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View Full Version : Which 5.56 AR Upper Should I Buy?


MasterYong
05-18-2011, 3:43 PM
Allow me to preface my question with this:

I got into black rifles during the Obama Madness black rifle scare. The black rifle scare appears to have subsided quite a bit, though unfortunately Obama Madness lives on.

I bought several uppers during the rush, and in the end, none of them are really what I want. I enjoy each rifle I built, but I learned so much during the whole process that I feel more comfortable buying a higher-end upper that is better suited to my tastes.

The uppers I have:
-DPMS Sweet 16 .223
-Sabre Defense (not sure model name, not at home) with 24" fluted bull barrel. .223
-DPMS A2-style upper with carrying handle, arctic guards, etc. .223
-AR57 upper. 5.7x28mm

The biggest problem? None of them are 5.56NATO. I admit that I was confused when I bought the 3 .223 uppers, thinking that .223 was like .308 where the civilian version will take NATO pressures, but not necessarily the other way around. I was MUCH more familiar with .308 weapons than .223 weapons and made that mistake. Luckily, I've never owned any 5.56NATO ammo, so I discovered my mistake months later (probably while reading CalGuns LOL) and I never actually shot any 5.56NATO through my .223 Rem chambered uppers. Yes, BTW, I've checked and none of them have the "wylde" chamber.

So, FIRST REQUIREMENT for the new upper:
MUST BE 5.56NATO

Of the three .223 uppers I do have, I already know I don't like the A2. At. All. Nada.

So, SECOND REQUIREMENT for the new upper:
Flat-top. That fixed carrying handle limits my optics and sights options too much.

I also don't like how heavy the DPMS and Saber Defense uppers are (making the rifles front-heavy quite a bit more than they should be).

So, THIRD REQUIREMENT for the new upper:
Not unnecessarily heavy. Doesn't need to be "ultralight" so let's not sacrifice accuracy a whole lot for weight reduction, pencil barrel isn't a must for example, but 24" fluted bull barrels are a bit much IMHO.

I would also prefer that the upper have a threaded barrel, so that my options are open. Also, I prefer to rock featureless. I recently got the 2 for 1 hammerhead deal Exile Machine has going on, and ordered an ACE ARUL-E stock to use in the type III configuration. These will likely be used on this build.

So, FOURTH REQUIREMENT for new upper:
MUST have threaded barrel and no FH. Needs a CA-compliant muzzle device or and easily-removable non CA-compliant device. Preferably a decent MB.

I'd like the barrel to be longer than 16". I don't know a whole lot about twist rates or where a barrel length really starts to affect accuracy on a 5.56NATO barrel, but I want it to be short enough to not be unnecessarily heavy, but long enough to reach out to a decent distance for a 5.56NATO. (For example, I've heard for .308 rifles that there isn't a whole lot of use of an 18" barrel, because the real difference between 16" and longer barrels is at the 20" mark or so. Don't know if that's true, but you get the idea).

So, FIFTH REQUIREMENT for new upper:
Longer than 16" barrel, and barrel that better marries weight with accuracy than a heavy bull barrel does.

I want rails. There. I said it. (And yes I know it doesn't always really mesh with my lightweight desires). It is not for you to ask why.

SIXTH REQUIREMENT:
:cool2:Rails.:cool2:

Do I care about DI or Piston? NO. I DO however care about out-of-the-box reliability and ability to eat ANYTHING. All my other uppers have that (well, they eat anything .223 or 5.7x28mm).

This is not going to be a safe queen. Many of my rifles are, yes, but I'm really looking to replace my current "beater" AR (the one that I don't mind tossing in the dirt during riverbed trips). The beater is: DPMS Sweet 16 upper, A2 stock, MMG. So, durability is a must (though I understand most uppers meet this requirement).

REQUIREMENT NUMBER SEVEN:
Durable.

Barrel twist rate. I don't really know what I'm doing here. Looking for something that will eat most any common ammo. I understand of course there will be a "sweet spot" for given twist rates in terms of bullet weights for the greatest accuracy, but let's look at something that has the best ability to shoot as many different bullet weights as possible while still providing decent accuracy (not worried about a sub-MOA setup here, unless of course that's possible with the above requirements LOL).

So, EIGHTH REQUIREMENT for the new upper:
The barrel must have a twist rate. :rofl:

Intended use?

