Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Posts on ar15.com regarding Olympic Arms

Originally Posted By markm:

Originally Posted By Banzai:

I also stock Colts, BM, RRA, and AR.
Wanna know what the #1 most repaired AR15 in my shop is? OLYMPIC.
I don't sell them anymore.
Wanna know what the most repaired AR15 in my store is now? Still the OLYMPIC.
Wanna know what I've had to send Olys back for? You name it.
Wanna know how hard it is to get repair parts/replacement parts/financial reimbursement for shipping NEW guns back to OLY for warranty work as a gun dealer? IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!

Several distributors have even stopped carrying Olympic rifles because of the high reject rate once they get to the dealers.

They might, sometimes, take care of the individual owner, but as a dealer, I believe that they have a black list, and if you're on it, you're screwed.

I've actually had OLY on the phone with a customer in my shop, and they have actually told the guy that there was nothing wrong, and if he shipped it back, they would not fix it. The rifle had a broken bolt. Sheared off 2 lugs, broke at the cam pin hole, and damaged the bolt carrier.

I fixed it, with BM parts that were available to me at the time. I sent the bill to OLY, never got a response. Sold the debt off to a collection agency, along with all the other repairs that I had to do on OLY guns. Now, if an OLY comes in for repair, I advise the individual that it will cost them an open ended amount and get them to sign the estimate before I'll even touch it.

SHOT show 2002 I took them a box of the parts that I had replaced from their guns that I could not get reimbursement for.

I'll guarntee I've owned/handled/shot more OLYs since 1999 than you ever will, unless you work at Oly or a gun store.

There is, at best 15% profit in retail guns. Olys eat up my 15% on repair parts/shipping/gunsmith time almost as soon as they get unpacked. No more!

Now, about their issues, still "Pretty sure they have been resolved by now" ?????

Or is my post worthless, too?



Originally Posted By zoom:
..With my Oly lower, that jerk blamed the magazines even though my cast Oly lower was so out of spec that the back of an inserted magazine hits the bolt and keeps the bolt from closing. This was after trying about 30 different magazines at a gun show. None of them worked. Tom called me lazy since I was unwilling to modify all of the magazines I own rather than asking for an RMA #. I modified a couple of magazines anyway, but while shooting they'd still work their way upward to block the bolt. I've had that piece of junk for over five years, and I have never gotten anywhere towards getting them to honor their warranty. They just don't give a damn.z


Originally Posted By www-glock19-com:

We used to be a Oly dealer used to be the operative word

We had to send probably 25% of the cast plinkers we sold back for repair and probably 10% of the regular Olys

had about the same luck with DPMS

probably sold about 50 plinkers

The failure rate of the other better ( A ,B ,C ,RRA) brands is probably about 1% in my experence

and this guy

Originally Posted By MACE_Hardware:
My first AR was a CAR15 Oly kit. The bolt carrier was tight in the upper until I honed the upper. I figured it was a kit so I should not be upset about some fitting.


Originally Posted By AR15_Machine:
I bought an Oly Arms 15 years ago and after using it on 5 different occasions the bolt catch broke. The part looked like broken pot metal. Any way, Mine was bought 15 years ago at a gun show, perhaps the newer modles are of better quality forged uppers and lowers, where mine is clearly cast. My next one might be a stag, but not sure.

My Oly arms looks great and shoots very well, but I often wonder what is the next part that is going to bust.

And my good man, Hellhound.

Originally Posted By Hellhound:
I bought a NEW FACTORY < 16" Oly CAR back in 1993-1994, with a non-chrome barrel---I bought their marketing BS....

The barrel was shit.

Would jam (feeding and extraction) about 5 rounds into a mag and then jam about every 2.

Went through new springs for the extractor, the little o ring thingie, chamber brushing, new mags (USGI), everything imaginable....

I sold the barrel to someone who was going to use it for a .22 conversion, great idea for them.

I bought a chrome-lined RRA middie barrel, installed it on my Oly and have had 0 problems.

The other components of the gun are just fine, no problems there.

Spend a little more money and get a better barrel, it will save you a lot of aggravation.

Please don't make the same mistake I made.

another satisfied customer...

