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11/2/2022 4:30:06 PM
Posted: 5/7/2003 10:06:18 AM EST
First I have to say this board has been a great source of info for me as I get closer to buying another AR. OK the question is does anybody have any know anything about PWA lowers. I have looked on the board and found little to nothing about them. Did a web search and found that the company is really called Pac West Arms but that is about it (no website). I have found a shop that has some interesting AR's with some good prices and they are all built on PWA lowers. I need to know more before I invest my $$.

R. Kirby Whyte
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 10:16:54 AM EST
Welcome kwhyte,
PWA (Pac West Arms) is no longer around. As far as the lowers they produced (the only thing they made as far as I know) are of fair quality. I have seem some that look like junk (finish). I have one myself and it is great (fit/finish). They are all cast and PRE 94 manufacture. I have looked at prices and I would say the reciver itself goes for around $500 +$100 -0. The reciver would have to have been assembled into a compleat rifle prior to the ban to qualify the weapon as a "pre ban".

I am sure somone will correct me if I am wrong on this subject.

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 1:48:48 PM EST
I will add that some of the PWA lowers (mine was made in 1999/2000) were actually made by Rock River (when PWA shut down, Rock River bought their equipment) until Rock River started to put their name on the lowers (I guess they had to get a license or something).

My lower is very nice.  I've been told that PWA may have only made preban lowers (not complete rifles), so there may be an issue about putting preban parts on it unless the person you purchase from can guarantee the lower was part of a rifle before the ban.

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 2:40:58 PM EST
My preban PWA lower was forged, not cast.  Marked "Commando".  A good quality lower.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 2:56:15 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 8:04:18 PM EST
Kirby - I have five ARs built on PWA lowers and have had no problems with fitting firecontrol kits, etc. from any manufacturer.  They are forged and well machined.
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 5:16:14 AM EST
Thanks to all who have replied. The lower in question is a post ban. I belive I must save my pennies now so that I can afford the rifle(how will I tell mt wife about this one???).

R. Kirbny Whyte
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 10:20:36 AM EST
My PWA was in the 27XXX range and it was a little tight in the side walls causing the hammer to fall slugishly and not alway ignite primers.  (easily solved by sanding the hammer width of the pin hole part) a little.

Some of these below the 25XXX range were cast so watch out for that if it is an issue with you.
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 4:12:58 PM EST
I have been using PWA lowers for a LONG time and currently own several that are below S/N 6000.  All are excellent forgings with perfect black anodized finish.  In over 15 years of dealing with the now defunct Pac West Arms lowers, I have NEVER seen a cast one.  If there are any out there, they must be really old.  

When I was an FFL back in the late 80's / early 90's, PWA in Olympia, WA never sold complete rifles.  Their "kits" were always less the barrel.  They did not even sell barrels.  It was a way around some federal taxes I believe.
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 4:42:15 PM EST
I have also been using PWA lowers for many years, and still have a pre-ban. All of the ones I've owned and seen have been forged and were of the highest quality. I used my current pre-ban to build an otherwise all Colt M4gery. I doubt seriously if a real Colt lower would be any improvement, other than resale value.
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 6:41:32 PM EST
All PWA lowers were forged, not cast.  There are a ton of post ban PWA lowers out there.  I have owned a pile of them (8-10), and all have been outstanding in fit and finish.  I think that PWA receivers are a very well kept secret, as even the preban PWA lowers are still reasonably priced (relative term).  
Link Posted: 5/9/2003 9:49:07 AM EST
The Essential Arms lowers are the ones that are all cast and all pre'94.

The PWAs are forged, and the pre-94 cutoff is Ser. # 35222.

They are great lowers.
View Quote

Correct PWA stuff is all forged with normal pin size and no block. I've owned three different ones and they have all had a nice dark black anodize. The ones produced later have a bit shinier finish than say... Bushmaster but all in all they are a great value in a pre-ban.
Link Posted: 5/9/2003 1:24:53 PM EST
I have one of the "Commando" marked PWA lowers (serial #23XXX) that appears to be cast but I have never had a single problem with it. I love it and would recommend it to anyone.
Link Posted: 5/9/2003 2:19:16 PM EST
I own a few PWA based AR's.  I always check around the gun shows for their lowers because I have never had any problems with any of the ones that I have used.  I just recently met a dealer at a gunshow here in the Houston area that had a pile of them for sale.  
Anyway, I have to agree with doorgunner's remark about PWA being a well kept secret.
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