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Building your own guns is a gas. Nothing quite fills the void the corporate world creates like spending a few hours in the shop driving roll pins and torquing things to spec. Building a gun to meet your particular need is rewarding right up until it isn’t. There’s a point where assembly becomes ‘smithing and that’s right where I draw the line. The beauty of military specifications is that darn near any AR parts will fit together as long as they’re built to the standard. But what if you want more than what the .223/5.56 arena has to offer? . . .

In that case, you’d need to step up to a righteous rifle cartridge. And there’s nothing more American or righteous than a .30 caliber bullet nestled in a case headstamped .308 WIN.

If there’s no replacement for displacement, there’s definitely no getting around the fact that 150+ grains of copper and lead is just more (in every way) than the 55 grains offered by the .223 Remington. To hear some of my fellow People of the Gun tell it, .308 WIN is the end-all be-all of full power rifle cartridges. And if you’re looking to send a couple downrange in rapid succession, the same people might be inclined to tell you that there is no finer rifle system to do that than the AR-10.

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Eugene Stoner sure thought so. His first well known foray into rifle design was the AR-10, a svelte, select fire, gas operated rifle capable of utilizing the 7.62×51 cartridge that saw great success with the military in the heady days of the Cold War. While it did well in trials, the M14 won out and became the .30 cal battle rifle of the day. Stoner went on to downsize the design into the M16 and eventually ended up at Knights Armament where he created the SR-25 which was adopted by the US military.

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Where the M16 created a standard for the parts used in the commercial AR-15, the AR-10 never saw that kind of adoption and subsequent standardization. As such, creating the big boy rifle of your dreams is harder than it looks. More than likely, the path of least resistance is to buy a complete rifle from any number of the companies. Should you decide that you don’t like some element of that off-the-shelf gun, though, your options to swap or upgrade that part are somewhat limited. Should you elect to build one from scratch, the process is even harder. Not impossible mind you, but more difficult. Brownells set out to make it easier.

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Given that the two most “customized” parts of any modern sporting rifle are the hand guard and the butt stock, Brownells teamed up with Aero Precision to offer the 18″ OEM 308 Rifle. At a buck under $1000, the OEM Rifle, a M5 if you’re buying from Aero, ships to your FFL as a “functional” firearm in that it can be loaded and fired. It lacks a buttstock and a hand guard, though. Those are up to you as the end user to select and install, and your wallet is the only limiting factor there.

But that’s where I found the first problem with the concept. There was no direction from the Brownells website on what would and wouldn’t fit this rifle. The marketing team at Brownells told me to pick something out and after poking around a bit, I found a Midwest Industries rail that looked like it would work and added that to the list. Also part on the list were magazines as the OEM Rifle ships without them. I already had a buttstock that would fit the mil spec buffer tube. Should you find yourself without one, anything that will fit a mil spec AR-15 buffer will work.

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Rifle in hand, I went to clamp the rail to the barrel nut and realized that the factory nut and Midwest rail were incompatible. The package from Midwest included the proper barrel nut, but I lacked the tooling to swap out a barrel nut on an AR-10 the right way.

With a short deadline, I made due and got the barrel nuts swapped out. Almost immediately I was horrified at the rail/receiver interface. These two just weren’t made for each other. It turns out that there are two different heights for the AR-10. One is the DPMS-style and the other is the Armalite style. Naturally I’d selected the wrong one. For those curious, the Aero guns follow the DPMS specs…I’ll take things I wish I’d known before ordering for $200, Alex.

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New hand guard in place, I set off to the range to get the ole gal sighted in and to see what she was made of. Part of that testing included screwing a silencer to the end. Gas operated guns can be finicky beasts and there’s no better way to muck things up than to add a lot more backpressure and carbon to the system.

Out of the gate, the rifle was unreliable at best. Rarely could I get through a magazine without some sort of failure. There never seemed to be a pattern to it, but I got failures to eject, failures to load, and even a couple of cool double feeds. The absolute best was the one you see above where a spent case managed to turn itself around 180° and really shut things down.

Adding a silencer to the mix only made these problems worse. Consider a can-equipped OEM rifle to be crippled completely. What I found in less than 100 rounds was that the gas system wasn’t playing in harmony with the rest of the action. If ever a gun was in need of an adjustable gas block, this has to be it.

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Still, I soldiered on thinking that perhaps it was one of those guns that just needed to be broken in. I packed it up along with some spare ammo and headed off to a bachelor party that included some shooting. I’d sent an email the week prior to the guys attending with a list of what I was bringing and what food would be required to turn money into loud noises.

One of the guys was VERY interested in owning an AR-10 so he loaded up on a prodigious amount of .308 WIN for the weekend. I was happy to oblige him as reliability testing is one of our most expensive parts of a gun review. His ammo, his money, and results I could use for TTAG…everybody wins.

