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What’s the best AR15 stock?

I was perusing a gun forum and stumbled across someone asking this question.

There were all sorts of answers. From people saying the old CAR stock is all you need, to people saying your stock choice depends on your optic choice. Various blanket answers like “LMT SOPMOD” or “Magpul CTR”.

Wasn’t that long ago there was only a handful of option. Now it seems like every company makes their own stocks, grips, hand guards, and the like.

At this point, it is more a matter of person preference than anything else.

Let’s take a quick look at a couple.

CAR stock

This is the classic “CAR” stock. Light and compact, it is my favorite collapsible stock. You could argue that it does everything you need, but it lacks many modern conveniences such as QD sling sockets or a bottom sling mount.

M4 “waffle” stock

The M4 stock, aka a “waffle” stock moves adds a sling mount to the bottom, allowing for more traditional sling usage.

B5 “SOPMOD” stock

Back in the early 80s, if not even earlier, there were various designs for an improved cheekweld stock. This pretty much got finalized with the NSWC SOPMOD stock. This stock is now made by a few companies, and many other companies offer stocks with sloping sides for “improved cheekweld”. On many of these, that gives some storage space. This B5 stock, like the later LMT SOPMODs, have a QD socket in them.

Magpul ACS stock with old style extended buttpad

Some figured that a couple of battery compartments are not enough, so they added even more storage space. Put in a cleaning kit, or extra CLP. Maybe even jam a “fun sized” Snickers bar in there. Just note that some designs, like the VLTOR stocks, can grab beards and pluck hairs.

Magpul CTR with old style extended buttpad

I remember the Magpul CTR was considered a pretty big deal when it came out. It had a second lock that would eliminate all slop and wobble making it lock up like a fixed stock. All the advantages of a fixed stock, in a collapsible stock. I didn’t like it at first until I learned about the extended rubber buttpads. Now I really like it. But all of mine have worn and have plenty of slop like the old CAR and M4 stocks. If a person didn’t need the QD socket, I would suggest getting the MOE stock, which is the same profile minus the QD socket and extra friction lock.

Ruger RPR stock. Adjustable for length, cheek piece height, the butt pad can be adjusted in height and rotation.

For the bench rest or space-gun shooter, there are all manner of stocks that are extremely adjustable. While these designs vary, many of them have so much adjustment they can be custom adjusted to suit a particular shooters individual needs.

But, we shouldn’t forget fixed stocks.

M16A2 stock

There are the old M16, M16A1 stocks. The slightly longer (about 5/8 inch IIRC) A2 stock. Rarer odd ball options like the CS stock. If a person wants a fixed stock, they can find them in several lengths. “Entry” fixed stocks tend to be the shortest, and there are extensions available for those freaks out there that think an A2 stock is too short.

Colt CS stock marking. The CS stock is A1 length, but made of the A2 materials.

You can get fixed stocks like the Magpul PRS or the LMT DMR stock that are adjustable for length, cheek height and are designed to ride a rear bag.

There there are all sorts of other options like the non-stock braces, or stocks designed for non-AR weapon systems. Now that we can shoulder braces, there are some people who prefer these braces over standard stocks. That seems odd to me, but it is an option. There are shorter stocks, side folders, etc that will work with alternative recoil systems.

Some people highly recommend fixed stocks for precision rifles. Sometimes it is for the extra weight to reduce recoil, but often the argument is that wobble in the adjustable stock would adverse effect precision shooting. Personally, I’d rather have a collapsible stock as I prefer different length for different shooting positions and I like being able to reduce the length of the weapon for storage.

I think it really comes down to picking a stock that supports the sling and shooting positions you want to do and allows you to be repeatable in your head position.

And that isn’t even broaching in on the weird options like stocks made for visor use.

InRangeTV: HK416 Mud Test

InRangeTV did a mud rest on the HK416/MR556 and the rifle did not do very well. So this video it making it rounds on the gun forums and making some waves.

