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.
Best AR-10 Uppers Comparison Chart
BLACK RAIN ORDNANCE INC. - 308 AR STRIPPED UPPER & LOWER RECEIVER SETS
J P ENTERPRISES - 308 AR PCS-12 SIDE CHARGING UPPER
CROSS MACHINE TOOL CO., INC. - 308 AR STRIPPED BILLET UPPER & LOWER RECEIVER SET
DPMS - LR-308 ORACLE UPPER RECEIVER AS
AERO PRECISION - 308 AR M5 UPPER RECEIVER STRIPPED
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.
Flattops, on the other hand, are more prevalent because of its 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.
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.
What Makes a Great AR-10 Upper Receiver?
A great AR-10 upper receiver comes with some clear characteristics. They are:
Design (Flat Top vs Carry Handle)
AR-10 receivers are available in two basic designs: flat top and the carry handle. You can also consider the difference between the A1, the A2, the 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.
Style (Forged vs Billet vs Cast vs Polymer)
Forged metal is always considered to be more durable and tough. The same goes for the 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.
Quick Take: Best AR-10 Uppers
These are recommendations for the best AR-10 uppers:
Reviews of the Best AR-10 Uppers
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 get started.
This package from Black Rain Ordnance Inc. comprises of an upper and a lower receiver. Since we are reviewing uppers, we will focus upon the qualities of the upper receiver.
This set features a flat top upper receiver billet machined from 7075 T6 aluminum, with a Mil-Std picatinny rail, making it easy to attach scopes and accessories.
To make shooting easy for those who are left-handed, the completed upper features a brass deflector on the ejection port. The hardcoat, anodized finish makes it resistant to corrosion and harsh weather conditions. It uses DPMS low profile handguards.
- Flat top with mil-std Picatinny rail
- Billet machined
- Brass deflector on ejection port
- Upper plus lower receiver set
- Customisable DPMS platform
No forward assist
The upper and lower receiver set is billet machined from aluminum, making it precise and durable.
The flat top is good to attach accessories, and the brass deflector on ejection port helps left-handed shooters. The upper is overall good for hunting and gun competitions.
The JP Enterprises PCS-12 upper is an exquisite package of features an ideal AR-10 must bear. This upper receiver has an ejection port cover and forward assist hardware.
The upper has a low mass bolt carrier, making it easy to charge the handle. The receiver also has top and side charging systems.
The mil-std picatinny DPMS style flat top allows you to mount scopes and other accessories easily too.
- Durable and easy-to-install
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Ejection port cover and forward assist hardware
- Top and side charging
The JP Enterprises AR-10 upper is a sturdy and attractive model. The receiver has a forward assist button with top and side charging handles.
It offers smooth charging and improved cycling of the bolt. Perfect for hunting and three gun competitions
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.
- Upper plus lower receiver set
- Easy-to-install and tough
- DPMS platform
- Good value for money
- Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
- Lacks forward assist
- Might require fitting
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.
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 features a swivel stud and QD sling mount.
The 16” lightweight barrel has a 1-10” twist rate for bullet stabilization, that it the perfect rifle for hunting and long distance shooting.
- Complete upper assembly
- Free floating handguard with QD studs
- A2 flash hider
- Forward assist
- Ejection port door with deflector
Doesn’t fit AR style lowers
The 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. Eventually, it is the one half of your AR-10.
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.
- Forged aluminum finish
- DPMS style receiver
- Good price point
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Easy-to-Install and tough
Needs to be completed
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.
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, improve operations and should fit 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.
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