Budget AR parts quality.

Michael J. Spangler

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Let me preface this with saying I’m not an AR guy. I don’t have a dog in the fight. I’m just wondering what the consensus is on NES. I’m sure it’s skewed and most people won’t read the question and will give an answer completely unrelated.

I have some buddies that love ARs and love to build uppers and fawn over all of the high end parts manufacturers at the same time shitting all over the PSA, Anderson and Delta parts saying that they’re junk and will fail etc.
Now I’m not talking about shitty light weight handguards and flimsy sights but the heart of the rifle. The uppers, lowers, “mil spec” triggers and BCG etc.

How much of this is true? How much of this is hearsay or the fact that there are tons of people assembling bubba rifles from inexpensive parts that know nothing about how the machine works. So when they don’t balance the rifle out right and shear off a gas key they blame the inferior product and not their lack of understanding?
Maybe they’re better off with some high end over built part that can withstand their stupidity.

Or is it just that these low quality parts are actually sold with the possibility of harm coming to the owner?
 
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About the only things I'll splurge on is the Trigger, barrel, and BCG. I'll buy quality, but certainly not the most high dollar wiz -bang latest and greatest there is.

I know guys who build "budget" AR's who shoot the snot out of them, and others who splurge on the highest cost of components they can, and then never shoot the thing.

I have seen airsoft parts make their way onto AR's and promptly fail. Back during the drought when any and all AR parts were almost non existent, I saw some really sketchy builds. Nowadays, there's no reason one couldn't build an affordable, reliable, quality rifle.
 

Uzi2

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Your answers in order.

1. None of it.
2. All of it.
3. Lots of people assembling ARs don't know shit from shinola about guns in general but that doesn't mean they can't assemble a funtional, safe to shoot AR.
4. Please specify the "low quality parts" you reference.

I've built ARs using PSA, Anderson, Stag, and other non branded parts and have never felt uncomfortable shooting any of them let alone thought of any of them as "unsafe" or a " danger to others". The very notion is absurd on its face.

There's lots of AR fan boys out there who insist that if you didn't pay $1000+ for your AR that its junk. They are what's known as AR snobs who have to justify their ridiculous expenditures of money by denigrating people who choose to shoot less expensive rifles.

Please explain the nexus of your question.
 

BUMPA01603

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Parts manufacturers call everything "milspec", the word is a little watered down. I'm glad I got some spare kits from PSA when they would ship to MA, hope the day comes that they resume business here!
 

Tackdriver

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Nailed it.
What parts specifically have you had fail?
Parts that have failed are improperly staked carrier keys and fire control groups mostly.

Things that were out of spec and didn’t fit or work right have mostly been lowers (pin holes didn’t align properly between upper and lower ) as well as FCG pin holes off by a few thousandths, and barrel chamber dimensions too small.

Dave
 

Uzi2

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Parts manufacturers call everything "milspec", the word is a little watered down. I'm glad I got some spare kits from PSA when they would ship to MA, hope the day comes that they resume business here!
Watered down how? What does that even mean?

So far, Mil Spec is the only written spec that I've seen and read. Do you have a copy of others?
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Your answers in order.

1. None of it.
2. All of it.
3. Lots of people assembling ARs don't know shit from shinola about guns in general but that doesn't mean they can't assemble a funtional, safe to shoot AR.
4. Please specify the "low quality parts" you reference.

I've built ARs using PSA, Anderson, Stag, and other non branded parts and have never felt uncomfortable shooting any of them let alone thought of any of them as "unsafe" or a " danger to others". The very notion is absurd on its face.

There's lots of AR fan boys out there who insist that if you didn't pay $1000+ for your AR that its junk. They are what's known as AR snobs who have to justify their ridiculous expenditures of money by denigrating people who choose to shoot less expensive rifles.

Please explain the nexus of your question.
Specifically companies like delta team tactical or palmetto.
I’m just wondering if the cheaper parts are truly shit or just give a bad reputation due to operator error or like stated above the guys who spend entirely way too much money on a rifle and need to shit talk to justify.
I know a Corolla isn’t a Lexus but it will still run 300k miles.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Parts that have failed are improperly staked carrier keys and fire control groups mostly.

Things that were out of spec and didn’t fit or work right have mostly been lowers (pin holes didn’t align properly between upper and lower ) as well as FCG pin holes off by a few thousandths, and barrel chamber dimensions too small.

Dave
So more QC than lack of quality materials most likely? Some machine shop running their machines at taxi cab speeds and not checking his lot variations or changing cutting tools from the part 1 to part 1000 that day.
 

Dennis in MA

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With so many names out there, it is amazing how often XYZ's stuff is made by ABC Co. YHM, for one, makes or made a ton of parts for other manf's. Heck, IIRC, they were pretty much a wholesaler for a long time until they started marketing under their own name.

AR add-on: Drove by A.R.M.S. on Tuesday. Twice. Into and out of B-water. I recall having one of those Swan Rails (remember - Dick Swan invented the 1913 rail) years ago when AR's didn't really come flat-top.
 

