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Discussion Starter #1
Gas piston AR’s are all the rage today and just about everyone has the magic cure all for all the AR’s ills. So what’s your take on these, do you like them or dislike them? If you like them, which one(s) do you like? I’ll start…

Dislike for a number of reasons.

First- They’re not real, and by that, I mean, they’re not in regular front line military service with any major military organization. To me, in the hands of special operators doesn’t count, it needs to be in the hands of front line grunts who will neglect their weapon horrendously.

Next – Parts, we’re now adding more moving parts and those parts are non-standardized; meaning you have to go to the original manufacturer for replacements…and what if that manufacturer no longer exists?

Last – That’s not how the AR was designed. All of the designs I’ve seen have a rod pushing on a stop (for lack of a better term) that replaces the gas key. This means the bolt carrier is now being pushed from the top of the carrier instead of the center as designed. This means the bolt carrier gets some tilt induced into its travel now. Honestly, I don’t know if this really causes an issue, or much of an issue, but until I know for sure, it is a point of concern.

For the most part, I really think the AR should be used as designed. This means using ammunition that employs the correct propellant, and clean the weapon often. I think most AR problems can be traced to bad magazines, improper maintenance, improper ammunition, and after-market/sub-standard parts. I’ve seen countless problems created by the so called drop in match triggers. These may be fine for the range, but they are not something you want on a fighting rifle.

So what say you, for or against the gas piston AR’s?
 

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I've got a piston gun. Here's my take:

1) Yeah, they're not in use by Big Army, but they are being used in theater (well, at least mine is). It's not the fault of these manufacturers that their rifles aren't being used by guys doing full spectrum stuff - Colt's had that market wrapped up (in one manner or another) for decades. Other companies still get to play, but at a reduced level.

2) Absolutely correct. No disagreement there.

3) Not an issue. I like the way mine runs. It's easier to clean, doesn't suffer from gas blowback or other heat issues, and did I mention that it's a lot easier to clean? :lol: Seriously, no evidence of carrier tilt in my gun, but I'm running a slightly different carrier that the norm (my BCG actually has a solid version of a DI gas key on top of the carrier's main body, meaning it's essentially following the same "path" as a DI version).

Overall, piston guns excel in:
- Short barrelled rifles
- full auto rifles
- suppressed rifles

In other areas, a DI gun still answers the mail just fine. Having said that, though - the M16 family has been the primary arm of US troops for coming up on FIFTY YEARS. Does anyone besides me think it's time for something different?
 

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Kevin Gibson said:
Next - Parts, we're now adding more moving parts and those parts are non-standardized; meaning you have to go to the original manufacturer for replacements…and what if that manufacturer no longer exists?
I like standardized stuff that has been around for years or decades, for which standardized parts are available everywhere, and cheap, too. Does that tell the story? :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ArmyCPT said:
...the M16 family has been the primary arm of US troops for coming up on FIFTY YEARS. Does anyone besides me think it's time for something different?
Show me something that's significantly better that justifies the change and I'm in. So there's the rub, the M16 is a hard act to follow. When compared against new designs, we begin to see that the M16 isn't nearly as "un-reliable" as detractors claim, it's as accurate or more accurate than the latest & greatest, and the human engineering is about as good as it gets. So when you add in a different weapon, you're not necessarily getting more reliability, especially since most new designs still use that lousy M16 30 round magazine. You're not getting more accurate, and you're probably not proposing a rifle that intrinsically easier for a soldier to hit with. So then, what are we getting?

This is why the M16 hasn't been replaced. At the fundamental levels, no one has made an improvement significant enough to justify the change.

When things like a folding stock, field swappable barrels, cartridge change, etc. become a field necessity, then the M16 will be dumped in a New York minute. But these things have never proven to be a battlefield necessity.
 

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Kevin Gibson said:
...cartridge change....
To me, that would be the most important reason to move on from the AR/M16 weapon system. I cannot IMAGINE procuring a "new" rifle and staying with the 5.56 and the M16 magazine.

That would be, IMHO, like designing a new jet fighter at any time from about 1950 on and building it around the .30-cal Browning machine gun. Not even the .50--the .30. :evil:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As a general purpose cartridge, I think the 5.56 is excellent mostly because most anyone can be taught to shoot it well with a minimum of practice. But there are often times when a general use cartridge is NOT what the doctor ordered. The ability to either swap weapons or swap cartridges would be very nice. I know if I’m street fighting in the middle east, then I would want something like the 7.62x39 or the 6.8 SPC. If I’m in the wide open spaces of the desert, I’ll take a .308 or perhaps something even larger. If I were in a more modern, urbanized environment such as a US or European city, then the 5.56 would be just what the doctor ordered. Of if I were headed to who knows where, to do who know’s what; I’ll take the 5.56 because it does everything fairly well and you can carry oodles of rounds.
 

