Side charging uppers?

coyotewillie

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I've owned/built several AR's over the years. Had scopes on most of them, and I've never liked the charging system with optics. I'd like to build another and try a side charging type upper. Any opinions on who's got the best side charging system?
 

Roslyn

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Have only owned JP side charging uppers, which are exceptional. Fit and finish pretty hard to beat, but they are... hmmm... proud of their work, as the prices suggest. If you can look past the cost, no reason to look elsewhere.
 
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texasleftychef

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I’ve have/ had two of the Gibbz uppers and was not happy with the fit with either of them. Maybe cause they were lefty but there was a gap all the way front to back between the upper and lower. The second I bought as a set thinking they might hand pick them to fit but same slop. Managed to dial some out of the first with the Seekins tensioner and the other I put on a Radian lower that has a spring loaded tensioner I think. Gibbz said they were in spec...

C148EDA8-E21B-4F4F-94F6-8C08B5F76BCF.jpeg
 

coyotewillie

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Looks like a fair amount of gap! Was there a lot of play/slop then? I see that your Gibbz is a right hand charge. Any thoughts too on which is better? Left side or right?

I'm kind of surprised that with all the people that put optics on an AR that there aren't more side chargers out there. I've always thought the rear charge was a PITA with optics. But, no one ever seems to talk about them.
 

DisplacedTexan

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I don't have mine handy atm, but my AR-9 has a Gibbz upper with zero problems.

The standard AR charging handle is absolutely the downfall of the platform. It's a fucking atrocity that should have been rectified decades ago.
 

Badfinger

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I've built a couple and really like them as they're Non-Reciprocating and particularly for the unexpected benefit of blocking gasses from exiting the rear of the upper and into my eye when suppressed ;)

I bought mine a few years ago from the Workingman's Armory and i hope they're still around. I just checked and the are but maybe changed their name, here's a link and they have them in stock: New Frontier Armory







 
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texasleftychef

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Looks like a fair amount of gap! Was there a lot of play/slop then? I see that your Gibbz is a right hand charge. Any thoughts too on which is better? Left side or right?

I'm kind of surprised that with all the people that put optics on an AR that there aren't more side chargers out there. I've always thought the rear charge was a PITA with optics. But, no one ever seems to talk about them.
for sure a lot of slop. Gibbz said to use the take down pin tensioner which did tighten it up a fair amount but you can still see the gap. that gun got stolen and I built another thinking if I got a set and asked them to try and pick ones that fit well together I might get better results but didn’t. Probably won’t try again.

Right hand charge left eject for me being left handed. Love the concept just not their product. I think for a right handed fella the JP hits all the high points other than price. Id choose them if they had a right charger left eject.
 

gunsnjeeps

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I'm kind of surprised that with all the people that put optics on an AR that there aren't more side chargers out there. I've always thought the rear charge was a PITA with optics. But, no one ever seems to talk about them.
I may be in the minority here as a High Power shooter with 1-4 power scopes the optic is well forward of the charging handle.

I'm building a side charger to use with a larger scope. My dislike of charging handles is that you have to break your cheek weld to chamber. Personal thing, probably doesn't make sense.
 

coyotewillie

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The JP's look pretty damn good and I realize you get what you pay for, but there's no way I'd spend that much for an upper just for side charging. Not much difference in price or looks of the Gibbz/New Frontier. Not something I'm planning on starting on tomorrow, just looking around right now.
 

el-wood

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If you go with a left side charge upper, i strongly recommend a phase 5 bolt catch.
 

Landon4

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I have a gibbz on my ar-9 built on a spikes ar-9 lower it fits fine I don’t have the gap like some have shown but you never know. As far as function I’ve had no issues, I also looked at Wolfpack armory they have some that look nice but I don’t know much about them.
 

DisplacedTexan

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I have a gibbz on my ar-9 built on a spikes ar-9 lower it fits fine I don’t have the gap like some have shown but you never know. As far as function I’ve had no issues, I also looked at Wolfpack armory they have some that look nice but I don’t know much about them.
Gibbz OEM there too
 

Mntnman-TF

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This what I am talking about. Its on an REPR .308 .


Can you do this with your charger?
 

ddavis

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I've had several Gibbz and put together a few for friends as well. The only problems I've ran into are that one had an oversized pic rail. Too wide so you had to loosen the adjustment on an ADM type clamp way out to get it on. They replaced that one. The other issue is very minor. You'll notice that if you slowly close the bolt, there's enough tension in the detent that holds the CH in the forward position that it will stop the bolt from closing fully. I take the spring out, clip off a coil at a time until I can let the CH close under the power of the recoil spring and not have to snap it forward into the detent. Won't matter for most folks but it matters if you are hunting with the gun and want to be quiet. The only downside is there's a slightly better chance of the CH popping loose and sliding back and forth, but it hasn't been an issue.

