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Discussion in 'Handguns' started by toddtheknifegeek, Sep 2, 2009.
iirc, a heavy barrel will improve follow-up shot accuracy over long distances, right?
I believe Stag makes rifles for S&W, at least my 15T is a Stag. S&W may assemble them, but they don't make them, at least they didn't.
And Stag is an excellent rifle and is not on the "value end" of anything.
So much of this just depends. Some people just judge the rifle by how reliable it is, some are concerned with the quality of certain parts, some are concerned with the level of quality control the manufacturer uses, some people demand one that's as close to some highly technical specification set as possible, and some people just buy one and be happy with it and don't worry about it.
I have a mixmaster with an LMT upper and another mixmaster with a Stag Upper. Both seem to work just fine, really. I can look at the LMT and the Stag side by side carefully and see a few differences though, especially in the BCG. But then again once I am convinced I need to I can just buy an LMT or similar BCG for the Stag upper... that's the great thing about the platform, most "issues" like that are usually a quick swap out, one seal for another, etc.
The issue is not really about follow up shots. It is definately a better heat sink when at training and putting hundreds of rounds through it. Also it tends to be a much stronger barrel.
Back in Viet Nam when they had the three prong flash hiders and they used the flash hiders to open the cases of c-rats (canned rations) they could not hit anything with their M-16's because all their barels were bent the first time they opened a case. To me this was a serious issue as I did not want a s_ _pid co worker smashing my AR in a car door or sitting on it or any other general mishandling.\
But since it will be mine and I do not plan on mistreating it, I will get the thin barrel for my next one.
Well, someone had to do it, before some Oly guy shows up or the OP gets a bum steer. No "Which AR?" thread is complete without The Chart!
Keep in mind what The Chart is (data) and what it is not (a personal attack on anyone's pet brand). Also look for and evaluate the various criticisms of The Chart. People get wound up about The Chart but don't need to. Not everyone needs the same AR for their purposes.
If you're looking for a range toy, then get anything you can find and enjoy it. The so-called CMMG Bargain Bin rifles and kit builds are a great choice here, as well as any of the other value brands mentioned in this thread.
If you're looking for something to hard train with, compete with, reliable HD, etc, then avoid the airsofters and gravel pit commandos at ARFCOM and do some serious reading at m4carbine.net.
This story is not as black and white as some make it out to be. There are some great choices in the middle: Bushmaster, S&W, Charles Daly Defense, etc. I've always found it interesting that AR snobs look down on Bushmasters but a lot of cops have good luck with their issued one.
My gun budget is always very limited, so my first AR was a used pre-ban PWA-based A1 parts gun for $525. After a few days of class and cases of ammo, I now have an LMT lower with a BCM upper. Based on what I've shot since, if I were to do it over again I'd either get the same LMT/BCM rig or just get a Colt 6920. Yes, even as a cheapskate.
When I was in a similar position as the OP, somebody (at ARFCOM) gave me some great advice: "You'd be much better off with an AK than a cheap AR." Having owned both, he was right.
You have to take all advice with a grain of salt when it comes to AR's. I researched for about a year before I ran into a gunsmith friend of mine that had one for sale. The one I bought is a Rock River with a match grade barrel and a two-stage trigger among other things. I have about 2500 rounds through it and it has been perfect. As some have said, Rock River may be on the "value" end of the spectrum but I would not hesitate to buy another. Since buying my first I have had 5 more, ranging from CMMG to LMT, all good guns, but none shot any better than the Rock River, especially since I had about 2x the money in them. Get a good lower that is in spec, then pick what you want, buying extra parts like pins, springs, buffers and so on, and shoot the hell out of it and enjoy it. Don't spend so much that you are afraid to let it play outside. After all, thats what it is for. :evilgrin:
This post may not clear it up, but I would say build your own. It won't save you any money- in fact it will be slightly more by the time you pay shipping etc. I too would say if you can't afford to do one correctly then yes an AK is a far better option for those going "cheap" because when you need THIS type of weapon to work it has to. A cheap or poorly made AR will get you killed.
Here's a set of specs for a true AR that has been proven where it counts.
