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Posted: 9/14/2003 7:29:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2003 7:35:18 PM EDT by Da_Bunny]
At a local gunshow in Monroe, WA, I was getting some info regarding sources of AR parts. The information I got was that:

Continental Machine Tool or New Britain, CT makes most of the major components for Rock River Arms, Colt and Bushmaster.

Lewis Machine & Tool makes Armalite's parts.

Yankee Hill Machine Company makes many of the accessories. (they sell direct) and I will be swapping out a few parts I have for their milspec products.

Barrels come from a number of companies, but mostly from the same source....I forgot who...

Mega Machine of Olympia, WA is ramping up production of receivers for some name brand companies as well.

The only company that still manufactures ar15 type rifles with it's own parts is Olympic Arms.

Obviously, there are a number of companies that produce special products related to the ar15, improvements over the standard design, special uppers, etc...

Anyway...I'm crushed...the mystique is gone... but that is the info I got, as best as I can recall...
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 6:45:12 AM EDT
Stunned by the lack of comment...[shock]
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 6:21:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2003 6:22:24 PM EDT by _DR]
I knew Olympic still made theirs, but I didn't know the extent to which the others were farmed out. I have been lusting after the Olympic OA93 for some time now. They make an SBR selective fire version they sell in Europe that is sweet, it has a forward buffer like the ZM so it has a true side folding stock. They have a neutered version for the US market that is still nice. Does anyone know where I can get FN Herstal made uppers for the AR15s I am building?
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 7:05:57 PM EDT
[>:/]
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 7:36:47 PM EDT
I have heard that different manufacturers hold their parts to different quality control standards.
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 8:35:26 PM EDT
I'd heard that CMT makes lowers for a number of companies including Colt. The lower I bought from Wholesale Guns & Ammo is a CMT made lower but because it doesn't have a fancy name on it(marked Century Sporter C15) I picked it up for $89 bucks. Talk at ya' later. TN.Frank
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 9:27:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2003 9:31:31 PM EDT by Da_Bunny]
If they are buying finished parts from the same source, the quality from the source should be fairly consistant. Separating parts of differing quality during production would require 100% inspection of every part and inspectors are not cheap. Costs would skyrocket. Retooling for each different job number would dramatically raise the cost of production and the whole idea of mass production is to lower the cost. The other major producers are the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. That's where the lower priced guys go for their parts. BTW, I also heard that the military was buying parts for the M9 pistol from Taurus in Brazil with some unfortunate results.
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 4:12:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/16/2003 4:16:43 PM EDT by Hoplophile]
Originally Posted By Da_Bunny: If they are buying finished parts from the same source, the quality from the source should be fairly consistant. Separating parts of differing quality during production would require 100% inspection of every part and inspectors are not cheap. Costs would skyrocket. Retooling for each different job number would dramatically raise the cost of production and the whole idea of mass production is to lower the cost.
View Quote
Not true. QC is applied when the parts are being prepared for shipment and they are inspected in accordance with the contract. If Colt says all parts must be within +/1 .00001 of the blueprints they provided then they should only be getting parts wihtin that specification. But if ASA says they'll take parts within +/1 .0001 (note one less zero) of the blueprints then they'll get a much lower price since there'll be a lot fewer rejects, but the difference shows up when you buy the part. An ASA part might be the same quality as a Colt part. Their parts might even usually be the same quality as a Colt. But there'll be several parts out there that Colt would consider unacceptable and you don't want that part. The exact same thing applies to scopes. Just about everybody buys glass from one of a few optic factories in Japan. Leupold pays a lot extra for quality control that ensures they get good glass in their scopes and binoculars. Nikon pays a lot of extra to ensure they get good glass in their scopes, binoculars and camera lenses. Tasco doesn't pay so much. With a Tasco you -might- get glass as good as what you'll find in a Leupold, but you -probably- won't. Edited to add that you're right that it would cost too much to inspect every single part, but if Colt pays them to expect every 10th part and ASA or Century only pays them to inspect every 100th part, who's going to have higher quality parts?
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 4:55:08 PM EDT
