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AR Manufacturers Parts 1, 1.5 and 2

Home Forums The Armory – Gear and Equipment Weapons AR Manufacturers Parts 1, 1.5 and 2

This topic contains 60 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of First Sergeant First Sergeant 5 months ago.

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  • #24959
    Profile photo of devildog70
    devildog70
    Participant

    Nobody that is talking knows for sure. Colt owns the TDP. All copies of it must be destroyed, if Colt “rents” it out to another company, once the contract expires.

    The spec the military demands is not there for competition. It is accurate “enough,” with reliability being far more important. There is a reason it exists, and it isn’t the “lowest bidder” that gamers make it out to be.

    50+ years of use, in every environment you can name, and units that quite literally get whatever they want still use milspec rifles to kill smelly bearded dudes in man dresses. That might be a clue.

    #24962
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    DevilDog, that was actually a rhetorical question. Yes, the minspec M4 is button rifled, NOT cold hammer forged. That includes Colt, the 6920 series, and also FN M4s. FNH actually has a separate button rifling line along side their CHF line to produce M4 barrels.

    First Sergeant, I noticed that you didn’t include FNH in your list, even though they also make real M4s for the military, and have semiauto counterparts available (see http://www.fnamerica.com/products/collector-series/). Is there a reason for that?

    #24969
    Profile photo of devildog70
    devildog70
    Participant

    I am not denying that milspec rifles are button-rifled. My point was that no one knows if that is a requirement of the TDP, or if that just happens to be the most cost-effective way of meeting the TDP. Does it say how the barrel must be rifled, or does it merely say they must be made out of x type of steel, and rifled in 1:7? Unless you have seen the TDP yourself, you don’t know.

    Again, with the “miNspec.” The spec is there for a reason. That reason is there to make sure that the rifles the military purchases are good at two things. Performing in harsh environments and killing bad guys. At a price-point that allows Uncle Sammy to buy and upkeep large quantities of them.

    Are there process and materials that are better than what the military uses? Of course there are. Which is why First Sergeant mentioned manufacturers like BCM and Larue, and why I mentioned Hodge and Warsport.

    I thought it was fairly obvious that First Sergeant was listing rifles he had experience with that performed well as fighting rifles. I also thought it was fairly obvious that he listed several manufacturers at different price points to allow people to choose one based on their budget.

    There are plenty of things that work great in competition that bring very little to the table in terms of a fighting rifle. Every Marine has to qualify out to 500 using that “minspec” button-rifled barrel, and stock trigger. Say what you will, but it works.

    I have one rifle with 73,000 rounds on it, one with 24,000, and one over 17,000. Many of them in mud, rain, snow, sleet, and dust. In decades of carrying a gun professionally, I have never worried about a “better” trigger, or how my barrel was cut. I have only ever worried if the gun would go bang when I pulled the trigger, and if I could hit what I was aiming at. Milspec has seen to the first, and never kept me from the second.

    Very few situations require a hardware solution. Most of the time it is the software that breaks down.

    #24970
    Profile photo of Ralph Kramden
    HiDesertRat
    Participant

    I have recently picked up a Windham Weapons AR, former owners of Bushmaster, when they were good. Put through about 2k+ rounds, various manufactures of ammo, brass and steel case also. No FTF, no FTE, nothing, it just shoots and accurate if I do my part. Examination reveals close tolerances, nice finish, good fit of components, everything suggests excellent quality throughout. Price was reasonable and has lifetime warranty which is transferable. Optic currently Trijicon tritium reflex, saving up for their ACOG. Thats my .02 .

    #24974
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    First Sergeant has provided both historical background and some excellent examples of available AR’s with proven performance.

    Ultimately it’s our choice to weigh his experiencing with our own and then decide.

    Just be sure your making your choice for sound reasons, not emotions.

    Realistic training in all conditions will prove your choice, not a day of plinking at the range or some competion.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #24976
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    What is “minspec” that everybody keeps using?

    Jane,

    FNH does make rifles for the military. When they were given the contract they were given access to the TDP by Colt. They had to sign a NDA(Non Disclosure Agreement)/non use agreement that forbids them from using any knowledge gained from the TDP for civilian sales.

