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View Full Version : AR15 Classifications. . .We need them!


Nathan
September 9, 2012, 09:19 PM
We need an AR15 manufacturers association to lay down some clear wording for what their AR is suitable for. This would eliminate threads like this one (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=498384).

Hard Use - Meant for extended shooting sessions. 200 rd strings of semi-auto fire. 1000 rounds between cleanings. Regular use at this rate of fire. Ammo used to be low pressure steel case through NATO pressures. 99.99% feed reliability. Accuracy required to be 2 MOA at 100 yds. All parts replacement to be handled by PM schedule. No breakage allowed.

Tactical Sporter - Like hard use, but 60 rnd strings and 300 rnds between cleanings. Fire rate to occur infrequently. Ammo used to be low pressure steel case through NATO pressures. 99.9% feed reliability. Accuracy required to be 2 MOA at 100 yds. All parts replacement to be handled by PM schedule. No breakage allowed. Expensive parts like barrel, receiver, and non-critical parts allowed to wear out as long as feed reliability or other critical function not affected.

Hunter - No string rate. Expected rate of fire never to exceed 1 shot in 5 sec for a max length of 20 shots. Ammo used to be 223 size and pressure. Accuracy required to be 1.5 MOA at 100 yds. 99.5% feed reliability. Rare parts breakage OK. . .non-life saving use. No PM schedule required from manufacturer.

Match - No string rate. Expected rate of fire never to exceed 1 shot in 1 sec for a max length of 30 shots. Regular usage at this fire rate. Ammo used to be 223 size and pressure. Accuracy required to be .75 MOA at 100 yds. 99.9% feed reliability. Rare parts breakage OK. . .non-life saving use. No PM schedule required from manufacturer.

Plinker - No strings, no rate of fire, clean when the gun is dirty or has issues. Reliability 98% or better with mixture of low pressure steel through NATO. Rare parts breakage OK. . .non-life saving use. No PM schedule required from manufacturer.

. . .and so on

Any thoughts? I'm thinking it might help distinguish a $600 from a $750 from a $1000 from a $1400 AR. I'm not sure, but do any of the $750 makers think they are building high spec near military grade AR's?

HKFan9
September 9, 2012, 09:23 PM
I think the guns if you know enough about them classify themselves.... it sounds like this should be used by a person to classify what kind of shooter they are.

The issue lies in people not wanting to do their own research, or understand where their money is going, or what type of AR they need.

Most people these days buying AR-15's DO NOT need a mil-spec gun, and that is fine.... the problem is when people boast about how a $600 Sportline or Carbon-15 is just as good as a Colt.

jimbob86
September 9, 2012, 09:27 PM
So .... you want the manufacturers to do your homework for you? .... and you trust them to do that, and be completely unbiased in their assessments of their own products!?!?!?

Caveat Emptor, indeed.

kraigwy
September 9, 2012, 09:51 PM
Why cant one rifle do it all. Mine does. My White Oak upper is my High Power Rifle, plenty of accuracy to 1000 yards.

Its also reliable, I've shot, more then once 100 rounds rapid fire and I've shoot well in excess of 1000 rounds without cleaning.

No reliability problems. (But I only use USGI 20 Round magazines).

I also use the rifle in 3 Gun Matches.

My SP1 is the same way, only it doesn't have the accuracy of my White Oak.

Its 1:12 so I can't use heavy bullets, my White Oak is 1:7 and can use anything from 50 to 90 grn bullets.

Nathan
September 9, 2012, 11:44 PM
So .... you want the manufacturers to do your homework for you? .... and you trust them to do that, and be completely unbiased in their assessments of their own products!?!?!?


Yes and no. I want the manufacturers who don't share proprietary information with us to share it with a group led by them. It offers us the benefit in AR selection by grade and helps the manufacturers avoid the Colt vs crap debate we have daily as gun owners. Maybe unlike you, I don't buy every AR, tear it down and test it fully. Like most gun buyers, I sort through the purposefully vague, hazy literature trying to guess why a $1500 AR is better than 1000 is better than $600.

How many people didn't know that there were subpar barrel extensions in some guns? If you rate Hard Use, the mfgr assoc can knock you down to plinker class. Just like they do with car classes.

impalacustom
September 10, 2012, 03:37 AM
Just like they do with car classes
And every car that is rented is automatically put in the hard use class, no matter what the manufacture puts it in.

Buy once cry once, it breaks, fix it or send it back.

Skans
September 10, 2012, 07:55 AM
Meant for extended shooting sessions. 200 rd strings of semi-auto fire. 1000 rounds between cleanings. Regular use at this rate of fire.

Do you really think the company's lawyer is going to sign off on this???

Manufacturers play it safe by touting accuracy, safety, and ergonomics. They stay away from things like "sustained rate of fire", "torture test", "indestructibility", "kill statistics", "ability to rip off 200 rounds/minute semi-auto", etc.

