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Old 02-03-2017, 02:49 AM   #1
burninglegs
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Default So what makes a "high end" AR15 high end?

So what makes a "high end" AR15 high end?* How big of a difference is there between these "high end" ARs and just great quality and solid ARs that you can depend on?

When I think about the AK world, you have shit AKs like IO, Century, WaffenWerks...etc. that have shotty manufacturing and metallurgy. However, in the AR world, the major brands seem to all offer similar manufacturing and metallurgy. Heck, many of them source their parts from the same companies. This thread is meant for a serious discussion and not bashing of certain companies. Please don't use "you just don't get it" as I am trying to understand.


If you get an AR that has a:

- 7075-T6 forged aluminum lower
- 7075-T6 forged aluminum upper
- No. 158 alloy, high pressure tested, magnetic particle inspected, nitride/nickel boron treated BCG
- 4150 GBQ Steel nitride/416R stainless/CMV CHF barrel
- 7075 T6 aluminum charging handle
- Machined billet aluminum buffer
- Quality pistol grip, stock and handguard

Other than the name on the side of a "high end" AR15 with the above, what makes it stand out from a non-high end that has the same type of quality parts. Many of the companies source their receivers, barrels and other parts from many of the same places as each other. Those that do everything in house might be unique, but does that make a difference?





*When thinking of this topic, I am thinking of LMT Defense/Larue Tactical/LWRC/Daniel Defense/Noveske...etc. (you can probably add a few more to the list).
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Old 02-03-2017, 03:23 AM   #2
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When it comes to AR rifles, they're not my specialty. So I usually find it best to sit down, listen to others and make up my own mind on the validity of the information provided.

With that said, it is very possible in my opinion to get a frankenstein built AR that is a quality firearm. Name brand, factory AR's are much easier to re-coup some of your investment should you choose than home builds which feature a hodge podge of different parts that may or may not equal or even exceed some factory built AR's.

I have heard it said many times, as stated above, many companies source their components from the same manufacturers. Depending on your knowledge of AR rifles, you may feel very comfortable with a franken build AR. Others may elect to go with more name brand rifles for a variety of reasons. Given the AR's reputation as less reliable than the AK, I am more than sure there are those out there who would only feel comfortable with a factory AR. Despite the fact there is no shortage of quality, home built AR's on the secondary market.

Some people live, breath and shit AR rifles. I am not one of those gentlemen, though I have great respect for the platform and enjoy both AR's and AK's for different reasons.
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Old 02-03-2017, 04:11 AM   #3
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Probably the same shit that makes the Rifle Dynamics AK a high quality AK. Nothing. I would have to say the high end AR to me is a piston HK 416 or 417. Or at least all the shit you mentioned and a good barrel. I am proud to say I have 17 guns and only any AR lower blank. I have a lot of training on the AR, but they aren't my favorite.

The way they are used is to have MP-5 handling combined with rifle range in a shitty overrated micro caliber. I think the AR was ok for Iraq and for cops. But for a place like Afghanistan, I think a 6.5 Grendal or a 6.8 spec would be better for a general purpose caliber.

Another thing that gets me is the guys that swear the AR is so versatile and all. And that the 5.56 is so great and it defeats body armor with better penetration than any 7.62x39 round. Yet I find it funny that they don't have any of this new G WIZ ammo. Granted if someone likes the AR, it's a better option than someone doing drills and ready ups with a mosin. I'd also rather someone use an AR15 than a 22 or an m1 carbine
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:18 AM   #4
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So I can see the name brand AR having more resale value than a franken build AR using the same parts/same quality of parts. But what makes that "high end" AR that has the higher resale value high end? Seems like equally spec'd ARs, it comes down to the name etched on the side and how much customers like certain brands over others.
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:27 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by burninglegs View Post
So I can see the name brand AR having more resale value than a franken build AR using the same parts/same quality of parts. But what makes that "high end" AR that has the higher resale value high end? Seems like equally spec'd ARs, it comes down to the name etched on the side and how much customers like certain brands over others.
Exactly it.


You can home build an AR with mixed parts and have it keep up with the $2500 AR's for half that. The fan boys of whatever brand will hate.

