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Bogart
06-24-2012, 1:46 PM
I've purchased a new frontier lower, and will be pairing it with a blackthorne/vulcan polymer upper. Yes I know Vulcan's reputation is bad. But really wanted to try putting together a light gun. I'll update this thread with pics and full parts list once the items arrive. I'll follow that with a range report as well.

Anyone out there with polymer upper experiance?

hossb7
06-24-2012, 1:51 PM
No experience with them.

If you don't mind me asking, how much did it set you back?

Bogart
06-24-2012, 2:28 PM
Parts:
New Frontier Complete Lower Receiver (LW-15) $109
Polymer Upper Receiver (AR-PA-15) $75
Light Weight 16" Barrel $149
DPMS Carbine Length Carbon Fiber Handguard ($65)
Chrome Bolt Carrier Assembly ($135)
Charging Handle ($15)
gas tube + roll pin ($13)
Miculek Style Brake ($25)
Total (excluding Shipping/Tax/Dros)= $586

tomd1584
06-24-2012, 2:30 PM
good luck. you couldn't pay me to use a Vulcan/Hesse/Blackthorne part (or parts).

Bogart
06-24-2012, 4:47 PM
There wasn't A lot of choices when it came to polymer uppers. In fact this was the only one i could find. I'll let you know if it lives up to the hesse/blackthorne/vulcan name, or if it's actually decent.

marksmandowntown
06-24-2012, 6:19 PM
I'm looking forward to your range report. I've been thinking about doing something similar with a very light weight AR.

GettoPhilosopher
06-24-2012, 7:55 PM
How lightweight will it be? My lightest is 7.2 lbs with optic.

hossb7
06-24-2012, 8:01 PM
There wasn't A lot of choices when it came to polymer uppers. In fact this was the only one i could find. I'll let you know if it lives up to the hesse/blackthorne/vulcan name, or if it's actually decent.

Personally, I would have gone with your pick of upper (BCM was selling some blem'ed ones for cheap recently) and a lightweight 14.5" or 16" barrel. You can shave some serious weight and still have a rifle built with reputable parts.

As tomd1584 said, I wouldn't run vulcan/hesse even if you paid me to do it.

Peter.Steele
06-24-2012, 8:23 PM
Make sure you're wearing plenty of eye protection. Full face shield would be good, actually.

Maddog5150
06-25-2012, 12:23 AM
Yea... hold a stripped poly upper in one hand, a stripped aluminum in the other, how much weight is really saved for the risk of blackthorne?

Merc1138
06-25-2012, 12:28 AM
There is a reason that Heese/Vulcan/Blackthorne earned their reputation. You're really willing to trust them just to save an ounce? The bulk of the weight in an upper that can be trimmed is in the barrel, handguard, gas block anyway. A lightweight 14.5" barrel with a pinned FH or brake along with a CF handguard will save you more weight than you'll get just changing the receiver(and not having to deal with products from that company).

fullrearview
06-25-2012, 6:28 AM
There is a reason that Heese/Vulcan/Blackthorne earned their reputation. You're really willing to trust them just to save an ounce? The bulk of the weight in an upper that can be trimmed is in the barrel, handguard, gas block anyway. A lightweight 14.5" barrel with a pinned FH or brake along with a CF handguard will save you more weight than you'll get just changing the receiver(and not having to deal with products from that company).

This.

I just outfitted four rifles, two 11.5 5.56's and two .308's. The 11.5's have bull barrels, and after optics and an obnoxious surefire integrated light/handguard, it was noticeably heavier than the .308. The .308's will get a leupold scope and basic tac light. They will still be lighter.

Bogart
06-25-2012, 6:56 AM
OK. OK. Here's what I'm going to do. Going to grab a DPMS Lo Pro Upper Receiver as well, which should be light since no forward assist, deflector, or dust cover. I'll compare the two and see which one I go with. I'll post the weight differences so you can see that as well.

Edit: The DPMS Lo Pro Upper Receiver may not be much lighter than a normal receiver since it may have thicker walls. I'll keep researching.

iBkickinit
06-25-2012, 1:45 PM
I have built a few (4) with the Vulcan/Blackthorne uppers, all on Plum Crazy polymer lowers (awesome lowers BTW). I have never heard a good thing about the uppers, but couldn't find any specific bad reports either, so I tried my luck. No failures yet, among two ultralight ar-pistols (2lbs, 2oz's each complete. They are violent little guys!) and two ultralight rifles, maybe 1000 rounds between them so far. One thing I made sure to do was get the POF-USA roller-cam pins to keep the standard cam in the BCG from wearing out the polymer upper too fast. see here: http://www.pof-usa.com/parts/arparts.htm Works like a champ so far. Take it with a grain of salt, but I haven't had a failure yet. 4-for-4 isn't an amazing track record tho! I just figured if one does fail, bare upper receivers are very inexpensive. Not trusting my life to these particular guns, they are for fun.

I will say my featureless ultralight with a 60-rd surefire is VERY fun!

CHS
06-25-2012, 8:06 PM
If you're only utilizing the actual Vulcan upper receiver, and not a complete upper with barrel/bcg/etc, then there's really nothing to go wrong. As long as the barrel and BCG fit inside the receiver, then it will work fine.

Seriously, an upper receiver really just needs to have threads for the barrel and a proper sized hole down the middle for the BCG. Anyone can make an injection-molded upper receiver that will work.

Now, if they include a barrel and BCG, I'd just as soon trust a drunken scorpion on meth not to sting me than those.

So, hesse/vulcan/blackthorne RECEIVER ONLY = GTG.
hesse/vulcan/blackthornse complete upper = RUN AWAY.

Sturnovik
06-26-2012, 12:54 PM
I have carbon 15 upper until I get a nicer upper. Seems to work fine actually, but I got a stripped upper I havent got a BCG/barrel for yet. Wish they had matching sets.

But as far as my carbon upper....no issues. About 500-600 rounds.

ExtremeX
06-26-2012, 12:58 PM
Yea... hold a stripped poly upper in one hand, a stripped aluminum in the other, how much weight is really saved for the risk of blackthorne?

+1

I would have used the poly lower but would have kept the upper aluminum.

You will see a much bigger savings in weight picking a light barrel and handguard.

Sam .223
06-26-2012, 3:02 PM
i have about 1500 rounds through my carbon 15 and there are no issues, the rifle weights 5.5lbs with optics compared to my aluminum ar that weighs just about double that.