View Full Version : Olympic arms ar-15

November 25, 2010, 04:07 AM
The price is right for entry level weapon. I need pros & cons from the folks that know.

Jim S.

November 25, 2010, 04:41 AM
First thing; you must decide on your personal usage. If you shoot 100 rounds every couple weeks at relatively slow rate of fire you will have a different need than some one shooting once a year but shooting 1000 rounds as quickly as you can.

Olympic makes perfectly decent firearms and they are a good entry rifle. You may also want to take a look at DPMS. Their offerings have a little more versatility in regards to buying an inexpensive entry rifle and then upgrading. But really brand is not super important the AR15 chassis is like a PC there are dozens of companies that make uppers, lowers, stocks and the like.

There are a number of features like a forward assist, a dust cover, a quad rail free floating hand guard, and a TROMIX muzzle brake offer. But until you have an idea of how much shooting you will do you can essentially buy anything you can afford and you will be happy. On your first gun I wouldn't spend more than a grand, I strongly recommend one with iron sights.

November 25, 2010, 06:54 AM
Just as "good" as a D.P.M.S, Bushmaster, Armalite, Doublestar, Rock River, S&W, Stag arms, Del Ton, CMMG, .etc.

November 25, 2010, 09:00 AM
Olympic Arms gets a undeserved bad rap because they made a very cheap entry level rifle back in the 90's. This one model has haunted them ever since. I know a few guys that own newer OA's and they like them, no problems and some of them shoot steel case ammo all the time. Don't believe the haters, they are parroting what they read on the net.

roy reali
November 25, 2010, 09:03 AM
Don't believe the haters, they are parroting what they read on the net.

I nominate this response for best reply of the month.

November 25, 2010, 09:16 AM
Tend to be accurate and priced right. They have also had a tendency to be out of spec occasionally (won't mate up to other uppers, etc.).

Anybody who tells you they're the equal of a CMMG or Rock River has never once used one of those brands.

Olympic is a budget rifle. Period. They're not priced that way because the other makers spend their extra profit on a Mercedes company car for the janitor. You aren't getting what you aren't paying for. The next step up would be DPMS or Del-Ton. Then on to the others from there. Those claiming the cheap rifles are "just as good as" the higher priced brands don't know what they're talking about.

I'd see what the price difference is between the Olympic and the others. If the extra cash is the difference between having a rifle and not having one, then by all means go for the Olympic and it may be all you ever need if you just use it for plinking. If you are thinking about taking carbine courses or running it hard at all, you're going to be better off saving up for a higher quality rifle.

November 25, 2010, 09:21 AM
Picked up an Olympic K-16 about a month ago, so some may say I haven't had it long enough, but, while the finish isn't as good as my Armalites and Bushmasters it has quality where it counts. I have had no problem shooting groups in which all the holes are touching and I haven't had one little hiccup. Tho only change I made was to change out the trigger for a tactical two stage that came out of one of my Armalite's when it was upgraded. If someone asked, would I buy another, I would say yes, But they're not replacing my Armalites.

It's this one http://www.olyarms.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=48&category_id=7&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=37 You can find them for around $700 or less.

Don't believe the haters, they are parroting what they read on the net. So true about so many things. I'm sure someone will come along and tell you that if your didn't spend at least $1500 then it's junk.

November 25, 2010, 09:56 AM
I agree with goodspeed and others- just as good as all the other entry-level offerings.

November 25, 2010, 11:04 AM
Don't believe the haters, they are parroting what they read on the net.

Or relaying what they've seen from junk they've worked on and or seen in classes.;)

November 25, 2010, 11:26 AM
:DOwn Several Mfgs, Uppers & Lowers. No Issues with my old OLY Upper
Have a OLY AR-45 Upper at least 15Yrs Old Mated with a New Timberwolf Lower with the usual J&P Parts. Excellent Function ,45 Accuracy with a Red Dot .
Lucky Find
(Purpose-Pistol Caliber Class IDPA Multi Gun)
Down Side- Mags are Super Expensive and Scarce, but 100% Reliable(Modified Uzi with built-in Mag Well Block)

November 25, 2010, 12:28 PM
Demigod will be along shortly with list of storys

November 25, 2010, 01:11 PM
Lots of AR info available HERE (http://www.ar15.com/forums/board.html?b=3)

Just do your homework before deciding on what type or model best suits your needs, ie; do you want a flat-top or not; 16" carbine or 20" barrel; 1/9 or 1/7 barrel twist; chrome-lined barrel or not, etc..

