Best AR-10 Upper Receivers of 2020 – An Overview

Best AR-10 Upper Receivers

An AR-10 rifle is pretty good by itself, but many users may be interested in enhancing its functionality through accessories. If you are such a user, you’re at the right place! This article will be a good read for you by improving your AR-10 through the upgrade of your upper receiver. Be it for target shooting, deer hunting or any other purposes, investing in a solid AR-upper receiver will not only improve the accuracy and speed of your rifle, but also its lifespan.

Upper ReceiversNameEditor’s CommentRatingGet The Deal
CMMG, INc Banshee 100 Series Upper Receiver Group

Most Recommended Option

1. Forged 7075-T6 aluminum
2. Lifetime quality guarantee
3. Good customer support

10/10Check Current Price
Aero Precision M5E1 .308 Barrel Complete Upper Receiver

Premium Option

1. Superb precision
2. Competitive shooting
3. Forged aluminium construction

9.5/10Check Current Price
Stag Arms AR-10 ..308 Stag 10S Upper Receiver1. Both QCQ and long range shooting
2. Great customer support
3. Lifetime warranty
9.0/10Check Current Price
Cross Machine Tool 308 AR Stripped Billet Upper & Lower Receiver Set1. Thick walls
2. Supports most Mil Spec parts
3. Left hand ejection system
8.5/10Check Current Price
Aero Precision M5.308 Upper Receiver1. Great quality fit and finish
2. Aesthetically pleasing
3. Forged aluminium construction
8.0/10Check Current Price
PSA Gen3 PA10 20″Rifle-Length Stainless Steel Lightweight M-Lok Upper1. Aesthetically pleasing
2. Heat and corossian resistance
3. Anti-slip and anti-rotation handguard
7.5/10Currently unavailable
​​PSA GEN3 PA10 18″ Mid length stainless steel .308 classic upper1. Heat and corossian resistance
2. Aesthetically pleasing
3 Anti-slip and anti-rotation handguard
7.0/10Currently unavailable

Introduction to the AR-10 Upper Receiver

The upper receiver of an AR-10 rifle is basically its upper part. It is one of the most important parts of a rifle as it is usually made of the key components such as barrel, sight, top rail and charging handle. The two designs of AR-10 receivers on the market are the flat top and carry handle. The build of upper receivers of AR 10s may also vary. Besides, the upper receiver can also either be manufactured in two types of finishes: stripped with no parts included, or fully assembled.

Flat Top vs Carry Handle (Design)

The flap top design comes with a wide range of customization options. This results in greater versatility as users can opt for the addition of accessories such as a laser or scope.

Carry handle on the other hand is not as widely used nowadays due to a more limited customization. For example, mounts and adapters are necessary for the addition of scopes. The rear sight assembly may also cause a hassle for certain users.

However, regardless of whether your preference is for a flat top or carry handle design upper, something important to ensure is that there is a forward assist button feature. It will be good to keep this in mind as the forward assist will allow you to load the next round into the chamber without creating a loud clicking sound from the charging handle.

High Profile vs Low Profile (Profile)

High profile AR-10 upper receivers have a top portion with 3/16” width whereas the charging handle is .210 tang. These are the older versions of the AR-10 upper receiver.
Low profile versions have greater versatility and are slicker, widely known as DPMS style receivers. The top portion is 1/8″ in width whereas the charging handle is .150” tang.

Forged vs Billet vs Cast vs Polymer (Build)

The build of AR-10 uppers vary depending on the construction methods and techniques. This results in a difference of its durability and robustness. The options include forged, billet, cast and polymer.

Out of all the materials, forged metal is typically considered to be the greatest in strength and durability. Therefore, a forged AR-10 upper is also said to be the strongest as it is constructed by treated aluminum. In this process, the forged metal is molded into the upper receiver shape.

Billet uppers may not have the strength of a forged upper, but they are more pleasing in an aesthetic way. Not only that, they also thrive in terms of shot precision, suitable if you are looking to improve your shot accuracy. This is because they are CNC machined from a billet block itself.

Polymer receivers are pretty new to the rifle market. They are very lightweight with most units weighing half as that of forged or billet options. They are also the most affordable kind of receiver you can get your hands on.

Cast receivers are constructed from raw aluminum which provides strength and consistency to the receiver. However, these upper receivers can potentially suffer defects during the cooling process of its construction which are microscopic. This could potentially amplify under pressure.

