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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:11 am 
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To follow up on Ned's idea, one aspect of the AR that I think holds up progress is the chokehold the mil-spec mavens have on what is "correct."

In some circles, if you deviate from what is standard issue, you are looking for either some cheap copy (the term "airsofter" comes to mind) or you are risking catastrophic failure due to sub-standard parts.

It is as if the zenith of 1911 form was a parkerized 1911A1, as it existed in the rack of an armory, ca. 1946.

Changing that will take time, but I think it will happen. 3-gun competition is one venue that will do it.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:21 am 
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I agree, "milspec' is a line in the sands of time, that time being what, 1963 or so? Better materials and processes have come along since then for sure.

On the other hand, when I see a product advertised as "better than mil-spec", I reflexively raise an eyebrow. I know it's possible but there have been a good many attempts that have fallen short.

Competition truly is or can be the accelerated time frame R&D Lab, the crucible where limits are pushed to see what if anything works better.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:20 am 
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I'm not sure that the hard-use/training folks who so often sing the MILSPEC chorus are responding to the TDP as much as they are insisting on things like correct steels and assembly techniques (i.e. staking). Rifles like the KAC SR-15 clearly do not adhere to the TDP, but most would acknowledge that they have achieved a level of refinement that reaches well beyond any government standard.

Military specifications are contract-based, fixed in time and administrator-driven, so they obviously fall well-short when it comes to accounting for innovation and product improvements in the industry. Is MILSPEC the gold standard? Perhaps, if you are talking about something like a standard M4 configuration and a rifle like the Colt LE6920. Is it possible to invest in an even better rifle by going beyond these standards? Absolutely. Where the lines get blurred is when the discussion turns toward rifles which look like any other, but which are assembled from inferior quality, untested components using production shortcuts and other questionable efficiencies in order to meet a commercial price point.

Because these rifles all appear to be so similar to the casual observer, it isn't always apparent to the consumer why he should ante up more than twice the asking price of a DPMS to get something like a Noveske or Daniel Defense rifle. Not that the latter two represent the Holy Grail of ARdom, but they do tend to adhere to a well-respected quality standard. The average 300-rounds/yr. AR shooter is unlikely to ever recognize or appreciate the difference, of course, but as we've come to learn in the 1911 world, it doesn't really make much sense to buy "good enough" when "best-quality" can be had for just a few dollars more. The debate does tend to take on an unnecessarily sharp edge at times, but this is likely just a predictable counter-response to the amount of bad information that is out there when it comes to Black Rifles in general.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:15 am 
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So, one might even say that "mil-spec" could/should be a minimum level to be sought after when AR shopping, although some will argue the only true mil-spec is a gov't issued M16 or M4.

Plenty of them out there fall well short....!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:42 pm 
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Good topic. All of my ARs say Colt on the side because in the early days most of the competitors were inferior junk. I got out of the 'scene' for a few years but then showed up at a tax payer paid class (thank you all!) to find them equipped with one of the pretty well known upper tier aftermarket ARs which had sprang up while I was 'away'. I was anxious to check them out because 'all the magazines' touted them (and advertised). So, I go to the line on day one and pick one up for class. I look it over and the rear sight was installed crooked. Hmm? I put it down and just casually reached over and grabbed the next one. Same thing. Then I looked them all over. All of them with this sight had it mounted (drilled) crooked from the factory. So much for that brand in my opinion. There's a basic standard that the term 'Mil-Spec' meets. But there's also a little bit of a comfort factor there when you know that what you choose meets at least Uncle Sam's overall standards. Just sayin.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:09 am 
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Your experience was practically taken from my own script:

Colts and gov't contract guns-- as close to "all good" as you'll ever find. Almost everything else-- "check closely", or in many cases, "1. Remove new gun from box. 2. Fix gun. 3. Put into service and hope for the best."

It's really interesting the things that apparently are not a priority to many manufacturers.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:58 am 
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For a lot of manufacturers, there is no incentive to be more than just a "commodity" provider.

With most AR users shooting a few hundred rounds a year, in a couple of semi-plinking sessions, durability doesn't matter.

Those who teach, or have gone to a class, will notice. And those who compete won't bother with either commodity nor mil-spec offerings.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:12 pm 
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Patrick Sweeney wrote:
For a lot of manufacturers, there is no incentive to be more than just a "commodity" provider.

With most AR users shooting a few hundred rounds a year, in a couple of semi-plinking sessions, durability doesn't matter.

Those who teach, or have gone to a class, will notice. And those who compete won't bother with either commodity nor mil-spec offerings.


Obviously all valid points, and I suppose we would do well to remember that there are plenty of 1911 shooters who find little fault in their RIAs and such. Different guns, different needs. Not everyone needs to be involved with, or even be able to recognize, a best-in-class product when it is unlikely to see any real use in the first place. I still chafe against that idea from time to time, but on some level, I nevertheless have to recognize it as valid.

The correlation piece here is that ARs are literally all over the place quality-wise, too, and whether we're talking built-guns or custom projects (I would guess the emphasis here would gravitate toward the latter), we're still likely to get a range of opinions when it comes to what constitutes good/better/best. Oddly enough, it often seems that the deeper one delves into the custom end of all-things-AR, the farther one gets away from the known and recognized standards (be they MILSPEC or what-have-you) that are so often used to define the guns that are really built to the "hard-use" standard. Not a true Catch-22, perhaps, but close enough.

