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View Full Version : The only reason I would utilize a Gas Piston AR-15


Asset
05-21-2011, 12:36 AM
You guys have officially converted me! I have read all I can on Direct Impingement and have decided that it is in fact a more effective system than an op-rod gun. Simpler design, less parts, standardized, less recoil, less weight, more accuracy. Everything people like!

The only issue that really bugs me about DI rifles is a simple matter of barrel length. I am under the impression that the shorter you go, the less reliable you are. I think we can all agree that DI systems don't do too well if the barrel is less than 12 inches. The Colt Commando was a perfect example of that.

This leads me to my point: the only reason I would ever utilize a Gas Piston AR-15 is if I was some sort of Special Forces tactical operator who required a full-auto SBR with a 7.5" barrel (apparently that's as short as you can go before the 5.56 starts giving you serious ballistic/safety issues). That would be so sick. :D A barrel that short would almost require an op-rod because a DI gas system that short is bound to have issues. Plus, if we continue that fantasy of being a specops soldier who is constantly in contact with the bad guys in close quarters, I'm probably going to be dumping a high volume of ammo on full-auto; once again a gas piston system would be very beneficial.

Just throwing it out there. In real life I will probably only consider a DI rifle for purchase because of the reasons listed in the first paragraph (as well as everything you guys have taught me). But it sure would be awesome to have a 7.5" SBR! :p

bwiese
05-21-2011, 12:55 AM
Indeed, GP systems on very short barrels (12" and under) may improve cycling.

On a 20" or 16" carbine, it falls into the "new & cool toy because I have to have something different."

7.62 Charlie
05-21-2011, 12:55 AM
I am under the impression that the shorter you go, the less reliable you are.



Its more about timing then the DI gas system.
The closer the gas block is to the action the faster it cycles witch causes the round to be extracted while still under pressure resulting in broken extractors and blown primers.

arsilva32
05-21-2011, 1:03 AM
my AR pistol has a 7.5 that was DI at first but i ended up installing a retro piston kit.it was firing good with the DI set-up however, i didnt like how it was thrashing on the extractor from ripping the casing from the chamber while it was still expanded.the short barrel will cause timming issues. so they do all kinds of things like heavy buffer's to slow down the BCG,and stronger extractor spring's to grab the casing tight and ripp it from the chamber.these stop gap fixes to me did not seem like long term reliability,so i went with the piston set-up to eliminate alot of these issues.

MrPlink
05-21-2011, 1:15 AM
This leads me to my point: the only reason I would ever utilize a Gas Piston AR-15 is if I was some sort of Special Forces tactical operator who required a full-auto SBR with a 7.5" barrel


not likely to see that length actually. More in the range of 10in

RLTW
05-21-2011, 1:20 AM
I think we can all agree that DI systems don't do too well if the barrel is less than 12 inches. The Colt Commando was a perfect example of that.

But it sure would be awesome to have a 7.5" SBR! :p

Well I have to tell you from experience.... The M4 works great with a 11.5 DI barrel.... even with a suppressor. Full auto as well...

Colt commando? Dude... are you talking Black ops? When I came into the Army in 86 we were using M16A1 when I got to my first unit, we had A2's while RTO's had Car-15s.... That is what Black Ops calls the Colt Commando... It sucked shooting green tip ball ... couldn't hit anything past 100m. The rifleing couldn't handle it. (sorry tangent)

7.5 I'm building a pistol right now... and yes it will be fun...lol

On a note about GP and DI.... so much nicer cleaning... Thats the thing I like the most. I have been shooting AR's since 86... and let me tell ya.. 5 min and I'm done cleaning the AR compared to a good 30min or more on a DI...

To each their own, now I was shooting my friends Sig 556... Big difference compared to the SCAR and the M4. The SCAR doesn't have as much kick, and the Sig has even less. On my AR GP haven't noticed as much difference compared to a standard M4.

Get what you can afford and what makes you happy, if someone doesn't like what you have as I say "well why don't you give me the money then I'll buy it"
later

bob7122
05-21-2011, 1:22 AM
i thought that piston ar's where used most effectively in jungles like columbia. can't remember where i read it but supposedly some branch of the gov't has to use it when in a humid environment. don't remember too much, but if someone knows more please elaborate.

Droppin Deuces
05-21-2011, 1:23 AM
I bought/use my piston upper more because it's easier to clean. I don't like it any more or less because it's a piston other than the cleaning thing. I shoot that thing a s**t ton and I've cleaned out and re-greased the receiver once in the year I've had it.
I don't know why everyone assumes people buy piston guns because they're cool or different.

Bigbird19
05-21-2011, 1:29 AM
I bought/use my piston upper more because it's easier to clean. I don't like it any more or less because it's a piston other than the cleaning thing. I shoot that thing a s**t ton and I've cleaned out and re-greased the receiver once in the year I've had it.
I don't know why everyone assumes people buy piston guns because they're cool or different.

+1 I got called lazy a couple times for saying that. I guess my thing is that if it performs the same but you have to clean it less, thats effeciency not laziness :cool2:

RLTW
05-21-2011, 1:31 AM
I bought/use my piston upper more because it's easier to clean. I don't like it any more or less because it's a piston other than the cleaning thing. I shoot that thing a s**t ton and I've cleaned out and re-greased the receiver once in the year I've had it.
I don't know why everyone assumes people buy piston guns because they're cool or different.

Its a Fad.. cool new... hell its just easier to clean...Thats what I like... HELLLs Ya:25:

I'm like you... actually I want to see how many rounds I can go witout really cleaning it... (I run a patch through the barrel with oil then stow it) I pull the bolt out and show students that I have 500 rounds and they can't believe how clean or lack of crap on the bolt other than primer and brass scraps on it... and the firing pin is sweeet.

