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Old 04-12-2008, 19:21   #1
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Which AR 15 Gas Piston?

Hello everyone, I am looking to get an AR gas piston system to improve reliability in extreme situations, but don't know which one to get. I have been hesitant to get an AR because it was gas driven and I have friends and family from the Vietnam era who are animately against them for that very reason (If it did not work consistently I would never, NEVER be allowed to live it down, and am worried about taking that chance). I understand that AR are better now than before, and don't necessarily want this to turn into a reliability debate. There are a few different products on the market and I would like to balance quality with value.

The different products I am looking at are simply replacements, and not the whole upper, although I know HK and Bushmaster make whole uppers, but then they can cost more than the gun itself.

AR 15 Fix by Adam Arms $499.99
www.arfix.com

Kurt's Kustom Firearms $395
http://www.kurtskustomfirearms.citym.../page/8932.htm

Osprey Defense $???
www.gaspiston.com

If there are any others I should take a look at, please let me know as well. I will most likely be putting it on a newer Bushmaster, which are supposedly a good gun to begin with. Any advice on which system I should get would be great. Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2008, 20:01   #2
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Originally Posted by G-dog View Post
Hello everyone, I am looking to get an AR gas piston system to improve reliability in extreme situations, but don't know which one to get. I have been hesitant to get an AR because it was gas driven and I have friends and family from the Vietnam era who are animately against them for that very reason (If it did not work consistently I would never, NEVER be allowed to live it down, and am worried about taking that chance). I understand that AR are better now than before, and don't necessarily want this to turn into a reliability debate. There are a few different products on the market and I would like to balance quality with value.

The different products I am looking at are simply replacements, and not the whole upper, although I know HK and Bushmaster make whole uppers, but then they can cost more than the gun itself.

AR 15 Fix by Adam Arms $499.99
www.arfix.com

Kurt's Kustom Firearms $395
http://www.kurtskustomfirearms.citym.../page/8932.htm

Osprey Defense $???
www.gaspiston.com

If there are any others I should take a look at, please let me know as well. I will most likely be putting it on a newer Bushmaster, which are supposedly a good gun to begin with. Any advice on which system I should get would be great. Thanks!

IN ALL HONESTY, Buy a cleaning Kit.

I've yet to have my Bushmaster screw up. I might go out and shoot 100 rounds or so, then I take the gun home and clean it.

A cleaning kit can run you anywhere from 5-20 dollars.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:28   #3
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I like the Osprey model my self because it allows the user to very easily go back to direct gas impingement. I have read many article/rumors/internet hype that it will be availiable to civilians after all their law enforcement/military orders are filled.
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:24   #4
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I just got a Primary Weapons System conversion and it is simply wonderful.
400$ for the conversion, you send your upper in and get it back in 3 weeks.
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:30   #5
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Thumbs up Buy a cleaning Kit

Originally Posted by Dacotua View Post
IN ALL HONESTY, Buy a cleaning Kit.

A cleaning kit can run you anywhere from 5-20 dollars.

+1

IMHO, If you really want a piston driven system get an M14 type,
an AK type or other type that is piston driven by original design.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:50   #6
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To be honest, you may want to consider going with a Sig 556, based on one of the best assault rifles of all time, the Sig 550 series. It's designed to be a gas piston gun and it's one of the best, if not the best. I'd rather have an unmolested AR15 and a Sig than one molested AR15.
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Old 04-17-2008, 13:35   #7
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I have a kurtkustom, love it. many many rounds through it, and no problems. cleaning after shooting takes no time at all. bolt and chamber stay really clean.
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Old 04-19-2008, 15:01   #8
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A real nice side-benefit of a piston system is the lack of lubricant boil-off in the bolt area. Stays cooler, stays cleaner, stays lubed.

I tend to be a traditionalist, and prefer to keep my SP-1 as original as possible outside some dabbling with bolt-ons. I just acquired an AR-180B and it seems more than sturdy enough for a non-combat shooter, and it was designed as a piston gun. Takes AR-15 trigger group parts and magazines, fewer parts overall and way less expensive than an original 180. The big downside is Armalite's slow production pace. I waited over 6 months for mine, and just afterwards the price went up. It's now around $800 on the street. It would give you another compatible platform without laying out $400+ to improve one that you already shoot.

If you compete with your AR, though, I'd put the money into a piston for it.
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Old 04-19-2008, 21:25   #9
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Thanks for all the info guys! Still trying to make up my mind . The AR-180B looks like quite a nice gun, especially for the price. It seems that since it utilizes many AR 15 parts, is reliable (with the gas piston), shoots fairly well and costs less than many AR 15s, it should be way more popular than it is. As a secondary gun are there any downsides? Markw76 you mentioned it was sturdy enough for non combat situations, do you then have more confidence in the AR 15 for reliability and durability (I have never been able to physically handle the AR-180B)? It seems like it has got almost all anyone would need for shooting distances under 200 yards or so.
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Old 04-19-2008, 22:01   #10
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Owning both, I'd say that I'd prefer an AR15 as a primary fighting weapon before the AR180b. On paper, it'd seem that the AR180 has the best of all worlds, but the reliability is NOT there as much as the AR15's. I've had more hangups and FTE's with the 180 than my AR15's and I follow the same cleaning schedules. It may be my particular 180 though and I haven't talked to other owners. Plus, I'd rather just do what you originally asked and retrofit an AR15, which is a more proven rifle design. Then again, I'd also prefer the Sig556! Have I mentioned the Sig556 yet?



