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Old 03-14-2012, 07:28 PM
84tecate 84tecate is offline
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Default A look of difference's between Daniel Defense and DPMS (Picture Heavy)



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So as of late I have been arguing (like a child at times) about the downfalls of DPMS, so I will compare MY Daniel Defense agianst My Dpms. I would like to make this thread as a look through my eyes of what I see as problem areas, and to hopefully help some one else make a educated decision or raise awarness of problems, benifits and features. These two are my own AR15's. The DPMS being purchased in June of 2009 and the Daniel Defense purchased in November of 2011.

I also read that, brand x is just as good as brand y, or milspec only applys to fun switch guns, or its all about being the lowest bidder. I would like to point out what makes brand x different than brand y, or how milspec features may be useful.

I would also incourage anybody else to praticapate in this thread with pictures of their own AR's to represent the rifles quality.

I will also apologize for some of the pictures, some have too much flash or are some what out of focus. I found it difficult to take some close up so I took as many pictures at different angles as possible.

First off I would like to say, I forgot to snag a shot of the buffers......The Daniel Defense came factory with a H buffer where as my DPMS came with a factory Carbine buffer.




The first difference I noticed was the rifle case. DPMS used a hard textured and molded plastic case with stiff molded in latches.
The Daniel Defense uses a hard light textured plastic with a foam interior and smooth latches.


DPMS sitting in its case.


Daniel Defense sitting in its case.


DPMS Roll Mark


Daniel Defense roll mark. (DD actually laser engraves thier "roll mark." Daniel Defense also machines thier own uppers and lowers in house. This helps with QC and delivery times.


A shot of both, notice the magpul packed gear on the DD vs the standard gear on the DPMS this is one area that adds cost to the DD.


Another angle, Daniel Defense is fitted with a 9" Omega X rail and is a mid length gas system. The DPMS is carbine gas and fitted with standard A2 hand guard and a single heat shield.


A nice feature on the Daniel Defense is the flared mag well, it is done nice and uniform. The Dpms does not offer this feature.



A couple more on the magwell




Here Is the Daniel Defense with the proper F-marked Front sight Base for flat top uppers. It measured in at 1.980 which is right to spec. I couldnt get the camera to focus on the "F" marking on it. It is pinned with taper pins, which is a more secure way to fasten it to the barrel



Here is the DPMS with the standard A2 FSB, this measured at 1.950 which is .010 taller than spec IIRC. DPMS uses straight pins on their FSB, so it may have a better chance of coming loose (I have not experinced this problem)

So why is the F-marking important? It is important because flat top recievers have .040 more material at the rail section of the upper, this was done to add "meat" to the upper and without leaving that extra material it was deemed the upper would be too weak.
So basicaly this changed your sight angle and Colts answer was to use a .040 taller FSB to make up for the difference. Not having a F marked FSB may mess with trying to get Zero'd at longer distances. Busmaster also sells a taller FSP to compensate for this issue.




Here is the DPMS Castle nut, it does not inculde slots in the nut to stake and secure it too the upper. So this makes it possible to back off and unthread, staking also isnt rocket science and dosnt take a lot of time to do right. (I have also not experinced this on my DPMS)






Here is the Daniel Defense castle nut, note the difference between this castle nut and DPMS's castle nut. Daniel Defense uses the correct castle nut and also stakes it (last picture with the bullet tip pointing to it). This will help greatly reduce the chances of the nut unthreading itself and to me shows that the company does things right.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:29 PM
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On to BCG's, this will be very picture heavy so everyone can get the best angle of subpar staking vs proper gas key staking.


Here is the gas ring test, the Daniel Defense passes but only has 540 rounds through it, the DPMS is collapsed by its own weight and is a indication that the gas rings need to be replaced. The DPMS has around 3k rounds through it and this is considered a normal wear item.

Also Daniel Defense uses Carpenter 158 for thier BCG were as DPMS uses 8620. Carpenter 158 is the preffered metal for this application and is stronger than 8620.

