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View Full Version : Looking for some AR lower recommendations


Liberty Rules
12-05-2006, 9:12 AM
I admit that I do not want to read through 5 gazillion search results for OLL's. That, and my issue is probably a little different than other posts, at least the ones I've read in the past.

Some points to frame my question further: I am looking to buy a few additional OLL AR receivers. Yes, I already have a few. My thinking is that I don't want to be sitting around five or ten years from now wishing that I could have bought an Acme Z-15 before it was banned by President Chelsea Clinton. I don't need EVERY brand--I'm not building an ark--but if there is a receiver which is so good that it would be a shame not to have one, then I want to look at it. I am not in the ramen or PBJ for every meal stage of my life so price is not really the consideration. (I am not limited to a budget of $95.99 on the easy payment plan.)

This is more of a quality question than anything else. I would find it helpful, if you do comment, that you cite the basis for your opinion (better finish, tighter tolerances, etc.). For instance, I was thinking that a POF upper in the future would go great with a POF lower (the finishes would match). That would be a reason to get a POF lower and store it in the safe for a rainy day.

Thanks for your input.

bwiese
12-05-2006, 9:21 AM
Um, there may be more production-run-to-production-run variation between lowers of a given brand than across brands sometimes.

Buying Brand XYZ lower now isn't a huge guarantee that buying XYZ upper in the future will match color/texturewise (or, vice versa). Hell, Colt has changed from lighter grey to darker grey (almost w/hint of green) to shinier black over the years. A 1990 Colt lower with a 2000 Colt upper will not match.

Some folks have *****ed about Stags, others say they look great. Same for DoubleStar, etc.

All lowers, with the exception of Vulcan, will produce 100% reliable, accurate rifles.

[I do hear repeated comments that Rock River uppers have really tight fits on their, and others, lowers.]

Bottom line: if you want more lowers, get 'em. There will be no guarantees that they will look 100% perfect in match with uppers to be acquired in the future.

If you really wanna be anal, get stripped uppers and lowers at the same time, in matched pairs, and ask the vendors to select for color/finish matching.

Some lack of matching in texture (if color is close) can be covered up by wiping down & 'marinating' your uppers & lowers in BreakFreeCLP, and then keeping them warm (120deg) in your oven overnight.

ocabj
12-05-2006, 9:47 AM
Obviously, the best bet would be to buy the same lower and upper of the same manufacturer if you were buying blindly and wanted to get the same finish. But as bwiese pointed, even then lot to lot finishes of the same manufacturer will also vary.

I don't know why people are so concerned about matching the finishes. It doesn't affect the function and it's not 'ugly' or displeasing to the eye, at least to me.

Here's some examples of mismatched finishes with my Colts and other non-Colt uppers (click on each image for high res):

Colt lower and White Oak upper:

http://www.ocabj.net/gallery/albums/sr_gun_colt_woa/IMG_4472_altered.sized.jpg (http://www.ocabj.net/gallery/albums/sr_gun_colt_woa/IMG_4472_altered.jpg)

Colt lower with another White Oak upper:
http://www.ocabj.net/gallery/albums/mk12mod1_temp/IMG_4171_altered.sized.jpg (http://www.ocabj.net/gallery/albums/mk12mod1_temp/IMG_4171_altered.jpg)

Please note lowers in pictures are not OLLs. They are SB23 listed lowers and registered AWs.

I think if you really, really, really wanted matching finishes between your lower and upper, you'd Duracoat them both (or otherwise refinish them).

xrMike
12-05-2006, 10:07 AM
I've never understood the concern about "matching finish" between upper and lower... Are you going to spend all of your time looking at the thing, or shooting it? :D I'll spend top dollar to get good quality, but "performance" will always trump "looks" for me.

You've GOT to get at least one mega, MeGa, MEGA!

Liberty Rules
12-05-2006, 10:11 AM
The input regarding matching finishes is well taken. Having seen different colors come out of different park tanks, I understand exactly what you are saying. I imagine the same is true of anodizing.

With that said, I don't want to give the impression from my POF example that I am concerned about coloration. I'm really not. I just happened to be at a show this past weekend and saw that the POF upper and lowers were really dark and that jumped to mind as an example. My bad if I gave the impression that I was shopping for shoes to go with my handbag. ;)

I have a number of choices for lowers and was wondering if there is any reason to prefer one or two over the others, and what those reasons are.

A vendor was charging over $400-500 for LMT lowers, complete. After subtracting out the additional parts, that's still more expensive than a lot of the other brands. The vendor said that they were "better" in some unspecified way. That got me thinking that it might be hogwash or there might be a difference, but I certainly have not done the Folgers Taste Test with them so I don't know.

I really don't want to have to buy one of each. haha

5968
12-05-2006, 10:14 AM
I've got two Stags. The difference in the finish of the lowers and uppers is minimal. I guess if it really bothered someone they could always Duracoat them.

xrMike
12-05-2006, 10:32 AM
With that said, I don't want to give the impression from my POF example that I am concerned about coloration. I'm really not. I just happened to be at a show this past weekend and saw that the POF upper and lowers were really dark and that jumped to mind as an example. My bad if I gave the impression that I was shopping for shoes to go with my handbag. ;)No, no, no, I wasn't trying to be critical of you. Just stating my opinion about the importance (to me) of color matching, that's all. Everybody's different and has the right to spend their money based on their own criteria...

The mega's are definitely some of the blackest lowers available out there. More than 1 person here has said (for that reason) if you're going to buy a mega lower and you're concerned about overall look, you should probably buy a mega receiver as well.

I've got a mega and a high standard, and initially the HS was much lighter in color, but after soaking in CLP, the HS is only slightly lighter than the mega now.

thedonger
12-05-2006, 10:43 AM
I think he actually want to know if their are any lowers others consider "MUST HAVES"

Ones that I have thought about getting while I can:

Bushmaster Carbon 15 lower - for a light weight build
Titanium Lower - Cool factor
CMX - Ceramic Metal Matrix Lower - very durable

But so far i've only purchased two Mega's

Liberty Rules
12-05-2006, 10:58 AM
No, no, no, I wasn't trying to be critical of you. Just stating my opinion about the importance (to me) of color matching, that's all. Everybody's different and has the right to spend their money based on their own criteria...

Don't sweat it Mike. I was typing my reply while you posted so I didn't even see your post until afterwards. I just saw things trending toward color considerations and wanted to move it away from that. I really wasn't thinking about the colors when I posted. I don't know what justifies the prices of some lowers (more than twice the cost of others). Is it tighter tolerances? Billet versus forged? Maybe something looks ratty (not just color). Are some not within milspec and require a hammer to get them to fit right? Is there a brand, or two, or three that are just "better" in some way than the others or do they all function exactly the same and it just comes down to how they look and the engraving?

The bottom line is that I like having accurate, well made weapons. I do not assume that higher price equals higher quality.

bwiese
12-05-2006, 11:06 AM
Well, Liberty, aside from finish, any brand of lower (except Vulcan, though some insist they are improving) will build a 100% reliable, accurate rifle. I also can't say I'm a fan of the Bushy Carbon-15 OLL receiver.

Get the lower you like at the price you like - barring the above exceptions, all are essentially equal if they're forged.

There are billet nonforged lowers also, but these are usu for fancy match rifles. They may not be as strong/durable as forged lowers, however the lower in an AR platform doesn't generally do much work or get much stress as it just holds things in place...