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Posted: 1/2/2012 3:44:14 PM EST
Just like the title says, I'm somewhat familar with the process of forging and I know how billets are machined but what I dont know is this difference in performance or the other pro's and con's of each. Could somebody enlighten me on this?


Thanks
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:03:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 4:05:50 PM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:07:46 PM EST
Billet is heavier, More expensive, and weaker (But still strong enough)

only reason to get one is if you think it looks cool imo

Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:10:02 PM EST
As the others have said, billet receivers look really nice. That's pretty much it.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:12:33 PM EST
I just spoke with a friend of mine about this and his take on it was that the billet is most likely going to be machined to a higher tolerance for a more precise and uniform outcome where as forging can leave some irregularities in the metal.

If forged lowers are stronger and billets are cheaper to produce then why are the billets more expensive and used almost exclusively by the high end manufacturers?
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:13:16 PM EST
CNC cutting a forging would be be sweet.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:13:48 PM EST
I asked this same question of someone who was selling billet lowers and they looked at me like I'd caught them in a lie, and then tried to tell me they were "machined" to a tighter tolerance....really? I bought another Stag lower at 1/2 the price.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:21:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 4:24:43 PM EST by Saddlerocker]
Originally Posted By Bazzle22:
I just spoke with a friend of mine about this and his take on it was that the billet is most likely going to be machined to a higher tolerance for a more precise and uniform outcome where as forging can leave some irregularities in the metal.

If forged lowers are stronger and billets are cheaper to produce then why are the billets more expensive and used almost exclusively by the high end manufacturers?


What high end manufacturers exclusively use Billets?
Not...
BCM
DD
Colt
LMT
Vltor
Noveske

Larue is the only one I can think of at the moment



Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:23:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 4:25:10 PM EST by tutone]
A flared mag well is a nice feature on some of the billet lowers. I'm thinking I might use one on my next 3gun build. Not intending to hijack but any suggestion of where to look?
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:24:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:25:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 4:25:50 PM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 4:30:11 PM EST
Forged > Billet lowers.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:00:41 PM EST
I was wrong, thanks for corecting me on that one. Alot of them say "machined from forgings".
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:17:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By doc_Zox:
CNC cutting a forging would be be sweet.



Most if not all commercially available forged lowers are CNC machined.

Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:19:09 PM EST
I've always wanted one but its simply been due to the "it costs more so it has to be better" mentality. They aren't. And IMO anyone that says that they are better is trying to justify paying way too much for way too little.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:22:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 5:23:43 PM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:24:09 PM EST
I've had both and neither has given me problems. I SBR'd a billet lower just because I liked the integrated trigger guard.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:30:38 PM EST
Billet lowers are heavier than forged?

for some reason I thought they were lighter...looks like i'll stick to forged.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:32:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By Bazzle22:
I just spoke with a friend of mine about this and his take on it was that the billet is most likely going to be machined to a higher tolerance for a more precise and uniform outcome where as forging can leave some irregularities in the metal.

If forged lowers are stronger and billets are cheaper to produce then why are the billets more expensive and used almost exclusively by the high end manufacturers?

Billet receivers allow a manufacturer to have their own design/shape of lower at a reasonable price. The only people I have heard claiming that billet is made to a higher tolerance are people who sell billet receivers. There are EXTREMELY accurate rifles at Camp Perry every year build on forged receivers.


Exactly right.

All forged lowers are CNC machined. After the forging process, they look like this:



After that, the critical surfaces (mating surface, inner, holes, etc...) are CNC machined, either through EDM, milling, etc..

The tolerances for areas that matter will be the same as it is limited only to the machining process, same as with billet lowers.