Complete vs Stripped Upper (Finish)

The two finishes that uppers are available in are complete and stripped upper receivers. The complete upper finish comes with a forward assist button and ejection port. This forward assist button is helpful for users who are looking to save time. In contrast with the complete upper, the stripped upper finish on the other hand is suitable for users who enjoy customized rifle accessories although most of them don’t come with forward assist option.

6 Best AR-10 Upper Receivers – Evaluated

In this article, we will review the 7 best AR-10 upper receiver in our opinion. A problem you may be facing in your search is that AR-10 upper receivers may be less in options than that of AR-15. Therefore, we have put together information on a couple of uppers below for you to look through and assist in your comparison to make the best upgrade for your AR-10!

1. Aero Precision M5.308 Upper Receiver

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Pros

  • Great quality fit and finish
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Fair price
  • Easy installation
  • Comes with forward assist

Cons

  • None

The first on this list is one of our best AR-10 upper receiver recommendations for you is the Aero Precision M5.308. It is known to be a top model in the market for the value you get out of it. Plenty of customers have great reviews on this product.

At the price point offered, users can enjoy plenty of benefits such as the high quality, great features, the billet aesthetic look, and consistent dimensions. If you are interested in an upper receiver that not only works great but also looks great, this upper is considered the top pick.

Besides, this stripped upper is forged from 7075-T6 aluminum which gives it a lightweight build that also has great durability. Each handguard also has an anodized finish which enhances resistance against any abrasion or corrosion.

This high profile upper receiver certainly worked well with the other lowers that we tried it out on. However, since it is high profile, you will need to note that not all free float handguards may fit.
The product comes with a forward assist and port door pre-installed for easy and fast installing. We really enjoy the forward assist screw in place of a drift pin. Furthermore, attachments of any scope, laser or other accessories to this upper receiver can be done easily.

Overall, the Aero Precision M5.308 is one of the most cost effective upper receivers available. In fact, it is the most affordable one on this list. If you are on a budget, this upper may be the best pick for you. For its price, you can experience a solid build, good quality and great looking upper receiver for your rifle unit. This upper is a great pick that will work for everyone wanting a smoother shooting experience while enjoying a sleek style to their weapon.

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2. Aero Precision M5 E1 .308 Barrel Complete Upper Receiver

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Pros

  • Superb precision
  • Great for competitive shooting
  • Comes with forward assist

Cons

  • Costly

The Aero Precision M5 E1 .308 upper receiver is another top pick that has gained popularity thanks to the precision that it offers to shooters. In their reviews, customers have stated that they could not be happier with the accuracy of this upper receiver.

The M5 E1 .308 is suitable for shooters who are familiar with the AR-15 yet may want something with a little more range.
This upper receiver will come with a forward assist and port door installed, as well as the handguard mounting platform forged right into the receiver. This forward assist provides ease of use.

It also has an awesome fit and assembles nicely. The more aggressive lines on the upper receiver and new rail gives off a more solid feel in the hand. The Ergo Grip is also likely to appeal to those who have preference towards thinner profile and a rubberized texture when gripping.

This option is also constructed by 7075-T6 aluminum for added strength which at the same time will not weigh you down in the field. Hence, this model is also suitable for use in shooting competitions and hunting. It does not overheat after several rounds of fire and maintains its performance.

Furthermore, users will enjoy a Gen 2 enhanced handguard which supports accessory attachment such as optics and lights. The Gen 2 enhanced handguard features built in anti-rotation tabs, scalloped rails, as well as is compatible with low profile gas blocks.

When reviewing the cons of this upper receiver, the only thing we noted is that this option is on the pricier side. However, it will be worth your money due to the ability to perform well.

The bottom line is, if you are looking to upgrade your gun in terms of its accuracy, the Aero Precision M5E1 complete upper receiver is one of the best upper receiver to look into. For shooters or hunters searching for a reliable competition barrel, this will also greatly enhance your shooting performance in the field.

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3. Stag Arms AR-10 .308 Stag 10S Upper Receiver

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Pros

  • Perfect combination for both CQC and longe range shooting
  • Great customer support
  • Transferable lifetime warranty

Cons

  • None

The Stag Arms AR-10 .308 Stag 10S Upper Receiver is indeed one of the best AR-10 uppers in the market. Its construction is of 4150 steel with a Manganese Phosphate finish. The receiver is forged 7075 T6 Aluminum with type three hard coat anodizing. The half inch skeletonized lock allows users to attach what they need without any excess weight.

