Best AR-10 Lowers – [2020] Comprehensive Overview

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The AR platform is widely used and loved among firearm enthusiasts because of the customizability it offers. By law, the lower receiver of an AR-10 rifle is considered to be the firearm itself. That’s because it houses the fire control group.

The AR-10 is a precision shooting rifle, intended to fire the heavy .308 caliber. Thus, accuracy and precision are of prime importance, which inevitably are widely provided by the lower receiver.

Here we’ll learn about the qualities of a good AR-10 lower receiver, its ideal manufacturing process, and the compatibility between AR-10 and AR-15 lowers. The article will also review the best AR-10 lower receivers on the market to help you make your buying decision.

Comparison of the Best AR-10 Lowers 

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Billet machined from 7075 T6 aluminium with precise cuts
  • Black hard-coat anodized Mil 8625 Type 3 Class 2 finish
  • Bolt catch threaded for screw pin to eliminate roll pin
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  • Stripped billet upper and lower receiver combo set
  • Receiver set uses standard DPMS type .308 lower parts
  • Ultra-flared magwell on lower is wire EDM cut
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How to Choose a Great AR-10 Lower

The AR-10 lower, can either be a simple CNC-machined chunk of metal or a full-fledged, functioning firearm. The complete AR-10 lower houses a few components which include the trigger group, pistol grip, fire selector, magwell, and the buffer tube catch.

Some other points to consider when choosing an AR-10 lower are its compatibility with different uppers and the availability of magazines. Let’s talk about them one by one.

Platform

The very first and most basic factor to consider is the platform of your AR-10 lower. Since unlike the AR-15, AR-10s are not widely used,  there are only a few standardization options for it.

AR-10 has two major platforms, namely the DPMS - LR 308 and the Armalite AR-10. If you are upgrading your lower, check and choose the right platform, so you subsequently don’t have to change other components.

Customization

Another thing to consider is customization. Some people like to use ready-made lowers, while some like to machine them, as buying a complete lower requires an FFL, whereas an 80% lower doesn’t.

However, buying a finished lower ensures precision, saves time, and covers you with a warranty.

Trigger Guard

Furthermore, a good AR-10 lower must have an integrated trigger guard. Although many people like to use a trigger guard of their own choice, an already integrated trigger guard provides for a stronger lower.

Forged vs. Billet Lowers - Which is Ideal?

We need a bit of iron-smith compendium on this one. AR-10 lowers, and likely any other lower receivers for that matter, are manufactured by any of the three production methods. These include billet shaping, forging, and casting.

Casting refers to pouring molten metal into a cast or die to give it a shape. This metal obtained from casting is quite brittle and of bad quality.

Billet shaping requires the use of CNC machines to shape a solid chunk of metal into the desired shape. The metal here is already prepared, so it's just cutting and lathing it.

Finally, the last method is forging, a procedure which has been used for centuries for crafting metal. Forged receivers are considered to be (and are obviously) better than billet ones.

The reason is that, while forging, hot metal is regularly heated and beaten up, which causes its grain to mix, making it firmer and less brittle.

The receivers manufactured using billet method are very clean and aesthetically pleasing. Forged AR-10 lowers, on the other hand, are technically a bit harder and more durable than billet ones.

So if you have a choice, you should go for a forged lower.

However, the takeaway is that none of this matters. It's just a matter of mental satisfaction. That’s because billet receivers have never been reported or seen to underperform compared to forged ones, although there’s still a slight margin.

If you are more into hunting and using your rifle outdoors, subjecting it to tough use, you must opt for a forged receiver.

If you are more inclined toward competitions and precision shooting, billet receivers will be a good choice for you. Additionally, billet receivers are more aesthetically pleasing.

AR-10 vs AR-15 Lower Compatibility

If you are looking to use or swap the lower receiver components among AR-15 and AR-10 rifles, unfortunately, you’re going to be disappointed.

There’s a simple reason behind this. The calibers of the AR-10 and AR-15 don’t match. The AR-15 fires the .223 REM whereas the AR-10 shoots .308, which is a heavier and larger bullet. Hence, the parts of the AR-10 lower are designed to accommodate and fire these rounds.

Most parts of the lower receiver are not interchangeable between AR-10 and AR-15, whereas some of them are.

First, let's talk about the parts that are not interchangeable. The magazine, the magazine catch, the takedown pins, the bolt catch, and the pistol grips are unique to each platform.

AR Diagram (Source)

The magazine of an AR-10 houses .308 cartridges whereas the AR-15 holds .223. The magazine, as well as the magazine well of the AR-10 lower, is hence, bigger for the AR-10 magazines.