    So the rifles they are selling are reversed engineered like everybody else. They are basically using the ignorance of the average gun buyer to their advantage. Most people will just see that they make AR’s for the military so they think that the one they are buying is the same gun. It isn’t. I have had my hands on a couple of their guns and I wasn’t impressed. From others that own them I have heard the same thing. FN has a well deserved reputation for making really good guns, they screwed this one up. They couldn’t even get the roll marks right for their “collector series”. They would be the company to buy a belt fed MG from. They designed the MAG 58. Also known as the M240, GPMG and L7A2.

    The average gun buyer will not take the time to do the research before they buy a gun. They will see an ad in a gun magazine, see and ad on TV, see it in a video game, their wife’s niece’s cousin twice removed said or the gun store know it all trying to make a sale said that this gun is the one used by “insert whatever super secret squirrel unit” and that it is good to go. And then when they get told that the gun they bought is not what they thought it was, they get defensive.

    As far as why button rifled and not CHF bbl’s I can go over that if anyone is interested.

    I said this in the optics thread, but I need to repeat it. I take the time to do this because I care. I see what is going on in this country. And because I have studied history I have an idea of what is coming. I want good people to have the right training and the right equipment to get through it. Even though most of the time it is a software problem and not a hardware problem, as devildog70 said above, good hardware with the right software can make all the difference in the world.

    Make your own choices, but the choices you make could mean the difference between life or death.

    FILO
    Signal out, can you identify.
    Je ne regrette rien...
    Klagt Nicht, Kämpft

    #24981
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    First Sergeant, I would be interested in why the M4 barrels are all button rifled and not CHF, and what your thoughts on each are. I understand that CHF is always sold as having a much extended life, especially with full auto fire that we won’t likely be doing. How much of this matters to us with our semi auto ARs?

    I appreciate the research you put into this.

    #24984
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    When it comes to BCM, and a few others, I think it’s fair to say some have met or exceeded the mil-spec. I currently run BCM mid-lengths and love them. The fact that colt doesn’t make them and/or they’re not mil-spec doesn’t concern me because I think they have a proven track record at this point. Some dudes have even used them in combat.

    That being said, what the 1st Sgt is saying is very important. If you think that uncertain times are ahead, pick your weapons wisely. If you have no verifiable knowledge of a weapon, stick to the proven ones.

    You know, having too many choices can be as bad as having too little, or none at all. If you only had one choice available, you could stop obsessing over choices of hardware and concentrate on training.

    If you stick with any good brand that 1st Sgt mentioned, you should be GTG. How my bbl was formed or whether the grain structure is more uniform in one method or another doesn’t really concern me. If I can hold 1 MOA at 100m with 77gr ammo, my rifle and I are both doing our job.

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #24991
    Profile photo of Ralph Kramden
    HiDesertRat
    Participant

    G.W.N.S. :

    Your point is well taken, I wasn’t attempting to just throw my opinion in there haphazardly, just my observations. I happened to procure my weapon before this thread had started so did not the benefit of First Sergeants’ wisdom/experience. Time will tell about my choice of course. We all benefit from the insight of professionals from the fighting arena and glad it is shared here.

    #24992
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    HiDesertRat, my comment was far more general in nature and not at you specifically.

    I have no experience with the products under the Windham Weaponry brand name. The limited experience I had with the original Bushmaster (Maine) was decent enough, the people I know who owned them have not had problems despite some contrary information.

    Many have already acquired their AR’s and there are a few brands I think will work fine even though they aren’t part of the list.

    Statistically the brands First Sergeant listed should provide outstanding performance, but on the other end some lesser brands even with less known records can also work.

    Even brands with many known problems can get it right now and again.

    Regardless of which AR acquired I would follow my previous statement even with the First Sergeant’s list.

    “Realistic training in all conditions will prove your choice…”

    This applies to everything we will use for life and limb, not just weapons!

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #24994
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    I have an old Maine-produced Bushmaster that has 10s of thousands of rounds through it – no problem. Has aftermarket NiB BCG, H buffer & Geissele S3G trigger in it. It is reliable, accurate and light for what it is, and will chow down on any kind of ammo. Competition and choices are good.