Daniel Defense Bolts are all HPT, MPI and shot peened. These tests are not cheap to perform on every bolt and shows the companys commitment for exellence.

DPMS Bolts are batch HPT, MPI and are not shot peened. My issue with this, and im sure it is rare that if the bolt in the batch test fails, what do they do with the lot? Do they discard every bolt, or test until one passes? To me this concerns me just for the ethics of a company.




The Daniel Defense (left) uses a M16 BCG and the DPMS(right) uses the AR15 BCG. The difference is in the tail end of the BCG with the full circle that trips the auto sear (if used) where as the AR15 has this material removed so it wont trip a auto sear.





This is just a top veiw of both BCG's the Daniel Defense is on the left and the DPMS is on the right.



Here is the staking Daniel Defense (left) staking is all uniform and all has material in contact with the grade 8 screws in the gas key, this is proper staking.
The DPMS (right) has only one stake mark in contact with the screw in the gas key, this may allow the gas key to come loose and cause short stroking issues.

This is the DPMS with my bullet tip pointing to the only acceptable stake on the gas key. Again this is not rocket science and dosn't take any extra time to do right. So why cant DPMS consistently properly stake a BCG?





Here is the bolt break down Daniel Defense (left) uses Carpenter 158 for there bolts and also shot peens them. They use a 3 coil spring, black insert, and crane o-ring to assist extracting.
DPMS (right) uses 8620 in there bolts and they do not shot peen them. They also use a 3 coil extractor spring and a blue insert, and no o-ring. A black insert is perferred in this use. This may cause FTE's and accelrated extractor wear.


Here is the best picture I could get of the Daniel Defense M4 feed ramps, they are uniform and parkerized after they are cut. These represent good ramps.




This carbine gas DPMS does not inculde any M4 feed ramps, which is better than having ramps crudely cut in. I also have come to my own conculsion that M4 ramps are nice to have but are not required for a proper running semi auto rifle.


In these pictures im trying to show if the rifle will drop a P-mag (DPMS). In this First picture my finger is indexed on the mag release. In the second picture my finger is shown pressing the mag release. (Notice my textured P-mag, M4carbine has a awesome thread dedicated to stippling plastic parts)

Again note that I am pushing the mag release and the mag remains seated in the rifle, this can be caused by a out of spec mag well. One more try with a differnt mag.


Different mag in the DPMS

Again it will not freely drop a P-mag


Daniel Defense with my finger indexed and not pushing the mag release.

Daniel Defense drops the P-mag free


This is Daniel Defense with a differnt P-mag

Again drops free.

There are a few issues I didnt picture and cover like barrel steel and some others.

Daniel Defense produces their own CHF barrels that is Mil-11595E certified and chrome lined for corriosan resistance. This is a very high quality durable barrel, mabye not the most accurate but it is durable. Daniel Defense also uses 5.56 chambers and I have not seen a post in any forums claiming one to be out of spec.

DPMS uses 4140 button rifled barrels, which is not as durable as the above and some barrels may or may not be chrome lined or have proper 5.56 chambers. (If I knew a easy way to check chambers I would for this post)

Again I know there are things I have forgot to photo document and touch on, if you have any questions or requests let me know and I will try and help to the best of my knowledge. I would also like to add that I am by no means a AR15 expert, but I have done many hours of research on these topics to form a educated opinion, these features and benifits may not be important to you but this also helps dis-prove the "just as good as" comments I read too often.

I have invested around 6 hours of my time to make this post happen and I hope anyone who reads it will benefit from what I have posted. As I stated earlier If you would like post pictures of your own rifle with these types of pictures to help build a knowledge based thread on what may be good or bad.

I hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading.