Capita159
05-21-2011, 1:48 AM
Indeed, GP systems on very short barrels (12" and under) may improve cycling.

On a 20" or 16" carbine, it falls into the "new & cool toy because I have to have something different."

hahahah, so true! I got bored of my DI ARs, got them in 10.5"+5.5"HF, 14.5" carbine, 16" 9mm, 18" mini SASS, 20" SP1-M16A1, 22" .308win.....etc.

And now I have a Adams GP AR on a ASA side charger upper in mid-length 16" 1:8"twist BCM barrel. HOLY COW! the gun has no problem with accuracy and functionality. And the best part is, the only thing I really have to clean is the barrel. Compared to my DI, the cleaning time was cut in half.

bwiese
05-21-2011, 5:01 AM
W
On a note about GP and DI.... so much nicer cleaning... Thats the thing I like the most. I have been shooting AR's since 86... and let me tell ya.. 5 min and I'm done cleaning the AR compared to a good 30min or more on a DI...

If it takes you longer than 5-10 minutes max to clean your AR you're overcleaning it.

dieselpower
05-21-2011, 7:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLTW
W
On a note about GP and DI.... so much nicer cleaning... Thats the thing I like the most. I have been shooting AR's since 86... and let me tell ya.. 5 min and I'm done cleaning the AR compared to a good 30min or more on a DI...


If it takes you longer than 5-10 minutes max to clean your AR you're overcleaning it.

Seriously, its a couple extra minutes at worse. All that extra time you spend is from the environment and is not related to the gas system.

mlevans66
05-21-2011, 7:39 AM
I bought/use my piston upper more because it's easier to clean. I don't like it any more or less because it's a piston other than the cleaning thing. I shoot that thing a s**t ton and I've cleaned out and re-greased the receiver once in the year I've had it.
I don't know why everyone assumes people buy piston guns because they're cool or different.

I agree I clean mine very little also. I've spend an half an hour cleaning my M16 for the 2111 pleasure when I served and I'm still thinking they hated us for being outside. :D Even if it take 5 mins to clean a gas one it takes 2 to clean a piston with almost less parts.
Gas=whole BCG and chamber
Piston= Rod and if you FEEL like it BCG :D

My two cents!

Stone
05-21-2011, 8:03 AM
This leads me to my point: the only reason I would ever utilize a Gas Piston AR-15 is if I was some sort of Special Forces tactical operator who required a full-auto SBR with a 7.5" barrel (apparently that's as short as you can go before the 5.56 starts giving you serious ballistic/safety issues).

The 5.56 is not a good choice for such a short barrel length regardless, because it won't obtain sufficient velocity to reliably fragment which significantly reduces its lethality, and at the same time its going to have over-penetration and excessive loudness/wasted powder which is not great for CQB. This is really a SMG role.

thetaxman
05-21-2011, 8:10 AM
I have a 10.5" PWS piston upper and it is one of the best setup's I have ever used. Going any shorter seems unnecessary.

Now only if we could have SBR's in this state.......

tomd1584
05-21-2011, 9:28 AM
As long as you continue to lube your rifle there is really no reason to clean it....

Just ask Pat Rogers about his "Filthy 14" BCM carbine that went 26,460 rounds without any cleaning, or reliability issues.

nrakid88
05-21-2011, 9:32 AM
As long as you continue to lube your rifle there is really no reason to clean it....

Just ask Pat Rogers about his "Filthy 14" BCM carbine that went 26,460 rounds without any cleaning, or reliability issues.

Except to show it that you love it.

My dad taught me to clean my guns. Makes em last longer, and look better. I have a BCM, and a copy of Filthy 14, but mine still gets cleaned every night back from the range.

shadow65
05-21-2011, 9:41 AM
My 7.5" DI has been very reliable.

jimmykan
05-21-2011, 9:43 AM
As long as you continue to lube your rifle there is really no reason to clean it....

Just ask Pat Rogers about his "Filthy 14" BCM carbine that went 26,460 rounds without any cleaning, or reliability issues.

I read that article too. I wonder what brand/type of ammunition was run through that gun, because I don't recall it mentioned in the article. Maybe that ammunition was loaded with relatively low-fouling powder.

CHS
05-21-2011, 9:52 AM
I read that article too. I wonder what brand/type of ammunition was run through that gun, because I don't recall it mentioned in the article. Maybe that ammunition was loaded with relatively low-fouling powder.

I think you missed the point.

The point was that cleaning is not important. Proper lubrication is.

Cleaning makes the gun look nice and shiny. But it doesn't generally affect function. Proper lubrication is what helps and affects function.

It's a hundred times more important to lubricate your gun properly than it is to ever clean it.

I stopped cleaning my guns a long time ago. I do however take the time to make sure they are always properly lubricated.

tomd1584
05-21-2011, 10:04 AM
I think you missed the point.

The point was that cleaning is not important. Proper lubrication is.

Cleaning makes the gun look nice and shiny. But it doesn't generally affect function. Proper lubrication is what helps and affects function.

It's a hundred times more important to lubricate your gun properly than it is to ever clean it.

I stopped cleaning my guns a long time ago. I do however take the time to make sure they are always properly lubricated.

Correct.

goodlookin1
05-21-2011, 10:09 AM
I love my Adams piston kit. It does make it kick..."differently"...I dont want to say that it is harder, but just more abrupt or something. But I put in a Spike's ST-T2 buffer, which helps, and also put on a BattleComp 2.0, which keeps it on target despite the quicker recoil impulse. But i'm thinking of trying some custom mods to help it punch a little softer.