    #24998
    Profile photo of Ralph Kramden
    HiDesertRat
    Participant

    G.W.N.S. :

    no problema, buy you a cerveza when we meet.

    #25002
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    What Diz said is spot on. Don’t get sucked into chasing the rabbit down the hole.

    I am not saying that anyone has to go out and get rid of the AR they have now and get one of the ones I recommended. I have gotten questions over the years about which one to go with. Max and I have had this discussion because of some of the problems we have seen. If you do some research you will find that the ones that I have not listed are the ones that tend to have issues in greater numbers. Can you get one that is to spec with the gas key staked correctly, the castle nut staked correctly, the front sight post straight and all of the holes in the lower done to spec? Yes. Some makers have gotten better over the years. Some haven’t and got into the AR game to make a buck. The average AR owner will probably put 500 rounds through their gun a year if that and it doesn’t really matter to them.

    Button rifled vs CHF bbl’s.

    The CHF bbl was invented in Germany in 1939. It was done to facilitate the production of MG-42 bbl’s. The MG-42 rate of fire was 1200 rounds per minute and they needed a lot of bbl’s. CHF bbl’s didn’t really start in the U.S. until about 40 years ago. The machines are expensive and the majority of all of them come from one maker in Austria. The majority of all gun companies in Europe use CHF bbl’s, even for pistols. There are several companies in the U.S. that do it also. A piece of gun trivia: most of the CHF bbl’s offered by several of the AR makers in the U.S. all come from the same plant in South Carolina. FNH.

    Button rifling was the way it was always done in America. When the AR was developed that was the way rifling was done. I would guess that’s the way the TDP reads because Colt and FN use button rifling for the M-16’s and the M-4’s they produce for the military.

    Which is better? The CHF bbl’s are supposed to last longer. How much longer? From everything that I have read there are no specific numbers on that. Accuracy? Traditionally button rifled bbl’s are more accurate.

    Based on everything that I have read on the test that have been done, the CHF bbl’s offer no substantial improvement to the AR. One of the reasons why we are still using it is that no one has come up with anything that offers that huge next step. That is why none of the rifle trials for the military resulted in a new rifle.

    Personally I see no reason to spend the extra money just to get a CHF bbl. Most will never shoot enough rounds to wear a bbl out. As to them being better for full auto fire, yes, but not substantially more. Most of that comes down to training with full auto i.e. short controlled burst, not going cyclic and just dumping mag after mag. I never used the three round burst on any of my deployments. Never had a reason to. I do know guys that did, but it was for a specific set of circumstances.

    I’m not saying they are bad, I just don’t see a need for them in an AR.

    Remember that rabbit hole I said not to go down? We just did. ;-)

    FILO
    Signal out, can you identify.
    Je ne regrette rien...
    Klagt Nicht, Kämpft

    #25010
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    Agreed. I would look at this as a tutorial for a newbie picking out a rifle, not as a condemnation for everyone with a brand not listed. I have seen QC variances in other brands over the years. Sometimes they made good weapons, sometimes not. I do not dismiss other brands, out of hand, however, I am leery of them until proven. I would take it to a competent gunsmith for a complete check before depending on it. And that really is the difference between a lot of companies. Some have rigorous QC, and some, not so much. Some take the time to cull out bad parts, and assemble things correctly, and some don’t.

    Another point well taken. Most guys will shoot well under 500 rds a year, so a lot of this is mute point.

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #25011
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    First Sergeant, thanks for your button rifled vs CHF thoughts… good stuff!

    I have been working to get all my friends & neighbors to buy ARs in light of our current state of affairs in this country. Some really can’t afford premium brands, and Colts are uncommon around here, I have yet to see a LGS that carries them. So the non-premium brands they are left with are mostly not mentioned in this thread. Some are good, some not so much.

    #25021
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    Yeah that is a factor, when you have guys n gals looking at entry-level kit. What the gunshow or LGS carries may/may not be the best choice.

    Broken record time, but PSA is running some smokin’ deals right now. If you just pick up a stripped lower, local, then buy a parts kit, you can build a decent rifle for a very reasonable price. As long as you have a buddy with all the tools n know-how.