I'll second what someone said above: pair it with a Phase 5 bolt catch. The AR becomes a whole new gun. It's so intuitive to use.

-Dan
 

Mntnman-TF

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well in the above pictured folder, the detent is the knob against the edge of the rail. If everything is just right, when the BC slams forward the CH knob slaps down on the upper and there is your detent. What the previous member mentioned is not an issue. Usually your fixed charger with a the knob sticking out has a spring loaded detent. These don't. Their detent is in the knob against the CH slide body. NO need to cut off any springs you might regret later on.
 

supratt96

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6mmar.com sells side chargers. Grab you a 6ar while you're at it
The sidecharger system from 6mmar.com is just a small knob thread into the bolt. This has two major drawbacks. 1. It reciprocates with the bolt. 2. You have to remove it every time you need to pull the bolt. I quickly left mine off and just used the standard top charger.
 

coyotewillie

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Why bother with a side charger at all if you're just going to not use it and use the top/rear charging handle?? Kinda defeats the whole purpose doesn't it?
 

Crews

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Goodness gracious put a folder on there. Stop getting jabbed by the handle.
@Mntnman-TF That's the only reason I haven't ever jumped on the side charging upper bandwagon, I can't see getting jabbed in the chest by that large handle when carrying slung. Is your upper a JP or is there some other option out there for a folding handle that I'm not aware of?
 

DisplacedTexan

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@Mntnman-TF That's the only reason I haven't ever jumped on the side charging upper bandwagon, I can't see getting jabbed in the chest by that large handle when carrying slung. Is your upper a JP or is there some other option out there for a folding handle that I'm not aware of?
It's actually more expensive than JP, which is fucking ridiculous.

 

Crews

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Oh okay, well that’s certainly not an option either! Haha
 

Mntnman-TF

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If you already have the Izzy forward assist copy handle then this is an option. You do need the rails on there to install this thing. NOn reciprocating, no stabbed chest.
 

SmokyJoe

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Young Manufacturing makes a solid side charge upper, and a National Match side charge BCG to fit. Reciprocating and RH, if that works for you, and very high quality.
 
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coyotewillie

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Ya know, I've shot a lot of AK's and the reciprocating bolt isn't a problem with them. And with the reciprocating bolt, you can use it as a FA if needed. FA is needed out hunting when you need to load the chamber quietly and you have a slickside upper (ask me how I know, LOL) I've thought about milling out my slickside and change over my bolt just for that reason.
 

Dustyplyr

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I’ve have/ had two of the Gibbz uppers and was not happy with the fit with either of them. Maybe cause they were lefty but there was a gap all the way front to back between the upper and lower. The second I bought as a set thinking they might hand pick them to fit but same slop. Managed to dial some out of the first with the Seekins tensioner and the other I put on a Radian lower that has a spring loaded tensioner I think. Gibbz said they were in spec...

View attachment 7291217
I have a couple gibz and would have demanded a return with a fit like that. All of mine have been tight.
 

Merle

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Young Manufacturing makes a solid side charge upper, and a National Match side charge BCG to fit. Reciprocating and RH, if that works for you, and very high quality.
I had a Young side charge upper and BCG and no matter how tight i got the charging handle it would loosen up after about 100 roinds or so. I even put blue loctite on it and it didn't make a difference.
 

sam4886

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My Gibbz fits my aero lower great. I love the side charge. The other option I was looking at was x-products, but they use a proprietary BCG.

Gibbz also makes the upper with a FA and dust cover if you want them. My buddy has that one and it also fits great. I think he's running on an aero lower as well.
 

CrabsandFootball

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Been shooting ars with optics for 20+ years i guess i dont see the point of a side charger. Just one more thing to go wrong, different manual of arms and non standard parts.

do people really have issues charging?
 

coyotewillie

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All my AR's wear scopes and the rear charging handle is the biggest pain in the ass there is with a scope. Regular scopes, not short optics
 
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JustBC

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I have several Fulton Armory reciprocating uppers for my SPR-like builds. They have great fit/finish. I prefer these by far to the charging handle setup. As someone else said, you don't have to come off the scope. It can be used for forward assist and it is handy if you ever get a real jam.
I am not sure I would want this setup in an AR that wasn't being used with a bipod though.
 

Rlb40x

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I built a Grendel pistol with a Gibbz. Mine fits tight and shoots very well. No gap even on a cheap Anderson lower.
No gas in the face and being able to retract the bolt and lock it with the same hand is nice.
I'm thinking about buying another for a future build.