That's the thing about short stroke pistons: You can feel the piston hitting the carrier. In my mind, that's the ONLY disadvantage. More moving parts??? Tsh...it's a steel rod moving back and forth with a small spring....what's so much more complex about that? Personally, I think the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. And YES, before you flame, i've owned both! The other thing about piston kits is that they typically come with a different carrier, which have coatings on them to make them slide nice and smoothly. I think this may play a part in the smoother cycling because 1) You dont have crud gumming up the receiver and 2) The carrier's coating makes it as if you always have a fresh application of lube. It doesnt matter how much you shoot it.....the smooth action is always there because there's no carbon getting into the receiver! I can also flick the standard charging handle with a single finger with ease, as if there was no spring! The coating makes it feel so much better.

That being said, I would surely not say that it is a necessary upgrade/change. I think in harsh environments, it's certainly helpful. But as range queens go, it's definitely not needed. In other words, save the money. But I will tell you this: I would trust my life and my family's life with my rifle setup over any other DI AR i've tried because I KNOW that EVERY time I pull that trigger it's gonna go boom and ready another one.

YMMV

THT
05-21-2011, 10:31 AM
I run a 10.5" SBR with a dedicated suppressor and I still don't run a piston system. This setup has seen 2500 rounds in a couple classes and I've gotten gas face twice. It helps that I have a gas vent instead of a forward assist.

I did break it down and clean it a couple nights ago as I switched my defensive rounds from 75gr 5.56 TAP to 62gr TBBC .223 and the bonded soft points can run into issues with dirty feedramps. It was amazingly filthy. I had to apply Slip2000 degreaser/cleaner three or four times to the receiver walls to get all the carbon off. Feedramps were a similar story as was the chamber. Trigger group was completely covered in carbon and it was building up in certain points. Wiped it down as best I could with the FCG in the lower then applied lube as directed. Would a piston system help? You bet. It's why my demo ZK upper from Chris at Addax is a 12.5" CHF upper (which I can't wait to get).

missiontrails
05-21-2011, 11:26 AM
I have owned a LWRC M6A3, and Ruger SR-556..... Both were great, but they DID NOT DO anything my 16" or 20" DI's could not do. I prefer the simplicity and cost savings of buying/building good quality DI guns. I swear, mine never get really dirty anyway.... SLIP 2000 AWL, and good ammo = why bother cleaning.

Droppin Deuces
05-21-2011, 11:50 AM
Yeah, but if you only shoot twice a month like you say, you don't really need to clean them anyway.

missiontrails
05-21-2011, 11:57 AM
Yeah, but if you only shoot twice a month like you say, you don't really need to clean them anyway.
Minimum of 15 boxes of ammo per trip though.

Droppin Deuces
05-21-2011, 12:01 PM
300 rounds every two weeks? Might as well shoot cleaning patches through your gun.

Nate87
05-21-2011, 12:16 PM
First let me say that I can only speak from personal accounts and experiences and can't speak for anyone else. So let me start off by saying that for the most part, a DI gun will suit most applications and meet most peoples needs, but piston guns do have their place. All my experiences were in the militarty and there were definitly times where I wished I had a piston gun. For example, during pre-deployment training we were at the range just about every day doing some sort of shooting drill. Being part of 20 man team and still getting a batallion's allotment of ammo to train with meant we were shooting hundreds and even thousands of rounds per person per day. On the days where our rifles were getting heavy use we'd have to stop and clean our rifles between training session which was a waste of time to me and could have much better been spent continuing to train. I would also like to mention the time spent away from training when rifles would go down and had to be taken to the armory for broken parts which happened quite often.

Then there was time spent at the end of every day cleaning all of our personal and crew served weapons. That always took HOURS. Mostly because Marine Corps armorers are dicks and wont take a firearm what doesnt pass their white glove test. Again, time I'd rather have spent doing something other than scarping carbon off my rifle.

Another time I wished i had a piston gun was in Afghanistan. There were many times where we'd get in pretty long firefights and go long periods of time without being able to clean or maintain our weapons. There were a few times where I'd expend most of my mags out on patrol, make it back to the FOB, rejam mags and start cleaning my rifle then get attacked again at the FOB. It sucks when you get caught with your pants down and your rifle isnt up and running because it's too dirty. No you may think "if its just carbon then add some lube and you should be good to go". Not that simple. Not only do you have carbon, you have dirt, mud, water, rust and all sorts of other crap getting in there that doesnt allow your rifle to work.

Another time the rifle siezed up and didnt work AT ALL. Had to swap out with one of my Afghan soldiers and borrow their AK. Being a few hours patrol away from the rear support, getting it fixed wasnt a quick turnaround. Hell, there were even times where we'd use an Apache attack helicopter pilot as our personal FedEx guy and have him pick up parts from the bases in the rear and drop them off to us the next time we called for their support in our AO.

So for me, spending that time away from training cleaning rifles was a waste of time. The time speing wating for rifles to be fixed also took away from training. Being stuck in the middle of a **** storm with rifles that didnt work was pretty crappy. When someone is patroling through the mountains, low crawling face down in the mud, or fording through rivers, the last thing they should be worried about is whether or not their rifle is going to work when they go to work.

These are just my personal experiences and by no means common. My rifle got TONS of use with fire fights happening daily so it's weaknesses were brought out. Also, being only one of two americans with our 30 Afghan soldiers, parts were'nt readliy available so when our boom sticks went down, it royally sucked.

Now I move on to my personal rifles. My first AR was an LWRC that I got in 2007. Why? Because I had the cash and I wanted it. Also because I LOATHE cleaning DI rifles. So many late nights at the armory will turn anyone off to it. I wouldnt consider myself part of the mass Kool-Aid drinking crowd. LW was pretty new back then. I now have a M6A2 version that I got at the end of '08. It has about 20,000 rounds through it right now. Not a single problem and I've only cleaned it twice. It eats any kind of ammo I can feed it. It's a great rifle and well worth the extra price to me. Accuracy is a lot better than my issued M4 was. I'll be doing a follow up accuracy test soon to see how its holding up after all the use.

