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Posted: 10/1/2004 5:52:35 AM EDT
Does anyone have an opinion on these two manufactures? Any good or bad experiences?
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 6:37:01 AM EDT
Oly can make a very accurate rifle, but their barrels lack a chrome lining so I generally dismiss them as a 'defensive arm'.

Cav Arms makes good stuff (chrome lined barrels are available)- but buy it quick as Armalite is going to be buying up their future production...
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 7:44:46 AM EDT
Boy, did you open up a can of worms!

I have 2 OLYS and couldn't be happier. Both shoot better than I'm capable(at this time) of. Haven't any experiance with CAV arms, but seems that most everyone who has one likes them.

Now, get ready for the Oly haters

Link Posted: 10/1/2004 8:03:37 AM EDT
I have two Oly lowers, one a pre-ban (stop sign logo) one a post-ban. I bought the pre-ban complete along with two other Olys that I picked up for my Pa and my brother. Both fit several uppers well, and I didn't notice any problems with parts fit in the lower I assembled, and finish seemed fine. Seems like a reasonable way to save a few bucks as compared to other brands. I know some guys complain about Oly, but I don't see any problems with the two I have.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 8:06:48 AM EDT
Oly has made some ventures into the low end AR15 market which are probably good values, but dismissed by more "experienced" users. They are supposed to make a good barrel, however. Chrome lining can be a bit overrated, but it is my preference.

My major bitch with Oly is that some of their stuff just doesn't seem to be dimensionally correct...and they don't seem to care enough to fix it. The Oly receivers are famous for undersized mag wells where the mags don't drop free, and an A2 upper I have has a carry handle channel that is undersized. I had to tap a mount into the channel to get it to go.

Cav Arms is very popular, but their MK1 receivers left me cold. When I pulled the charging handle, the carrier got stuck in the buffer tube. I'm sure this has been fixed in the MK2 guns, but I just couldn't accept the plastic lower, which eliminated some furniture choices. Just a preference.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 8:15:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2004 8:16:56 AM EDT by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By noobshooter:
Does anyone have an opinion on these two manufactures? Any good or bad experiences?

1) Oly Arms is flat out the best no-brand AR maker. Period.
Very accurate rifles, great prices, and no problems.
Yes, they don't offer chrome lining, but (A) most don't need it, and (b) stainless works just as well for those who do. Most of the stuff you'll hear about Oly is old info from before the fire/rebuild. They DO NOT use .223 chambers on non-match guns, they DO NOT use cast recievers on their main-line (PCR) guns, etc...

2) Cav Arms is in a class by themselves, as they make a product that noone else does-> a unified lower/stock that's 100% polymer. They are going to be doing a private-label deal with ArmaLite, so if you want one at the current prices, get it now...
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 8:17:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2004 8:22:26 AM EDT by _DR]
My Oly has been very reliable, although I did replace the non chrome barrel with a USGI 4150 chrome lined steel barrel/chamber. The Oly barrels are 4140 steel (unless you opt for Stainless Steel) and unlined steel. Not very corrosion resistant, the original barrel on mine ended up pitting (that's why I replaced it).

The Magwell on my Oly works fine with USGI, Colt and The British steel mags (all drop free), but is a tight fit with the 2 Bushmaster 40 round mags I ordered.

My carry handle was fine.

My Oly never has had a single FTE/FTF malfunction, or any stoppage of any kind. A decent value, but in retrospect a chrome lined bore/chamber is a must for me, on a steel barrel. As Troy says, Go chrome or Go Home.

All in all a decent rifle.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 10:22:57 AM EDT
I have had several Oly's, and nothing but good experience.

(purchased 1989) Oly 16" A1 upper on PWA lower. The barrel was SS, and this rifle was used, abused, many thousands of rounds through it, my son used it in some carbine matches. After about 20k rounds, the rifling still looked perfect. And it had also been used in some very harsh conditions, high humdity, exposure to salt water, rain, etc. And the SS barrel really showed its stuff. Also, I see no need for chrome lining with one of these Oly SS barrels. It also fed most every ammo, including Wolf. It did gum up after about 1000 rnds of Wolf with no cleaning. (I don't use Wolf, my son did) Simply cleaning the chamber restored good function.

(purchased about 1987) Oly 20" Service Match Rifle, A1 upper, all Oly. Ran great, smoothly, good accuracy. Never a malfunction except with Cooper mags. With all other mags, perfect functioning. Sold this upper to a LEO friend. Mag well of the SGW lower (Oly) allows about 80% of USGI mags to drop free.

Originally the 20" rifle was supplied with a poorly made hammer that appeared to be bent over to one side. But this was a common problem for many manufacturers at that time. Whoever supplied these hammers supplied them to Oly and many others. I notified Oly, and they sent me a new and better hammer as soon as they were able to get some, about a month later. But even the "bent" hammer worked.

Both of the above have run .223 and 5.56 ammo, no issue with either.

(purchased 1994) Oly Ultramatch, 20" bull barrel, free floated, Harris bipod, JP trigger/hammer. Great accuracy and perfect function with all ammo, even various brands 5.56 M193 and M855 run through its "tight match chamber" without problem.

I have a Cav MkII lower with a 16" flattop upper. This lower is very well made, and so far functions well. I don't have enough range time yet to give you a full answer on durability. So far, I am very impressed. I like it! This will become my "trunk gun" as soon as I get in an Oly SS barrel for it.

I think chrome lining is an advantage over plain chrome moly, but do not think it is that big an advantage over stainless. And I have had no durability problems with stainless. But I am not firing full auto, bump firing, dumping Beta C mags, etc. These are the things that really damage a barrel.

Link Posted: 10/1/2004 10:30:13 AM EDT
My first AR was a Cav Mk1 Lower and an upper I bought off the ee. I love my CAV. You will be hard pressed to find a nicer bunch of guys as well.
Link Posted: 10/4/2004 8:01:47 AM EDT
Armalite is having a sale on the Cav Arms receivers... 95.00 for a stripped receiver, 67.00 for a parts kit, 162.00 for it all. Not a bad deal...

Link Posted: 10/4/2004 8:12:56 AM EDT
I've built 2 AR's so far, mostly with the TM and trial and error. This thread sure makes it easy to do now!
Now I think I'll tackle that CavArms lower...
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