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dw149a
12-09-2011, 3:23 PM
Yesterday, I asked the question of weather or not a certain brand of AR was good or not. There was some good feedback! It occurred to me after reading the responses that I need to ask a better question: "What are the attributes of a quality AR15 rifle/carbine?" I'm referring to the gun itself, not the furniture or finish, nor the make & model. Just the working parts of the gun. Barrel, upper, lower receiver, trigger group, bolt carrier group and other necessary internals, etc. What should we all be looking for in terms of a quality AR?
Your thoughts?

loosewreck
12-09-2011, 3:46 PM
IBTL (L meaning "The List"), OP, sounds like you mean well, but you do know what you're starting right? :popcorn:

baih777
12-09-2011, 3:52 PM
Simplicity,
You can remove the bolt with no tools.
Availability of parts. Numerous suppliers.
Replacement parts are not expensive.
Accessories ? Abundent.
numerous configurations.

Munny$hot
12-09-2011, 4:10 PM
Basically the material, machining processes, testing done to the parts, fit/function, and coating/type of anno.

NorCalK9.com
12-09-2011, 4:17 PM
Oh my goodness, I think ive won the calguns lottery this week!
Im not gonna bite though.
1 n only thing I truly LOVE about AR's...... Is the accurasy!

Ziggy91
12-09-2011, 4:17 PM
I'll tell you why I bought mine:
Accessories, accessories, accessories...

No seriously, I like how there's nobody around that has my setup on their AR.

Let's see, what else...
Maintenance is easy,
it's accurate,
reliable, (don't listen to bad myths)
cheap to shoot,
and so on...

As far as a good quality AR should be...
I'm not too sure. Honesty, if the machine cut reciever doesn't slice me with it's edges then I'm happy at the range. I think if anything should be measured in quality with an AR, it should be a good bolt carrier group, trigger, and barrel. The rest is up to you...

0331Marine
12-09-2011, 4:20 PM
The person using it......

Group 4
12-09-2011, 4:22 PM
big coolness factor

Beelzy
12-09-2011, 4:23 PM
What makes an AR "Good" is the fact you can shoot the living daylights out of it, go home
and put it away dirty and a year later when you dig it out to shoot again it works like the
last time you fired it.

Quinc
12-09-2011, 4:23 PM
The person using it......

^^^^^:cool:

vikingm03
12-09-2011, 4:35 PM
lol at everyone reading only the thread title.

The op wants to know how to pick a good ar from a bad ar, NOT the qualities of the ar platform.

wash
12-09-2011, 4:49 PM
In general, most AR parts either work or they don't.

Upper receivers, lowers, stocks, magazines, lower parts kits, etc.

Once you have good parts (as in working and in spec), they keep on working.

The heart of the system is the barrel/bolt/bolt carrier combination.

A good barrel will be accurate and have a long service life.

A good bolt will have proper headspace, proper metallurgy and the extractor will work reliably, life span for a good bolt should be between 4,000 and 50,000 rounds depending on the type of usage.

A good bolt carrier ~holds it all together. The most critical part is the gas key, it has to be held tight and stay that way to maintain alignment with the gas tube. Since gas from the barrel goes in to the bolt carrier, at least the inside of the carrier should be chrome lined, melonized or otherwise coated to prevent erosion and corrosion. The bore of the carrier should be straight too, that will maintain alignment between the barrel and bolt.

If the heart is made of good parts and the rest of it works, chances are your AR will run well and keep running well for a long time.

It's entirely acceptable to spend a little extra for those three parts and settle for "good enough" on everything else because good enough means it works.

