• If you enjoy the forum please consider supporting it by signing up for a NES Membership  The benefits pay for the membership many times over.

Do fancy lowers make a difference?

Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Dec 18, 2013
Messages
67
Likes
53
One question I have after building my first rifle on a pre-ban lower...among the experienced folks here, is there a noticeable difference between a mid-range lower and something from KAC or LMT when it comes to basic plinking and SHTF defense?
 

StonerAndSullivan

NES Member
Rating - 100%
10   0   0
Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
1,592
Likes
1,441
Location
Masslandia
If you are choosing an ambi-lower: maybe
If you are going with a standard lower: not really
You don't have to spend big bucks on a lower where the upper and bcg is where the real magic happens.
Still, the holes do need to be in the right place for everything to work, so don't build a rifle on a pile of shit. Despite what people say AR's aren't legos and also the weakest link can sink the whole ship.
 

PappyM3

NES Member
Rating - 100%
18   0   0
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
2,642
Likes
2,841
You’re paying for quality control, and roll mark (except for fancy proprietary control lowers). You could still get a good lower with a cheap brand. I have a cheapo Anderson lower that is perfectly in spec. But there’s a higher percentage of out of spec lowers the cheaper you go.

Also, cheap lowers have gotten A LOT better. The old cheap brand lowers of the ‘90s and early 2000s had more issues with fitment (or breakage if it were a cast lower). Not nearly as much of a problem anymore.
 
Last edited:

22lr

NES Member
Rating - 100%
83   0   0
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
2,908
Likes
2,329
I personally would not pay a big premium for a lower unless you want to show off a particular brand or maybe match parts to the rest of the rifle.

And +1 for Aero lowers
 

Al-Jim19

NES Member
Rating - 100%
19   0   0
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
2,549
Likes
948
I have mixed feelings on this. Realistically the lower itself is a pretty unimportant part as far as accuracy and reliability go as long as its in spec. In my experience, an Anderson thats in spec is basically jUsT aS gOoD (or more accurately, good enough for almost any ordinary persons use).

My Anderson is in spec and has worked well. I dont have a boatload if rounds on it, but enough that i believe it works. I think that paying a little more for nicer brands, even Aero, or other mid to upper tier brands buys you better quality control more than anything else.

The only hiccup is with the highest end brands i think. I got to play with a complete KAC rifle, and it was awesome. it was sturdy in a way other rifles ive used just werent. My anderson is fine but a knights is a different animal, and not just because if the lower.

I guess in sum i would pay a small premium for a brand thats likely to have better quality control, but as far as lowers go their role is mainly to house other more important parts.

Just my 2c
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Dec 18, 2013
Messages
67
Likes
53
Buy a cheap lower, that way when you have a sucky day shooting you can blame the cheap shit you bought not yourself.

Ha! I'm coming to that conclusion after some range time this weekend. It'd be 'nice' to have a matching lower, but there's so much user error involved at this point that it'll take more than a fancy lower to right this ship.
 

greencobra

NES Member
Rating - 100%
28   0   0
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
21,358
Likes
16,218
when aero and anderson lowers were 35 bucks..boy do i wish i bought a thousand. who knew stripped lowers would eventually be an investment. i went upsacle and bought $45 dollar spikes shit.

i was told by a wise man that one would be surprised if one found out a lot of boutique lowers were cast in the same facilities that did some of the cheaper cost lowers. in other words maybe not in the long run is the answer.
 

bfm

Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
8,755
Likes
10,593
Location
Somerville
Fancy, no. Quality, yes. as long as everything is in spec, the part you put in make a bigger difference.

To borrow from a previous post, I have a full LMT AR and it is damn near perfect. That said, I have a cheap, barely in spec, lower with mostly Geissele and Magpul parts and it is pretty close to equal of the LMT.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
219
Likes
221
Location
New Hampshire
Fancy, no. Quality, yes. as long as everything is in spec, the part you put in make a bigger difference.

To borrow from a previous post, I have a full LMT AR and it is damn near perfect. That said, I have a cheap, barely in spec, lower with mostly Geissele and Magpul parts and it is pretty close to equal of the LMT.

I had an LMT monolithic and it was the worst, least accurate rifle I ever had and that was after waiting 9 months to get it. Sold it and bought a Colt LE6940 (also a monolithic). The Colt is more accurate and cost less. YMMV
 

citoriguy

NES Member
Rating - 100%
31   0   0
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
2,991
Likes
2,439
Location
PRM
Fancy, no. Quality, yes. as long as everything is in spec, the part you put in make a bigger difference.

To borrow from a previous post, I have a full LMT AR and it is damn near perfect. That said, I have a cheap, barely in spec, lower with mostly Geissele and Magpul parts and it is pretty close to equal of the LMT.

Good point - the parts kits that you use make a difference as well. Geissele and Aero Precision make good complete lower (and upper) parts kits which are more expensive than most, but so does CMMG and many other manufacturers.
 
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
901
Likes
841
Location
Metro Atlanta
I'm just reconfirming what everyone else said. If its ambi ( I have 2 LMT MARS) and you like those features its worth the markup. Flexing on poors is indeed hella fun. An aero will grow into get a damn good rifle, going cheaper on a lower is a way better plan that a cheap barrel or BCG.

I use the ambi features a good amount. If you shoot competition with your AR's that right hand bolt catch makes unloading and showing clear much easier.

Also if the only Ambi thing you want is a mag release, just get this EMR-A
 

oldguy68

NES Member
Rating - 100%
41   0   0
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,778
Likes
3,783
Location
Non-ya
Don't let anyone tell you a poverty pony is a piece of crap, just because he spent $500.00 or more on a super duper, way more better, than your in spec lower receiver.
If a forged receiver is milled correctly, then the only thing your paying for is the finish and the name on the side.
How much more are those worth to you?

