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Posted: 9/1/2010 12:33:47 PM EDT
I thought that the modularity of the AR platform was one of the selling points. Now I see guys here and the media (SWAT magazine) pooh-poohing Franken-guns.

If you use new and/or quality parts, what's the big deal?

For example, for my IDF mutt, I used the following:

Colt A1 upper
NoDak lower (new)
Bushmaster barrel (new) (I needed a superlight and I bought it before DD came out with theirs but for 55gr ammo the Bushy works fine)
DPMS internals (new) (have used RRA in the past but not on this build)
BCM bolt (new)

What is the big deal about this set-up?

Feel free to flame away.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:42:35 PM EDT
Who knows? I'm with you on this one.

I don't own a single factory built AR. I prefer to build the gun exactly how I see fit.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:45:15 PM EDT
I run a Frankenstick and would be happy to put it up against any factory stick of the same specs.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:47:38 PM EDT
no flame here, i never did understand that. same parts, as long as your at least half an idiot, there should be no problem. i've seen some real idiots fuck up a factory build just the same.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:48:02 PM EDT
Not a thing wrong with parts guns since practically all of them are anyway. I believe there is not a single manufacturer that makes every single part in their AR. There is a lot to be said for factory 'fitting', such as Colt's, but most makers throw them together just like I do. So what you're really looking at is gun forum 'elitism' where some owners try to justify expensive 'name brands' by dumping on home-builds. The only disadvantage to parts guns is you generally cannot break even on them. People obviously and rightly are distrustful of home-builds because many 'builders' don't know their butts from holes in the ground. I've seen some ugly parts guns, but some pretty ones too, like 99% of the pictures you'll see on this forum of tricked-out ARs - they sure didn't come that way.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:49:47 PM EDT
I'm with you, I only have 1 AR that was purchased as a whole factory gun (M&P15T). I've assembled at least 5 others for myself and if quality parts were used they've all run like the factory gun, in some cases even better.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:55:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Willmar:
I thought that the modularity of the AR platform was one of the selling points. Now I see guys here and the media (SWAT magazine) pooh-poohing Franken-guns.

If you use new and/or quality parts, what's the big deal?


The bad rep comes from 2nd-hand sales of franken-guns. You don't know what you're getting, and J. Bubba Gunplumber probably didn't pay for quality parts.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 12:57:24 PM EDT
To paraphrase someone here on the AR15.com, " I'd rather have a good running frankengun than a broken Colt anyday"
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:22:18 PM EDT
It's all about selling for for the media and they are selling complete rifles. If the media's paying advertisers were selling frankenguns then they would be bad mouthing complete setups.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:23:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 1:24:19 PM EDT by shadowcop]
They are all parts guns in one fashion or another.
Colt is probably the closest you will come to being completely made by Colt.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:30:10 PM EDT
Parts guns are just fine... If they used quality parts. I would always ask who the parts kit was from, who the BCG was from, etc. Thankfully I have BCM stuff and it's all laser engraved so people know they're looking at a quality rifle if I need to end up selling it.

The problem people have with parts guns is when Bubba-Joe "Gunsmith" tries to sell his AR-15 that he built for $500 and claims its "just as good as a Colt" (or other top name brand). I'm all for building stuff on a budget but if you skimp on quality, it's not a deal to me.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:30:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Circuits:
Originally Posted By Willmar:
I thought that the modularity of the AR platform was one of the selling points. Now I see guys here and the media (SWAT magazine) pooh-poohing Franken-guns.

If you use new and/or quality parts, what's the big deal?


The bad rep comes from 2nd-hand sales of franken-guns. You don't know what you're getting, and J. Bubba Gunplumber probably didn't pay for quality parts.


That is a big one. The other is the parts is parts type of people who will buy compelte junk and then bitch when they have problems. I want to say someone was talking about a Pat Rodgers class(might have been him) where someone was bragging about their dirt cheap ar parts gun that pretty much grenaded itself with its shitty bolt of bcg. Something broke in a big way early on. Don't remember the details.

You also can have an issue with tollerances not lining up. All of the parts might be "in-spec" but on differents ends leading to problems.