On the third magazine of the day, the gun locked right up, refusing to be manipulated in any meaningful way. Luckily I carry tools, and I’m not afraid to beat on other people’s guns. As you can see above, the culprit was a bolt catch that had broken cleanly in half, locking the bolt to the rear with no way to release it.

My only theory on how this came to pass is summed up in the video above. Best I can tell, something in the fire control group didn’t play nice and the repeated falling of the trigger weakened the bolt catch to failure. To be clear, I never dry fired this gun with the upper receiver removed, and the failure point of the bolt catch happened well under the 250 round mark.

At that point, I’d run out of patience and any remaining good vibes. I penned a hateful email to the Brownells marketing team, but sat on it for a few days to see if my thoughtful German heritage might override my Irish need to fight. As has happened so often in the past, the Germans won. I explained the issues I’d had with the hand guard, the reliability issues, and the broken catch. Within minutes, I had an apology from the Brownells team, a UPS call tag, and instructions to return everything that I didn’t put on the gun.

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A week later, my FFL called to let me know that a new rifle had arrived. This one had the hand guard already installed and came with a comically large pile of Magpul SR-25 style magazines. With the remaining ammo I had (including quite a bit from a guy at a bachelor party who didn’t get to shoot as much as he’d wanted), I headed back to the range. Firmly ensconced in the bed of my truck with a sturdy Harris bipod and a stack of sandbags, I shot the following groups for score.

XM80 and Eagle Eye

168 and 175 GMM

PMC Bronze

As you’d expect, the 1:10 twist barrel really favors the 175 grain Federal Gold Medal, but what rifle doesn’t? The rest of the field was a mixed bag. I could pretty reliably count on the OEM rifle to turn in sub 2.5 MOA performance, but getting sub 1 MOA groups simply never happened. I’ll place a pretty decent amount of the blame on the gritty and garbage-awful stock trigger.

The pull weight is somewhere in the eight pound range with a vague feel for where it might break after slogging through quite a bit of mush to get there. The upside? It never failed to light one off. The downside? Literally everything else about it. I imagine the mechanical accuracy is there to make this into a consistent sub 1.5 MOA or better performer, but in my hands, I was less than pleased with what it brought to the table.

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Reliability was much improved in the second rifle I received which I’ve chalked up to the canted gas block you see above. My initial suspicion was that the first rifle was wildly overgassed, and seeing the second rifle purr like a kitten — both with and without a silencer — seemed to add some credence to that theory. As you might imagine, the rotation of the gas block allows for some tuning of the gas flow, though this isn’t a recommended procedure. Again, an adjustable gas block is a must if you’re considering this rifle.

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Specifications: Brownells 308 AR OEM Rifle

  • Receiver Material: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Finish: Matte black hard anodized
  • Chamber: .308 WIN/7.62x51mm NATO
  • Twist: 1:10 Twist
  • Profile: Tapered
  • Gas System: Rifle length – includes low profile gas block
  • Muzzle: Threaded – 5/8-24
  • Not included – Magazines, butt stock, hand guard
  • MSRP: $999.00

Rating (out of five stars):

Fit, Finish, and Build Quality * * 
No issues with any of the coatings on the bolt carrier group or the rifle itself. From the barrel nut backwards, everything seemed to be of a high grade. The receivers fit together well and even include a tensioning screw to fine tune any slop. There are no obvious tooling marks and everything seems to be of top notch construction. Forward of the barrel nut, I encountered a visibly canted gas block and a hand guard that didn’t look like it belonged. Buyer beware that your hand guard of choice very well may not fit.

Reliability * * *
The first rifle would get no more than one star as it not only repeatedly jammed, but ended up breaking the bolt catch. The second rifle I tested fared much better thanks partially to that canted gas block that tuned the pressure. I only had one failure in the 100 or so rounds I put through it and that was a very cheap Russian round that had flown through a silencer.

Customize This *
That one star isn’t exactly fair as this gun is quite customizable. Maybe not as much as the AR-15s that we all love so much, but there’s certainly a lot that can be done here. The one star is pointed straight at Brownells for making the process of matching accessories to this gun a chore. In a day and age where I can go to Ford’s website and build my perfect truck, why can’t I start with a good set of bones and build my dream AR-10 on Brownells’ site? Spare me the frustration and usage of the F-word and show me the SKU’s that will be guaranteed to fit. And finally, be clear about the tooling necessary to do the job. I’m not afraid of a little work to build a rifle so show me the tools I need to do the job right. There’s no reason this can’t be a well executed product. At $999 for the rifle and another $500 or so for the various parts you’d need, plus $100 or so for some tools, this STILL represents a great value for a buyer. The sales guy inside me cries at the lost revenue potential for the company and the gun guy inside is busy beating his head against the wall because nothing fits and nobody told him what tools he’d need to do the job. There’s no reason it should be hard to spend money on a website in 2016.