Originally Posted By tweeter:
I loved them so much I made an active effort to get rid of mine.

Like a relationship with a crazy woman, I could tolerate the flaws at first. Mostly because I got the results I was looking for, then the flaws became un-freaking-bearable.

I found out I could do a lot better... Oly got kicked to the curb.

and this...

Originally Posted By M4:
I used to live in Olympia WA...and after calling Oly Arms, drove out to check out their facility.

When I got there, a few things became rather clear.

1) Their "factory" looked like the set of Sanford & Son. (Absolutely NOT kidding)

2) Despite being told "Sure, come on down!" on the phone, when I got there, I was dealt with like I was Diane Feinstein by EVERYONE. One guy was pleasant and answered my questions...so not a total disaster, but the rest were pricks in general.

3) There was nothing and I mean NOTHING about their "facility" that looked suitable for manufacturing dog toys, let alone firearms.

If you never get a 2nd chance to make 1st impressions, Oly lost me COMPLETELY with that one.

and this sad tale...

Originally Posted By extxdpscamaro:
I bought a new plinker back in '04 since it was cheap and new. I also bought some Black Hills ammo and shot the first box of 20 fine the second box didn't go as fine. On my 32nd round I heard a loud "clank" inside of the plinker and so I pulled the mag, emptied the chamber, well, I tried to empty the chamber but couldn't. I tried to engage the safety and couldn't. I tried to break the rifle apart and couldn't. I eventually had to take off the stock and buffer tube. When I took the tube off, I found that the buffer and spring were inside the upper receiver. I took them out then was able to open the gun to see what was going on. The lower receiver broke right in front of the buffer retaining pin, throwing the retaining pin into the trigger grouping. I called Olympic and wanted to see what could be done and they say I would have to pay for shipping both ways and the armorers hourly rate was $55/hr. I told them that I wasn't happy and offered some stickers for my inconvenience. I have since parted the gun and washed my hands of the worst experience I've ever had with a firearm. I've then since owned RRA, Bushmaster, Armalite, DPMS, even Colt and would go back to them again and again. Learn from our COSTLY mistakes and be happier!

we're on a roll here:

Originally Posted By gmtmaster:
I sent a lower in to them for repair. Pin holes so mis aligned it wasnt even funny. Took them 3 MONTHS to tell me there was nothing wrong with it . But they replaced it anyway.

Different serial #.. Same exact problem. My dog...Can build a better gun.

pictures are worth 1000 words...

Originally Posted By Jetlag:


Tales of woe...

Originally Posted By Phessor:
I had one KABOOM on me with less then 300 rounds through it.
And then Oly lied about what caused the problem.
I will never own another one again.


Originally Posted By DFC:
OlY has been around for a long time, I used their receivers in the 80's to build machine guns. I can't tell you the amount of brand new rejected parts that were returned to OLY for replacement.
They are still in business!!!
I think there is a saying, kinda like. There's a fool born every minute of the day.
So if you are one.


Originally Posted By flyboy1910:
I've shopped at Prairie Arms. The owner recommended an Oly saying they " make best AR-15 on the market". Haven't been back, and I would not call them a reliable source of information. Pick up an Oly he had on the shelf and hand cycled it. Felt like the inner workings were lined with sand paper (not typical pre-break in either). Needless to say, I didn't buy it.


Originally Posted By Glockfan:
I owned one and never again a total pos and even worst service. These guys are scum in my opinion and will never get another dollar from me.


Originally Posted By Baldmonk:
Yes, they are that bad. How they stay in business is beyond comprehension. I have one. The only part left original OLY is the lower and even the parts kit has been changed out to a RRA match kit. Therefore the only part left original OLY is the stripped lower, which is the part that matters the least.

OLY = Caveat Emptor.

AR15fan shares his wisdom...

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Ive broke an oly forward assist, several bolt catches, a mag catch, wore out hammer springs, disconnector springs, extractor spring, dimpled firing pins, handguard that fitr with gaps, receiver end plates had the finish flake off and rust, frozen bolt catch detents, frozen safety detents.

I wont buy anotrher Oly product, ever. For budget parts i go with DPMS, Bushmaster & CMT. If i need better quality then that i buy Colt from Brownells or SAW.

