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-   -   The General AR Discussion Thread (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=822780)

Reedo302 02-12-2011 04:21 PM

The General AR Discussion Thread
 
Figured we should just start one of these, since it's such a hot topic lately. Sticky anyone?


To start, I'd like to show two things.
First, I'll show you what it looks like when you have a carbine, and the receiver does not have feed ramps. If you notice in the pictures, you'll see a rifle that has approximately 500rds through it. I intentionally installed a DPMS A3 upper receiver to test the actual real world application and viability of having extended feed ramps. The rifle has a Noveske 7.5" barrel w/ extended M4 feed ramps on the barrel extension. The barrel feed ramps go into an A3 upper receiver, which is a flattop receiver W/OUT the extended feed ramps. Notice the gouges that are starting to form on the receiver where the feed ramps would be on an A4/N4/M4 upper receiver. As you'll see, the need for feed ramps is very much legitimate.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...rampwear02.jpg
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...rampwear01.jpg
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...rampwear03.jpg







Second, I'll show you why DPMS sucks. DPMS does NOT sell an A4/M4 upper receiver with extended feed ramps. Not only that, but their machining and quality control (QC) suck. Notice below the ejection port, there is a line on the upper receiver the is not only not level/even, but it's crooked AND canted. This is an example of poor QC and product manufacturing. The dimensions are likely out of exact spec, which is really unacceptable. This is to assert my position that DPMS is a sub-standard company as of recent years. I intentionally bought this upper, but after the testing it's slated to be replaced with a much better upper.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...2/IMG_4035.jpg
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...2/IMG_4025.jpg

BMW4ME 02-12-2011 06:15 PM

Have you had any failure to feeds without the extended ramps?

Reedo302 02-12-2011 07:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMW4ME (Post 12802505)
Have you had any failure to feeds without the extended ramps?

Not yet. With only half a case through it, I think it's too early to say it's completely reliable right now. In most circles of thought, it usually takes 2-3k rounds to really determine if it's fully reliable. I can surmise that long range accuracy would be affected, as the bullets are getting hacked up while feeding.

Serbonze 02-13-2011 05:48 AM

This may have been posted in this forum before, but I thought that it was appropriate based on the thread topic. :D

******** title="YouTube video player" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ajfiE3iq78k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>*********>

GlockMan 02-13-2011 08:25 AM

^ so true its scary.

We are all guilty of it.

shwagon 02-13-2011 09:01 PM

good idea for a sticky, allot of good info from members here.

Wraisil 02-15-2011 05:50 PM

Just to show that DPMS doesn't completely suck, mine does not suffer the same problems. For instance, my feed ramps are much nicer and are somewhat extended and feed well, though the extension could be longer (though I haven't cleaned it since I just shot a few hundred rounds down it so forgive the dirtiness (was shooting .22lr with a CMMG conversion kit so it's pretty dang dirty right now):
http://www.gceenterprises.com/jlcnuke/feed%20ramps.png

I also don't have the same problem with the ejection port. The bolt carrier isn't as nice as it could be (example here)
http://www.gceenterprises.com/jlcnuke/bolt.png
While the right side is fairly secure the left is barely adequate and a weld or other similar tacking method of securing would be better.

Wraisil 02-15-2011 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMW4ME (Post 12802505)
Have you had any failure to feeds without the extended ramps?

With my full DPMS base model (minus the things I've added, still the DPMS upper and lower though) I have had no FTF's shooting 5.56 or using .22lr with the CMMG conversion kit. Sub 1 MOA groups at 100 yards also have not been an issue (well, with the 5.56, .22lr is a bit outside but not exactly what it was designed for either).

For a $750 AR I have no complaints with the DPMS. I knew I wasn't buying top of the line quality but it is more than adequate for me to have fun on the range with and, having shot thousands of rounds with no issues, it has proven to fire accurately at short to medium ranges that I would possibly expect to need it for in any situation. If I need a longer distance shot (post 100 yards) I'd personally be using my 30-06 instead though I don't doubt that with practice I could be sufficiently accurate with this rifle to at least 300 yards.