Not true on the glass for scopes ,the best glass comes from shott germany [may be spelled wrong] and that is due to the quality of the sand there and the lense coating [they say].The Japs get the sand they use from vietnam 2nd best but very good ,and thier coatings have come along way in the last 10 years .the GERMAN glass is better and more expensive.
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 4:57:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 5:12:59 PM EDT
I can't discuss contracts with you until I see the contracts, but for the most part, the specs listed on the ar15 blueprints circulating the net are fairly generous, by machining standards. Since it's absolutely pointless to hold tolerances any tighter than print, I SERIOUSLY doubt that anybody is working in the X/10,000" range except where absolutely necessary, and then it's absolutely necessary. That means threads, barrels, chambers and holes where called for. BASIC dimensions are their own artform. The bottom line is, the part is in print and will function flawlessly, or it's not. If it is, I'll buy it. If it's not, then it's going back. If it claims to be milspec, it better be...if not, then it's a damn reject. Commercial specs are not so well defined. The real test is in the post-machining processes. Are the parts adequately deburred and prepped prior to finishing? Are the threads clean? Etc, etc... Just about every complaint I have seen on the boards concerns fit and finish (then there is metalurgy), things that are discovered during break-in. Custom built firearms frequently require little or no break-in, but off the shelf stuff usually demands it. Outfits that buy QC rejects and foist them onto the consumers at new prices reminds me of telemarketers preying on the elderly. I have no problem with companies buying QC rejects and selling them to consumers at discounted prices, provided the consumer knows what he or she is getting, but that is not typically the case in the consumer market.
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 5:16:35 PM EDT
Yes, its true. [url=continentalmachinetool.com]Continental Machine Tool[/url] [img]continentalmachinetool.com/images/sections/firearms.gif[/img] Here's [url=secure.valinet.com/~yankeeh/cgi-bin/web_store/web_store.cgi?page=products.html&cart_id=8033830_4555]Yankee Hill[/url]. BTW, they also make the [url=bushmaster.com/shopping/bmas/]BMAS[/url] stuff for Bushmaster. [;)]
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 5:19:25 PM EDT
Glad you guys brought up scopes, since I am in the market for one...
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 6:33:32 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BUSTER51: Not true on the glass for scopes ,the best glass comes from shott germany [may be spelled wrong] and that is due to the quality of the sand there and the lense coating [they say].The Japs get the sand they use from vietnam 2nd best but very good ,and thier coatings have come along way in the last 10 years .the GERMAN glass is better and more expensive.
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I didn't say anything about who has the best glass, I said that most scope makers get their glass from one of a couple Japanese companies. There are some companies who get the good glass from Germany but they are a small portion of the total market. Regardless of where the raw materials come from or where the lenses are actually ground there is still variation in QC. IOR Valdeda may use German glass but they're still not Schmidt & Bender.
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 7:00:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/16/2003 7:03:18 PM EDT by QCMGR]
Originally Posted By Hoplophile:
Originally Posted By Da_Bunny: If they are buying finished parts from the same source, the quality from the source should be fairly consistant. Separating parts of differing quality during production would require 100% inspection of every part and inspectors are not cheap. Costs would skyrocket. Retooling for each different job number would dramatically raise the cost of production and the whole idea of mass production is to lower the cost.
View Quote
Not true. QC is applied when the parts are being prepared for shipment and they are inspected in accordance with the contract.
View Quote
It would be untrue if you wanted to go out of business. You build to your machines capability. If you are contracted to hold X diameter then you make sure you have a process that is in a state of statistical control and meets a minimum capability indices. You will never make money inspecting in quality. If you do not need to build to a tight tolerance you use a less capable machine.
Link Posted: 10/25/2003 7:55:53 AM EDT
After another gunshow at Monroe, I picked up a few more bits of info. I will avoid naming names so as not to get a contract taken out on me. Some of the ar15 makers have gone outside normal supplier channels and use small shops to make parts. Not so much for quality, but because they have burned all the namebrand suppliers and find their options limited. Many of the quality issues are subjective. Some people want to be able to push the takedown pins out with their fingers, others want a tight fit and use a delrin punch to push the pins out.
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