Both are plenty strong, but IMO there's no reason to pay more for a weaker lower. The only reason to get a billet is if you have to be different. I own one, but that's only because I got it for $79 and I already have 15 or so forged lowers.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 5:40:07 PM EST
I like the pattern of the billets, other wise I wouldn't really care. I've used both, neither have failed me yet. Buy whatever you like the looks of if you like the billet, or buy the cheapest forged.
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 6:20:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Forged lowers are theoretically stronger, you can make billet lowers more cheaply into new, funky looking designs. I suspect that the real difference between the two is probably not relevant except in some really, really unusual circumstance where the stronger forged lower might matter. Any decent forged lower that is in spec will serve you well. I have owned a bunch of lowers over the years and only gotten one dog and it was obviously fubar and was replaced. Personally I think there are better places to spend extra money than buying a billet lower, like putting the money towards a Geissele trigger or a better barrel

Blasphemy! An ar15.com fully ambi billet lower is a great place to spend some money.... and you can get it with a Geissele trigger! I have yet to see a fully ambi forged lower. I will jump all over one if they do become available though.

Seriously, it all depend on what the user wants....

Good/unique looks, potentially fully ambi without a BAD lever? Get a billet lower.

Don't care about the looks or fully ambi controls? Forged is king.

I have a few of each and the billet are my favorites. Mainly due to the fully ambi controls. One has an magwell that is perfect for holding the forward hand on the magwell and it has an extreme bevel on the inside.

Link Posted: 1/2/2012 6:28:55 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 6:33:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 6:37:25 PM EST by doc_Zox]

Originally Posted By kwrangln:
Originally Posted By doc_Zox:
CNC cutting a forging would be be sweet.



Most if not all commercially available forged lowers are CNC machined.


I was thinking about an exotic milling that would maintain the function but add some flair

There's not a lot of extra meat on the body though, and custom forgings would be expensive.

So the block of aluminum starting point is the custom method. Does anyone remember the old stop sign logoed oly's that were machined out of slab stock?


Link Posted: 1/2/2012 6:38:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 6:50:48 PM EST by AR15JoeL]
I have and use both Forged & Billet lowers. I perfer the AR15 Billet lowers due to the ambi controls. Any lower will serve as a nice AR15 platform for your rifle.

Link Posted: 1/2/2012 6:43:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2012 6:46:03 PM EST by Matt_Krush]
Originally Posted By Saddlerocker:
Originally Posted By Bazzle22:
I just spoke with a friend of mine about this and his take on it was that the billet is most likely going to be machined to a higher tolerance for a more precise and uniform outcome where as forging can leave some irregularities in the metal.

If forged lowers are stronger and billets are cheaper to produce then why are the billets more expensive and used almost exclusively by the high end manufacturers?


What high end manufacturers exclusively use Billets?
Not...
BCM
DD
Colt
LMT
Vltor
Noveske

Larue is the only one I can think of at the moment





Mega comes to mind as well...there are a couple others that offer the futuristic designs of billet lowers and upper combinations...
Link Posted: 1/2/2012 6:48:00 PM EST

Link Posted: 1/3/2012 1:46:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By Bazzle22:
Just like the title says, I'm somewhat familar with the process of forging and I know how billets are machined but what I dont know is this difference in performance or the other pro's and con's of each. Could somebody enlighten me on this?


Thanks


I picked up a billet receiver (Mega) just for looks and the built-in upper/lower fit adjustment screw, otherwise there is no real practical advantage that we as civilian shooters can really see. Yes, the billet receivers cost more but some of us are willing to pay just to have something different
Link Posted: 1/3/2012 2:58:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By bravo5two:
Originally Posted By Bazzle22:
Just like the title says, I'm somewhat familar with the process of forging and I know how billets are machined but what I dont know is this difference in performance or the other pro's and con's of each. Could somebody enlighten me on this?


Thanks


I picked up a billet receiver (Mega) just for looks and the built-in upper/lower fit adjustment screw, otherwise there is no real practical advantage that we as civilian shooters can really see. Yes, the billet receivers cost more but some of us are willing to pay just to have something different



I got to check out a one piece Mega MTS quad rail upper V2's and it was real nice and very light. The guy who was picking it up said he had to wait 3 or 4 weeks to get his hands on one but he seemed to be happy with it.