I’ve already seen people online say how the test is a fluke, means nothing, is unfair, etc. That a MR556 upper is not meant to be abused and its’ performance can not reflect the uber-reliability of a HK416. That mud doesn’t exist in real life shooting conditions. That if a shooter gets their weapon muddy they are negligent and deserve to die in a gun fight. Etc.

It is kinda interesting that InRangeTV has done this test with several direct impingement AR15s and they fared better. Tests like this often come down to the grit in the mud.

I’ve owned a few piston uppers for the AR15, LWRC and HK, and I don’t get how adding more moving parts, springs, and etc is suppose to make a gun more reliable. People claim pistons guns are cleaner, but you just end up having to scrape the carbon off the piston with a scraper tool. The same amount of crud, just in different locations.

InRangeTV speculates that the gases being blow into the receiver and bolt carrier help blow out contaminants from the standard AR15 action helping increase reliability in these mud test. What detractors of the AR15 often refer to as “shitting where it eats”.

I’m not saying pistons guns are bad. Personally, I decided if I wanted a piston gun, I’d rather buy a gun designed from the ground up for use with a piston. A SCAR, SIG, AK, etc. I own an AK and a Sig MCX. I wouldn’t say no to a SCAR, B&T APC rifle, etc.

Ultimately tests like this one can be very random. Success or failure can come down to if a little piece of grit manages to get into an area where it will prevent function. Some guns, like the AK, tend to fail tests with larger grit because the opening for the safety and bolt handle allow for larger chunks of rocks, grit, and debris to get into places where it can stop the functioning of the gun. The AR has less openings for large grit to get in. But small grit in liquid can settle into places that cause problems.

I remember seeing one of my fellow recruits in boot camp being unable to open the action on his issue M16A2 after we went though a portion of the crucible. In this event, we were having to submerse our selves completely in muddy water to pass though various obstacles. I had my buttpack completely fill with mud and it felt like it weight a ton and I got to overhear the instructors point me out make fun of me because of it. In the case of the other recruit, there was so much silt mud sediment that was carried in the watery mud he crawled though that it filled his receiver extension behind the buffer. After he exited the muddy water, the liquid drained from his rifle, leaving the buffer tube full of dirt. This preventing the action from being able to be opened. He ended up having to field strip his rifle, and use a cleaning rod to break up all the sediment that was in his buffer tube.

Shit happens.

I don’t really mean to defend HK, and I sure plan to reference this video when I tease HK fans. But I have one last rebuttal for them. I saw several people try and defend the HK416 by saying, “but it is used by militaries around the world because it is the best”. Let me remind them that many counties want M4 Carbines and similar, but many of these countries don’t want to be buying weapons from us Ugly Americans. Prior to the HK416/417, most of these groups bought the Canadian C7/C8 firearms so that they could have ARs with out buying American guns. Then they bought HKs. Now, years after HK AR pattern rifles, we see some of these groups buy stuff like the SIG516 or SIG MCX. They can have their cake, with out it being American.

A Boy And His Rifle Part IV : The Modern Boy’s Rifle

In the last installment in this series I talked about the Remington 514 http://looserounds.com/2018/07/20/a-boy-and-his-rifle-part-iii-the-remington-model-514/

A classic vintage .22 bolt action rifle that many boys spend millions of summer days shooting at cans and birds and chipmunks and who knows what. I spent countless hours during the summers of the 1980s with my own Remington 513. Shooting at pests and a number of animate and inanimate objects in the hills. I recently started to think about what would I possibly be using if I was a kid now a days. Let’s forget the reality that there is likely no way in hell anyone would let a 10 year old boy wonder through the woods with a firearm by himself now a days. Even if they trusted the boy or girl and the boy or girl was trustworthy and mature enough, just one call from a “concerned ” neighbor would bring down more misery on the parents than job suffered.

Anyway, let’s pretend we exist in a wonder land where we could let kids act like they did in the 1980s and earlier. What kind of .22 rimfire might the kid of the current era carry?

