Looking for a new AR-10 barrel for your existing build or for a brand new one? We got you covered and found the best available options on the market!
Best Budget Pick: Aero Precision M5 .308 Carbine Lower Receiver
The Aero Precision M5 .308 Carbine Lower Receiver is an excellent choice if you want a high quality AR-10 stripped lower receiver without breaking the bank. This upper receiver comes ready for you to customize out of the box and is built out of 7075-T6 aluminum with a black hard coat anodized finish for good resistance against rust.
Best Classic Pick: Brownells BRN-10 Lower Receiver
The Brownells BRN-10 stripped lower receiver is a good pick if you would like to build your own custom BRN-10. While this receiver is only compatible with a BRN-10 upper, it’s also compatible with most other AR-10 .308 accessories so you can build it to your specifications. It’s also built out of 7075-T6 aluminum and has a black anodized finish for excellent rust and corrosion resistance. This is a receiver that can last you for a lifetime.
Best Value Pick: Cross Machine Tool Co .308 AR Stripped Billet Upper and Lower Receiver Set
By purchasing the Cross Machine Tool Co Stripped Billet Upper and Lower Receiver Kit, you will absolutely ensure that your lower and upper receivers are compatible together. As a stripped upper receiver, you will need to purchase the additional components you need separately and install them yourself (or otherwise have a gunsmith do it), but still, this means you can customize the Cross Machine Tool Co so that it’s truly your own. Both the upper and the lower are built out of 7075-T6 aluminum with a mil-spec grade hard coat anodized finish to ensure that it will work well in inclement weather conditions.
Best Overall Pick: Lewis Machine & Tool AR 308 MWS Lower Receiver Complete
If you want a complete lower receiver for your AR-10 that is ready to go right out of the box, consider the Lewis Machine & Tool AR 308 MWS Complete Lower Receiver. This lower receiver is built out of 7075-T6 aluminum with a blackened anodized finish and comes with several neat features including a SOPMOD Stock as well an LMT textured ergonomic grip.
The AR-15 is one of the most popular firearms in the United States today and is certainly the most popular centerfire rifle.
But another AR-type firearm that is often overlooked is the AR-10, which is simply the larger version of the AR-15 designed to fire larger calibers such as the .308 Winchester or the 6.5 Creedmoor.
If you want to assemble your own custom-made AR-10, something that you will need to invest in is a lower receiver. In addition to the upper receiver, the lower receiver is what makes your AR-10 a complete rifle and is also what enables your rifle to fire in the first place.
But even if you already have an AR-10 rifle, one of the simplest ways for you to upgrade it will be to invest in a new lower receiver as well.
In this guide, we’ll dive into what the lower receiver is, the top qualities to look for in one, and then our choices for the top three best AR-10 lower receivers for 2020.
Quick heads-up, if you plan building a brand new AR-10, make sure to check out our AR-10 build kit guide.
What Is The Lower Receiver?
All AR-15 and AR-10 type rifles can be broken down into two basic parts: the upper receiver and the lower receiver. Both receivers are critical for the firearm to function properly, but it’s the lower receiver that is arguably the more important because it comprises the firearm itself. After all, it’s the lower receiver that comes with a serial number, and if it’s a complete lower, it will need to be shipped to an FFL dealer as if it were an actual firearm as well.
When buying a lower receiver, you will always need to choose between a stripped lower receiver and a complete receiver. A complete lower receiver comes ready to go out of the box and can be instantly matched with a compatible complete upper to create a fully functional AR-10.
A stripped lower receiver, on the other hand, comes with most or all of the individual components missing. You will need to acquire these components separately, and then either install them yourself or otherwise employ the services of a gunsmith to do it instead.
There are pros and cons to going with both a stripped and a complete lower. A stripped lower receiver means that you can customize your firearm by selecting individually all of the other components. But on the other hand, your lower will not be ready to go right out of the box, and furthermore, some parts may require fitting that you need a gunsmith for. A complete lower receiver is much easier to install with a complete upper, but because you didn’t choose all of the parts individually, you may have the feeling that it’s not truly ‘your’ rifle.
Before we are moving to the next section, be sure to add our article on the best AR-10 BCGs to your reading list. We gathered the best options on the market and listed them in a brief guide.
What Are The Best Materials An AR-10 Lower Receiver?
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new lower receiver for your AR-10:
7075-T6 aluminum is one of the best materials to go with for a lower receiver because it is very durable and lightweight. It also has strong-anti rust properties, which are further amplified when you use it in conjunction with an anti-rust finish such as nitride or an anodized finish.
For reference, 7075-T6 aluminum is one of the most common metals that firearms are made out of. The Beretta M9 service pistol, for instance, has a frame that is built out of 7075-T6 aluminum, and it has an excellent reputation for durability. After all, 7075 aluminum has a total tensile strength of 83,000 PSI.
Another option for aluminum is 6061-T6 aluminum. 6061 is a general purpose aluminum alloy that is also commonly used in fishing equipment and cars. The reason it’s so widely used is because it is very easy to forge. However, it’s also not quite as durable as 7075 is.
