Forged vs Billet AR15 Receiver
Which is better, Forged or Billet AR-15 Uppers?
This is very commonly asked and often stirs debate. Forged aluminum offers an improvement in strength. Forged pistons are exclusively used in high performance motors - not billet. Forged aluminum wheels are stronger and lighter. As opposed to cast or billet, Forged wheels are the industry standard on many cars now. Billet is usually machined with extra, luxury looks, or attractive features like integral winter trigger guards, flared magwells, etc. They also typically carry a higher cost. Is it worth the cost? This is user preference, but I personally prefer a forged receiver over a billet receiver due to the lower weight, higher strength, and lower cost.
Which is stronger, Forged or Billet Uppers?
Forging aluminum "workhardens" or improves the material. Grain structure flow will always be optimized in a forging for the weakest section of the design parameters. This enhances strength over Billet. Billet uppers can be built as strong in flex as forged - but the cross section will need to be thicker, and the overall part will weigh more. They don't make billet carabiners (climbing gear) for a good reason. Forgings are STRONGER, but Billet is strong enough with additional material in key places and sexier :-).