Accuracy * * * 
Decidedly “meh” at ~1.5 MOA with quality ammo, there’s a lot that can be sorted out in the trigger department to improve that. The cheap M4gery stock I installed probably didn’t give me a great cheek weld either. I think the mechanical accuracy is likely there, but it will take the right parts to make it happen. It’s combat effective and not much more out of the box.

Overall * *
This gun has a lot of potential for excellence. I was really excited to get it out in the field for testing and evaluation as I thought it represented a new way to acquire and customize a rifle that wasn’t an AR 15. Brownells is one of my favorite retailers, and one that’s gotten quite a bit of my money over the last few years. I had hoped that this product would wow me, but I can’t shake the bad taste from a missed opportunity. The Aero OEM rifle has good bones, but it doesn’t solve any of the problems it was designed to fix. You still need tools and specialized knowledge that’s not readily available to go out and get a well sorted AR-10 platform gun. Add in the massive reliability and QC issues, and I’m forced to wonder if Brownells or Aero really have their heart in this. If they could solve those issues and create a better buying experience, this could be a real gem. But if the “backorder” status on their webpage is to be believed, maybe they don’t have to. There’s potential here, but as tested, it left me disappointed.

56 Responses to Gun Review: Brownells Aero Precision 308 AR OEM Rifle

  1. At the tail-end of a DPMS build. Finding what works with what was both information, frustrating, and fun in the end.

    Had a blem PA10 stripped lower sitting around for quite a long time, but other projects and a new house got in the way. Finally built out the lower in December and have been slowly adding upper parts to a pile. Just need a hand-guard now. (But luckily, I know what will fit my build!)

  2. Yeah, disappointment is the name of the game here. When I can buy an off the shelf LR-308 for about the same price… Things get a bit wonky…

    My LR-308 is almost ten years old at this point. (Bought for $800 back in the day.) The only factory parts left are the lower and a few pins, but even then I probably have less than $2000 in the rifle not counting optics.

    What I’m amazed by is the fact that they didn’t build a M5E1 based version of this rifle. I have had fantastic results with the M4A1 / M5A1 uppers and hand guards thus far and I am shaking my head as to why they went with an old style upper system on this rifle.

  3. ” I’ll place a pretty decent amount of the blame on the gritty and garbage-awful stock trigger.”

    They really should just sell rifles without triggers and let us all buy what we want, separately. The trigger is possibly the most personal aspect of a gun.

    I would love to see the day when the AR-10 is standarized like the AR-15 so we can buy parts (like handguards) with confidence they’ll fit.

  4. Well done review but disappointing performance from a rifle that should arrive 100% good to go. I have recently really done well with Aero’s products. I am not surprised to hear about the pain though. I’ve built two AR-10 style uppers (one in 308/one in 6.5C). Both required adjustable gas blocks to run reliably suppressed and not. I have a factory R25 in 308 and it runs like a champ. Surely it has been tuned that way by our good friends at DPMS/Remington. Accurate as hell too. My OCD would not allow me to walk around with an exposed canted gas block. Ugly.

    Pickup truck beds are notorious for ruining the accuracy of very accurate guns. You can’t detect the movement but the wind is constantly pushing on the truck with the suspension pushing back in degrees of freedom that no shooter can compensate for. That compromises “accuracy” significantly. On a side note, there is a Youtube video in which Nutnfancy debunks the 1000 yard challenge as being “BS” all the while his “sniper” buddy is shooting from a pickup truck bed in a gusting wind. Duh. Sure he is a great shooter or whatever but the stupid is on full blast.

    • Great point about truck bed shooting. Luckily, we had a very windless day and several other rifles I shot that day shot well under the 1 MOA mark.

      • Tyler, I think you were being very fair in this review, and I think it was great that you acknowledged that the trigger might have played a good part as far as accuracy. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. However, if you swap out the trigger with something a little nicer, and still find accuracy issues, Aero Precision’s barrels (made by Ballistic Advantage) come with a 1 MOA guarantee. If one of their barrels doesn’t shoot at least 1MOA, they’ll replace it.

        I’m disappointed that you had a hard time with one of Aero Precision’s rifles, but I don’t doubt your review. I was planning to build an M5E1 rifle at some point in the future, and I’m glad to hear some of the problems I might face when building it. I knew about the DPMS and Armalite pattern issues, but the problem with the gas block was new to me.

        Anyway, thanks again!

