Posted: 10/11/2005 8:22:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/11/2005 8:32:27 PM EDT by boltcatch]
OK. So I've been tinkering with building AR's for a couple of years now. I've found it to be a constant struggle to get small parts that don't have shoddy workmanship or materials.
Take for example the selector switch. First one I got was in a CMT LPK. Most of the CMT parts were a LOT nicer than the DPMS parts that were squatting in my RRA lower when I first got it, especially the trigger guard, springs, and various roll pins. The selector sorta looked like crap, though. The selector didn't have the notch on the ejection port side, and the beveling where it stuck out on that side was quite uneven.
So, eventually, I get a LPK from Bravo Company, to add to my collection of spares, to toss some into a new lower I got, and possibly to replace some in my first lower. B.Co. said their parts kits included parts from LMT and CMT; I have no reason to doubt them as B Co. are good guys to deal with. The bolt catch, trigger guard, hammer, and trigger were very nice, but still no joy on the selector. It looked better, but rattled around in the lower and wouldn't function with any of my several selector detents. Shit.
So I get an RRA selector. Very very nice. Looks great, has that fookin' notch I've been hankering for, and fit functioned and felt perfect. Crappier selector was demoted to the other lower.
Now, fast foreward a few months, and after sticking a Colt A2 upper from CDNN on my first lower, I started accumulating Colt parts in that lower. I wanted a better selector in my other lower, so, I decided to get some parts from Specialized Armament (good service, fast shipping). I wanted to move the bolt catch and buffer retainer in lower 1 to lower 2, replacing the crappy ass bolt catch (CMT) and retainer (B Co) in lower 2, and also furthering my arbitary goal of Coltifying my first rifle. (Why? Why the hell not!). I also wanted to move the RRA selector over to lower 2 to replace the crappy one, since I'm selling that lower to a good buddy and want it all in good order, so I order a selector too.
So I get the Colt parts. Bolt catch is very nice. In the rifle it goes, and the decent one it replaced goes into lower 2. Cool.
Now, the selector switch....... is the same freakin' part as the CMT I started with. You couldn't tell them apart with a magnifying glass; same mold marks (seams and letter), same looseness at 'safe' and 'fire', same random clicks in between those positions, and exact same uneven beveling.
So, to sum up my parts experiences (and keep in mind, I've seen crappy generic versions of every part from mystery makers, so pretty much anything you can name has a shitty version somewhere. Also keep in mind that companies might have more than one source for a part, so you may get something entirely different):
Good - trigger guard, roll pins, springs, take down/pivot pins, pistol grip screw, excellent buffer retainer (the bottom part radiuses up to the top part), best FCG pins I've seen yet.
Not so good - bolt catch (looked like freakin' wrought iron), hammer (face ground at funky angle so it wasnt perpendicular to the firing pin surface), selector.
Bravo Co. LPK:
Good - bolt catch, trigger guard, take down/pivot pins, great hammer and trigger, springs
Not so good - buffer retainer (top part meets with bottom at right angle), pistol grip screw (allen head screw - screw allen screws, give me a stainless steel slotted screw. pun intended.), sorta ugly FCG pins, selector.
Good - best mag release button I've seen yet, takedown/pivot pins, great selector, decent FCG pins.
Not so good - I haven't yet seen any RRA small parts that bother me, though sometimes their detent holes in their lowers are in, er, "unique" locations. (to be fair, I'm talking about some really early production lowers, and they still work.)
Good - trigger/hammer, roll pins, full size receiver extention (forged! sweet!), buffer retainer, disconnector (doesn't look like a .1 cent die stamped part like the others I have), bolt catch.
Not so good - selector, dammit!
Now, I realize I'm finicky. I don't intend to knock any of these companies or their products as a whole - I like them all, both the retailers and the manufacturers (well, maybe not Colt, even Colt fans can agree they aren't exactly warm and fuzzy towards the civvie market) and would buy from them again. But is a little consistency too much to ask?
I too have had excellent luck with RRA's LPK. I started out with RRA and haven't changed. I really won't change now!
I'll probably try RRA next time I'm buying spares, but for rifle builds I'll probably hunt down the best of each from here and there. My buddies say I'm obsessive, but c'mon, parts that looks like they were attacked by a chimpanzee with a bench grinder? Ugh.
i like bushmaster's lower parts kits.