For my part, and I suppose I've mused about this once before, I see rifles like the KAC SR-15E3 series, or some of the emergent offerings from BCM or Noveske as the best current blend between adherence to best standards and the pursuit of meaningful innovation. I'm less immediately familiar with the latter two, but can readily attest to the fact that Knight's has really engaged themselves in advancing the art. I suppose the question is, where is the focus here? Upon the best ARs that we currently have available to us? The non-standard rifles that we are buying or building for specific roles? NFA configurations? Alternate chamberings? Operating systems (though I think this has been done to death everywhere else)? The questions are, of course, rhetorical , but the topic is broad, so they do seem to be worth asking.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:46 am 
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Well, I will say that I've carried an M16 variant of some type for many miles and days (okay, mostly nights) and I'm pretty comfortable with them especially the M4, which I personally feel is the Zenith for the mil AR family. Not too long, not too heavy, not too light- juuust right. Good stock sights, good stock barrels, okay trigger (it is Mil-Spec after all), parts interchangeability easy to carry and shoot, and fairly easy to get in and out of vehicles with. Its a known quantity. Now, however, with everyone and their brother-in-law touting 'their' proprietary piston system, there is less of a known quantity and quality. One of the issues with the Army's now cancelled carbine competition to find a replacement for the M4.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:36 pm 
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So I am thinking about assembling my first ar from stripped components in 300 blackout that I plan to have liberty do their Leonidas conversion on since wa state doesn't allow sbrs.

I have typically in the past owned pretty mil spec ars. Colt, lmt, rra.

Thoughts on a stripped receiver set? Thought about larue but they no longer sell stripped lowers. Thought about seeking but they only use screwin pins which put me off. Mega is local but have never heard anything good about them. Thinking noveske but curious if they are still on their game and they may be hard to find...

Suggestions?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:20 am 
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I think the days of really crappy uppers and lowers are in the past.

Yes, you can find the occasional out-of-spec lower, but the market has pretty much driven them out of business.

I've had good luck with Mega, Stag, Detroit Gun Works, DSA, and more, and just received a Seekins billet lower, and it looks good too.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:05 pm 
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Love to hear how the seeking build goes. Please post as you build it up


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:57 pm 
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It's kind of a dead thread, but I wanted to comment on the quality of Mega products.

They're great! LOL, I know it's a simple review, but it's true. Their monolithic system was REALLY nice, but they ran into some patent infringement issues. Evidently their new mono upper is even better. Time will tell.

I know there are so many fanboi's on both sides of the MilSpec argument it's hard to get some REAL info.

As it's been stated, if you run 100 rounds annually, get the cheapest AR you can find. The quality difference between a $550 and a "MilSpec" $1000 AR will be totally lost on you. However if you plan to have your AR save your life (work or HD) MilSpec is the MINIMUM requirement.

The problem lies with the people who have spent hard earned monies and become emotionally invested with their purchase and will shout from the mountaintops about how their (insert craptastic name here) is the ONLY thing you should buy and buying anything else will be nothing but you flaunting your cash around. Because EVERYONE knows that all the parts are the same and you're only buying the name.

These are the same people who have no idea how the science of statistics actually work. Just because they've never had a malfunction whilst expending their 100 rounds per year, thats not a stat. They'll talk about how these big names are just getting paid to tell people to buy the big name firearms. Never mind the fact they see THOUSANDS of different AR's a year, from all different manufactures, maintenance schedules and with Lord only knows how many aftermarket parts attached.

I am supposed to ignore Pat Rogers, Larry Vickers, etc, because they are only trying to sell me something, but Jim Joe Bob from BFE, I am supposed to trust because he's NEVER had a malfunction with his Oly Arms M4 (which is probably a lie anyway..).


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:53 am 
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Yes, discussions can get kinda spooled up sometimes. Probably there are examples of what are considered the lower-end brands running fine..... but the more you pile on the hundreds and thousands of rounds, the more fall by the wayside. And certainly, the higher end brands fail on occasion but many of them have things well worked out.

I have not owned anything from Mega but sure appears to be good stuff.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:23 am 
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if guys just knew the facts, they could save a ton of time and money. If they'll just put in a day of their own labor and pay a local machineshop $100, they can have a very fine sound suppressor on their AR. That 1.5" OD, extra 7.5" will make a 223 AR so "tame" to use that most "snap-shooting" practice can be done with the $200 .22lr conversion unit (30 rd box mag, Ciener firearms) and an airsoft replica. So you can be saving 30c-50c per shot. If you have not experienced the massive difference that a suppressor can make in your shooting, you owe it to yourself to give one a try.

Naturally, there's also a $200 Fed tax stamp to be paid, and a 6 month wait on the background check, but for the savings in range trips and ammo costs, the cost is paid off very quickly and the savings and practice benefits carry on forever. One needs a shorter barrel to make the package still handy. However, if you'll silversolder or pin the suppressor to the barrel, you need not pay for an SBR $200 tax stamp. So an 11.5" barrel and 7.5" of additional suppressor length adds up to just 19".

This total package is handier than a riot 12 ga pump, with full power 223' having no more noise than a normal .22lr rifle. Muzzleflash can be eliminated, but there's a small flash at the ejection port, no matter what suppressor is used.

Both Paladin Press and Amazon sell professional "how to" books on making suppressors for the 223 and the .22lr. The 223 Book is for a Mini-14, but the AR "can" is much less hassle, due to the barrel's already being threaded and the front sight of the AR not being mounted directly on the barrel. So you can extrapolate the information that you need from those 2 books. They are cheaper from Amazon.


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