Yeah, it is pricey, but it's designed after this and interchanges parts too!


Another rifle you may be interested in is the XCR. I pulled this image from Ar15.com from Gr8Santini:


And here's an image from Firedog55's collection showing the Sig 556, 16" LW SRT upper *piston driven* on a RRA lower, and a XCR-H:

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Old 04-19-2008, 23:58   #11
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Originally Posted by G-dog View Post
Thanks for all the info guys! Still trying to make up my mind . The AR-180B looks like quite a nice gun, especially for the price. It seems that since it utilizes many AR 15 parts, is reliable (with the gas piston), shoots fairly well and costs less than many AR 15s, it should be way more popular than it is. As a secondary gun are there any downsides? Markw76 you mentioned it was sturdy enough for non combat situations, do you then have more confidence in the AR 15 for reliability and durability (I have never been able to physically handle the AR-180B)? It seems like it has got almost all anyone would need for shooting distances under 200 yards or so.
As a secondary rifle, not really. I've never understood the Bravo's mediocre popularity, unless its the low number of rifles on the market.

First thing I do when I buy a rifle that takes GI parts is to swap out everything in the bolt group and install new parts. I couldn't tell any difference visually, it is Armalite afterall. I'd say it was a bit better than the Mini-14 if just for parts and magazines being the same as the AR. Hard to fault Garand's design much, though.

I didn't have the bucks to drop on an A2, and after wearing out my eyes trying to settle on one, I decided to just add another rifle to the stable.

If the 180B had a steel lower, it'd outshine the AR-15 in my mind, but I always liked the AR-18 better. The polymer lower on the 180B is nice, but AFAICD it lacks metal reinforcement in certain places I would've put it, like the infamous hinge pin at the front. I wouldn't go out of my way to drop the upper onto the lower like is warned against, but it bumps into the front of the mag well where it is not solid and flexes a bit to take the shock. Besides, its usually in my lap when I break it open anyway.

A guy on another forum has shot his a lot more than I have and indicated his 180b bolt group was still oily after an extended shoot, where his non-piston 15 was completely dried out. Something to be said for not shooting that hot gas back there.

The safety lacks the positive feel of the AR since it's riding in a polymer hole. Lubrication helped and some have suggested minor surgery on the detent on the selector to improve things, but it works and certainly will not shift on its own!

The optics mount is proprietary but they sell mounts and there are a couple aftermarket Picatinny rail makers besides. Everything else is top-notch, and in many ways I like it better than the Mini, mostly that its ugly and obviously meant to be a working gun, which suits my sensibilities when it comes to serious small arms.

One testing site found the 180b out shot the AR-15 by just a tad, and the old Mini by a decent percentage, but the new Mini may be on par with it. Outshooting another gun by less than a 1/2 inch isn't exactly definitive and makes little difference in the field.

The long wait and increasing price is a definite turn-off for me acquiring another 180b to customize. I'll just have to find a used one.

Besides, in the winter, you certainly won't freeze to the polymer lower!


oooooh, that XCR's nice, and the SIG is worth another look, but I'm not likely to expand the stable here. Ammo, ammo, ammo!
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Last edited by markw76; 04-20-2008 at 00:09.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:13   #12
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Dang, wish I was rich, those are some nice guns. . . You all are killing me ! My thinking was that since the AR 15 has been around for so long, and looks like it will last in the military for at least a little while longer (look what they are equipping all the friendlies in Iraq with, for better or worse). Probably the biggest problem with the AR 15 seems to be the reliability or lack of an actual piston. While I would really like the Sig or XCR I like the many available options for the AR 15, and can get a good deal on a Bushmaster or DS Arms one (what do ya all think of this gun http://www.dsarms.com/prodinfo.asp?number=DSZM4S120) because of where I work . I figured I could pick up the gun now, then save some more for the piston conversion which would help spread the cost out a bit, and I could then get the gun before the next election, if you know what I mean. I could basically get the AR 15, and the piston for a bit less than the Sig or the XCR. I was kind of hoping for something for mid range work, coyotes and varmints (all the variates) as I have a great shotgun setup for the close stuff.
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Old 04-20-2008, 14:04   #13
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I'm not rich. It's taken me 30 years to acquire what I have. I got a 2nd hand AR-15 first, then the Mini, etc.

Do your homework, decide what you want, get the best price you can, work on cleaning gear, spare parts and ammo, then start worrying about stuff like pistons. You can shoot an AR-15 a lot for the cost of the stuff it takes to tweak it into an UberRifle.
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Old 04-23-2008, 20:44   #14
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Three years ago, I shot my match AR15 with a Kreiger barrel an entire season without cleaning it. Prior to each match, I put a couple of drops of breakfree in the the holes in the bolt carrier. That is all I did.

I earned 18 leg points that year and the rifle never hiccupped once.

Sure, it is matchshooting and not combat, but believe me, we were exposed to all kinds of conditions over the course of that 6 months and 2000 rounds. (I shoot all over the midwest)

I have total faith in the standard AR type rifle and don't feel the need to change anything.

Also, I carried one 1970 to 1973 wearing green clothes and todays AR is not the same as then.
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Old 06-07-2008, 00:19   #15
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POF makes avery nice gas piston AR. It was $pendy. Also a 16 week wait. I have 3 weeks left.. getting a little ancy. I have always been a Mini fan but due to department policy I had to move to an AR. The gas piston system gives me the best of both worlds.

http://http://www.pof-usa.com/main.htm

Last edited by Graveyard-Sarge; 06-08-2008 at 00:31.
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