Tactical Machining lower, a mil spec M16 A4 flat top upper receiver from Advanced Ordanance, a bolt and carrier from Advanced Ordanance, barrel is a DEZ arms 16" 1/9 twist- I know not mil spec but works far better with lighter commercial ammo, A2 flash suppressor, DPMS lower parts kit, YHM free floating handguard. Pin the front site to keep it in place. A Rock River Lower can be substituted, but Tactical Machining is better.
Colt, Bushmaster and Double Star are my preferences.
Colt, Colt, Colt, Colt, LaRue, Noveske, Danial Defense, the newer S&Ws, or maybe a Colt.
I see Bushampsters in our rifle program regularly poop the bed.
I'm not going to say on the Bushmaster comment, as I don't don't know any of the circumstances. but minus Larue all of those manufactures get their parts from the exact same suppliers. In training I've seen more Colts go down than any other AR, and have yet to have a problem in either of my 2 bushmasters that have seen some where in the vicinity of 40k rounds through them combined. Although all the rifles in boot were exclusively Colts, so the likely hood of seeing them fail was a near guarantee.
Bushmasters have issues with bolt carrier key staking, not having the chambers actually reamed to 5.56mm specs, and often other weird issues.
An example of their QC is the three of the brand new rifles in our program that had issues with doubling and tripling, sent back to the factory, come back as runway guns, uncontrolled full-auto (these guns are semi-auto only, or supposed to be anyway).
My last issue carbine when I was still on our SWAT team was a 14.5" barreled Bushampster, after I staked the carrier key properly, installed a Colt bolt, and reamed the chamber to 5.56 it ran fine. One should not, IMHO, have to go to these lengths to get a brand new in the box carbine running.
Parts is not parts, and all of the factories do not get their parts from the same folks, that idea is complete and total . Note that the only real "milspec" guns available come from Colt and FN, and you can't buy an FN. The rest on my list are boutique rifle makers who specialize in extreme quality control and using the best available parts.
As far as boot goes, I recall basic training rifles being beat to crap, very poorly maintained, and the only way they got any PMCS was if they broke. They also tend to be old as hell, M16 I was issued was built prior to Viet Nam.
One can over clean a gun to the detriment of the mechanical function of that gun, and the US military specializes in doing so. Too many NCOs have no idea how to actually shoot, run and maintain there weapons, and pass on crap information to Pvt. Joe Snuffy. It's a vicious circle.
40,000 rounds through two guns, so 20,000 each? You must have a serious personal PMCS program going on. That's at least a barrel swap if not the whole upper, new buffer springs several times over, likely a new buffer, at least a new bolt, extractor, extractor spring and cam pin at the minimum, if not the entire BCG.
This could very well be true, although it is highly unlikely that an AR will breach fire which is the only way a semi AR can fire full auto minus a lightning link.
I can understand the frustration, both my rifles are well within spec and other than staking the gas key have fired everything from wolf to M855 flawlessly.
You are dead wrong. There are about 15 commercial manufacturers that make both uppers and lowers for AR15's and M16's alike. While they make them to different specs for different gun companies, and some final machining is done, they are all forged by the same companies. For instance Colt uses Alco Forge, Cerro Forge, Mueller Brass, Harvey Aluminum, Kaiser Aluminum, and Martin Marietta to provide their uppers.
Guess what other companies use those same forgings? Diemaco, Stag, DPMS, FN, and Bushmaster all use those same companies to forge their uppers.
That was my point. It's all relative to our own experiences. And I have yet to see a Bushmaster go down like I saw Colts go down. Once I was out of boot and issued my rifle, it ran perfect, and never had any issues.
Not a thing has been replaced in either rifle. Nothing. Both barrels are chrome lined and hold around 2 moa with Q3131. They aren't even close to shot out yet. I maintain my rifles very well and any other AR would perform just as long and as well if maintained properly. I haven't changed anything out as I'm waiting to see what will fail and at what round count.