I’m thinking the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22. Why not a AR type gun or a bolt action? well, it seems right to me that a kid start out with something a bit more simple. Something that has more in common with those Winchester M67s and Remington M113s than an M4 or a Sniper rifle. But since it is “current year” I made a few concessions to the reality that any Gen Z would want some things updated.

First Of course is the magazine. This would have to be a judgement call I think. I think any kid that plays evil vidja games would want 30 rounds though. And perhaps my policy is too laissez-faire for some of you. Don’t care.

Next is an optic. I put on this 10/22 a Leupold VarX-II I bought at a friend’s gun/pawn shop. I added a nice Weaver picatinny style base to mount it on.

This combo would make for a heck of a fun rifle with real ability for budding marksman. The groundhogs in the back 40 would not be safe.

Pest Crow that pulled my little sister’s pigtail

You can see how it shoots above. No big test. I put up this target at 30 yards, laid down prone and shot with just the old elbows in the dirt for support. Ammo was bulk pack federal something or other. Why would a 10 year old even care? I didn’t back then. All I cared about was getting 50 rounds of .22 for &1 .99.

I’m sure everyone would have their own ideas about what a boys rifle should be. even in “current year” REEEEEEEEE!! the old vintage Winchesters and Remingtons and Savages are excellent. But I’m getting to be an old guy now and those guns still appeal to me. As Maya would say I’m a “BOOMER” ( no, just Gen X Ackthually) but I thought imagining a 2019 modern boy’s rifle would be a neat mental excessive.

Larue Tactical Bolt Action Rifle

We like Larue Tactical here. We LOVE Larue products here. Most of us use Larue mounts for our optics. Howard and I will both tell you they can’t really be beat. Howard owns Larue rifles in 556 and 762mm. We like and recommend a lot of what Mark Larue makes. Ahem…

Now Larue is really teasing his new bolt action design more.

So what are we looking at here? A M700 derivative. Yawn. I’m sure it will be made to a very highly quality. And I am equally sure that the price will reflect that. But, its a 2 lug bolt and round M700 receiver. Who is asking for this I wonder? There are already more custom M700 type custom gun makers than you can shake a stick at if you had a stick between every finger on both hands and and one clenched in your teeth. I saw a comment about this on B-ARFCOM earlier that sums it up.

Originally Posted By FedDC:
Larue makes very good gear. I have a pile of it.

The 700 clone market has been saturated by machinists building very good 700 clone actions for 20+ years. Stiller is a good example.

The gun world doesn’t need another 700 clone.

Unless you are bringing some AI features like quick change barrels, calibers, mags, uber weight reduction, keyed pic rail optic mounts, short bolt lift without the weight penalty (3 lug), fixed ejectors, more reliable trigger design…

Fans will buy it…but it’s not changing the game.

Then again, it is designed for “superior lethality out to 1200 yards” ..

7.62 AR Commonality continued

Previous Shawn shared a rant from someone about parts commonality in 308 rifles.

Link here: http://looserounds.com/2019/07/23/7-62mm-ar-rifle-commonality/

Now let me work from memory. This is just my stray memories, not a comprehensive researched list.

For better or worse, the AR15 standard is well known. The data package was leaked, and people can look it up. Still, companies cut corners or make parts that are not right. With .308 ARs, there is no single standard.

Let say you were going to buy mags for a future .308 AR. There are the SR25 pattern mags, which are most popular and available from Magpul, KAC, Larue, Lancer, etc. But those won’t actually work in an original Armalite AR10. Now, the Eagle Arms-Armalite rifle might be using the SR25 pattern mags, or a mag based off the M14 mag. There are also rifles that use FAL mags, but those are kind of rare. Then specialty 308 AR rifles like the HK 417 or MR762 use a proprietary mag.

At least the SR25 pattern mag has pretty much become the standard now. Magpul even makes a 50 round drum in that pattern. The availability of cheap good mags like the Magpul pmags and awesomely high quality mags like the Larue and KAC mags in SR25 pattern makes that the pattern I prefer to use.

