If you’re new to AR-15’s you may not know that a lot companies sell M4 and AR variants that won’t hold up to the high standards required for a rough life and extreme use with thousands of rounds going through the barrel. At most these carbines and rifles are suitable for plinking coke cans and shooting gophers. There are a few companies that meet the criteria lined out in the TDP (technical data package) of which Colt and FN abide by. Here’s a quick list of companies i’ve found that produce carbines and rifles that meet this standard.
- Bravo Company
- Daniel Defense
Here’s a list that i’ve found that DOESN’T meet this standard of critical criteria.
- Rock River
- Olympic Arms
Surprised by my findings? Are your feelings hurt? Don’t worry if you’ve built or bought one from these companies because they aren’t terrible carbines or rifles. They still work for what most people use them for. The fact is, they do not have many if any of the criteria outlined below.
Bushmaster has refused to release any information or certifications regarding materials, specs, etc. Bushmaster does not hold the TDP or design schematics for the M4, but reverse engineers after measuring Colt parts. Every Bushmaster I have handled, owned, seen, or sold, has lacked a STAKED castle nut. Bushmaster does NOT have an “F” marked FSB, or an H buffer. Your barrel is 1/9 NOT 1/7. All MPI and HP of Bushmaster is BATCH tested. etc. Barrels that have been tested by individuals, has shown they are NOT 11595E. They do NOT parkerize under the FSB. Buffer tubes on Bushmaster are COMMERCIAL aka weaker, thinner, cheaper. Sell your Bushmaster for $900 and go buy a Colt. They are shit and the list goes on. Same goes for Rock River, Olympic, and many others. Do the research. Educate yourself. – Denny Ducet
So what is this criteria you’ve been talking about?
Here’s a list of the criteria to look for from the TDP when buying parts to build an AR-15/M4.
- Auto BCG
- 8620 BC
- Shrouded Firing Pin
- Parkerized Exterior
- Chrome lined
- USGI specs
- Mil-spec gas key hardened/heat treated and chrome lined
- secure gas key with “grade 8″ fasteners properly staked
- Carpenter #158 Bolt
- tool steel extractor with black insert
- Shot peened
- HPT (100%)
- 4-coil or 5 coil spring
- 11595E Certified Barrel Steel
- 5.56 Chamber NOT .223
- 1/7 twist Barrel
- M4 Feed Ramps
- “F” Stamped FSB
- Taper Pins
- 7000 series lower receiver
- Mil-spec diameter buffer tube
- properly staked castle nut
- Properly marked and weighted buffer “H” “H2″
- properly gassed systems with proper gas port size tube diameter and length
Of course I didn’t list every facet but these are the biggies. Check out the chart below for more information.
(click image for larger view)
(click image for larger view)
This is my opinion on the matter and the data i’ve found through my research. I feel it’s best to buy M4/Ar-15 variants with the highest quality if you plan to rely on them at some point in the future. Leave me a comment below and I will try to reply in a timely manner.