MauserMark checks in...

Originally Posted By MauserMark:
I saw at a shoot here a bolt seperate. Don't remember which arfcom member's it was, but it seperated in use, and it was an Oly bolt.


Originally Posted By SHIPSNIPE1:
Yes, I do have the unfortunate experience of having owned some Oly products and did try to assemble a couple of their lowers for a friend once.

I learned the lesson.

The horror.

Originally Posted By LUGERMAN:
My Buddy bought one over my protest. On it's second outing with Winchester White box, the barrel seperated from the receiver.


Originally Posted By Aimless:
Blech, the one I saw broke it's bolt the first day it was fired.
You won't find a reputable gunsmith who works on ARs or an experienced carbine instructor who would recommend an Oly.


Originally Posted By deltaheavy:
Had (past tense) an Oly stripped cast lower that I was going to use for my first build. Had to take a file to the magazine well before it would accept USGI magazines. As in they had to be crammed and beaten into a stripped lower, not that they just wouldn't drop free. Offloaded that thing PDQ. Tried again with an A1 upper. Bushmaster and Colt bolt carriers bound up in the receiver. Could see the bright shiny marks in the upper where the carriers were rubbing. Also the takedown/pivot pin holes were mis-aligned (badly). That was the last time I ever even considered Oly as a source for AR15 parts of any kind. I stay far away now.

Amusing story.

Originally Posted By allestergrendel:
I had an Olympic arms lower I bought from their shop, and promptly got rid of it after letting it sit on my desk for a few weeks. The more I look at it the more problems I found! The threads in the back for the buttstock had numerous large ugly burrs, The finish was chipped in a few places and the Oly stamp on the side looked like shit.

Luck was in favor the day I traded it...I was at a gun show and fell in love with the superb Mega Gator lower. I watched a table that had a couple and when the head honcho stepped out for lunch I asked his less experienced co-hort how much he wanted for a swap for the Mega..."O there isn't really a big difference, I will do it for nothing! Just have to call it in is all..."

So we swapped, and I happened to walk back by the table a half hour later to hear him getting CHEWED out for doing the swap, and the owner happened to look up to see me and give me a glare like I had just shoved a toilet brush up his ass!

So put my lower together with a RRA 2 stage trigger and Oly lower parts thinking that the small stuff wouldn't be a big deal, but o was I wrong!! The safety selectory was POORLY made and had a lot of travel. If you had any contact with the selector when firing it wouldnt fire until you took the pressure off. I know you may be thinking "who the touches that while firing!!" But you shot from the prone unsupported or standing CQB position and tell me your finger doesnt graze the selector o so lightly..

Long story short: Oly arms parts are rough cut and caused me a vary real safety threat. I have handled there firearms at the shop and they are rough cut (you can see heavy straitions on thier bolt carriers) and fell like sand paper when you charge the weapon.

Go with someone else...In My Honest Opinion

Avoid Oly.

Originally Posted By phoenix27:
Yeah, I own an Oly and it is totally non-spec. You can't exchange it with anything but itself and hope that it works by itself with the parts that they put in it.

All of my Bushies, Colts and RRAs feature interchangeable parts (bolts, uppers, lowers, etc.). I tried doing that with my Oly and it was scary, nothing seems to fit on anyone else's platform. Of course Oly will tell you that their guns are the only ones in spec and that everyone else's is out of spec. Of course we all know that that is pure BS and has been well-documented to be just the opposite.

My Oly is a CAR-15 9MM. The finish is crap and the front sight post is off a bit, causing radical corrections on the rear sight post to get a zero. Their stated solution for this problem was to have me bang the crap out of the front sight post with a rubber mallet. As I mentioned, the parts don't exchange well with anyone else's ARs. I have shot 5K rounds thru mine and so far so good, but I dread the day something serious happens to it.

Best advice, avoid the Oly and get a used Bushy, RRA or Colt. At least with these, you can buy milspec aftermarket parts and know that they should fit okay.

The truth is always the easiest story to tell and this is total word up, bro.

Take his advice.

Originally Posted By CoffinNail:
Alright, my first mistake was ordering the Olympic Arms stripped lower. Thought what the hell, I can build a good gun on this platform. Used CMMG lower kit for internals. Stag Arms (commercial) tube and stock. The upper is a JT distributing 14.5 lightweight.

