AR Lowers: Minimum

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by Benning Boy, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Benning Boy

    Benning Boy New Member

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    I need to find the most inexpensive lower that's still workable quality. I keep reading some are absolute crap, but nobody ever lists which brands, so I don't know what to avoid.

    Any guidance is appreciated....
     
  2. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    What are you looking to do?

    Basically any lower is going to be fine, as long as it's not some cheap pot metal piece of crap that was made in China.

    Billet is the best, as it was forged from one block of Aluminum, almost always by CNC. These are brands like LaRue, Black Rain Ord, Sundevil, POF-USA

    The "middle" are the forgings, these start life as a solid piece of stock. There is nothing wrong with them and the AR receiver, especially the lower, is little more than a rugged piece to hold parts together. It doesn't serve any fantastic, cosmic, accuracy enhancing properties as long as the upper and lower match up and aren't all sloppy.

    The problem with forgings, that I have seen, is they are not as "polished". They have chatter marks and they have subtle imperfections, but nothing that will keep it from working. These are everywhere and as long as they are mil spec, they will receive just about any parts kit you can find. The Zombie Defense one for sale here is a fine example. Newer DPMS, Stag, Bushmaster, they are all the same basic aluminum lower. A forged lower is going to be fine and will save you some cash on the front end.

    The "lower" end are the cast ones. Cast ones look nicer, because they don't have chatter marks and their lives start as hollow stock that is made to fit. A cast lower generally will have raised lettering on the side ( so will a Billet if they choose to go that route but it will be 3x the price of a cast. ;)) where a forging will have a stamped or cut in place lettering.
    Olympic arms, for example, used to sell cast lowers, but not any more. I believe old school DPMS, Eagle Arms, some old Colt that were sold outside the country and anything manufactured in South Africa or some such place will most likely be Cast.

    As a rule of thumb, buy a good American brand from a company with a good name and you are probably getting a quality forging. Unless you are buying a $300 lower, then you are probably getting Billet. ;)
     

  3. Jo da Plumbr

    Jo da Plumbr New Member

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    Attached Files:

  4. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    Parley.

    Arrgh.

    PLUNDER!

    Epic!! :D

    If only someone had a, oh wait, this isn't the Bunker. :eek:
     
  5. Colt808

    Colt808 New Member

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    Hate to disagree, but this statement is not correct. Just any lower is not going to be fine and there is a lot of US made crap floating around. Take Roggio Arsenal as an example...80-90% of their lowers are not within specs. Problems ranged from requiring a hammer to insert takedown pins to offset mounting holes. For awhile they accepted returns on these defective lowers, but they've since stopped.

    I'm speaking from personal experience...I sent my lower back to them 3 times and never got things resolved. Each time they sent me a "new" one with a different problem. Now I'm stuck with one which I had to weld the trigger guard on and has an elongated rear takedown hole. :mad:

    As for the OP...inexpensive and quality normally do not go in the same sentence. You get what you pay for. If you really want to save money, find a good used one and build up from there.
     
  6. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    You need to quote the full statement if you are going to disagree, because actually you are agreeing.

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck, but a simple google of "Roggio Arsenal" would have led you to a huge treasure trove of information that basically detailed your problem to a "T".

    In addition, Roggio Arsenal fits into the category of "Bubba's tire and AR store' which we at FTF have talked about many times here concerning buying American. As the OP is a regular, bordering on Plank Holder, here at FTF, I am sure he has read these comments in spades.

    Good luck with your AR problems. It would appear that Roggio is being sued on many fronts.

    JD
     
  7. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    OP didn't say ANY lower is ok, he said any lower that is not otherwise a piece of crap is ok. Obviously the lowers you purchased are crap.
     
  8. Colt808

    Colt808 New Member

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    Actually it was a disagreement with the quoted statement and even after reading it twice, I don't see how it can be read as my agreeing. But you're right I should've quoted it as a whole and perhaps highlighted it in red.

    As for Googling...it would've been helpful before my making the purchase, but it was a $65 impulse buy at a gun show which proves the adage...you get what you pay for. In any case, I'm happy it hasn't blown up. Yet.

    I wasn't aware of Roggio being sued. However it wouldn't matter in my case because as part of the exchange process I had to submit a letter indemnifying them of liability for trying to rectify the issue. Clearly they saw it coming.
     
  9. Colt808

    Colt808 New Member

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    Read the quote again before claiming I said something I did not. My disagreement was not with the poster, just the statment that "Basically any lower is going to be fine..." Nothing about pot metal, because I don't think anyone would have difficulty telling the difference in materials.

    Roggio's RA-15 forgings are by no means made of cheap pot metal. They're all 7075 aluminum just like 95% of all lowers out there. So unless you took a micrometer and a spec sheet, you would not be able to tell the difference. Hindsight is 20/20, I'm not defending RA and their poor quality control, just pointing out that it's not so easy to tell.

    But hey, I appreciate your statement of the obvious. The LOWER I purchased is without a doubt crap...it's one out of about 18 others I've bought, built, tested and sold. To imply by your statment that I only have crap is incorrect.

    If not for experiences from people who actually buy and try, then many more would be in the same boat getting stuck with sub standard products. Companies like Rock River, Oly, Bushmaster, etc. all have good reputations because of proven quality. But try to remember, in the "beginning" they sold on the cheap to establish their name. Nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything wrong with giving an unknown company a try. It's basically the same for anything not brand name you buy...it can be hit and miss or you might find the diamond in the rough.
     
  10. Benning Boy

    Benning Boy New Member

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    Calm.....

    A few good points, that sort of go beyond this discussion.

    I've become more and more sensitive to the point that many manufacturers of today's great products started with not so great ones, and that's gonna be a whole thread unto itself here shortly.

    Essentially, how do I know when a product was put out there during a companies Golden Age, as opposed to their "still figuring it out" age.
     
  11. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    Just do what I did and be done with it. Maybe I should try a billet one next.....
     
  12. Benning Boy

    Benning Boy New Member

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    Ain't got your skills....:(
     
  13. Squirrel_Slayer

    Squirrel_Slayer New Member

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    I s cored my Areo Precision lower for 99.00, 134.00 out the door with all of the fees, finish and machine work are great as they are the company that does the forging and machinig for Spikes Tactical I bvelieve.

    But there are quite a few lowers out there in the 90.00 to 120.00 dollar range from companies such as Spikes, S&W, Aero Precision, and quite a few other quality manufacturers.
     
  14. Squirrel_Slayer

    Squirrel_Slayer New Member

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    I would recomend staying away from Double Star lowers though, they are machined nice, but I don't care for there anodizing. It's is very light, more grey than it is black. I have heard the same comment about Spikes too though.
     
  15. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I went into that project almost completely blind. You could do it.
     
  16. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    My experience is limited but of the 4 lowers I have - the billet is by far the best quality piece I have. :)
     
  17. 9mmar

    9mmar New Member

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    I have used used spikes' tactical for alot of my builds. The S&W go together well and when all else fails just get a DPMS or Rock River. I just got pricing to urder a Black Rain Billet Upper and lower for a build.