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Does anyone make a better full ambi AR-15 than LWRC under $2K? And Piston vs DI question... Login/Join 
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Things have gotten a little better in my world and there's actually convenient places to shoot an AR-15 near me, and I want to buy one that's fully ambi with at least a bolt release on both sides of the lower receiver. I've done a little looking online and Gunbroker and I keep seeing LWRC right around that sweet spot in my budget. I'm probably doing a rifle instead of a pistol, but I'm wondering if I'm missing out on any other brands in this price range or maybe a little above. A separate question is could I just save quite a bit of money by putting a Magpul BAD lever on a regular receiver and get 90% of what I'm wanting for a massive cost savings?

Also, I'm wondering in my situation where I'd only shoot the gun 4-6 times a year (2,000-5,000 rounds), would the cleaner running piston AR be worthwhile in the price increase and to someone that doesn't like cleaning, or would that even matter with how "hard" I'm going to run the gun with a BCG that isn't phosphate coated?

I'd love to hear some comments or get some new directions to research.
 
Posts: 2849 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You should also look at the LMT MARS rifle - completely ambidextrous from the factory and also top-quality like LWRC.

Regarding piston vs DI - if you shoot suppressed, or plan to, then piston is the way to go IMHO. Much cleaner and you can shoot much longer without problems.

I have LWRC, the LMT MARS and my favorite (and the ones I shoot the most) are my PWS piston uppers. I have an PWS MK111 (11.5" bbl) and a PWS MK116 (16" bbl). I think if you buy the complete PWS rifles, that some of the controls are ambi. I just bought the uppers and put them on lowers I built.

In terms of accuracy, my DI LMT Mars is very accurate, the PWS guns provide excellent accuracy as well, maybe giving up a little to the LMT and the LWRC is quite acceptable.

If you are not going to shoot suppressed I don't think it makes that much difference, but the PWS system (unlike the LWRC or SIG or HK designs) is a long-stroke piston like an AK, but shrunken down to fit in an AR-sized package. I have shot mine a long time between cleanings and they keep going and going like the energizer bunny!
 
Posts: 473 | Location: Eastern PA | Registered: August 04, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do LMT's exist in real life? I've rarely seen on one GunBroker, but they're usually marked up to $3K and over, which is really out of my budget.

I probably won't be shooting suppressed unless I buy an AR pistol and the ATF demands I register it as an SBR. At that point, in for a penny, in for a pound...

I've also looked at POF-USA (Patriot Ordnance Factory) as they're the other ambi AR brand that I've found in my neck of the woods, and the other thing that worries me is the bolt catch being in the trigger guard. Then again, if I'm pulling the charging handle backwards, I can't fire the gun because it's not in battery. At least it's not like the G36 or Bren 2 where the bolt release is in the trigger guard.
 
Posts: 2849 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You can toss on the Magpul BAD lever, and call it a day. One of the better purchases I've made. A little loctite on it, you're gtg!

Orrrrrrrr....
If you're looking for an excuse to go get a new gun. Wink

I have 2 LMT's (one has the BAD Lever on it), one is the MARS Lower. I really like the MARS! Granted, using the standard controls is so ingrained in me, I don't use the other side as much as I probably should. I've shot LWRC's and like them too! Both are accurate as hell, and take the abuse. I wouldn't hesitate buying either. IF, and that's a big IF, you can find the enhanced bolt & BCG from LMT, grab one! (Hell, grab 2 and I'll buy the 2nd one from you!)


If you're planning on suppressing it, look at piston like i8mtm said. If not, nothing wrong with DI. Pistons get hot up front (toward the muzzle) especially if it's full auto, or you're ripping away rounds.


"Under $2K"... Hmmmm... I don't think you're going to find an LMT or LWRC for less than $2K.


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Posts: 7182 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DanH:
Do LMT's exist in real life? I've rarely seen on one GunBroker, but they're usually marked up to $3K and over, which is really out of my budget.


