Review of Palmetto State Armory AR15 Lower


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My partner Pops has been wanting an AR since before the obamination but never got around to getting one. When the obamination drove the prices out of sight he started kicking himself and almost bought one for about twice what it was worth. He decided to roll the dice and hope for the best. That turned out to be a smart move as the prices stabilized and started coming down. He kept on holding off hoping for even lower prices and lo and behold they are here. It is not unusual to see an assembly AR sell for $600.

He was once again talking to me about saving money by building an AR from scratch.
I told him it has been over 20 years since I last built one but if he really wanted to he and I could do the next time he was in town. There were a couple of specialized tools needed but Clicker had already said he would help us out there. I was thinking about building one for my grandson and thought we might build one for each.

He considered the polymer lowers for $99 but didn?t like the feel of those lowers. He and I have shot a couple of different guns built on those lowers that functioned flawlessly but he felt they were just not for him he wanted a metal lower. It seems his patience may have paid off as now there are complete aluminum lowers for $232 right here in South Carolina at Palmetto State Armory in Columbia.

I was recently up that way and swung by to check them out.
Much to my disappointment I was not able to get a low deck receiver.
I was told that they no longer had high and low deck; all the receivers are now high deck.
I bought the plain grade black not the one with the magpul upgrades.
My intent is to upgrade a bit at a time to suit my grandson.

I tried the fit on one of the stores uppers and it was a good snug fit.
The pins slid in and out with moderate pressure, as they should.
The trigger seemed a bit heavy but nice and crisp.

Upon arrival at home I more closely examined the assembly.
The receiver had no dings and the finish is an even dull black.
The stock is a good fit to recoil buffer tube and slides easily with no binding.
The buffer tube finish is a good match to the receiver if you pay attention to that sort of thing.
A drop of TW-25 grease on the trigger contact surfaces helped.
It is still no match trigger but feels much better, very nice for the price point. If desired Palmetto State Armory has match triggers available in the store.

I told Pops that so far this seems like a good start for him but the proof is in the shooting.
Pops, Fordnut, and I took this lower to Boggy Head and put it through its paces.
We used an upper off my old Colt and an upper off Fordnuts rifle.
The rifle in both configurations performed flawlessly
Keeping in mind this is not a match trigger I like it.

I don?t say this often so take note.
I am totally satisfied with the lower and highly recommend them.
I give the Palmetto State Armory Lower Assembly a Two Thumbs UP!
Well worth the price.

After basic testing we decided to have some fun with an SSAR-15 stock.
The lower fit right in the stock no problem.
The actual installation of the stock took perhaps 5 minutes.
I don?t believe the stock would have worked with a winter style trigger guard though.

As for performance all I can say is wow!
The Palmetto State Armory lower ran perfectly through 300 round of very fast shooting.
Not a single problem that could attribute to the lower.
My opinion is this lower is a good match for the stock.
Look for a review of the stock itself in another thread.


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So that $60 I just spent on a complete set of AR15 action blocks was for nothing? Damn I was hoping that the first time I used them I would be dinging up parts that belonged to someone else.

That sucks about the high shelf but sounds like good news on the stock.


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I too bought a lower and lower parts kit from them but assembled it myself. I'm very happy with the quality so far though I haven't put an upper on yet. One question. What is a high and low shelf?


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I also have a complete lower from Palmetto. I bought mine built with the MOE Magpul stock, hand grip and trigger guard.
I have about 300 roumds down range with it. I am very happy with it. The trigger is nice. It doesn't compete with my Timmey set-up, but, it is very useable...

I would buy another one, and, to me, that is the best it can be...

The low shelf/high shelf has to do with the height of the inside of the lower. The low shelp will except the M-16 (full auto) kits, and the high shelf lowers will not take them...

In other words, you can't go with full auto parts in a high shelf lower....even if it was legal to convert over to full auto...



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To expand on Steve's post the high shelf prevents the installation of a DIAS. You could machine away the offending material but why bother when lowers milled to the proper spec are available.
For me I just can't get past those goofy looking crossed cannons.


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Aw! Ok. That makes sense now. I had an rra lower that had the short shelf and noticed that high shelf when I bought this one but didn't think a lot about it since I don't have a dias, legal or otherwise. So I guess it won't make much difference.

HHB Guns

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Ahhh Funny you guys mention the shelf...PSA as of Jan went to a high shelf. I bought one in Dec and it was a low shelf and had the bulging metal in the side wall which is a perfect fit for my auto sear. Too take this a step further not all were low shelf before Jan. It is really weird but the pictograms before jan were low shelf. The safe/fire marking lowers have always been high shelf. I couldnt be happier with my PSA. Now that I figured out the bolt bounce issue it eats anything I feed it. Just glad I bought when I did. I called PSA about a month ago after noticing that new lowers coming had the smooth walls all the way back and had the high shelf. I asked them why the change and they said they had lost their variance as of Jan. He said the ATF made a ruling in I think he said 2009 prohibiting low shelf lowers with the bulge in the sidewall from being made. He did say they were giving out variances to companies who were already making them but he said they lost the variance but he didnt want to explain. Its funny that most popular brands dont have the variance to make them. Bushmaster does, but Rock river doesn't. Too take it a step further I called the NFA Branch and asked them about the variance issue and they explained to me that some companies are getting away with it because they do one part but not the other. They will put a low shelf but they will not put the thicker sidewall or they will put the thicker sidewall but then a high shelf. As long as they dont do both they are legal. as Clicker knows this is why my spikes wouldnt work. The shelf was low but it didnt have the thicker sidewall so the sear was just bouncing in the lower from side to side.

If I ever wear out my PSA I plan on buying a bushmaster or LWRC since I know they will work. I just got real lucky with my PSA.

Pic to show bulge in sidewall and also low shelf.


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So if I were to get a rdias, is it legal to mill that area away as long as you don't drill the no-no hole?

HHB Guns

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Hmm good question. I would say yes. Your just making it so it accepts a registered sear. Nfa could better answer that


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I would think so as well but there is a lot of banter as to the legality of milling off the auto carrier block on an mke over at hkpro. So I just figured I'd ask. Now, someone got an rdias I can borrow!


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Henry if you recall the shelf was too low on that POS Spikes lower. The DIAS sat about a 1/16" below the top edge of the receiver when placed on the shelf.


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Well I picked up an upper yesterday from a fellow member on here. It's a psa upper with heavy barrel, Lo-pro gas block and railed forend from Yhm with a psa bcg. Going to test fire it today! Excited! It looks great. Added a blackhawk vfg and a Wal-Mart tasco 42mm red dot sight. I'll let ya'll know how it goes this afternoon.