BUMPA01603

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Watered down how? What does that even mean?

So far, Mil Spec is the only written spec that I've seen and read. Do you have a copy of others?
Watered down as in the the word is used so much in the parts world that you start to wonder how much weight it even carries anymore? The actual quality of "milspec" parts varies quite a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer, country of origin, etc. At least that's the way it seems to me? I buy "Made in the USA", perhaps because it makes me presume that it is just better.... maybe I'm right, maybe not
 
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You want all parts manufactured precise.

You want the coatings you like and done in a manner that wont prematurely wear or chip.

You want the right materials and processes used to verify things like your bolt wont fall apart.

You want the upper and lower ideally to fit together like one tight congruent part.

You want the hanguard to be without wobble and to remain secured after thousands of rounds..

You want springs to hold up and not fatigue or break..

You want a strong yet light weapon ideally.

The best barrels are CHF, it's the most expensive way to do it.

Lots more..

Bottom line yes you can build a cheap AR that works but there's a difference. Probably the greatest difference when you compare a $400 build to a $900 build, I think less so when you are talking above that (you do get outstanding manufacturers support with the big $$ names though).
 

drgrant

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Let me preface this with saying I’m not an AR guy. I don’t have a dog in the fight. I’m just wondering what the consensus is on NES. I’m sure it’s skewed and most people won’t read the question and will give an answer completely unrelated.

I have some buddies that love ARs and love to build uppers and fawn over all of the high end parts manufacturers at the same time shitting all over the PSA, Anderson and Delta parts saying that they’re junk and will fail etc.
Now I’m not talking about shitty light weight handguards and flimsy sights but the heart of the rifle. The uppers, lowers, “mil spec” triggers and BCG etc.

How much of this is true? How much of this is hearsay or the fact that there are tons of people assembling bubba rifles from inexpensive parts that know nothing about how the machine works. So when they don’t balance the rifle out right and shear off a gas key they blame the inferior product and not their lack of understanding?
Maybe they’re better off with some high end over built part that can withstand their stupidity.

Or is it just that these low quality parts are actually sold with the possibility of harm coming to the owner?
IMHO do your own research, look at the arfcom tier chart (if it still exists) and go from there.

I don't think "harm coming to the owner" is likely, even with shitty stuff like DelTon and so on. The "worst" thing that's going to happen is a gun that breaks before it really should have, etc.

I think a lot of it depends on what you want to do with the thing. If you're just plinking with it the PSA shithouse ptac special is probably
fine. It's also worth knowing that even they have more than one tier of product. (eg, regular PSA vs PTAC mega skinflint stuff, if they still sell
that crap). If you're building it as a lifesaving device I think it's prudent to apply a bit more scrutiny... but that's all up to you. Some guy might be comfortable with a $600 gun. Others not so much.

ETA: There's also "hedging". Like for example the BCG is the heart of the gun, if you went decent grade on that (at least an MP tested bolt and carrier with the correct grade steels, and properly staked gas key) and flinted on eveyrthing else, your risk would be lower of eventually ending up with broken shit vs someone that picked a bottom barrel BCG.

-Mike
 
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citoriguy

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My best guess is that because of the lower price point, there’s a larger population of “builders” that are attracted to them. When they don’t go bang or have premature failures, if not worse, there’s many more people to bitch about them.
 

drgrant

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You want all parts manufactured precise.

You want the coatings you like and done in a manner that wont prematurely wear or chip.

You want the right materials and processes used to verify things like your bolt wont fall apart.

You want the upper and lower ideally to fit together like one tight congruent part.

You want the hanguard to be without wobble and to remain secured after thousands of rounds..

You want springs to hold up and not fatigue or break..

You want a strong yet light weapon ideally.

The best barrels are CHF, it's the most expensive way to do it.

Lots more..

Bottom line yes you can build a cheap AR that works but there's a difference. Probably the greatest difference when you compare a $400 build to a $900 build, I think less so when you are talking above that (you do get outstanding manufacturers support with the big $$ names though).
One fun thing as I call it is wobblef*** syndrome. I hate it. My Core15 (a relatively cheap gun (800 ish not including the mild upgrades I did to it) maybe between tier 2 and 3) has a little bit of it going, but not as bad as I've seen on some guns. You just put the gun in your hands and twist it back and forth a bit. If you hear it clunking it has the disease. The fun thing is though is in a lot of cases it doesn't functionally matter, but it's still a sign of marginal QC etc. The Colt 6520 I had that I stupidly sold (one of my biggest regret sales, ever) had none of that bullshit. It was solid as a rock.

The other fun thing is once in awhile you will run into cheap guns that have very little of this slop going on. Friend of mine has an M&P 15 that apparently
was built on a good day because its pretty solid... no wobblef***. Yet a PSA I handled a few years ago... wobblef*** city... [laugh]

-Mike
 

Uzi2

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Watered down as in the the word is used so much in the parts world that you start to wonder how much weight it even carries anymore? The actual quality of "milspec" parts varies quite a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer, country of origin, etc. At least that's the way it seems to me? I buy "Made in the USA", perhaps because it makes me presume that it is just better.... maybe I'm right, maybe not
The variance of mil spec parts is actually pretty small, thats the reason it's used as a base line spec.
 

