July 14, 2009 at 3:42 am #32226
I received a bunch of PM’s regarding my post on the gun nut topic, so I figured that I would start a new thread to avoid hijacking the other one and to answer all of the PM’s at once.
In the world of AR-15s, there are only two “milspec” guns, the Colt Defense and the FN. FN only sells theirs to the .Mil, so that leaves one, the Colt. These guns are built to the TDP, or Technical Data Package. None of the others are. This means that these guns have pressure tested, shot peened, Magnetic Particle tested bolts and barrels. These are the parts that go bad in AR systems. In the industry, ARs are broken into three groups, or “tiers”. Tier one consists of non “Sporter” Colts, such as the 6920, and some high end hand builders, like the Noveske. Tier two has the S&W M&P’s and some of the Bushmasters, while tier three has some of the makers that just slap any old part together and call it good, like DPMS and Olympic. Don’t give me an angry PM if you have a tier three gun, what’s important is that you can probably get it up to speed fairly easily. You have to ask yourself what your gun is for, and let that be your guide. My work gun is a Colt, because it’s my ass on the line and I refuse to allow my old lady to spend my life insurance money on some 20 year old boytoy. That being said, I also have a Bushmaster DCM gun that shoots 1/2 minute groups all day long. I also have a Smith and Wesson Frankengun with a Colt Barrel and a full auto Colt bolt carrier group (more mass to give more dwell time in a carbine length gas system). So the bottom line is that you get a gun that suits your needs. Are you looking for an LE work gun? Something to blast soda cans on a nice Sunday afternoon? Something for the hordes of shambling undead that are waiting to eat your brains? Let necessity be your guide.
Piston guns are another thing all together. Originally designed to solve a perceived weakness in the AR system, namely the Direct Gas Impingement system, the piston keeps the carbon from the burnt powder away from the bolt carrier group. In theory, this sounds great, but in reality, it adds another layer of things that can (and often do) go wrong (broken gas pistons, buffer issues, etc), adds weight and good luck getting parts. The only one that is proven is the HK, and that upper will run you about 5 grand if you can find it. No thanks.
In 15 years as a rifle instructor and almost 20 years of combined Military/LE experience, 90% of all AR malfunctions that I have seen are due to lack of lubrication, poor maintanance, and bad magazines. I have never seen an AR fail from too much lube, shoot it wet. Go buy some PMags and have at it.July 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm #76787
great info, thanks, already got 2-30 round pmags(with windows) and plan on getting a few more(another 5-6) i’ve seen vidoes of those things getting run over with trucks and shooting perfectly
i think i’ll skip the gas piston for now, and stick with my plane jane m4 upper
russellJuly 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm #76799
Great synopsis, with one thing to add – not that it’s going to make everyone run out and buy a couple, but the prices of the 416 uppers has come down considerably recently. Several of the 10.x” ones have sold recently for “only” $3500. And they will have to be registered as an SBR as well, so they are not possible for civilians to own in some states.July 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm #76821kirstenModerator
I love the pony! We had bushmaster on patrol and it was a nightmare, almost blew up in my co-workers face on the range when a round got jammed in the barrel. It was good brass and not crap either. If it had been a rook and not a former SWAT member, he may have fired another round and been seriously injuried or worse… the armorer said it was a production issue. Nobody wanted to shoot them after that. You get what you pay for and a Colt is worth every cent.
Thanks for the great info Stafford!July 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm #76825
Everyone knows what opinions are like. If you search the internet you’ll find plenty of stories about how good Bushmasters are, and how bad Colts are, etc, and vise versa. I really don’t have experience with either, and I would feel strongly about one brand if I had a good or bad experience with it.
I was at my local store yesterday shopping (instead of going to Krav). They had brand new Colt M4s for $1000. That surprised me since I usually see them much higher. Several of the employees were saying how bad Colt ARs were. They were saying they were total junk and only have name recognition from years gone past. They claim Colt doesn’t even make their own rifles.
They were saying their other brands were much better like Bushmaster, S&W, and some other brand names I had never heard of.
Anyways, I went with the Ruger SR556 because of all the neat toys it comes with.
