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Posted: 2/11/2006 5:48:11 AM EDT
I have a Colt Sporter big hole lower which I wanted to convert to a reliable and accurate 16" rifle. I read on another post that scratch building a rifle makes it unreliable as compared to a factory built rifle. I don't have much of a choice, as I sold the old 20" A1 barrel a few years ago. I was considering one of the following uppers:

1) The Wilson Combat Urban Tactical w/ Quad Rail Upper

2) The Rock River Arms Entry Tactical upper.

3) The Patriot Ordnance Factory P-416-16-P4X-CF (FA) 16" GAS PISTON UPPER W/PREDATOR P-4X RAIL and a Troy Industries Flip up sight.

4) The Barrett M468 6.8mm upper.

5) The Bushmaster 16 inch pre ban M4 type upper receiver.

Does anyone have any practical advice on which one might be the best from a cost-benefit (benefit as in reliability, accuracy, durability, etc) perspective?

I also needed some advice on any custom shops that could finish the rifle professionally so that it's as near to the reliability of a factory built rifle.

I was thinking of starting all over with a factory Colt or Bushmaster, however my lower is "pre-ban" and therefore allows me to have a collapsible stock, a flash suppressor, bayonet lug, etc. (Connecticut still has a separate assault weapon ban that's still in place). I'd rather try to re-build this lower than start all over.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 9:05:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/11/2006 9:13:40 AM EDT by ar-jedi]

Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I read on another post that scratch building a rifle makes it unreliable as compared to a factory built rifle.


that is utter bullshit.


Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
Does anyone have any practical advice on which one might be the best from a cost-benefit (benefit as in reliability, accuracy, durability, etc) perspective?


read this forum for two months before buying anything and wasting your money.


Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I also needed some advice on any custom shops that could finish the rifle professionally so that it's as near to the reliability of a factory built rifle.


there are at least a half dozen vendors here who supply complete rifles and/or uppers to military and contract shooters for use in "two way range" applications. from a reliability perspective, these weapons are equal to or better than anything you can buy off the shelf. again, your perception of a "built" rifle being inherently less reliable is wayward.


Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I was thinking of starting all over with a factory Colt or Bushmaster, however my lower is "pre-ban" and therefore allows me to have a collapsible stock, a flash suppressor, bayonet lug, etc. I'd rather try to re-build this lower than start all over.


this is a great idea.
see the industry forum, seek out vendors such as MSTN, ADCO, GTS, G&R, BCM. these are the types of folks who know what they are doing, will listen to what your needs are, and will give you sound advice about what kind of features and components should go into your rifle. your lower is a good start; complement it with a good barrel, a free float forearm, a quality upper receiver, and a stock that fits YOU. top it off with an optic thats suited for the kind of shooting you do. don't expect to hit golf balls at 200yds with a $350 red dot, and don't expect a $1500 10x sniper scope to be any good at CQB-type room-to-room shooting.

again, decide what you want the weapon to do, and then start looking for the right folks to recommend compontry for your applications. otherwise, you will just end up pissing money away on the wrong stuff, and having to purshase the right stuff later. finally, there is more than one way to get someplace, so don't get hung up on any one route; certainly, don't copy anything (even mil stuff) 'cause it "looks cool" or "that's what the high speed guys use". if you want to have a replica rifle to hang on the wall, then by all means go for it. but if you want a rifle that you'll actually be able to use for something (like defending your family or competing in 3 gun), you'll want to perhaps do something very different.

in the end you are going to end up with multiple rifles anyway. just don't try to make a one-size-fits-all AR. below is an example: one rifle is suited to engagements at 50-500 yds, and the other is suited to 0-150 yds. the choice of optics, barrel, etc are made with these applications in mind. one is for punching paper (weight not a big concern) and the other is for SHTF (where weight does matter).

summary: don't buy ANYTHING until you read the Rifles, Uppers, Lowers, Barrels, and more forum for at least a month.

ETA:
links to threads that will educate you and give you ideas...
ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=2&f=134
ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=2&f=130
ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=2&f=119
ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=2&f=140
ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=2&f=138

ar-jedi


Link Posted: 2/11/2006 10:53:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ar-jedi:

Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I read on another post that scratch building a rifle makes it unreliable as compared to a factory built rifle.


that is utter bullshit.




I totally agree. Building an AR-15 is easier than changing a distibutior and setting the timing an a Ford 302. Well close to being that easy.


I would never NEVER buy a wilson combat AR-15. You are going to pay a premium for what? Their name? I can select quality components and build an gun equal to quality and accuracy. Plus have it finished in any damn coating for way less.

