In this review, Jody Lewis builds an AR using the Spartan-15 Lower Receiver from Joe Bob Outfitters.
I’m a firm believer that for the most part, you get what you pay for. So, when I see a to-good-to-be-true price on something with great specs I’m usually very skeptical. As a self-proclaimed AR-15 connoisseur, when I saw the 7075-billet receiver being offered under the Joe Bob Outfitters brand for only $119.95, I figured it was most likely junk!
Joe Bob Outfitters is a Veteran-owned online type 07 FFL located in Hays, Kansas. They sell everything you can imagine for the AR platform as well as ammo and optics.
Being a long time customer of Joe Bob’s, I’ve always found them to have great service, fair prices and they offer free shipping, which is a recipe for disaster when you have the AR bug. The only other company I order more from is Rainier Arms.
For a $120, I had nothing to lose in trying out this lower and my curiosity was maxed considering most comparable lowers are double the price. I ordered the lower on a Monday and it was at my FFL within 4 business days. That’s pretty fast processing and makes me think they must have shipped it on the same day I ordered it.
The lower came packaged in a non-descript cardboard box. Upon opening the box, the first thing I noticed was the anodizing. It is advertised as having a “Deep Black” MIL-A-8625 Type III Hard Anodizing. Mine was far from deep black and appeared more like Parkerizing with a rough finish. I should mention that I’m pretty critical and very picky about finish and everyone I show the lower to thinks it looks awesome. I’m used to the finish on MEGA Arms products, which is super smooth and very deep black. However, rubbing some FrogLube on the new lower definitely boosted the finish and appearance.
I was pleasantly surprised at the detail and features the lower exhibited. The machining work is pretty good although there were some slightly visible machining marks on the magazine well. The added features you don’t see on a lot of lowers makes up for it though, such as the 45-degree selector compatible, captured screw type detent and bolt release pins, upper to lower tension adjustment and of course the inscription “Molon Labe”, which means “come and take” in Ancient Greek.
The true test would be how it went together and what the tolerances were like. Obviously it is a billet design and is not going to be mil-spec, so I choose to compare it to a MEGA lower since they’re truly one of the best lowers, if not “THE” best.
Using a set of cheap dial calipers, I measured the pin holes, trigger pocket, buffer tube and magazine well, and compared to the MEGA it was nearly spot on with the MEGA exhibiting minutely tighter tolerances. Next, I tried forged and billet uppers from 10 difference manufacturers and all of them fit very well, not to loose or tight. And we had the same results with the magazines. Magpul, Lancer, Colt, Troy and HERA all seemed to fit well and engaged the bolt and magazine release properly.
Building the lower was pretty straight forward and went pretty fast considering there are not any roll pins to install. I choose a JP lower parts kit with a CMC drop-in trigger. Installation was smooth and boring with nothing out of the ordinary.
Why is this lower so cheap? I can’t answer that because its worth every penny of $120, if not more. That could be why Joe Bob’s recently raised the price $10, but even at $130 it is a steal.
I paired the lower with my Rainier Arms RUC upper and took it to the range for some testing. I fed it 4 full mags of ammo without any issue. I would certainly recommend this lower if a perfect anodized finish is not important to the consumer, as the features versus cost benefit are off the charts.
Joe Bob’s also offers a matching Spartan upper receiver, which oddly enough is twice the price of the lower, so go figure. If you don’t find them in stock, consider other dealers as you’ll probably find them in-stock elsewhere.
Here’s how I score this review of the Spartan Billet Lower Receiver, with 5 being the best:
Fit Quality: 4.5 | Finish Quality: 3.0 | Features: 5.0 | Value: 5.0