  5. Meh, I’ll stick with my PTR91. It’s comparatively cheap, good aftermarket and is proven accurate and reliable. The AR10 type rifles out there look promising, but I’ll hold off until there is a definite standard.

    • I will be building a .308 AR in the future. I have the lower, but that is it. I’ve been too busy with my PTR-91 GI and Hensoldt 4x scope. I’ve shot fairly consistent 1.5″ groups at 100 yards with ZQI ammunition and the iron sights. With the scope i’ve shot consistent .9 inch groups at 100 yards.

  6. Ok, so what’s the fascination of .308 ARs over 5.56? For an AR10, which to me is for a more special purpose platform, why not choose another caliber like 6.5creed?

    • Ammo availability and platform versatility mostly, the .308 can be bought in bulk and has a wide variety in both factory and home rolled options.

      The .308 is the 5.56 of the battle rifle world, it can do everything well enough, but no particular thing as well as a task dedicated cartridge.

      Going back to my 5.56 comparison, it doesn’t have the legs of a 6.5 Grendel or the raw short range power of a 300AAC, but it’s “good enough”.

    • Love my 5.56 ARs but I’d consider it limited-purpose while I think the .308 round and ARs based on it are definitely more general-purpose, able to effectively shoot further and take down any game in North America.

    • All of my 223, 308 and 300winmag would be long gone if 65CM or 6.5x47Lapua had the availability and parts commonality of them

  7. My AR-10 was my first foray into the world of building my own AR’s. I spent a crazy amount of time researching to make sure all the parts were compatible. Looking back I probably would have done a few things differently, but I still love my rifle. It did have some reliability issues at first, but I just had to realize that she will only run wet. A suppressor necessitated adding an adjustable gas block (I love mine by Syrac Ordinance). Fortunately mine doesn’t suffer from the accuracy issues seen above. Match ammo and my hand loads have no problem delivering sub-moa accuracy.

    • I think the issue isn’t that information isn’t available somewhere more that if Brownells is going to offer something as a “just add handguards and a butt stock” foundation for a personalized build, they should at a minimum provide the relevant info up front so that the end user isn’t left guessing or trying to figure everything out on their own.

      • Agreed, Tex300BLK.

        Just looked at the actual Brownell’s page and I can’t find anywhere that states it is a DPMS high-profile upper.

        I know that Aero’s are, and the Aero sight will tell you that, but it would be helpful to put that information on the Brownell’s site given you need to know if you are using a High or Low profile upper when building DPMS.

        You should be able to get that information on the Brownell’s site without having to back-track to Aero’s site to find out, particularly given you have to add a handguard, which must be sized for the upper. Bad Brownells.

        • In Brownells defense They have an IT department And guys that take pictures of the product to run the ads and these people aren’t necessarily Gun Guys and Gals. And I’ve run into this problem before Ordering parts from Brownells They’ll have a picture With a very limited description of the actual item And the picture won’t match the actual part number And the people taking the pictures and Updating their site Aren’t always really gun guys and gals. There more IT type of personnel that are into technology. If you call Brownells and speak with customer care And let them know that this problems going on they will send that over to the IT department that does their Promotions and ads And most definitely would probably change that so that you would know what you’re getting I think they just take for granted that most people ordering something off their site Know what their purchasing.

  8. Lr-308 here as well. I want a gisselle trigger for it and I have two different dot scopes. Accuracy and reliability have been quite good so far after 400 or so rounds

    • I have the SSA-E in my AR-10 and I love it! I can’t speak highly enough of that trigger. I have G2S triggers in my 5.56 and 300BLK, and they are excellent too. I don’t feel like the are as nice as the SSA-E, but they are quite a bit less expensive too.

  9. It’s unfortunate to hear that this didn’t pan out very well. I had great success with an AR-10 that I built from Ares (now American Weapons Components–sans Dimitri K). That being said: I had plenty of help from friends that knew what they were doing. I agree that Brownells could improve their site by showing (listing) what parts fit on which platform (or annotating the differences if necessary–i.e. Armalite vs DPMS).

