Best AR-10 Uppers – Complete Buyer’s Guide for 2023

| Last Updated:
October 30, 2023

The upper receiver of the AR-10 houses the bolt carrier group, the ejection, and the firing mechanism. Regarding the history and popularity of the AR platform, there are different types of upper receivers available for the AR-10 rifle.

Today, we’ll be talking about the different types and characteristics of AR-10 uppers, as well as the ideal AR-10 upper.

Since choosing a solid and reliable upper will affect the accuracy and lifespan of your rifle, be sure to check our reviews of the best AR-10 uppers.

Comparison of the Best AR-10 Uppers 

  • Both Top and Side Charging Systems
  • Low Mass Bolt Carrier and Enhanced BCG
  • Good for Overall Use and Different Applications for the AR-10
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  • Complete Package Includes Receiver Handguard and Barrel
  • Free Floated Forend for Better Barrel Harmonics and Accuracy
  • Includes an A2 Flash Hider. Offers Good Value for Money
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What is an Upper Receiver?

An upper receiver is simply the upper half of an AR-10 rifle. The upper receiver typically contains the following parts: the barrel, top rail, sight, charging handle, and bolt carrier group (BCG), to name a few. This will allow for the complete functionality of your rifle (since there are some parts that will render the rifle useless if they are missing). An upper can be fully assembled or stripped (no parts included). depending on what you are looking for.

What Makes a Great AR-10 Upper Receiver?

A great AR-10 upper receiver comes with some clear characteristics. These are:

Design (Flat Top vs Carry Handle)

AR-10 receivers are available in two basic designs: flat top and carry handle. You can also consider the difference between the A1, A2, A3, and the A4.

A carry handle design requires mounts and adapters for adding scopes and other accessories. Additionally, the carry handle cannot be used very often because it houses the rear sight assembly.

On the other hand, the flat top (DPMS version) offers more versatility for adding accessories, and the top-mounted Picatinny rail can easily mount attachments like scopes and lasers.

AR-10 Receiver Style (Forged vs. Billet vs. Cast vs. Polymer)

Forged metal is always considered to be more durable and tough. The same goes for AR-10 uppers. Indeed, a forged upper will be more durable than a billet machined one.

However, billet uppers are aesthetically pleasing and offer more room for decoration. Billet receivers are a bit more expensive, but they also help with improving your accuracy.  

Eventually, forged and billet uppers do not differ much in terms of durability. Furthermore, because of their brittle nature, receivers cast from aluminum must not be used.

Finish (Complete vs. Stripped Upper)

Upper receivers are available in complete finishes, as well as striped finishes. If you like machining and customizing your accessories, you can purchase a stripped AR-10 upper.

On the other hand, a complete upper comes with the ejection port and forward assist button pre-installed. Additionally, a complete upper will save you time and won't come with the issues of FFL as with lower receivers.

Reviews of the Best AR-10 Uppers

Below are the five best AR-10 uppers that are available on the market. As you go through each item, it’s important to note the characteristics and features of each one so you are able to find one that might be the closest you can get to your “ideal match” (if you have one). An upper receiver can be used for the purpose of an upgrade or even a building project. 

Now that we’ve outlined what makes a top pick, let’s dive into the products that made our list for the best AR-10 uppers. For each model, we’ll be covering its main features, then discussing some main pros and cons. Let’s begin by unveiling the best overall upper receiver on our list:

Best Overall:
 Aero Precision - .308 AR M5 Upper Receiver Stripped


  • Good price point
  • DPMS style receiver
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Forged aluminum finish
  • Easy-to-install and tough


  • None available

What Recent Buyers Report 

Most new buyers were quite happy with this upper receiver for a few good reasons. For one, it features a top rail that is included to ensure that customizing the rifle is an easy task. One user said that he was happy with the fact that he was able to build out his rifle from scratch using an upper that allowed him to add on a couple of accessories that he was dying to try out. Overall, users say that the durability was solid and installation was a breeze. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This is a stripped upper receiver, which means there are no parts included. So, it’s entirely up to you to build out the entire upper receiver with the right kind of parts. Best of all, you can use the top rail to your advantage for all your scopes or sights. Either way, it’s an upper receiver that you can use for the purpose of upgrades or even a building project. No matter what, it’s a receiver that will keep all the parts together and provide top-quality functionality each time you use your rifle. 