Uzi2

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One fun thing as I call it is wobblef*** syndrome. I hate it. My Core15 (a relatively cheap gun (800 ish not including the mild upgrades I did to it) maybe between tier 2 and 3) has a little bit of it going, but not as bad as I've seen on some guns. You just put the gun in your hands and twist it back and forth a bit. If you hear it clunking it has the disease. The fun thing is though is in a lot of cases it doesn't functionally matter, but it's still a sign of marginal QC etc. The Colt 6520 I had that I stupidly sold (one of my biggest regret sales, ever) had none of that bullshit. It was solid as a rock.

The other fun thing is once in awhile you will run into cheap guns that have very little of this slop going on. Friend of mine has an M&P 15 that apparently
was built on a good day because its pretty solid... no wobblef***. Yet a PSA I handled a few years ago... wobblef*** city... [laugh]

-Mike
I've got 15 PSAs that don't wobble a bit, a CMMG 9mm that's tight as a drum and I've fired Colts that couldn't hit the side of a barn from inside.
There's good and bad from every manufacturer. If I had a PSA that wobbled that bad I'd send it back and demand a new gun.

I find it amuzing that people can always find fault with every gun but the brand they personally own.
 

drgrant

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I've got 15 PSAs that don't wobble a bit, a CMMG 9mm that's tight as a drum and I've fired Colts that couldn't hit the side of a barn from inside.
There's good and bad from every manufacturer. If I had a PSA that wobbled that bad I'd send it back and demand a new gun.

I find it amuzing that people can always find fault with every gun but the brand they personally own.
I've felt PSAs that didn't wobble, either, but it's a common affectation on a lot of cheaper stuff. Of course how much a given person is willing to tolerate
it varies. I've seen some rifles you probably could have jammed a few playing cards between the upper and lower without even trying. Mind you, the guns probably work fine, it's just stupid. [laugh]

-Mike
 

Behind Enemy Lines

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Back when I first started messing around with ARs I was using cheaper parts to finish builds and had a few problems across the 6 or 7 guns I had built. Once I started using better quality parts the problems became few and far between, and now I have only 2 ARs because they do what they're supposed to do and do it well. The only AR things I buy nowadays are shitloads of spare parts. I recommend checking out School of the American Rifle for some good info about what makes certain parts better than others.
 

Supermoto

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I would say it really depends on your expectations of the rifle. Generally blasting at the range, with no real thought to speed and/or accuracy. Then any rifle will work. When you start looking for specific traits, then you will need to spend money to get that. So for say a 3 gun, you want a gun that is accurate but also shoots very flat and transitions well. A factory JP rifle is probably the best rifle for this, it will immediately noticeable the difference between this rifle and say a PSA. Everything on the JP is designed towards a purpose and to work together for that purpose and not just functional parts put together like others do.

I once purchased a low end barrel. The gas port was so oversized that not only did the gun not function, it eventually burned a hole thru the gas block. When I spoke to the manufacturer about this, they said they drilled them that size for reliability. They had no idea that they were drilling a rifle length gas port size on a carbine length gas system. So some manufacturer don't have a clue what they are doing and that is almost certainly going to be from a low end producer.
 
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Bt74

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Funny. Look at Robski's 5000 round torture tests....PSA sailed thru, and Daniels Defense shit the bed!
 

Supermoto

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Funny. Look at Robski's 5000 round torture tests....PSA sailed thru, and Daniels Defense shit the bed!
Just like when you posted the video last time. I will counter with the DD failure seems like it was a popped primer that got under the trigger. If it was rifle related, then the issue would have still been there when they put the rifle back together. So an ammo issue, not a gun related one.
 

drgrant

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I don't think most gun owners shoot their ARs enough to find out if their PTAC freedom rifle is as good as their BCM. Guys will shoot 200 rds from their new gun and proclaim it to be flawless and ready for SHTF.
At some point it's also worth noting that having anything that works is better than nothing at all. That's why I got the Core15. Was a good thing too because the stupid healey bullshit happened a month later. It's good enough for what I do with it, but I'm under no delusions that it's as good as a lot of the better grade stuff out there.

-Mike
 
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I have helped a lot of people at my club work out problems with their builds, doing so I have come across some crappy parts, probably due to little or no quality control.

What was supposed to be a standard weight carbine buffer that had nothing inside it.

A receiver extension with botched threads that went in crooked.

A handguard that came with the wrong size hardware to attach to it's barrel nut.

A parts kit with no safety selector spring, but an extra takedown detent spring.

An upper kit that included a .625 gas block and a .750 barrel.
 

Uzi2

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Specifically companies like delta team tactical or palmetto.
I’m just wondering if the cheaper parts are truly shit or just give a bad reputation due to operator error or like stated above the guys who spend entirely way too much money on a rifle and need to shit talk to justify.
I know a Corolla isn’t a Lexus but it will still run 300k miles.
See my post above re: Palmetto.
 
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