Good barrel and a good trigger. The rest is snickle fritz.
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:51 AM   #6
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No way to recoup your money on the resale of any AR for the next few years. Way down the road maybe, like people buying Colts. Years back the idea was spend money on the upper and the lower was whatever.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:34 AM   #7
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:46 AM   #8
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I have built a lot of ARs over the years. But I am not a Fan Boi. Most of them I built for folks who can't build themselves.

I never got all wrapped up in the minutia. Get decent stuff and you'll have a decent rifle. For my money, it's the barrel and the trigger that make the most of your investment.

So, to answer directly, "What makes a high-end AR?" In my opinion, how much money you throw at it.

Many gear queers just try to out do each other in how much they can spend. I am a poor man. I try to get the best I can for the least amount of money.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:59 AM   #9
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I have used lots of high end AR parts and my share of budget parts. QC is usually always better with higher end brands. The quality of machining and finish on high end parts is always better.
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:00 AM   #10
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> Marketing Dept's
> Customer Service.


That's your 2 main selling points for most that drive the price way up.
Cut those 2 out of the equation the prices drop dramatically.

Of course some go the extra mile with > inspections, etc
But if it's all Mil-Spec it's good enough IMO. Just buy a top end barrel, and BCG, is my 2 favored things.
The rest is support.

The new thing lately was to charge retarded prices for Keymod's and Quad rails like $399 for a DD for example.
It mounts things guys, that's it......you hold it, and it mounts things. Imported high quality one's go for $25-$75 all day.

As you can all see Palmetto State Armory's biggest success comes from selling "Kits" for you to build.
They are able to drop several hundred off from not having to pay labor to assemble, and troubleshoot in the AK's or AR's.
So imagine most AR15 "Boutique" companies dropping that, then their Marketing Dept's alone.

Daniel Defense for example would go from $1500 to $750......same range as PSA Premium.
Prepare thread for butthurt fanboi's.

For what it's worth, here's an example of a bronze Daniel Defense furniture kit I bought 5 of, these were $135 last year.
Now the Keymod is not DD but as you can see, it's damn near identical and a specialty color.
$135......they charge 3x that just for their quad rail. It's funny.

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Old 02-03-2017, 11:37 AM   #11
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It used to be really simple to tell the difference. Most companies didn't sell a chrome lined 4150CMV steel barrel, but Colt did. Most companies didn't use 158C for a bolt, or MPI/HPT, but Colt did. Most companies didn't stake their castle nuts, but Colt did. That was the day of "The Chart". Fast forward to a few years ago and lots of companies use the same materials, and the same 1960's government mandated HPT/MPI testing on the bolt and barrel. And those guns range from $600 assemble at home to $1500+. Lots of those companies use the same suppliers for both small and large parts. These days, a high end AR is more perception than reality.

Of course for many, perception is reality. Paying $$$ for an AR makes it a high end AR. Buying an AR from a website that has pictures of people who look high speed, and who are using that brand makes it a high end AR. Having people tell you on a gun forum that your AR is high end makes it high end. Youtube, the perpetual positive review machine, doesn't help either. How many youtubes give negative reviews to the equipment that they test, or even slightly negative reviews? How many Youtubers actually compare equipment at different price points and demonstrate the difference between them? Not many, and certainly very few of the big names.

Probably the biggest myth floating around is your life should be worth a certain amount of dollars in gun price. You'll see lots of people float that idea, but never talk about how much time their life is worth in practicing and planning. Or how many rounds are fired in even an extreme self defense shooting, and at what ranges they are fired.

Out in the shooting world though, it is tough to see the difference when comparing using them under real world conditions. Most ARs, even budget ones, are more accurate than the shooting positions, sights/optics and ammunition they are being used with. And most of them can shoot their cost in ammo multiple times before needing even minor parts being changed out. The only ones that really stand out are the ARs that are tailored for a specific use, such as a form of competition, where small differences really start to matter. And even then, those differences might not make them worth the price to people who shoot recreationally or train for self defense.

