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"Cheap" versus High End ARs

Jcon268

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Another question....why is colt considered on par with DD, BCM, etc.? I don't see anything about them being better than anything else? I don't believe their QC is all that great after seeing this debacle with the new Python. And the furniture doesn't scream amazing. The materials are what everyone else even decent is using. I see a rollmark and higher-than-worth-it pricing.

That and with with BCM...they oversize their gas ports to be "more" reliable, when other manufacturers aren't and still staying reliable. How does a harsher firing rifle make it a better rifle? (NOT stating BCM isn't good, I like their stuff)

It seems to me...that because the .Mil uses these particular brands, that they're somehow "better" even though our military usually isn't buying the highest prices, most gucci option. They buy something reliable, that is at a certain cost per the decisions of stars and bars. This, to me, reaffirms you don't need a really expensive aluminum rifle to have a good...reliable...aluminum rifle. And that a manufacturer using the standard materials and specs, can make something just as good for a decent price. But what do i know.
I was almost positive it was Daniel Defense who was oversizing their gas ports, particularly with the MK18. This made for a reliable system but with a lot of gas to the face, particularly suppressed. I haven't heard of the same reports from many BCM owners... maybe I missed it though.
 

Jcon268

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I think what he's saying is that for his purposes the rifle he bought is sufficient. This isn't Socnet so no, it's not like he's debating hammers with carpenters. We're mostly enthusiasts here. And mostly polite too, if you can take a hint.
He probably could have been more polite, however, there is a metric bubblegum ton of misinformation out there that seemingly gets perpetuated whenever a thread like this pops up. The misinformation usually stems around "this AR is just as good as this other AR but at half the price." As though the company charging more is trying to pull a fast one on us. Usually those ARs cost more because there is more cost for the company in getting the better quality product into the consumer's hands. Noveske is an example of a company that charges beyond what diminishing returns justify. Sure, they're nice as hell. The sweet spot in my opinion seems to run in around the $1,500 range for a rifle not including optic.

If the world really does get to SHTF and we have to use our guns to defend ourselves from whatever tyranny or other situation causes it, there are going to be a lot of broken down guns out of commission basically turned into spare parts. I look at a gun like an insurance policy - you want to make sure you're thoroughly covered when the time arrives for you to use it. If you don't use it, you lost a little extra money and that's it. Higher quality guns to me are personally more fun to look at, handle and shoot. An AR with a proper sized gas port, with a smooth functioning buffer system and higher quality parts just runs smoother in general and that encourages me to want to get more range time in.
 
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He probably could have been more polite, however, there is a metric bubblegum ton of misinformation out there that seemingly gets perpetuated whenever a thread like this pops up. The misinformation usually stems around "this AR is just as good as this other AR but at half the price." As though the company charging more is trying to pull a fast one on us. Usually those ARs cost more because there is more cost for the company in getting the better quality product into the consumer's hands. Noveske is an example of a company that charges beyond what diminishing returns justify. Sure, they're nice as hell. The sweet spot in my opinion seems to run in around the $1,500 range for a rifle not including optic.

If the world really does get to SHTF and we have to use our guns to defend ourselves from whatever tyranny or other situation causes it, there are going to be a lot of broken down guns out of commission basically turned into spare parts. I look at a gun like an insurance policy - you want to make sure you're thoroughly covered when the time arrives for you to use it. If you don't use it, you lost a little extra money and that's it. Higher quality guns to me are personally more fun to look at, handle and shoot. An AR with a proper sized gas port, with a smooth functioning buffer system and higher quality parts just runs smoother in general and that encourages me to want to get more range time in.
Well, see, he should have said that then. :D

Seriously you make a good point. Bear in mind though that most of us won't be fighting even if it comes down to it. It's the way wars and revolutions go.
 
OP
T
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The problem is there are 2 types of "high end" currently produced and marketed. One is quality manufactured for hard use and the other is....looks cool. Lightening cuts, cool designs and aesthetic appeal make up the latter and proven durability at high round counts and low catastrophic failure rate make up the former. Some companies go the extra distance to make sure their products are durable. Colt was actually one of these companies for a long time but most AR enthusiasts bubblegum on them now because they lack innovation. The question is how much innovation can the AR platform handle without sacrificing hard use durability?
The cool factor doesn't impress me. I want a firearm that goes boom every time I pull the trigger and that the weapon will last a reasonable amount of time (at least 10,000 rounds.) I swore off Colt back in the day when they made their lowers to deliberately not accept milspec parts. It's better to have the feature and not need it than to wind up needing it and not having it.
 
