Quality vs junk AR15 parts


What a great post. Nothing beats real world experience. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


I’d like to do a retro build as my next AR, or at least a retro-looking build with a 20” barrel. But looking at “retro” furniture and carry handles is confusing, and there doesn’t seem to be as much selection compared to collapsible stocks, rail guards, etc. Are there quality retro parts I should look to and those I should stay away from? I see that Brownells has a furniture kit, but don’t know enough about the retro side of things to know what’s good and what to stay away from.


I would go to shops around your area… they usually have take offs. (I do at least) so you should ve able to find some without having to order “new” and guess…




Gunpartscorp.com is a good source… but it is hit or miss with quality of the part unless marked NEW


which is why they are good for retro, its usually milsurp


Fulton Armory and Brownelles. Aero Precision also has a few.



I know an old timer that had a Fulton Armory clone of the rifle he carried in Vietnam. He let me run it and his 1911 in a local 3 gun match, I did shitty but it was still pretty fun.


Or you find some guy like me who has a box full of this stuff… hahhahhaha


Very cool! That’s what I’d like to do - build a Vietnam-era looking retro and use it with a 1911 at a local competition.


Does their BCG require a proprietary bolt? Can you use a mil spec bolt in it?


So, would upgrading the internals be advised or are there issues with the uppers and lowers too?


If the upper and lower fit tight enough for you and the finish dosnt bother you then keep it. The Lower should be good to go if it function checks and fires fine. Changing from the commercial tube to a mil spec one and switching to an H buffer set up and possibly a “better” trigger might be worth upgrading though.

For an upper the big things and heart of the rifle are the BCG/Bolt. I run mostly mil spec or close to it but there are better options such as LWRC (@RogueGunnWorks preference) and LMTs enhanced stuff. Just try to make sure it is HPT/MPI tested and if you can afford it get a full auto carrier instead of the semi auto one.

I dont do precision shooting so barrel selection is not as detrimental to me as it is to others but Ballistic Advantage and SOLGW would be what I would go for unless you want to drop big $ on Noveske or LWRC stuff. I also hear good things about Faxon barrels ( @switchpod @SAK seem to like them , if I remember correctly) Just my 2 cents, though.


You can run a mil spec bolt in an LWRC but I would recommend either the LWRC, Fail Zero, or JP


If you are referring to the DPMS or the Stag Arms? Sorry, lost track of things here.


He is talking about his DPMS I think.


I too really like Faxon barrels.


Yes, DPMS. First thing I did was toss the factory trigger. It’s got a Jewell in it but i’m wondering what other areas need improving.


I hate to say this… everything…
My advice to clients that come into my shop.
Do not spend money on your DPMS… buy another rifle, keep your DPMS and shoot the crap out of it . Only replace parts that break.
Run your new rifle just enough to make sure it is a good one, then have it as your go to gun when SHTF
That’s my entire opinion on DPMS… and has been for years.
Believe it or not, the Radical Arms AR is a great little rifle for under $500.00 and the Smith and Wesson M&P is an excellent choice as well.
Because in reality… you would need to jack up the DPMS on a car lift, replace everything but for the firing pin cotter key… run it till you think it is broken in, (100 or so rounds) then replace the cotter key…