All of that being said quality parts assembled correctly should pretty much be identical in function to a quality factory gun.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:31:16 PM EDT
What's the difference from buying a RRA/Colt/whatever and the putting a 2 stage trigger, FF foremarm, better stock, scope, new grip, new flash hider, covers, bipod, flashlight, trigger guard, etc VS buying the peices individually? Oh, price. Its cheaper to build your own frankengun than buy a ________ and upgrade it (unless you happen to like whatever it is just the way it is)
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:32:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 1:35:15 PM EDT by jcrowl]
This is one of favorite rifles and it's a parts gun
Larue Stealth billet upper, Noveske 16.1" recon barrel, Larue 11" rails, BCM BCG and BCM GF CH
LMT lower, ACS stock, Geissele SSA trigger. Assembled by ADCO. All depends on the parts you use.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:37:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By woode:
What's the difference from buying a RRA/Colt/whatever and the putting a 2 stage trigger, FF foremarm, better stock, scope, new grip, new flash hider, covers, bipod, flashlight, trigger guard, etc VS buying the peices individually? Oh, price. Its cheaper to build your own frankengun than buy a ________ and upgrade it (unless you happen to like whatever it is just the way it is)

Also the quality of all of the other parts... The receivers, the hammer, the bolt carrier group, the barrel, etc.

You get what you pay for. If you buy cheap and then add the accessories you want, it may be good enough for you but it won't be as good as a Colt or other top tier manufacturer's gun with the same accessories added.

That's why I always buy quality gear from Spike's, BCM, or LaRue.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:42:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 1:43:59 PM EDT by bjkb1f]
Originally Posted By DansFlash:
It's all about selling for for the media and they are selling complete rifles. If the media's paying advertisers were selling frankenguns then they would be bad mouthing complete setups.


This. The manufacturers of complete rifles pay to advertise in the magazines, on TV shows, etc. If Frankengun builders paid them for ad space, next thing you know, Frankenguns would be the next big thing, according to the media. It's all about the Benjamins.

Link Posted: 9/1/2010 1:56:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 2:01:50 PM EDT by Willmar]
Originally Posted By Krylancelo:

Originally Posted By woode:
What's the difference from buying a RRA/Colt/whatever and the putting a 2 stage trigger, FF foremarm, better stock, scope, new grip, new flash hider, covers, bipod, flashlight, trigger guard, etc VS buying the peices individually? Oh, price. Its cheaper to build your own frankengun than buy a ________ and upgrade it (unless you happen to like whatever it is just the way it is)

Also the quality of all of the other parts... The receivers, the hammer, the bolt carrier group, the barrel, etc.

You get what you pay for. If you buy cheap and then add the accessories you want, it may be good enough for you but it won't be as good as a Colt or other top tier manufacturer's gun with the same accessories added.

That's why I always buy quality gear from Spike's, BCM, or LaRue.



That was pretty much my point, if you build a Franken gun to YOUR spec from vendors like Spikes, BCM or LaRue, how is it less of a gun than one straight off the Colt production line? I have a feeling you would have probably taken much more care in assembling it that some hourly guy in the Colt production line.

eta: To clarify, I'm not talking about accessories here. I'm talking base rifle.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:04:12 PM EDT
It can be less of a gun in the sence that config hasn't been fully tested. It can lead to a higher failure rate or issues. Generally using quality parts though it should work fine minus some tweaking to get it to run in the beginning in some cases. Example would be needing to say play with the gas port size on a 10.5 inch gun. Generally speaking through you should be good as long as all of the parts are in spec and you use the right tools doing a proper assembly.

Same reason why a lot of people will cut down a front sight instead of putting on a replacement low profile gas block. They would rather not mess with the gas system that is setup correctly already.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:12:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jcrowl:
This is one of favorite rifles and it's a parts gun
Larue Stealth billet upper, Noveske 16.1" recon barrel, Larue 11" rails, BCM BCG and BCM GF CH
LMT lower, ACS stock, Geissele SSA trigger. Assembled by ADCO. All depends on the parts you use.
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b328/jcrowl/100_0139.jpg
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b328/jcrowl/100_0144.jpg


