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Mix and Match?

This is a discussion on Mix and Match? within the M16 AR15 forums, part of the Rifle Forum category; I was wondering how many people mix different brand uppers and lowers, such as Black Rain Lower with Bushmaster Upper and so on... Or do ...


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Old May 14th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #1
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Mix and Match?

I was wondering how many people mix different brand uppers and lowers, such as Black Rain Lower with Bushmaster Upper and so on...

Or do people match uppers and lowers ( Black Rain and Black Rain).

If you match, what is there a reason?

If you mix, also why?

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Old May 14th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #2
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I just built my son a "Frankenstein" AR by putting a RRA upper/barrel on a DPMS lower and a real mix of other parts. The fit is excellent and even all the parts finish matches. My other son also shot HP a few years ago with a RRA NM upper on an Olympic Arms lower. Again, it worked out just fine.

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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:32 AM   #3
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Usually the only reason to use the same brand upper and lower is color match, and even then they don't always match. To me, it's a non-issue.

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Old May 14th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #4
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Not an issue at all for ar-15 style firearms, but a huge deal when you step up to the AR-10, as there is no standard.

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Old May 14th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #5
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I fell victim to Obama panic in November of 08 and a parts gun was the only way I had of acquiring an AR type rifle. Fortunately I have a very good friend who is both provident and generous. He gave me a Colt upper out of his stash and told me to acquire the rest of the parts and he would build a rifle for me. I did and he did and so now I have an AR carbine that goes everywhere I go. Its Colt, DPMS, RRA and Bushmaster. So far it runs great.

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Old May 16th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #6
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Greetings,

Over the years, I built up 6 ARs. Of them, all except one Colt (even that one went through a mixed period) are pretty much mix and match U/L. The one I'm building now will be the only the second one with matching U&Ls (LRB). As long as you use "name" parts, they should all work together just fine. I'd be wary of some of the really inexpensive stuff I've seen not being quite up to the standard. So far, I haven't run into ANY problems related to U/L fit and function. Standards can sometimes be a great thing!

I too wish it was the same for .308 ARs; I'd like to build one, but there seem to be quite a few issues to look out for due to non-compatibility of parts and I'm not sure I can actually put together what I've been thinking about. For example, I've seen a left side charging handle upper (something I'd like), but don't know what lower, barrel, etc. it would work with, or if it's even available as a part.

Good luck with your project!

Regards, Jim

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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #7
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Once again I have to preface this with the fact I am one of the Contract Instructors for Armalite's Police Armorer's courses.

IF both the upper and lower receivers were built to G.I. spec, then there should be no problem with mixing uppers and lowers. BUT, and that's a HUGE "BUT," not all uppers and lowers are or were built to G.I. spec.

I've seen so many problems with Olympic Arms over the years, I won't use or buy anything from them. One customer bought two "matched upper and lower receivers' with parts kits for receivers and their own parts would not work correctly in their receivers. That was about 4 years ago.

DPMS has upgraded their quality substantially in the last couple of years. What that means is if you have an upper or lower from them that is five or more years old, you MAY have problems fitting another upper or lower to it. We have seen so many problems with DPMS rifles and receivers before they did the upgrade that it was far from funny. Their current quality is good, though, just be REAL careful if you buy their older stuff.

Rock River also sold a bunch of NM rifles a few years ago they sold at Camp Perry where they made the lugs on the Uppers larger than standard and then mashed them into their lower receiver. That ensured there was almost no "play" between the upper and lower receiver - BUT you could not and can not fit another upper receiver to those lower receivers because the lugs on a standard receiver would then be too loose in those lower receivers. I don't know if they stopped that, that doesn't mean they have or haven't, I just don't know.
I DO know the following year at Camp Perry we heard about it over and over again from disgruntled RR customers or friends of those customers and we had to show a bunch of people that Armalite NM rifles and receivers weren't made like that.

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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #8
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OH, something else to keep in mind when buying just lower receivers.