Rooftop Defense has them. They also have the LMT Defender if you want a piston upper and non-ambi lower that will get you in under 2k
 
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Does it have to be the complete rifle?
https://www.admmfg.com/adm-uic...er-complete-black-sl

Then just put the upper you want on it.
 
Posts: 1065 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I prefer the LWRC and LMT options, as they look more traditional, while other options, like that ADM, look more "trendy".

I bought a MARS lower years ago, and have hardly used it. It's very nice, and I have it set aside, waiting on Larue to make some SUURG kits.

Another option is installing an ambi safety and Norgon-style ambi mag release. I use those pieces, combined with a Badger bolt catch, to maximize the functionality of my lowers. I don't care for a BAD lever (I have tried one in the past). I appreciate ambi controls in the sense that they make manipulations easier in unique circumstances, not because they make every reload or malfunction clearance a touch speedier.

It seems you won't touch a piston LWRC for under your $2,000 threshold. The IC DI, however, is apparently in stock online for between $1,600 and $1,700; that is a great buy, IMO. I prefer the proprietary handguards, aesthetically, and it doesn't bother me functionally, as I typically only use the top rail, with the exception of a flashlight, and LWRC provides a rail segment with the gun.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
 
Posts: 948 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DanH:
Things have gotten a little better in my world and there's actually convenient places to shoot an AR-15 near me, and I want to buy one that's fully ambi with at least a bolt release on both sides of the lower receiver. I've done a little looking online and Gunbroker and I keep seeing LWRC right around that sweet spot in my budget. I'm probably doing a rifle instead of a pistol, but I'm wondering if I'm missing out on any other brands in this price range or maybe a little above. A separate question is could I just save quite a bit of money by putting a Magpul BAD lever on a regular receiver and get 90% of what I'm wanting for a massive cost savings?

Also, I'm wondering in my situation where I'd only shoot the gun 4-6 times a year (2,000-5,000 rounds), would the cleaner running piston AR be worthwhile in the price increase and to someone that doesn't like cleaning, or would that even matter with how "hard" I'm going to run the gun with a BCG that isn't phosphate coated?

I'd love to hear some comments or get some new directions to research.


Seekings Billet lower has a ambi bolt release built into it.




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Remember - Training is not sparring. Sparring is not fighting. Fighting is not combat.
 
Posts: 8455 | Location: Woodstock, GA | Registered: August 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are options for full ambi lowers -- LWRC isn't the only game in town. It's better to assemble the components that fit your needs than to make compromises.

I have an LWRC IC 14.5" piston upper that I won in a rifle match. Pretty excited about it at the moment; over time I've realized it's decent, but not great.
- It's heavier than a 14.5" barrel upper should be, especially for a mid-contour barrel that's fluted.
- Its accuracy is not up to my expectations. Webz posters sometimes drool over LWRC accuracy. The 1/7 twist barrel should do just great with 73-77 grain match bullets, but the results are quite lacklaster. I achieve good accuracy only with 69 grain SMK loads, with FGMM 69 being the best. Still not up to the accuracy of any of my other barrels -- multiple brands, with lengths from 14.5" to 24".
- LWRC won't support replacement parts for my IC. No barrel when I shoot it out. No modern MLok rail to replace the way-too-heavy quad rail. And yes, I've contacted LWRC directly. When accuracy of this upper starts to go south with FGMM 69, I'll just throw it away.
- A nit picky point here, but the firing pin retaining pin doesn't stay in the bolt. Turn the BCG sideways, and the pin falls out. I've "fixed" this by bending pins -- which of course makes them harder to insert after cleaning the upper.
- The barrel is the worst for carbon fouling of anything I've owned. I can run patches down the bore until the cows come home and they continue to show gray/black residue. It's getting worse as I put more rounds down the tube.

Good points for my LWRC upper.
- The BCG does run clean, even with a suppressor. The NiB coating helps. "Cleaning" the BCG is more of a wipe down and re-apply lube than cleaning.
- It has always fired and cycled without issue. But then again, so have my DI uppers.