The chromed-lined barrel is button rifled with a VG6 Gamma 762 compensator which makes it very easy to control. The compensator does a great job in keeping shooters on target, although it is quite a blast for anyone standing next to the shooter.

Additionally, it is also famous for working pretty good for long range shooting, and also feels great for close-range defensive CQC (close quarters combat). People interested in the best of both worlds should look into this more. Furthermore, this functionality makes the Stag 10s a good pick for hunting.

Furthermore, take note of their transferable lifetime warranty so you can take advantage of it if this upper receiver shows any malfunctions. A real example would be, the failure to feed and eject six total instances over just a hundred rounds is seemingly unacceptable. Therefore, the customer returned it to Stag thanks to the warranty, where Stag sorted any issues out quickly for them.

Hence, another plus point is the great customer support provided by Stag. Should you face any difficulties, you can reach out to the team which will extend friendly and helpful services to all customers.

The bottom line is that if you are looking for a versatile upper receiver which enhances shooting for both close quarters and long distances, or if you are a hunter, we recommend really considering the Stag 10s as it is worth the investment of your money.

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4. PSA Gen3 PA10 20” Rifle-length .308 Stainless Steel Lightweight M-Lok Upper

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Greater heat and corrosion resistance
  • Anti-slip and anti-rotation

Cons

  • None

The PSA AR-10 is suitable for people who want some options in terms of gas system, handguards and barrel length. With the improvements made by PSA through the release of Gen3 accessories, this .308 Lightweight M-lok upper will better assist PSA AR-10 users with the functionality of their PSA rifle.

The Gen3 models have been enhanced in order to bring greater reliability and durability to the PSA AR platform. This includes better heat and corrosion resistance thanks to the black nitride stainless gas tube which also maintains its glossy black finish.

Besides, the upper receiver also comes with dimpled barrels for ease of gas block replacement if users choose so. This upper is machined from aluminum forgings of 7075-T6, with a 416R stain less steel for the barrels. A 7075 T6 charging handle is also included!

Other features that benefits users include a toolcraft PA10 bolt carrier group (BCG) with extra power extractor springs, barrel nuts which are properly torqued to military specifications as well as a handguard which is anti-slip and anti-rotation, providing a stronger hold on it.

In the matter of function across different Gen, the Gen3 PA10 receivers are compatible with the Gen1 and Gen2 upper receiver. However, we advice the assembly of Gen3 lowers to match with Gen3 uppers for the best look and performance.

Lastly, you may also want to take note that the difference with AR15 is that the AR10 platform typically doesn’t share common design between manufacturers. This will lead to subtle differences in parts kits of different kinds of manufacturers.

5. Cross Machine Tool Co 308 AR Stripped Billet Upper & Lower Receiver Set

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Pros

  • Thick walls
  • Most Mil Spec parts supported
  • Left hand ejection system
  • Compatible with LR 308

Cons

  • Lacks forward assist

The Cross Machine Tool Co 308 AR Stripped BIllet Upper and Lower Receiver Set is a great place to start your .308 rifle build. It is compatible with a great variety of LR 308 components and handguards.

The Cross Machine Tool Co set is also great for someone wanting an upper receiver which supports both DPMS and AR-10 parts. This is because the upper has a picatinny rail which allows it to be compatible with the DPMS platform.

Besides, thanks to its thick walls, the upper receiver has great durability, made of 7075 billet machined aluminum. It is the billet machined design that offers great precision and accuracy. The features also include 1913 picatinny rail flat top.

One thing we like is that this upper and lower set supports most Mil Spec parts. It is easy to use and blends in with any Mil-Spec lower. However, it is recommended to use the Cross Machine Tool lower for greater accuracy of shots. The receiver set includes takedown pin detent spring retention screw and a Mil-Spec hardcoat anodized finish.

This AR-10 upper receiver also includes a left hand ejection system. This is a great feature which is inclusive of left handed shooters. The user will not face lots of gas hitting their face when in action. Besides, the grip offered is also firm.

Overall, this Cross Machine Tool upper and lower receiver set allows you to kill two birds with one stone if you want both receivers. This upper and lower set is a great purchase for someone planning to build an AR-10 rifle by themselves. It also has a picatinny rail for those who prefer it and it is compatible with DPMS high profile style .308 handguards. The upper is also a great option for left handers with its durable ejection system although it doesn’t come with a forward assist button.