Mike

P.S. I apologize for my poor spelling, I tried.
Old 03-14-2012, 07:54 PM
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Outstanding post. I would say for a range rifle you would not rely on for life or death the DPMS is fine. The DD is an upper echelon rifle that I would stake my life on. The difference is seen in the most important aspects of each rifle and while you will pay more for a DD, you get more exponentially.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:30 PM
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This post made me bust out my PSA ar and compare. i must say, i feel much more confident in it, thanks!
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:40 PM
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Excellent post! I'll have to look at my Bushmaster again for comparison. I do know that my gas key is not properly staked, which kinda bugs me. Never had a malfunction with mine over the course of 1000 rds, but when I build my next AR it will all be up to spec.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:42 PM
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Nice write up and thanks. Much more articulate than just posting a bunch of google links. You have made your points crystal clear.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:51 PM
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Great pictures, thanks for posting. I have been more than pleased with my Daniel Defense and I would bet my life on it. It has proved to be a reliable and well built rifle. How has the reliablity been on your DPMS? There is no doubt that the Daniel Defense is built better (I have never claimed otherwise) but if the DPMS works 100% there is definately something to be said there.

My only first hand experience with DPMS has been with my LR-308 and I have been very pleased with it. It is however difficult to compare directly to my Daniel Defense as the two weapons are set up entirely different. I think the .308 rifles are probably a good value and mine has been 100% reliable with over 700 rounds and is suprisingly accurate.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:24 PM
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I own a dmps and a DD also......I would gladly choose ether in a combat situation.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:49 PM
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How is the rattle between the uppers and lowers compare? Place a bright light on the far side (hang the rifle horizontally by the top half) and see if your camera picks up a gap difference.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84tecate View Post
So as of late I have been arguing (like a child at times) about the downfalls of DPMS, so I will compare MY Daniel Defense agianst My Dpms. I would like to make this thread as a look through my eyes of what I see as problem areas, and to hopefully help some one else make a educated decision or raise awarness of problems, benifits and features. These two are my own AR15's. The DPMS being purchased in June of 2009 and the Daniel Defense purchased in November of 2011.

I also read that, brand x is just as good as brand y, or milspec only applys to fun switch guns, or its all about being the lowest bidder. I would like to point out what makes brand x different than brand y, or how milspec features may be useful.

I would also incourage anybody else to praticapate in this thread with pictures of their own AR's to represent the rifles quality.

I will also apologize for some of the pictures, some have too much flash or are some what out of focus. I found it difficult to take some close up so I took as many pictures at different angles as possible.

First off I would like to say, I forgot to snag a shot of the buffers......The Daniel Defense came factory with a H buffer where as my DPMS came with a factory Carbine buffer.

OK, so? I really can't tell a difference in my AR's

The first difference I noticed was the rifle case. DPMS used a hard textured and molded plastic case with stiff molded in latches.
The Daniel Defense uses a hard light textured plastic with a foam interior and smooth latches.

DPMS sitting in its case.
Daniel Defense sitting in its case.

And the rifle case effects performance how?


DPMS Roll Mark

Daniel Defense roll mark. (DD actually laser engraves thier "roll mark." Daniel Defense also machines thier own uppers and lowers in house. This helps with QC and delivery times.

Again, this effects rifle performance how? I do believe DPMS makes their receivers as well.


A shot of both, notice the magpul packed gear on the DD vs the standard gear on the DPMS this is one area that adds cost to the DD.

Another angle, Daniel Defense is fitted with a 9" Omega X rail and is a mid length gas system. The DPMS is carbine gas and fitted with standard A2 hand guard and a single heat shield.

Purchase price of DD versus DPMS?


A nice feature on the Daniel Defense is the flared mag well, it is done nice and uniform. The Dpms does not offer this feature.


OK, if it works better for you great. I've tried both and it really doesn't matter to me either way.

Here Is the Daniel Defense with the proper F-marked Front sight Base for flat top uppers. It measured in at 1.980 which is right to spec. I couldnt get the camera to focus on the "F" marking on it. It is pinned with taper pins, which is a more secure way to fasten it to the barrel


Here is the DPMS with the standard A2 FSB, this measured at 1.950 which is .010 taller than spec IIRC. DPMS uses straight pins on their FSB, so it may have a better chance of coming loose (I have not experinced this problem)

So why is the F-marking important? It is important because flat top recievers have .040 more material at the rail section of the upper, this was done to add "meat" to the upper and without leaving that extra material it was deemed the upper would be too weak.
So basicaly this changed your sight angle and Colts answer was to use a .040 taller FSB to make up for the difference. Not having a F marked FSB may mess with trying to get Zero'd at longer distances. Busmaster also sells a taller FSP to compensate for this issue.