****
I don't see issues with DI rifles and suppressors. I don't have suppressor logs with me, but I suspect 15k-plus of the 25k-plus rounds I've shot through AR15s were suppressed. Yeah, DI ARs require a little cleaning and lubing. With coated BCGs the cleaning is pretty minimal.

"I'd only shoot the gun 4-6 times a year (2,000-5,000 rounds)"
I find your estimated usage and round count interesting. Are you accustomed to shooting in such a manner? This might imply major training course every few months, with minimal shooting in between. It's also a high annual round count for an AR owner. Most shooters won't put that many rounds through any one AR15 over the course of their life.

I've attended a few courses where we shot 400-600 rounds over a handful of days. I cleaned and lubed my ARs every night. Students who didn't do this were the ones who experienced firing/cycling issues by the end of the courses, regardless of their brands/types of rifles.
 
Posts: 7300 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, this entire thread almost got derailed today (and still might) since I found an MCX Virus Patrol at the LGS. On the downside, it made me wonder if I really need the bolt lock on the right hand side and the gun is noticeably larger and heavier than even the piston ARs I've handled, which makes me wonder how much bigger the MCX Spear/M5 is over the Virtus.

quote:
You can toss on the Magpul BAD lever, and call it a day. One of the better purchases I've made. A little loctite on it, you're gtg!

Orrrrrrrr....
If you're looking for an excuse to go get a new gun. Wink


First rifle if you don't count the lever action Marlin .41 Magnum that I'll probably sell to finance this. I'm very much a quality over quantity guy and I don't mind paying to get thing 90% right.

quote:
"Under $2K"... Hmmmm... I don't think you're going to find an LMT or LWRC for less than $2K.


If I stay with a DI gun, I can find LWRCs under $2K easy. Going piston will jump me to about $2300 where the only LMT I've seen from PGT hits about the same for a DI rifle. Not sure I want to spend that much on a DI gun.

quote:
Does it have to be the complete rifle?
https://www.admmfg.com/adm-uic...er-complete-black-sl

Then just put the upper you want on it.


It's an idea getting the complete lower, but I'm not sure it's cost effective doing a different lower and upper. While I don't mind changing a couple of things, I don't want to build an AR.

quote:
Seekings Billet lower has a ambi bolt release built into it.


They've got a lot of nice looking stuff, but almost everything is backordered. It could be a plus depending on when/if I jump on this.

quote:
The BCG does run clean, even with a suppressor. The NiB coating helps. "Cleaning" the BCG is more of a wipe down and re-apply lube than cleaning.


That's something I won't compromise on. It's the only reason I can tolerate TiN coated gun parts and it's for that exact reason. Otherwise, the Daniel Defense MK18 pistol is the perfect size with maximum sex appeal.

quote:
I find your estimated usage and round count interesting. Are you accustomed to shooting in such a manner? This might imply major training course every few months, with minimal shooting in between. It's also a high annual round count for an AR owner. Most shooters won't put that many rounds through any one AR15 over the course of their life.


Range day is a big day for me. I don't often go, but when I do, every gun I take gets 500 rounds minimum. I also wouldn't mind doing a training class, but finding vacation time to go somewhere or finding any luck on someone stopping by here for a training class on a day off is luck I simply don't have.

quote:
I've attended a few courses where we shot 400-600 rounds over a handful of days. I cleaned and lubed my ARs every night. Students who didn't do this were the ones who experienced firing/cycling issues by the end of the courses, regardless of their brands/types of rifles.


This where cleaning starts to take multiple meanings. I don't mind a Ballistol and wipe down after shooting, but I don't want to take almost the entire gun apart to scrub out the gun after a range session. I don't have any real frame of reference of how dirty a DI gun gets other than "dirtier than most."

Thanks for all the help so far. I guess the next branch is since this is mainly for range fun and suburban home defense, do pistols make a bit more sense for my uses since I'm unlikely to need more than a 100 yard shot? I know AR pistols go under more stress than rifles, but is it something that I'm going to notice on a regular basis?
 
