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How do i really know its a sw upper. The only markings or info i can find is on the barrel and it says M4 in front of the flat top rail. the barrel is marker with 5.56 nato 1/9
Never seen one sold separate.
Have seen just lower sold.
We were told in the S&W M&P 15 armorer class that S&W has recently bought some new equipment in preparation to eventually start forging their own uppers & lowers. This makes sense since they're known for their excellent forging capabilities in other areas of manufacturing. In the meantime they buy them from the same folks that make the good quality ones used by a few of the other established big names in the business.
The barrels are now being made by their acquired Thompson /Center Arms factory (which is a good thing).
BTW, S&W is soon going to be making M4's for appropriate customers (FA only, no burst planned). They apparently have a huge demand for sales outside the country.
Some other tidbits were discussed as the class progressed, not all of which I felt necessary to jot down as notes ...
There's a 1/7" twist rate available, although 1/9" is the standard.
The trigger pull spec is approx 7 lbs.
The barrels have a real 5.56 chamber cut.
The barrels are made by T/C of 4140 steel.
The uppers/lowers are forged 7075 T6 aluminum.
The earlier gas keys they were using had the bolts staked on top, but the newer ones have the bolts staked from the sides (stronger).
Current extractor springs are coming with a black insert and the black 'donut'.
Hammer & trigger pins are non-directional, with the pins being .154" and the receiver holes being .155".
The orange armorer block being sold for AR's (not by S&W) has opposite orientation from the S&W barrel/gas block pins regarding in & out movement of the pins (I don't like to remove those pins, myself, anyway).
"Piston" guns are being built, BTW.
Basically, they're using some of the best quality components being sold to other makers of better quality AR's, and they're eventually going to take some further steps to make additional parts themselves so they can have increasingly more control over both the amount of available parts and the quality & manufacture of some parts.
They're getting into the AR business in a big way.
But for now, their(S&W) basically Stag parts?
The names of the vendors for the various parts weren't covered in depth. They were mostly only mentioned when a student asked a specific question. Most of the students in the class I attended either hadn't previously attended an AR armorer class, or had only attended a single prior class, so the emphasis was pretty much on the design, function and armorer support issues and hardly any emphasis on vendors. S&W is a well established company and it was expected they wouldn't be using bargain vendors or intentionally cutting corners when it came to their foray into the AR market. ;)
This was my 4th AR armorer class (including a couple of Colt classes) and as long as the parts are being bought from the relatively small number of companies who have established themselves in this business, my primary focus was pretty much just on the weapons themselves.
Naturally, I also was curious how S&W had developed it's armorer training compared to some of the other venues.
I think they did a good job of developing a practical user-level support, maintenance and repair course. The lack of 'advertising' was refreshing. ;)
Ok iv also got a thread open in the blackrifle area of the forum asking the question if this upper in the pic is over priced, which it is.. But iv learned that the s&w lowers are made in house, and the upper is still stag parts. And that sw is in the process of taking over and making complete(upper receivers) rifles with sw parts.
Uh, okay ...
Are you trying to compile a list of what parts are made in-house versus outsourced to vendors? Such a list is likely going to change over time, anyway, much the same way it did with the SW1911 model line.
Considering the wealth of parts being produced for the AR market (both Gov/LE and commercial/sporting), it's hardly surprising that S&W would continue to evaluate and decide whether they are continually best served by either obtaining parts from other reputable manufacturers or making the parts themselves.
A prudent balance of various factors, including cost effectiveness in obtaining the assorted parts (influencing the price of the completed weapon) considered against the availability of the parts (bed able to make sufficient quantities of the completed product to market to various venues) and then considered against maintaining control of the overall quality control of the parts used (maintaining the desired quality standards of the product, overall) would seem to be something that would merit continuing scrutiny.
A lot of folks might be amazed at how few actual companies are really involved in making the bulk of the major parts actually used in the various finished guns actually marketed.
One other interesting tidbit I heard from someone in the factory was that S&W was either in the process of considering purchasing their own Magnetic Particle Testing equipment, or had already done so (I wasn't paying close attention to that part of the conversation). Maybe they plan to start forging their own bolts and BCG's at some point, too. Dunno. I could see testing various components, though, especially if there's an anticipated need to meet some stated user specifications at some point.
As long as the whole product is of good quality, though, I'm not really interested in keeping a running list of where all the different parts may be made, anyway. I just need to be able to shoot them, train others to shoot them and be able to support, maintain and repair them if necessary.
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