The AR-10 was primarily designed for combat, which requires it to have larger parts. Due to its firepower and caliber, the AR-10 is somewhat bigger than an AR-15, which means the takedown pins and bolt catch are also bigger, and it's impossible to swap them.

The pistol grips are also not interchangeable due to the difference in size.

Finally, it leaves us with the trigger springs and the trigger. These are the only parts you can interchange between the AR-10 and the AR-15 rifles.

Quick Take - The Best AR-10 Lowers

Reviews of the Best AR-10 Lowers

Below are the three best AR-10 lowers currently on the market. You should make notes of any characteristics and features of each one. This way, you’ll be able to find out which one matches the description of your ideal AR-10 lower. Find one that is close and you’ll know for sure that it will be a winner. 

Now we’re going to switch gears and take a look at our top picks for the best AR-10 lowers. Let’s see what products made our list and why. Now, we'll start with the first lower on our list:

Pros

  • Durable and tough finish
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Good value for money
  • Works with most other components on the market

Cons

  • Might require fitting

What Recent Buyers Report  

A lot of recent buyers were happy overall. They said this was perfect for building their AR-10 rifles from the ground up. For others who were using this for an upgrade, the fitting was nice and tight. The lower receiver components fit without any issues, according to these new users. One user was smart enough to purchase drop-in accessories for a lower receiver prior to purchasing this. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This lower receiver is made from high-quality materials, like polymer. It also includes a mag well that will be able to securely hold your rifle’s magazines in place. This means you won’t have to worry about any wiggle room being left behind. Not to mention, it will make sure your magazines fit perfectly and can be released quickly when the time comes to switch out an old mag with another. Simply put, this lower receiver is simple in design and will allow you to fit your existing lower parts or replace them with new ones.

This Aero Precision Lower Receiver is billet machined from 7075 T6 aluminum to mil-spec dimensions and has a matte black hardcoat anodized finish.

The bolt catch is threaded for a screw pin, eliminating the need for a bolt pin.

The integrated trigger guard makes the receiver more unified and durable. It features selector markings at 45, 60, and 90 degrees, which work with standard safeties, as well.

The receiver fits DPMS pattern components and is good for competitive shooting and tactical uses.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be excellent for the sake of building your rifle from the ground up. But that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for a simple upgrade. If you want a lower that will be excellent in quality and will be miles ahead of factory defaults, this lower might be a great choice for you.

Bottom Line

The Aero Precision 308 AR M5 Lower might be one of the best in terms of quality. But the fit and finish make it stand out as one of the odds-on favorites for AR-10 owners. Whether it’s for an upgrade or building a rifle from scratch, you’ll definitely put this to good use. 

The Aero Precision Lower Receiver is aesthetically pleasing and lightweight. It accepts the Aero Precision fire selector but also works with standard safeties, which is a plus. Overall, the receiver is good enough for competitions and tactical uses.

Pros

  • Accepts P-mags
  • Solid construction
  • Good value for money
  • Aesthetically pleasing and easy to install

Cons

  • Might require some filing/fitment

What Recent Buyers Report

Many new buyers were looking for something that would be ideal for their AR-10 building project. Sure enough, they killed two birds with one stone with this upper and lower receiver set. One user said while he needed a lower receiver, the upper receiver was exactly what he needed for the purpose of building another AR-10 rifle in the future. Other than that, the durability was solid and allowed for the fitting of lower parts that users currently had on their rifle.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This kit contains two of the biggest must-have parts for an AR-10 rifle. Once you have these, you’ve got a good part of the project done. All you have to do is build your rifle piece by piece. Now, are these receivers good for the purpose of just simply upgrading them? Absolutely. So you don’t have to have a building project planned in order to get this kit. If you need a lower, an upper, or both, this kit might be what you need. You can take one of the unused receivers and keep it handy just in case you need to replace it in the future.

Machined for T6 aluminum, this upper and lower receiver set is perfect for hunting and tactical use.

The receiver set is compatible with the DPMS platform, and the upper receiver is compatible with DPMS high-profile style .308 handguards.

The magwell is EDM-cut to accept P-mags. The bolt catch assembly uses a hex head screw instead of a rolling pin for easier installation. It is a simple set of receivers to install and use.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will definitely be put to good use mostly by rifle builders. But the receivers can be used for simple replacement parts. So either way, this won't be a waste of money. If you need something for an upgrade or just to get a headstart on a rifle building project, this kit is what you’ll want to invest in.

Bottom Line

The Cross Machine Tool Co. Upper and Lower Receiver Kit is probably going to be one of the best things you’ve bought for your AR-10. Even if you end up using one part or both, they are high in quality and will definitely extend the longevity of your rifle. They are easy to install and are made to allow for the fitting of accessories and parts. 