There are different receiver patterns. There used to be two major versions referred to as AR10 pattern and DPMS pattern. Those were identified by a round receiver cut on the DPMS and a slanted cut on the AR10.

SR25 lower left (note the angle cut), Colt 901 lower right (note the round cut). The 901 is not DPMS pattern, but has a similar round cut.

You can sometimes force a slant cut upper to work on a round cut lower, but there will be a gap even if it works. Even between lowers of the same style, they don’t always interchange. An Armalite AR10, LMT MWS, Larue OBR/UU/PredatAR/PredatOBR, KAC SR25, etc uppers should interchange, but they sometimes don’t. The push pin/take down pin locations sometimes vary slightly and/or are different diameters.

I’ve heard many stories that go like, “You can put Brand A on a Brand B, or Brand B on a Brand C, but you can’t put a Brand A on a Brand C.” I think the order was Armalite, Larue, KAC, but I may be mistaken. As I said, I am working from memory here.

Now, there are even more styles that do not interchange with the other brands of uppers.

It gets more fun. Lets imagine you buy a upper and a rail and you go to put it together. It might not work. There are different threads on some of the different barrel nuts. Larue used to sell a rail for the .308s. He had offer two barrel nut options as the Eagle Arms/Armalite and the DPMS were not compatible.

It gets worse. There are different receiver heights. Even among the same brand. DPMS changed the height of the rail on their uppers. So an old upper and a new hand guard won’t line up right. A quick online search points out that the old receivers were 2.063 inches tall and the new ones 2.003 inches. That is about a hair less than a 1/16 of an inch for those of you not used to the decimal inch. 1.542 mm in the wrong measurement system.

Some companies started offering their hand guards in both heights. Double check if you are building or customizing a DPMS pattern gun.

There used to be barrel & bolt interchangeability issues as well. It was recommended you get both at the same time from the same source.

The bottom is an AR15 carbine buffer and spring for reference. The other three are .308 AR buffers and springs. The middle two have different buffer weights and spring strengths. But those two are interchangeable.

308 AR rifles that use a collapsible stock tend to use a longer receiver extension (buffer tube) than the AR15. This longer tube is called an “A5” if you are using it on an AR15. (Brilliant move, take something already on the market and renaming it) The springs and buffers reflect this longer length tube. So you can’t just pull off your stock and install something like a Magpul UBR with out having to replace your buffer with something like a Slash Heavy Buffer for the AR15 length receiver extension.

Some of the old school .308 ARs had a really small cut in the carrier for the hammer, so a standard AR15 trigger group would not work with them. Now, any modern 308 pattern AR will most likely work with any modern trigger. But you should be careful that it isn’t a trigger so light and short that you will accidentally fire multiple shots due to recoil.

Really simple so far, right?

The gas tubes are not even the same length. Some use an AR15 length gas tube. Others a longer one. Some use a custom even longer gas system.

Some guns, like the SIG 716 use proprietary parts that you might or might not be able to buy from them. They have already discontinued several versions of that rifle. I wouldn’t want to own one because if a major part broke you might not be able to get a replacement. It was something like $300 for an ‘internal parts kit’ and they were not selling gas system parts. Or something like that. I think SIG makes good products, I don’t think they support them well enough.

A tangent. I was considering buying a SIG MPX, and they already discontinued the model I was looking at. Turns out they had something like 3 generations of MPX guns. All discontinued now that the Copperhead version is out. Sig introduces, sells, and discontinues models of guns before I ever hear about them.

Back to the topic at hand. I’m not saying don’t build a 308 AR. I love em. Just be really careful should you decide to build one your self.

Right now, I think one of the best values for a higher end gun would be the Larue UU kit. About $1200 for EVERYTHING minus a stripped lower. Your choice of calibre and barrel length. You can get it in AR10 or DPMS pattern. Then just slap it together on a Larue stripped lower or any cheap lower of your choice. That said, there are countless options. If you don’t plan on heavily customizing the gun and want to buy a complete gun, there are some great deals on the Colt 901 models. Shop around.