I bought an A2 detachable rear sight. Problem solved.

Here is the DPMS Castle nut, it does not inculde slots in the nut to stake and secure it too the upper. So this makes it possible to back off and unthread, staking also isnt rocket science and dosnt take a lot of time to do right. (I have also not experinced this on my DPMS)

Here is the Daniel Defense castle nut, note the difference between this castle nut and DPMS's castle nut. Daniel Defense uses the correct castle nut and also stakes it (last picture with the bullet tip pointing to it). This will help greatly reduce the chances of the nut unthreading itself and to me shows that the company does things right.

If you haven't experienced it, why bring it up? When torqued properly, I seriously doubt it is going to come loose. Not to mention, if something happens to the tube, it is only harder to get off.
My replies in red. I own a couple AR's including a DPMS AP4.

Last edited by lonewarrior; 03-15-2012 at 09:31 AM.. Reason: fix quote
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:21 AM
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Very informative, thanks. While the little things showing the quality of materials/manufacture may not make much difference to a weekend plinker, I think they would make a big difference in longevity if you ever had to rely on your rifle in a long-term SHTF situation.

The only point I would make is about barrel manufacture; most match barrels are button-rifled, as it supposedly gives more accuracy over CHF. Of course, the quality of steel in the blank is crucial, and I'm sure DD uses better materials. And what is done to the barrel afterward is important, chrome-lining or nitriding.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84tecate View Post
On to BCG's, this will be very picture heavy so everyone can get the best angle of subpar staking vs proper gas key staking.

Here is the gas ring test, the Daniel Defense passes but only has 540 rounds through it, the DPMS is collapsed by its own weight and is a indication that the gas rings need to be replaced. The DPMS has around 3k rounds through it and this is considered a normal wear item.

Also Daniel Defense uses Carpenter 158 for thier BCG were as DPMS uses 8620. Carpenter 158 is the preffered metal for this application and is stronger than 8620.

Daniel Defense Bolts are all HPT, MPI and shot peened. These tests are not cheap to perform on every bolt and shows the companys commitment for exellence.

DPMS Bolts are batch HPT, MPI and are not shot peened. My issue with this, and im sure it is rare that if the bolt in the batch test fails, what do they do with the lot? Do they discard every bolt, or test until one passes? To me this concerns me just for the ethics of a company.

How do you know the gas rings are bad? Does it still cycle? 540 rounds vs. 3000 rounds is not a fair comparison. Maybe they do reject the whole lot if it fails. Do you work there? Ask them.

The Daniel Defense (left) uses a M16 BCG and the DPMS(right) uses the AR15 BCG. The difference is in the tail end of the BCG with the full circle that trips the auto sear (if used) where as the AR15 has this material removed so it wont trip a auto sear.


This is just a top veiw of both BCG's the Daniel Defense is on the left and the DPMS is on the right.

Here is the staking Daniel Defense (left) staking is all uniform and all has material in contact with the grade 8 screws in the gas key, this is proper staking.
The DPMS (right) has only one stake mark in contact with the screw in the gas key, this may allow the gas key to come loose and cause short stroking issues.
This is the DPMS with my bullet tip pointing to the only acceptable stake on the gas key. Again this is not rocket science and dosn't take any extra time to do right. So why cant DPMS consistently properly stake a BCG?

Are you aware that Young Mfg, considered one of the finest BCG's, uses no staking at all. Properly torqued gas key screws, loc-tited will not come out.

Here is the bolt break down Daniel Defense (left) uses Carpenter 158 for there bolts and also shot peens them. They use a 3 coil spring, black insert, and crane o-ring to assist extracting.
DPMS (right) uses 8620 in there bolts and they do not shot peen them. They also use a 3 coil extractor spring and a blue insert, and no o-ring. A black insert is perferred in this use. This may cause FTE's and accelrated extractor wear.

