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Old July 28, 2012, 11:09 AM   #1
one4gatr
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1st time AR build - Lower Quality Question

I have made the decision after tons of reading and research to build my first AR. As a newbie I'm probably only going to build the lower and buy a completed upper. My question is I see that everyone and their brother makes a stripped lower and I can't seem to tell the difference from one to the other. Why would I spend $200 on a Spikes when I can buy a PSA for $100? I get the price variation on the uppers but can't for the life of me understand the huge price differences when it comes to lowers. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old July 28, 2012, 01:56 PM   #2
Creeper
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Sometimes you're just paying for a slick roll mark... other times it's unique features, actual quality of materials, quality of machining, quality of finish or... all three. Discounting the cute roll marks, I can't think of any bare lower that's worth more than $250, and around $150 will get you all you'll need for a civilian AR.

You will get people telling you to get lower A or lower B or the lower with the groovy toxic avenger/skull and crossbones/other weird crap roll mark. Do your own research... then offer a list of specific lowers that you like to the forum. You'll get better and more objective comments.

Cheers,
C
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Old July 28, 2012, 03:19 PM   #3
one4gatr
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Specifically the lowers I am considering are (in order least to first)

DPMS, PSA, S&W MP15, Spikes.

In my mind... at least perceived I would believe the quality of the Spikes and the S&W to be pretty close with the other two coming in slightly behind. As you mentioned I am in the $150 price range and am thinking I will find no shortage of lowers there.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old July 28, 2012, 04:17 PM   #4
Creeper
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At last research, DPMS and Spike's lowers are forged by LAR Manufacturing. S&W by Continental Machine Tool... and PSA by Olympic. This all may have changed at this date.
The actual manufactures listed also make lowers and uppers for a number of other companies. as well, in some cases for their own retail needs. Specification for the individual end users will vary based on features and the final finish process... and who actually does the final finish.

A good example of this is that my information shows CMT to be the maker of lowers for:

Stag
Rock River Arms
High Standard
Noveske
Century (New supplier)
Global Tactical
CLE (Compass Lake Eng)
S&W
MGI (Hydra Modular System)
Wilson Tactical
Grenadier Precision - Now LWRC.
Colt

A bit of price and quality spread eh?

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C
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:28 PM   #5
7jinxed7
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keep in mind they are all AR's but the specs are not always exactly the same. For example I'm building a Daniel Defense AR and i was just doing some test fitting on a cheaper Dalphon Industries lower. The two will not fit together but i put this same Daniel Defense upper on a Bushmaster and it works fine. I'm sure it's not common but it's just a example of the different specs. Just something to consider.

Me personally I'm getting a Daniel Defense upper so i'm going with a Daniel Defense lower as well to avoid issues like that.
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Old August 4, 2012, 07:59 PM   #6
one4gatr
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Just a quickie update... Ended up buying a Spikes lower and filled it with Bushmaster guts. Just need to get a stock and buffer assy. and will have this lower finished. Think I am just going to mate it with a Spikes upper and call it a day.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old August 6, 2012, 08:47 PM   #7
jproaster
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Mark,
Make sure you have the right tools for the job; it's easy to scuff up your lower. If you're pretty handy with tools you will be fine.

Btw, I bought a zombie themed lower built by mega. Good stuff. My upper is bcm m4 carbine with DD free float quad rail; rail was too expensive; my bad for blowing money on it.

John
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Old August 7, 2012, 05:32 AM   #8
one4gatr
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Thanks for tip on the tools John. The only real PITA that I wished I had a "special" tool was the front pivot pin. I worked around that with a jewelers flat head screwdriver inserted from the opposite side and held down the detent and spring while I slipped the pin over the top. Other than that regular punches and masking tape worked out well.

I still need to put on the buffer tube so I will buy the wrench once I decide what I want to put on. I am debating on doing the upper myself as well. I have heard mixed reviews about the level of skill needed to pull it off. But will cross that bridge once I get a little more cash in hand lol..

Last edited by one4gatr; August 7, 2012 at 08:56 PM.
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Old August 7, 2012, 07:09 PM   #9
jproaster
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Good luck man.

Fwiw, I like my 1 in 7 twist, but I would seriously consider the 1 in 9. It seems more versatile.

John
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Old August 8, 2012, 07:41 AM   #10
one4gatr
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Being a 1st timer and not completely sure how heavy I want to shoot I will probably go with the 1 in 9. I can always change out after the fact.

Mark
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Old August 8, 2012, 08:04 PM   #11
Justice06RR
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Can't go wrong with Spikes Tactical. I've used their lowers for 2 builds and their quality is excellent for the value.
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Old August 9, 2012, 04:53 AM   #12
one4gatr
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So far I have been happy with the Spikes quality. Its really difficult being a 1st time builder weeding through everyone's opinions and coming up with some that's reasonably priced and of decent quality. I think I am sold on the Spikes upper but the barrel and BCG are a whole new can of worms lol...
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Old August 9, 2012, 08:52 AM   #13
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Mke sure to check Bravo Company. Good quality with reasonable prices.
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