  10. Yeah I wasn’t very impressed with the Aero Precision 308 rifle platform for the following reasons. I had ordered On m5e 1 Complete lower And ask them to match an upper receiver To the complete lower receiver So that I would have a nice tight fit between the upper receiver and lower receiver. They sent me A built lower receiver With an upper receiver and when you put it Together the upper rattled like to Steel ball bearings in a coffee can. I complained that the rifle back 3 times 3x they sent me out upper and lower receivers that were so sloppy Completely unacceptable. Finally I got stuck with the rifle because they wouldn’t take it back because I had built the upper receiver With their Barrel their bolt carrier group They’re charging handle cuz it’s the only one that fits arrow is there charging handle Even their muzzle break their Crush Washer there gas block their gas tube I’ve been building these rifles for over 20 years and the rifle components Didn’t fit correctly on the upper receiver including the handguard that is specifically designed to be a semi monolithic handguard It tilted off to one side When installed. Aero Precision when they only made receivers upper and lower receivers For the market before they started building guns And selling them as complete firearms They manufactured much better receivers the tolerances were much tighter Receivers actually fit together And didn’t rattle. And this was way before they came out with that adjustment screw To take up slop in the receivers. They added that so that they could use a sloppy or set of receivers And still get away with it But when you start cranking on that set screw that sets it directly underneath the rear takedown lug It changes the angle of attack for the bolt carrier to push the ammunition into the barrel And can cause speed problems. Not very impressed with Aero Precision whatsoever anymore.

    • +1. Spot on. Those receiver tighten set screws should be avoid. If you’re upper and lower don’t fit well together, try a different upper (or lower). There’s no substitute for doing it right. I keep a few dozen GI barrel nuts on hand so I can obtain the correct timing rather than over or under torquing or I use rails that don’t require a timed barrel nut (this is the BEST way to go).

    • I have toured the Aero Precision facility and have seen how they make the their uppers and lowers by the thousands by untrained monkeys who don’t even speak English (for the tax credits, you know). It’s quantity over quality over there. I’m amazed any of their stuff works at all. I’m not impressed with the M4 E1 uppers due to the barrel nut being aluminum.

      • Thanks for the heads up on that information I was kind of wondering why there seemed to be no communication between the actual machine shop and the people who work behind the desk And deal with the Store owners shop owners and John Q public in general. Yeah that doesn’t sound very good at all I know within the last year to 2 years they have changed their ForagersFrom the marking of a keyhole 21 that looks like An offshore oil rig. All this mess started when they started building their own rifles to sell to the General Public Before when they were just manufacturing uppers and lowers For other companies and then finally themselves the quality was much much better. I have an aero precision rifle that I just put together That Has all Aero Parts in it And it won’t continually shoot Failure to feed after failure to feed after failure to feed I believe it’s a receiver or a barrel problem Where it’s not lining up correctly because the cuts on the receiver or the cuts on the barrel extension don’t match. But yet Dealing with them When you’re ordering stuff Is very easy And they seem to be competent But as soon as you have a problem with a part you have to send it into this guy named Greg And I have sent stuff back I have called for this fellow multiple times left voice messages with this Greg who’s supposed to be the manager in charge of Returns and problems with the product and I don’t think he really exists because I’ve never even gotten a phone call back from this guy What a joke company. And they seem to go through customer wraps Quicker than all get-out.I’m on my third rep For the State of Florida this year alone.

  11. Seems as if they have some pretty serious growing pains getting into this. I’m surprised they don’t have a triggerless option as well, just because I’d think most building one would want a drop in of some kind.

    As said I think a clearer idea of specs (compatibility) would go a long way. If any doubts I’d have called a real live sales person though, or done more research (Brownells has had excellent AR-15 build/buy guides in the past, I don’t know about the “10” platform though.)

    The worse part of this I’d think is the over gassing. Yeah I want to be sure my gun functions with whatever ammo I toss in, but it sounds like everything was causing issues. For the price extra an adjustable gas block would be a natural inclusion to me, at least a barrel with a properly drilled port size.

  12. I had great luck with my Aero in 6.5 CM. I went with Aero’s fore end that mated perfectly with the receiver.
    It’s around 1/2 min in accuracy, so not quite bolt gun accurate, but for hogs and dogs?
    Heck yeah!

  13. Wow, I’d say you were WAY too generous with this review. I’d want all of my money back plus money for the ammo wasted on this POS. Shame on Aero Precision for not even being able to get the gas port size right and bad metallurgy on the bolt catch. I’ve built a few dozen 308 AR’s (both AR10 and SR25/DPMS platforms) and I’ve never had one that didn’t function 100%. Granted, these weren’t “penny pincher” builds (nor were they over the top builds.) With results like this, I’ll make it a point to avoid Aero Precision 308 barrels in the future. Those are HORRIBLE groups. I never had one shoot much above 1 MOA using barrels from a few different vendors.

    • Aero precision Bot partnership in a sister company out of Apopka Florida just a little bit north of Orlando.Ballistic Advantage is the name of the barrel manufacturer that Aero Precision barrels Are made at.I have used 1 300 Blackout Barrel from them And a couple of AR-15 barrels from them And haven’t had any problems with their 556 or 300 Blackout But I will say The barrels are pretty thin as far as Fitness But they seem to shoot Just as good as any other Barrel In 16 inch 5.56 NATO And 300 AAC Blackout period Maybe they’re 3:08 Arne is good I never shot mine I immediately sold it after all the problems I had with it building it.