If the price is right and it suits your specific needs, then buy it

November 25, 2010, 02:25 PM
...AR15 two years ago, and it's a very fine rifle. I bought a model K8 Match/Target model, and mounted a Weaver T36 target scope. I use it primarily as a target rifle, and it shoots very accurately well past 300 yards.

The limit on the bullets is 69 grains since the twist is 1-9". I wanted to be able to shoot up to 80 grain bullets, so I opted for a DPMS upper with a 24" SS barrel, and twisted 1-8" (Midway USA had a great sale on them). I just put a Tasco World Class (Japanese-made) 6-24x44 scope on the Olympic Arms upper, and it goes to the range tomorrow for zeroing.

Just bear in mind what your goal is before committing to anyone's rifle. Mine was target shooting, so rails, lights, etc., have no effect on my decision.

Good luck.

November 25, 2010, 07:15 PM
my question is.. say you buy an olympic arms, it shoots good enough groups to satisfy your needs. cant you then start upgrading components of the rifle as money comes along and end up with a much better rifle?

November 25, 2010, 07:36 PM
since you can buy a S&W for$599 after rebate there is no reason to look at oly's

November 26, 2010, 09:55 AM
OLY is hands down THE WORST mainstream AR you can waste your money on. Anyone who says it's on par with even a lowly DPMS doesn't know much about the AR platform.

Originally Posted By Banzai:

[size=3]I USED TO SELL OLYMPICS.[/size=3]

I also stock Colts, BM, RRA, and AR.
Wanna know what the #1 most repaired AR15 in my shop is? OLYMPIC.
I don't sell them anymore.
Wanna know what the most repaired AR15 in my store is now? Still the OLYMPIC.
Wanna know what I've had to send Olys back for? You name it.
Wanna know how hard it is to get repair parts/replacement parts/financial reimbursement for shipping NEW guns back to OLY for warranty work as a gun dealer? IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!

Several distributors have even stopped carrying Olympic rifles because of the high reject rate once they get to the dealers.

They might, sometimes, take care of the individual owner, but as a dealer, I believe that they have a black list, and if you're on it, you're screwed.

I've actually had OLY on the phone with a customer in my shop, and they have actually told the guy that there was nothing wrong, and if he shipped it back, they would not fix it. The rifle had a broken bolt. Sheared off 2 lugs, broke at the cam pin hole, and damaged the bolt carrier.

I fixed it, with BM parts that were available to me at the time. I sent the bill to OLY, never got a response. Sold the debt off to a collection agency, along with all the other repairs that I had to do on OLY guns. Now, if an OLY comes in for repair, I advise the individual that it will cost them an open ended amount and get them to sign the estimate before I'll even touch it.

SHOT show 2002 I took them a box of the parts that I had replaced from their guns that I could not get reimbursement for.

I'll guarntee I've owned/handled/shot more OLYs since 1999 than you ever will, unless you work at Oly or a gun store.

There is, at best 15% profit in retail guns. Olys eat up my 15% on repair parts/shipping/gunsmith time almost as soon as they get unpacked. No more!

Now, about their issues, still "Pretty sure they have been resolved by now" ?????

Or is my post worthless, too?

Tom [(:|)]


Originally Posted By zoom:
...With my Oly lower, that jerk blamed the magazines even though my cast Oly lower was so out of spec that the back of an inserted magazine hits the bolt and keeps the bolt from closing. This was after trying about 30 different magazines at a gun show. None of them worked. Tom called me lazy since I was unwilling to modify all of the magazines I own rather than asking for an RMA #. I modified a couple of magazines anyway, but while shooting they'd still work their way upward to block the bolt. I've had that piece of junk for over five years, and I have never gotten anywhere towards getting them to honor their warranty. They just don't give a damn.z


Originally Posted By www-glock19-com:

WEeused to be a Oly dealer used to be the operative word

We had to send probably 25% of the cast plinkers we sold back for repair and probably 10% of the regular Olys

had about the same luck with DPMS

probably sold about 50 plinkers

The failure rate of the other better ( A ,B ,C ,RRA) brands is probably about 1% in my experence

and the notorious MACE Hardware..

Originally Posted By MACE_Hardware:
My first AR was a CAR15 Oly kit. The bolt carrier was tight in the upper until I honed the upper. I figured it was a kit so I should not be upset about some fitting.


Originally Posted By AR15_Machine:
I bought an Oly Arms 15 years ago and after using it on 5 different occasions the bolt catch broke. The part looked like broken pot metal. Any way, Mine was bought 15 years ago at a gun show, perhaps the newer modles are of better quality forged uppers and lowers, where mine is clearly cast. My next one might be a stag, but not sure.