I guess it just depends on the parts.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:14:17 PM EDT
They wouldn't like my parts gun, then: Colt M16a1 lower, with Colt Socom upper with HB, DD Omega rail, various added Magpul parts, MGI buffer, Larue mounts, Troy rear BUIS, Aimpoint and 3x magnifier. Everything is pretty much not original now. I hazard to say most military M16s are Franken-guns by now, too.
.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:29:44 PM EDT
FWIW, yeah, I could have used Tier One parts on it. Would it have looked like a 80's-90's era IDF carbine (which is what I was going for)? No. But then again, it wasn't built out of the grab bag parts bin at the Fun Show either.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:33:16 PM EDT
A "parts gun" is exactly its description a gun made from "parts" of other manufactures, nothing wrong with it as long as everything is in spec and works as expected.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:43:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jixxerbeast:
A "parts gun" is exactly its description a gun made from "parts" of other manufactures, nothing wrong with it as long as everything is in spec and works as expected.

While I can't fathom why I would ever buy a fully assembled AR15 from just about ANY manufacturer, I can understand why people would discount a privately assembled parts gun.

If there's no company out there standing behind the full product and you don't know how to identify good vs. bad when you're buying the rifle... in that case, I'd rather have a manufacturer's full product that they'll stand behind.

In the case on an AR15, I know enough to know what I'm getting (and assemble my own from parts in either case).
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:43:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jixxerbeast:
A "parts gun" is exactly its description a gun made from "parts" of other manufactures, nothing wrong with it as long as everything is in spec and works as expected.


^^^THIS^^^

Olympic is the only AR manufacturer that produces every component in house and I am not too sure they make their furniture there.
Even the high and mighty Colt and their rival FN-USA subcontract small parts from other sources.
Almost all AR15/M16 rifles are "Parts Guns".
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:48:22 PM EDT
My two M-1's from the WW2 and Korean era are parts guns, having been arsenal rebuilt at least once in their careers. My AR's are parts guns, too.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:49:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Milo5:
Originally Posted By jixxerbeast:
A "parts gun" is exactly its description a gun made from "parts" of other manufactures, nothing wrong with it as long as everything is in spec and works as expected.


^^^THIS^^^

Olympic is the only AR manufacturer that produces every component in house and I am not too sure they make their furniture there.
Even the high and mighty Colt and their rival FN-USA subcontract small parts from other sources.
Almost all AR15/M16 rifles are "Parts Guns".


Does Olympic make the springs as well? I just don't see them making everything. Too many small machine shops out their making misc small parts.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:53:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2010 2:55:20 PM EDT by Milo5]
Originally Posted By ccosby:
Originally Posted By Milo5:
Originally Posted By jixxerbeast:
A "parts gun" is exactly its description a gun made from "parts" of other manufactures, nothing wrong with it as long as everything is in spec and works as expected.


^^^THIS^^^

Olympic is the only AR manufacturer that produces every component in house and I am not too sure they make their furniture there.
Even the high and mighty Colt and their rival FN-USA subcontract small parts from other sources.
Almost all AR15/M16 rifles are "Parts Guns".


Does Olympic make the springs as well? I just don't see them making everything. Too many small machine shops out their making misc small parts.


They have made the claim that they do and they are indeed capable of doing so.
I know that they do outsource produce some items for other manufacturers and some big name gunsmiths.
Fairly large full production machine shop in their own right.
Of course this is also why some complete screw ups sometimes come out of there.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:56:13 PM EDT
I dislike parts guns for the same reason I dislike custom cars. If I go to buy an impala SS I would much prefer to have a Impala SS made by Chevrolet instead of someone taking an Impala and putting SS badges on it and dropping in their own engine and transmission that they feel is better or more advantageous than the stock ones. Or even worse dropping SS badges on a 6 cylinder 3 on the tree Nova and trying to claim it's an original Nova SS.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 2:57:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jerz_subbie:
Who knows? I'm with you on this one.

I don't own a single factory built AR. I prefer to build the gun exactly how I see fit.


