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View Full Version : Difference in quality of AR parts


Mr.1904
08-13-2013, 8:35 PM
Hello gentlemen and ladies. So i've been in the midst of my second build and have been doing a lot of thinking about quality of parts. If well renowned parts were still readily available this wouldn't be posted but, in light of the past 8 months... well yea, you get the rest.

So my question is: Is there a big difference in the general quality of AR parts between lets say Rock River, or guntec? Guntec may be a bad example because they're foreign. I'm mainly talking about lower parts kits, buffer tubes, buffers, buffer springs. Does one companies product make a difference over anothers'? I know the word 'milspec' is going to be thrown around in here like titties in a strip club but if something is 'milspec' (which to me means 'good enough') will you most likely not have any issues? What would be the difference in lets say a bad companies buffer tube, spring, and buffer to a good ones?


In a nutshell, does it pay off to be picky?

jasonnorcal
08-13-2013, 8:46 PM
Cheaper is just that. Lots of qc defects. Out of spec in some way. Receiver extension to long or short causing the rifle not to cycle. Weird size castle nut. Little rubber nub on the buffer disintegrating. Trigger sear or disconnecter out of spec causing "doubling" and I'm sure there's more.

The Paper Pimp
08-13-2013, 8:51 PM
generally speaking, you get what you pay for.

XDRoX
08-13-2013, 8:51 PM
What is it that you'd like to buy but can't find?

Merc1138
08-13-2013, 9:29 PM
It pays off to be picky, but to be honest with most of the non-critical components in an AR there isn't much to screw up. Springs are springs, detents are detents. Lowers don't mean much as long as they're within spec.

Now there are a few companies out there with completely garbage products. For example, expect anything made by Vulcan/Blackthorne/Heese to just fall apart. That company spraypainted a calgunners chamber and claimed it was chrome lined. "But their prices are good and product is available", well they're also trash and have been for years.

Then you've got all of the cheap chinese airsoft crap being passed off as real, or people tearing labels on legit licensed airsoft products and selling them as gun parts(magpul parts come to mind, due to their "PTS" line).

On top of all of that, you get the cheap garbage that's just made cheap to try and fill a niche. Might be chinese made, might be US made, still crap. You tend to see this with out of spec 80% lowers, buffers where the rubber(polyurethane? I dunno) bit on the back falls apart, poorly made BCGs, "kickstarter" type projects where your preorder pays for product development, etc.

Then you can go to a gun show and find all of the above shoved into one fairground hall, making it pointless for people who don't have an eye for the stuff to go, lest they get ripped off one way or another.

Fortunately by sticking with brands that have some sort of reasonable reputation(not necessarily having to be elite tier 1 operator status), from reputable retailers, and you can avoid probably 99% of the junk out there. And while even amazon.com sells some stuff, you still need to make sure it's not sold on amazon by "Uncle Joe's fly-by-night chinese gun parts" or "airsoft tactical x-treme"

Now out of all of the parts you've mentioned (lower parts kits, buffer tubes, buffers, buffer springs) are readily available these days if you're willing to look around.

Being a picky parts snob comes more into play when you're talking about things like barrels, optic mounts, optics, irons, non "milspec" triggers, stuff like that.

neouser
08-13-2013, 9:48 PM
I'd be willing to bet that, unless it's made in China, most American made parts probably come out of a small handful of factories and are labeled by each individual company...

Merc1138
08-13-2013, 10:02 PM
I'd be willing to bet that, unless it's made in China, most American made parts probably come out of a small handful of factories and are labeled by each individual company...

Blanks, billets, and forgings yes. Even a lot of finished parts really only get made by a handful of manufacturers and then branded for whatever vendor had them ordered. That's primarily why for such non-critical components you almost have to go out of your way to end up buying trash.

Mr.1904
08-13-2013, 10:13 PM
Asked and answered. Thanks guys.

adamjay
08-13-2013, 10:45 PM
You guys have probably seen this discussion, but here it is again. Not sure if it is totally relevant to the OP's question.
https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pwswheghNQsEuEhjFwPrgTA&single=true&gid=5&output=html

glock7
08-14-2013, 8:11 AM
it all depends on what you want and how much you want to spend. good luck and enjoy.

klewan
08-14-2013, 9:23 AM
I'd be willing to bet that, unless it's made in China, most American made parts probably come out of a small handful of factories and are labeled by each individual company...

Forward assists are made by 2??? companies! Other parts likely.

One reason that spread sheet on AR parts never got completed was the high dollar peeps didn't want their customers knowing they were getting an Aero Precision lower and upper. Nothing wrong with Aero Precision stuff, just that you can't get the 3 letter fan boies all worked up about it.

AR-15 Barrels, aka Randall, pointed out the big advantage with a part like a barrel; he could spec what he wanted an air-gauged barrel to meet. Dimension wise, he'd get a potentially higher quality, but at a higher cost.

G21Shooter
08-14-2013, 9:30 AM
The way the AR15 industry works is a select few companies actually manufacture parts, and then these parts get renamed by dozens of companies.

Quality does vary in AR15 parts, and it pays to buy high quality. The two most important parts of a AR15 rifle are the bolt carrier group and the barrel. Everything else is less important, but you still want quality.

If you choose a good bolt carrier and a good barrel/upper, your going to have a good rifle.

sigstroker
08-14-2013, 10:52 PM
Hello gentlemen and ladies. So i've been in the midst of my second build and have been doing a lot of thinking about quality of parts. If well renowned parts were still readily available this wouldn't be posted but, in light of the past 8 months... well yea, you get the rest.

So my question is: Is there a big difference in the general quality of AR parts between lets say Rock River, or guntec? Guntec may be a bad example because they're foreign. I'm mainly talking about lower parts kits, buffer tubes, buffers, buffer springs. Does one companies product make a difference over anothers'? I know the word 'milspec' is going to be thrown around in here like titties in a strip club but if something is 'milspec' (which to me means 'good enough') will you most likely not have any issues? What would be the difference in lets say a bad companies buffer tube, spring, and buffer to a good ones?


In a nutshell, does it pay off to be picky?

Absolutely. And judging from the parts I've seen for sale at gun shows, even by big name vendors, the majority of parts out there are crap. It's not a recent phenomenon either, it's been that way for 20 years. No part, nor any receiver that's in spec, should ever need to be touched by a file.

I'd be willing to bet that, unless it's made in China, most American made parts probably come out of a small handful of factories and are labeled by each individual company...

Nope.

Merc1138
08-14-2013, 11:06 PM
Nope.

Most uppers, lowers, barrels, parts kits, hell even buffer tubes, aren't made by a large number of companies. All of the injection molded stuff? Sure, lots of places do that on their own. Forgings and blanks? Not so much.