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Old 01-08-2011, 07:02 PM   #1
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How do you rank the AR 15 manufacturers?

I'm sure there are threads all over like over but my buddy wants an M4 for self defense and I can tell him a great deal about my government issue M4; I know it's weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories... sorry I seem to have slipped into the rifleman's creed. The point is I know Colt's product and am told in the world of AR-15s it is on the higher end. What I don't know and am asking is how all the manufactures line up. Who's crap and who's gold. Also besides my carbine(M4) and the full size (m14A2/A4) are there any specific models you'd recommend and why?
 
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:16 PM   #2
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Unalist,

Manufacturer wise: On the top end, Noveske makes excellent builds, and KAC's SR-15 is sublime. I'd personally pick an LMT over a Colt but I don't think either is better than the other when it comes to their standard offerings; for both I'd say they're on my "acceptable +" / "good" / "proper" end vs. a high end. RRAs and Bushmasters which are completely un-modded seem to work better than many keyboard commandos or "occasional" shooters give them credit for, and once proven I'd consider them "acceptable." Generally, most ARs made as close to the TDP as possible, by companies which have had legitimate access to it, and use a M16 vs. semi-auto carrier are good to go, are of intangibly similar quality, and have the same amount of occasional QC failures.

Model / Barrel Length wise: Personally I feel that 12.5" is my ideal AR carbine length compared to the 14.5", though this is probably influenced by my height (just under 5' 8"). Regardless of physical stature, I prefer shorter barrels for weapons that are meant to be a utility as they are more convenient and easier to get into action, and in 5.56 12.5" is closer to 14.5" than it is to 10" performance wise. Not many wide expanses or scenarios exist where I'd feel giving that up to go to a longer barrel instead of just fielding a .308 carbine is desirable.
 
Old 01-09-2011, 12:09 PM   #3
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Question

DW,I am 5'8"-150 myself,and although the M4 length IS handy,I seem to have always preferred the 18-20inch barrels (without the M203 step)....riflng twists?anything that will stabilize the best range of available bullet weights(1-8,or1-9 seems optimal for all but the very heavy for calber VLD types)...of course I kinda look like a chimp and Joe Pesci's sister had a kid,long wiry arms and big hands....hell-I can knuckle walk!)how much REAL ballistic edge I had could only be partially measured(chrony,hits;and extended ranges....could just be perception on my part.WTH,I lean towards AKs most of the time.
What kinda ballistics you get from the SBR length stuff?You run heavy bullet loads or stick with M193 stuff?
 
Old 01-09-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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Gripper,

I get 2500-2600 FPS with 77gr SMKs with various powder optimized loads which have faster-than-typical burnrates and comparatively low muzzle pressure so that I optimize my suppressor's efficacy and increase it's longevity. They are ~ +/- 2500 PSI from recommended port pressure and I'm still trying to pick "the" load for that project. The slower the powder the faster I can go and the less complete the burn. I get about the same velocities as an M4 carbine with any surp ammo but Noveske stainless barrels are known to shoot fast.

Faster twists stabilize bullets fired from shorter barrels over a longer distance than a slower twist will. Required twist is influenced by velocity.

I also think a standard AK OAL is longer than desired for me. I like driving carbines a particular way and there's a certain length and balance which just does it right for me and allows me to handle the gun as an integrated extension of my person. I think everyone has a certain individual balance like this which enables them to more or less use the weapon with their environment instead of needing to work the environment and procedures of use as best as possible to ensure the ability to field weapon. 18-20" is something I'd handle like my bolt guns.
 
Old 01-10-2011, 08:09 PM   #5
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I would think with the AR you would want factory ammo as reloading 1000 rounds is not fun. And milspec ammo would be the most prevailant you could find.

So considering the 5.56 needs at least a 16 inch tube go get enough velocity to fragment a FMJ round at 150 yards, well going below that length just shortends it's effective range to that of a M1 carbine.

So I'd stick with a 16 or greater length barrel.

That said, the only ARs I'd avoid are put-togethers by such as Century. I've seen one of them and, well, I sure didn't like being able to look in between the upper and lower recievers and see daylight when it was supposed to be closed and locked, ready to fire.
 
Old 01-10-2011, 09:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJetAce View Post
I would think with the AR you would want factory ammo as reloading 1000 rounds is not fun. And milspec ammo would be the most prevailant you could find.
Handloading can be fun. I enjoy loading to pass time where I really don't feel like doing anything useful, or using it as an excuse to have people over. It's certainly less annoying than reloading the equivalent number of pistol cartridges.

I also weigh all my charges, and occasionally sort all of my components, to the milligram.

