Best AR-10 Upper Receiver: 2019 Complete Buyer’s Guide

AR-10 rifles are pretty good but they may not be good enough for some users. Worry not, you have the option to improve the functionality by upgrading the upper receiver.

Installing a good upper receiver will improve accuracy and speed. It can be very helpful whether you want to enjoy hunting or shooting.

There are two types of AR-10 upper receivers available on the market:

  • Flat Top
  • Carry Handle

They both have their own pros and cons as they differ in terms of design and performance. We’ll cover this and much more in this review to help you pick the best AR-10 upper receiver.

Now, without much ado, let’s have a look:

Why Should You Upgrade The Upper Receiver In An AR-10?

The upper receiver is one of the most important parts of a rifle because it houses several key components. It is attached to the lower part (lower receiver) of a rifle and completes the firearm.

Upgrading an upper receiver lets you replace important parts of your gun. You can get a new gun without having to invest in a new one. This way you will not only get to save money but also enjoy a better overall experience.

Moreover, it can be beneficial in the long-run as well since upgrading the upper receiver can also increase the lifespan of your rifle.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing An Upper Receiver For AR-10

Here are a few things you must keep in mind when it picking an AR-10 upper receiver:

1. Design (Flat Top Vs Carry Handle)

Let’s talk about the carry handle design first. This one is not abundantly used these days because it offers limited customization. Another problem with this design is the rear sight assembly which can be a hassle for some.

On the other hand, we have flat tops. Most people opt for flat tops as they offer plenty of customization options, unlike carry handle receivers.

Note: Whether you choose a carry handle or a flat top design upper, make sure that it features a forward assist button. With this option, you can push the round into the chamber without making a clicking sound (loading) from the charging handle.

2. High Profile Vs Low Profile

AR-10 upper receivers vary on the basis of profiles as well.

High profile upper receivers have wide 3/16” top and a .210 tang along with a charging handle.

On the other hand, low profile upper receivers offer enhanced versatility and slick. They are also referred to as DPMS receivers and possess a wide ⅛” top and a .150 upper tang with a charging handle.

If you want to have improved versatility then hands down, go for low profile uppers as they let you install aftermarket components with great ease.

3. Build

AR-10 uppers also differ on the basis of construction. You can choose from three options:

  • Forged.
  • Billet
  • Cast.

They are constructed using different methods and techniques, therefore, they differ in terms of durability and strength.

Forged: Forged uppers are the strongest among the three. They are made using treated aluminum. The process involves hammering and molding the metal into the shape of a receiver.

You might need to sand, drill, and smooth out the edges to get the best of a forged upper.

Billet: These might not be as strong as forged receivers but they are exceptional when it comes to precision.

They are CNC machined from an individual billet block. Hence, offer excellent precision. Plus, they can handle recoils without any trouble.

Cast: These are the lightest among the three but lack in strength and precision.

In fact, they are ideal to support heavy calibers such as .308.

4. Finish (Stripped Vs Complete Upper)

Uppers are manufactured in two kinds of finishes: stripper and complete.

Stripped: If you wish to customize and machine your rifle with accessories then a stripped upper is what you should go for.

Complete: They come with a forward assist button along with an ejection port. It can help you save a lot of time and prevent FFL issues.

Best AR-10 Upper Receiver: Product Review

Cross Machine Tool - 308 AR Stripped Billet Upper & Lower Receiver Set

Cross Machine Tool - 308 AR Stripped Billet Upper & Lower Receiver Set

If you are looking for an upper receiver that supports both DPMS and AR-10 parts then consider this beauty. It incorporates a left hand ejection system and is quite durable as well.

Features

  • 1913 Picatinny rail flat top
  • Mil Spec Type III class II hard coat anodized black
  • Forward assist machined into the receiver
  • 5 axis machined from 7075 aluminum
  • M4 feed ramps
  • Engraved “T” numbers

This one is easy to use and can blend with any Mil-Spec lower. However, we’d recommend to use the Cross Machine Tool lower to enhance accuracy. It may be a good idea to go for matching receivers. They offer a firm grip that improves handling as well.

The durability of this receiver is off the charts thanks to the 7075 billet-machined aluminum it is made up of. This material increases the strength of the receiver (by up to 65%) and ensures that the rifle performs well for years to come.

Since this upper is machined on a 5 axis machining, it reduces the number of operations required to complete the job. Moreover, you get more accuracy than conventional 3-4 axis machining processes.

While it’s great in use, it doesn’t compromise on aesthetics either. It gives off a modern look and the overall feel is also good.

The ejection is on the left hand which is great. You will not have to face a lot of gases hitting your face. This is a much needed feature especially for left handed shooters.

Pros

  • Extra rigid due to thicker walls.
  • Supports most Mil Spec parts.
  • Compatible with many aftermarket rail systems.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty against defects.
  • Stripped finish (no forward assist).

Cons

  • Lacks forward assist
  • No dust cover.
This Ar-10 Upper Receiver is for shooters who want to improve precision. It is very durable and supports the DPMS platform too.