Same...none of mine are factory....all "CUSTOM performance rifles"
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 3:01:35 PM EDT
I don't see a problem with it if you built it. I would rather buy a factory built gun from someone then buying a frankin gun, cause you never know what they used. I don't usually buy used though, so that isn't a problem for me. That would be the only down side to it that I could see.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 3:39:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By vengarr:
I dislike parts guns for the same reason I dislike custom cars. If I go to buy an impala SS I would much prefer to have a Impala SS made by Chevrolet instead of someone taking an Impala and putting SS badges on it and dropping in their own engine and transmission that they feel is better or more advantageous than the stock ones. Or even worse dropping SS badges on a 6 cylinder 3 on the tree Nova and trying to claim it's an original Nova SS.


So, by this reasoning, the only AR you would EVER buy would be a complete, off-the-shelf AR and never tweak it at all? Seems rather limiting.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 4:37:50 PM EDT
I like "parts guns" because I enjoy assembling a rifle to my EXACT specifications. There is no off the shelf rifle that is exactly what I want. Plus I feel like I can build a better rifle by combining parts from specific manufacturers who excel at making certain parts. Plus you don't have to spend money all at once.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 4:54:00 PM EDT
^ Absolutely! ^
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 4:54:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By shadowcop:
They are all parts guns in one fashion or another.
Colt is probably the closest you will come to being completely made by Colt.


or an OBR.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 4:58:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RussellAthletic:
I like "parts guns" because I enjoy assembling a rifle to my EXACT specifications. There is no off the shelf rifle that is exactly what I want. Plus I feel like I can build a better rifle by combining parts from specific manufacturers who excel at making certain parts. Plus you don't have to spend money all at once.


Thank you. I could not have said it better myself.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:47:02 PM EDT
I've had more problems with a couple factory teir 1 rifles than builds. Albeit minor and easily fixed problems though.

That said I'm sure the stigma of "parts guns" being lesser quality is generated from some of the problematic home builds that have been slapped together from low quality or out of spec parts. Or have been assembleled by someone that doesn't posses the knowledge to properly assemble a rifle. Then there are posts made asking why there rifle doesn't work. It makes people think all home builds are suspect. Nothing could further from the truth of course.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:51:42 PM EDT
Some peoples' concept of what a parts gun is includes rifles that are assembled from parts even if they are from the same manufacturer. A prime example would be my A4 clone. I assembled it from all ArmaLite parts, but it's still considered a parts gun.

That being said, both of my builds have been absolutely flawless with both brass and steel ammo. No issues whatsoever yet. The first build being the aforementioned A4, and the second being the rifle in my avatar (complete Colt upper, NoDak lower, DPMS lower parts kit).
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 5:59:19 PM EDT
If you use Quality then its =
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:36:00 PM EDT
I like my Parts guns for the same reason I like Modding my 1911s to use superior quality parts to make it conform to My desires, not just Colt's or Kimber's

My next AR will be a Total parts gun built by me (minus final machining and anodizing the receivers) I will buy the best parts and build a Rifle to my exact wants, with Noveske, Troy, Geissele, Magpul, Daniel Defense, LaRue, and BCM parts.
And then I will custom craft hand loads to get the BEST load for that gun. so when It runs smooth and fires true, I will have a higher level of satisfaction than just buying a gun off the shelf and a box of ammo.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 6:39:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jerz_subbie:
Who knows? I'm with you on this one.

I don't own a single factory built AR. I prefer to build the gun exactly how I see fit.



I'm with jerz on this one. I do not have an AR built as a unit. All the parts I use are from quality vendors and built up to what I like.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:26:20 PM EDT
I'll say for certain that I will take a parts gun, that I assembled myself over any gun out of a box. If you're using quality components, proper assembly, and good ammunition, you're carbine/rifle will be as good, if not better than a box gun.

It all comes down to what you're willing to spend.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 7:41:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EHilderbrand:
I'll say for certain that I will take a parts gun, that I assembled myself over any gun out of a box. If you're using quality components, proper assembly, and good ammunition, you're carbine/rifle will be as good, if not better than a box gun.

It all comes down to what you're willing to spend.


And a high quality Parts gun will almost certainly cost more than its factory representative,esp if you are shipping parts from several vendors.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 9:07:35 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Willmar:
I thought that the modularity of the AR platform was one of the selling points. Now I see guys here and the media (SWAT magazine) pooh-poohing Franken-guns.

