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Thread: Budget .223/5.56 "Precision" Upper?

  1. #1
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    Budget .223/5.56 "Precision" Upper?

    Briefly:

    I'm thinking of putting $500-800 into a "budget" precision-y upper, and wondering (1) whether it would be worth it, and (2) what are the best options in that price range.


    Long version:

    I have a couple 14.5" lightweight uppers that are reliable and accurate enough within 100yds. Both are 1:7 and 5.56-chambered, and have USGI-style handguards and 6-position stocks.
    One is iron-only (A2 receiver), and the other has a 2-8x32 Nikon on it. The latter shoots 3-4" groups at 200yds with match ammo (Norma or FGMM), but doesn't like Hornady's TAP or Black Hills well enough to shoot less than 5-6" groups.


    I bought an extra (third) BCM lower and registered it before California banned them. (No, I do NOT want to talk about California's gun laws here.)

    So, with that third lower sitting around, I keep thinking that I might buy a complete "precision" upper to play with...

    I'd be happy with something that would shoot 1.5moa with match factory or handloaded ammo, and I'd be thrilled with something that would shoot 1moa. My local range is 300yds, soon to be expanded to 600yds (!).

    (NB: This is a "would be nice" or "would be fun" project to punch paper, not a "I need" or "I must have" to shoot bad guys or jump out of helicopters. I'm a middle-class guy who reads books for a living.)

    In preparation for all this I bought a Nikon "Black" 4-16x50 scope, though it would be easier to use that elsewhere, if this project doesn't happen.


    Perameters:
    1. I want a complete upper... I don't want to "build" anything. I just want an upper that I can put on that BCM lower (which already has BCM's upgraded trigger, and to which I'll add a MagPul PRS).

    2. 16-18" barrel... I'm ambivalent, but definitely don't want 20" or longer.

    3. M-Lok handguards, free-floated.

    4. Prefer Wylde and/or 5R barrel.

    5. Less than $800, better would be less than $600. If I can't do this for less than $800ish, then I'll probably just do something else. (I'm also thinking of a dedicated .22lr upper, and/or a Ruger American bolt gun in .223/5.56.



    I'm looking at...

    1. BCM... I'm a fan, I figured a BCM SS410 would be the "go-to":

    https://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-...10-mcmr-15.htm

    Pros:
    a. It would match my spare lower...

    Cons:
    a. It costs $250-$300 more than the other options (>$900, out the door, with BCG and charging handle), and
    b. I'm not that thrilled with the MCMR handguard, and
    c. Having seen this thread, there doesn't seem to be any guarantee of good accuracy...

    https://www.m4carbine.net/showthread...t=budget+upper


    2. Aero Precision:

    https://www.aeroprecisionusa.com/ar1...anodized-black

    Pros:
    a. It's $600ish out of the door, and <$650 with a BCM Gunfighter charging handle.
    b. It's stupid and superficial of me, I know, but I love the look of the Atlas S-One handguard.
    c. Aero owns Ballistic Advantage and uses their barrels. (Right?)

    Cons:
    a. Mixed reviews of Aero's quality control and customer service... Buyer beware?


    3. Savage:

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/102006974

    Pros:
    a. It's <$600 out of the door, and $625ish with a BCM Gunfighter charging handle.
    b. 5R rifling, and a Wylde chamber.
    c. Everything that people don't like about Savage's Recon (the stock and the trigger) aren't part of the upper.

    Cons:
    a. The "standard" barrel profile is skinny behind the gas block, and then fat forward of it, which I think is stupid.



    Questions:

    1. Am I missing anything about these options?

    2. What other options am I missing?

  2. #2
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    To 700 yards a 18" upper is not going to do anything any differently/better than a 16" upper. Sure, a 18" SPR upper is a fun, niche rifle, but for 99% of shooters it does zero that a 16" rifle cannot do. A stainless steel "recce" upper with a LPVO would punch the ticket. If you want to remain budget conscious and buy complete, I would get the BCM SS upper.

  3. #3
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    If nothing else, now is the time to shop around, but wait until Thanksgiving and black Friday specials. What is presently outside the budget may fall within the budget.

  4. #4
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    Get a good SS barrel. Quality ammo will also make quite a difference; provided you are doing your part.

  5. #5
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    Your missing White Oak's SPR upper which is better than the BCM and Aero options IMO. If i was buying a complete upper for an SPR this would be it

    https://www.whiteoakarmament.com/sho...dm-uppers.html

    They have options for different twist and gas lengths. If you choose a regular upper with no fluting they are $675 and include BCG. Come with ALG v3 handguards which are solid

    If you didnt already have a complete lower teh Larue Ultimate Upper kits are a great value at under $800 for everything but the lower receiver

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by everready73 View Post
    Your missing White Oak's SPR upper which is better than the BCM and Aero options IMO. If i was buying a complete upper for an SPR this would be it

    https://www.whiteoakarmament.com/sho...dm-uppers.html

    They have options for different twist and gas lengths. If you choose a regular upper with no fluting they are $675 and include BCG. Come with ALG v3 handguards which are solid

    If you didnt already have a complete lower teh Larue Ultimate Upper kits are a great value at under $800 for everything but the lower receiver
    Definitely WOA. I do not like the look of their complete uppers, but you cannot argue their quality.

  7. #7
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    The White Oak uppers linked above will probably be your best bet. They have a good rep for accurate barrels. I’d skip the BCM if I were looking for tight groups. Before the fan club gets riled up, I’ve owned 3 BCM uppers including one of their stainless “precision” versions and was not impressed.
    I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Thomas Jefferson.

  8. #8
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    Budget .223/5.56 &quot;Precision&quot; Upper?

    Another vote for WOA although I can say my 16 SS410 BCM is just as accurate. YMMV.
    Last edited by Vegas; 11-01-19 at 02:56.

  9. #9
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    Your note on Aero barrels re Ballistic Advantage is partially true, from my look it seems Aero and Ballistic Advantage became sister companies but neither is in direct ownership of the other? They do however use their barrels, as of about 2016 all Aero marked barrels are made by BA. I have one of their uppers with a BA made Aero 16 medium profile barrel and it is great. I also have a BA Hanson barrel and it is better, but you want fully built upper so maybe consider BA uppers as well.


    Andrew - Lancaster, CA
    NRA Life Member, CRPA member, Calguns.net contributor, CGF / SAF / FPC / CCRKBA / GOA / NAGR / NRA-ILA contributor, USCCA member - Support your defenders!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckman View Post
    Definitely WOA. I do not like the look of their complete uppers, but you cannot argue their quality.
    Did you look at the SPR uppers? They use ALG rails which are GTG and look like most others IMO. I am sure they would put on another rail if you sent one or wanted something they have in stock

    The service upper obviously look different so they comply with the competition rules

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