Would you buy a polymer AR lower receiver?

Discussion in 'Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun' started by Albtraum, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    No matter what caused those broken receivers, they are made of metal, which is supposedly so much stronger than polymer!!
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Actually george, im fairly sure those pics GH posted are of poly lowers.

  3. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 Active Member

    Nov 28, 2010

    Those don't look like a forged lower to me.....
  4. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Yes, I would. Probably should word it "will," because my next lower will be polymer.

    The lower receiver was originally made of aluminum because it takes almost no stress. That role can be done successfully with a variety of plastics. The high stress parts have always been made of steel, and they still are.

    Assuming that all polymers are the same is as silly as assuming that all metals are the same. Brass, iron, zinc, steel, aluminum, titanium, and probably many other metals have been used in firearms over the years. They are all different, but they are all acceptable for their own particular roles (though zinc perhaps should never have been used for anything).

    There was a time when steel was the new material and people weren't sure it would hold up. [​IMG]
  5. lonewolf204

    lonewolf204 Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    I tried one and will not make the same mistake twice!
  6. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Guest

    The only thing the lower does is hold parts.

    trigger group
    Pistol Grip

    Where is the stress in this equation? Nowhere, The lower has little anything to do with accuracy or strength. It is basically a parts box.

    So if I got a good enough deal on one sure I would buy it.

    But, from that add I would be buying that that M1 Carbine in 22lr. Those are SWEET.
  7. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    I'll stick with aluminum.

    I know for sure the Carbon-15 in the last picture isn't alloy. BUT...in Bushy's defense the lower didn't fail on that unit, the upper receiver cracked.
    I've seen one Carbon-15 in 5.56 that failed in the same manner. Not sure what use or prior abuse caused the failure...someone at the local range all of a sudden had a floppy AR in his hands. Seeing that really soured me on the whole carbon-polymer AR thing.
  8. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Stress? The buffer tube attaches to the lower. Not to mention the entire buttstock is hanging off of that little hook on the back of the lower.
    The first pic that gunhugger posted shows perfectly where the weak spot is on a plastic lower (regardless of what synthetic it's made from).
    Was that crack caused by the bolt/carrier pounding back against the buffer? Was it caused by someone tripping on the rifle and putting too much strain on the lower? I don't know...and I don't want my rifle to do that.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  9. jbrescue

    jbrescue New Member

    Mar 8, 2012
    N. Ridgeville, Ohio
    My feeling on the plastic lowers are that they are a cheap way to get an AR that you will be able to replace in the future with a metal lower. Plan on it. If this is all you can afford at the time, go for it. Just plan to replace the lower in the future. The other issue is that some of these poly lowers, most likely this complete one, has all poly parts in it, not just the poly lower.
  10. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I figured that I would never know how one holds up until I tried it myself so I bought one to try out. In a few years, or a few weeks, I will know if it is still holding up, or not.
  11. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    believe me, I put a lot of stress on the lower receiver!

    Alloy is plenty light enough for me and has worked this long, I'm not gonna stray from it.

    The carbon 15 is hilarious to pick up at 3.9 lbs but an Aero precision/Mega arms lower is only $140 and less worry.

    That being said, I know there are plastics out there that are extremely tough and could do the job but I want metal personally.
  12. BulletArc47

    BulletArc47 New Member

    Nov 15, 2012
    While I don't own a AR now; I do plan to build one, and I believe that alloy aluminium is durable while being light.

    As for polymer lowers:I'm not all familiar with them at all considering I just learned of their existence, but I know I would triple check its reputation. Polymer, can either awesome, or the worst (I prefer metal myself), but I know it will last a very long time even if it's in pieces. (Its a form of plastic, so it will not oxidize or biodegrade well)

    I guess I'm saying, make sure it will last with repeated use. Since it's not very expensive (Relatively speaking.) buy it and test it out.
  13. GunHugger

    GunHugger Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    SW PA
    I'm not against "progress" or finding new and better materials.

    But...and there's always a but, I blame the BIC lighter for the way things have become. The BIC lighter mentality.

    Make it cheap and people will buy it even if it won't last. The BIC works but it doesn't last long. The Zippo, change the flint and add some lighter fluid and it will last a very long time. The BIC is cheap and soon goes in the trash.

    I want my guns to outlast me.

    I have read a lot of posts on many forums where it is said these poly receivers are good to go because they have fired 3000 rounds or 300 rounds...whatever the amount so they just know it's just fine.

    That proves nothing to me. When the US military starts issuing poly M16's I'll change my mind. The military (hopefully) would test them hard and would determine if they really are good to go. Until then, they are just plastic toys to me.
  14. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    SW. Florida
    Some folks may want an AR for a range gun to shoot a couple of hundred rounds per year from a bench. Nothing fancy, just some range fun. No rough handling or high stress situations involved. For this circumstance a polymer lower may be a cost effective solution to AR ownership and will probably work just fine. It can always be easily replaced if it breaks.

    For myself, I prefer a more durable working firearm capable of doing the whole thing as the platform (M-16/M4) was intended. The extra $150 to get that level of performance is well worth it to me. :cool:
  15. JTofGPD

    JTofGPD New Member

    Dec 15, 2010
    So far, my lw-15 lower is doing well. As are my buddies- we ordered 24 of them... I plan on replacing it eventually with an aluminum lower and putting a 22lr or 9mm on the lw-15.
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