      • Hey Jim, yeah, I’m familiar with the AP/BA relationship. I’ve used their 5.56 (and 300BLK) barrels and they’ve been ok. Not super accurate but not terrible either. I haven’t used one of their 308 barrels yet and now I’m sure that I won’t be using their 308 barrels. Have the gas port already opened up to run with junk ammo isn’t acceptable to me. If someone is going to shoot junk ammo, they should be responsible to open up the gas port to their needs as that can be done easily (and cheaply). Having to get an adjustable gas block (that works well) is a much more costly option for the people who shoot legit ammo.

  14. Anybody else out there got An oem Aero precision rifle and 5.56 NATO 300 Blackout AR 308 Winchester? What’s it shoot like what kind of. MOA are you shooting at a hundred yards?

  15. .308 sounds good on paper, but just too much bruhaha, as witnessed above.

    I plan on firing my 300 BLK this weekend for the first time, after merely picking up an upper
    last weekend at the local gun show.

    It really isn’t giving up much on ballistics, and is a bushel basket less hassle, especially in using
    the same magazines, and being able to swap to the 5.56mm upper in less than a minute…

    • The 300 Blackout cartridge is 7.62 Buy 35 millimeter that is a hell of a lot less Bang for your buck vs. 308 Winchester Which is 7.62 by 51 millimeter. The 300 Blackout cartridge was designed for close-range and intermediate use only was never intended to shoot past 300 meters And let me tell you at 300 yards you’d be very lucky with hypersonic ammunition To hit your target Let alone drop your target Whether it be four-legged or two-legged period Runs Out ass real quick even faster than the AK-47 7.62 by 39 millimeter.

  16. This is still a decent bargain, but you will need to do a couple of things to get it shooting as good as you hope.

    First off, adjustable gas block is a must as was demonstrated. 308’s are heavily over gassed.

    Second, shooting good groups with a garbage trigger is a terrible experience at best, and groups reflect it.

    Aero makes good components. Their uppers, lowers, bolts and barrels are all pretty good stuff. Only thing I might ding is the barrel, as they wouldnt be my first choice.

    Id rather build from scratch. A few more bucks, but get an M5E1 upper with handguard. Add in a quality trigger, barrel and trigger of choice and youll have a shooter. Too many people expect bolt gun accuracy from an AR10, it just doesnt happen for a $1000.

  17. I built my PA 10 more or less from scratch. I paid roughly the same amount you did but my price included a MI keymod handguard and a ALG ACT. Oh, and my gun has run without a hitch from day 1. I just bought some xm118 online to see what I can do with it.

    • PLUS ONE!!! I built a bunch of PSA 308 ARs and if I were in the market for a reasonably priced AR10 platform I would run -not walk – away from this marketing attempt and directly to the PSA website. I love Brownells too but I had $600 in one PSA build and it shot moa all day long. Added a trigger and a SLR Rifleworks adjustable gas block to another and after tuning it runs like a sewing machine – a lot less gassy running a can. I like the Aero/Brownells idea just poor execution.

  18. I just fisished a AR10 build using a CMMG lower/lower parts kit and an Aero M5E1 upper/handguard. I put an Aero BCG in it, mostly because it was the only one I could find with the forward assist marks in it. I haven’t shoot it yet, but it is very good to know that an adjustable gas block will solve any reliability problems.
    Looking back, I would go with a slick sided upper, or I would forget the forward assist striations on the BCG, I don’t believe they are necessary and I hear the forward assist works on a different part of the BCG anyway on an AR10.
    Also, I would forget about ordering from Aero. They had the BCG in stock when I ordered, it went out of stock, took them three weeks to get the shipment in the mail, and magically they went back in stock the next day. The customer service told me that the shipping department was busy, but I’m thinking what really happened was they oversold their stock, didn’t want to admit it, and told me a line of BS. I can understand overselling your stock, but tell the truth, make up for it in some way, and expidite the shipping when you actually have the parts. That is what good customer service is, it doesn’t insult the intelligence of your customer, and it keeps them happy. Oh well, guess I we’ll buy the several thousands of dollers for parts for AR builds I have planned from other sources.

  19. Seems like if you want a budget AR10 the M&P 10 is still king or if you’re not a fiend for accuracy maybe a FAL clone for $300-400 less.

  20. The very best thing about buying that gun from Brownells Is that they have a lifetime unconditional guarantee If it is truly a piece of crap box it up Call of Brownells and ship that damn thing back and they’ll replace it or refund it. Try getting Aero Precision to stand behind their product like that What a joke You’ll end up sending it back and forth a half a dozen times And ending up with the same POS as you originally did when you first sent it in. No warranty with Aero Precision they could care less.