Don't take my post wrong, I own a Colt 6920 and have a 16" stainless Noveske barrel on a Vltor VIS upper, and they both shoot and run great. I wasn't bashing any of the manufactures. I was simply stating that they all use parts from the same manufactures. And they do. From springs to triggers to bolt carriers to uppers, they use parts from the same companies. It's logical, why would every AR maker have an aluminum foundry when they can just have a CNC shop to do final machining of the parts. It wouldn't make sense. You can verify everything I've said by using Google. I suggest you do that before giving out misinformation.
Then you lucked out, but a lot of people have had problems with them. That's the problem with many of the low end manufacturers- quality control issues. One gun might come out of the factory perfectly in spec, ready for thousands of rounds, and the next gun off the line will crap out in a hurry. The better companies have better quality control to catch the defects before they are sold.
That is true, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Again, it goes back to quality control. The higher end companies are willing to pay more for parts that have been checked for flaws and/or buy extra parts and cull out the bad ones. Also, if Colt, FN, BCM, LMT, LWRC, ect, are only buying the highest quality parts, the remander is being sold to the lower end companies, until you get all the way down to companies like M&A parts/Model 1 Sales that are able to produce $500 AR kits because they buy all the parts that other companies won't buy.
My rifles aren't an exception to the rule. Show me where any one else is having these problems with Bushmasters since the bad batch of barrels 2 years ago, other than here say? A company can't exist while making sub standard products while charging premium prices. Colts have had numerous carrier and bad barrel issues over the past decade that have been rectified as well. Does that mean now that all Colts are junk? By your reasoning, yes it does. That is just not the case as both Colt and Bushmaster strive to make excellent rifles.
It actually does tell the whole story. There aren't a remainder of "bad parts" that get bought from a batch of supposedly grade "A" parts. Buying parts wholesale is the same in every industry. The less the parts are passed between vendors before they get to the consumer the cheaper they are to ultimately buy. It again comes down to simple economics and not sub standard left over parts . Now you are right that QC has a large hand in determining fit and finish of particular manufactuers like Larue and Noveske, but they have alot less rifles to check before they go out the door.
I have read of numerous problems with bushmasters that have been pushed hard. Read some of the stuff that Pat Roberts has said about AR reliability- He makes it his goal to track problems with guns in his classes to learn which guns are capable of being pushed hard, and which ones don't make it. He's probably seen more guns of all brands go down than anyone, and he knows what works and what doesn't. He doesn't trust bushmasters because he's seen to high of a percentage of them bust. He trusts a variety of different companies, including LWRC, Novaske, Colt, BCM, CCMG, LMT, and S&W.
Then why should I spend a good $800 on a Bushmaster or DPMS, when I can get a kit from Model 1 sales for $500 that apparently has the same quality as Colt?
You mean Pat Rogers. I've read more than my fair share of what he thinks. He has written some decent articles on the maintenance and care of the direct impingement rifle. His opinions are again just that, opinions. His views on the newer piston driven weapon systems like the Sig 556 are laughable and also unfounded. Of any one you could have picked to drive your point home, a Colt fan boy like Rogers isn't going to get it done. My opinion of him as a "gun writer" is pretty low. I respond to guys like Tom Gresham, who have forgotten more about guns than Rogers will ever know. Of the manufacturers you just listed Rogers would only recommend one of them, Colt.
I'm going to assume that you are severely misinformed. As I would love to have a $500 AR from anyone even Model 1, but after buying a lower and having the kit to the same specs as a comparable Bushmaster shipped to you, your out $780 and still have to put it together. Model1 kits are barely any cheaper than buying a Bushmaster or any other of your "lower brand" AR's. You're points aren't making what you think to be true, actually be true.
I suppose that I was wrong about the S&W's. In his "warts and all" review of the LWRC M6, he stated that he was quite happy with their performance and that he considered them a good gun. As I recall, he has also said good things about the HK 416 and Daniel Defense. He has actually stated that his current favorite is the BCM 16" mid.
What has he said about the Sigs? The only thing I've seen him say is that he hasn't seen that many, and that the ones he has seen have run all right, but the owners seem to get tired of them by the end of the class and end up switching to their backup gun or one of his loner guns.
Now, if all you do plink then you will probably be fine with a low grade gun. The kind of shooting that Pat does and has his students do is considerably higher volume, and that is the environment that Pat is talking about when he says that low and mid grade guns aren't suitable.