RRA has a good rep and nice finish.

As for the 6.8 Barrett , I would rather a tricked 7.62x51 AR-10. Surplus ammo is still relatively cheap and its interchangable with other common battle rifles - like my Fals, M1As, HK91, et cetera.

That being said, I have a dedicated CQC m4 and a scoped AR-10T for LD Precision.

Link Posted: 2/11/2006 12:00:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DiabloRT:
I would never NEVER buy a wilson combat AR-15. You are going to pay a premium for what? Their name? I can select quality components and build an gun equal to quality and accuracy. Plus have it finished in any damn coating for way less.



ditto.

read through this entire thread:
ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=267169

ar-jedi

Link Posted: 2/11/2006 3:57:15 PM EDT
I read the comments about the built rifles on the lightfighter.net forum. Someone made the comment that 90% of the built rifles malfunction during 5 day rifles courses where up to 5,000 rounds are being fired. Here is the link to the thread:

http://lightfighter.net/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/7206084761/m/8601034811

I had my reservations about ammo availability in the future for the 6.8mm, not to mention the fact that an upper is $1590.

I was wondering if anyone tried the Patriot Ordnance P-415 gas piston upper. It looks pretty similar to the HK-416, and it supposed have less recoil and less fouling of the chamer.

I may end up going with an upper from RRA, Bushmaster, or Colt, as they are all quality manufacturers. Although I have been using the AR-15/M-16 for over 20 years, I'm not an armorer. If just dropping an upper on a lower is just as good as having a custom shop build a rifle then I'll just save my money.

Link Posted: 2/11/2006 4:40:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I was wondering if anyone tried the Patriot Ordnance P-415 gas piston upper. It looks pretty similar to the HK-416, and it supposed have less recoil and less fouling of the chamer.



I would highly recommend the POF P-415 upper. I have one and absolutely love it. It does have less recoil, throw an Enidine buffer in and it's got .22 mag recoil/muzzle climb.

TS
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 4:58:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I read the comments about the built rifles on the lightfighter.net forum. Someone made the comment that 90% of the built rifles malfunction during 5 day rifles courses where up to 5,000 rounds are being fired. Here is the link to the thread:

http://lightfighter.net/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/7206084761/m/8601034811

I had my reservations about ammo availability in the future for the 6.8mm, not to mention the fact that an upper is $1590.

I was wondering if anyone tried the Patriot Ordnance P-415 gas piston upper. It looks pretty similar to the HK-416, and it supposed have less recoil and less fouling of the chamer.

I may end up going with an upper from RRA, Bushmaster, or Colt, as they are all quality manufacturers. Although I have been using the AR-15/M-16 for over 20 years, I'm not an armorer. If just dropping an upper on a lower is just as good as having a custom shop build a rifle then I'll just save my money.




1st point: where, in the two posts that you have made to this thread, have you stated what the purpose of this weapon is? what is the application you are trying to solve?

2nd point: you speak of wanting reliability and simplicity, comment on the cost of one particular upper, and then ask about a recently released newfangled gas piston upper which has no track record whatsoever. you point to a thread that advocates absolute simplicity in your weapon, and then ask about an upper with 5 times the moving parts of a std AR upper. there are at least 300,000 troops 7000 miles away from here using M16's, M4's, and variety of derivatives without gas piston uppers.

in summary,

see the industry forum, seek out vendors such as MSTN, ADCO, GTS, G&R, BCM. these are the types of folks who know what they are doing, will listen to what your needs are, and will give you sound advice about what kind of features and components should go into your rifle.



again, decide what you want the weapon to do, and then start looking for the right folks to recommend componentry for your applications. otherwise, you will just end up pissing money away on the wrong stuff, and having to purchase the right stuff later.


don't buy ANYTHING until you read the Rifles, Uppers, Lowers, Barrels, and more forum for at least a month.


the rifles in the picture i posted are useful references.

one (the black one) is a complete Bushmaster setup (stock lower with stock FCG/trigger, stock upper, and stock "patrolman's carbine' 4150 chrome lined barrel), with front and rear BUIS, and an Aimpoint M2 CQB optic (M68 equiv). this setup is no different than what most Blackwater contractors are carrying around in the desert, and not wholly different from what most US soldiers are carrying around. it is a KISS rifle -- i've got ~3.5K rounds of Q3131A/XM193 through it and it runs absolutely perfectly. there is no "go-fast" shit hanging off of it or inside it. i have no doubts that it will go bang when i need it to. it's purpose is SHTF-style defensive engagements. if this is what you are looking for, shown is one way how to get there.