  21. I’ve got a PSA PA-10 that I’ve had for 6 or 9 months now. I was to believe that some of the parts came from Aero but I do not know that for a fact. At first it had some teething problems, mangled brass, failure to go all the way into battery, etc. After about 200 rnds it runs like a champ. I put a SWFA 20X scope on top and with factory fodder or my handloads (small base sizing die works best) I can ring steel out to 800yds no problem. It came with an 18″ inch SS bbl and I put a Midwest $36 brake on it to tame the recoil. Mine out the box was $1K. I had a Sig 716 and found that none of the parts interchange except for the Pmags. The uppers and lowers are totally dimensionally different. Messing with a gun that doesn’t run especially if you’ve got a lot of money in it, is a PITA. Stress no one needs. I feel your pain. Since mine “broke in” and I was able to ring steel at long distance first time out at the 1000yd range, it’s become one of my favorite toys.

  22. The DPMS 308 comes in 2 flavors one has a high profile upper receiver and the newer one is the low profile upper there is about a 1/3inch difference in height between the two. the Aero Precision M5 comes in the High profile only that Midwest industries hand guard only comes in the new low profile thats why those parts where out of alignment brownells should have been able to tell you that

  23. I bought an AR 308 from Fulton armory in late 2012, and have put over 2000 rounds through it. Never a mechanical issue to be found. I’ve found it nicely customizable with magpul items and some others, including Battle Comp. I get sub MOA consistently, and I am not that gentle with it. It’s been banged up in the field and I’ve been hunting with it no problem. Best all around rifle I’ve ever had. Granted, it cost twice as much to start, and my modifications have raised that even more. I feel it was worth it though. I trust it completely.

  24. Just a little news For you guys out there that might not be aware of this.Aero Precision when they first got started used to make lower and upper receivers For other Companies Such as Palmetto State Armory all of Palmetto State Armory upper and lower receivers Whether they’re 3:08 Or AR-15 are all manufactured by Aero precision All their parts kits Farrell’s anything to do with yours you ordering and building a Palmetto State Armory weapon is all Aero precision. Aero Precision started their career in the Aerospace industry which ended shortly after the space shuttle program Failed. They decided to get into the gun business manufacturing side of it that is because they had such high-end CNC equipment to make Very close tolerances that are needed in the Aerospace industry. They started making Receivers 4 Other companies And when they were doing this their quality control was very good. Then they started selling their own upper and lower receivers Named Aero precision For themselves This in turn Started them down the road to manufacture complete rifles And sell those under their name Aero precision as well. They actually make receivers for a lot of different Companies That one Receivers with their name on them. If I had enough money I could call Aero precision and have them make receivers For my company with my company’s name on it but they would be made by Aero Precision for me. The problem is as they grew And got bigger and more popular the quality control Dropped off the chart Now they just simply don’t give a shit. They’ve made a name for themselves And now they think they can turn out any kind of piece of crap and sell it and because it’s got arrows Insignia on it people will buy it. I remember just recently on ar15.com One of the members was blogging about how his receiver Humbled Deering barrel installation and he had called error took pictures and sent them in just like you’re supposed to and Aero Precision told the customer No way this could have happened during simple barrel installation the receiver cracked Ride along the ejection Port all the way down to the front pivot lug And snapped Like a damn Corn chip. He did everything he was supposed to to get a new receiver Arrow told him to pound sand. He started posting on AR 15.com pictures and how bad he was treated at Aero precisionAero Precision has also just recently attended a gun show in Germany Where they are trying to get a AR-15 upper and lower receivers imported into Germany Just in case Hillary Clinton gets elected And there Money gets cut off here in the United States. So they’re already out looking for a new Business venture Besides the United States because of their fear of losing Money If the AR-15 rifle platform gets banned here in the United States by Hillary Clinton.Since they don’t have a DOD Department of Defense contract Because their lower receivers are semi-automatic only Their shit out of luck If the AR-15 rifle kits banned in the United States they’re up schitt’s creek without a paddle.

  25. That got a little garbled. To finish the Story About the young man whose upper receiver crumbled He bitched about it on ar15.com and the Mysterious Greg Who is supposed to be in charge of returns Replacements or refunds Pops up on ar15.com And after seeing the pictures and the negative publicity arrow is receiving He decided to ship the member of ar15.com the Blogger a brand new receiver no questions asked. Just to shut him up quickly. Sorry this ended up in a two-part story my phone sucks. LOL

  26. Tyler, this is a good review and you are more charitable and patient than most.

    I was looking for another AR type rifle for hogs and I almost bit on the Brownell’s OEM .308 rifle and decided instead to get a DPMS G2 Recon even though I didn’t care for the 16″ barrel. I am glad I went with the Recon because it shoots great and digests everything I’ve fed it. It seems to like all of my favorite .308 hog rounds and my favorite cheap plinkers, the Federal white box FMJ and the Sellier and Beloit FMJ.