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I want to thank all of you again for such a spirited conversation. I'd like to say at this juncture that I've witnessed people get bad parts from the best manufacturers - probably not as often as with the other guys, but here is something I've been observing.

When Blackhawk gear was made in the USA it was THE standard. They found out they could get it made cheaper in Vietnam and it wasn't long before their quality went down the toilet. A lot of companies make factory guns and get their parts from a host of places. PSA gets their uppers from a variety of sources. I've witnessed several different forge marks on their uppers (their factory firearms.) Ditto for DPMS, but then I heard a rumor that DPMS won't be selling to the public any longer. If true, that means that a second tier company was building battle quality firearms all the time. If the troops can bet their lives on a manufacturer, that is sufficient enough for me unless someone has something better that I can afford.

We all have different experiences and I've about come to the conclusion that if I buy quality parts, do the build myself, and do a QC check on parts to insure they are well within spec, I might be able to build one that exceeds a factory weapon. All factory guns have QC checks run on them and the "quality" (what they will allow to out the door) may vary from company. Maybe that is a large part of what you're really paying for. The "quality" is what the QC department of the company gets to let out the door. These days I don't trust. I'm going to verify. I buy a complete upper, I'm still headspacing it. This is one of those questions that there is definitive answer to. My advantage is, when building a rifle, I will have several months between parts so I can examine each piece closely, put a micrometer to work, and look for visual imperfections. I guess that's the best we can do unless we have really deep pockets. You guys have no idea how helpful you've been just by posting. It gives a wide range of experiences and opinions to draw on.
 

Curt2933

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I was almost positive it was Daniel Defense who was oversizing their gas ports, particularly with the MK18. This made for a reliable system but with a lot of gas to the face, particularly suppressed. I haven't heard of the same reports from many BCM owners... maybe I missed it though.
My bcm’s definitely shoot softer then my dd v11 I sold a couple years back. It wasnt like mind blowing difference, but you could tell there was a difference.
 
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Curt2933

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Glad you have gained some knowledge from this thread. My last 2 cents on the topic. You don’t have to empty the bank. You can get a pretty decent rifle now days. Specially sense aero precision makes most of the parts And puts other companies logos on them. And these manufacturers claim that they make them selves. Not to name names “ spikes, springfield armory” and a couple others. Just don’t go cheap on your bcg or your lpk. Get a good milspec bcg that’s Been inspected and tested. and good lpk like a colt, bcm, lmt. And go shoot and have fun

oh and don’t buy a geissele trigger right off the bat because once you go down that road you will never recover. You will never want to shoot a rack grade ar trigger ever again lol
 
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From the article.
The only piston system to last on the range so far is the HK416 and TD415 system. Every other systems we have tried has failed in one way or another. I won’t say who’s broke or how they broke so PLEASE don’t ask. Each mfg has their own system for cleaning intervals and we may not follow their way. We have a way of cleaning and keeping records that suits our needs because of so much use.

– There is company that has an AR system that has some “parts don’t need lubrication” and that failed before the end of the first day. I don’t think some mfg’s understand that people REALLY use their weapons and when you’re rocking full-auto all day they NEED lubrication. My armorers and RSO’s were laughing when it seized up because we knew there was NO way it would last on our range.

– The parts that we see break more often are the bolt cam, bolt lugs shearing off, firing pins and gas keys shearing off the bolt carrier.
 
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There are a couple things that folks need to be aware of; the first is a lot of manufactures will drill gas ports over size to function with the cheapest of the cheap steel case low powered ammo that many folks will buy in .223.

Military guns are set to run spec ammo in 5.56 set by the government be it XM193 or M855 that is supplied by the government. So the gun is set up or timed to run that way and to run full auto correctly. Over gassing will cause higher full auto rates causing failures to extract and jams.

I have had a BCM upper that will not cycle cheap steel 223 because it is under gassed for the ammo and will short stroked about ever other round but the same round wound run in my PSA and Smith upper. The guns where designed for different applications this is not a ding to BCM as it works with the ammo it was designed for perfectly, mil spec ammo.

This is why some guns will shoot harsher than others if you shoot 5.56 M855 like in a PSA compared to a BCM and you will feel it more compared to cheap under powered .223 but it will shoot both all day long so in some ways they are designed better for a SHTF as the will shoot anything you find and not just mill spec. They were never designed to run full auto so they do not need to deal with the timing issues of full auto. Not bad just a different application.