the other (the tan one) is a purpose built RECCE rifle, intended to hit things at greater distances. it has a heavier stainless steel match barrel, a free float forearm, a bipod, and a match trigger. is it any less reliable than my SHTF rifle? i don't know, so far it's release a pile of Q3131A, XM193, 69gr, 75gr, and 77gr rounds without issue. the upper was built by a respected gunsmith, and i did not expect any mickey-mouse results. i can hit golf balls at 200yds with this weapon. but the choice of optics restricts use to out past 50 yards or so; you can't go room clearing with this rifle nor would the weight be all that attractive for a long day at ready low. but if this is what you are looking for, shown is one way how to get there.

again: define what you want to do with the rifle, and that will guide helping folks on the best way to get you there. you are putting the cart before the horse: "what do you think about this upper?". this is the wrong approach, determining a solution before stating the problem.

regards,
ar-jedi



Link Posted: 2/11/2006 5:49:01 PM EDT
One option is to watch the EE for a Colt Large hole 16"upper assenbly. This would be a good compliment to your prized lower. A Colt large pin upper without barrel assembly is also a good route. I have a green lable rifle, large pin, and it is of the highest quality and will be with me for the duration.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 7:56:19 PM EDT
Purpose: 50% law enforcement patrol rifle, 50% recreational target rifle.

Yes, I do mention a variety of rifles in my previous post. This is my one chance to build a rifle that I'll have for the rest of my life. I don't have the funds to build 3-5 rifles for fun, so I want what offers the best from a cost to benefit perspective. I would be willing to pay $300 extra for a Patriot Ordnance upper if it would offer significantly reduced recoil and chamber fouling. I'm not talking about strapping on laser sights, a surefire light, an ACOG scope, etc, I just want the best rifle from what's available from a variety of manufacturers. I have spent considerable time as both a LE officer and in the military. I'm not some airsofter looking to build a cool looking AR.

Sure the troops in Iraq are issued vanilla M4s. I also remember Rumsfeld stating "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want." My previous department issued us the cheapest S&W .45's they could purchase. When I asked a firearms instructor why we didn't consider SIGs or H&Ks he replied: "Most patrolmen can't shoot for shit anyways and wouldn't appreciate a good firearm....it's like the difference between a Chevy or a BMW, they both drive."

If in your professional opinion you think I should just buy another Colt upper and leave it at that, then I'll take that into consideration. I just wanted some feedback on the other options before I make a final decision.

In regards to Wilson Combat being not worthwhile: I have one of their 870s which I feel was well worth the money
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 8:37:58 PM EDT
In regards to the Frankenstein rifles: It wasn't my wayward opinion, it was what someone else had posted on the lightfighter.net forum. Here's specifically what they posted:

"Buy a quality rifle / carbine and don't try to build one. In the classes that I have been to approximately 90%+ of the "built" guns have gone tit's up. Last year in a carbine course, the instructor took a poll. Of over 20 students, 12 or so had "built" rifles (all AR-15's) and of those 12 100% of them went tits up during the class. The rest of the guys had factory built guns and none of the factory built guns went tits up. That is not to say that I haven't seen a factory gun go tit's up, it just happens a lot less than with a gun that is built from parts from different manufacturers. Stick with the "Tier 1 manufacturers" ie. Colt, Bushmaster, and Rock River Arms as a general rule.....and make sure the gun has a chrome lined barrel."
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 9:01:11 PM EDT
The reason the owner built rifles had more problems is most likely due to the owners not following the K.I.S.S. principle or using cheap parts.

Don't get a piston upper. Too new, not proven, and the jury is still out on whether they provide any advantages over a std. DI upper. If you are planning on shooting a lot with a sound supressor attached, then they may be worth looking into, otherwise not worth the hassle IMHO.

If I didn't know anything about ar-15's and I didn't have the patience to do a couples weeks worth of reading and research, I would just get an upper from here: www.bravocompanyusa.com/BarreledUppers.html

If you are willing to spend up to $1000 or more on an upper, have MSTN build you a custom one with all the bells and whistles you want.

Whatever you do, don't be an idiot and buy a upper with a fixed carry handle. You may not regret that choice now, but trust me, you will in the future.

You will also will need to hunt down a conversion pin to attach a small hole upper to your large hole lower.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 9:09:17 PM EDT
the reliability issue has been brought up before here.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 10:29:28 PM EDT
It's difficult when there are so many opinions: one person says stay away from gas-piston uppers, another says they are great.... One person says Wilson Combat is a waste of money, another has nothing but praise.