The Aero Precision stripped upper receiver has been made from 7075 T6 forged aluminum and has an anodized black finish. It is a high profile receiver and is compatible with DPMS pattern components. It is a stripped lower, meaning you have to install its components like the forward assist button and ejection port cover. The upper has been precisely machined and finished, offering a solid product at a good price.

Who Will Use This Most 

This upper receiver will be great for those who use their AR-10 for general purposes. So it would make a lot of sense if you are a hunter who wants to install a new scope or a target shooter that wants to install an upper receiver that doesn’t suck compared to a factory default. If you are looking for an upper that is excellent in quality and easy to put together, this one might be just what the doctor ordered.

Bottom Line

The Aero Precision .308 AR M5 Upper Receiver is great for when you want to build an AR-10 rifle or if you want to switch out an old receiver with a new one. It’s solid, tough, and easy to install for most rifles. Once installed, you’ll have a ton of fun with this (especially with the customization options you have at your disposal). 

The Aero Precision stripped upper receiver is a good piece of forged metal, machined to perfection. The upper is easy to install and turns out to be an inexpensive and effective addition to your AR-10 rifle. It's quite versatile, and you can use it for almost everything, from hunting to target practice or tactical.

 Cross Machine Tool Inc. - 308 AR Stripped Billet Upper & Lower Receiver Set


  • DPMS platform
  • Good purchase value
  • Easy-to-install and tough
  • Upper plus lower receiver set
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects


  • Might require fitting
  • Lacks forward assist

What Recent Buyers Report 

Why get an upper receiver when you can get a lower too? That’s what one user said while reporting that his receiver set delivered much more than he expected in terms of quality and later performance once he upgraded his entire AR-10 receiver. He said that it shot pretty good and every single one of the parts he added to each worked together without any kind of reliability issues to speak of. A lot of new users were also happy with the fact that they got excellent durability and all the parts that were included fit perfectly without any additional alterations. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Simply put, having both a lower and upper receiver will definitely give you a bit of a head start if you are looking to build your AR-10 rifle from the ground up. And since they are both stripped, it makes the building project quite fun. Now, you have to gather all the parts you need and install them at any given time. The upper has a pretty solid rail that you can use to add on scopes while the lower receiver allows for trigger assemblies to fit like a glove along with some of the other smaller parts that make the rifle completely functional.

This upper and lower receiver set has been machined from 7075 T6 aluminum and is compatible with DPMS high profile style handguards. The upper tension screw is built into the lower so tightening the upper to lower, is quick and easy.

The upper plus lower set looks perfect and is worth buying. Cross Machine Tool Co. offers great customer support, so you'll always have your back covered for assistance.

Who Will Use This Most 

If you are someone who is planning on building an AR-10 rifle at any point in time, this kit might just be what you’ll want to use in order to save yourself time and money. Not only that, it will be great to have not one, but two of the much-needed parts of an AR-10 rifle all at your disposal. Just put them together and you are off to a really good start with your building project. 

Bottom Line

The Cross Machine Tool Co. Billeted AR Upper and Lower Receiver Set is killing two birds at the price of one (no pun intended). So if you want both receivers as part of your building project, then you can get quite the headstart with this project. From there, you can build out the entire rifle piece by piece and give it a shot even when you are done. 

The Cross Machine Tool Co., upper and lower receiver set offers precision, thanks to its billet machined design. The upper has a picatinny rail and is compatible with DPMS platform. The set is worth buying and is quite inexpensive. Perfect for hunting and target practice.

