First New AR Build - What Stripped Lower is Best?

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by Snakedriver, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    I'm starting my first build of an AR in 5.56 beginning with a stripped lower. What stripped lowers are the best value? Are there any significant differences between all the various manufacturers or is it more important about what parts you put inside when you assemble the lower? It's all very confusing. :confused:
     
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    My opinion it really just boils down to what label you want on the side. Most lowers and uppers are made by only a few suppliers regardless of the stampings.

    My main ar is a rra lower with a dpms upper using a m16a1 barrel. Works just fine. I think its more about the quality of the bcg, trigger group, and barrel than anything else.

    Stay away from super cheap lowers especially the polymer ones. Pretty much long as it is milspec your good to go.

    My personal choice is rra lowers.
     

  3. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    THX, I'm leaning towards the S & W MP-15, Rock River or Yankee Hill versions right now. I'm looking more for a quality end product than just bottom dollar cost.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  4. Car54

    Car54 New Member

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    I use S&W, Spikes Tactical, and Palmetto State Armory...they all work for me.
     
  5. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Uppers come in three main varieties:

    Cast; avoid like a one eyed hooker

    Forged: suitable and used for majority of builds. RRA, YHM and the others you mentioned are forged.

    Billet: once piece of solid metal machined to mil spec lower dimensions...pricey and generally unnecessary for a self built rifle unless you are looking for a show piece.

    Any of the brands that you mentioned would do just fine. There may be minor blemishes, finish overruns and mill marks on the lower end lowers but none of that effects performance or reliability. The lower just holds the parts together and, as you mentioned, the parts are more critical to a smooth operating rifle.

    Have fun...welcome to the club. BTW, check out the threads and stickies in the AR forum...lots of good stuff there.
     
  6. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    PS...I used a YHM lower on my build and am pleased with it. Got it on gunbroker for under $100. Recently noticed the PSA lower on slickguns for $49, others here have used them and I am tempted to pick one up just to have it.
     
  7. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    All good advice so far. When it comes to lower receivers, they really are not hyper important to the overall build. They are a cut, aluminum device to hold working, moving parts in formation.

    As long as you don't buy one from Earl's World of Donuts and AR Shop, you will be fine.:cool:

    JD
     
  8. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    You might want to look at the sticky above with lower receiver pictures. Choose one you really like or one at a good price. Of the four in the immediate family, S&W, ArmaLite, Charles Daly and Sun Devil, I like the S&W the best but so far I haven't run into a bad lower. Just stay with milspec and aluminum, which most lowers are. I tend to kick in a little more for a lower that strikes my fancy since it's a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cost of the build.
     
  9. moneymaker17

    moneymaker17 New Member

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    i bought a s@w 15 lower the other day, it looks amazing, the quality finish is beautiful. the laser engraving is well peice of art in my mind. you will be pleased
     
  10. luan87us

    luan87us New Member

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    I just bought a Spikes tactical stripped lower and slap a PSA MOE LPK on it and everything fits perfectly without any problem. You can get it for only $80 shipped from aimsurplus. PSA is having a sale on their stripped lower as well for only $49 + $7 shipping. I heard many good reviews about those.
     
  11. dnthmn2004

    dnthmn2004 New Member

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    I'm going to give the S&W one more vote.
     
  12. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    Snakedriver,

    I agree with most in the area of lower receivers. But even though all who are theoretically Mil-Spec will work just fine, there are some slight differences regarding fit regarding tolerances as well as quality of finish. Most mentioned above like Rock River, Spikes, CMMG, S&W and others have good fit and good finish. Some lesser quality receivers you can see the sun rise between the lower and upper when assembled, along with some shake and movement. Although it should not effect the accuracy that much I do not like those that are slightly less than top quality. I do not like the Polymer no way no how! And every time I think about one of the special receivers machined out of steel, I think about the recent pictures we posted regarding M-4 Rifle Failure Thread and Catastrophic events. Anyway select a good quality receiver and you will never be sorry. You might also want to think about putting a Rock River 2 Stage Trigger in it. If you can find someone or a buddy with an RRA 2 Stage try it.
    Good luck with your build and there are plenty of us here on the FTF that will walk with you through the entire project! Have Fun!

    03
     
  13. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    When I was in Vietnam I carried a CAR-15 with a short barrel and a long slotted flash suppressor. I loved the feel and balance of that little rifle. Without going to an NFA weapon, what are my barrel length limitations in recreating such a gun? 16"? Also what about the chrome in the upper? Chrome molly or Chrome lined? What's the difference? Same with the bolt, does chrome on the bolt make a big difference? So many questions! :confused:
     
  14. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Snake, yes the permanent barrel must be at least 16" and that can include a permanently pinned flash hider. So for example you could have a 14.5" barrel with a 1.6" pinned FH or a 16" barrel with a screwed on FH.

    For the barrel I'd go chrome molly + chrome lined, like the lessons learned in Vietnam. Chrome lining really protects the bore/barrel and reduces extraction problems. The early M16s were chrome moly without chrome lining and under harsh conditions did have tragic extraction problems. Of course today as a range gun it doesn't matter as much and may even give you more accuracy.

    I wouldn't get a chrome plated BCG but would get a one as good as goes in the military M4/M16, which are chrome lined for the gas rings. Colt, BCM, Daniel Defense and others are good sources.


    ETA: Back to lowers, I got an ArmaLite stripped lower because I remember ArmaLite on M16s in Vietnam. Of course Colt would be great too but it's hard to get a stripped Colt lower.

    Here's something you might remember... I think this is an early Air Force example before the M16 name was given.

    [​IMG]

    Today's ArmaLite doesn't look the same but does have a spartan military look to it:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  15. Gatoragn

    Gatoragn Active Member

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    The sky is the limit in 16 inch uppers these days. 16 inch mid-lengths are very much in style and demand these days. I have both chrome lined and chrome moly, if you take reasonable care of them either will work.

    I don't know much about chrome bolts, I don't have one. I have had no issues with my non-chrome bolts to date. But I don't shoot competition or thousands of rounds per month. Just like to go to the range and make my rifle go bang and admire the "paperwork".

    I vote that you check out the Palmetto State Armory lowers on sale right now. $49.95 + $7 shipping + transfer fee. My LSG says his average cost on lowers is $80.00.
     
  16. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    Thanks for the great response! You are a valueable source of knowledge on this stuff. Really nice Armalites! The CAR-15 I had in Vietnam was a Colt. As I recall, the guy that gave it to me said that it had a standard length buffer spring in it that made the cyclic rate much faster than a normal CAR. It would empty a 20-round mag. on "sprinkle" so fast you almost couldn't get your finger off the trigger before it was all gone. With the collapsible stock and the short barrel, it would fit behind the seat of a Cobra just right so that you could grab it on the way out if you had to un-*** the thing in a hurry. It was deadly accurate, I hated giving that thing up when my tour was over.
     
  17. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

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    I'm going to check out the Palmetto State lowers. That's a great price, THANKS!!!
     
  18. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    That is a great price on the Palmetto State lower! And they have a LPK for about $49 I think. They also have milspec uppers and BCGs (with M16 bolt carriers). Even at their low prices I suspect their stuff truly is milspec, anyway they sure talk the talk.
     
  19. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Just don't order the lower and the LPK at the same time...that 11% excise tax sucks.
     
  20. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Great story, Snakedriver, thanks for that! Say did you ever bump into another Huey guy by the name of Snake Sh*t? :p