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Olympic arms.. reliable??

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Old 11-13-2008, 04:01 AM   #1
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Default Olympic arms.. reliable??

I own 2 olympic arms ar-15's one is a rifle the other a carbine. I have never had any problem with either but I keep reading bad reviews on them. Can I get a few opinions on what yall think?
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:18 AM   #2
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If you've run them hard and had no problems, let that be your best answer.

I got a 16" many years ago in a trade and it was great with most ammo. But some ammo would stick in the chamber (FTE). It happened enough (4 or 5 times) to make me sell it. Mine did not have a chrome lined chamber and bore (I don't remember Oly ever offering chrome lining). It did shoot really good groups for a standard config 16" CAR type.

And I HATE the shiny black finish on the Oly's, even though I must admit it was almost scratch proof. And the mag well was tight, which required some work to get all mags to fit.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:19 AM   #3
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A buddy of mine owned one and had problems when he tried to fit an RRA upper to an Oly Arms lower. Also, he had problems using magazines made by companies other than Oly Arms.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:55 PM   #4
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All my AR's are either Pac-West (pre Olympic Arms) or Olympic Arms upper and lower. I haven't had any problems. Mine sure aren't shiny, just a standard dull black. Mine have all got chrome carriers and bolts however, so they are not exactly "stock".

I'm into "issue" type military weapons which are pretty "vanilla", without a lot of "tacticool" stuff all over them. Removable handle and red dots are about as exotic as I get. Old school stuff.

Anyway, I've never had any issues that a little cleaning and lubing wouldn't fix.

You might get JD to speak up on the issue of Olympic Arms, however. It is his area of expertise. I'd be interested to hear his opinions too.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Northwoods View Post

You might get JD to speak up on the issue of Olympic Arms, however. It is his area of expertise. I'd be interested to hear his opinions too.
LOL - Thanks for the shout out North, but I am no expert, I'm just a lowly apprentice.

Okay, look, for about the 1,000th time, an AR receiver is an AR receiver is an AR receiver in the production market. If you get one that is CNC machined from some special billet and was hand fit by Les Baer or Dave Lauck or Sabre Defence, yes, you are getting a better gun, but the receiver is probably 15% "better" than your poor old Olympic Arms, or DPMS or RRA.

Now Olympic Arms did go through a phase where their Q/A slipped and that was in the mid to late 90's, I think, and they turned out some crap. Every production company out there got greedy at some point, cut corners, and their reputations suffered - and that includes pistols, rifles, shotguns and even the mighty COLT AR markers.

About 5-6 years ago, maybe a little more, Olympic put some really nice new equipment, it's not all State of the Art CNC or anything, but definitely some nice stuff to keep tolerances low and Quality Assurance high.

Olympic is local to us here in Washington - and Brett knows a guy who has worked there for like 15 years. We get the straight scoop when there is a change or when the company is taking advantage of the employees and their customers. Olympic is running thousands of units behind on production requests right now and overtime is mandatory.

Personally, I have two builds on Olympic Arms receivers and haven't had any issues. I have also personally worked on Colt, RRA, DPMS, Stag, Double Star and just about every other "production" receiver out there. Slight imperfections in machine chatter, or a sharp finish angle here versus a nice smooth, brushed one there, they are all pretty much the same.

Some makers started to add a flared mag well when the AR started to come around into fashion again, early to mid 80's, and that is where one AR might receive all mags better than one that doesn't have the bottom flare. I have heard the same stuff that bkt mentioned, but if it's a problem, you can also open up the mag well fairly easily.

Now, we do work for a number of police units, one of which happens to be Pierce County, both Sherrif & SWAT. We do almost all their gun maintenence/repairs and we do some of their post shoot inspections. We also build them AR's when budgets allow and invariably the head guy will come in wanting Colt, or DPMS for some reason - probably marketing.

Brett will sit down with them and price out what they can get from company X and what we can build with parts from various sources, that usually include Brownell's parts kits & Olympic Arms receivers because Brett used to get a deal on them up until recently. Pierce County officers have numerous Olympics that they use, abuse and continue to put into action. We do maintenence on them, just like every one should. Good thorough cleaning, inspection and range tests. They shoot and run just fine.