I just wish I had something like this issued to me over my DI M4. Again, I know that most people dont NEED a piston rifle but I'm sure its more of a WANT thing because a DI rifle will suit 99% of the shooters out there. But if one has the cash and is willing to spend extra, then let them. It's their choice. Sorry for the life story.

Nate

Droppin Deuces
05-21-2011, 12:24 PM
First let me say that I can only speak from personal accounts and experiences and can't speak for anyone else. So let me start off by saying that for the most part, a DI gun will suit most applications and meet most peoples needs, but piston guns do have their place. All my experiences were in the militarty and there were definitly times where I wished I had a piston gun. For example, during pre-deployment training we were at the range just about every day doing some sort of shooting drill. Being part of 20 man team and still getting a batallion's allotment of ammo to train with meant we were shooting hundreds and even thousands of rounds per person per day. On the days where our rifles were getting heavy use we'd have to stop and clean our rifles between training session which was a waste of time to me and could have much better been spent continuing to train. I would also like to mention the time spent away from training when rifles would go down and had to be taken to the armory for broken parts which happened quite often.

Then there was time spent at the end of every day cleaning all of our personal and crew served weapons. That always took HOURS. Mostly because Marine Corps armorers are dicks and wont take a firearm what doesnt pass their white glove test. Again, time I'd rather have spent doing something other than scarping carbon off my rifle.

Another time I wished i had a piston gun was in Afghanistan. There were many times where we'd get in pretty long firefights and go long periods of time without being able to clean or maintain our weapons. There were a few times where I'd expend most of my mags out on patrol, make it back to the FOB, rejam mags and start cleaning my rifle then get attacked again at the FOB. It sucks when you get caught with your pants down and your rifle isnt up and running because it's too dirty. No you may think "if its just carbon then add some lube and you should be good to go". Not that simple. Not only do you have carbon, you have dirt, mud, water, rust and all sorts of other crap getting in there that doesnt allow your rifle to work.

Another time the rifle siezed up and didnt work AT ALL. Had to swap out with one of my Afghan soldiers and borrow their AK. Being a few hours patrol away from the rear support, getting it fixed wasnt a quick turnaround. Hell, there were even times where we'd use an Apache attack helicopter pilot as our personal FedEx guy and have him pick up parts from the bases in the rear and drop them off to us the next time we called for their support in our AO.

So for me, spending that time away from training cleaning rifles was a waste of time. The time speing wating for rifles to be fixed also took away from training. Being stuck in the middle of a **** storm with rifles that didnt work was pretty crappy. When someone is patroling through the mountains, low crawling face down in the mud, or fording through rivers, the last thing they should be worried about is whether or not their rifle is going to work when they go to work.

These are just my personal experiences and by no means common. My rifle got TONS of use with fire fights happening daily so it's weaknesses were brought out. Also, being only one of two americans with our 30 Afghan soldiers, parts were'nt readliy available so when our boom sticks went down, it royally sucked.

Now I move on to my personal rifles. My first AR was an LWRC that I got in 2007. Why? Because I had the cash and I wanted it. Also because I LOATHE cleaning DI rifles. So many late nights at the armory will turn anyone off to it. I wouldnt consider myself part of the mass Kool-Aid drinking crowd. LW was pretty new back then. I now have a M6A2 version that I got at the end of '08. It has about 20,000 rounds through it right now. Not a single problem and I've only cleaned it twice. It eats any kind of ammo I can feed it. It's a great rifle and well worth the extra price to me. Accuracy is a lot better than my issued M4 was. I'll be doing a follow up accuracy test soon to see how its holding up after all the use.

I just wish I had something like this issued to me over my DI M4. Again, I know that most people dont NEED a piston rifle but I'm sure its more of a WANT thing because a DI rifle will suit 99% of the shooters out there. But if one has the cash and is willing to spend extra, then let them. It's their choise. Sorry for the life story.
Nate

Are you kidding? Great post.

bwiese
05-21-2011, 12:31 PM
The 5.56 is not a good choice for such a short barrel length regardless, because it won't obtain sufficient velocity to reliably fragment which significantly reduces its lethality, and at the same time its going to have over-penetration and excessive loudness/wasted powder which is not great for CQB. This is really a SMG role.

And generally it appears you want a barrel length that allows at least a full "rotation" of the bullet in the rifling before it leaves the barrel.

missiontrails
05-21-2011, 12:32 PM
I now have a M6A2 version that I got at the end of '08. It has about 20,000 rounds through it right now. Not a single problem and I've only cleaned it twice. It eats any kind of ammo I can feed it. It's a great rifle and well worth the extra price to me. Accuracy is a lot better than my issued M4 was. I'll be doing a follow up accuracy test soon to see how its holding up after all the use.

Uhhh, Hello...................

Nate87
05-21-2011, 12:48 PM
Are you kidding? Great post.

It turned out longer than I had intended

Uhhh, Hello...................

I dont think I'm tracking.....

cmace22
05-21-2011, 1:27 PM
It turned out longer than I had intended



I dont think I'm tracking.....

Me either.

I liked your post.

