Gun Digest

R-10 Upper: Foundation Of A Lightweight AR-10 Build

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Tipping the scales at 1/2-pound, the Roam R-10 Upper keeps things light.

How The R-10 Upper Stacks Up:

Nothing new under the sun when it comes to AR-style rifles or, at least, that’s the popular opinion. Scratch the surface of the throngs of off-the-rack, mil-spec irons and there’s quite a different story percolating. Custom manufacturers around the country continue innovating and advancing the versatile designing milking efficiencies and perform from the standby iron once unimaginable. One of the most intriguing is Roam Rifles.

Situated in the wide-open spaces of North Dakota, the rifle-make made its niche in ultra-lightweight AR-10 options aimed at hunting. Then again, we’re a little biased here, given we were so impressed with the accuracy of Roam’s R-10 Great Plains we recommend it as one of the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifles. But we digress. The news out of the Peace Garden State lately is as intriguing, with Roam rifles moving from complete builds to components with the release of a lightweight upper receiver.

Dubbed the Roam R-10 Upper, the DPMS Gen 1-compatible receiver is the ideal starting point in a weight-saving build. At this point, we should spill the beans on Roam’s not-so-secret angle to weight savings—magnesium alloys. For those clutching pearls over the potential inflammability of the lightweight material, you can get away from your fainting couch. Yes, magnesium does have a lower ignition point than, say, aluminum in its pure state or certain alloys. According to Roam, its alloys will not catch fire until they melt—essentially breaking down the alloy’s matrix—which is at 1,100 degrees. Essentially, a shooter would have to set out to push a rifle or component to this point.

Roam offers two variations of the R-10 upper, with and without forward assist. The receiver features 1 7/16″-16 barrel-nut threads, a removable polymer brass deflector and a quick detach polymer dust cover. With the company’s forward assist system, the upper weighs in at 8.1 ounces, which Roam boasts makes for the lightest forward assist AR-10 upper on the market. Finally, the receiver is finished with Cerakote over Tagnite (anodic coating for magnesium alloys). As to cost, lightweight doesn’t come cheap. The MSRP on Roam’s R-10 Upper with forward assist is $280, its smooth side $260.

For more information on the R-10 Upper, please visit

Learn The AR-10 Inside Out:

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