Not sure about DPMS bolt material, will email them for clarification.
Here is the best picture I could get of the Daniel Defense M4 feed ramps, they are uniform and parkerized after they are cut. These represent good ramps.

M4 feedramps aren't necessary.

This carbine gas DPMS does not inculde any M4 feed ramps, which is better than having ramps crudely cut in. I also have come to my own conculsion that M4 ramps are nice to have but are not required for a proper running semi auto rifle.

In these pictures im trying to show if the rifle will drop a P-mag (DPMS). In this First picture my finger is indexed on the mag release. In the second picture my finger is shown pressing the mag release. (Notice my textured P-mag, M4carbine has a awesome thread dedicated to stippling plastic parts)

Again note that I am pushing the mag release and the mag remains seated in the rifle, this can be caused by a out of spec mag well. One more try with a differnt mag.


Different mag in the DPMS
Again it will not freely drop a P-mag

Daniel Defense with my finger indexed and not pushing the mag release.
Daniel Defense drops the P-mag free

This is Daniel Defense with a differnt P-mag
Again drops free.

There are a few issues I didnt picture and cover like barrel steel and some others.

Non-issue, ever hear of manufacturing tolerance? My GI mags drop free in my AP4, but since I practice mag retention, makes no difference. I just don't trust plastic mags.

Daniel Defense produces their own CHF barrels that is Mil-11595E certified and chrome lined for corriosan resistance. This is a very high quality durable barrel, mabye not the most accurate but it is durable. Daniel Defense also uses 5.56 chambers and I have not seen a post in any forums claiming one to be out of spec.

DPMS uses 4140 button rifled barrels, which is not as durable as the above and some barrels may or may not be chrome lined or have proper 5.56 chambers. (If I knew a easy way to check chambers I would for this post)

Chrome lined 4150 steel barrels are an option available with DPMS, at not much more cost. I have yet to hear of anyone shooting out a plain 4140 barrel. Have you?

Again I know there are things I have forgot to photo document and touch on, if you have any questions or requests let me know and I will try and help to the best of my knowledge. I would also like to add that I am by no means a AR15 expert, but I have done many hours of research on these topics to form a educated opinion, these features and benifits may not be important to you but this also helps dis-prove the "just as good as" comments I read too often.

I have invested around 6 hours of my time to make this post happen and I hope anyone who reads it will benefit from what I have posted. As I stated earlier If you would like post pictures of your own rifle with these types of pictures to help build a knowledge based thread on what may be good or bad.

I hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading.

Mike

P.S. I apologize for my poor spelling, I tried.
It really doesn't matter what you own, as long as you put in trigger time and know how to fix something if it goes wrong. Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:39 AM
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84tecate,

Are your P-mags the Rev. M version? The pre-M revision had problems dropping free. I've read that even Rev. M mags are tight in certain manuf. magwells.
Old 03-15-2012, 12:11 PM
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Excellent write-up, thanks for doing this. I purchased a DD mk18 SBR last month after doing similar research. I just wish I didn't have to wait another 4-5 months to get it...
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey View Post
How is the rattle between the uppers and lowers compare? Place a bright light on the far side (hang the rifle horizontally by the top half) and see if your camera picks up a gap difference.

Daniel Defense light through the upper and lower reciever crack as requested by Jeff. I will Picture the DPMS on Sunday, it is currently at my BOL.


A look at the light shining through the FCG

A look of light through the mag well

While this shows a gap being present, I wasnt totaly happy with the test so I went and purchased some feeler gages.
For all who dont know a human hair is .003 (3 thousandth's of a inch)


On the left side of the reciever the thickest feeler I could get through one side was .004" which is .001 bigger than a human hair.