It seem the DI vs GP debate will be hard to settle. In the end only your needs, wants and pocket book will tell you if a GP is for you.

zombiescanlearn
05-21-2011, 1:33 PM
First let me say that I can only speak from personal accounts and experiences and can't speak for anyone else. So let me start off by saying that for the most part, a DI gun will suit most applications and meet most peoples needs, but piston guns do have their place. All my experiences were in the militarty and there were definitly times where I wished I had a piston gun. For example, during pre-deployment training we were at the range just about every day doing some sort of shooting drill. Being part of 20 man team and still getting a batallion's allotment of ammo to train with meant we were shooting hundreds and even thousands of rounds per person per day. On the days where our rifles were getting heavy use we'd have to stop and clean our rifles between training session which was a waste of time to me and could have much better been spent continuing to train. I would also like to mention the time spent away from training when rifles would go down and had to be taken to the armory for broken parts which happened quite often.

Then there was time spent at the end of every day cleaning all of our personal and crew served weapons. That always took HOURS. Mostly because Marine Corps armorers are dicks and wont take a firearm what doesnt pass their white glove test. Again, time I'd rather have spent doing something other than scarping carbon off my rifle.

Another time I wished i had a piston gun was in Afghanistan. There were many times where we'd get in pretty long firefights and go long periods of time without being able to clean or maintain our weapons. There were a few times where I'd expend most of my mags out on patrol, make it back to the FOB, rejam mags and start cleaning my rifle then get attacked again at the FOB. It sucks when you get caught with your pants down and your rifle isnt up and running because it's too dirty. No you may think "if its just carbon then add some lube and you should be good to go". Not that simple. Not only do you have carbon, you have dirt, mud, water, rust and all sorts of other crap getting in there that doesnt allow your rifle to work.

Another time the rifle siezed up and didnt work AT ALL. Had to swap out with one of my Afghan soldiers and borrow their AK. Being a few hours patrol away from the rear support, getting it fixed wasnt a quick turnaround. Hell, there were even times where we'd use an Apache attack helicopter pilot as our personal FedEx guy and have him pick up parts from the bases in the rear and drop them off to us the next time we called for their support in our AO.

So for me, spending that time away from training cleaning rifles was a waste of time. The time speing wating for rifles to be fixed also took away from training. Being stuck in the middle of a **** storm with rifles that didnt work was pretty crappy. When someone is patroling through the mountains, low crawling face down in the mud, or fording through rivers, the last thing they should be worried about is whether or not their rifle is going to work when they go to work.

These are just my personal experiences and by no means common. My rifle got TONS of use with fire fights happening daily so it's weaknesses were brought out. Also, being only one of two americans with our 30 Afghan soldiers, parts were'nt readliy available so when our boom sticks went down, it royally sucked.

Now I move on to my personal rifles. My first AR was an LWRC that I got in 2007. Why? Because I had the cash and I wanted it. Also because I LOATHE cleaning DI rifles. So many late nights at the armory will turn anyone off to it. I wouldnt consider myself part of the mass Kool-Aid drinking crowd. LW was pretty new back then. I now have a M6A2 version that I got at the end of '08. It has about 20,000 rounds through it right now. Not a single problem and I've only cleaned it twice. It eats any kind of ammo I can feed it. It's a great rifle and well worth the extra price to me. Accuracy is a lot better than my issued M4 was. I'll be doing a follow up accuracy test soon to see how its holding up after all the use.

I just wish I had something like this issued to me over my DI M4. Again, I know that most people dont NEED a piston rifle but I'm sure its more of a WANT thing because a DI rifle will suit 99% of the shooters out there. But if one has the cash and is willing to spend extra, then let them. It's their choice. Sorry for the life story.

Nate

great post. thanks for sharing.

tomd1584
05-21-2011, 1:39 PM
First let me say that I can only speak from personal accounts and experiences and can't speak for anyone else. So let me start off by saying that for the most part, a DI gun will suit most applications and meet most peoples needs, but piston guns do have their place. All my experiences were in the militarty and there were definitly times where I wished I had a piston gun. For example, during pre-deployment training we were at the range just about every day doing some sort of shooting drill. Being part of 20 man team and still getting a batallion's allotment of ammo to train with meant we were shooting hundreds and even thousands of rounds per person per day. On the days where our rifles were getting heavy use we'd have to stop and clean our rifles between training session which was a waste of time to me and could have much better been spent continuing to train. I would also like to mention the time spent away from training when rifles would go down and had to be taken to the armory for broken parts which happened quite often.

Then there was time spent at the end of every day cleaning all of our personal and crew served weapons. That always took HOURS. Mostly because Marine Corps armorers are dicks and wont take a firearm what doesnt pass their white glove test. Again, time I'd rather have spent doing something other than scarping carbon off my rifle.

Another time I wished i had a piston gun was in Afghanistan. There were many times where we'd get in pretty long firefights and go long periods of time without being able to clean or maintain our weapons. There were a few times where I'd expend most of my mags out on patrol, make it back to the FOB, rejam mags and start cleaning my rifle then get attacked again at the FOB. It sucks when you get caught with your pants down and your rifle isnt up and running because it's too dirty. No you may think "if its just carbon then add some lube and you should be good to go". Not that simple. Not only do you have carbon, you have dirt, mud, water, rust and all sorts of other crap getting in there that doesnt allow your rifle to work.

Another time the rifle siezed up and didnt work AT ALL. Had to swap out with one of my Afghan soldiers and borrow their AK. Being a few hours patrol away from the rear support, getting it fixed wasnt a quick turnaround. Hell, there were even times where we'd use an Apache attack helicopter pilot as our personal FedEx guy and have him pick up parts from the bases in the rear and drop them off to us the next time we called for their support in our AO.

So for me, spending that time away from training cleaning rifles was a waste of time. The time speing wating for rifles to be fixed also took away from training. Being stuck in the middle of a **** storm with rifles that didnt work was pretty crappy. When someone is patroling through the mountains, low crawling face down in the mud, or fording through rivers, the last thing they should be worried about is whether or not their rifle is going to work when they go to work.