Best for the Money:
 DPMS - LR-308 Oracle Upper Receiver Assembly


  • A2 flash hider included
  • Forward assist
  • Complete upper assembly
  • Ejection port door with deflector
  • Free floating handguard with QD studs


  • Doesn’t fit AR style lowers

What Recent Buyers Report 

A lot of new users were satisfied with this upper receiver. Since it was included with a barrel, they were quite excited to give it a try. Once installed, this upper gave them better shooting accuracy and even less recoil compared to factory defaults and all the other parts that made it function. One user said that he was happy with it being an assembled, drop-in design that worked like a charm once it was installed and ready for action. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Now we focus on a fully assembled upper receiver. You already have your handguard, muzzle brake, the barrel, and pretty much everything in between to ensure that your upper receiver (and the rifle itself) is in working order. And it’s made from high-quality materials that are proven to resist and even dissipate heat fairly quickly compared to some other uppers. So if you want to use your rifle for extended periods of time, you can do so without risking damage or poor performance resulting in overheating. 

The DPMS upper receiver assembly comes complete with a bolt/carrier, a charging handle, a free-float handguard, a gas block, and a barrel. The upper receiver is compatible with DPMS gen 1 lower assembly, and is hard coat anodized to military standards, making it resistant to harsh weather conditions.

The free-floating handguard of this ar-10 upper features a swivel stud and QD sling mount. The 16” lightweight barrel has a 1-10” twist rate for bullet stabilization, making it the perfect rifle for hunting and long distance shooting.

Who Will Use This Most 

This upper receiver is great for shooters that want to waste no time assembling an entire upper receiver. All you got to do is drop this in, tighten it up, and give it a few test shots at the range. You’ll never go wrong with an upper receiver like this if you want accuracy, faster heat dissipation, and superior reliability rolled into one nice package. 

Bottom Line

The DPMS LR-308 Oracle Upper Receiver Assembly is perhaps one of the easiest to install uppers on the market for AR-10s, considering that the entire thing is completely assembled and ready to go. You’ll receive a better boost in accuracy, reduced recoil, and even better control over your AR-10. If that’s not impressive enough for you, we’re not sure what is. 

This DPMS upper receiver set is a full-on assembly to replace the upper of your AR-10. The upper set also features a flash hide and forward assist button, making it the perfect rifle for hunting, self-defense, and tactical use. The upper set has an adequate price. 

4. PSA PA10 Complete AR 10 Upper


  • Dimpled 416R stainless steel barrel
  • Three-position adjustable gas block
  • Anti-slip M-Lok handguard
  • Complete with bcg and charging handle


  • May have compatibility issues with Gen 1 and Gen 2 uppers

What Recent Buyers Report 

Recent buyers say that this upper receiver was a great addition to their AR-10 building project. Most buyers seem impressed with the lightweight design and noted that even adding a scope did not increase the weight too much. The adjustable gas block and nitride treated surfaces improve the overall value and many buyers reported the sub-MOA accuracy at 100 yards.  

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The PA10 complete AR-10 upper from Palmetto State Armory is an effective amalgamation of features and value. The barrel length and features are optimal and the three-position click-adjustable gas block is an incredible feature.

The anti-slip design makes it good for all uses (tactical, competition, range) and considering it is a complete package (with bcg and charging handle, it's one helluva deal at its price.

Who Will Use This Most 

The AR-10 complete upper is ideal for competitive shooters and tactical users. The upper itself delivers sub-MOA accuracy right out of the box, and the adjustable gas block helps you fine tune the operation to suit your application. Additionally, given the price point of this upper, it is also an incredible choice for hobbyists. 

Bottom Line

The PSA PA10 AR-10 upper is a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing choice. The receiver is complete and allows for fine tuning for match the expectations of the highest order of users. There's nothing more you can ask for at this price, however, keep an eye out for compatibility with some Gen 1 and Gen 2 lowers. 