I'll have to live with my choice for life....especially if Hillary wins the next election.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 10:34:48 PM EDT
a lot of the hype is what people like and their personal preferrences.

i myself like bushmaster and will reccommend it to anyone that ask, but have used others and the difference is slight and most of the time not noticed unless pointed out. pick which ever tends to your needs and go with it.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 10:39:26 PM EDT
I'll consider MSTN.

I would appreciate it if anyone could refer me to anyone else who does custom work.

I might consider having someone custom build a rifle rather than just dropping a factory upper on my lower.
Link Posted: 2/11/2006 10:52:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I read the comments about the built rifles on the lightfighter.net forum. Someone made the comment that 90% of the built rifles malfunction during 5 day rifles courses where up to 5,000 rounds are being fired. Here is the link to the thread:

http://lightfighter.net/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/7206084761/m/8601034811

I had my reservations about ammo availability in the future for the 6.8mm, not to mention the fact that an upper is $1590.

I was wondering if anyone tried the Patriot Ordnance P-415 gas piston upper. It looks pretty similar to the HK-416, and it supposed have less recoil and less fouling of the chamer.

I may end up going with an upper from RRA, Bushmaster, or Colt, as they are all quality manufacturers. Although I have been using the AR-15/M-16 for over 20 years, I'm not an armorer. If just dropping an upper on a lower is just as good as having a custom shop build a rifle then I'll just save my money.




There may be some truth to that IF the new builds were not tested before going to the class. My precision upper ran like a Swiss watch for about 40 rounds, then was getting ejection failures. Had I decided to use that build for a long range class and only ran 1 mag through it to test it, I would have ended up with failures at the class.

That said, most builds should run like a watch right from the get go. A handful may need some tweaking at some point, which is why you test a new build before giving it the mark of approval and taking it to a training class.
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 2:41:59 PM EDT
Frankly, I don't know how you fuck up an AR build.


1. Use proven componets and/or quality components...not chinese crap
2. Look for burrs - bolt carrier, bolt, FP, FP hole, Upper, FCG, et cetera
3. Take you time and avoid distractions while building it.
4. Function check the lower.
5. Use a good extractor and spring set with o-ring
6. Do a good job on your gas ring install or try a McFarland ring
7. Check the head space.
8. Cycle it with dummy rounds / function check
9. Test fire and log results.

I doubt you will have any problems.

ARs are easy....probably one of the easiest builds out there.

I have had the experience of doing AMD-65s, Fals, 1919s, 1911s.

I must say and AR is like working on a car...everything has its place, the stuff just bolts together.
Its simple. Pay attentions to detail and check the specs and your done.

Link Posted: 2/12/2006 4:29:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DiabloRT:
Frankly, I don't know how you fuck up an AR build.
I doubt you will have any problems.
ARs are easy....probably one of the easiest builds out there.



he read something on the internet and now is convinced that is the word of the gospel.

ar-jedi

Link Posted: 2/12/2006 4:33:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CDBURNS:
I would appreciate it if anyone could refer me to anyone else who does custom work.
I might consider having someone custom build a rifle rather than just dropping a factory upper on my lower.


i listed (and provided links to) 5 reputable vendors in my first reply to your original post. any of them can build you an upper that will run 100% from an accuracy, precsion, and reliability standpoint. TELL THEM WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACHIEVE, and ASK QUESTIONS -- don't just call up with a list of "put X on, do Y to it".

ar-jedi
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 9:47:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CDBURNS:

1) The Wilson Combat Urban Tactical w/ Quad Rail Upper What a joke, the thought gives me mud-butt. You pay for "Wilson" name, and crappy to generic grade parts.

2) The Rock River Arms Entry Tactical upper.Super.

3) The Patriot Ordnance Factory P-416-16-P4X-CF (FA) 16" GAS PISTON UPPER W/PREDATOR P-4X RAIL and a Troy Industries Flip up sight.Would love to try one.

4) The Barrett M468 6.8mm upper.[Where the hell you going to find ammo? If you find out, let us know, please.

5) The Bushmaster 16 inch pre ban M4 type upper receiver.Old standby, though there have been many reports here lately of BM quality slipping.





ar-jedi said it very well. Take heed of his post.
Link Posted: 2/13/2006 2:08:37 PM EDT
Great info for you above. If you are a LEO just tell whatever vendor above you choose that fact and they will set you up with the best.

The new Colt piston AR may be just up your alley if money is no problem. From what I've read, it will only be available to LEO's etc. I would consider that is doesn't have a track record for reliability yet, but I'm sure Colt did plenty of testing on it.

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