These are just my personal experiences and by no means common. My rifle got TONS of use with fire fights happening daily so it's weaknesses were brought out. Also, being only one of two americans with our 30 Afghan soldiers, parts were'nt readliy available so when our boom sticks went down, it royally sucked.

Now I move on to my personal rifles. My first AR was an LWRC that I got in 2007. Why? Because I had the cash and I wanted it. Also because I LOATHE cleaning DI rifles. So many late nights at the armory will turn anyone off to it. I wouldnt consider myself part of the mass Kool-Aid drinking crowd. LW was pretty new back then. I now have a M6A2 version that I got at the end of '08. It has about 20,000 rounds through it right now. Not a single problem and I've only cleaned it twice. It eats any kind of ammo I can feed it. It's a great rifle and well worth the extra price to me. Accuracy is a lot better than my issued M4 was. I'll be doing a follow up accuracy test soon to see how its holding up after all the use.

I just wish I had something like this issued to me over my DI M4. Again, I know that most people dont NEED a piston rifle but I'm sure its more of a WANT thing because a DI rifle will suit 99% of the shooters out there. But if one has the cash and is willing to spend extra, then let them. It's their choice. Sorry for the life story.

Nate

I enjoyed reading this, thanks for your Service and for sharing!

MrPlink
05-21-2011, 2:09 PM
Great post Nate, and thanks for your service.

What I find funny is that, I read stories similar to yours a lot. Hell, very similar stories from most of my friends that have recently been in Iraq or A-stan, but they all seem to come with the qualifier, "Well, its just my experience, and maybe not that common, BUT"

food for thought

Beagle
05-21-2011, 3:12 PM
DI AR don't do well in a desert sand storm. Afterward it requires lots of cleaning.

Scott Connors
05-21-2011, 3:23 PM
i thought that piston ar's where used most effectively in jungles like columbia. can't remember where i read it but supposedly some branch of the gov't has to use it when in a humid environment. don't remember too much, but if someone knows more please elaborate.

IIRC, DEA uses LWRC piston rifles. I've seen photos of some of their agents on overseas duty carrying them.

Scott Connors
05-21-2011, 3:32 PM
First let me say that I can only speak from personal accounts and experiences and can't speak for anyone else. [snippage] Sorry for the life story.

Nate

This is one of the best posts that I've read on this subject. It is precisely because of experiences such as yours that some SOCOM units have adopted the HK 416 and the SCAR. I personally prefer DI, feel that for most shooters GP systems are a solution in search of a problem, but I don't live in an environment as challenging as that which you describe so vividly. Thank you so much for your service and for sharing.

Beagle
05-21-2011, 4:31 PM
IIRC, DEA uses LWRC piston rifles. I've seen photos of some of their agents on overseas duty carrying them.

http://www.lwrci.com/articles/TacOpDEALWRCI.pdf

An article on the DEA in Colombia with Oliver North. The DEA also carry these in Afghanistan.

Beagle
05-21-2011, 4:34 PM
If it takes you longer than 5-10 minutes max to clean your AR you're overcleaning it.

Not sure if the Drill Sergeants would agree with you on that. Maybe on a new DI rifle but not one used constantly at the range.

CHS
05-21-2011, 7:50 PM
Not sure if the Drill Sergeants would agree with you on that. Maybe on a new DI rifle but not one used constantly at the range.

You have to remember that the cleaning regimen drilled into military personnel is primarily to instill discipline. In some cases, the "white glove" cleaning that is demanded by the military is actually damaging to the rifles in question. But it's not about having clean and functional weapons, it's about discipline first.

Nate87
05-21-2011, 8:01 PM
Thanks to all for the kind comments. I know that there will always be the DI guys and the GP guys(or gals) so I'm not trying to say that one is better than the other. They are both great systems. What should be understood is that they are both tools that can be put into your tool box. And not one tool is right for every job. They both have thier place depending on what the job is. Going along with the tool analogy, not all tools are created equal. Some are made in China, are cheap and dont last very long. Others are made in America, last forever, and have companies that stand behind their product. The same thing goes for rifles. Just becasue its a GP rifle doesnt mean it's better. I'm sure there are crap piston systems out there that are going to give you more trouble than not. Just becasue it's a different tool does'nt make it better if it's still made in China. Make sense? As long as you buy from a reputable manufacture with good QC, whether it's a DI or GP, you should'nt have any issues.

As for my experiences being "common", I still think they are pretty uncommon. You may hear many stories similar to mine but I think for the most part they are few and far between. You hear these types of stories only because something went wrong or could have been improved. Kind of like the news, all you hear is the bad stuff going on never really the good. Think of the many individuals that go without incident. Combat arms MOS's are a very small part of the military. Most the stories will undoubtedly come from the combat arms MOS's and these are the guys that may benefit from a GP rifle. But even so, many of these grunt units HAVE the time when they are inside the wire to clean and maintain their rifles. So in their case, and just like all the non-combat related jobs in the military, a DI gun will get the job done well and HAS been getting the job done for quite some time. A GP rifle will shine for those units or individuals that are in extremely hostile and austere enviorments where their rifles get lots of use and abuse. To me, those individuals are just drops in the buckets when compared to the majority of the armed forces.

tacticalcity
05-21-2011, 8:05 PM
I was issued a GAU-5A/A with an 11.5" Barrel and A2 Hider back in my Air Force days. Functioned flawlessly. Absolutely and completely trusted it. Trust that it earned. It also had true "full" auto functionality. But you used trigger control and discipline to shoot 3-5 round bursts. Pit it to the torture test of pooring ran and mudd, freezing waist deep snow, as well as the deserts of the Middle East. So if that rifle could do all that with a DI system, your civilian semi-auto 16" inch or longer rifle that never so much as sees a drop of ran (yes that is an assumption but one to emphasis my point) is going to be more than fine.