I don't hunt, though I may one day (too much to do! Too little time!). Likely this wont be a hunter, but you never know. Let's assume it's for punching paper, killing zombies, the impending SHTF that MUST be coming due to all the threads about it (lulz), and other worst-case scenarios. Admittedly, mostly as a range toy. Stupid suburban life. :43:

So, I hope I gave enough info for people to give their own opinions. Sorry for the goofy format to the post, I'm in a goofy mood. ;)

...and yes, I realize I can build my own, but I don't have the tools and just don't feel like it. I'm pretty handy, but I'd rather buy a completed upper at this point, even if I pay someone else to build it custom.

[Also, WTF happened to Addax Tactical? I was going to order from them months ago back when this was fresh in my mind, but I realized I didn't know enough to be sure I was getting what I really wanted. They had a huge selection of uppers on their website at the time, including awesome side-charging options (I've never been able to get totally past the standard charging handles on ARs. Probably because I learned to shoot on an M1A.). Now, they have very, very few options. They still making uppers? Their website, when compared to the past, darn-near makes it look like they're just trying to clear out inventory!]

evollep3
05-18-2011, 4:08 PM
my Friend PSW upper or LWRC upper will solve all your problems

glock_this
05-18-2011, 4:11 PM
to many requirements there to read :) so I will just throw out one of my fav brands to consider YHM (http://yankeehillmachine.com/store/uppers.html)

they meet several requirements for what you want based on what I skimmed you posted

pointedstick
05-18-2011, 4:36 PM
http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XSTU5050MLSDC&name=Spikes+Tactical+14.5%22+Lightweight+5.56%2f.2 23+DynaComp+Upper+Receiver&groupid=301&search=spikes

Light weight. Muzzle break. High-quality. Includes an ST-T2 buffer. $550 and free shipping. No rails though, but you could conceivably put some on the MOE handguard it comes with. I have one of their $480 lightweight uppers and I love the hell out of it.

MasterYong
05-18-2011, 4:52 PM
http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XSTU5050MLSDC&name=Spikes+Tactical+14.5%22+Lightweight+5.56%2f.2 23+DynaComp+Upper+Receiver&groupid=301&search=spikes

Light weight. Muzzle break. High-quality. Includes an ST-T2 buffer. $550 and free shipping. No rails though, but you could conceivably put some on the MOE handguard it comes with. I have one of their $480 lightweight uppers and I love the hell out of it.

I'm looking for something a bit on the higher-end.

I only say this is response to your post because I'd come under the impression from various threads around here that spikes was... iffy at times.

Addax
05-18-2011, 4:55 PM
[Also, WTF happened to Addax Tactical? I was going to order from them months ago back when this was fresh in my mind, but I realized I didn't know enough to be sure I was getting what I really wanted. They had a huge selection of uppers on their website at the time, including awesome side-charging options (I've never been able to get totally past the standard charging handles on ARs. Probably because I learned to shoot on an M1A.). Now, they have very, very few options. They still making uppers? Their website, when compared to the past, darn-near makes it look like they're just trying to clear out inventory!]

We are currently in the process of revamping our website, and we will be releasing a whole new line of uppers and rifles this summer.

If you want a side charging upper, just call us, or come by the shop if you are in the area, and we will be happy to spec. one out for you.

SuperSet
05-18-2011, 5:16 PM
Your requirements fit most of the 16" uppers out there today. You should give Riflegear a call about that VTAC TRX 16" uppers and buy the muzzle brake that you want for them to switch out, instead of the FH.

MasterYong
05-18-2011, 5:30 PM
We are currently in the process of revamping our website, and we will be releasing a whole new line of uppers and rifles this summer.

If you want a side charging upper, just call us, or come by the shop if you are in the area, and we will be happy to spec. one out for you.

Mmmmmmm... Side-charging.... :drool:

MasterYong
05-19-2011, 12:54 PM
Bumpty-bump.

tomd1584
05-19-2011, 1:06 PM
IMO, I'd get either a DD or BCM 16" lightweight midlength with a 12" DD light rail.

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/v/vspfiles/photos/BCM-URG-MID-16LW%20DDL12-2.jpg

Colt-45
05-19-2011, 1:08 PM
LWRC or Noveske :D


problem solved.

glock_this
05-19-2011, 1:14 PM
YHM 5.56mm Lightweight Specter models have all of your needs. You didn't say if you wanted rifle or carbine length guards/rails

http://yankeehill.bizland.com/store/media/Top_End_Specter_LW_big.jpg

http://yankeehill.bizland.com/store/media/Top_End_Specter_big.jpg

pdugan6
05-19-2011, 1:21 PM
Larue stealth uppers

http://stores.homestead.com/Laruetactical/catalog/StealthUpperFamily.JPG

Q
05-19-2011, 1:30 PM
More than 16- jp rifle or mk12 clone upper.
16- sr15e3 upper.