Reedo302 02-15-2011 09:38 PM

DPMS used to be a decent enough brand, but within the past 4 years or so (give or take..), they've gone WAY downhill. DPMS is the largest manufacturer/supplier of AR parts, and they have begun to distribute so much that their quality control has gone WAY downhill. They still make some decent stuff, but a lot of crap slips through the cracks. The key to buying a good AR is to buy from a company that is consistent. I am very happy to hear you haven't had any problems with yours, but if you keep shooting it, you will. To start, that gas key will come flying off because it's improperly staked. Every DPMS BCG I've seen, even from 7+ years ago, has been improperly staked. Being from Minnesota, I encounter DPMS a lot. They sell a lot to police agencies, and they wind up doing a lot of repairs because of BCGs flying apart, internal parts breaking for no reason, and excessive wear to the gas system because the barrel nuts are not properly installed.

Now, what I'm going to do is kind of a jerk thing to do, but I want to illustrate a couple points regarding their manufacturing tolerances and quality control. I did some illustrations with your pictures, and I hope you don't take offense to this. Please keep in mind that I'm an armorer and it's my job to notice this stuff. For most people, this is a non-issue, but for a rifle that is a heavy-use rifle (3,000-5,000 rds/year minimum, with upwards of 1k+ rounds being shot successively within a few days with little maintenance, like at a shooting school's intensive carbine course), this is unacceptable and WILL cause a problem eventually. Again, I'm just doing this for illustrative purposes.



http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...skeyonDPMS.png

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...ampsonDPMS.png

When the barrel extension and the upper receiver are made by the same company, they should be more compatible than what we see above. It works, and looks decently functional. A 265 rear tire on a 10" rim also works and does a functional job, but a 275 or 285 are a much better fit and you will achieve greater performance. Same applies here, IMO. (I don't know if that makes sense or just sounds like I'm speaking Swahili after drinking a fifth a bourbon. :eeps: )



Like you pointed out, DPMS isn't a top-end company. They do very well down in the bottom tier. I think they are legitimate rifles for the average recreational shooter. If you keep shooting .22 out of it, or you keep it down to a moderate-to-low service load, the rifle will probably be fine. If, however, you decided that you were going to take a couple carbine courses from Magpul or Trident Concepts, I'd strongly encourage you to do an overhaul on the weapon.

Now, having said all that, DPMS does have some exceptional products that they sell, and DPMS is good about building accurate guns. The amount of product that is exceptional is dwindling more and more, but I will give credit where credit is due. However, much of the accuracy comes from their barrels, and they do not make their own barrels. DPMS match and precision barrels are very accurate, but one can only give DPMS credit for selling them. The company that makes them is responsible for the QC. DPMS .308s are incredibly accurate, too. DPMS does deserve a lot of credit for building their own .308 variant to compete with the AR-10, and several companies have used their compatibility for their own platforms.

learthworml 02-15-2011 11:25 PM

Everyone told me to get Pmags. I decided to save money. So I bought some regular GI mags off a friend's friend. I installed Magpul followers and springs, then repainted them. Cost me about 30 bucks total for 6 mags. I've dropped my mags many times and they have never malfunctioned. An ounce or two heavier than a Pmag.

Reedo302 02-16-2011 12:46 AM

The green follower in the USGI mags is the anti-tilt follower, but it still sucks compared to the Magpul follower. I've heard a lot of good things about those for reliability.

Wraisil 02-16-2011 11:55 AM

Not sure if you have to be a member, but here is a lot of good info and some good links on AR stuff btw

http://georgiapacking.org/forum/view...hp?f=3&t=14692
http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...y-an-AR-15-huh

Reedo302 02-16-2011 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wraisil (Post 12816137)

That's a great thread. Jwise and Surf are AR gurus. I learn a lot of my tricks from Surf. It's a good thread to read through with tons of info.

Serbonze 02-18-2011 07:07 AM

The "chart" is a great resource, as is the above thread. However, neither of them spend a lot of time discussing the lower receiver. The chart refers to four items; Extension Tube Diameter, castle nut, buffer, and FCG pin diameter.

Reed - you stated in a previous thread that you loved the build quality of the LaRue that you received. But I would really like to hear some additional discussion regarding the overall quality difference between manufacturers.

For example, what is the difference between a Colt, BCM, LaRue, and a lower tier like Stag or RRA (other than those four listed in the chart).

