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I've been messing around for a couple of years (off and on) with different setups on some AR's. Different lowers, uppers, barrels, bolts, grips, triggers, sights, stocks, slings, etc.

Everyone has their own opinions, and I would like yours if you don't mind. I don't hang out at ARF but maybe I should, I don't know.

For a "M4gery" type setup, what would you buy if you were assembling an AR from scratch to be a good all around 5.56 16" carbine?

1. Lower, I have different ones, can't really say I like one better than another. The trigger inside it matters most to me.
2. Upper, as long as it sits down well on the lower and has a flat top, I like it. I have had to swap around upper and lower combinations on mine to get good "sets". I've been lucky and I seem to have a good match on all mine so far. I can hold them up to the light and barely see any light between uppers and lowers. There was one upper I bought that just didn't want to sit down all the way though... so I got mad and smacked it with a rubber hammer :oops: and it sits down nicely now.
3. Barrels, I have stainless, chrome lined, carbon, heavy, light, M4, and I think I prefer the M4 the best. My Bushmaster 14.5" with a welded on suppressor shoots as straight as my 16" barrels. Works for me.
4. Bolts, I have Ti on one rifle, the rest are just regular AR15 bolts. They have worked fine so far, but I admit that none of them see a lot of shooting, so I don't know if in the long run it pays to buy an expensive bolt or not.
5. Grips, I like the Hogue... that is all.
6. Trigger, I have tried McCormick, Timney, and RRA Match. I know there are many more but the RRA works well for me so I will stop there.
7. Sights, I have C-More, EOTech, Aimpoint, Hakko, and ACOG. I think the EOTech is probably the most versatile in my eyes. But I sure do like the ACOG better if I need to be accurate at longer distances. I also like having the ARMS 40L BUIS on all my flat tops. They co-witness and don't get in the way.
8. Stocks... I haven't tried any except the Bushmaster and RRA collapsibles. I want to try a really good one with a battery storage compartment. I need advise here bad. For the forearm... I have limited experience here too. I would like to replace my regular round plastic ones with ones with rails so I can mount a vertical grip (with battery hole). Advice please.
9. Slings, I seem to have fell for the Spec-ops Lonestar single point. I think if I had to take the rifle on a hike though, I would put a Mamba on it.

Okay... fire away! 8)

350 Posts
id say stag arms/rock river, cmmg, colt, lmt, lietner wise, armalite, etc, etc.. are fantastic full rifles and sell parts

1. id say stag lowers are your best bet, they are lightweight, good quality.. and of course id go with a 1 stage standard trigger, just more comfortable IMO

2. any a4 upper made by a good company, although RRA seems to be a bit overbuilt and heavier

3. barrel, id say get a colt pencil barrel, lightest barrel on the market, accurate and good quality

4. ive found bushmaster bolts to break often, so i bought extra bolts through rock river

5. grip, rubber hogue is fantastic

6. trigger, again, single stage rra works as well as the match

7. aimpoints have always been my sight of choice, they are simple to sight in, and simple in general, dot= hit on target

8. stocks, i have an LMT sopmod, they are nice, also any magpul emod or mod stocks work nicely, i like the cheek ramp on the sides
larue tactical is nice for stocks and grips too

8.5 you can also put batteries in the cheek pieces of those stocks, which is awesome

9 Railed Forearm... surefire sells a 2 piece that comes on just like handguards and screws together, so you dont have to pop the pins on your front sight/gas block
i would recommend locktighting the screws after you put them on

9.5 foregrip GGG makes a simple foregrip with a battery, TGI(caa) makes a folding one with a compartment (top one)

Larue makes one called the FUG its nice too
10. slings, a 2pt is alot more comfortable and stays out of your way but it depends what youre doing, your sling choices sound good

256 Posts
I went through this process very recently, and put together two new rifles after found the various parts I liked as I added them to a stock Bushmaster... I soon realized that you can go cheap and you really will get what you pay for, BUIS that don't hold zero, VFGs that will literally break off etc. Instead I decided to pay a little more and get quality parts from companies like: Daniel Defense, Larue Tactical, Magpul, Noveske, LMT, Colt

I put my money where my mouth is in this case:

Here is the cheap Bushmaster that I gradually replaced all the cheap parts on with:
Daniel Defense Omega Rail (awesome rail for M4 type rifles)
Lewis Machine & Tool Bolt Carrier Group
Magpul CTR Stock
Tango Down VFG
Ergo Grip
Vicker's Combat Applications Sling

