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Posted: 12/2/2002 2:48:32 PM EDT
I want to start out by saying that I don't mean to give anyone a hard time (especially if they've been frustrated after building an AR that wouldn't work. They've had enough grief already).

But I can't tell you how many posts I've read about AR's that won't work, all caused by just one thing--junk parts. Junk is a strong word, but what else do you call parts that won't work.

Guys (and ladies) if you want to build an AR, the wrong place to save a couple of bucks is on your lower parts kit. All the parts in the lower are critical. After you build a few you can figure out where you can save a dollar or two, but do yourself a favor--don't do it on your first one.

If you want to have a good experience--and a reliable AR--buy a quality lower parts kit from a reliable manufacturer, not a "low price" kit from XYZ company. How much can you save with brand X "who-knows-where-they-came-from" parts anyway?

I'm sure the AR masters, and some of the newbies too, will agree.



Link Posted: 12/2/2002 3:37:55 PM EDT
Keep in mind you get what you pay for.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 2:40:45 AM EDT
You pay for Quality once, but Cheap gets bought over and over again.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 6:20:03 AM EDT
OK i agree with you on the quality issue... but please tell a newbie like me where i SHOULD buy my parts kit from?
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 6:44:34 AM EDT
I've had really good luck with the DPMS lower parts kit, and they are some of the cheaper priced 'name brand' kits I have found. Maybe someone else can give more insight, but these are working for me....
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 7:31:33 AM EDT
The majority of the "brandname" parts kits are subcontracted from DPMS. I have also had luck with an FN kit.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 7:36:05 AM EDT
what about m&a lower parts kits? they any good? i have been mostly looking at their stuff and i'm thinking about getting a kit from them.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 11:35:34 AM EDT
Take a look at J&T Distributing in the industry section, or any of the others in the industry section. Learn from others, those forums also give you an overall idea of how happy people are with the product and service. Next kit weapon for me is J&T, not even a question for me.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 2:24:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2002 2:26:24 PM EDT by imcoltsguy]
Not an exclusive list by any means (and I have no relationship with any of these) is Bushmaster, DPMS, Rock River. All sell complete rifles as well as parts. I've never dealt with J&T but I've heard several say they like their kits. I have dealt with Gunsmoke on several occasions and have always gotten good parts from them (except for handguards, which I thought were kind of flimsy). If you're new to AR's, like someone else above said, read the Build board, and the Gunsmithing board, for awhile and you will figure out who to stay away from. And to more or less paraphrase a previous post, you aren't likely to get anything you don't pay for.
Link Posted: 12/4/2002 1:07:32 AM EDT
I am happy with my J&T lower parts kit installed in a DPMS forged lower. Having said this, this is the first AR15 I built so I have not compared this particular parts kit with other manufacturers. Chris
Link Posted: 12/5/2002 9:53:25 PM EDT
I buy barrels from Oly, I LIKE their stainless barrels. I buy all internal parts from DPMS. Lately I have also purchased a few parts from Armalite, and J&T. J&T kits, and all the parts in their lower kit, are as good as can be found anywhere. DPMS, J&T, and Armalite all ship promptly. I like DPMS as a "one stop shopping center"... nearly anything you could want is there. I just wish DPMS and J&T had O.D. furniture. Armalite does. You may save a few cents elsewhere, but cheap is expensive in the long run. Value is quality at a reasonable price. FYI, my J&T upper fit perfectly on my two Oly and one DPMS. Have not tried it on my Armalite lower.
Link Posted: 12/7/2002 6:00:30 AM EDT
What companies should you stay away from? Thanks
Link Posted: 12/8/2002 1:39:44 PM EDT
I buy from Quality parts/Bushmaster And i keep a complete spare parts on hand (never needed them). You get what you pay for.
Link Posted: 12/8/2002 3:19:19 PM EDT
I have DPMS catalog, but all their prices seem quite high, like their removable front sight for instance, 49.95 VS Rock River at 35.00. Do you guys get a discount from DPMS? Rancid Lance
Link Posted: 12/8/2002 8:18:28 PM EDT
When you shop around and buy this little part from X, and that part from Y, you end up paying for a lot of extra shipping. I find that overall, DPMS is quite competitive, and have so many items that I am looking for, it just does not pay to nit-pick over a few bucks.
Link Posted: 12/8/2002 9:38:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/8/2002 9:43:58 PM EDT by ProfGAB101]
