View Full Version : ar 15 build quality

November 10, 2012, 11:46 AM
friend of mine does build them for a reasonable price . he has been doing this for a few years . he is a tool maker/machinest for a living.

thinking about having him do one for me . i want to be sure i am getting a decent quality gun , i own a stag and its seems decent so i want it to be at least that good . his goes for in the neighbor hood of $650-$850 . depending on variables and add ones to the gun.

questions arise ... how do i check or gain knowledge of the parts he is using to verify what quality these guns are ?
he tells me there is not a great deal difference in uppers , lowers etc. because there are only two or three makers of the parts that nearly ALL manufactured brands use ! how true is that statement ? !
if he is using certain suppliers are there certain ones i should be leary of or have most of the suppliers use decent quality in this day and age ? !

i am not inclined to try the build myself so any experiences/info on this would or could mean something to me

November 10, 2012, 12:22 PM
I'm not extremely experienced in building them, but I've done a TON of reading. I've learned to use many sources and filter out the stuff that doesn't seem right when researching. You can certainly filter my info if you like. :) While I say he's wrong about only 2-3 makers of uppers and lowers, he's kind of right about them not being extremely important of the maker of the upper and lower, if you're talking stripped receivers. Lower is less important than the upper. The important things are the items that go in the receivers. Aero Precision makes a lot of the receivers that get roll marked for various companies and sold by them as their brand. He's probably right in the sense that a few companies produce the large majority of stripped uppers and lowers on the market. Arguably the two most important components of an AR are the bolt carrier group and barrel. BCM BCGs are highly regarded. I've heard good things about the Daniel Defense BCGs, Colt BCGs as well as the PSA BCGs. Some say the PSA BCGs are made by DD but PSA won't confirm and I understand the reason. I have a factory BCM rifle and am very pleased with the BCG in it. I have a BCM BCG I'm using in a build right now.

I would question whether a small scale builder could assemble an AR for $650 with decent quality parts and turn a profit. I'd be pressed to assemble one for $700 and that would be with catching sales.

November 11, 2012, 08:13 AM
I would order a complete upper from PSA and a stripped lower with LPK. Then have your friend help you put the lower together.

I would not do business with a friend.

November 11, 2012, 08:51 AM
If he is your friend, you should ask him directly what parts he is using...... And he shouldn't have any issues with telling you. As far as lower parts kits go, most are made to a mil std and are pretty comparable....made to be cheap, safe and reliable.
Without knowing what your build goal is (other than price and some reasonable expectationof quality) and intended use, who knows what you will get. The platform has endless variables and you should be very specific if trying to build a custom rifle. To me, the joy of building a custom rifle is all about getting the specific things you want.

Good luck and enjoy. Also,don't sell yourself short on being able to do the job yourself... There are countless resources available that can walk you through the process of a simple build.

November 11, 2012, 11:15 AM
I agree with oryx, IF your friend has as much expereince as he claims, then he should be up front on what parts he uses. Once he tells you then you can check on the quality of the parts.

November 11, 2012, 12:13 PM
If I am going to spend cash with a person to build a rifle he ought to be able to tell me where he gets his parts. I just got through building my first AR 15 because I wanted to. I could have probably purchased an upper and lower for what it cost me to build it.

November 11, 2012, 01:35 PM
Most likely at those prices, the LPK will be a common mil spec kit such as DPMS etc. and truly won't matter too much ... He should still be up front with you, however.
My guess is that he can't tell you at the moment because the actual brand of the LPK (assuming that is the part(s) we are talking about) would depend on the deal and availability he finds when purchasing. another area to cheap out on is the barrel - tons of options, different specs and materials.
If you're worried, ask him for options or a recommendation. That's why some build rather than buy - to get specific parts for customization.
My advice is sit down and put a lot of thought into what you really want, what you are going to use it for and start prioritizing what is most important to you. Otherwise you could become quickly dissatisfied with what you have and create a whole new addiction trying to fix it. The possibilities are endless with the AR platform, unless your finances are, be slow and deliberate. Most of all have fun.

November 11, 2012, 02:16 PM
Good advice above. If you're not inclined to build one yourself I'd at least invest the time to learn which parts are best and best for you. Pay particular attention to barrel profiles as many people buy the wrong barrel then regret it once they figure it all out.

If you work with your friend that's fine but you make the choices on the parts, not him. That means lots of research. I wouldn't want anyone making those choices for me. If you don't know what you want how can someone else?

November 13, 2012, 04:55 PM
he will tell me where he gets the parts , i am sure , if i ask him.
didnt mean to imply he was doing the build with me being blind.

ok is is safe to say if i can get my bcg & barrel from one of the mentioned reputable sources , ( psa dan. defense or bcm ) that the upper and lower he gets should be decent quality ?
i can find out sources in a few days and get back here with the info.
also ... is it a simple matter for me to get with the above mentioned suppliers , online , and simply order what i need ?

i will speak to him soon and any additional info or useful comments are welcome

Metal god
November 13, 2012, 07:23 PM
I would order a complete upper from PSA and a stripped lower with LPK. Then have your friend help you put the lower together.

I like this answer :) $720 Add $60 more for MOE hand gaurd to go with the MOE stock & grip





Or you can get almost the same thing ready to go http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/firearms/rifles/palmetto-state-armory/psa-16-m4-premium-moe-carbine.html

This should give you a good idea of the minimum you should expect for the money you are about to spend . Go ahead and price out other manufacturers and see what you come up with . That way you will have these two examples as well as yours and his . This should insure you get what your paying for :)

November 14, 2012, 02:52 PM
There are only about 4 companies that make lowers. You won't see a huge difference between each but some do have better quality control than others.

I went with a MEGA upper and lower.

November 15, 2012, 07:35 AM
There are only about 4 companies that make lowers. You won't see a huge difference between each but some do have better quality control than others.

I went with a MEGA upper and lower.

While only a few companies supply raw forgings, there are dozens of shops doing the final machining. Most forged 7075 units are very close in finial fit and finish. There are differences such as the mag well opening and ambi controls. Then there are the numerous billet lowers with even more custom options.

Your Mega has the Mega trade mark "Gator grip" on the front of the mag well.

November 15, 2012, 04:17 PM
AND .... how about the complete gun metal god gave a pic of from palmetto armory ? that being the psa 16" m4 premium carbine ....complete gun for apprx. $800

comments on the overall quality of parts used , oh say , compared to a colt complete rifle .
waiting to hear from all