Posts: 2849 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If nothing else, keep in mind one important fact, AR pistols are very loud. In a confined space (your home) they are even louder. Yes, if it is a lethal force/life or death situation, you will experience a degree of auditory exclusion, but it still will be extremely loud.


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Posts: 1242 | Location: The end of the Earth... | Registered: March 02, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I really like my virtuses (virtusi?) so far, though they are heavier than a comparable ar, even a piston one. But not heavier by a ton.

I really like my lmt mars lowers, to be honest though besides an ambi mag release ambi controls are of decreasing value depending on how they are implemented. I sold the ambi safeties from my mars lowers but the other controls work really well for ar ambi guns.
 
Posts: 257 | Registered: November 12, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I guess manufacturers often have both sides of the safety standard length so that the lefties get a proper saftey switch; I say grind down whichever side ends up being outboard for you, the end-user.
 
Posts: 948 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mo4040:
If nothing else, keep in mind one important fact, AR pistols are very loud. In a confined space (your home) they are even louder. Yes, if it is a lethal force/life or death situation, you will experience a degree of auditory exclusion, but it still will be extremely loud.


I've experienced one being fired in an indoor range a few times, and you're not kidding. Even with plugs under muffs, it's almost unbearable.

And I vote for DI, but then I don't use a suppressor.
 
Posts: 8956 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This LWRC rifle is hard to beat. Used to be able to get them for $1200 ish during the good times.

https://www.gunbuyer.com/lwrc-...0-1-icdir5b16ml.html


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Posts: 6401 | Location: Floriduh | Registered: October 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DanH:
Do LMT's exist in real life? I've rarely seen on one GunBroker, but they're usually marked up to $3K and over, which is really out of my budget.


^^^
I think that is a fair concern. I have an LMT and I've about given up trying to find spare parts.


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Posts: 11787 | Registered: October 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by BB61:
I think that is a fair concern. I have an LMT and I've about given up trying to find spare parts.


That's a good point away from this entire subject. While I've been looking into this I've also been researching alternative parts that work with a standard mil-spec receiver. It seems that might be the easier route in case I need a part that a specialty maker might be out of stock on.
 
Posts: 2849 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The spare parts conversation is a confusing one, for me. Chances are pretty good that the dude considering an LWRC or LMT has spare guns already. If we're talking about unique parts on lower receivers being a concern, we should perhaps ask ourselves what breakages we have seen in AR lower receivers of any type. I know the bolt catch can break, buffer tubes can become worn, and recoil springs weaken; the only one of those items affected by this thread is the bolt catch, and I think the LMT uses a regular sort on the inboard side anyway (LWRC too?). I know Fritz could probably lend some insight, as he is the only guy that shoots enough to regularly mention replacing barrels for legitimate reasons; maybe he could tell us of lower receiver parts breakages he's experienced. Theoretically a "better" gun will be harder to break anyway. I reckon I'll take the nicer gun that lacks spare parts, until it becomes somehow unserviceable, and then I'll grab a spare... gun. My thoughts anyway; I've never been one to get hung up on spare parts availability. Parts you'd replace in the field (firing pins, extractors, bolts themselves, etc) are likely common across whatever guns we're talking about. That being said, your gun is out of the fight, if your bolt catch breaks, so it's ready replacement matters not, in that moment. Of the parts mentioned above, that you'd have field replacements for, the extractor is potentially problematic, if we're talking about a LMT E-bolt; that's an example of a part that is supposed to be better, and not susceptible to the same failures of a "mil-spec" bolt; I'd guess that E-bolt users aren't super concerned that they don't have a spare extractor.

Edit: Though LMT MARS inboard bolt catches are seemingly identical to mil-spec, from the outside, the geometry must be different on the inside edges, to enable the other side bolt catch to interact with it.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
 
Posts: 948 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Anyone here have any experience with POF-USA (Patriot Ordnance Factory)? I'm finding some really good prices right now.
 
Posts: 2849 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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WRT gas v piston….I always ask, do you clean your guns?

I do, I shoot an AR suppressed, and it does get dirty, but I was gonna clean it anyway. So for me it didn’t warrant the more expense and more parts to break.



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