Some parts are critical! - I use only Bolt/carriers from DPMS or Bushmaster. I hear JT sells a lot of FN mfg parts, and if so, you should be able to trust those as well. I had a customer bring in his home built AR because it was unreliable. He was an ex-marine and he knew something was just not right. The trigger group looked like very cheap components, but the thing I found which was scary was the Bolt Carrier. It was soft, the bore the bolt rides in was not chromed, and the cam pin slot was distorted from firing. I replaced his carrier. I told him to check that bolt often as it was suspect in my mind just because it came from the same source. He had bought a mail order complete rifle kit (less receiver) then picked up a lower at a gunshow. He knew how to put it together, just not how to identify out of spec parts. ________________________________________________ Back before the ban there were a bunch of out of spec tele stocks out there that were trashing receivers. Here is how to check: 1) With stock installed on receiver, insert the buffer without the recoil spring. 2) Now insert the bolt carrier. 3) Note the gap from the back of the gas key to the top of the receiver ring. 4) Now apply heavy pressure on carrier to compress the bumper on the buffer. If the gas key contacts the receiver your in for trouble. The out of spec stocks that were rushed out prior to the ban would have the gas key resting on the receiver in step 3 above and still not be touching the buffer. To correct this I made spacer disks (with a 1/4" hole) that I press fit into the buffer tube, they wouldn't be coming out. (Thickness adjusted as required for each.) Edit for spelling that the spell checker missed.
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 10:45:49 AM EDT
Well,this post is of great interest to me. I just bought a Rock River Arms stripped lower and a JT 20" AR kit. Do you think I will have any problems?
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 11:15:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Robh: Well,this post is of great interest to me. I just bought a Rock River Arms stripped lower and a JT 20" AR kit. Do you think I will have any problems?
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Robh, Welcome to the board! You should be fine. Just take your time and ask questions if necessary. Every company is capable of having a bad day. Don't write off a company that many others have had success with because one individual has not. My first home assembled AR15 is on Hesse Kevlar/Aramid receivers and functions perfectly!
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 12:14:20 PM EDT
Built 16" M4 using stripped RRA upper and Lower and all RRA parts. Have about 500 rounds thru it now and it hasen't missed a lick. Absoultely no problems whatsoever.
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 3:36:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Robh: Well,this post is of great interest to me. I just bought a Rock River Arms stripped lower and a JT 20" AR kit. Do you think I will have any problems?
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This is a perfect set-up for you're first BIY!![:)]
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 7:26:55 PM EDT
Thanks for the reassurance and welcome guys. I was hoping I made the right choice with the two items I bought. I did a lot of reading here and on deja and they seemed to be what most people who had no trouble were using. I don't have the upper kit yet but I want to get some tools ready to assemble it with. Can you give me an idea of what I might need? I figure a punch set,hammer,screwdrivers,needle nose pliers. Is a torque wrench a good idea? If so,can I use a socket type one or do I need a crescent wrench type (if it exists). Thanks Rob
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 8:11:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Robh: I don't have the upper kit yet but I want to get some tools ready to assemble it with. Can you give me an idea of what I might need? I figure a punch set,hammer,screwdrivers,needle nose pliers. Is a torque wrench a good idea? If so,can I use a socket type one or do I need a crescent wrench type (if it exists). Thanks Rob
View Quote
Thats about it and you just need the torque wrench; with no sockets; the drive end fits into the square end of the barrel wrench. BTW you will need a barrel wrench and an action block to hold the upper while installing the barrel.
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 9:47:50 PM EDT
There is too much of a difference between Armalite and Bushmaster lower parts that I don't buy they both source from DPMS. DPMS is known for lousy M1911 parts kit. I'd recommend folks to stick with Armalite or Bushmaster.
Link Posted: 12/15/2002 1:00:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By stator: There is too much of a difference between Armalite and Bushmaster lower parts...
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Agreed! And my opinion is that the Bushmaster kits are better save for the 1) trigger guard and 2) the roll pins. The Armalite trigger guard is a beautifully machined and finished aluminum part that doesn't rattle on the roll pin like the fiber/plastic Bushmaster part. The Armalite roll pins are better in that they are rounder, and have greater thickness to the tube (not greater diameter) because they are a spiral of thinner metal, not one turn of slightly thicker metal.
Link Posted: 12/15/2002 10:49:45 PM EDT
I chose a RRA lower and J&T 16" CAR A2 kit for my first AR. 500+ rounds with no malfunctions. J&T has EXCELLENT customer service!
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