So the best answer is there are high end ARs when a specific goal is trying to be achieved, and every last ounce of performance makes a difference. After that, a high end AR is a product of group think.
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Old 02-03-2017, 11:55 AM   #12
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Of course for many, perception is reality. Paying $$$ for an AR makes it a high end AR. Buying an AR from a website that has pictures of people who look high speed, and who are using that brand makes it a high end AR. Having people tell you on a gun forum that your AR is high end makes it high end. Youtube, the perpetual positive review machine, doesn't help either. How many youtubes give negative reviews to the equipment that they test, or even slightly negative reviews? How many Youtubers actually compare equipment at different price points and demonstrate the difference between them? Not many, and certainly very few of the big names.

Probably the biggest myth floating around is your life should be worth a certain amount of dollars in gun price. You'll see lots of people float that idea, but never talk about how much time their life is worth in practicing and planning. Or how many rounds are fired in even an extreme self defense shooting, and at what ranges they are fired.
Read this guys post 2x.

He's got it nailed down.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by NWcityguy2 View Post
Of course for many, perception is reality. Paying $$$ for an AR makes it a high end AR. Buying an AR from a website that has pictures of people who look high speed, and who are using that brand makes it a high end AR. Having people tell you on a gun forum that your AR is high end makes it high end. Youtube, the perpetual positive review machine, doesn't help either. How many youtubes give negative reviews to the equipment that they test, or even slightly negative reviews? How many Youtubers actually compare equipment at different price points and demonstrate the difference between them? Not many, and certainly very few of the big names.
This gets to what I was meaning by my OP. The AK world is more straightforward (if you ignore the Rifle Dynamics of the world) in regards to forged being high end vs. cast being bottom of the barrel. In addition to a milled receiver being higher end than a stamped receiver (assuming both are of equal quality). AK world, it seems we have an easier ability to distinguish between the top of the line, high quality AK, vs. a POS AK that isn't worth considering.

AR world seems to be on a much level playing field currently due to many companies (both "high" end and average companies) using the same HPT/MPI testing, special coatings and same metallurgy, if not the same exact parts from the same suppliers with just their own logo on it.

So perception, branding, marketing, brand loyalty and group think seem to move the AR market in many ways. At least with AKs, there is a noticeable difference in materials used, design, manufacturing...etc. between a VEPR AK vs. a IO AK.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:52 PM   #14
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It's a difficult answer. It's more of quality of parts, customer service, etc...

My big thing is, if I'm going to spend $2000+ on a top tier AR15, it's going to be a rifle that needs nothing done to it from the factory.

LWRC, LMT, POF, Barrett, Larue, etc...

A top tier should have everything people add to their rifles later on. I can't tell you how many rifles I've seen completely gutted and re-built. You'll complain about a $2300 LWRC, but the same guy will take a colt $900, then free float it with a Geissele SMR ($250), then he wants some super cool NP3 BCG or such ($175-250), then he wants a barrel not m4 profiled and CHF ($250-300), now he wants some nice BUIS ($200), then you have all the small parts. New furniture ($100-400 depending), new trigger group and lower parts ($200-300).

It's cheaper to just buy a top tier rifle than to swap out parts on a colt, PSA, etc...

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Old 02-03-2017, 01:17 PM   #15
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The quality of machining and finish on high end parts is always better.
I'll reiterate this. The fit and finish on higher end parts has always been better in my experience. Less sharp edges, more durable finish, better fit between parts etc. If you want a nicer feeling rifle, you get quality parts. Sure, your PSA or Anderson AR can last and work great. So does a Honda Civic. Some people just like a little refinement and there is nothing wrong with that. I will agree that many others just get high end because of the name recognition and it makes them feel cooler.
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Old 02-03-2017, 01:20 PM   #16
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Im an AR guy...honestly...word of mouth....fan boys...price and perception.
Any AR can be high end as long and reliable parts go into it.
I have COlt, Anderson, and Lauer ARs.
All seem similar in quality and finish and have been stone cold reliable.
You will have your fanboys that say D.D. is best, or FN, or whoever.
I assemble my own, and know what Iput in them.
Those to me are high end.
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Old 02-03-2017, 01:28 PM   #17
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I personaly think the LWRC dI is a very good deal. They can be picked up at around $1500 give or take $100.