Link Posted: 1/3/2012 3:29:14 AM EST
I've got a Mega billet lower/mono upper as well. Sharp lookin rifle. I believe they also manufacture for a few other companies that put their oqn stamp on the units. Seekins makes some fancy billet lowers as well.
Link Posted: 1/3/2012 4:03:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/3/2012 4:08:22 AM EST by Jungotwo]
I also have a Mega MTS300 system - the lower with matching monolithic 9" upper. Fit, finish and function are superb. As others have said, billet simply offers the consumer a different aesthetic option as opposed to a standard, mil-spec forged receiver. Functional caveats aside (such as ambi controls and flared mag-wells), billet components generally result in a more visually striking rifle.
Link Posted: 1/3/2012 4:18:27 AM EST
Thanks for all the replies, I learned something here for sure.
Link Posted: 1/3/2012 5:38:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By RyanH:
As the others have said, billet receivers look really nice. That's pretty much it.


This
Link Posted: 1/3/2012 6:31:32 AM EST
What I am getting here is some billet lowers might have a feature or two that is desired and the might have a "look"
that might be desired.

I see why some folks might go the billet route but I believe I will stick to the simple forged.
There is too much in the way of triggers,optics and ammo that I need to save for to be spending
the extra cash on billets for me.

YMMV
Link Posted: 1/3/2012 7:11:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By Bazzle22:
I just spoke with a friend of mine about this and his take on it was that the billet is most likely going to be machined to a higher tolerance for a more precise and uniform outcome where as forging can leave some irregularities in the metal.

If forged lowers are stronger and billets are cheaper to produce then why are the billets more expensive and used almost exclusively by the high end manufacturers?


Because it's hard to convince people to pay twice as much for a rifle that looks exactly the same as everyone else's.
Link Posted: 1/3/2012 8:56:06 AM EST
Got both and both function. But the billet was the first upper/lower I bought based solely on asthetics. The Black Rain Ordinance looks cool as hell and I had to have one as soon as I saw it. That said, I tried to install a Troy ambi selector and the thickness of the lower would not allow the installation. Tried it on a regular RRA and it fit fine. However, the BAD ASS fit like a glove. In spite of all the negatives, function every bit as well as a forged with the added benefits of not looking like the guys next to you.
Link Posted: 1/5/2012 5:59:40 PM EST
Isn't the The KAC SR-15 series Rifle the only rifle/carbine on the market that has a forged lower with an ambidextrous control system?
Link Posted: 1/6/2012 1:58:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/6/2012 2:04:02 AM EST by ColdBlood]
Originally Posted By Aimless:
Forged lowers are theoretically stronger, you can make billet lowers more cheaply into new, funky looking designs. I suspect that the real difference between the two is probably not relevant except in some really, really unusual circumstance where the stronger forged lower might matter. Any decent forged lower that is in spec will serve you well. I have owned a bunch of lowers over the years and only gotten one dog and it was obviously fubar and was replaced. Personally I think there are better places to spend extra money than buying a billet lower, like putting the money towards a Geissele trigger or a better barrel


+1

I like cool looking billet receivers, but the only way I'd spend the dough on a fancy receiver set is if I were already getting the best barrel and trigger money could buy.

I spent a pretty penny on my "dream rifle" last year (custom Noveske rig) just this past year, but I ended up getting fancy forged stuff instead of billet...Noveske's new FFL (forged flared lower) with two uppers built on the VLTOR VIS. Billet stuff looks cool, but serves no real purpose (tits on a boar, as my dad would say) and I was more interested in Noveske barrels than anything else.

ETA - And you better believe that lower is rockin' a Geissele SD-E trigger.
Link Posted: 1/6/2012 2:12:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/6/2012 2:17:41 AM EST by ColdBlood]
If you're asking why people want/buy billet receivers, it's basically the same reason guys put chrome wheels on a sports car. To make it look cool and different....sometimes they offer a little advantage (lighter/wider wheels or a billet receiver with tweaked controls), but mostly because it looks cool.

That's not to say there's anything wrong with making something look cool/different....I've decked out more than a few guns and sports cars with some pretty expensive/useless shit.

ETA - back to my previous post, spending the money on a billet receiver set and then using a cheap barrel is the gun equivalent haiving a Mustang that's bone stock under the hood sitting on a $4,000 set of racing rims.
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