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I've heard of the gas piston AR's and read articles about them. The carrier tilt problem has reared its head from what little I've heard on other websites. The problem may be solvable with a better design, I suppose ... but then there's one more iteration of parts out there.
As the owner of a M4orgery standard DI type I am not ready to invest in yet another AR.
I actually already invested in a piston "AR" -- I bought a Sig 556. This piston style gun, derived from the Sig 500 series rifles (which seem inspired by the Kalashnikov AK47) embody all their own good points .... and bad. It's nose heavy, and not as "modular."
I basically think the piston ARs aren't really the best answer. Stoner designed the AR as a DI gun, and while many disdain the gun for "[email protected] where it eats," really, if it is maintained it actually does work. The Sig 556 works. It doesn't [email protected] where it eats but you do have to pull the piston & tube and clean that ... so what's the difference, really?
I also have an M-1 Carbine and while the short-stroke tappet is remarkably trouble free it still has it's particular quirks like any gun. Even the Garand had teething problems.
So basically I say, so far as gas piston ARs: I dislike. Not with a raging vengeance. Maybe they'll perfecct it. But will all makers adopt the "fix" to the tilt ... or develop their own?
My AR can use BCM parts or --- really, any maker of standardized AR parts ... for the most part, that is. How many piston types will we have? :roll:

Nah. Leave the pistons to the Garands and others that were DESIGNED for it!
 

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I have to admit that I like the idea of a piston AR, but I haven't plunked down my money for one. I haven't purchased ANY AR. Why? Various employers keep issuing me the damn things!

1. I've seen various solutions to the theoretical problem of carrier tipping. Either skids or a full diameter portion of the rear of the carrier ala Ruger should solve the "issue". BTW, standard ARs can, and do, show carrier erosion of the receiver extension too. Receiver extensions are replaceable. Allegations of timing issues have begun to be raised. THAT is a concern!

2. Yeah, the specialized piston parts supply might be a problem, but you can always plug a standard upper in place and motor on.

3. While the AR/M16 series has, with the singular exception of the operating handle, probably the best human engineering on the planet for a CQB weapon, it's excessively maintenance intensive. Moreover, despite being the issue rifle for nigh onto fifty years, the maintenance instructions with the weapon are in error and simple parts redesign that could reduce maintenance issues haven't been done. The prime example being those frakking gas rings on the bolt, can you say "McFarland"? However, if you do manage to take proper care of your weapon, it will take care of you. Despite my distaste for the weapons system, if I do plunk down my own coin for one, it'll be a 'gasser'. I didn't think they were worth $97 in 1969 (government price), I'm not paying $400 over todays prices for one.

4. As previously noted, infantry tools are pretty low priority in the defense budget. Don't expect to see the M16/4 replaced until there's a quantum development in small arms technology. What may change is ammunition. I can envision a nightmare for the supply folks with close range ammo and extended range ammo adoption. The Marines have adopted a new round for what we might term operations other than war that enhances terminal performance. How it's going to fare in the extended ranges and wind conditions in the 'Stans is open to question.

5. Yes, I've fondled the SCARs. There's too many widgets, gidgets and adjustable things that don't need to be there for my taste. Somebody demo a vertical butt stroke with vigor and no weapon damage.
 

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Snake45 said:
Kevin Gibson said:
...cartridge change....
To me, that would be the most important reason to move on from the AR/M16 weapon system. I cannot IMAGINE procuring a "new" rifle and staying with the 5.56 and the M16 magazine.

That would be, IMHO, like designing a new jet fighter at any time from about 1950 on and building it around the .30-cal Browning machine gun. Not even the .50--the .30. :evil:
Agreed on both points - but have you ever used a PMAG? Sow's ear to a silk purse! Also newer ammo (I've got to get some Federal Mk318 for some T&E!) is a vast improvement over M193/M855.
 

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clean the weapon often
The myth that just won't die.... :lol: Pat Rogers has a bunch of ARs with over 15 thousand rounds downrange and no cleaning. ARs need good magazines and adequate lubricant. Pat's mnemonic is "MEAL" - magazines, extractor, ammunition and lubrication pretty much covers it all.
 

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I just tracked down the M318 slug, made by Speer- $80/50 :shocked: I hope there's really steep government/quantity discount.

RE: cleaning. There's functionally clean and then there's white glove inspection clean, which all too many people are excessively fond of. None the less, with no disrespect for Mr. Rogers, slopping on the lube doesn't result in reliability in all environments.
 