Fishbed77
September 10, 2012, 10:24 AM
And I wish used car salesmen always told the truth, banks cared about their customers, cable TV was worth the money I paid for it, and when McDonalds reduces portion sizes, they are doing it for the sake of my waistline...

jimbob86
September 10, 2012, 10:38 AM
I would not trust a "Manufacturer's Association" any more, and probably less, than a manufacturer, as they have less skin in the game than the guy that makes a gun and puts his company's name on the side.

Caveat Emptor.

Or do you not trust your own powers of reasoning and observation?

Kids today (mine included!) want everything done for them.

They are also WAY too trusting of nebulous organizations and "experts".

ripnbst
September 10, 2012, 11:53 AM
IMO this would be useless because everybody and their brother would claim their rifle is a "hard use" capable rifle. The you'd have everybody under the sun in one category.

IMO the rifle's price point and feature list make it obvious what it can and cant handle. For those who dont know, do your research like I did. I didn't know jack about AR's this time last year. If you don't want to do your research buy one in your budget, use it as you will, and hope for the best.

Those are really the only two options. This is another case of "Someone else should do my homework for me" and placing liability elsewhere. Take some responsibility, learn something, and then go have fun.

Technosavant
September 10, 2012, 12:27 PM
I agree with those who say it would end up being meaningless.

You'd have DPMS and Del-Ton claiming their cheapest models were perfect for the hardest use you care to envision. We already have Vulcan claiming they're the machine guns of the special forces... there's no reason to throw in anything else.

Do the homework, learn what features are preferable for what tasks and why, and then see what the manufacturers offer. It isn't that hard. That stainless HBAR free float .223 chambered 1/12 varmint upper is obviously for different purposes than the lightweight profile midlength 1/7 upper. Figure out what features are worth paying for and know that if a maker doesn't disclose a given spec (for example, you might not be able to find out what steel they use in their bolts if you waterboard the customer service reps), it's probably not because they're so awesome customers would faint at the truth of their awesomeness.

Quentin2
September 10, 2012, 02:20 PM
Probably the best best and fairest comparison/classification of ARs is the old M4 Compatibility Chart. It really delivered the goods but unfortunately 90% of AR owners didn't understand it or dismissed it without looking at it. A shame since it's a Cliff's Notes to understanding what makes up a hard use carbine.

No doubt an industry alliance, even if done well, would be treated much the same by the buying public. In fact the new version of the chart hasn't been supported well by manufacturers since it would point out corners cut by many of them to buyers.

Nathan
September 10, 2012, 03:29 PM
Or do you not trust your own powers of reasoning and observation?

I don't trust my ability to tell barrel steel spec by looking at it. Sorry, nobody has taught me to tel 4140 from 4150 by looking.

I also don't trust my ability to tell if my bolt was MPI'd. Maybe you can't see that, huh?

I don't trust myself to understand how the barrel extension was made if I'm holding an M4 in the store.

So yea, I guess I don't trust myself.

This is the same problem figuring out which bolt action rifle will shoot .5 MOA or better just looking at it.;)



On the other hand, do you think LMT or Colt would continue to participate in a manufacturers association where some other company was pushing to have a sub par gun called hard use? Basically, I think the companies would agree behind the scenes what would make a gun "hard use". Then they could get the designation without saying that they build their rifles by a certain process which allows them a $.35 cost down to the Colt method, but actually performs better. The independent acting, but company supported association would be able to test, sign non-compete, non-disclosure docs which would allow them to know what everyone was making without disclosing how something is made.

As a side note, there would be a huge benefit for all of the non-Colt, non-LMT, etc makers to show they can make "hard use" guns for less. Same goes for accuracy and low cost. Maybe Colt would get the plinker designation by doing something like the big pin fiasco again and have to fix it or redesign the AR model to be lower cost.

Technosavant
September 10, 2012, 06:52 PM
I also don't trust my ability to tell if my bolt was MPI'd. Maybe you can't see that, huh?

Some makers will put that on the bolt itself.

But the maker will usually tell the buyer what you're dealing with... if not, assume it's the lower end stuff.

marine6680
September 10, 2012, 09:15 PM
There are many up and coming companies that are trying to make ARs to the same specs as the Colts, LMT, and other well established known hard use capable rifles.

BCM used to be the new kid... but they are well respected now.

Spikes is gaining reputation from what I have read... and so is PSA.

PSA is undercutting prices to establish their name, they will get more expensive when/if the general consensus goes in their favor.

There are also companies that are just trying to make a competent rifle at reasonable prices.

Seems $800 is about as low as the prices go for a plain basic carbine capable of hard use. Though Spikes and PSA can get lower on sale/special. (but the jury is still out for them as best I can tell)

Anything less than that may get you a good rifle that can handle ome abuse, but not hard use.

Then again... I could be way off base with this.

Fishbed77
September 10, 2012, 11:05 PM
PSA is undercutting prices to establish their name, they will get more expensive when/if the general consensus goes in their favor.

They already are getting much more expensive than they were a year ago.