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Bottom Of The Barrel: A Look At The Moores Machine Co. AR-15

[Feb 2014 Update! Moore’s Machine Company has changed their corporate identity and is now trying to sell crappy rifles under the name “Bear Creek Arsenal”. Read all about it! I’d like to take full responsiblity for this, but honestly, I’m only one guy. Buyer beware!]

My cousin recently succumbed to the 2013 Fever and bought an AR-15, against my advice, at the peak of the frenzy. Thinking that “An AR is an AR”, he brought home a Moores Machine Company AR-15 from the Sillman Cartridge company, fully dressed in UTG and Chinese accessories. This rifle cost him about $1300 out the door, but good news is the retailer was willing to take the rifle back, unfired, and sell him the S&W M&P-15 I told him to buy in the first place.

I did get him to bring it to the club so I could take some pictures and have a look at it. What I found was a substandard piece of crap that was totally unsuitable for even casual use. The machining on critical parts was haphazard and rough, with numerous obvious faults.

Anyway, let’s have a look:

As it came out of the box.

As it came out of the box.

You can't see it here but the castle nut was unstaked.

You can’t see it here but the castle nut was unstaked.

The rifle was a 16" M4 type with a flat top upper, government contour barrel and a Tapco telestock.  It had a UTG foregrip, bipod, laser and flashlight hanging off a UTG quad rail, and an NC Star 2-7x scope for optics.  No BUIS was supplied.

The rifle was a 16″ M4 type with a flat top upper, government contour barrel and a Tapco telestock. It had a UTG foregrip, bipod, laser and flashlight hanging off a UTG quad rail, and an NC Star 2-7x scope for optics. No BUIS was supplied.

MMC:  The warning label.

MMC: The warning label.

At MMC, quality is job meh.

Anodizing already chipping off the lower receiver.

1:9 unlined barrel.  Supposedly a 5.56 NATO chamber.

1:9 unlined barrel. Supposedly a 5.56 NATO chamber.

Bolt carrier had a strangely rough surface like a low grade of sandpaper.  Surely it's not a casting?

Bolt carrier had a strangely rough surface like a low grade of sandpaper. Surely it’s not a casting?

Gas key screws incorrectly staked.  It looks like someone gave it a whack with a cold chisel.

Gas key screws incorrectly staked. It looks like someone gave it a whack with a cold chisel.

M16 style bolt carrier, but the bearing surfaces were rough and unpolished.

M16 style bolt carrier, but the bearing surfaces were rough and unpolished.

Upper forging appeared fine other than rough, unfinished M4 feedramp cuts (which I couldn't get my stupid camera to focus on, so here's the forge code instead).

Upper forging appeared fine other than rough, unfinished M4 feedramp cuts (which I couldn’t get my stupid camera to focus on, so here’s the forge code instead).

Any excuse to show off my favorite AR.

Any excuse to show off my favorite AR.

My nontechnical recommendation: Do not buy at any price. I would be surprised if this rifle functioned for an entire magazine, and a quick google search seems to back this up. As I mentioned we didn’t shoot the rifle, but even dry manipulations like pulling the charging handle and moving the safety lever were rough and gritty, like moving two sanding blocks against each other. This despite the bolt group literally dripping in a smelly, goopy lubricant.

Folks, AR is not an AR, unless it’s a Colt, S&W M&P, Noveske, Daniel Defense, BCM, or LMT. Other brands like Spike’s, Bushmaster, Armalite, DPMS, RRA, Palmetto State Armory and CMMG can be made to work, or will work fine for short periods, but why bother when they cost about the same as a real AR? Then we have the bottom of the barrel, like MMC, Olympic Arms, Model 1, M&A and pretty much everyone else, which are totally unusable out of the box and even worse, unsuitable for a base to build upon. Sometimes buying a lower quality model as a base for future modifications can make some sense, but the heart of an AR is the barrel, gas system, bolt and carrier. Why on earth would you skimp there?

Buy quality and cry once. Buy crap and it’ll haunt you until you give up and sell it. And if you haven’t heard of the AR company, there’s probably a reason for that.