Reedo302 02-18-2011 10:59 AM

With respect to lowers, there is a lot less differentiation when it comes to the forged aluminum lowers, which are the standard lowers that most ARs come with. Below is the best resource for outlining lower receivers, and who makes what for whom.
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=12&t=318113

Another:
http://www.ar15armory.com/forums/AR1...er-t15231.html


As you can see, most receivers are made by a few. With forged lower receivers, there is usually a lot less differentiation between brands in terms of quality. Higher-end companies will use more exacting quality control and will scrutinize their product more closely before passing it along to the customer, whereas other companies will let a lot more stuff get through due to less stringent QC. As a result, we see companies like Noveske, Daniel Defense, BCM, Colt, etc. consistently putting out uppers that are great quality, while lower tier companies like Stag and DPMS will have good stuff, but a higher incidence of less savory parts making it through the system. However, when you look at the best examples that both tiers offer, there is no difference. I make my recommendations based off the the fact that I have a good handle on who will likely NOT have the problems and to reduce the chances of getting an out of spec lower (very uncommon anyways).
Ultimately, the reality with lowers is that what you buy is based around whose name you want on your gun. I have a build in the works for a guy who wanted the Noveske iron cross on his receiver, so we're getting him the matched Noveske N4 upper and lower set. He will get a lot of respect for the gun at the range. It's like choosing to drive an Acura instead of a Honda. You get the same thing with a more respected badge. Many people don't care, but many do. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good name on your receiver.

As far as billet lowers go, there is a much greater array of differentiation between companies since the lowers are made to individual proprietary specs. Mega does a lot of the billet creation, but no two lowers from two different rifle companies will have the same dimensions. As a result, you can get a much more personal touch with the lowers, and get them to suit your needs or desires.

speedcrazy1532 02-18-2011 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Reedo302 (Post 12825295)
With respect to lowers, there is a lot less differentiation when it comes to the forged aluminum lowers, which are the standard lowers that most ARs come with. Below is the best resource for outlining lower receivers, and who makes what for whom.
http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=12&t=318113

Another:
http://www.ar15armory.com/forums/AR1...er-t15231.html


As you can see, most receivers are made by a few. With forged lower receivers, there is usually a lot less differentiation between brands in terms of quality. Higher-end companies will use more exacting quality control and will scrutinize their product more closely before passing it along to the customer, whereas other companies will let a lot more stuff get through due to less stringent QC. As a result, we see companies like Noveske, Daniel Defense, BCM, Colt, etc. consistently putting out uppers that are great quality, while lower tier companies like Stag and DPMS will have good stuff, but a higher incidence of less savory parts making it through the system. However, when you look at the best examples that both tiers offer, there is no difference. I make my recommendations based off the the fact that I have a good handle on who will likely NOT have the problems and to reduce the chances of getting an out of spec lower (very uncommon anyways).
Ultimately, the reality with lowers is that what you buy is based around whose name you want on your gun. I have a build in the works for a guy who wanted the Noveske iron cross on his receiver, so we're getting him the matched Noveske N4 upper and lower set. He will get a lot of respect for the gun at the range. It's like choosing to drive an Acura instead of a Honda. You get the same thing with a more respected badge. Many people don't care, but many do. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good name on your receiver.

As far as billet lowers go, there is a much greater array of differentiation between companies since the lowers are made to individual proprietary specs. Mega does a lot of the billet creation, but no two lowers from two different rifle companies will have the same dimensions. As a result, you can get a much more personal touch with the lowers, and get them to suit your needs or desires.

Seriously, I would love to send you my PSX and have you critique it. You make me paranoid to a certain extent.

Reedo302 02-18-2011 01:36 PM

To be honest, a lot of those deficiencies are only noticeable with seriously heavy-use ARs. I look at ARs from an operational and occupational perspective, and I don't buy my rifles just for the sake of having them. I seriously beat the piss out of my guns. I fully acknowledge that I am a bit hyper-critical of rifles, and the more I read and learn from other operators and armorers, the worse I get. :eeps: :D
For most people, it really doesn't make a difference. With almost all ARs, if you just hose down the inside with Slip2000 lube, it'll work like a swiss watch. All you have to do is do your inspections and maintenance (springs, extractors, etc), and you'll be fine with nearly any AR. The problems that predominantly occur aren't catastrophic, but come in the form of more subtle failures like feeding or ejection issues or excessive or premature wear on components.
I recently read a report from a major training group that praised the S&W M&P15 as being a very good quality rifle for the price. They also said that M&P15-22 is quite possibly the most reliable .22LR AR they've every tried. I wouldn't worry about your PSX. S&W isn't really my preference in a lot of arenas, but they don't put out crap. They've always stood behind their products. I don't know how they're going to deal with the piston AR issues that typically occur, but every company has to deal with that.