Both my current civlian owned semi-auto ARs are DI, and I could not be happier.

Picture of the GAU-5A/A I was issued (not the same one just a picture I found online)...
http://pullig.dyndns.org/retroblackrifle/sitebuilder/images/USAF_1988-1-560x412.jpg

CHS
05-21-2011, 8:13 PM
Picture of the GAU-5A/A I was issued (not the same one just a picture I found online)...
http://pullig.dyndns.org/retroblackrifle/sitebuilder/images/USAF_1988-1-560x412.jpg

I've always had a serious love affair with that gun.

To me, it's the ultimate carbine version of the M16 platform. I wish I lived in a free state so I could own an SBR version. I might make one small change, and that would be to the A2 upper receiver. But that's it.

FeuerFrei
05-21-2011, 8:39 PM
DI = yeah! nothing is better!
GP = not needed, stupid, answer to non-existent problem, blah, blah, blah...
...another DI vrs GP... = Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... :sleep1:
My observation has been that most people that own GP AR rifles also own DI rifles.
Can that be said of the DI only promoters that "don't see the need" to own a GP AR?
How can you judge it without extensive experience with it?
If you have personal experience with a GP rifle then share what you have learned and not what some gun mag writer or Colt sponsored "test" came up with.
Give some facts that you have personally witnessed. Facts are good.

Uriah02
05-21-2011, 9:54 PM
First let me say that I can only speak from personal accounts

Another thanks for the review and your service. Oh and holy cow that is a Bronze Star with a "V" Device :eek:

CHS
05-21-2011, 11:59 PM
If you have personal experience with a GP rifle then share what you have learned and not what some gun mag writer or Colt sponsored "test" came up with.
Give some facts that you have personally witnessed. Facts are good.

I don't care about DI vs. GP. They both rock.

The problem comes when you slap a GP onto a DI platform, utilizing a receiver that's not designed for the types of mechanical motion and stresses that GP provides.

Take a look at EVERY GAS PISTON DESIGN OUT THERE. Now compare it with a GP AR. Notice how GP AR's are designed differently than EVERY OTHER GAS PISTON DESIGN OUT THERE?

There's nothing wrong with gas piston guns. But AR's with gas pistons slapped on them are designed WRONG.

If you really want a gas piston gun with lots of inherited AR features, get an ACR or SCAR.

Otherwise you're buying into a poorly-designed non-standardized platform.

Droppin Deuces
05-22-2011, 12:05 AM
I don't care about DI vs. GP. They both rock.

The problem comes when you slap a GP onto a DI platform, utilizing a receiver that's not designed for the types of mechanical motion and stresses that GP provides.

Take a look at EVERY GAS PISTON DESIGN OUT THERE. Now compare it with a GP AR. Notice how GP AR's are designed differently than EVERY OTHER GAS PISTON DESIGN OUT THERE?

There's nothing wrong with gas piston guns. But AR's with gas pistons slapped on them are designed WRONG.

If you really want a gas piston gun with lots of inherited AR features, get an ACR or SCAR.

Otherwise you're buying into a poorly-designed non-standardized platform.

I understand what you're saying, but what specifically is it about the design that is wrong?

MrPlink
05-22-2011, 12:45 AM
You hear these types of stories only because something went wrong or could have been improved. Kind of like the news, all you hear is the bad stuff going on never really the good.

a good point, while I cant say my sample has been scientific, most of my information has come from people that I have personally interviewed regarding the matter. I really wish I documented the responses, some were fairly neutral but the more extreme ones have been rather interesting,

from people getting mad and exclaiming that anybody who does not like the AR platform is unpatriotic and does not understand how to use the system etc etc etc (not too dif from most forums actually ha ha)

to a Vietnam vet who got really angry and started to cry claiming that malfunctioning M16s cost the lives of several of his friends.

Another favorite is from an old co-worker who fought in the Croatian war of independence, who rolled his eyes the minute I brought up M16s and told me he and his squad picked up AK's from Serbs the first chance they had.

Im not trying to make a statement one way or another, I just find the controversy very interesting, its even more interesting when you consider how much and how long the AR15 and family have been surrounded in controversy. Even within communities of people that all openly like the platform, there is still controversy!

jimmykan
05-22-2011, 9:00 AM
I think you missed the point.

The point was that cleaning is not important. Proper lubrication is.

Cleaning makes the gun look nice and shiny. But it doesn't generally affect function. Proper lubrication is what helps and affects function.

It's a hundred times more important to lubricate your gun properly than it is to ever clean it.

I stopped cleaning my guns a long time ago. I do however take the time to make sure they are always properly lubricated.

I understood the point regarding lubrication. Heck, I even went and bought a bottle of Slip 2000 EWL after reading that.

I was just wondering what kind of ammo was being run through the gun. Was it a type that contained relatively clean-burning powder, or more like that Vietnam-vintage ammunition loaded with that powder that was causing calcium fouling?

EWILKE
05-22-2011, 9:11 AM
I just put 500 rounds thru my PWS piston upper and it looks like I just cleaned and lubed the upper I could not believe it was so clean. and I was using silver bear.I am a piston system convert as well.

GM4spd
05-22-2011, 9:56 AM
I'm glad we have a choice between DI and Piston.After reading this it
convinces me I don't need a DI rifle for anything. Pete

RLTW
05-23-2011, 10:50 PM
Seriously, its a couple extra minutes at worse. All that extra time you spend is from the environment and is not related to the gas system.

Well of course its environmental... If not it's a Safe Queen and probably has rust and corrison... If ya shoot the F out of your rifle it's going to gum up and carbon up

True shouldn't take as long as I said.. then again it's hard to break old habits of being in the miltary and Q-Tiping everything....