My Oly arms looks great and shoots very well, but I often wonder what is the next part that is going to bust.

And my good man, Hellhound…

Originally Posted By Hellhound:
I bought a NEW FACTORY 16" Oly CAR back in 1993-1994, with a non-chrome barrel---I bought their marketing BS....[:(!]

The barrel was ****.

Would jam (feeding and extraction) about 5 rounds into a mag and then jam about every 2.

Went through new springs for the extractor, the little o ring thingie, chamber brushing, new mags (USGI), everything imaginable....

I sold the barrel to someone who was going to use it for a .22 conversion, great idea for them.

I bought a chrome-lined RRA middie barrel, installed it on my Oly and have had 0 problems.

The other components of the gun are just fine, no problems there.

Spend a little more money and get a better barrel, it will save you a lot of aggravation.

Please don't make the same mistake I made.

On the lighter side...

Originally Posted By tweeter:
I loved them so much I made an active effort to get rid of mine.

Like a relationship with a crazy woman, I could tolerate the flaws at first. Mostly because I got the results I was looking for, then the flaws became un-freaking-bearable.

I found out I could do a lot better... Oly got kicked to the curb.

And this is just how I pictured the operation!...

Originally Posted By M4:
I used to live in Olympia WA...and after calling Oly Arms, drove out to check out their facility.

When I got there, a few things became rather clear.

1) Their "factory" looked like the set of Sanford & Son. (Absolutely NOT kidding)

2) Despite being told "Sure, come on down!" on the phone, when I got there, I was dealt with like I was Diane Feinstein by EVERYONE. One guy was pleasant and answered my questions...so not a total disaster, but the rest were pricks in general.

3) There was nothing and I mean NOTHING about their "facility" that looked suitable for manufacturing dog toys, let alone firearms.

If you never get a 2nd chance to make 1st impressions, Oly lost me COMPLETELY with that one.

As to their rifles being hit or miss, I never owned one, but have known several people who have. It's about a 50/50 mix of "Mine works great" to "Total piece of ****".

That ratio is NOWHERE near good enough for me and combined with a 1st person view of the source of their rifles, that was more than enough to never look back.

There was a rather protracted issue with Oly and ARFCOM a few years ago. Can't remember the details but I do remember that they created a forum of their own and used it as a spring board to bash either ARFCOM/the Avilas/other AR makers....can't recall the details but it was HIGHLY unprofessional on their part....and Tom Spitballer, Spithaller...something like that, who owns/represents OlyArms was a douche of the highest order.

Oly (and Hesse)are the Yugo of the AR world IMO.

This is cute!...

Originally Posted By cerberus1:
That's about it. I looked at one their guns a while back and almost cried...the selector pointed 8o'clock for safe, 2o'clock for fire. Plus the "finish" seriously looked like Testors model-car paint.[%|]


Originally Posted By _RAGNAR_:
I've been teaching carbine courses for over 15 years. 100-200 people per year for 2-5 day courses. Olympic Arms guns suck. I've touched then, shot them, and watched them be shot (or attempt to be shot) the fact that some of them run means nothing. The fact that yours runs means nothing except to you. They are the most unreliable ARs made on average. On average Colts work better than all the others. BM, LMT, RR all seem to be pretty damn good guns. Every year all the others get even closer to the Colt for reliability. They may even be equal now

If your Oly Arms gun works great, good for you. Keep it, it's a collectors item!

But if you are going to pick a gun up out of the box and bet either money or your life it will work, pick something else.

My opinions come from a very, very large set of data points, not individual occurrences.

Here’s a new one!

Originally Posted By 357mag:
I recently retrieved a cast Olympic Arms lower that I had purchased about 7 years ago and assembled it and pinned it to a Bushmaster upper that I had. When I tried to insert a magazine into the mag well it wouldn't go in all the way. Upon inspection, I discovered that the magazine well is located too far forward by 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch and the magazine contacts, and is blocked by the edge of the upper receiver. Have any of you ever heard of this problem? Anyone know about how Olympic Arms is to deal with? I wonder if there is any chance that they'd replace it.


UPDATE 1/10/08

I called Olympic Arms to ask about replacing my lower and they said that they WILL NOT honor the warrantee. Their explanation was that this lower and the upper that it supposedly came with were sold as a matched pair. Why am I not surprised.

Lesson learned: Steer clear of Olympic Arms.