TwoAsoapbox
12-09-2011, 4:54 PM
In my opinion go with what is popular and comes well recommended by others. Do this for two reasons, one: those companies will most likely stand the test of time, and two: people buy and use those brands for a reason, they just work. Companies like Daniel Defense, Larue, BCM, Rock River, Stag, Bushmaster, Magpul and so on, you cant go wrong with these. The coolest thing about building your own AR is that you can mix and match the parts making it custom and unique. My carbine has a STAG lower and LPK with an ambi-safety and anti creep pins. The furniture is all Magpul and the upper/BCG and CH are BCM. My predator/target gun is a Stag lower, DD parts kit, Hogue grip, ACE buttstock, RRA 2-stage trigger and is topped with a Bushmaster Predator upper. I have a 10x Leupold on it mounted with an AR Stoner scope mount and a Harris bipod. Its about the most bastardized rifle you'll find but it sure was fun to build and it shoots like a dream. Building a qulity AR will cost a chunk of change but it will pay off in the long run.

ARs are really quite simple. The fact that you can build one (the lower for sure) on your coffee table with a few simple tools is a testament to this fact. You can get as technical as you want when it comes to internal workings but the point Im making is simply stick with good companies and the parts will be inherently high quality and function well. Focus on sound maintenance of a quality, well built rifle and it will serve you well for decades.

dw149a
12-09-2011, 5:02 PM
lol at everyone reading only the thread title.

The op wants to know how to pick a good ar from a bad ar, NOT the qualities of the ar platform.

Thank You!!

dw149a
12-09-2011, 5:05 PM
In general, most AR parts either work or they don't.

Upper receivers, lowers, stocks, magazines, lower parts kits, etc.

Once you have good parts (as in working and in spec), they keep on working.

The heart of the system is the barrel/bolt/bolt carrier combination.

A good barrel will be accurate and have a long service life.

A good bolt will have proper headspace, proper metallurgy and the extractor will work reliably, life span for a good bolt should be between 4,000 and 50,000 rounds depending on the type of usage.

A good bolt carrier ~holds it all together. The most critical part is the gas key, it has to be held tight and stay that way to maintain alignment with the gas tube. Since gas from the barrel goes in to the bolt carrier, at least the inside of the carrier should be chrome lined, melonized or otherwise coated to prevent erosion and corrosion. The bore of the carrier should be straight too, that will maintain alignment between the barrel and bolt.

If the heart is made of good parts and the rest of it works, chances are your AR will run well and keep running well for a long time.

It's entirely acceptable to spend a little extra for those three parts and settle for "good enough" on everything else because good enough means it works.

So, how do we determine if the parts we have selected are of good quality manufacture? is there some kind of way for a consumer/user to measure this for him/herself without any of the "marketing inspired hyperbole"?

dw149a
12-09-2011, 5:09 PM
IBTL (L meaning "The List"), OP, sounds like you mean well, but you do know what you're starting right? :popcorn:

Hopefully, Ive started something that leads to some legitimate insight and useful application instead of a giant *issing match about who's got the biggest (add term of your choice here)!

GSwain
12-09-2011, 5:19 PM
As I understand it, the main things that will lend to your accuracy or "quality" of the build will mainly be the barrel and BCG. there will be other factors that affect it, like quality of the upper reciever, trigger, scope, etc. but the 2 main parts are BCG and barrel. Its kinda hard to say what is a good barrel and isnt though.

Some manufacturers will make 1 out of 10 barrels that are superb because they spend less money on Quality control. Some people will swear by these barrels, some will curse them.

some manufactuers spend a TON of money on QC, their barrels will cost quite a bit more, everyone swears by them that has them, people happy with the cheap barrels knock them for spending more money than necessary.

That is about as much insight as i can provide, search function is your friend as well as just crusising the forums.

rojocorsa
12-09-2011, 5:20 PM
"Good" ARs will at least meet minimum gov't standards, aka done to "milspec."

Bad ones don't even meet this minimum standard. The closest thing to an M-4 service rifle there is right now is technically the Colt 6920, of which its only differences are the lack of select-fire capabilities and a 16"bbl vs a 14.5". For this reason, many consider this Colt to be the benchmark for ARs today.

Mind you, talking about this issue creates lots of controversy and butt-hurt.

LoooongGun
12-09-2011, 5:24 PM
It's an American name. . . Looong.