Both of my Colts have H2 buffers in them from the factory this tells me the barrels are slightly over gassed. So they could be a barrel rejected for military use, not bad but slightly out of spec maybe the drill was worn and the gas hole is over size at the factory so they put them on Civilian guns. In the military as the gas port get eroded and the guns would over cycle on full auto they added a heaver buffer to slow the rate down so they could continue to get more use out of the gun and keep it in time.

In my 7 and 7.5 barreled guns I run H3 buffers and in pretty much everything else I run H2 buffers then run a verity of ammo to verify it cycles smooth with all. This helps get rid of the harshness of the recoil with some ammo from barrels with over sized gas ports. They all will run with standard buffers but I beat up the gun less and reduce part wear by tuning them to how I use them.

Like with everything there is a science and a reason for doing things and AR15 are no different. I can make a cheap gun run smooth and reliable by taking the time to look at how it runs and tune it to fix the issues. Average cost added if needed is 10 to 50 dollars at most. No different than tuning cars or bikes yes they run from the factory but with a little tinkering and a couple parts they can run so much better and go so much faster.
 
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I watched a long video by a young guy that explains why he thinks that the current basic Bushmaster is the best bang for your buck on a store bought rifle.

He is on YouTube. The video is over 33 :39 minutes long. CRS Firearms . I would link it but that would be too easy. If I knew how, I mean. It is a recent video. His choice makes a lot of sense. He bases it on ammo availability and sights that are properly regulated to the ammo.
 
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Than it isn't USGI.
I'll have to take a magnet to it when I can. It's currently in a safe at my parents.

Edit. I seem to recall that there's a few versions floating out there. Mine had sling loop at the bottom pinned wirh one of the two taper pins, instead of the side. I do know that its an F marked FSB
 

titsonritz

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I was almost positive it was Daniel Defense who was oversizing their gas ports, particularly with the MK18. This made for a reliable system but with a lot of gas to the face, particularly suppressed. I haven't heard of the same reports from many BCM owners... maybe I missed it though.
My bcm’s definitely shoot softer then my dd v11 I sold a couple years back. It wasnt like mind blowing difference, but you could tell there was a difference.
DD was definitely using oversized gas ports but, to their credit, they listened to their customers and have reduced them a more appropriate size. They still use crap castle last time I checked.
 

titsonritz

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Yea, I might have mistaken that info. I read a lot, so occasionally I mix some things up.
Who even makes aluminum gas blocks? I just want to make sure I avoid them.
Lots of lower end companies do, it's all about pinching those pennies. A lot of time they look like this but not always, anytime I deal with one that looks like this I put a magnet on to confirm.
DOUBLE STAR AR-15/M16 PICATINNY RAIL GAS BLOCK | Brownells
They almost always use set screws and have no dimpled barrel or red Loctite, or worse are clamp on.
 

titsonritz

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There are a couple things that folks need to be aware of; the first is a lot of manufactures will drill gas ports over size to function with the cheapest of the cheap steel case low powered ammo that many folks will buy in .223.

Military guns are set to run spec ammo in 5.56 set by the government be it XM193 or M855 that is supplied by the government. So the gun is set up or timed to run that way and to run full auto correctly. Over gassing will cause higher full auto rates causing failures to extract and jams.

I have had a BCM upper that will not cycle cheap steel 223 because it is under gassed for the ammo and will short stroked about ever other round but the same round wound run in my PSA and Smith upper. The guns where designed for different applications this is not a ding to BCM as it works with the ammo it was designed for perfectly, mil spec ammo.

This is why some guns will shoot harsher than others if you shoot 5.56 M855 like in a PSA compared to a BCM and you will feel it more compared to cheap under powered .223 but it will shoot both all day long so in some ways they are designed better for a SHTF as the will shoot anything you find and not just mill spec. They were never designed to run full auto so they do not need to deal with the timing issues of full auto. Not bad just a different application.
I built my guns to shoot duty grade ammo, I've tested them with PMC Bronze and they will lock back on the last round even when filthy, but I've never shot steel case ammo through my ARs. I use H2 buffers in carbine RE, and A5H3 buffers in A5 RE.


Both of my Colts have H2 buffers in them from the factory this tells me the barrels are slightly over gassed. So they could be a barrel rejected for military use, not bad but slightly out of spec maybe the drill was worn and the gas hole is over size at the factory so they put them on Civilian guns. In the military as the gas port get eroded and the guns would over cycle on full auto they added a heaver buffer to slow the rate down so they could continue to get more use out of the gun and keep it in time.
Colt uses H2 buffer on all their carbines these days.
 

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