DPMS - LR-308 Oracle Upper Receiver Assembly

​DPMS - LR-308 Oracle Upper Receiver Assembly

This flat top style upper is a low profile receiver and offers great accuracy. It can be perfect for hunters as it offers some kickass features.

Features

  • Twist Rate: 1 in 10"
  • Complete Bolt Carrier Assembly
  • Hard Coat Anodized
  • This LR-308 upper has a forward assist, shell deflector, and ejection port door
  • 2-Piece Polymer Glacier Guard
  • 16-inch 4140 Chrome Moly Medium Contour Barrel

This upper receiver comes fully assembled and can be installed with most lower receivers without any issues.

If you’re a beginner then this upper will prove to be an excellent option for you due to the versatility and easy flat top configuration it offers. It’s a quality product that will last for years.

It’s quite affordable and can be perfect for users who want customization. You can install a variety of components on this tool.

It incorporates a 16-inch barrel (heavy contour) along with a versatile 1 in 10-inch  twist rate. Moreover, it can stabilize a wide diversity of bullet weights. This is a great feature as it makes the unit quite easy to use.

The upper is constructed using top-end 7075 aluminum material that resists corrosion and offers amazing durability. Moreover, it consists of an ejection port, integral shell deflector, and offers forward assist as well.

Some of its other amazing features include heat resistant Glacier Guard polymer handguards, complete bolt & carrier assembly, A2 birdcage flash hider, single rail gas block, and charging handle.

All these features combined make it a good pick for all kinds of users. You can use it in the rain without any trouble.

All the aluminum parts on this upper are anodized to mil-spec. Moreover, the parts made up of steel are coated with manganese phosphate which gives it a matte black finish.

Pros

  • Free floating handguard with QD studs.
  • A2 flash hider.
  • Forward assist available.
  • Ejection port door with deflector.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.

Cons

  • Since it’s a DPMS upper, it won’t fit on AR-lowers.
This upper receiver can be a good option if you are in search of a potent DPMS upper. It has a flash hider with a bunch of other features that make it a good pick for hunters and hobbyists.

Black Rain Ordnance - 308 AR Stripped Upper & Lower Receiver Sets

​Black Rain Ordnance - 308 AR Stripped Upper & Lower Receiver Sets

Shooters who prefer premium quality uppers can look into Black Rain Ordnance. This upper comes from a well known arms company and is popular for increasing precision and durability of the rifle.

Features

  • Stripped Style.
  • Matte black finish.
  • Laser engraved logos (Black Ordnance).
  • 7075 aluminum,
  • This Black Rain Ordnance upper is CNC machined with theFfallout 10 (308) NorGuard finish. It supports the DPMS platform and also lets you attach a DPMS spec barrel and barrel nut.

Note: You can face a bit of a fitting problem on 308 DPMS lowers if they are not Black Rain 308 Fallout lowers.

The pic rail on this upper is a “low” spec DPMS which is why it is wise to be sure that you have the same “low” handguard variant so that there are no compatibility issues.

It’s quite a durable unit as it is 100% CNC machined from a block of 7075 T6 billet. This material is premium aircraft grade aluminum which resists corrosion and gives the upper a rigid look.

BLACK RAIN ORDNANCE products are made using the highest quality of craftsmanship and standards which is why shooters who use it once find it daunting to switch to another.

There are m4 feed ramps on the upper to make it easier to attach accessories and parts. It has also engraved T marks that looks professional and aesthetically appealing.

Lastly, the upper is coated with a high-grade III black anodizing (Teflon finish) which gives it a premium look.

Pros

  • Billet machined.
  • Brass deflector on ejection port.
  • Upper plus lower receiver set.
  • Flat top with mil-std Picatinny rail.
  • Customizable DPMS platform.

Cons

  • Lacks forward assist.
This AR-10 Upper Receiver can be a good option for users who want precision and durability. It’s easy to use and you will see improvements in no time.

AERO Precision - 308 AR M5 Upper Receiver Stripped

​AERO Precision - 308 AR M5 Upper Receiver Stripped

Aero Precision M5 308 is a stripped style upper receiver that brings durability, accuracy, and precision to the table. Since it is both a forged and a stripped style receiver, it’s durability is unmatched and it beats most of the rival receivers on the market.

Features

  • 7075 aluminum build.
  • Type III anodized finish.
  • Laser engraved T-marks.
  • DPMS size takedown pinholes.

If you are looking for a forged 308 upper that accepts DPMS components then look no further. Aero Precision M5 is a viable upper receiver that can enhance your rifle’s precision and make it extra durable.

This beauty has some amazing features to offer including M4 feed ramps and .2795 takedown pin holes. Moreover, laser engraved T-marks make it look lavish and the anodized black finish is the cherry on top as it enhances the aesthetic appeal of the upper.

It is a DPMS High Profile (.210 Tang) receiver, therefore, it is best if you install the same variant as the lower. This would ensure you get excellent results.

It is compatible with plenty of DPMS 308 components including charging handles, bolt carriers, lowers, and barrels.

Lastly, the ejection port and forward assist make it more convenient to use. You will see a difference in no time as it would make it more fun to use your weapon.