LoooongGun
12-09-2011, 5:36 PM
I have 5 AR-s, all in "original" caliber. I want to re-barrel one of them. What do you suggest? A caliber to match other non-AR guns I have, or something larger?
lol at everyone reading only the thread title.

The op wants to know how to pick a good ar from a bad ar, NOT the qualities of the ar platform.

C4iGrant
12-09-2011, 6:22 PM
If we take the personal aspect out of the equation and make the assumption that we are talking about a DEFENSIVE AR, there is really only one way to measure one companies parts and installation against another's. That is the adherence to a US Govt document called the Technical Data Package (TDP). This document defines how a fighting weapon is to be built right down to the thickness of the chrome in the barrel.

Currently, there are only two companies that hold the TDP and only one of them sells guns to the consumer. They are FNH and Colt.

With the above out of the way, several companies get honorable mention (as they follow what the TDP calls out). Some of these companies would be:

LMT
KAC
BCM
DD
Noveske


Choose any of the above companies and you will be doing well IMHO.



C4

nani
12-09-2011, 7:00 PM
When I was researching ARs, I found this thread to be very helpful:

So you want to buy an AR-15, huh? (http://forums.officer.com/forums/showthread.php?81462-So-you-want-to-buy-an-AR-15-huh)

wash
12-09-2011, 7:13 PM
Companies get a reputation for doing the right thing or doing the wrong thing.

Mil-spec can be good or bad, a low bidder can hit mil-spec but that might not be as good as a premium part.

Colt and FN can and do make good parts but they are in no way the best available, despite the prices that they can command.

If you are going for reliability, choose parts based on their reputation for durability, quality control and adherence to specifications (military or otherwise).

If you are going for accuracy, choose parts based on their reputation for accuracy or what you know will work for your shooting style.

If you are going for convenience or ergonomics, just make sure the parts don't have a reputation for causing problems.

Lastly, resist the temptation to reinvent the AR, deviating too far in multiple directions can leave you with a gun that has many small issues that result in a whole gun that doesn't run quite right. Keep it simple and it's hard to go wrong.

vikingm03
12-09-2011, 8:08 PM
I have 5 AR-s, all in "original" caliber. I want to re-barrel one of them. What do you suggest? A caliber to match other non-AR guns I have, or something larger?

Well, if you want something difference then go for it! That is one of the many great things about ARs, you can change caliber with ease. However for me, when im buying a new gun, i try and keep it a caliber that i have already since i reload and dont want that many difference calibers to mess with. You will shoot the gun more if you have that ammo constantly available, reloading or not.

As for the quality of the AR parts, im no expert but i would guess the two biggest things you pay for are the quality of the metal and the quality control. I would say pick a budget and then try and get the most hyped parts for that budget. I dont know of any site that tests individual parts so hype might be all you have to go on :(

Drivedabizness
12-09-2011, 8:18 PM
In general, most AR parts either work or they don't.

Upper receivers, lowers, stocks, magazines, lower parts kits, etc.

Once you have good parts (as in working and in spec), they keep on working.

The heart of the system is the barrel/bolt/bolt carrier combination.

A good barrel will be accurate and have a long service life.

A good bolt will have proper headspace, proper metallurgy and the extractor will work reliably, life span for a good bolt should be between 4,000 and 50,000 rounds depending on the type of usage.

A good bolt carrier ~holds it all together. The most critical part is the gas key, it has to be held tight and stay that way to maintain alignment with the gas tube. Since gas from the barrel goes in to the bolt carrier, at least the inside of the carrier should be chrome lined, melonized or otherwise coated to prevent erosion and corrosion. The bore of the carrier should be straight too, that will maintain alignment between the barrel and bolt.

If the heart is made of good parts and the rest of it works, chances are your AR will run well and keep running well for a long time.

It's entirely acceptable to spend a little extra for those three parts and settle for "good enough" on everything else because good enough means it works.

I'm sorry but 4,000 rounds life = EPIC FAIL

Care to edit?

SFCRoOKs
12-09-2011, 8:28 PM
bolt and barrel are the items you don't ant to skimp on