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Thread: Tier 1 manufacturers

  1. #1
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    Tier 1 manufacturers

    From the amount of posts I've read here, I'm starting to get the impression that "ABC" may not be the correct abbreviation for tier one manufacturers (eg. Armalite, Bushmaster and Colt). Characteristics of tier one manufacturers would include such things as proper staking of the key in the bolt carrier, Mil Spec components and forged uppers and lowers to name a few. Am I correct about this?
    "Most standards are set low to accomodate the bottom feeders of life who lack the personal pride, motivation and determination to rise above the rest." - Paul Howe

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    More or less you are correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo58
    From the amount of posts I've read here, I'm starting to get the impression that "ABC" may not be the correct abbreviation for tier one manufacturers (eg. Armalite, Bushmaster and Colt). Characteristics of tier one manufacturers would include such things as proper staking of the key in the bolt carrier, Mil Spec components and forged uppers and lowers to name a few. Am I correct about this?
    First of all, ANYONE can produce a lemon, so any firearm you purchase that might ever be used in a defensive situation must be thoroughly tested and broken in, even if there is a prancing pony on the side of it.

    From what I understand, makers like Colt, LMT and a couple of others have more rigorous testing procedures than Bushmaster is reputed to, such as magnetic particle inspection of ALL bolts and barrel extensions that are sold, whereas Bushmaster MPI tests random samples. (Random sample QC, by the way, is used in lots and lots of industries for lots and lots of products, and lots and lots of people would argue that it is just fine for QC purposes. YMMV.)

    MPI testing is not a guarantee that something like a bolt won't break, but it does mean that the part is less likely to fail on you because there is a higher chance of the MPI tests catching a defect in the part.

    I think Colt also shot peens their bolts, but I don't know if anyone else does. I know some makers like Les Baer offer shot peened extractors...

    "mil spec" is sometimes used deceptively so you need to do a lot of research before buying something "milspec". Bushmaster barrels, for instance, are chrome lined which is commonly referred to as a "mil spec" feature, but they use a 1/9 rifling and yet some well meaning but uninformed people may still refer to the barrels as being "mil spec". (Personally I don't get worked up about twist rates...)

    Anyone can produce a lemon, but the idea of a "Tier 1" maker is that they take extra steps to make sure you get a nuts reliable rifle right out of the box, and that it will stay reliable for quite some time. My personal Bushmaster has been a very reliable rifle even under the demanding conditions of multiple carbine courses, so it worked out well for me. Others have reported less than satisfactory experiences with Bushmaster.

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    Here's a graphic representation that might help you to understand.

    Colt



    Others

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    Tier 2?

    Ok. I know about lemons. We have them in every industry. However we do have manufacturers that are generally considered "tier one". I've read alot about "Mil Spec" and what it means to me as a consumer. No concerns there. When someone purchases a mil spec rifle they are more likely to have better interchangeability with other components (correct?). And if they claim "mil spec", which specification are they claiming?

    Then would anyone care to list who are the top 4 AR-15 tier one manufacturers and who are four tier two manufacturers?
    "Most standards are set low to accomodate the bottom feeders of life who lack the personal pride, motivation and determination to rise above the rest." - Paul Howe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo58
    When someone purchases a mil spec rifle they are more likely to have better interchangeability with other components (correct?).
    Generally, yes. Bushmaster, for instance, has a bad habit of using non-milspec buffer tubes and the like making putting an aftermarket collapsible stock on them a pain in the neck.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo58
    Then would anyone care to list who are the top 4 AR-15 tier one manufacturers
    1. Colt
    2. Colt
    3. Colt
    4. Colt
    and who are four tier two manufacturers?
    It depends. I would put LMT, Bravo Company, Noveske, and CMT/Stag at the top of the heap followed (distantly) by Rock River, Bushmaster, and Armalite.

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