You get:
1. Spiral fluted CHF nitride treated barrel (see what one of those costs on its own if you can find someone to make you one)
2. Full ambi controls
3. Their super strong upper receiver and free float handguard. This is a very strong and nice setup
4. NiB BCG. This is a very nice BCG
5. Furniture, comes with a magpul MOE+ grip, LWRC stock, and LWRC angled grip/rail panels. Lots of other goodies too such as QD sling mounts everywhere and a few rail sections for their modular handguard system.

It would be nice if it came with the LWRC Skirmish sights but those will cost you another $200+. But it's still a nice deal considering there's not really anything you have to add or change out besides optics. You mileage may vary on what you like or want in a rifle though. The LWRC rifles come exactly the way I want and I don't have to do anything to them. Just put on an optic and go.

LWRC will also do custom work for you on their rifles. All you have to do is contact them and tell them what you want. Their online users forum is very friendly and helpful.

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Old 02-03-2017, 03:50 PM   #18
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Old 02-03-2017, 05:20 PM   #19
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Bob, sounds like you are itching to say something. I'm curious what is on your mind regarding this topic. Care to share?
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Old 02-03-2017, 05:44 PM   #20
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I personaly think the LWRC dI is a very good deal. They can be picked up at around $1500 give or take $100.

You get:
1. Spiral fluted CHF nitride treated barrel (see what one of those costs on its own if you can find someone to make you one)
2. Full ambi controls
3. Their super strong upper receiver and free float handguard. This is a very strong and nice setup
4. NiB BCG. This is a very nice BCG
5. Furniture, comes with a magpul MOE+ grip, LWRC stock, and LWRC angled grip/rail panels. Lots of other goodies too such as QD sling mounts everywhere and a few rail sections for their modular handguard system.

It would be nice if it came with the LWRC Skirmish sights but those will cost you another $200+. But it's still a nice deal considering there's not really anything you have to add or change out besides optics. You mileage may vary on what you like or want in a rifle though. The LWRC rifles come exactly the way I want and I don't have to do anything to them. Just put on an optic and go.

LWRC will also do custom work for you on their rifles. All you have to do is contact them and tell them what you want. Their online users forum is very friendly and helpful.
My assessment as well. After breaking the rifle down and seeing how it's put together vs your average AR, it's definitely top notch, and the quality is quite noticeable vs other brands once you get your hands on one. They're going for as low at $1290 these days actually, and there's not much better you can do in the AR world for what you get at that price.

Otherwise I'd just add that once you spend more than about $1.2k on an AR, you're just paying for fit and finish or name branding at that point.

Also, there's very few companies out there that actually machine or manufacture components for their rifles in house. LWRC is one of the few that makes every component themselves, and while some of their stuff is obviously proprietary, you can see the quality that goes into it and some components (like their lowers, BCG's, barrels, etc) are a substantial improvement over mil-spec and their competitor's offerings


Outfits like BCM assemble some pretty good rifles, but they don't do anything a competent hobbyist builder can't do for less money. Other outfits like sons of libery gunworks simply etch their rollmarks into parts they purchase in bulk then assemble...and charge a crazy high premium to do so...but the product is no better than an off the shelf Colt...but costs substantially more.
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:04 PM   #21
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low-mid-top tier stigma was developed a decade ago at the start of OIF/OEF, maybe even back to Desert Storm. It was a time frame where precision tooling, quality control, certified testing, and up-to-date manufacturing techniques were only available from select brands: Colt & FN.

Nearly fifteen years later, there are multitudes of AR manufactures that produce products with identical manufacturing techniques, quality control, testing procedures, and materials.

In fact, I would argue that anything over $1,500 and you're at the point of diminishing returns with this platform (cost/value ratio). Watch Mrgunsngear's S&W M&P 15 Sport II video, MOA accuracy from a $500 rifle, which many would consider with the incorrect rifling, terrible mil-spec trigger, and a non-free floated or fluted barrel; impossible. Did I also mention he's fired 1,500 rounds so far without a single failure? Take a look at the Ruger AR556's or AERO AC-15's spec sheets as well; they're incredible for the price and mirror many of the features that were once only found on top-tier models.