Originally Posted By CoffinNail:
Alright, my first mistake was ordering the Olympic Arms stripped lower. Thought what the hell, I can build a good gun on this platform. Used CMMG lower kit for internals. Stag Arms (commercial) tube and stock. The upper is a JT distributing 14.5 lightweight.

The problems soon began when I assembled the front take down pin. The pin would not fit at all. Used tried some other front take down pin I has lying around (RRA, Colt, Bushmaster) with the same result. Took a jewelers file to lowers hole and was able to get the pin to fit snug. Then when trying to insert the pin it seemed to hit the other hole a bit off center. Filed that a bit and the pin now fits. Assemble the upper and lower, beautiful fit. Insert a Brownells mag and it won’t “fit” and it seems to rub on the inside of the upper. A few of the after market mags will fit but not drop free and have to be pulled out.

Now I’m out of ideas and looking for any and all ideas on how to fit this….

The 9mm Olyarms carbine self distructed this weekend. The 1st two 10 round mags worked OK. The next 33 rounder started with problems and ended in disappointment. After a couple of rounds, it started to fail to eject. Then I had a failure to fire. Then I had another failure to fire but I could not pull back the charging handle to clear the weapon. I had to remove the upper to clear it. When I opened it, the disconnector was just laying there. The pin had broken in half. I also noticed that the hammer pin was backing out on one side. It too was broken. I have called Olyarms and left a message to call back. I am waiting.
Yes - I know -- You told me so!!!!

BigPaulie from Ft Bragg:
OLY IS CRAP. First off before I get flamed, I know what I'm talking about. Former member of 1SFG. While at Lewis I went down to Oly to buy their "alphabet gun", 2005. Thought what the heck if it's messed up i can always drive 20 minutes to the factory. Took it to Range 45 and could not get it to chamber a round. No matter what round( 55 gr 62, 69 etc)/magazine (HK, issue etc). Took it back to them, and they made it like it was my fault. The pricks couldn't admit that this gun was crap. Rounds kept impacting on the feedramps so hard it bent the rounds. So I threatened to tell all of 1st Grp not to buy from them, and they gave me my money back. Suffice it to say you get what you pay for. 20+ years, mostly in SF, and they tell me they know more about weapons! PLEASE!

Originally Posted By rychencop:
a buddy of mine @ work asked me to clean his AR and then teach him how to do it later. so removed it from the case a short time ago and of course noticed it was an Olympic Arms. no big deal i thought, not the best, but hey. so as i removed the bcg, hammer, trigger, etc...i began to notice how poorly made all of these components really are. not only fit and finish, but quality of the machining. it looks like someone built this thing with a dremel. i did not notice a single part on it that appeared well made. there is no way in hell i would rely on a rifle like this in any situation. the rifle actually feels like a toy in the hand and rattles like it's full of rocks.

Originally Posted By Cajun28:
Was at the range today, shot approximately 20 rounds and then had a mis-feed. Cleared the round and cycled another round. Tried to fire and nothing. Manually ejected the round, took out the BCG and this is how I found the bolt. Both lugs on either side of the ejector were gone. It's from an Olympic Arms, approximately 13 years old with less than 500 rounds on it.

Originally Posted By bluemaxcm:
I just purchased an Olympic arms ultramatch barrel only to find the gas port was drilled poorly. There is a huge burr inside the bore the burr is so big that I ruined my dewey coated cleaning rod trying to brush it out. Anyone have any ideas how to get this burr out from the bore without doing damage to the so called air gauged barrel? besides the shockingly poor quality the handgaurd cap was mounted wrong too,so much for an ultra match barrel ,never again.

Originally Posted By Craig77:
I picked up a brand new Olympic Arms Plinker Rifle yesterday. Before you all lynch me, I purposely got this rifle as an experiment and it cost me nothing as I traded two worthless rifles for it.

I conducted an armorers inspection on it and found the following discrepancies.

1. The rear take down pin hole on the upper reciever was out of spec. 30 minutes of careful filing fixed it.
2. The bolt was out of spec on the tail length. The metal was obviously good quality because it took me an hour to file it down just a hair and bring it barely into spec. In fact it needs a bit more filing on it.
3. The extractor had an O ring but no insert. I added the insert to the spring.
4. The bolt carrier gas key was not staked. I staked it.
5. The firing pin retaining pin was out of spec. Once I got it out it would not go back in. I replaced it.
6. The charging handle seemed weak as it would twist slightly as you pulled it back and also rubbed against the upper reciever. I will live with this for now.

