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Old 04-06-2012, 02:30 PM   #31
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Default TO The Novice AR Buyer!

INFORMATION ONLY!

I think it gets to the point that there are a lot of fine ARs out there that do not fall exactly into the parameters of the Mil-Spec chart. And for the biggest part the chart is good for technical advise. However there are several of the rifles mentioned on the chart that I would certainly buy over the mass produced Colt and others. Yes, I own some COLTS also and they are good rifles. My SP1 is one of my prized possessions! LMT probably produces the highest quality true Mil-Spec rifle since Sabre Defense is no longer in business. There is a little bit of unintentional misrepresentation in the chart however. For example lets look at one manufacturer from training experience. I know that Rock River has some of the finest ARs out there and have excellent carrier key staking contrary to the chart. We have never had a RRA Rifle at the Academy and other training venues have a loose carrier key, (Loose Keys = (Bushmaster) loose barrel nut = (Colts "several of them") and loose stocks (Others) Personally I would not want a Military Stake on the Castle Nut or Lock Ring as you would have it. I prefer the "Blue" thread locker which now several manufacturers are using! (Don't forget to heat the Castle Nut when removing the extension tube! (Buffer Tube) At the training sights we shoot frangible ammunition there during training in the shoot houses and the RRA guns always feed them perfectly. I can not say that about all weapons with the so called M-4 Feed Ramp since the manufacturers sometimes do not relieve the aluminum ledge on the upper receiver by the feed ramps! So all the gump about M-4 feed ramps compared to some of the other manufacturers who have the equivalent do fantastic work with their feed ramps makes the entry on the chart a little tainted. Other things that the chart does not mention is that some that normally have 1:9 twist barrels you certainly can get a 1:7 if you desire as well as chrome lined. Along with various barrel contours. Taper or Roll Pins for affixing the front sight assembly? Who cares! Some ARs in my opinion have a better finish than mil-spec and it can be touched up much easier since it does not have that grey cast to the finish color. Regarding the buffer, a regular AR does not need an H buffer to effectively operate flawlessly (unless over gassed!) although nothing wrong with the H Buffer if the weapon is running. *If it ain't broke don't fix it! Mil-Spec Extension Tube (Buffer Tube) only for information it does not increase the quality of the commercial vs the Mil-Spec. Only a specification issue. The only point I am making here for the novice when they are selecting a new AR Rifle is the chart is not inclusive of all things available from other manufacturers, only a specification comparison. It has nothing to do with quality other than being a good standard. The chart that Quintin provided is super for information and we thank him for providing it. The producer obviously has done a lot of research and it has a lot of quality educational information. However, the chart is a little deceiving since they only look at one model and does not cover options which are available through several manufacturers. And present the fallacy that a Mil-Spec Rifle is better than some of the other good quality rifles produced in the industry is not totally true. Although it is a good standard, but Mil-Spec represents tolerances that are based on a + or - standard. There are great rifles out there like Daniels Defense, Rock River Arms, Stag Arms, CMMG, Obviously LMT!, LWRC, Larue, Spikes and others that parts may hold tighter tolerances. This post is not to offend anyone but just to provide information to the new person that just because a rifle is not a mil-spec rifle does not mean it is of lesser quality. And some specification tolerances are the same or closer than that of Mil-Spec standards. Good luck to all who are looking for a new AR. And there are certainly those like Quentin, Dillinger and others here on the forum that can provide valuable information assisting you with your selection if you need assistance.

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Old 04-06-2012, 02:51 PM   #32
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Good, and crucial, addition the discussion, Sniper. Very helpful.

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Old 04-06-2012, 03:07 PM   #33
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Thanks you Sniper for your prospective

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Old 04-06-2012, 03:17 PM   #34
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I agree with many things Sniper said. This M4 Chart has fallen out of date as Rob Sloyer just couldn't keep up with the many changes over the last few years. He's just one man and only has access to what comes across his workbench and what a trusted few tell him. He did put out a new version of the chart but unfortunately too many manufacturers including S&W, ArmaLite, Bushmaster and others wouldn't participate.

Rob's old chart is a great tool for comparing brands and I'd recommend keeping this link or better yet save the two images to your local disk. Sure you can argue certain points but don't throw out the baby with the bath water. The companies on the left ended up there for a reason, the ones on the far right did as well (maybe they're better today, who knows). Look at what is being offered today and see how it compares with the Colt and BCM in this version of the chart.