What was once top-tier is now normal for many run-of-the-mill AR manufactures. What the buyer should be paying for on a top-tier AR is proper R&D, immaculate quality control, optimum components, enhanced firing system (top-tier barrel & trigger group), and an unconditional warranty/support channel. Or, it could all still be just because the name engraved on the side and nothing more ?
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:20 PM   #22
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Bob, sounds like you are itching to say something. I'm curious what is on your mind regarding this topic. Care to share?
See this ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanMor, (edited: WolfsburgBob) View Post

I have built a zillion of ARs over the years. First Colt in 1966 to 2017s PSAs. But I am a HUGE fan of Stoner's light rifle. Most of them I have built are for folks who can't fart and chew gum at the same time. Jam Master J's stuff from Palmetto State is 90% of it these days.

I used to get all wrapped up in the minutia and the AN-PAQ4Cs, but no longer. Get decent stuff and you'll have a decent rifle. For my money, if you want more ... it's the barrel and the trigger that make the most of your investment. Chrome and Stainless are out. Nitride and a Gizzy. Good enough.

So, to answer directly, "What makes a high-end AR?" In my opinion, how much money some idiot throws at it instead of buying good Scotch.

Many gear queers just try to out do each other in how much they can spend, so simply buy a Colt 6920 now available everywhere for $800 new. It pisses off everybody when you say ... MIL-SPEC ... and they shit nickles telling you it doesn't mean squat!

Fuck the drama.

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Old 02-03-2017, 08:43 PM   #23
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I have built a lot of ARs over the years. But I am not a Fan Boi. Most of them I built for folks who can't build themselves.

I never got all wrapped up in the minutia. Get decent stuff and you'll have a decent rifle. For my money, it's the barrel and the trigger that make the most of your investment.

So, to answer directly, "What makes a high-end AR?" In my opinion, how much money you throw at it.

Many gear queers just try to out do each other in how much they can spend. I am a poor man. I try to get the best I can for the least amount of money.
This.

I doubt you'll see any difference between a $50 Anderson upper or lower and a $200 super billet skull milled in the side ultra name brand upper or lower.

But you'll see a huge difference between an AR stoner $99 barrel and a Noveske $300 barrel.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:19 PM   #24
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High End? What is the difference?

Same thing that makes a Wilson Combat or STI 1911 or 2011 worth $4000.

Precision fit, reliability tuning, guaranteed accuracy.....but most of all, a reputation for actually being able to deliver a true premium product.

It is true that the average shooter does NOT benefit from such precision grade weapons, but enough people do to keep custom makers in business.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:20 PM   #25
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... $200 super billet skull milled in the side ultra name brand upper or lower ...

Now, is dat a "mil-spec" skull?

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Old 02-03-2017, 10:18 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by VALMET_M76 View Post
High End? What is the difference?

Same thing that makes a Wilson Combat or STI 1911 or 2011 worth $4000.

Precision fit, reliability tuning, guaranteed accuracy.....but most of all, a reputation for actually being able to deliver a true premium product.

It is true that the average shooter does NOT benefit from such precision grade weapons, but enough people do to keep custom makers in business.
A precision fit AR wouldn't be compatible with drop-in replacement parts. That's why I can take any barrel nut I want and attach it to any barrel I want, which fits in any stripped upper I want, and is compatible with any BCG I want to use. Try doing that with a 1911 and not having to hand fit parts, or be forced to buy new parts when using used parts that have already been fit for a different gun.
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Old 02-03-2017, 11:19 PM   #27
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For what it's worth, here's an example of a bronze Daniel Defense furniture kit I bought 5 of, these were $135 last year.
Now the Keymod is not DD but as you can see, it's damn near identical and a specialty color.
$135......they charge 3x that just for their quad rail. It's funny.

Where U git dat?
(where did you get that handguard?)

I want a VLTOR key mod for an FAL, but I don't want ass rape and syphilitic Anal Bifida from paying their prices. I would love to get a similar product for much less. (but not poorly made airsoft shit)
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:29 AM   #28
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Rail prices range from truly ridiculous to very reasonable, and many of them fill the same function and do it just as well. The biggest thing I see as different between the high priced domestic rails and the low priced foreign ones are how many different angles you can mount stuff at. If that is worth $150-300, you have your answer.