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AH-HA! Marine Times says the actual bullet is by ATK and is similar to the trophy bonded bear claw. My wallet feels much better now.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Al Thompson said:
The myth that just won't die.... :lol: Pat Rogers has a bunch of ARs with over 15 thousand rounds downrange and no cleaning. ARs need good magazines and adequate lubricant. Pat's mnemonic is "MEAL" - magazines, extractor, ammunition and lubrication pretty much covers it all.
Do Pat's AR's live in a combat zone or on a range? How many years in service did they have before this particular feat? How old are the magazines? I guaran-friggin-tee you, you wont get 15k rounds through an AR in the Middle East without cleaning. Sorry, it's not a myth, it's the truth. Just because someone has managed to get away from cleaning his rifle, doesn't invalidate the lethally hard lessons learned on the battlefield. Once Pat or anyone else can pull this off in a war zone, I'll begin to listen. Until then, it's just an interesting bit of trivia. I don't doubt for a minute that Pat REALLY does have a rifle with 15k rounds through it and no cleaning. What I do doubt is that it somehow changes things.

Like I said, the M16 isn't nearly as bad as many make it out to be, but if you're carrying one in hostile territory, you'd be a fool not to over-maintain that rifle.

Regarding "MEAL"
M - Often soldiers don't get much choice in magazines. They can sort through to try to find good ones, or ask mom & dad to send them new ones, but often they have to live with what they have.
E - You need to have the correct extractor spring if you're using an M4. How many soldiers know which is correct and which is incorrect. The best advice for anyone on this subject is to clean in, around, and under the extractor and pray your rifle has the correct extractor spring.
A- Here's where the US soldier truly has an edge. US 5.56 has been designed specifically for the M16, so stick with USGI stuff and you eliminate a wide variety of issues right there.
L- Lubrication can only get you so far; at some point you have to clean. Yeah, I'm of the "keep 'er wet" school for M16's. Lubrication helps to offset many of the heat related problems. If you're using good ammunition in at least semi-controlled environments, with a properly built AR and first rate magazines; I don't doubt for a nano-second you can go an obscene number of rounds in-between cleanings. If the only fouling inside your receiver is nitro fouling from gun powder, then CLP will take you a LONG ways. But if you have good ole fashioned dirt, or God forbid, Middle East sand, then cleaning of the inside surfaces of the receiver, and outside surfaces of the bolt carrier are a must.
 

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Kevin, I'm surprised you are not up on Mr. Rogers AR courses. As things stand, Pat is arguably the preeminent AR/M4 Carbine instructor in the US these days. He has several rifles past 15k and one over 35k. His initial lack of cleaning was to demonstrate that ARs simply do not need as much in depth detailed cleaning as Big Army and the USMC routinely indoctrinates personnel. What ARs demand is adequate lube. And as discussed, magazines and ammo..

Middle East sand, Ft Irwin sand, German mud or the "moon dust" we had in Iraq all require a wipe down and some quality time with a toothbrush. Not hours and hours of scrubbing. The infamous dust tests of the M4 vs. the HK416 revealed that more lube was the answer, not less.

best advice for anyone
is to get educated on the system. :) Fixed it for you...
 

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the actual bullet is by ATK and is similar to the trophy bonded bear claw. My wallet feels much better now.
ATK doesn't make they own both Speer and Federal and they are known to swap labels around. Just because it says "speer" doesn't mean it was made in Lewiston. I'm pretty sure they also own the Trophy Bonded name/process
 

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Kevin Gibson said:
Like I said, the M16 isn't nearly as bad as many make it out to be, but if you're carrying one in hostile territory, you'd be a fool not to over-maintain that rifle.
I never was a "gotta be spotless" guy when I was in Iraq. I did run a boresnake down the bore every so often and made sure that I had enough Militec on my BCG to keep it running, though. Weapon was a Colt M4 Carbine, and it ran fine. My Beretta, on the other hand...not so much.

M - Magpul's PMAG now has a NSN. Why order anything else?
E - All M4's come with the correct spring - it's part of the TDP. Speaking of the TDP, here's a nice link showing brands that meet the TDP, and brands that don't:
(http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key= ... utput=html)
A- Absolutely to the first part, even though a good AR should cycle just about anything, to include steel case stuff.
L- Some lubes work better than others. I stopped using CLP years ago, went to Militec about five years ago, and am now using Slip EWL. Some guys are seeing success with Mobil 1 of all things!

Speaking of cleaning - I've owned my piston gun for almost two years, and I haven't cleaned it yet. All I've done is keep the BCG well-lubed, and it's working great.
 

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http://peosoldier.armylive.dodlive.mil/ ... lubricant/

Finally, Big Army is getting the scoop on how to lube for reliability in desert operations. :roll:

ArmyCPT, other than locking blocks and trigger return springs, what sort of issues were you seeing with the M9? My unit had a bunch with no particular problems. The SF guys had problems due to high round count shooting densities.

FWIW, CLP is close to being Mobil 1 with ground Teflon added.

Slip2000 EWL does give me measurably smoother operation in my ARs.
 
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