If you maintain your AR.. cleaning out carbon in the bolt carrier every few shooting events. Yeah no biggie.. Hit the big stuff and oil up and put away... but when you get military M4's that haven't had a good cleaning it takes longer than 10min if your doing it right.

Did you know I Luv my Gas Piston AR I'm not dissing either and I have been around M16s for more than a trip to the gun store or range once or twice...

my 2cents....:)

RLTW
05-23-2011, 11:33 PM
I was issued a GAU-5A/A with an 11.5" Barrel and A2 Hider back in my Air Force days. Functioned flawlessly. Absolutely and completely trusted it. Trust that it earned. It also had true "full" auto functionality. But you used trigger control and discipline to shoot 3-5 round bursts. Pit it to the torture test of pooring ran and mudd, freezing waist deep snow, as well as the deserts of the Middle East. So if that rifle could do all that with a DI system, your civilian semi-auto 16" inch or longer rifle that never so much as sees a drop of ran (yes that is an assumption but one to emphasis my point) is going to be more than fine.

Both my current civlian owned semi-auto ARs are DI, and I could not be happier.

Picture of the GAU-5A/A I was issued (not the same one just a picture I found online)...
http://pullig.dyndns.org/retroblackrifle/sitebuilder/images/USAF_1988-1-560x412.jpg
Figured I would add to the post. (again)

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f317/admbleg/Stuff/PR93.jpg

I dug up an old picture when we jumped in to Puerto Rico back in 93 for training I am in the middle with two rto's carring Car-15s. Are unit was one of the first to be outfitted with the first version of the M4.

themailman
05-24-2011, 9:12 AM
I just cleaned my two DI AR's yesterday. My BCM went around 3600 rds before this cleaning, and my MRP went about 400 (cuz she's my baby). It took me about 30 min and 20 Q-Tips to have them near inspection ready, and its all because of soaking the BCG in CLP. As you clean your upper, q-tip your chamber, punch the bore etc., the carbon is slowly running off of your BCG and into the pan, making for a quick wipe down instead of having to scrape carbon all day.

Could I have cleaned them faster? Sure, but Marine Corps cleaning habits are the only way I know how to do it so IIWI.

I've experienced cleaning rifles after a sandstorm, and I'll tell you this: there is no way my rifle would have been operational after that ****, no matter how much lube I applied. Sandstorm sand is like a fine powder that literally gets into EVERY crack and crevace (even your own!). I think our next military rifle should be a piston operated design, especially as we find ourselves in sandy places. The SCAR, HK416, etc have all performed far better than the M4 in testing.

But, for my personal rifles, I love DI. It's lightweight, low recoil, minimal parts, simple functions, easy to diagnose problems, EASY to find spare parts, and accurate to boot. If I have to clean it ever month instead of every year...so be it.

IMO, I would have loved to have been issued an HK416 with an 18" barrel and A1 stock, that's what the next M16 variant should be. But, w/e...I'm a POG, not a triggerpuller (at work that is).

r6raff
05-24-2011, 12:41 PM
and its all because of soaking the BCG in CLP. As you clean your upper, q-tip your chamber, punch the bore etc., the carbon is slowly running off of your BCG and into the pan, making for a quick wipe down instead of having to scrape carbon all day.

I do the same, first thing I do is break down my weapons and place the BCGs (disassembled) into a pan of CLP and let is soak for 10-15 minutes while I clean my sidearms and uppers etc... my BCM's BCG easily has several thousand rounds and still looks pretty damn good.

Do you need to clean your weapon after every shoot? No, but why not? granted to much cleaning has the potential for incurring more damage than neglecting, but im not talking about busting out the chore boy, just a decent 10 minute clean. Take care of your weapons and they will take care of you, who knows what will happen one day, s could h the f and you may not have time to thoroughly clean it but you already have 3k plus worth of **** built up, id rather start any SHTF scenario with the best odds possible, that means a **** ton of ammo and clean ready to fight weapons... I have the time to clean my weapons after shooting, to me it is as part of the routine as much as shooting. Most the times I don't even think about it, its automatic. I do always keep atleast 1 weapon assemble and good to go, don't want to be caught with my pants down:D

But on subject, I like Piston systems, do i feel I need one as a civi? Not really. I will get one eventually, but it will most likely be a SCAR, possibly a LWRC. But we will see, ultimately its the users call, if they feel they need it, then who are we to say they don't. I'm just thankful that we have little problems like these lol, I love too many choices, much better than not enough :p

mlevans66
05-24-2011, 2:05 PM
I have to say with reguards to this thread that reading the posts are awsome. So much info and so much learned. This is the reason I like calguns. Now I served for a couple of years and I played in the "sandbox" and Afgan. Both places brings there own crap into play with your M-16. I got sand, mud, bugs, saw dust, and if you've been there that "moon dust" crap that came in the dry season. My weapon after some minor cleaning worked fine enough but I knew it was jamming on my at some points due to either lousy mags or the crap mentioned above. I also used AKs and even they would jam on me with so much crud in ther. As for the 2111s and "white glove" cleaning we would always tell them that, that crap was hurting the weapons but they didn't care. We would some times scrub till the black would come off. LOL My own rifle being a Adams Arms upper on a KD lower and BCM middy on a JD lower don't get as much crud in them as my former work rifle. I have only punched the bores and wiped down the piston once since I shot the rife and as for the BCM much of the same except I lube a little more. I like'em both but there is a difference on cleaning and maintaining for the two. My Adams don't have tilt probs or anything like that as far as I know. I see the piston system as a evolution of the ARs. Next being the ACRs and what not. My two cents