    It’s funny but in 34 years and many AR’s, I never bought a complete rifle. 8 lowers that I recall, plus twice that many configs. Everything from “CAR-15’s”, to “M-4’s”, to mid-lengths. It’s not ALL that hard to build, but some tools and experience come in handy.

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #25025
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    Diz, that’s simply not realistic for what I’m talking about. First of all, those low-priced PSA uppers are not legal here, and you would have to find a gunsmith to which to ship them and make them legal before you take possession (incidentally this is why you don’t see Colt 6920’s in the LGS’… they would rather stock ARs from manufacturers that already ship in legal configuration).

    Secondly, my friend Susie Soccer Mom, who I just convinced to buy an AR, is NOT going to go out and build one. Heck, her only experience ever shooting a rifle was trying out mine in the backyard. The kinds of questions she is asking is “what is a good brand”, and “what kind of warranty do they offer”, and “can I get one for less than $800”.

    The common brands here are Stag, S&W, Ruger, Windham, Bushmaster (the Remington one). I wish that Colts were around here – I have a couple who I convinced to buy their first AR, and they specifically want a Colt “because it must be a good brand if the military uses it”. They too don’t want to pay over $800.

    #25026
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Jane, the advice given applies to most people, however as you note there are places “behind the lines” that don’t.

    It may be helpful if you mention where you are talking about if you need specific ideas.

    With companies like PSA and Aero Precision most can still order a complete lower, complete upper, BCG, and charging handle to save money by catching the sales. In this case while the most basic assembly is required, it isn’t a build.

    I would rather die with my ideals intact, than be victorious by becoming all that I oppose!

    This why I can never be truly defeated!

    #25037
    Profile photo of Jane
    jane
    Participant

    G.W.N.S., let’s just say that we are under the ’94 Clinton gun ban… no bayonet lugs, flash suppressors or threaded barrels, no folding or adjustable stocks. Muzzle brakes are okay if they are pinned or welded.

    PSA is unheard of here, and would be a tough sell, especially in parts. Suzie Soccer Mom has heard of S&W on the other hand – her husband has a S&W pistol. Therefore, she will probably go with a S&W AR.

    #25039
    Profile photo of Thomas
    Thomas
    Participant

    @jane, Colt makes rifles that conform to yout limitations. The series is the Match Target HBAR, MT HBAR II, M4, etc.

    Here is a link from gun-broker
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=545156817

    This example is a 6731. The price is just over $1K.

    The series of rifles and carbines are fully Colt without the bad features. The key parts are individually magnetic particle inspected, barrel/chamber is chrome lined, etc. These are manufactured to the TDP.

    If your friend goes with a choice other than what 1SG recommended, get the gun to a knowledgeable AR armorer and have the bolt key and castle nut properly staked, and, ensure that the extractor is properly set up. Many of the “other brands” of AR are over gassed and the pins will be out of spec on some. A competent armorer can correct most of the problems and make the gun reliable.

    If you already know this stuff, I apologize for wasting your time.

    #25040
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    Jane,

    Sometimes I forget that we have people on the board who live in occupied territory.

    If I had to make a choice out of that list you provided, go with the S&W. Have it checked out like Thomas said.

    Sometimes you have to make do with what you have. Nothing will ever be perfect. Get them started and maybe upgrade later.

    FILO
    Signal out, can you identify.
    Je ne regrette rien...
    Klagt Nicht, Kämpft

    #25048
    Profile photo of Bob
    gunnerbob
    Participant

    This doesn’t add to the conversation but, whatever. I recently picked up a NIB Ruger AR556 for a good price for the purposes of testing the snot out of it. I’ve only been able to put 180rds through it but, in the coming month I’ll be putting an additional thousand down the pipe. Anyway, I wanted to get a “budget” AR to see how it’d hold-up to abuse and this seemed like a good choice. I’ll chime in again after a few thousand more rounds or when I break it, whichever comes first.

    #25051
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    Jane: I sometimes forget you have people in occupied territory with limited choices. After living in Kali for twenty years, believe me, I feel your pain. But believe me, there are folks out there with rifles tubed up and in the ground. Talk about hard-sell to suzie soccer mom!