It comes with a set of screws rather than roll pin. The fit is also quite good.

Pros

  • Excellent customer support.
  • 7075 aluminum.
  • Easy to install.
  • Tough and durable.

Cons

  • Doesn’t come fully completed.
This Upper Receiver can be a good option for users who are on a lookout for ways to make their hunting or practice more fun. This beauty is known to improve precision without requiring much effort to install.

J P Enterprises - 308 AR PCS-12 Side Charging Upper

J P Enterprises - 308 AR PCS-12 Side Charging Upper

If you are on a lookout for the best AR-10 upper receiver to build a large rifle frame then JP upper is your best bet.  JP products are popular for the high-grade quality they bring to the table.

This beauty incorporates a smooth side charging handle which makes it easier to use the weapon.

Features

  • Low Mass JP Bolt Carrier
  • Comes with JP enhanced bolt group (firing pin, bolt, cam pin, retaining pin)
  • Contains an ejection port.
  • Forward assist is available
  • Forged construction makes this is one of the strongest upper receivers on the market.

The Low Mass Bolt carrier on the upper is made up of stainless steel and contains a QPQ finish. This finish is a result of a 5-step treatment of polishing and hardening of the surface that produces lubricity. Thanks to such amazing work, this beauty is a lot of fun to hold and use.

The bolt that comes with it is made up of top notch SAE 9310 steel and beats the conventional mil-spec in terms of lifespan and strength.

Shooters who use this upper will observe a drastic reduction in felt recoil because of the mechanism it uses. The beauty makes sure the adjustable gas block and bolt carrier group work together, improving the final outcome.

Experts recommend to use an LMOS buffer with this upper to further enhance performance.

Pros

  • DPMS style flat top upper.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Top and side charging systems.
  • Easy to install.

Cons

  • A bit expensive.
This upper receiver can be a good product for users who want a fun experience. It’s said to be perfect for hunters but other users can also consider it.

DRD Tactical - 308 AR Quick Takedown Upper Receiver

DRD Tactical - 308 AR Quick Takedown Upper Receiver

The DRD Tactical upper receiver will make your rifle look distinctive due to its unique design. Apart from that, it is very easy to install and disassemble. Thanks to these qualities, it’s said to be one of the best options for new users.

Features

  • Low profile upper
  • DPMS Compatible
  • Uses a pin system
  • Aesthetically pleasing

The black finish found on this upper receiver is ravishing and has fine details that make it look premium. Apart from that, the durability of this upper is also quite commendable.

It supports almost all DPMS lower receivers, barrel nuts, and handguards making it a good option for most users. You will not have to worry about finding the exact matching lowers with this upper receiver.

Since it is a low profile upper, you will have no difficulty in assembling a barrel, gas block, and gas tube.

The 13/16" long handguard uses a pin system that works with the barrel nut. The combination of both allows you to quickly slip on and off the handguard making it easier to use the weapon.

Pros

  • Makes the weapon more durable.
  • Customer support is great.
  • Easier to install.
  • Supports aftermarket parts.

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well with 80% lower receivers.
This DRD Tactical Upper Receiver is a good receiver that may require a bit of machining. It’s said to be perfect for field practice but can also make hunting trips more fun.

RED X ARMS - 308 AR UPPER RECEIVER

RED X ARMS - 308 AR UPPER RECEIVER

If you don’t want to compromise on quality then bring home Red X Arms upper receiver. It is built from the highest aircraft quality materials making it one of the most durable options out there.

Features

  • 6061 aluminum material made
  • DPMS compatible
  • Allows optics mounting
  • Black anodized

The highlight of this upper receiver is the hard coat finish on it. It serves as a wear resistant coat, therefore, consider this upper receiver to handle rough handling, extreme temperatures, and harsh conditions like a pro.

It will also prevent corrosion and abrasion, ensuring the weapon continues to be useful for a long period of time.

There’s a rail on the top that allows you to mount various optics easily.

Since it is a flat top styled upper receiver, it offers plenty of customization options. Moreover, it also incorporates an ejection port and a dust cover.

It is manufactured using 6061 grade aluminum which makes it quite long lasting.

Pros

  • Fits many DPMS style lower receivers.
  • Affordable.
  • Offers protection against corrosion.
  • Aircraft quality.

Cons

  • Alignment issues with the handguard.
This 308 Upper Receiver might not be the most popular option out there but it’s quite a reliable one. Consider this beauty if you are looking for an affordable AR-10 upper receiver.

Conclusion

These were some of the best AR-10 upper receivers. They all offer excellent features, durability, and performance. Make sure to follow our guide so that you can pick the right upper for your weapon.

Our personal favorite is the CROSS MACHINE TOOL CO., INC. - 308 upper. It offers 65% more strength than conventional uppers and supports most mil-spec lowers.

However, it may not be the best if you need customization. For such users, the DPMS - LR-308 ORACLE UPPER RECEIVER can be a better option. It is constructed using 7075 aluminum material that resists corrosion. Hence, you will be able to use your weapon even in rainy conditions.

All in all, pick an upper receiver that offers excellent durability and fits your needs.

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