sell any AR15 variant to civilians at all. So, that is the "parts problem" with Colt, and their "customer service" problem explained in plain English.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 5:33:16 PM EDT
I own both Colt and Bushmaster and while I really like the Bushy, I can see, feel and tell a quality difference between the two. The way I look at it is the same way I compare other tools, parts and equipment. To me, the Colt is like a Snap-on tool while the Bushy is more like a Craftsman. They both work and do the job, but one is clearly higher quality and seems to hold up better and have fewer problems in the long run. This is especially true when comparing the prebans. The postbans are pretty much equal with the nod going to Bushy.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:11:50 PM EDT
Pull out the bolt carrier from a COLT, and take one out of a BUSHMASTER. Look at them. The COLT isn't nearly as beefy. 'Nuff said.
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 7:45:07 PM EDT
Montanaman, Sorry to be off-topic, but I couldn't help but be amused by your BORG influenced signature line. About September 15th 2001, I recorded the following: [url=http://www.anthonyjosephevans.com/gun/ar15/American-Borg.mp3]American Borg.mp3[/url] I was hoping it would be something that would make the rounds all over the Net, but alas, it never happened. Maybe it was too in-your-face? Other than hearing my dryer squeak a few times in the middle, I'm still proud of it. Created with my computer's mike, and Cool Edit software & effects. Anthony
Link Posted: 6/25/2003 8:37:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By montanaman: Pull out the bolt carrier from a COLT, and take one out of a BUSHMASTER. Look at them. The COLT isn't nearly as beefy. 'Nuff said.
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Huh ? [>:/] Ok, I'll go look........back in a minute. . . . . .[elevator music playing while waiting] . . . . . . . .Ok, I'm back. I have a bushy carrier, a Colt shaved carrier and a std. Colt carrier (full circle) from a early green lable rifle. They appear to have identical dimensions with the only difference being the one Colt shaved carrier has the lower rear section which contacts the buffer shaved off due to PC concerns at Colt. The other two are identical. Otherwise, they are all "beefy" nuff said.
Link Posted: 6/26/2003 7:00:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By drjarhead: Do they manufacture their own parts or do they all subcontract them out?
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All use subcontractors for all major components except Olympic Arms who manufactures all of their major components in house. No other manufacturer does this. And, it is not a matter of farming them out "when they have to" as some have suggested, they simply do not have the ability to do so. Only Oly. Been to both the Oly and the Bushmaster facility. Oly gave me a tour, Bushy did not.
Same subcontractors or different ones?
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Some same, some different. Who ever can get it the fastest and the cheapest. Some are gov't contractors, some are not. Most are not.
What are the differences in the quality of their rifles and various parts?
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Quality is very similar among most all manufacturers except a few simply because so many of these so called manufacturers use the same 3 or 4 sub-contractors. What they do with the poarts after they get them is what makes the difference. My recommendation: Stay away from Colt's if for no other reason than their no-plan, flim-flam method of changing critical part sizes so that many parts are not interchangable. Colt's manufactures one of the least mil-spec guns out there for this reason. (trigger and hammer pins, front take down pins, cut carriers to accommodate the stupid receiver blocks etc...)
I do like Colt uppers they are expensive and sometimes hard to get.
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Save your money. With Colt's you are only paying for the the name, and all of the previous bankruptcies and receiver ships. And, you are getting the same parts that are made for others as well. You want accuracy, but an Oly upper. Best out there hands down for accuracy. Want chrome lined, and I don't know why anyone would, than buy something else.
Link Posted: 6/26/2003 5:10:07 PM EDT
Last November when I was looking at AR's - I saw them disassembled on two different gun counters, and the COLT bolt was not a full circle - it looked emasculated.
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 8:01:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SPECTRE: I own both Colt and Bushmaster and while I really like the Bushy, I can see, feel and tell a quality difference between the two. The way I look at it is the same way I compare other tools, parts and equipment. To me, the Colt is like a Snap-on tool while the Bushy is more like a Craftsman. They both work and do the job, but one is clearly higher quality and seems to hold up better and have fewer problems in the long run. This is especially true when comparing the prebans. The postbans are pretty much equal with the nod going to Bushy.
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For us non-tool-hobbyists... what's better? Snap-on or Craftsman? :) Your analogy would work better if that was obvious to everyone. Thanks! Alex
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 8:13:28 AM EDT
Snap-on is the better tool, and also costs waaaay more.
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 8:33:40 AM EDT
But the Bushmaster pre-bans cost more... [;)]
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 9:11:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By montanaman: Last November when I was looking at AR's - I saw them disassembled on two different gun counters, and the COLT bolt was not a full circle - it looked emasculated.
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I think "emasculated" is a great way of describing it.
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 10:53:14 AM EDT
I have had both Bushmaster full milspec full auto M4 upper and Colt M4 full auto upper. Here is the breakdown between my two samples. Barrel: Bushmaster was better hands down but the Colt barrel was made before the Busmaster and stoered for a long time before being assembled. Upper receiver: Identical but the Bushmaster fit tighter and had zero slop. Bushmaster was unmarked and I could not tell it was Bushmaster except I got it direct from them. Colt was marked C AF and M4. Small parts: Identical in every way. Carrier: Colt had better finish to it. THe Bushmaster was a bit rougher and had more obvious tool marks (it looked like the cutting tool was dull) Bushmaster was unmarked the Colt was marked C. Bushmaster was not properly staked all the way. There were dents but only one made contact with the key screws. The Colt was propperly staked. Bolt: Bushmaster was WAY better in fit and finish. The Colt extractor scraped on the inside of the carrier where it fit into the chromed section. Bushmaster was flawless and had a perfect fit. Bushmaster was unmarked and Colt was marked CMP and C on the extractor. In the end I would say it was a wash. I would take either one but the Bushmaster was cheaper and is what I have now. Oh and the Bushmaster upper had a blacker and more even finish and it had the dry lube where the Colt did not.
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