    After reading your article, I am even gladder that I avoided the Aero Precision rifle. Try the G2 series from DPMS and you’ll find they are surprisingly light and not much bigger than an AR 15. Also, the accuracy is sub MOA and many AR 15 accessories will fit.

    I simply won’t buy any firearm that needs to be “fixed” before I can put it to work.

  27. Most people building an AR-10 know about the handguard height deal, as well as need for different buffers/springs whether you are using a fixed A2 style stock or collapsible AR-15 style. One thing I didn’t see covered is the bolt carrier group. There’s a lot more data out there about incompatibility between various BCGs and barrels. Unlike the AR-15 you have to headspace the 10 to absolutely ensure you’re not rupturing cases or experiencing FTLs or FTFs. And yes, count me in for need to run an adj gas block. Nice review, you were very patient and fair.

  28. I did a AR15 build with all hardware from Aero Precision, stock/grip/handguard/mags/BUIS from Magpul and barrel in .223 Wylde from Green Mountain. It all fits together very nicely and I’ve been impressed with AP for their parts, customer service and pricing. I would consider doing it all again in AR10 from AP. It sucks you had a bad experience.

  29. AP has terrible customer service. I talked to them on the phone with the issues I’m having with my 308, and they told me to go to website and submit a ticket. What! I have you on the phone and you cant handle the situation. Its been over a week and have heard nothing from them still. I hate that I have spent money on AP products and dont get to enjoy shooting and have been dealing with this for over a month. DONT BUY AP products and DONT rely on customer service.

    • Yes I agree with you a hundred and 10% Aero Precision has no customer service whatsoever And no warranty on anything Unless it’s so horribly Out of spec that they can’t lie your way out of it I used to be a big big fan of Aero precision And I have quite a few rifles that I have built using their lower and upper receivers but they’re 308 stuff is complete garbage

    • I’m not surprised, they are a victim of their own success. They have been growing faster than what they can keep up with and on top of that were bought out by the same capital management company that purchased stag arms. (The founder of AP is on the board). A shame really. I liked them a few years ago but now its Marlin quality after Remington took over. What happens when a company of non shooters makes and builds guns? It’s like asking your dentist to conduct mechanical work on your car.

  30. I built my own Aero Precision M5E1 18″ 308 using Aero parts. Zero malfunctions in 1000 rounds. Not one. Aero uses Ballistic Advantage barrels which are guaranteed 1 moa and they are accurate. Bottom line: This article is not representative in any way of Aero Precision’s quality products (can’t speak to their customer service as I’ve never had a problem). I love my AP M5E1 and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    The odd thing about this article is the author choosing to review a DPMS/AR10 style rifle and he didn’t know about the handguard size issue. Kinda detracts from his credibility in my opinion.

    • All I know is we have stopped purchasing from Aero Precision for the following reasons. One their customer service is a joke. I have had about four problems with receivers in the last couple of years and all of them have been Aero precision. Ballistic advantage is a separate company in the guys over at ballistic Advantage are pretty darn cool guys. I grew up about a half-mile from their shop where they actually make the barrels. Aero Precision on the other hand is a different story. There in five one 308 receiver that they designed and they also do Palmetto State Armory as well. That completely line of receivers and Firearms there 308 absolutely garbage. Somewhere along the line they couldn’t keep their tolerances in the receivers which led to rattletraps the upper and lowers not fitting together tightly and this on a 308 rifle that’s supposed to be for accuracy in longer ranges yeah right. And if you’ve ever been to their actual assembly line at Arrow in Washington state it looks like a South of the Border car wash they have one person out of about 30 employees that speak English. I have had multiple sales reps over the last four years and it continually changes I always get an update email when I get a new Southeastern sales rep. You can tell when dealing with the sales representatives that they’re fighting an uphill battle when you have any type of complaint or problem with their material it’s like trying to give back a bad horse with bad teeth they don’t want it after they’ve sold it to you. I had a problem with an older receiver on a customer’s gun so I stripped it send it back they went ahead and sent me a brand new one and they sent me the new one and they went ahead and gave me store credit on the return of the old one instead of swapping them out. Arrow used to be a good company before they started making their own guns they’ve made receivers for years as soon as they started making their own guns they started finding out that some of their receivers were out of spec those are the ones they sell the public the ones that don’t make the cut for their own rifle. I know a couple other companies that do the same thing and they’re just a shity. Good luck with your Aero Precision there bro.

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