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View Full Version : Need help identifying my AR-15 upper


mspiegle
04-11-2011, 3:16 PM
I bought a couple lowers back in '05 along with this upper and they've been collecting dust for quite a while. I'm now at the point where I'd like to actually build out a rifle, but I want to know more about this upper first. It doesn't seem to have any identifiable markings as far as the manufacturer goes. Is this common? Here's a few pics:

http://pix.nauticaltech.com/AR-15/IMAG0217.jpg
http://pix.nauticaltech.com/AR-15/IMAG0218.jpg
http://pix.nauticaltech.com/AR-15/IMAG0219.jpg

rattlesnake_nm
04-11-2011, 3:19 PM
Delton, olympic, or dpms would be my guess.

7.62 Charlie
04-11-2011, 3:47 PM
Did you look on the barrel to see if the brand is stamped on it?

CHS
04-11-2011, 4:31 PM
The fact that the upper is missing the forge stamp entirely is a little worrisome. It could be a cast upper. If that's the case, the entire upper group is probably low-end to garbage.

The most important bits are going to be the bolt and barrel though. Check the ENTIRE barrel for markings, however faint.

Also, pull the bolt from the carrier, and check it for markings.

Report back once you've done this.

mspiegle
04-12-2011, 4:45 PM
Did you look on the barrel to see if the brand is stamped on it?

Didn't see anything on the barrel... not even faint markings that could have been a stamp at some point.

mspiegle
04-12-2011, 4:46 PM
The fact that the upper is missing the forge stamp entirely is a little worrisome. It could be a cast upper. If that's the case, the entire upper group is probably low-end to garbage.

The most important bits are going to be the bolt and barrel though. Check the ENTIRE barrel for markings, however faint.

Also, pull the bolt from the carrier, and check it for markings.

Report back once you've done this.

I didn't notice anything on the bolt, but I didn't examine it as carefully. I'll do that and report back.

Thanks!

CHS
04-12-2011, 5:34 PM
To be brutally honest, when the barrel, upper, AND bolt are all devoid of any markings at all, that's usually a bad sign of a very low-end brand.

Unfortunately, because of a lack of markings, even if it IS a quality upper, you have no way of knowing who it was made by.

HighLander51
04-12-2011, 5:35 PM
The chambering is stamped on the barrel, check that first.

mspiegle
04-12-2011, 9:13 PM
Ok, I might have a problem...

There are no stampings whatsoever on any visible part of the barrel or bolt/carrier group. Furthermore, after looking at pictures online of various bolt/carrier groups, I have determined that I have an M-16 bolt/carrier group. To my knowledge, this is bad. What do I do with it?

I'm using the following image as a reference. Mine is identical to the M-16:
http://ar15barrels.com/tech/ar15carriers.jpg

Sydwaiz
04-12-2011, 9:17 PM
Nothing bad about having an M-16 bolt carrier. It's legal to own so don't worry.
And I have never heard of a cast upper except for those home build Tannery shop ones that I don't think any company uses for actual production. I would suspect Model 1 Sales or JT distributing. Far from top tier but many people use them with great success as plinking range guns.

More than likely, the forge code may have been ground off so it can be sold as a cosmetic second or blem and not mistaken for something else. I have an old Cole Valley Eagle Arms A2 upper where the forge code was shaved off. These were actually made by Armalite but sold as a cheaper version.

Last I checked, even Olympus and DPMS still had markings on the barrels at least.

mspiegle
04-12-2011, 9:54 PM
Nothing bad about having an M-16 bolt carrier. It's legal to own so don't worry.
And I have never heard of a cast upper except for those home build Tannery shop ones that I don't think any company uses for actual production. I would suspect Model 1 Sales or JT distributing. Far from top tier but many people use them with great success as plinking range guns.

More than likely, the forge code may have been ground off so it can be sold as a cosmetic second or blem and not mistaken for something else. I have an old Cole Valley Eagle Arms A2 upper where the forge code was shaved off. These were actually made by Armalite but sold as a cheaper version.

Last I checked, even Olympus and DPMS still had markings on the barrels at least.

Phew... Just read the same thing in a few other places. Thanks!

I'm thinking of taking this thing down to a local specialist to get their opinion on it. I already bought the thing, so as long as it isn't a total piece of junk, I can use it as a plinker.



Also, pull the bolt from the carrier, and check it for markings.


Just pulled it. It's pretty dirty, but no markings.

dieselpower
04-12-2011, 11:46 PM
No marks at all,
2005
HBAR
I bet the FA BCG is aftermarket and not stock, few if any low ends were installing FA BCGS.
The best case "ASA", worse case "Hesse". Either way, if it shoots, dont worry about it.

ASA shut down for awhile, but they are back up now. Probably under new management or something like that. They were decent manufactures who anodized, did test fire every rifle, but that was about it. The didnt mark all their stuff. Keyhole, Cardinal and Splintered A were common, but I remember no upper markings too.

Hesse painted instead of anodizing, but did anodize too. They too did no testing at all....even if they say they did. They used blems and unmarked uppers, but the uppers were like UGLY.

The fact yours is anodized, generally smooth I say its an ASA. I can see some blems, but not like I remember Hesse, Vulcan and Blackthorn selling.

Shoot it.


EDIT, if you are sure it came with a M16 BCG..its a ASA. I am sorta remembering them getting closed by ATF for things like that...I could be wrong. I doubt Hesse would be doing FA BCGs. 2005 was just before the ATF said FA BCGs were ok in AR15s.