Other than that, barrel nuts for FF has move on from using a stock barrel nut, the materials being used are usually the same, and there is a customer support system if you receive a defect (which doesn't just apply to $40 ebay rails). Even stripped down American made rails are coming in sub-$100 these days.
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Old 02-04-2017, 03:49 AM   #29
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I own many AR's, none of which are factory rifles. I believe the home assembler can put together a very high quality rifle through component selection, proper assembly techniques, and fine tuning. I'm not willing to pay for a "premium" gun (not just AR15's) unless it's finely fitted and finished by a highly reputable smith.

If I was going to buy a "premium" factory AR15 I'd expect the following:
-Matched receiver set
-Uniform anodizing or Cerakote
-Crisp selector and takedown pins
-Proper gas port
-Quality handguard/stock
-Clean markings/engravings
-Top tier trigger that is properly tuned
-Accuracy guarantee with match ammo


I have zero interest in any factory AR15 other than a JP. In my opinion they are one of the few innovators of the industry and they don't cut corners. All of their components are top quality and they put together rifles that flat out work. No gimmicks, just quality. I will also give props to KAC as I was very impressed with the fit and finish of their rifle, but JP produces stuff more geared towards my interest.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:03 AM   #30
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To me, "high-end" AR means reliable and dependable. I have a couple psa/Anderson builds that I am hoping are high-end. So far all signs indicate they are. To repeat the other guys, all about the right quality parts.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:49 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by BigBlue&Goldie View Post
I own many AR's, none of which are factory rifles. I believe the home assembler can put together a very high quality rifle through component selection, proper assembly techniques, and fine tuning. I'm not willing to pay for a "premium" gun (not just AR15's) unless it's finely fitted and finished by a highly reputable smith.

If I was going to buy a "premium" factory AR15 I'd expect the following:
-Matched receiver set
-Uniform anodizing or Cerakote
-Crisp selector and takedown pins
-Proper gas port
-Quality handguard/stock
-Clean markings/engravings
-Top tier trigger that is properly tuned
-Accuracy guarantee with match ammo


I have zero interest in any factory AR15 other than a JP. In my opinion they are one of the few innovators of the industry and they don't cut corners. All of their components are top quality and they put together rifles that flat out work. No gimmicks, just quality. I will also give props to KAC as I was very impressed with the fit and finish of their rifle, but JP produces stuff more geared towards my interest.
I agree with your entire post.

JP is one of the most popular "High End" AR15 builders.

There are base grade makers like Bushmaster and Colt.

There are premium makers like BCM, Daniel Defense and others.

But there are only a few actual High End builders and JP is one of the best, if not the best.

http://www.jprifles.com/index.php



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Old 02-04-2017, 08:50 AM   #32
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FWIW, a buddy of mine bought a Stag Arms AR and then dropped another $500-750 on it in upgrades, totaling almost $1750ish dollars.

I bought two barreled uppers, a BCG, stripped lower and SBR'd it for less than $1000. Even after the 1-4x and mount. Then bought another stripped lower, LPK, KAK tube and Shockwave and have a 2nd lower as a pistol for traveling. All for far less than the STAG.

They run with the STAG all day, plinking steel like it's nobody's business. He may have a better barrel, as mine are both chromoly, but who cares, lol.
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:52 AM   #33
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Where U git dat?
(where did you get that handguard?)

I want a VLTOR key mod for an FAL, but I don't want ass rape and syphilitic Anal Bifida from paying their prices. I would love to get a similar product for much less. (but not poorly made airsoft shit)
https://www.deltateamtactical.com/AR...T-_p_4763.html

Price went up this year.

Still incredibly low for what you get in the 3 piece group.

The lower AR in 7.62 is a Radical Firearms SOCOM upper.
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Old 02-04-2017, 12:26 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Aceshigh View Post
https://www.deltateamtactical.com/AR...T-_p_4763.html

Price went up this year.

Still incredibly low for what you get in the 3 piece group.

The lower AR in 7.62 is a Radical Firearms SOCOM upper.
How do you like the DD stock?
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Old 02-04-2017, 12:33 PM   #35
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Rob Ski tested and approved ftw.
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