This is a very common general purpose alloy that, besides firearms, is also used in fishing reels and vehicles. It’s very easy to forge, but it is also not quite as durable as 7075-T6 aluminum. It has a tensile strength of 45,000 PSI, which is respectable in its own right but is still not nearly as durable as 7075. The main reason to go with 6061 over 7075 is for cost savings purposes, and it’s often cheaper.
Considering that most pistols these days are built out of polymer, including the Glock, Walther PPQ, or the Smith & Wesson M&P, it should not come as a surprise that you can buy lower receivers for the AR-10 built out of polymer as well. Polymer has the primary benefit of being very lightweight, and it’s also rust and abrasion resistance.
Unfortunately, polymer simply lacks the strength that aluminum has. It is durable but will likely not be as long lasting as 7075 aluminum. The primary stress points of the AR-10 including the buffer tube, and it’s these areas where a polymer lower would be most at risk.
Additional Factors To Consider For Your AR-10 Lowers?
These are some additional factors to consider when searching for a lower receiver for your AR-10:
Pairing with The Upper Receiver
This is arguably the very first thing to look for in an AR-10 lower. Before you order a lower, also research the upper receiver that you are going to buy and confirm that the two are compatible with one another.
How do you know that your upper receiver and lower receiver will be compatible with one another? There are a few things you will need to check. First, make sure that the takedown pivot holes are aligned and machined correctly. Secondly, make sure that the roll pin holes are machined and aligned as well. Finally, make sure that the magazine well is aligned correctly as well. Your AR-10 magazine should be able to drop free without running into any issues.
Rust and Corrosion Resistant Finish
As noticed previously, you should invest in 7075-T6 aluminum for your lower receiver. However, your receiver should also come with a rust and corrosion resistant finish to further enhance its reliability.
Two of the most common finishing options for a lower receiver include nitride and a Type III hard coat anodized finish. Both of these can be exposed to rain, snow, or humidity, and they should hold up well without rusting badly. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of your lower receiver, but it does mean that you can wield it out in inclement weather in the short term without worrying about anything going terribly wrong.
Finally, your lower receiver and upper receiver should match together. The materials should ideally be the same (i.e., if you’re going to get a lower receiver built out of 7075-T6 aluminum your upper should be built out of 7075 as well), and the finish should be the same as well in order to ensure consistency in terms of looks. A mismatched upper and lower receiver in terms of aesthetics may still be functional, but it still won’t look as nice.
By the way, we also cover AR-10 barrels, so if you are on the hunt for good options, make sure to check our guide.
The 3 Best AR-10 Lowers For 2020
Now that we’ve covered why you need to upgrade your lower receiver and what to look for in one, here are our picks for the top three best AR-10 lowers that you can get in 2020:
Aero Precision M5 .308 Carbine Lower Receiver
The Aero Precision M5 .308 Carbine Lower Receiver is an excellent choice for your AR-10 lower so long as your AR-10 is in the .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO calibers, which are the most common cartridges for the AR-10. This is a stripped lower receiver, which means that you will need to purchase the different components separately and then install them yourself.
The Aero Precision M5 comes billet machined out of 7075-T6 aluminum, which as mentioned previously is one of the very best materials available for a lower receiver because of its durability. The aluminum comes coated in a black hard coat anodized finish. In addition, the M5 has been machined to be compatible with most other mil-spec AR-10 components.
Several other components of the Aero Precision M5 is built out of polymer, which means that it will be very lightweight for a lower receiver. However, it will not be quite as durable as aluminum. This is not to say that the M5 isn’t durable in its own right, but it is to say that it most likely won’t be able to handle quite as much abuse as a 7075-T6 receiver could.
There’s also no need to buy a bolt pin with the Aero Precision, because it comes with a bolt catch that has been threaded for a screw pin. The trigger guard is integrated into the design and comes with selector markings at forty five, sixty, and ninety degrees.
In addition, the M5 is a DPMS-style AR-10 lower receiver, which is the best choice if you want it to be compatible with more components. DPMS style AR-10s are far more common than SR-25 style AR-10s.
All in all, the Aero Precision is a solid choice for an AR-10 DPMS-style lower receiver. Built out of 7075-T6 aluminum with polymer components and coated in a black hard coat finish, the Aero Precision comes ready for you to customize right out of the box.
- Overall a good value
- Works with most other mil-spec AR-10 .308 caliber components
- 7075 T6 aluminum build construction
- Comes coated in a black hard coat anodized finish
- Some fitting work may be required, with or without a gunsmith
Lewis Machine & Tool AR 308 MWS Lower Receiver Complete
If you’re in the market for a complete lower receiver for your AR-10, you’ll definitely want to check out the Lewis Machine & Tool AR 308 MWS Complete Lower Receiver. This lower receiver comes with an LMT textured ergonomic grip, SOPMOD stock, and an LMT ambidextrous magazine release. As with other LMT MWS lowers, it comes outfitted with a two stage trigger group.