    The day I left Kali, I stopped and flipped it off, when I crossed over to Arizona for the last time. It was such a liberating feeling. My first order of business was to get a local CCW, after being denied for so many years. And promptly building two new “M-4gerys”.

    Sure, it’s so easy to say: “just move” but we finally did it. And I’m damn glad we did.

    It is not for me to say, on open forum, what you need to do. Or I should say, what I would recommend you do.

    I totally understand what you’re saying. We also have friends that are like suzie, but this goes to mindset. Even if you can own a good rifle, it doesn’t mean you will.

    I guess we all just need to move to the Appalachian Redoubt.

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #27599
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    I am making this a sticky do to recent questions about it.

    FILO
    Signal out, can you identify.
    Je ne regrette rien...
    Klagt Nicht, Kämpft

    #27744
    Profile photo of Bob
    gunnerbob
    Participant

    This doesn’t add to the conversation but, whatever. I recently picked up a NIB Ruger AR556 for a good price for the purposes of testing the snot out of it. I’ve only been able to put 180rds through it but, in the coming month I’ll be putting an additional thousand down the pipe. Anyway, I wanted to get a “budget” AR to see how it’d hold-up to abuse and this seemed like a good choice. I’ll chime in again after a few thousand more rounds or when I break it, whichever comes first.

    Here’s a follow up to my post:

    To date, I’ve got 1500 rounds through my AR556 and it has performed well. About 1100 of those 1500 have been Tula 55 & 62gr loads, giving me three (3) malfunctions in all. Two (2) of those were stuck cases before the 1K round mark, and the third was a FTF post-1K rounds. I was able to remove those stuck cases easily with a cleaning rod, and have prevented (I think) any further stuck cases by spraying the chamber with Rem-oil every 150 or so rounds during training. Average accuracy with the Tula is around 2″ @ 100 yards, not bad. The barrel is 1-8″ twist, btw. So far, the rifle has been 100% with all brass-cased ammo (PMC, American Eagle, & handload equivalents)… as expected.

    The Ruger BCG has a cutout on the underside exposing the shoulder of the firing pin to the hammer during cycling. There is some wear on that shoulder, the hammer putting a slight angle on it but, it hasn’t impeded function that I’ve noticed.

    Everything else looks good, I’ll keep posting updates every so often in case anybody is interested in these rifles.

    #27809
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Note: This is not Max’s response/content. Just a glitch from the transition to subscription.

    The First Sergeant posted a great list of Mil Spec of better rifles, if ya’ll are looking for another name to add to the list check us out

    http://www.sonsoflibertygw.com

    Our rifles really are mil-spec or better, small parts from Schmid Tool, KNS Stainless detents, 158 Carpenter Bolt Carrier groups with upgraded Sprinco extractor springs, High Pressure Tested and Magnetic Partical Inspected. Everything we sell is guaranteed for life, even against shooting out your barrel. Not saying you won’t shoot it out, but if you do, you shoot alot and thats the type of customer we would gladly replace a barrel for free.

    Check out some high round count reviews on our rifles currently being done by Primary and Seconday (5000 rounds), and Mrgunsandgear on youtube.

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    #27995
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Note: This is not Max’s response/content. Just a glitch from the transition to subscription.

    It’s all the First Sergeant’s fault.

    Listening to all the commentary on the radio about how AR15’s are evil and how they caused the Orlando massacre….I decided to go to Sportsmans Warehouse to buy a couple of extra AR mags.

    And there sat a Colt 6920 on sale.

    #27996
    Profile photo of Thomas
    Thomas
    Participant

    And I hope that specific LE6920 is now safely secured in the loving arms of a guy who blamed 1SG and is no longer on sale to the public!

    Good score. Lube the crap out of it and shoot it!

    #28004
    Profile photo of Max Velocity
    Max
    Keymaster

    Note: This is not Max’s response/content. Just a glitch from the transition to subscription.

    It is.

    But if my wife finds out; she will be very mad at the First Sergeant.

    Slip 2000 and several hundred rounds should break it in

    #28009
    Profile photo of Thomas
    Thomas
    Participant

    First Sergeant has broad shoulders. He can take the burden.

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