Wilson Combat Now Offering Billet AR-15 Upgrade

Billet 3

Wilson Combat has been making several top of the line AR-15 variants for awhile now. They aren’t afraid to embrace unusual concepts that some would say are forward thinking, and others would dismiss as too oddball or unproven. Their 7.62×40 WT caliber grapples in seemingly hopeless direct competition with the .300 AAC Blackout. Their Recon SR, with a 14.7 inch barrel and permanently attached suppressor mount, is advertised as the shortest possible suppressed AR15 that is still a Title 1 (non-short barreled rifle) firearm. All of the Wilson guns are top quality builds with no expense spared and no corners cut. Bargain hunters looking to get a “good enough” rifle for a song and a dance are advised to look elsewhere.

Billet1

It should come as no surprise then, that Wilson is offering an upgrade package to their existing rifle packages, in the form of billet upper and lower receivers beautifully anodized in green or brown. If you just want a billet upper receiver, add a $200 premium. $400 gets you a matched billet upper/lower set. Carved from solid hunks of 7076-T6 aerospace aluminum, the receivers incorporate all sorts of trick features like EDM cut flared magwells and undersized bolt raceways. One feature they don’t have is a forward assist– Wilson Combat has decided that it’s nothing but a discredited liability in this day and age.

Billet 2

Normally, I would shrug at a $400 premium for fancy receivers on an AR. What’s the point, when most of us can’t shoot well enough to take advantage of any functionality difference between billet and standard receivers? But in this case, “why” turns to “why not?” When you are already melting your credit card on a Wilson Combat rifle featuring the latest, trickest, state of the art concepts executed using the best materials and workmanship money can buy, why skimp on a potential upgrade to critical components? These firearms are so advanced that they are starting to stretch the definition of what AR-15 type rifles are– they have moved so far from the Colt M16A1 of 40 years ago that they are really the children of Eugene Stoner’s design.

If you’re buying a new Ferrari, go ahead and get those optional wheels and tires. If you’re buying a Wilson Combat AR-15, go billet aerospace aluminum. You’ll have one of the best rifles of any type that any amount of money can buy.





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  • steve

    I wonder why they use 7076 instead of 7075-T6 (which is a lot more common in aerospace use). 7076 has a lower tensile strength, a lower shear strength, lower annealing/melting temperatures, and is more flexible.

    Looks really nice either way.

    • Ringo

      I would guess because it is easier to machine.

    • Zapp Brannigan

      The T6 following the 7076 designates the temper, not a different alloy. If you want regular 7076 to be tempered like the T6 version, just wait around for a year or so as aluminum age hardens.

      Yield strength isn’t important anyway as both the upper and lower receiver aren’t being pushed to their limits. The stiffness of the heat treated and non-heat treated aluminum is the same so in use there would be no difference.

      • steve

        I was talking about the 7075 vs 7076, but thanks for the heads up :)

    • Ian

      It’s a typo.

  • Tom-UK

    What is the difference between a billet and a non-billet?

    • Ben

      A billet receiver is machined out of a solid block of aluminum. Non billet receivers are forgings that are machined for the areas that need to be precise. Beyond peace of mind, there’s a little benefit in accuracy and a little better strength. Billet is still more or less a marketing term not only in the firearms industry, but just in general. Forged 7075 and a block of 7075 have essentially the same strength.

      • Tom-UK

        Hmm seems like a minimul ifference then, thank you very much for your informative reply sir.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Very true Ben realistically there’s very little difference for the price charged.

      • Gary Patterson

        is there any advantage of buying billet or the forged ones i got at http://gunpartsplus.com which state forged.

        • gunslinger

          are you a rep for GPP? every post you name drop/link them.

  • Jester

    Extra weight, less strength, and compatibility concerns and no ambidextrous controls? Yeah, I’ll pass. AXTS has an Ambi forged lower and Noveske offers a Flared Forged Lower. They sound like much better options.

    • Jester

      Correction, the AXTS lower is billet.

  • Matt

    Machining billet receivers in-house also means that WC will be less susceptible to spikes in demand that might make forged lowers difficult to source. I know that a local manufacturer out here has started producing billet receivers simply because they can’t get enough forgings to meet demand.