Additionally, it’s built out of 7075-T6 aluminum, with a heavy duty blackened anodized finish for excellent rust and corrosion resistance.
It should be noted that this is an SR-25 style of AR-10 receiver, which means that it will only be standard with SR-25 parts. The majority of AR-10s on the market are DPMS style, so please keep this in mind. The good news is that the MWS is compatible with mil-spec level components, which means that it’s a military grade firearm.
Overall, the LMT AR-10 30 MWS is an excellent option for a complete lower receiver. It’s compatible with both the .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor rounds, and is built out of 7075-T6 aluminum with a blackened hard coat anodized finish. It’s only compatible with SR-25-style parts though, and not DPMS style parts.
- Compatible with SR-25 style AR-10s
- Built out of both 7075-T6 aluminum
- Has a hard coat anodized finish
- Compatible with both the .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor rounds
- Comes ready to use and install right out of the box
- Come with a SOPMOD Stock
- Comes with an LMT textured ergonomic grip
- Not compatible with DPMS style AR-10s
Cross Machine Tool Co .308 AR Stripped Billet Upper and Lower Receiver Set
As we noted above, it’s vitally important to make sure that your upper receiver and your lower receiver are compatible together. By investing in the Cross Machine Tool Col .308 AR Stripped Billet Upper and Lower Receiver set, you can ensure just that. As an upper and lower receiver set, there will be no compatibility issues.
Granted, these are stripped lower and upper receivers. When purchasing the separate components to be installed, it’s your responsibility to make sure that they will be compatible together. This may require fitting from a gunsmith.
When it comes to quality, the Cross Machine Tool Co does not disappoint. It’s built out of a highly durable and yet lightweight 7075-T6 aluminum material. Meanwhile, the aluminum is coated in a mil-spec hard coat anodized finish for excellent rust and corrosion resistance, and this finish further adds onto the durability of the aluminum.
The Cross Machine Uppers and Lowers are also DPMS-style lowers and uppers, which means that they will be compatible with more AR-10 parts than an SR-25 style lower would. The Magwell has also been EDM cut so it can accept polymer Magpul P-mags, which are among the most common, cost efficient, and widely regarded AR magazines on the market.
As we discussed previously, it’s very important to make sure that your lower receiver of choice is fully compatible with your upper receiver. By purchasing the Cross Machine Tool Co Stripped Billet Upper and Lower Receiver Kit, you can ensure just that. Granted, this is a stripped upper and lower receiver so you will need to purchase additional parts separately, but still, at least you know that the upper and the lower will work together. The 7075-T6 aluminum build and mil-spec hard coat anodized finish are also highly desirable to ensure that the Cross Machine will hold up well in rough environments.
- As an upper and lower receiver kit, it’s fully compatible together
- Solid construction
- Very easy to install
- Compatible with the DPMS-style AR-10 parts
- EDM cut to accept P Mags
- Has a mil-spec hard coat anodized finish for good rust resistance
- Built out of 7075-T6 aluminum
- Easily customizable
- May require some fitting, with or without a gunsmith
- You’ll need to buy additional components to complete it
Brownells BRN-10 Lower Receiver
The Brownells BRN-10 Lower Receiver is the lower receiver portion of Brownell’s BRN-10 AR-10 rifle. The BRN-10 rifle itself is designed to replicate the design and look of the original AR-10 that was released in the 1950s, so it has a very neat and classic look to it.
Even though this lower receiver can only be joined with the Brownells BRN-10 Upper Receiver as well, it is also fully compatible with most other AR-10 .308 caliber parts and accessories, such as other AR-10 stocks and buffer tubes. The idea is that rather than buying a complete BRN-10 rifle, you can purchase this lower and customize it as you build it.
The BRN-10 lower receiver is built out of 7075-T6 aluminum and comes with a black anodized finish. In addition to the lower receiver itself, it also comes with takedown pins, a safety selector, and magazine release.
The BRN-10 Stripped Lower Receiver is a great choice if you would like to build a custom BRN-10 rifle from the ground up. Built out of 7075-T6 aluminum and coated in a rust resistant black anodized finish, this lower receiver is only compatible with a BRN-10 upper, but will still work with most other AR-10 .308 accessories that you can add on.
- Classic design
- Built out of durable 7075-T6 aluminum
- Has an anodized matte black finish for good rust resistance
- Compatible with most AR-10 buffer tubes and stocks
- Comes with takedown pins, magazine release, and safety selector
- Stripped receiver, so it’s not ready to go out of the box
- Can only be used with the BRN-10 Upper Receiver
And that concludes our list of the top three best lower receivers for an AR-10 for 2020. Your AR-10 should be durable, tough, and capable of handling full power rifle rounds such as the .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor.
Any one of the three lower receivers that we have covered here today will be a good option for your AR-10, or alternatively, you can follow the buyer’s guide that we discussed earlier as well to help find yourself a suitable lower as well.