The problems soon began when I assembled the front take down pin. The pin would not fit at all. Used tried some other front take down pin I has lying around (RRA, Colt, Bushmaster) with the same result. Took a jewelers file to lowers hole and was able to get the pin to fit snug. Then when trying to insert the pin it seemed to hit the other hole a bit off center. Filed that a bit and the pin now fits. Assemble the upper and lower, beautiful fit. Insert a Brownells mag and it won't "fit" and it seems to rub on the inside of the upper. A few of the after market mags will fit but not drop free and have to be pulled out.

Now I'm out of ideas and looking for any and all ideas on how to fit this..

This guy gets it

Originally Posted By phoenix27:
+1 for us Oly suckers who got screwed. They will tell you that everyone else's parts are out of spec. Must be something funny in the water up in Washington state.

This guy wound up happy, but.

Originally Posted By advntrjnky:
i had the same problems with my Oly lower. it was a few years from when i bought it and built it. in that time i had other Oly parts that wore out premature and decided it wasn't worth my effort call them on their "lifetime warranty". i used it for a fixed carry handle .30 HRT build for deer hunting......it doesn't matter if my mag drops free or not while hunting. the upper and lower fit real tight, which makes it a nice quiet rifle in the woods. overalll I'm happy with how it turned out. build it into something!


Freefall knows what he is talking about:

Originally Posted By FREEFALLE7:
I had the same issue with mine.

The takedown pin holes were off as well as the rear detent pin hole.

It was obvious that a blind monkey made it, so I sent it back for a full refund.

I cost me shipping, the FFL fee and a week of being pissed off.

I got a RRA lower instead.

For the headache I endured I will never buy Olympic again.

Good luck I hope things work out.



Originally Posted By BSheppard:
I have owned two oly lowers before I knew better. They were both out of spec so bad that Thermolds would not fit. The finish was so bad I had to refinish both. Oly is the lowest of the low IMO. I would take a ASA or Hess or Vulcan over an Oly anyday.


Originally Posted By 45undude:
I recently ordered a 7.62X39 barrel from Oly. When it arrived, I was surprised to see a post-ban barrel. I called them and asked why they sent this instead of a pre-ban barrel. First I was told, "That's what you ordered off the website." When I responded to the person to whom I was speaking,"No, I ordered it over the phone and you were the very one who took the order", he said, "well, many states still have laws prohibiting them", I asked how many and why did he think I wanted one in Louisiana? Then he said that the website had a selection for post-ban or pre-ban. We got on the website together and, lo, all of the pictures were pre-ban and no mention of post-ban . I then asked if they had a pre-ban in stock? Of course not. I then asked if they would thread it properly. I was then told it could be weeks since the machine, barrel and machinist had to "come together. What a crock!"
It is the last time I will order from Oly. Their customer service is non-existant. Rather than saying they made a mistake, they tried to make it seem as if I made the mistake (well, I did. I ordered from them) and then would not even offer to take the barrel back and thread it. He did say that it appeared that the website was in error and he "would tell someone about it."
Now, I have to get it threaded. A word to the wise - be careful if you order from them - you may not get what you want.


Originally Posted By PursuitSS:
Sunday a group of us got together to shoot, a "friend of a friend" brought his new Olympic Arms AR. He complained that the safety wouldn't rotate to safe. He informed me that originally the safety DID work but after firing several magazines the safety would no longer go to safe.

I offered to check it out, upon beginning to disassemble the carbine I found several LARGE steel shavings in the trigger group area. It appeared that they had came off of the hammer and trigger.

The sear engagement on the hammer was POORLY cast and after machining had less than a 40% engagement with the trigger. The front of the trigger where it is machined to engage the hammer was also less than stellar!

I changed the parts out to new Rock River trigger components and the problem was solved, it sure appears that Olympic has a very lax QA/QC.



Originally Posted By Baldmonk:
Have 1. Bought new in 1993. Every item on the gun has been replaced due to failure except the lower and even the LPK has been replaced. The barrel bore was even off center. When the barrel heated up it would walk bad to the 3 o'clock position.