ChrisTKHarris
04-13-2011, 12:03 AM
Scrap it and get yourself a BCM. :)

mspiegle
04-13-2011, 9:53 AM
EDIT, if you are sure it came with a M16 BCG..its a ASA. I am sorta remembering them getting closed by ATF for things like that...I could be wrong. I doubt Hesse would be doing FA BCGs. 2005 was just before the ATF said FA BCGs were ok in AR15s.

I didn't buy the upper new. I bought it from someone for a couple hundred bucks in '07 or '08. I really have no idea how old it is. It could have been 1, 5, 10+ years old for all I know. (mental note to self, ask more questions next time I buy something like this).

Thanks for the info!

mspiegle
04-13-2011, 9:53 AM
Scrap it and get yourself a BCM. :)

The 2nd lower will be built into something a little more elegant =)

rattlesnake_nm
04-13-2011, 10:22 AM
It looks like there is a line seperating 2 halfs. Kinda like 2 molds. That would indicate the upper is cast, wouldn't it?

bjl333
04-13-2011, 10:28 AM
I didn't buy the upper new. I bought it from someone for a couple hundred bucks in '07 or '08. I really have no idea how old it is. It could have been 1, 5, 10+ years old for all I know. (mental note to self, ask more questions next time I buy something like this).

Thanks for the info!

Check for headspeace. If it checks out go and blast it!!!

AK4me
04-13-2011, 10:38 AM
It looks like there is a line seperating 2 halfs. Kinda like 2 molds. That would indicate the upper is cast, wouldn't it?

Where are you seeing this line?

motorwerks
04-13-2011, 11:14 AM
its worthless send it to me. :D

dieselpower
04-13-2011, 11:23 AM
Where are you seeing this line?

forward under side of the carry handle. Its flashing I think.

I see no issue with using this upper as is. I have an old Eagle HBAR with no markings on it. I installed it on a CMMG upper. The upper itself is like the lower. Its just a place holder for the BCG as is a lower a place holder for the LPK. If the rifle fires and the point of impact is within your standards...its fine.

People are way way way too concerned with name brands on things that don't matter.

Would I buy this if other options where available, No. Would I toss it out..F-NO! I wouldn't be loading higher then 62gr .223 in it. Never 5.56 or anything higher than normal.

just my 2C

Lead Waster
04-13-2011, 11:39 AM
Why not just put the rifle together and shoot it? (I mean assuming there are no defects obviously!). Who cares who made it?

surfNshoot
04-13-2011, 12:37 PM
couldn't agree more. Who really cares what it is. if you pull the trigger and it goes bang reliably, just use it. my carbine is a bushmaster m4 style upper that I picked up for $200. it goes bang every time and puts the bullet right where I aimed it. I don't plan on selling it so I could care less about the details.

forward under side of the carry handle. Its flashing I think.

I see no issue with using this upper as is. I have an old Eagle HBAR with no markings on it. I installed it on a CMMG upper. The upper itself is like the lower. Its just a place holder for the BCG as is a lower a place holder for the LPK. If the rifle fires and the point of impact is within your standards...its fine.

People are way way way too concerned with name brands on things that don't matter.

Would I buy this if other options where available, No. Would I toss it out..F-NO! I wouldn't be loading higher then 62gr .223 in it. Never 5.56 or anything higher than normal.

just my 2C

CHS
04-13-2011, 1:14 PM
couldn't agree more. Who really cares what it is. if you pull the trigger and it goes bang reliably, just use it. my carbine is a bushmaster m4 style upper that I picked up for $200. it goes bang every time and puts the bullet right where I aimed it. I don't plan on selling it so I could care less about the details.

The difference is that you know exactly who made your upper. No one knows who made this guys.

It could be Colt quality, it could blow up on the first round.

It's probably fine, yes. But there certainly is valid reason to worry and care about where it came from. You can't just dismiss it entirely because YOUR bushmaster works.

surfNshoot
04-13-2011, 5:43 PM
^^^^^. If this thread thread was titled " Is this safe to shoot?" I 100% agree with you.

rattlesnake_nm
04-13-2011, 5:49 PM
I honestly think it is olympic arms. But how in the hell should I know for sure? I think dpms was mass producing cast junk around that time as well. I'd shoot it. My first ar was a cast a2 non chrome lined olympic. I did not shoot as many rounds and abuse my weapons as I do now, so it worked out well. You can always make a complete rifle and try to get $700 for it. I wouldn't worry about headspace or it being safe or not. If it will chamber a round normally go shoot it.

dieselpower
04-13-2011, 6:23 PM
you are probably right. back in the day people thought nothing of unmarked firearms. Its only now that the consumer expect all this NATO, CM HP, MPI chamber markings that we look down on an unmarked one.

If that upper is as old as you think, its not uncommon to find them unmarked.

mspiegle
04-17-2011, 5:58 AM
Update!

I took the upper down to RifleGear yesterday and had it inspected. They thought it could have been a Bushmaster or Olympic. Aside from a sad-looking crush washer (now replaced) under my flash hider, they thought it looked good enough to shoot. I ended up plunking down some cash to get the rest of the parts necessary to complete the rifle.

Before I got home, I stopped off at Martin Retting's to get a cleaning kit, snap caps, and a Lyman punch set. When I got home, I went to town on the upper and cleaned everything I could get to. After I finished, I called up a buddy of mine who is very experienced with ARs, and I went over to his place to put the whole thing together. Here's the result:

http://pix.nauticaltech.com/AR-15/CRW_2521.jpg

I WOULD be sleeping at the doors of my local range waiting for them to open, but my girlfriend wants to be there for the first shot. She gets off work in the evening, so I'm going to hunt for a good gun case and become a CGN/CGF member :)

Thanks everyone!