Personally, I like the Spike's Tactical Honey Badger lower receiver.

I'll pay more for a receiver, just for the funny markings on it.
But I know full well a receiver made correctly will function the same as any other receiver regardless of cost.

Speaking of cost.
Most lower receivers cost less than the butt stock that people put on these rifles.
 

drgrant

Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
61   0   0
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
76,219
Likes
49,190
One question I have after building my first rifle on a pre-ban lower...among the experienced folks here, is there a noticeable difference between a mid-range lower and something from KAC or LMT when it comes to basic plinking and SHTF defense?
Pretty much any lower will work... even poverty pony lowers are fine usually. The more expensive stuff is for SWAG and possibly additional features or asthetics.
 

Mountain

NES Member
Rating - 100%
21   0   0
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
13,318
Likes
12,845
Fancy lowers make a cosmetic difference. AR's are like Barbie dress up time. Build what you like and have fun.

If you came looking for justification to spend more money- YES, they do make a difference. Cheap lowers kill baby seals, cause ED, and eventually blow up in your face.

If you want to do your best on a budget, spend the money on the bolt and barrel, then trigger. Don't sweat the lower nor upper.
 

mac1911

NES Member
Rating - 100%
74   0   0
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
33,145
Likes
11,672
Eh , unless the manufacture is claiming above and beyond "milspec" there's not much of a difference
Extra engraving some cool features will add to the cost. Example are those lowers with magwell designs built in skull face , shark teeth
I bought lowers from cheap to expensive. All but one Anderson I had problems with. The Rear Take down hole was off. Anderson promptly replaced it.

The finish on them can vary. I have a delaware machine lower that has the best looking finish, the Andersons and Aero I picked up on group buys here on NES are not bad but not as "nice" as the delaware.
I have a NES Yankee Hill Machine lower which at the time was the "expensive" one in my group. Its nice and I like it but if it was not a NES buy I would never had even considered one.

Now if your the new age AR shooter sporting Nitrile gloves walking around your AR on the bench mumbling with with your friends and pointing out all the cool features then spend the money
IF your going to shoot it, get it dirty, wet and wear it out. Buy just about any lower in the lower price point thats making them to spec.
 

BadBoyBilly

NES Member
Rating - 100%
21   0   0
Joined
Sep 25, 2009
Messages
324
Likes
49
Location
Metrowest, MA
Small differences in my opinion. For example, if you take an Aero Precision receiver set and compare it to one of my all time favorites the Mega Arms GTR-3H receiver set. There are some differences.

1) The finish on the Mega Arms is far superior. One of the most durable finishes I've seen on a receiver set. A slight breeze of the wind will take the finish off on the Aero (mine is FDE if it matters).

2) The Mega Arms has very tight tolerances. When you attach the upper and the lower its so tight they hold in place without the take down pins. Same with inserting the barrel into the upper. The fit was so tight I had to very gently tap the barrel into the upper with a rubber mallet. Also there's an upper receiver tension screw to eliminate any slop between the two receivers. My Aero is loose as a goose. I had to buy one of those little rubber cushion things that goes behind the rear take down pin to get rid of the slop.

3) Mega receiver set has an ambi bolt release which is very nice.


At the end of the day, any mil spec receiver will do. It's up to you if you want to spend more on finish, fit, roll marks and ambi controls.....

Cheap vs Expensive.
View: https://youtu.be/Cu8JEp9rJw0
 

teamRR

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
1,763
Likes
1,362
I'm a huge Aero fan, can't find anything to question with them, certainly notches above Anderson, but I only use Aero in M4E1, which is their better stuff. Have them in FDE and anodized, dized, all really nice.

In M4E1 and their M5's, as well as their enhanced uppers, there are a variety of little differences that make them easier to build, some roll pins replaced with threaded fasteners for straight forward assembling, retaining fasteners for springs, integral trigger guards etc. In the uppers since the guards attaches directly to the upper you can torque the barrel nut correctly without worrying about timing of the hanguard..

Use whatever you want for lowers based on what you like but I see no sense in versions where the trigger guard is not integral.
 
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
116
Likes
164
Spend your money where it matters most. Barrel, BCG and a nice trigger. I have a Spikes and Aero lowers. I would put their fit form and function next to any other lower, period. And if you obsessed by the fit or slop between the upper and lower then buy some JP precision oversized .249" takedown/pivot pins. Pricey but it fixes the slop 100% and it not some band aid fix like the o-ring trick and the stupid rubber spacer things.

What i have seen many do with the cheap lowers is buy all the other parts as cheap as possible too. Trust me a $40 BCG is not made the same as a $200 BCG. Same if you drop on a compete upper assembly for $200.


In case anyone curious what i used in my builds. AB*Arms BCG (lower price for a quality BCG), Criterion Hybrid Match barrel, Trigger Tech and Velocity Match triggers.
 
Last edited:

bfm

Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
8,755
Likes
10,593
Location
Somerville
What i have seen many do with the cheap lowers is buy all the other parts as cheap as possible too. Trust me a $40 BCG is not made the same as a $200 BCG. Same if you drop on a compete upper assembly for $200.

I did one build completely on the cheap. My first build as I did not want to spend a lot if I messed it up. Trigger was pretty bad, safety and mag release felt like there was sand in the action, accuracy was ok. Went bang for a couple thousand rounds then started having some issues. Gas port and gas block both showed very excessive wear. Rebuilt the upper with better parts. The lower still works fine and most of the grittiness smoothed out over time. Still not a great trigger and I use it pretty much anytime I think there might be some abusive treatment like some classes or with a new shooter etc. Lower has still been 100% functional.
 
Top Bottom