Colt HBAR upper with:
Lewis Machine & Tool Lower with 2 Stage Match Trigger Group
Lewis Machine & Tool Bolt Carrier Group
12.0 Daniel Defense Lite Rail
Tango Down Vertical Fore Grip
Troy Rear & PRI Front BUIS
Magpul M93B stock
Ergo grip
Vicker's Combat Applications Sling

Daniel Defense upper with:
Lewis Machine & Tool Lower with 2 Stage Match Trigger Group
12.0 Daniel Defense Lite Rail
Harris QD Bipod
Larue Tactical SPR 1.5 QD Optic Mount
Troy Front & Rear BUIS
Lewis Machine & Tool SOPMD Stock
Ergo Grip
Vicker's Combat Applications Sling


171 Posts
My favorite parts and accessories for my M4gery and other carbines:

1. Lower - my favorites are Colts and LMT but any good quality with in spec dimensions would be fine, make sure it takes the Magpul PMAGs some lowers won't take 'em.

2. Upper - same brands as my lowers for me but I also have an RRA upper matched to a RRA lower because I wanted to have a very tight fit.

3. Barrels - I prefer Colt and LMT (Rock Creek Barrels) the important feature for me is that they're made out of the more durable Mil-spec steel material and importantly high pressure tested (HPT) with a high pressure round(s) then Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI) to detect microscopic cracks, other good brands that are similar are Noveske, Sabre Defence Industries, etc.

4. Bolts - I prefer Colt M16 bolt carrier groups, because the bolts are Mil-spec material, shot peened, HPT & MPI tested each and every one (not just batch tested like other commercial brands), other good brands that I use are LMT and I've heard that FN contracted are also Mil-spec manufactured and tested each and every one.

The most important to me are the staking of the carrier gas key screws, the brands that I mentioned are properly staked, if you have other brands check them and rework the staking as required.

5. Grips - In my opinion grips are more of a personal choice and what fits ones hands the best, my favorite which I have on my two carbines is the Magpul MIAD because they're adjustable size with different size rear panels which would fit different hand sizes better than a non adjustable grip.

6. Trigger - I'm not too picky with triggers as long as they're smooth and not too heavy, I usually prefer stock two stage Mil-spec type triggers and just smooth them out by firing them a lot.

Geissele just released better replacement stock triggers that are similar to the WWII M1 Garands trigger which are better than the usual battle rifle triggers, I'm going to be trying one of those for sure this year.

7. Sights - I like Aimpoints the most because I'm a very long time user since the early 90s on my 1911 target pistols, I also don't shoot too far with my ARs usually 100 yds rarely 200 & 300 yds.

On mounts so far LaRue Tactical are built like a tank, very high quality, quick detachable, returns to zero every time, I would not use any other brands, I've also got a LaRue mount on my EOTech.

For BUIS I prefer the Troy (and have them on my two carbines), it uses the large aperture when first flipped up, it locks in the up position - a release button have to be pressed to lower it, the windage adjustment are shrouded and can't get accidentally changed, very high quality materials and beefy construction, it fits tight - no movement at all and it's low enough for most 3X magnifiers and magnified optics.

8. Stocks - I would recommend only using Mil-spec size buffer tubes (receiver extension) which has a smaller outer diameter than the commercial type stocks made by Bushmaster, RRA, etc.

It's easier to find Mil-spec size stock bodies for upgrades like LMT SOPMOD, Vltor, Magpul, etc.

I prefer the Magpul CTR stock on my M4gery because it's very solid and no movement when locked in position, it doesn't have storage compartments so it's more designed for lighter weight carbines & SBRs, I've tried Vltor carbine Modstock before and it feels kind of bulky but have storage and better cheekweld for longer precision shots.

9. Slings - Hands down my favorite are the Blue Force Gear Vickers VCAS two point slings series, I've got the standard on my M4 and a new padded model on my heavier carbine.

The Vickers two point sling are very easy to adjust by pulling or pushing a short strap, there are no loose webbing that could tangle on things, the webbing materials have a great quality similar to military slings, try them you'll like them.

Lastly are the reliability modification that I would recommend to all carbine gas system users, BCM bolt extractor extra power chrome silicone spring, black Mil-spec insert buffer and Crane O-ring upgrade kit (sold by Bravo Company USA - www.bravocompanyusa.com) and a H (heavy) buffer, in my opinion they should be required on all M4 type and all carbine system.
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