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6. PSA Gen3 PA10 18” Mid-length .308 Classic Upper

Pros

  • Greater heat and corrosion resistance
  • Anti-slip and anti-rotation handguard

Cons

  • None

The PSA Gen3 mid-length .308 classic upper has pretty much similar benefits to that of the Lightweight M-lok upper reviewed above. Both models enjoy great durability and longevity, due to improvements made by PSA experts that have raised the standards.

The mid-length classic upper looks different than the rifle-length upper, however it still appears aesthetically pleasing. They are also different in the barrel length in terms of inches, and the gas systems of mid-length and rifle-length.

Furthermore, the gas block type differs. For this mid-length .308 classic upper, the gas block type is a front sight base. For the rifle-length lightweight M-lok upper, it is a low-profile 5 position click switch adjustable gas block.

This PSA mid-length .308 classic upper receiver includes a toolcraft PA10 bolt carrier group (BCG) with extra power extractor springs, barrel nuts which are properly torqued to military specifications as well as the handguard which are anti-slip and anti-rotation, providing stronger gripping on it.

Besides, the bolt carrier group extractor springs have extra strength and are treated with nitride for increased durability. A 7075 T6 aluminum charging handle is also included.

Generally, the Gen3 PA10 receivers are compatible to function with Gen1 and Gen2 uppers. However, we advice the assembly of Gen3 lowers to match with Gen3 upper receiver assembly for the best look and everything overall.

All in all, the release of the Gen3 upper receiver is a great decision by PSA which has raised the standard of the receivers. Not only is the style of this upper is great, it enhances the quality and accuracy of shooters when put to good use.

7. CMMG, Inc Banshee 100 Series Upper Receiver Group

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Pros

  • Forged 7075-T6 aluminum M4 upper
  • Hard coat anodized
  • Lifetime quality guarantee

Cons

  • Costly

The CMMG Inc Banshee 100 series upper receiver group is a great pick. It is light and yet sturdy and reliable. With its construction of forged 7075-T6 aluminum, this M4 upper receiver has great durability.

It is also a hard coat anodized receiver. This coat protects the aluminium, giving it greater quality and increases its resistance towards corrosion. It also allows the upper receiver to maintain its aesthetic design for a long time.

Furthermore, all upper groups by CMMG come with a bolt carrier group. They also come with a charging handle. This is an essential part of the upper receiver which enables users to move the bolt to the rear when cocking in a smooth manner.

All CMMG products are also covered under the Life time Quality Guarantee. This is protection for us buyers against any defects in material or workmanship. CMMG is invested into providing the best Ar-10 upper receiver experiences to users and hence will repair or replace any parts at no cost to customers should any defects be found.

In addition, if you come across any issues or require assistance, you will find the CMMG customer support to be helpful to assist you. You can visit the official website to contact the team through a Tech Support form and they will get back to you.

The bottom line is that although this product in fact costs more, all its components will work well to serve your AR-10 rifle needs. You can also be reassured with your money due to the lifetime quality guarantee offered by CMMG to ensure the qualities of their products.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, upgrading your AR-10 with an upper receiver will allow you to replace important parts of your gun. This is one way of enjoying a “new” rifle without actually investing in a brand new one, as it will come with a new rifle experience for you.

The top upper options above all come with great features, durability and overall quality performance for the enhancement of your AR-10. Therefore, you will just need to go forward with one that you feel will satisfy your needs the best!

Make sure to go through their pros and cons, and most of all consider the important components which are the design, profile, build and finish of the upper receiver when making your choice. In this manner, you won’t go wrong in choosing the best AR-10 upper receiver for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is different between the AR-10 and the AR-15?
The most obvious point that is different between AR-10 and 15 is their calibers. The calibers used by the AR-10 is the .308/7.62×51 while the 15 uses .223/5.56×45. Apart from that, the parts also have different sizes. The components of the AR-10 are typically bigger in size than on the AR-15, such as the lower receiver. The magazine wall of the AR-10 is also bigger in order to fit a larger bullet round.

Q: Can parts of the AR-10 and AR-15 be interchangeable?
Yes. Due to their similar design, some parts can be interchangeable, but not all. However, it may be challenging to find compatible parts. For instance, some companies may create the original AR-10 rifle, but others may use a DPMS format instead. This becomes a barrier to interchange parts. Generally, some parts that are interchangeable include the trigger, trigger springs, buffer detent, pistol grips and release buttons and springs for mags.

Q: Are the charging handles the same for AR-10 and AR-15?
No. Although some parts can be interchangeable, charging handles are not. They are specifically built according to the individual calibers and hence are not compatible to be interchanged.

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