The Cross Machine Tool Co. AR-10 receiver set is of good quality and is easy-to-install.

The customer support is excellent, so you can contact them if you have any issues. The receiver set is tough and great for rugged uses like hunting.

Pros

  • DPMS-compatible
  • Properly machined
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Upper plus lower in one set
  • Durable and compact construction

Cons

  • No forward assist for the upper

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of buyers were pretty happy with this receiver set. The upper receiver includes a rail system that users wasted little to no time using to customize their rifles. One user said the receivers were easy to install and accepted all kinds of inner parts that made the rifle function perfectly. He also added that the top rail was also cooperative when he attached a scope to it.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Once again, we have a set of stripped receivers for both the upper and lower half of an AR-10. So you can build an AR-10 rifle from the ground up, using the best parts possible. Alternatively, it can be great for just simply upgrading. Either way, these receivers are high in quality and will not allow for any rattling around. Whether it’s for constructing a rifle from the ground up or just replacing your factory defaults, this kit will certainly be what you’ll need for either purpose.

This stripped AR-style upper and lower receiver set has been machined from 7075 T6 billet aluminum and features a matte black anodized finish.

The receivers accept DPMS LR-308 pattern components, making it highly suitable for a wide range of aftermarket components. The flattop upper has a Picatinny rail to install accessories quickly.

The lower has an integral trigger guard making it more compact and durable. The lower accepts DPMS-style mags, so ensure that your mags comply, before buying. It is good for all uses.

The set has both upper and lower receivers, so you won't need to buy them separately. Since this is a complete lower, you need to purchase an FFL.

Who Will Use This Most 

Builders will, in all likelihood, use this the most. But if you intend to build your rifle and fully customize it from the start, you’re going to have oodles of fun using this kit. You’ll build your rifle from one part to the next. Once you’re finished, you can add on the scopes or other accessories that will make it look rugged and beastly.

Bottom Line

The Black Rain Ordnance Inc. Upper and Lower Receiver kit is a great start for your AR-10 build or you can use them to get rid of your factory defaults and use these receivers as suitable upgrades. Regardless, they are nice to have around if you’re planning on upgrading your AR-10 little by little in the not so distant future.

The Black Rain Ordnance Receiver Set has both upper and lower receivers, so you don’t have to buy them separately. These are compatible with the DPMS platform, so you can use a lot of aftermarket accessories with your rifle.

The Picatinny rail sure saves you some money. Overall, it is a durable and aesthetically pleasing product.

Benefits of Upgrading Your AR-10 Lower Receiver

Upgrading your AR-10 lower from a factory default will indeed make your rifle stand out more. Not replacing it with a better option will mean missing out. Here are some benefits you’ll get to enjoy:

Better Overall Performance

Your lower will probably have a better overall performance. That’s because you’ll have newer parts that might come along with the lower receiver itself (or you can purchase them separately if you so choose). A new lower with replacement parts will definitely make shooting the rifle a lot more enjoyable. Plus, your rifle will become more reliable than ever.

A Great Start to a Building Project

If you are building an AR-10 from scratch, it’s no secret that a new lower will certainly serve as the centerpiece of your project. You can start from there and add on the parts you need and then work your way up. From there, you’ll be able to decide which components and parts are needed in order to make the rifle function properly.

Better Durability

Let’s face it, a lot of lowers are made from high-quality parts. You should be able to find a lower that can stand out as one of the best in terms of quality. This way, you won’t have to replace them for many years or decades (assuming you take great care of your rifle).

Conclusion

An AR-10 should be durable and tough enough to withstand the heavy .308 caliber it fires. Forged metal is always considered superior to billet metal, although it doesn’t make much of a difference with the AR-10.

The DPMS platform is more versatile and has more aftermarket parts available, compared to the AR platform.

Additionally, the parts of the lower receivers of the AR-10 and AR-15 are not interchangeable, except for the trigger and the trigger spring, due to size and caliber differences.

Buying a complete lower requires an FFL, but you can also buy an 80% lower, and finish it yourself. However, with ready-made lowers, you get quality machining, save time, and are covered by a warranty.

About Ankit

Ankit has been a writer for almost a decade now and has developed a diverse portfolio. His love for writing led him to turn down his lavish and lucrative career as a software engineer, twisting the reins of his life towards being a full-time writing. He only does what he loves. His hobbies include gardening, reading, shooting, and most of all - learning new things in every context (hence why he chose to be a writer). His whimsical nature and love for writing fosters creativity in all of his work

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