Originally Posted By RobsImprza00:
I have an Oly arms K16 psr, the little holder in front of the buffer spring broke off yesterday during a regular shoot. The metal infront of this spring is completely gone... Needless to say, i need a new lower reciever.

November 26, 2010, 01:34 PM
The great all knowing internet has spoken. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

What you just posted can be found for any brand. 99% of postings are from unhappy buyers, 99% of the happy buyers don't post

November 26, 2010, 02:04 PM
What you just posted can be found for any brand.

I can think of several makers of AR-15s for which this is incorrect. Sure, you can find somebody who had a problem, but you invariably get far more "mine's just fine" responses. When there's almost no negative reports (I just never see them about Colt, RRA, Bravo Company, LMT, and a few others) and pretty universal "they're good stuff" responses, that says something.

Don't buy cheap and then claim it's just as good as the expensive stuff. If it is, then account for where the extra money goes. Items of similar quality tend to get priced alongside one another, and within a price strata it is generally uncommon to see huge differences between the products. In home audio you won't see much difference between similarly priced Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, and Onkyo gear. In automobiles there's a reason BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, and Infiniti are priced similarly. In guns, Colt, LMT, and BCM tend to be priced right alongside each other and get similar reviews.

There's many shooters for whom an Olympic rifle will work just fine and be everything they want. For their purposes there's not much point to buying a Colt. But that doesn't mean the Colt isn't higher quality; it just means the shooter won't use the rifle in a way that makes those differences apparent.

It just depends on what the buyer is thinking he or she is getting for his or her money.

Tim R
November 26, 2010, 03:37 PM
My department bought 4 Olys because that's all the bean counters would let us have. 2 of them failed during a Marksman/Observer rifle class and we were using the AR's during a phase as an observer. This was not a clear the rifle and go situation it was the bolt was stuck and was done.

Sent the two rifles back and we have not had one single issue since about 2002. We have one admin who was trynig to see how long he could go before cleaning. His rifle quit when the bean counters decided we should use wolfe as practice ammo. A little lub will do ya. We did have enough problems with the Wolfe the bean counters gave into at least brass cased practice ammo. The lot of Wolfe we had had a more than normal missing holes under the primers. No fault of the rifle.

The Oly I have for duty shoots well enough I'm normally on top of the pile for qual scores. I will admit the Oly shoots no where near as good as my WOP uppers on my RRA NM lowers with match triggers.

November 26, 2010, 06:51 PM
my question is.. say you buy an olympic arms, it shoots good enough groups to satisfy your needs. cant you then start upgrading components of the rifle as money comes along and end up with a much better rifle.

if you dont have the cash to but a real nice one up front why cant you build on an olympic platform?

November 26, 2010, 07:45 PM
Don't know if this is what you are looking at but this is a basic carbine from Oly.

This is a much better quality from BCM. These guns are made mil-spec and are the same quality as Colt.

No hear comes the argument I don't need mil-spec or chart lover. I tend to do a lot of research when I buy. I find products that actually have a specification and meet them. Why not buy a product that meets the specifications to what the government uses in the field? That BCM is a great deal. Once you add the BCG and the charging handle you come to $520 then all you have to do is pick what kind of hand guards you want and you will have a superior weapon. Do some research. I tend to push people here over to m4carbine.net I suggest the same for you. Buy right the first time. You will most likely spend more money upgrading (fixing) than just saving a little more the first time.

November 26, 2010, 10:08 PM
If they are so bad, why has my PCR02 Oly given me flawless and accurate shooting pleasure for thousands of rounds over the past several years?


The great all knowing internet has spoken. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

November 27, 2010, 12:11 AM
I'm not saying they are bad, just not good enough for me. It all depends on your needs. If your rifle over years of firing has never failed or given you any problems then that is awesome, but compared to other brands oly does not have a good reputation. If you have the rifle for plinking or varmint I think that it should serve you fine. In my opinion every gun I have has to be able to be used in self defense, I do not label some guns as plinkers, some for hunting, and others for just defense. All have to be used for defense and then they get other labels. Given the research I have done Oly does not merit being a gun that I own.

November 27, 2010, 10:00 AM
If you have the rifle for plinking or varmint I think that it should serve you fine

It's called filling a market niche. Is an Olympic something I would carry in a combat zone, maybe no, but do I call them junk, no. Not once did I say Olympic was as good as a top brand, but they fill the market niche of people wanting an inexpensive plinker, that, in my model at least, has a high degree of accuracy. Too many people look down their noses in this as well as other forums in every subject not just guns.