{ 22 } Comments

  1. Justin | March 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I’d include Stag Arms on your list of real AR’s. I’ve had mine for 4 or 5 years now, and I have never had a malfunction. The thing runs like a champ.

  2. jon spencer | March 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    And if you want a really accurate one, try a Compass Lake.
    Here is there site, http://www.compasslake.com
    The quality reflects the price, be prepared.
    Expect to wait too.

  3. Tam | March 21, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen less Chinese shit in a Hong Kong outhouse.

  4. Saint Pauly | April 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    You guys couldn’t find your own dick with both hands in the dark could you..??

    Lemme guess, uhh.. you paid north of $2K for your “high end” my shit doesn’t stink AR, with all the crap hanging off it that just gets in your way, but it doesn’t shoot any better than your cousins $800 “piece of crap” MMC right..??

    That pretty well sums it up doesn’t it…??

    Reality is harsh I know, but you “my AR is best and yours is crap” guys need a good dose of it once in a while.

  5. Spencer | April 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    What do you think of the Sig line of AR?

  6. pdb | April 22, 2013 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    You guys couldn’t find your own dick with both hands in the dark could you..??

    Lemme guess, uhh.. you paid north of $2K for your “high end” my shit doesn’t stink AR, with all the crap hanging off it that just gets in your way, but it doesn’t shoot any better than your cousins $800 “piece of crap” MMC right..??

    Your reading comprehension is as lousy as your critical thinking skills. The MMC was returned unfired to the dealer where it was exchanged for the S&W M&P15 that I told him to buy in the first place.

    Also, I paid $1354 for my AR as pictured, including the Aimpoint M3, not including PMags. A Colt 6920 is $1100 off the shelf. An M&P15 is a little less. Buying a quality AR doesn’t require more money, it only requires some knowledge and research.

  7. pdb | April 22, 2013 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    What do you think of the Sig line of AR?

    I haven’t had any personal experience with their line, but while they do have some unique features, I don’t feel they justify the price increase over a 6920 or M&P15, and SIG’s QC lately has been a sad joke. I wouldn’t buy a new SIG anything on a dare these days.

  8. Cleetus | April 28, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I am curious as to what your opinion of Winhad Weaponry might be.

  9. pdb | April 29, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I am curious as to what your opinion of Winhad Weaponry might be.

    I believe you mean Windham Weaponry. Again, no personal experience with the brand, but consensus among those who would know would slot it with Armalite, Bushmaster, CMMG, RRA and the other mid-grade brands. I wouldn’t willingly choose one, but these days if you can’t find a Colt, S&W or BCM, I guess you have to do what you have to do. If you end up with one, I’d suggest making sure the carrier key screws are torqued and staked, stake the castle nut, replace the bolt with a properly constructed HPI and MPI tested unit and hope for the best.

  10. Richard Foster | May 8, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    i own an MMC, and i had the same concerns as everybody else, and that is why in the hell does my bolt carrier feel like 600 grit sandpaper!,lol, and why does my barrel have this almost primer grey look and crappy feel to it? As an active duty Marine this was far less than what I’am acustomed to using to say the least, but, i stuck with it. At first i was having an issue with the bolt not going all the way home when i pulled the charging handle back, and yes i properly lubricated and cleaned the weapon before use, so i tried yanking the crap out of it and it worked. After the first 30 rounds i didn’t have that problem again. ive since put about 1,000 rounds through it and the weapon is operating as smooth as ever until i get about 3 mags into it, then it started getting stiff and i was having FTF problems. I’ve shot different brands of ammo, and i’ve used your standard military issue mags, as well as p-mags. I’m probably going to switch out the bolt carrier and the barrel any way down the road, but for now what i’ve got is working fine. I do think MMC needs to step there game up though.

  11. pdb | May 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Richard,

    One thing I noticed on my cousin’s S&W was that the forge code on the upper was the same as on the MMC. If you replaced the barrel with a quality chrome lined 5.56 NATO chambered barrel, and got a good quality bolt and carrier set that was made of Carpenter steel and HPI / HPT tested, then had someone give it the once over, you’d probably have something useable. Good luck!