Of the only "repeat" gun that I can think of, off hand, is one of the lead guys on SWAT ( who shoots constantly is definitely one reason I would recommend not robbing a bank in this area ) who has had his gas tube re-bored ( he shoots a 10.5" both with and without a can ), we replaced it recently with a new one, he has had the trigger adjusted, and we replaced a buffer spring and a stock for him. The gas tube was causing a FTE during training when the weapon was hot and he was on his 4th or 5th pass, but in typical fashion, he said it was a good way to force him to practice his transistion from long arm to side arm in crucial situations. We replaced the gas tube about a year ago and I haven't seen him back since then, but he may have come in when I wasn't there.... *shrug*

Bottom line, if your Olympic Receivered AR's have been running for you, and you have been hitting your target, change the name on the side to Chase's AR and get on with your day.

A receiver is only a very small part of the platform, and it's NO WHERE near as important as some people on the big bad internetz would have you believe. It holds all the really important parts together, and that is about it.

It's like saying bridgestone had a recall on tires, so you are getting crappy gas mileage and your overall engine is running rough....

How about you Slo? What are your thoughts on the great AR Receiver debate??
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:50 PM   #6
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This kind of runs along the lines of all the posts about first,second, third tier manufacturers. To be honest, I don't buy it. If you have a couple that work well for you, with the ammo you use the most, and they shoot groups that you are happy with, then that's all the encouragement, acceptance, bragging rights, kudos you need. Don't buy into the Ford-vs-Chevy-vs-Chrysler type debates that always seem to pop up in the forums. Sure, there is always going to be someone who posts how this brand is better than that one, just like your Dad can out-run my Dad (he should be able to, as mine passed away 9 years ago) but you get the point.

As far as Oly goes, the only negative thing that really sticks in my mind, was their attempt to make a cheap plinker that had a cast receiver. Yes, that did lower the price of manufacture and passed that savings along to the consumer. But they did have a few ka-booms in those receivers, and have since given up on that idea - I hope.

Their newer stuff seems to be as good as anything else out there. Compare like units to like units, and they should be pretty darn close in performance, without alot of the extra price that you may have to dish out for those 'designer' name brands. Except that you'll still have those out there, who may or may not have any experience with the Oly line, but have read all the negative reports and threads about how if it isn't a [insert brand here] then it isn't squat.

Until you yourself run into problems with them, failure to feed/eject, or any kind of catastrophic failure that wasn't caused by improper use, handling, or maintenance on your part - I'd say you are good to go. Don't listen to the nay-sayers out there, as alot of them probably don't even own an AR yet, but are just being good sheeples and following the latest herd. My .02 anyway

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Old 11-13-2008, 02:43 PM   #7
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I do not own any Oly's but have shot a few. They appear to have a spotty reputation for reliability. Accuracy tends to be on the good side, though. If your's are accurate and reliable, good for you. You are one of the lucky ones.

IMHO Oly's are like Dodges (of the 80's). Occasionally they make a good one. And when they do, it is real good.
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:23 PM   #8
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I talked to aguy the other day who has an Oly and he loves it. He runs the pi$$ out of it. FWIW it's totally made in the USA, and has a lifetime warranty. I know they're not the only ones but they are also affordable. BTW I'm not trying to get into the whole" even w/o a lifetime warranty, most manufacturers will fix a problem anyway" Try running 50,000 rounds through a Colt AR over 10 years and see what they'll do to fix it if it breaks. You'll probably get the Complimentary Dial Tone( I'm not bashing Colt either)
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:49 PM   #9
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Default Olympic Arms AR-15 reliability

Originally Posted by chasecraddock12 View Post
I own 2 olympic arms ar-15's one is a rifle the other a carbine. I have never had any problem with either but I keep reading bad reviews on them. Can I get a few opinions on what yall think?
I've owned an Olympic arms AR-15 for 7 years and the only problem I encountered was a broken casing in the chamber that would not eject, this wasn't related o quality of the gun it was due to the cheap steel casing ammo I was using, don't ever use steel casing ammo no matter how inexpensive it is. Only use brass and you will never have any issues with your Olympic Arms AR-15.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:03 PM   #10
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Frios, you resurrected a 4 year-old thread and then speak of your own 7 year-old Oly. Does that make for a valid recommendation to today's new buyer? Does it apply to today's models?
The biggest issue with assembling an AR isn't so much getting the parts together right - it's getting the right parts together.
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