NorCalAthlete
05-19-2011, 2:03 PM
We are currently in the process of revamping our website, and we will be releasing a whole new line of uppers and rifles this summer.

If you want a side charging upper, just call us, or come by the shop if you are in the area, and we will be happy to spec. one out for you.

Side charging w/ THIS (https://www.axtsweapons.com/products/AX556) or THIS (https://www.axtsweapons.com/products/A-DAC-F) is gonna be my next 5.56 build I think...

Addax - are you guys making a side charger in 7.62x51/.308 by any chance....???? :D

johndoe2150
05-19-2011, 3:49 PM
Lwrc m6a3 16-18 in might fit the bill. If you think you may want to hunt remember 5.56 cant hunt deer and other game iirc in ca. 6.8 would work for that. they are solid uppers mine has 1000 + rounds flawless.

@norcalathlete lwrc makes a side charging 7.62 called the reaper, I dont know about anyone else, but I would imagine it would be cheaper to rock that then to try to accurize an m1a to those levels

NorCalAthlete
05-19-2011, 5:50 PM
Lwrc m6a3 16-18 in might fit the bill. If you think you may want to hunt remember 5.56 cant hunt deer and other game iirc in ca. 6.8 would work for that. they are solid uppers mine has 1000 + rounds flawless.

@norcalathlete lwrc makes a side charging 7.62 called the reaper, I dont know about anyone else, but I would imagine it would be cheaper to rock that then to try to accurize an m1a to those levels

See my other thread on .308 AR build here (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=419614&page=4). Not to threadjack too much but I'm aware of the REPR, and looking at it as a possibility for my next purchase. A side charging 5.56 upper, on the other hand....hehehehe.

MasterYong
05-20-2011, 9:58 AM
Lookin at this (tho may still call addax): http://yankeehillmachine.com/store/product393.html

762.DEFENSE
05-20-2011, 12:51 PM
YHM 5.56mm Lightweight Specter models have all of your needs. You didn't say if you wanted rifle or carbine length guards/rails

http://yankeehill.bizland.com/store/media/Top_End_Specter_LW_big.jpg

http://yankeehill.bizland.com/store/media/Top_End_Specter_big.jpg

+1 for YHM

Wes
05-20-2011, 3:31 PM
+1 for YHM

+2 for YHM

nrvnqsrxk
05-20-2011, 3:39 PM
I think somewhere in your essay you said you wanted a "beater" rifle. And given your requirements it sounds like you're like the prime candidate for a mid-length system. Not sure about why you're so against a 16" barrel, but I'd recommend

Noveske (http://noveskerifleworks.com/cgi-bin/imcart/display.cgi?cat=124)

Centurion Arms MK12 Mod1 Upper (http://www.centurionarms.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=138)

BCM (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/SPR-Mk-12-Upper-Receiver-Half-Groups-s/131.htm)

They're 1:7 twist, good w/ 55gr, optimized for 77g. Differences between bullet performance is marginal, and irrelevant since this is your "beater" rifle and not your 1000m precision build.

pointedstick
05-21-2011, 5:13 PM
I'm looking for something a bit on the higher-end.

I only say this is response to your post because I'd come under the impression from various threads around here that spikes was... iffy at times.

I'm hardly an expert, but Spikes gets a lot of love on Arfcom (almost as much as BCM) and I've got one of the products I linked you to. It's wonderful. Very light weight, a high-quality BCG, the charging handle is as smooth as butter, and the recoil is almost negligible with the included ST-T2 buffer. In the interest of full disclosure, mine had slightly mis-aligned feed ramps that caused a single jam (out of more than 1500 rounds), but Spikes fixed it up at no charge. I'd definitely buy another.

a1fabweld
05-21-2011, 7:36 PM
You need to reference the Holy grail, the ultimate end all of AR confusion... get ready... for... "THE CHART!" :rofl:

OHW
05-22-2011, 1:48 PM
The only thing to do would be buy a chamber reamer. Make all three rifles .556. Sell the reamer for a small loss. Done deal,
The rest of your rifles are .556 capable. Even the barrel. Just not the chamber. Couple of hand turns and the throat is a bit deeper and there you go.

nitroxdiver
05-22-2011, 3:15 PM
I like OHW's suggestion above best.

Or, how about a Danieal Defense DD M4 V3 Light weight?

Bigbird19
05-22-2011, 3:27 PM
Larue Stealth
LWRC