The only two guns that I've heard consistently bad problems about are DPMS carbine and left-handed Stag models. The DPMS problems I hear about are usually from police agencies that bought carbines for their squad cars. Here's one example from a cop from an agency that got outfitted with DPMS rifles:
Quote:

Our issue guns are DPMS guns and right out of the box they were failing left and right. Extractors, bolts, carriers, gas keys, mag-releases, selector switches, gas blocks, bolt catches were all going down in a burning wreck in the first weeks. I'm DXing everything DPMS in my home. I'm pretty disappointed to have to depend on this thing but from the looks of it around here, if **** hits the fan, there will be plenty of Colts laying around.

The DPMS issues seem to be more prolific when they are outfitted en-mass to agencies/organizations. I don't know if this is because they pump them out so fast that just start grabbing stuff and slapping them together, or if it's a larger problem. I can never discount the claims of people who have good experiences with their guns. I cannot produce any proof that their particular rifle is total crap if the gun is working just fine. I can show my critiques and evidence of why a certain brand or model may not be ideal, but if someone gets a diamond out of a pile of coal, there's nothing wrong with that.


As far as the left handed Stag rifles, Pat Rogers at EAG Tactical has commented on them several times from experiences with his classes. This is what he had to say most recently:
Quote:

The left handed Stag guns continue to be 100% negative. One shooter had a low round count gun that had worn bolt rings and a worn extractor and apparently other issues.
He finished the course with an EAG loaner.

speedcrazy1532 02-18-2011 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Reedo302 (Post 12825945)
To be honest, a lot of those deficiencies are only noticeable with seriously heavy-use ARs. I look at ARs from an operational and occupational perspective, and I don't buy my rifles just for the sake of having them. I seriously beat the piss out of my guns. I fully acknowledge that I am a bit hyper-critical of rifles, and the more I read and learn from other operators and armorers, the worse I get. :eeps: :D
For most people, it really doesn't make a difference. With almost all ARs, if you just hose down the inside with Slip2000 lube, it'll work like a swiss watch. All you have to do is do your inspections and maintenance (springs, extractors, etc), and you'll be fine with nearly any AR.

You must drive yourself up a wall.

Reedo302 02-18-2011 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by speedcrazy1532 (Post 12825958)
You must drive yourself up a wall.

Me, no. My wife.... :eeps:

Reedo302 03-09-2011 05:38 PM

NEW FYI:
VLTOR has put out their new lower receiver. This is great news if you're a fan of VLTOR, as I am. However, it's a standard forged phosphatized lower and nothing unique other than some light serration on the front of the magwell. The only thing it has is the VLTOR logo imprinted. I'm sort of disappointed by this, as I was hoping they'd put out something that aesthetically matches their more boxy Modular Upper Receiver (MUR) better. Hopefully they have a billet lower in the works to fill that role, because I'll buy it in a heartbeat. Still, if I buy another forged lower for my next build, I'll likely buy the VLTOR.

http://militarytimes.com/blogs/gears...ower-receiver/

http://militarytimes.com/blogs/gears...353-800-MT.jpg
http://militarytimes.com/blogs/gears...328-800-MT.jpg






ALSO,
Just got my TangoDown ARC Mags in. HOLY CRAP. These magazines are seriously heavy duty. They are heavier and more rigid than the Magpul PMAGs. I would be willing to bet that the ARC can take a lot of abuse, and keep ticking. I've been hearing good reports about the reliability and down-right toughness of these mags, and just buy the construction of them I can tell that TangoDown put some serious effort into these things. I'm fairly certain I could run these over with a tractor trailer and they'd be just fine. When the snow disappears later this month, I'll be getting out to the range to put these suckers through some abuse and I'll let you all know how it goes.


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