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AR-15 Receiver FAQ

Discussion in 'AR15 Articles' started by SC-Texas, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. SC-Texas

    SC-Texas TGT Addict Lifetime Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Houston, TX
    I am importing this from It is a Thread originally authored by xenophobe

    Receiver FAQ Version 0.3 (please note this is still rough, and is not nearly finished)

    I see a lot of threads asking these questions about overall quality and suggestions for which brand of receiver any particular person would recommend, so I thought I might document the aesthetics of final finish machining info into an info thread of it's own.

    Who makes the best receiver? Which receiver is the best? Which receiver is the highest quality?

    Of course the answer is that all of them are pretty much the same. The actual brand of receiver means little to nothing. When deciding on which receiver you should purchase you should take into consideration two factors. Price and manufacturer. Of course if price is not an object, get the receiver that has the logo or emblem that you want. I know that is superficial, but the best receiver really boils down to the one you like the best.

    There are currently FOUR manufacturers that produce the majority of lower receivers for the AR market. MMS, CMT, LMT and LAR receive orders from many licensed manufacturers who obtain an ATF variance to have them cut and logo receivers on their behalf. JVP and Superior Arms cut for a couple of different companies as well, but currently I will only focus on the four main manufacturers differences.

    Mega, Stag (CMT), LAR and Barrett (LMT):

    Not all inclusive, and a few brands have had more than one manufacturer cut their receivers. Many companies receive CMT and LMT cuts in the white and finish them themselves. I have not seen a LAR or MMS cut that was finished by a third party company.

    LMT = LMT, Lauer(old), DS Arms, PWA, Eagle, Knights Armament, Barrett, Bushmaster (?)
    CMT = Stag, RRA, High Standard, Noveske (old), Century (current), Global Tactical, CLE, S&W, MGI (1st batch), Wilson Tactical, (some?) Colt, Ratworx
    LAR = Grizzly, Bushmaster (L Prefix), Ameetech, (?)DPMS, CMMG, Double Star, Fulton, Spike's Tactical, Noveske (new)
    MMS = Mega, Gunsmoke, Dalphon, POF (forged), Alexander Arms, Stinger, Spike's Tactical(old)
    JVP = Double Star, LRB
    Olympic = Olypmic, SGW, Tromix, Palmetto, Dalphon, Frankford, (old) Century
    Superior = Superior Arms, Lauer (current)
    Grenadier Precision
    Sabre Defence (?)

    There are also a number of custom cut billet lower receivers:

    MGI multi-caliber
    COBB multi-caliber

    JP CTR-02
    SOCOM Diamond (out of business?)
    Sun Devil
    POF - 415/416 Gen 1 (no trigger guard), Gen 2 (integral winter guard), Gen 3(integral guard + ambi bolt release)
    Smith & Wesspon M&P-15PC Performance Center Model

    7.62x51 receivers
    POF - P-308 Gen 1 (winter trigger guard + ambi bolt release)
    DPMS Panther LR-308
    Fulton FAR-308 (made by DMPS)
    Hesse HAR-10 (bleh... really crappy machining)

    Wishful thinking:
    Oberland Arms / HK 416/417 (billet)
    Magpul (soon I hope)
    LaRue (people have been asking.... lol)
    Vltor (you never know...)
    LMT (very wishful thinking...)

    Not sure if RRA .308 vaporware will be forged or billet.

    characteristics of the manufacturers (please note, the most typical characteristics are listed, and each manufacturer may have substantial sample variation between lots):

    LMT usually leaves forge flash underneath the trigger well, and roughly cuts them between the receiver extension and pistol grip, while leaving a vertical mold flash line on the front lip of the mag well, as well as having other "fingerprint" marks... no bevel cut for the charging handle on the rear lug for the receiver extension, as well as particular mill marks in between the pivot pin tangs. They also have a 'fingerprint' cut in the receiver on the shelf, and below it where the FCG goes. Notice the diagonal mill mark on one of the pivot pin supports. Also unique is the radius in the grip tang pocket, which is not as smooth a transition as the other manufacturers.