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Old 04-06-2012, 03:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quentin View Post
I agree with many things Sniper said. This M4 Chart has fallen out of date as Rob Sloyer just couldn't keep up with the many changes over the last few years. He's just one man and only has access to what comes across his workbench and what a trusted few tell him. He did put out a new version of the chart but unfortunately too many manufacturers including S&W, ArmaLite, Bushmaster and others wouldn't participate.

Rob's old chart is a great tool for comparing brands and I'd recommend keeping this link or better yet save the two images to your local disk. Sure you can argue certain points but don't throw out the baby with the bath water. The companies on the left ended up there for a reason, the ones on the far right did as well (maybe they're better today, who knows). Look at what is being offered today and see how it compares with the Colt and BCM in this version of the chart.
My personal opinion, on a company like Windham Weapons? If they had significantly superior prices to someone like BCM, I'd order and try one out just to see how well they worked. But if the price difference isn't significant, I'd rather play it safe and order from the known top dog.
But, if someone can't afford the known, top quality, and can only afford a lower end? That doesn't mean it's pure crap in most cases. (Based on opinion and reading. Never fired one of the lower tier AR's, so I can only go off what I read on line), I'd still rather see them with an AR and attempting to learn all they can about them, rather than simply saying 'forget it, I'll buy flower seeds and garden instead'.
It's more important to guide them to getting the best they can get within their budget rather than slamming what they have to get, or decide to get.
Same as optics. I pissed most of my money away on the AR, so my initial optics are NOT going to be $500 plus units, but I'm content with that.
I researched lower priced (I won't say lower end, because some are getting very competitive reviews), but I know I will, after time, upgrade.
Get an AR, enjoy it, and put it through it's paces. I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again. It's a lot easier to upgrade one part of an AR, since you don't have to buy an entire new rifle every time.
Trouble firing/extracting steel case? Could be as simple as shelling out for a better BCG, such as a full auto BCM. You're out 150 plus S&H, but that's still a LOT better than a grand for an entirely new rifle!! You may take this for what it's worth. I am NOT a professional AR person, I have one for fun, that will be utilized in an SHTF scenario if needed.
There are more experienced members on here who are runners and gunners. All I run after is the ice cream truck.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:32 PM   #36
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The chart is very useful and I applaud the effort that it took to compile it. That's a lot of work and time gentlemen. But I agree it doesn't tell the whole story. I think its best used to help people visualize all the different points that ARs are usually graded by. Let's face it to most newcomers that's a pretty big list. But just as Sniper has mentioned, I don't think it is complete nor does it tell the story.

One thing I'd like to mention is that it is based on military specifications. One thing to remember, sometimes there are better choices out that exceed those specs, so that they no longer meet them. So whenever you see an empty box and no check mark, you need to know if its because its sub standard or over. Another issue that comes to mind is quality control, or lack thereof. Its hard to say whether or not companies actually do as advertised. You really have to rely on their word and reputation.

The main problem with it is that its not up to date and comprehensive. I DO NOT fault the author. In fact I'd buy him a beer if I'd ever met him even tho he did that version 3 years ago It's just a lot of work for someone to do, and there are SO many different manufacturers these days and so many models made by the different manufacturers its just too crazy. The mountain of data to compile and the fact that a lot of manufacturers refused to participate it would have made it very difficult to compile a comprehensive list.

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Old 04-07-2012, 01:53 AM   #37
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Quote:
Billet aluminum construction vs forged aluminum is a plus.
You'll have to explain this one to me...
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:58 AM   #38
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Anyway about 21 M4 features are listed and you'll notice Colt gets them all right.
They should. Colt developed all of the modifications that differentiate an M4 from an M16 and wrote the technical data package for both rifles. What a surprise - Colt meets all of the criteria for the technical data package that they wrote.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:47 AM   #39
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They should. Colt developed all of the modifications that differentiate an M4 from an M16 and wrote the technical data package for both rifles. What a surprise - Colt meets all of the criteria for the technical data package that they wrote.
I don't think you're saying that's bad, right? The M4 TDP is behind a fine military weapon so why not strive to produce a fine semiauto version as well. Colt, BCM and a few others do that quite well.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:39 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by buckhorn_cortez View Post
You'll have to explain this one to me...
Most AR's have forged or cast aluminum upper and lower receivers. Some of the highend AR's have upper and lower receivers that are created from solid blocks of aluminum billet that are carved to shape using a CNC machine.

The prevailing opinion among most people is that the billet AR's are a superior product, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that there are also opposing opinions saying they are not. Obviously, the cost of the billet AR's are much higher than the forged ones.
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