  12. Saint Pauly | May 23, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    [quote]Your reading comprehension is as lousy as your critical thinking skills. The MMC was returned unfired to the dealer…[/quote]

    Well lets see, my critical thinking skills got me thru two wars and I’m drawing a high 5 figure US Government pension for life, and your skills got you thru what… 8th grade?? And you still work at Jiffy Lube right..?

    You never even fired the thing, but you can state categorically that it’s not suitable for even “casual” use..huh..?? Do you have any idea how retarded that sounds..?? Well, I guess you can add clairvoyant to your list of critical skills sonny.

  13. pdb | May 28, 2013 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Well lets see, my critical thinking skills got me thru two wars and I’m drawing a high 5 figure US Government pension for life

    My condolences on being too incompetent to find an honest job in the productive economy.

    Well, I guess you can add clairvoyant to your list of critical skills sonny.

  14. Mulligan | May 30, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    I’m no expert on ARs, but I know a quite a bit about tools and critical thinking…

    if I pick up a firearm (or any other tool), inspect it and it’s parts appear to be suspect, I’m sure as hell not gonna fire it to prove myself right. I don’t have any extra eyes & fingers I want to gamble with.

  15. Don Marco | July 2, 2013 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Just my two cents, but I think the rifle should have at least been given a test fire, before final judgement was given about it. Sure it’s $200 cheaper then probably the next best AR15 style rifle, but then again I could care less about looks if the rifle works. That’s $200 that could go towards mags, ammo and accessories. I also think the company will replace any defective part free of charge.

  16. pdb | July 2, 2013 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Sure it’s $200 cheaper then probably the next best AR15 style rifle, but then again I could care less about looks if the rifle works.

    The issue was not “looks”, but critical parts were built wrong, from substandard materials, finished and assembled incorrectly and that was from just a cursory look. What other derp lurked within?

    Totally not worth it, even for a fun gun, let alone one that might be used for self-defense or competition. Nobody likes clearing and diagnosing malfunctions. It’s worth $200 just to not spoil my day at the range with it.

  17. Don Marco | July 2, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Did you put any rounds down range with it?

  18. Don Marco | July 2, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Nh9yVq0t8

  19. pdb | July 2, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Critical parts were built wrong, from substandard materials, finished and assembled incorrectly and that was obvious from just a cursory look.

    If you want to buy low-quality shit that cost the same as a real rifle, knock yourself out. But don’t go around telling people that it’s just as good.

  20. Cecil Sharps | October 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I went to the range a few days ago. The guy next to me had a rifle built on a mmc lower. It required a hammer and punch to remove his upper. the finish was sup par and i think the hammer and trigger pins were oversized. they tended to walk out when the rifle would actually fire more than five rounds without failure.

    I had 4 uppers from different companies with me and none of them would fit his lower. That is how out of spec the holes for the rear pin was.

    the upper did work, but i wouldn’t call it a well working rifle. Frequent failures to extract. I keep one of those bcm o rings for the bolt with my spare springs in my range kit. Not even that could help it function. I’m guessing the chamber was rough, or out of spec. Maybe both.

    P.T. barnum was right and apparently that is mmc business model.

  21. Robert | January 2, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    We bought one of these at a gunshow . What a turd of a gun.They replace the Double firing lower with a semi functional lower. No refund, just parts exchange available,,,waste of $700, Tried going ” local” but got screwed…I hope they fail and never produce another weapon,,,ever

  22. Robert | January 2, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    MMC = Major Malfunctioning CRAP

{ 2 } Trackbacks

  1. Buy the right gear once | Gun Nuts Media | April 4, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    […] who’s thinking about going to the absolute bottom of the barrel and getting something like a Moore’s Machine Company rifle. I’ll even recommend a 2nd tier rifle if all you want is a range toy for popping cardboard or […]

  2. […] we’ve seen previously with the dismal MMC AR-15, the biggest problem with buying crappy ARs and AR parts is that you spend about the same money for […]