SO YES, I have a great deal of experience in the crap they produce.


Originally Posted By M4Madness:
A guy down the road from me bought a brand new Oly. Before he finished the third 30-round mag, the upper receiver blew apart, and the lower was cracked down both sides. Oly refused to warranty it because he was using Wolf ammo, so he lost a new AR-15 without any compensation.


Originally Posted By tamu94:
Here are some stats that involve myself, family, and friends:
2 Olys - Total crap. You cant fire more than half a mag without a FTE and having to use a cleaning rod to knock it out. Chamber is out of spec on both (even if you use .223 ammo)! Muzzle break fell off one also. Take down pins look like they were machined by a troll (so does the front site), hand guard doesn't have a heat shield, incorrect front site on one requires extra tall site post and it still is almost backed all the way out ..... Get the picture?

We warned the Oly buyers - you get what you pay for. Sure, they put out some that work but why take the risk? If you intend to actually use the gun as a weapon instead of a safe queen you would be crazy to rely upon an Oly.


  1. Posts by rychencop:

    well for all the non believers, we qualified today and 3 of the dept.'s "new" Olympic Arms AR's had several failures to eject and misfeeds. we shoot winchester white box for quals. i will say it once again...these AR's are a POS and peoples lives are on the line using them. and just for clarification a majority still are issued M16A1's, so it's not like 3 out of 200 rifles had malfunctions. there were only 10 OA rifles shooting today.

    just thought i would throw that out there. it surely does not pay to buy crap weapons just to save a few $$.

    they have had several issues with them. unfortunately our procurement dept. usually has final say in what get's purchased. anything to save a buck until someone dies. one of the main problems is they never really trained some of these guys on maintenance. you would be shocked at how many don't know how to break an AR down for cleaning. it's all they can do to break down their handguns. it's scary...really!

  2. Well, I think I should say up front that my experience with Olympic Arms dates back to the early 1990's. I should also say up front that as an FLL (at that time) I bought several hundred lowers. All at about the same time. These were bad times in The Peoples Republik of Kalifornia. Olympic Lowers were "OK" with the State at that time.

    What I received over a three month period was comprised of roughly 2/3 Forged lowers, and 1/3 Cast Lowers. Fortunately for me, I was able to get them to swap out the Cast lowers for Forged.

    Once that was completed, I used lower parts kits from "Quality Arms", AKA Bush Master. I took some work, but we quickly developed a process to "finish" the uppers using correctly sized reamers, and some custom made "centering" blocks so that the operations could be completed on a drill press.

    Why go to all of that trouble? Simply because we knew what the defects were, and because we paid about $41.00 in cash for the Lowers, and because due to the laws at that time, we just did not have that many choices available to us.

    The final step was to vibrate them in a home made vibratory cleaner (comprised of a 55 gallon drum and a lot of ingenuity) that was purpose made by a retired Marine Gunny and three SeaBees.... Then, they got re-Parked. End result was a nice looking piece, with a very durable Park finish (Very BLACK) that would take a "Mil-Spec" Lower Parts Kit with little or no fitting required. In short, we fixed all of Olympic Arms fuck-ups.

    We sold all of these. I kept one until late 2012, at which point I transferred it to my Brother. Never had any problems out of it.

    The Moral of the story is this: Olympic has never seen another dollar of business out of me. I made a little bit of profit out of the exchange, and I was able to employ some really good folks and build up a nice little business that adapted very well to new things. I try like hell to find the good, and not dwell on the bad. In this case, I learned one very valuable lesson: Always have a "Perfect Example" of a firearm if you are going to dabble with a clone. Colt was my "perfect example". Just sayin for full disclosure...

    BTW: The Magazine well issue is easily solved with an inexpensive articulating belt sander; one of the hand held ones will work fine. you only need to remove a couple of hundredths of an inch to resolve it. Mark up an old mag with dychem, insert it several times, and the high spots show themselves. "Buff" down with the little belt sander, and "Viola"! An in-spec Magwell!

    Anything can be fixed. Sad that so many nice folks get forced into this by a piss poor company, doing a piss poor job, and all along the way blaming their customers. How these folks stay in business is beyond me.