5. Stag Arms AR-10 Upper Receiver Assembly

ar10 upper


  • Forged and hard coat anodized
  • Accepts DPMS and other standard components
  • Available in right and left handed variants
  • Deflector and cover on ejection port
  • Flat top with mil-std Picatinny rail


  • Minor fitting issues with non-stag and Armalite lowers

What Recent Buyers Report 

A lot of new buyers pointed out fairly quickly the durability and fit of this stripped ar-10 upper receiver. Almost everybody using this receiver likes the aesthetics and simplicity. However, some buyers pointed out a slight rift on the back upon using this receiver with non-stag uppers. This upper uses the DPMS high profile, so make sure to add the right handguard. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

What makes this ar-10 upper stand out is its simplicity. Forged from high grade aluminum, this upper will maintain its integrity over long-term use. With a Mil-Std picatinny rail, making it easy to attach scopes and accessories, this upper won't fall short to other more 'tacti-cool' options out there.

The receiver is available in left-handed and right-handed variants and comes equipped with a brass deflector and ejection port cover. The hardcoat anodized finish makes it resistant to corrosion and harsh weather conditions.

Who Will Use This Most 

This upper receiver will be ideal for builders. But it won’t be useless for those who want a simple upgrade (or want to make their rifles more durable in quality). All you have to do is put them all together with the much-needed parts and you’ll be in business. Once you upgrade or complete your build, you’ll won’t wait any longer to give it a bunch of test shots at the range. 

Bottom Line

The Stag Arms AR-10 stripped upper receiver is hands down one of the most durable receivers on the market. While good for people who are looking for a budget option and want a more customizable build, this receiver is of impeccable quality. 

The flat top is good to attach accessories, it has a brass deflector on ejection port and is available in left and right handed versions. 

Types of AR-10 Upper Receivers

Based on the design, profile, and construction, there are different types of AR-10 uppers. Let’s take a look at why each model is unique.


With or without forward assist, AR-10 uppers are generally available in two different designs, namely the carry handle and the flattop.

The carry handle is not really used these days because of the limited customizability and its rear sight assembly.

Flattop Upper

Flattops, on the other hand, are more prevalent because of the wide range of accessories available.

Some upper receivers also feature a forward assist button. The forward assist helps you push the round into the chamber if you do not want to make that ‘loading click’ sound of your charging handle.

Profile (Low Profile vs High Profile)

Older versions of the AR-10 receiver are high profile. They feature a 3/16" wide, top portion where the charging handle is installed and .210 tang.

On the other hand, the low profile versions are slicker and more versatile. Also known as the DPMS style receivers, they have a 1/8" wide, top portion where the charging handle is installed with .150" upper tang.

Due to their versatility, users can club low profile receivers with a lot of aftermarket accessories. It’s important to note that high profile uppers are not compatible with low profile lowers and vice-versa.

Construction (Forged, Billet, or Cast)

AR-10 uppers can be manufactured using different techniques including forging, billet machining, or casting. Each of these methods churn out uppers of different qualities and characteristics.

Billet Upper

Forged receivers offer more strength, whereas billet receivers are considered to be more precise.

Manufacturers also use polymer uppers these days due to their lightweight and easy machining capability. However, they are not recommended for heavy calibers like .308 of the AR-10.


An AR-10 upper receiver houses the BCG (bolt carrier group) and is quite crucial for maintaining the accuracy of your rifle. You must consider the profile (high vs low), the construction (forged, billet, cast), the finish (complete vs stripped) and the design (forward assist, and ejection port deflector) before choosing an upper receiver for your AR-10.

A good upper must be easy to install, aesthetically pleasing, able to improve operations, and suitable for your budget. If you’ve been on the hunt for a new AR-10 upper, we hope this review article has been helpful. If you end up choosing a product from this list, be sure to visit us again soon, as we would love to hear about your experience. We love hearing from visitors and look forward to hearing from you. 


Ankit Kumar is an engineer turned writer who specializes in topics related to firearms, gun safety and weapon tech. His passion towards enrolling in the Army drifted his interest towards light and heavy firearms. He’s a qualified competitive air rifle shooter and an avid nature lover. His other areas of expertise include survival, prepping and firearms/ammo storage. When he’s not writing, he’s either learning a new skill, trekking or enjoying a long drive.

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