If you use new and/or quality parts, what's the big deal?

For example, for my IDF mutt, I used the following:

Colt A1 upper
NoDak lower (new)
Bushmaster barrel (new) (I needed a superlight and I bought it before DD came out with theirs but for 55gr ammo the Bushy works fine)
DPMS internals (new) (have used RRA in the past but not on this build)
BCM bolt (new)

What is the big deal about this set-up?

Feel free to flame away.


DPMS internals (new)

That's my only problem with it.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 9:23:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Willmar:
I thought that the modularity of the AR platform was one of the selling points. Now I see guys here and the media (SWAT magazine) pooh-poohing Franken-guns.

If you use new and/or quality parts, what's the big deal?

For example, for my IDF mutt, I used the following:

Colt A1 upper
NoDak lower (new)
Bushmaster barrel (new) (I needed a superlight and I bought it before DD came out with theirs but for 55gr ammo the Bushy works fine)
DPMS internals (new) (have used RRA in the past but not on this build)
BCM bolt (new)

What is the big deal about this set-up?

Feel free to flame away.


because SWAT magazine gets ads from gun companies, not part companies. Most "factory guns" are part guns anyway. A lot of the parts are outsourced.
Your gun is good to go.
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 9:32:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By vengarr:
I dislike parts guns for the same reason I dislike custom cars. If I go to buy an impala SS I would much prefer to have a Impala SS made by Chevrolet instead of someone taking an Impala and putting SS badges on it and dropping in their own engine and transmission that they feel is better or more advantageous than the stock ones. Or even worse dropping SS badges on a 6 cylinder 3 on the tree Nova and trying to claim it's an original Nova SS.


i could definitely understand that... which is why i dont buy anything used(gun wise).
Link Posted: 9/1/2010 10:05:05 PM EDT
For the most part, my franken guns are built with the same manufacturers parts. My RRA uses pretty much all RRA parts except a MPI BCG. My Stag uses Stag parts with the exception of a DPMS LPK, but the FCG is now JP. The Stag is a CMT carrier with a Colt Bolt.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 12:01:39 AM EDT
Mk12 Mod 0 and Mod 1 are parts guns and developed that way from the start of the program at Crane. Colt, PRI, Douglas, Arms, KAC, LMT, all in one gun. And you can't say a Mk12 sucks.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 12:32:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2010 12:33:09 AM EDT by JBlitzen]
Parts guns don't go through a factory QC process, and they lack the factory ability to easily mix and match identical parts to attain better fit or function between unit tolerances.

The warranty issue is also trickier.

Some parts gun makers know what they're doing and can tell when a part is off too much and has to be swapped out. Many don't. This thread seems to mostly have people who do, but that's not really statistically significant.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 3:46:10 AM EDT
At a class in MO several years ago a student launched into a rant about how he *built* his AR for $400, and how it was *just as good as* any factory gun.
He further stated that he *built* this gun with parts purchased at gun shows and garage sales.

During the BZO on T1 his gun had multiple extraction problems.

We looked at the gun and the extractor was well worn but newly park'd, the extractor spring was flat and the blue insert was crumbs...
We replaced the crappy parts out of our stock.

On T2 his bolt broke in half.

I would not replace that, considering his attitude.
Normally i would let a student use a BCM BCG for the class, but as he was so forceful that we were all stupid for spending so much money when his was *just as good*, i figured it was lesson learning time.
We eventually NFE'd him.

We used to see bad facory guns when people brought hobby guns to class, but we generally only see a narrow band of good guns now.

If you use good parts (and i doubt that many understand the difference between good and *just as good as*) and have training in assembly, then the potential exists that you will have a good result.

But our experience with frankenguns has not been very positive.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 4:18:41 AM EDT
IMO I do not want to buy a home assy upper unless they are a reputable gunsmith .the lower is not a big deal as well as addons.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 5:05:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2010 5:06:35 AM EDT by j_king]
Originally Posted By Pat_Rogers:
...snip...

The nerve of some people never ceases to amaze me. Who would come to a professional course full of people who know what they're talking about spouting off about things they obviously don't?

Please tell me you all pointed and laughed...literally, pointed at him and laughed in his face.
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