I'll admit, I probably consider it a more enjoyable time waster than I should.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJetAce View Post
So considering the 5.56 needs at least a 16 inch tube go get enough velocity to fragment a FMJ round at 150 yards, well going below that length just shortends it's effective range to that of a M1 carbine.
Theoretically 20" is 150 for anything less than Mk262, which fragments reliably out to 150 with a 16". Long and heavy 5.56 should also yaw a bit compared to its stubbier relatives. Certainly not an awe inspiring cartridge by any means though , and while I certainly see your perspective, I'd rather play to the rounds strengths and have something exponentially more usable (which will help my shot placement under stress) than 20(16")-50(20") more yards of fragmentation. FWIW, if I had to pick a single standard available length AR it would be a 16" though, not an M4 length.

If it's a major concern one could just use a Nosler Ballistic Tip and have function out to the edge of the transonic zone. We're not forced to use military issue ammo types.

I definitely agree with you about some things Century has "built."
 
Old 01-11-2011, 09:02 PM   #7
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Without knowing the role that the rifle will be filling, it would be hard to recommend a manufacturer's rifle that would be a good firearm for the money being spent. Some folks have a if it ain't Mil. Spec., it ain't squat snobbish attitude. Others have a all firearms have a place and should be respected attitude. I hope mine is much closer to the latter. That said one great source for info is "The Chart", http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...=5&output=html, a piece of hard work and effort comparing various manufacturers efforts and a comparison to the Mil. Spec.s.

If your friend was only going to put up to a couple of hundred rounds a year through it, any of the rifles would do, if he is going to put several thousand rounds a year through it, closer to the left side of the chart is where he should be shopping. Look at it like buying a lawn mower, if you have a 50 foot square yard, a $129 push mower will do fine, if you have a couple of acres a lawn tractor will serve you better and last a whole lot longer.

As far as recommendations, you are right about the Colt. LMT and Daniel Defense both have Gov't contracts manufacturing parts for the SOPMOD program so that should tell you a little about the intended users and what they expect from their weapons. Knight's Armament makes all the rail systems for the M4 and M16A4s and the M110 SASS. Every Knights Armament rifle I have seen made the Colt's price-tag look cheap. I am not saying they are bad, but they are expensive. I haven't messed with a Noveski, but they seem pretty pricey too. BCM is one company who's prices give you great value for a rifle that is probably right there with Colt, LMT and Daniel Defense in quality. A little behind those in quality and probably durability as well (just my opinion, not concrete, objective testing) are: Stag, CMMG, Smith and Wesson, Ruger (a piston gun) and Armalites. The lowest level would probably be the Rock Rivers, DPMS and Bushmasters.

Please understand every firearm manufacturer has had problem weapons role out the door and a good part of doing the research should be into a company's customer service. For example, I have heard a lot of horror stories about CMMG from a few years ago, I have heard nothing but positive reviews over the last 2 years. It came when they decided to quit trying to sell every possible option and limit choices. I have heard of a few QC issues with BCM rifles, but they were incredibly fast at fixing the problems and very apologetic as well as picking up the tab for shipping both ways.

Another option would be to pick up one of the less expensive rifles and use it for a few years and upgrade it with a new upper and bolt carrier later after the first one got a little long in the tooth, then again I have an M16A1 lookalike that is older than DaRkWoLf and it still shoots little groups when I do my part (sometimes the nut behind the stock is a little loose). Without knowing the role, I would recommend for a good general purpose rifle, a 16" barrel with a mid-length gas system, I prefer a SOPMOD stock, standard type handguards (unless I absolutely need a rail system) and pistol grip of your preference. Throw an Aimpoint on top with a Back Up Iron Sight.
 
Old 01-12-2011, 08:13 PM   #8
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Personally I like Bushmaster. Several state police use the Bushmaster ARs.

Texas DPS, Alabama DPS, Illinois State Police, among others.

Plus many nations use the Bushie ARs.

May not be 'milspec' in all parts but hey, I ain't the military.

Any my Bushie does a have a BUIS as well as one excellent Leopould 1.5x4 30mm scope.
 
Old 01-15-2011, 08:46 AM   #9
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I spent 15 years with the Canadian made Diemaco, now known as Colt (Canada) and while the AR system doesn't fulfill all my needs, it is a well manufactured firearm. The AR that I have had now since 2000, is an Armalite and has generally worked well in competition, except for a broken extractor in 2004.
 
Old 01-15-2011, 05:35 PM   #10
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I have a Stag build and love it. One of the books I was recently reading (I'll have to double check the name and edit it in) gave it high marks, which is why I decided to make a complete Stag build (I had previously purchased the stripped lower without much info pre-buy).

One of the unique features of Stag is that it can be ambidexterous and the shells can eject from either the right or left side depending on the upper you purchase.

http://www.stagarms.com/index.php
 
Old 05-20-2012, 11:49 PM   #11
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Well, I rank best to these ar 15 manufacturer as they produce really very powerful weapons I am also having ar 15 and it is very powerful with sharp shoot. Thanks for providing this good information.

ar 15 manufacturer
 
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