In March, 2017 when I started my new job, I also started a budget AR-15 or as my family calls them lay away guns. I decided after my first paycheck to go and get a lower receiver that way I had a platform to work off of. While in my local pawn shop I had two choices for a budget lower, an Anderson Arms full aluminum or an ATI Omni Maxx hybrid. While looking at both someone purchased the Anderson arms and I was left with the ATI. After doing some research and looking at it a bit more I decided that for fifty bucks it was worth a try. My dad has been using full polymer lowers on his two AR-15s for some time and has no issues. I purchased it and came home. After came the fun, looking at everything online, going from distributor to distributor for parts at the best prices.
My parts list is as followed ATI Omni Maxx Hybrid, Delta Team Tactical Buffer Tube, spring and buffer. Lower parts kit from Delta Team Tactical, Magpul MOE Pistol Grip, Blemished Upper from Classic Firearms, Milspec Trigger, Citadel Manufacturing 20 inch 6.5 Grendel Barrel, Anderson adjustable gas block and gas tube. I started with an Aero Precision MLOK hand Guard but switched to a Guntec AirLOK, MLO hand guard and my muzzle device is a Big Timber made by Double star. This total build comes in at six point six pounds almost as light as the Colt M4 that I worked with in the army which weighed six point five pounds.
First, I bought a spare lower parts kit, I had a spare trigger and pistol grip lying around and didn’t need either of those. I purchased that kit from a store and got to work on my lower when it arrived. Next, I purchased a buffer tube kit from Delta Team Tactical for thirty bucks. This was a steal to me because there was almost nothing for buffer kits less than forty that I had found. Next came the upper, my dad bought it for me for my birthday. It was an unmarked blemished upper, it fit perfectly on my lower.
While talking with a bunch of gun enthusiasts on Facebook, I mentioned that I was looking into 6.5 Grendel as a possible caliber. One of the management from Citadel manufacturing contacted me, he had a spare twenty inch 6.5 Grendel barrel lying around because it had been returned for slight damage to the finish. He said he could let it go for ninety dollars. At that point, I sent him the money over Facebook messenger and got the barrel two weeks later due to shipping losing it at one point. I picked up my Aero hand guard, MFT minimalist, Anderson low profile adjustable gas block and rifle length gas tube and Odin Works type two Grendel bolt carrier group and had the barrel installed, at my local shop it is thirty-five dollars for the armorer’s fee. My Rifle was finally finished after I put on my Big Timber muzzle break by Double Star. Coming in at six-hundred and sixty-eight dollars. A budget build that was in my new favorite caliber.
My family lives on a budget, from start to finish this rifle took me five months to complete. I have put it through its paces too. With steel case ammo coming in at twenty-five cents a round, that is all I shoot right now. The lower has held up phenomenally even though I was told that it would shatter and my off-brand parts are still functioning well. The barrel which has now had over four hundred rounds of steel case through it has held up and shows no signs of damage.
After I started reviewing firearms and parts I was sent an Airlok, MLOK Hand Guard from Guntec. After completing this build, I realized I was not satisfied with the way it looks or felt. I have started and finished my second build. A full aluminum lower, name brand upper, drop in trigger, spikes tactical buffer tube and Magpul MOE pistol grip and left-handed lower parts. Already this lower alone is worth half of what my 6.5 Grendel build is. The upper with my bolt carrier group is worth more alone right now than my whole 6.5 Grendel. I am still working within my budget but I am taking more time to research parts and I have even decided to transform my 6.5 from a budget build to a precision rifle. This will be a slow process as the trigger I am looking at alone is worth over two hundred and fifty dollars but it will get there one day. While polymer and milspec triggers are good for the average Joe shooter and I fully support the work that goes into researching methods that will make them as strong and nearly as reliable as aluminum lowers, they are not for me anymore. I have found better quality with aluminum lowers and more customizations are available. I am able to throw my rifle around and not fear that it will break if it lands on the wrong part.
Overall Rating: 13/20
I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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Donovan Mullen is an Army Veteran and served with the military as Military Police. He’s been shooting for 15 years. He’s used military surplus firearms, modern military firearms, bolt actions, revolvers and semi-automatic handguns and rifles. With his experience, he feels that he is moderately good with firearms and their operation. He built both lower receivers he currently owns. With that knowledge and advice from a good friend he started reviewing firearms and parts.