Here is the right side, .006" is the largest feeler I could get through one side. Twice that of a human hair. So all in all it is a snug fit. I am also glad jeff brought this up because Daniel Defense has been known to have excess slop between their recivers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCMD View Post
Very informative, thanks. While the little things showing the quality of materials/manufacture may not make much difference to a weekend plinker, I think they would make a big difference in longevity if you ever had to rely on your rifle in a long-term SHTF situation.

The only point I would make is about barrel manufacture; most match barrels are button-rifled, as it supposedly gives more accuracy over CHF. Of course, the quality of steel in the blank is crucial, and I'm sure DD uses better materials. And what is done to the barrel afterward is important, chrome-lining or nitriding.
I agree totaly agree, a CHF barrel would be somthing I would opt for over a button rifle barrel, but I would be happy with a button rifle barrel from a quality manufacture.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewarrior View Post
84tecate,

Are your P-mags the Rev. M version? The pre-M revision had problems dropping free. I've read that even Rev. M mags are tight in certain manuf. magwells.
Look guy, Im not getting in a argument with you over this in this thread. If you want to argue please pm and we will hash it out.

I posted many pictures of the differences (which was the point of this post), things like staking have been done that way for over 40 years now, im sure that if it has worked for over 40 years there is no reason to re-invent the wheel.

I made this post to point the differences out, with pictures to show everyone, things they should look for and double check before buying a rifle.

In a SHTF situtation I will rely on my DD who builds a rifle to a measurable standard. Im happy that you have a well running DPMS and if you would really like to contribute please post pictures of your DPMS with the features it offers.

This is also my last reply to you in this thread, I will argue through PM's if you please....

Mike

PS....All my P-mags are rev M
Old 03-15-2012, 03:10 PM
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I'm not trying to argue, just provide a counter to your viewpoint. Everything I posted is valid.

Did you read about the Young Mfg bolt carrier not even being staked? Staking is not the end all be all.

I did talk with Mark @ DPMS. They do use 8620 steel for their bolts. After doing some research on the web, 158 and 8620 have an equivalent core strength. Only difference is the alloy mix. Both steels are used for gears, crankshafts, clutch parts, etc.. Good enough for me. Some manufacturers are using 9310 and 440SS to make bolts.

Biggest factor that breaks bolts is a carbine length gas system.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewarrior View Post
My replies in red. I own a couple AR's including a DPMS AP4.
A Kia is not a Mercedes just as a DPMS is not DD. Where else did they cut corners that we can't visually inspect? The TDP calls for these as MANDATORY. They cut corners plain and simple.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pntfrk69 View Post
This post made me bust out my PSA ar and compare. i must say, i feel much more confident in it, thanks!
You don't have to worry. PSA has all the milspec goodies (and even better than milspec quality with their CHF FN barrels)...at an amazing price! I have to wonder when they will bump up their prices though. They are up to a 3-4 week wait time for assembled uppers. Which is not as bad as some others (Spikes for instance). Customer service is starting to suffer, but I know they are hiring a bunch of new folks to keep up with demand. They keep a good presence on ar15.com and I've found that's the best place to get your questions answered.

For the time being PSA is a Mercedes with a Kia price. Get em while you still can. You just have to be patient if you want one.

This rifle cost me $767 (minus the aimpoint). It is all PSA parts. The gas key is properly staked, M4 feed ramps, FN machine gun steel, chrome lined bore+chamber+BC, milspec buffer tube, MP/HP tested, etc.

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Old 03-16-2012, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavigatinCollapse View Post
A Kia is not a Mercedes just as a DPMS is not DD. Where else did they cut corners that we can't visually inspect? The TDP calls for these as MANDATORY. They cut corners plain and simple.
How do you know they cut corners? Do you work there? Taken a tour of the plant and witnessed it?

As far as I know, Colt and FN are the only companies that even have the TDP. What is everyone else going by? How did the other companies find out since it is proprietary info?

The military pays about $800 for a new Colt M4. Civilian version is what, $1000

How do you know that Colt commercial rifles undergo the same inspection as the military issue rifles? Maybe Colt uses mil. reject parts in their civie rifles.
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