    lmt1.jpg lmt2.jpg

    CMT has a rounded bevel on the front of the mag well lip, generally removes the forge flash underneath the trigger well, usually offers a smooth and rounded surface between the receiver extension and pistol grip and has a unique mill mark that would be hidden by the attachment of a pistol grip. There is also a clamp mark of some sort that occurs on the top of the pivot pin lugs that LMT and LAR do not have (see 1st photo at beginning of thread).

    cmt1.jpg cmt3.jpg

    LAR sometimes leaves forge flash underneath the trigger well, and does have a smooth flat milling mark on the round transition on the web between the receiver extension and grip. By the back of the grip tang, there is a milling mark that goes across the width of the receiver. The front of the receiver has a deep cut between the pivot pin retainers, and the front of the mag well is not always flat. The front radius to the mag well bevel is round, but the front edge sometimes shows forge flash.

    lar1.jpg lar2.jpg

    MMS usually the cleanest cut, with the exception of some CMT receivers. All of the MMS receivers for Mega, POF, Gunsmoke, Dalphon and Stinger I've seen have the typical black teflon coating. Some of the receivers look absolutely perfect, others have mag wells that are cut from both sides and don't quite match up in the center. Some of them also have what look like file marks running in one direction on part of all of the receiver, and can be somewhat subdued or very noticable. I won't describe machining fingerprints, because all Mega manufactured receivers are pretty obviously made by MMS.

    The forgings that CMT and LMT use are also from different manufacturers. The ribbed A2 strength on the reciever extension lug is thinner on the LMT, while the CMT is almost the full width. Mega appears to use the same forgings as LMT. All of the manufacturers seem to have some variation of mag well bevels, and those aren't primarily useful in identification.

    From left to right, Mega, Stag/CMT, LAR, LMT and Barrett,

    Other comparisons
    All of the following photos will show from left to right; Mega, Stag, LAR, Barrett and/or LMT:

    Notice the lack of a charging handle bevel on the Barrett/LMT

    Notice the difference between the LMT and the larger mag well bevel of the Barrett (far right):

    Trigger well forge flash clearly visible on the Barrett and LMT:



    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2018
  2. SC-Texas

    SC-Texas TGT Addict Lifetime Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Houston, TX
    From MGI:

    postedby Ekie:

    Software Janitor:

  3. SC-Texas

    SC-Texas TGT Addict Lifetime Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Houston, TX
    BadAzzAR15 (SpikesTactical):
  4. SC-Texas

    SC-Texas TGT Addict Lifetime Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Houston, TX

    High or Low Shelf AR Receivers. Who Makes What?

    This is a list of companies showing who makes high shelf and who makes low shelf AR-15 lower receivers. This is in reference to RDIAS compatibility. RDIAS is Registered Drop In Auto Sear. A RDIAS can be found for much less than a registered M-16 or other AR-15 compatible registered select fire lower receiver. Here is a link that goes in to depth on the RDIAS-

    Green = Low shelf: DIAS compatible, shelf behind safety on inside of the receiver is 16mm deep from top of receiver

    Red = High Shelf: Not DIAS compatible, shelf behind safety on inside of receiver is 14mm deep from top of receiver

    Aero Precision - high shelf /low shelf

    Ameetec - low shelf

    Anvil Arms - low shelf

    Armalite - high shelf

    Bushmaster - low shelf

    CMMG - low shelf

    CMT - high shelf

    Colt - high shelf also receiver block

    Double Star - low shelf

    DPMS - low shelf

    DSA - high shelf

    DTI (Del-Ton) - low shelf

    Essential Arms - high shelf /low shelf

    Fulton Armory - low shelf

    LAR - low shelf

    LMT - high shelf

    LRB/JV Precision - low shelf

    Mega - low shelf

    Olympic Arms - high shelf

    Rock River Arms - high shelf

    Smith & Wesson - high shelf

    Spike's Tactical - Bullet Selector Markings = high shelf –– Fire/Safe Selector Markings = low shelf

    Stag - high shelf

    Sun Devil - low shelf

    Superior Arms - ?

    This is the information I have so far. Please feel free to voice any corrections and continue to add to this list (please use the email function as I have no way of knowing if you posted or PM'd me since the board seems to have no notification.)

  5. SC-Texas

    SC-Texas TGT Addict Lifetime Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Houston, TX
    NoDak Spud, LLC:

    We've always machined ours in-house.

    And, we own the forging tools for most of what we make.


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