On some of the "lesser known brands" that don't have the folding trigger guards installed, you HAVE to be very careful the hole for the roll pin in the receiver boss that holds it in place is large enough and drilled straight across correctly. If there is any doubt in your mind, run the correct size drill bit through the holes by hand turning them and NOT by a power drill.

I ran into that a few times at Camp Perry with a couple of "other" brands of lower receivers, IOW not Armalite Receivers. I've also spoken with other folks who were assembling mixmasters and they ran into that problem as well.

If that hole is not the correct size, you run a huge risk of breaking the "boss" of the receiver that hole goes through. Heck, you run the risk even when the hole is the correct size if you are not careful.

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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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FWIW, I used a new DPMS lower receiver and a used (age unknown) colt upper. They went together just fine.

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Old May 17th, 2010, 09:11 PM   #10
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The only 5.56 AR I'll buy is Colt. Issued them, liked them and they work without fail. I have thought about building one. If I do something in 5.56 it will be all Colt parts with exception of perhaps the barrel and maybe the trigger depending on the build completing the mechanics of it. Stocks rails that is some thing entirely different. I wouldn't mind a 308 AR, but Colt don't build one. So unless Colt made one I guess there isn't going to be a 308...

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Old May 18th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #11
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Mine is a custom build with a RRA lower w/2 stage trigger, a LMT upper, Wilson SS 16" heavy barrel w/ 1x8 twist, LMT carrier assembly, mid length gas system with a Smith Vortex flash suppressor. Runs like a champ with all weights of bullets or ammo I can feed it and is very accurate. Nothing wrong with a Frankenstein as long as you use good parts.

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Old May 18th, 2010, 10:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtyharry View Post
Nothing wrong with a Frankenstein as long as you use good parts.
I quite agree, it is also a way to make or have made exactly what you want as no factory can make any kind of rifle anyone may wish.

As we tell our students, the great thing about an AR is you do not have to be a real gunsmith to build most of them - unless you get into special NM or wildcat chambers.

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Old May 18th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M21guy View Post
The only 5.56 AR I'll buy is Colt. Issued them, liked them and they work without fail. I have thought about building one. If I do something in 5.56 it will be all Colt parts with exception of perhaps the barrel and maybe the trigger depending on the build completing the mechanics of it. Stocks rails that is some thing entirely different. I wouldn't mind a 308 AR, but Colt don't build one. So unless Colt made one I guess there isn't going to be a 308...
While I admire your loyalty, I have a early '90's H-Bar Colt, and I'm not very pleased with it... I was expecting more from Colt. The trigger is the worst I have ever shot on a rifle, including my military issued M-16's, and I'm stuck with the big pin receiver. It's not a bad weapon, it's fine as a service rifle, but, as the name may imply, it's not ready for the line at Camp Perry.

...I'm currently building up my LRB lower to replace the Colt.

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Old May 18th, 2010, 08:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie98 View Post
While I admire your loyalty, I have a early '90's H-Bar Colt, and I'm not very pleased with it... I was expecting more from Colt. The trigger is the worst I have ever shot on a rifle, including my military issued M-16's, and I'm stuck with the big pin receiver. It's not a bad weapon, it's fine as a service rifle, but, as the name may imply, it's not ready for the line at Camp Perry.

...I'm currently building up my LRB lower to replace the Colt.
Actually you could use the factory Colt 6724's trigger group. I feel it to have been pretty nice. Nothing wild, but it isn't hideous.

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Old May 20th, 2010, 04:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M21guy View Post
The only 5.56 AR I'll buy is Colt. Issued them, liked them and they work without fail. I have thought about building one. If I do something in 5.56 it will be all Colt parts with exception of perhaps the barrel and maybe the trigger depending on the build completing the mechanics of it. Stocks rails that is some thing entirely different. I wouldn't mind a 308 AR, but Colt don't build one. So unless Colt made one I guess there isn't going to be a 308...
I'll have to bring my Noveske to the range next time. Heh heh heh...
As for me I have no issue mixing different manufacturer's parts up as long as they're all quality.

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