🙂July 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm #76828July 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm #76830
Re: AR-15’squote markx3:
That’s exactly why they put all those neat toys on them. Colt does not sell M4’s on the civilian market. The closest thing is they do sell is the model 6920, which retails for considerably more than a grand. I’m sure you’ll have a great time with your gun, it was designed with the recreational shooter in mind. BTW, Colt firearms does not manufacture the Military grade weapons, they are manufactured by Colt Defense.July 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm #76831
Re: AR-15’squote markx3:
i dont think ruger makes the sr556, i’m just not sure who does,****PLEASE NOTE I’M NOT SAYING ANYTHING BAD ABOUT THAT!!!!****i love ruger i trust my 20 year old p-85 enough to carry it as a self defense weapon
with what the gun comes with it’s a great buy
3 30 round p mags @ 20.00 each
1 troy industries quad rail @ 200.00
1 hogue overmolded grip @ 25.00
1 set of troy industries buis @ 250.00
1 nice zippered case @ about 65.00
thats 600.00 dollars worth of stuff with a rifle that i’ve seen as low as 1599.00 plus tax(when most rifles come with 1 cheap 30 round mag and a cardboard box)
i think you made a good buy, but be careful ruger makes a fine weapon but has a track history of safety recalls, my p85 went back in 89 for “free safety upgrade”, the sr9,and lcp both have had recalls, but i dont think much can go wrong with the ar15 platform
i dont have anything against colt, i just wish that they would make a more cost effiicent gun,myself i cant justify spending $1750.00 on a a3 flattop colt(the 6920le), when i can spend $1000 on a flattop rockriver entry carbine(that the dea issues as their rifle)
please don’t take offense at my comments if you own a colt
russellJuly 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm #76832
Re: AR-15’squote Jeremy Stafford:
dammit you beat me to the punch!!!!!July 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm #76833
Re: AR-15’squote russell:
I don’t know why anyone would take offense. The Carbines are designed for different purposes. I carry one every day, my life and the lives of others depend on it, the extra money was not a concern. The other carbines fit their niche nicely, there’s something for everyone. But remember this, buy cheap, buy twice. In the world of tactical equipment you really get what you pay for. I know plenty of guys that buy a tier 3 gun, top it off with a chinese replica optic, and are happy as a pig in $hit, that’s just not the world I operate in. I’m sure you guys will be happy with your guns.July 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm #76835
Re: AR-15’squote Kirsten:
Squib rounds are really a non-event. They’re scary more than anything else. I’ve had squib rounds in both an MP5 and a G3 while firing in full auto when there’s no time to let off the trigger. It will put a bulge right where the stoppage was, but will push the stuck bullet right on out. You get a really loud bang, a lot of gas blowback, and a new appreciation that you remembered to wear your eyes and ears.
Overcharged reloads (more likely wrong powder since 5.56 is usually a compressed load anyways) do bad, bad things, but squib rounds shouldn’t be catastrophic on a quality barrel.
Colt does make a quality product, they’re not the only ones. They don’t even make a lot of their own parts. Colt receivers are made by Continental Machine Tool, who also supply the parts for Stag, RRA, High Standard, Noveske, Global Tactical, S&W, MGI, Wilson Tactical, and others.
Bushy, Barrett, and Knights Armament are made by Lewis Machine Tool (LMT).
But I fully agree that in most cases, you do get what you pay for; sometimes you pay for the name. There are shortcuts that some of the cheapest brands take during assembly that the more expensive ones do not. I do see more failures on some brands than others, but out of the top-tier brands, the failure rate is about equal. Buy a cheap rifle, you get a cheap rifle. My only issue with the Colts is that they build features into the lower receiver that prevents use of an auto-sear without machining, but that’s not going to be an issue for 99% of buyers.July 15, 2009 at 9:19 pm #76838
Well I bought mine for a few reasons.
A) To look hella cool in my safe 99.9999% of the time
B) To shoot it once a year if that
C) In case all hell breaks loose
I’m sure it will work fine for all three. 🙂July 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm #76841
Re: AR-15’squote Chocolate Soldier:
His failure was at 0:26. He says “bad primer”. More than likely, it was an improperly seated bullet. It was too long, so the bolt wasn’t fully closed. When he extracted it, the bullet remained stuck in the throat. That’s why he had to keep smacking the charging handle the next few times. He kept ramming the bullet deeper and deeper down into the barrel until the next round could seat and the bolt could fully lock.
The next round was the big bang.
If he would have followed proper safety procedures, that could have been prevented. When he got the first “bad primer” round, he should have checked 1) whether or not the bullet was still in the casing that was ejected and 2)whether there was an obstruction in the barrel or not. Then when he started having to smack the charging handle, he should have checked to see why the bolt wan’t closing. Maybe the neck of a prior cartridge had separated. He didn’t even stop to wonder “Hmmm. I wonder why I have to keep pounding the charging handle.
But that’s mild for a kaboom – now THIS is a KB:
Caused by… wait for it…
improper powder. They used pistol powder instead of the correct powder.
Plugged barrels just don’t do that. They blow the magazine out, venting most of the gas straight down or out the ejection port. It will happen to any gun, regardless of who makes it.July 16, 2009 at 5:25 am #76855
Re: AR-15’squote AviatorDave:
Very true, but the catch is that each company specs the materials differently, to include grade of material, inspection at each step of manufacture, etc. Then there is the final machining from the rough forging. Anyone who thinks that a Stag upper or lower is the equal of a Noveske is kidding themselves. That being said, they all have a place, and I own several tier 2 guns along with my Colts. Great conversation guys.July 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm #76858
After looking at http://www.coltsmfg.com/products-c6-q9-Colt_Rifles.aspx# believe it or not it was the MT6400C going for $1000 new. I know it sounds too cheap since I’m used to seeing them much higher. One of the reasons I didn’t buy it was because I didn’t like the short and fat hand guard.
I was watching a video online about the Ruger SR556. The guy was saying how the SR556 shot 20,000 rounds without cleaning or jamming. IF this is true, how would that be less quality than a Mil Spec gun?
Does anyone know how many rounds Mil Spec guns are supposed to fire without problems?
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