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View Full Version : Kel-tec Su16ca Pros & Cons


Fillagin
12-06-2006, 5:54 PM
I was thinking of getting one for a plinker

E Pluribus Unum
12-06-2006, 5:58 PM
I was thinking of getting one for a plinker

They accept AR magazines but that is about the only thing that is the same. Accuracy is not as good as an AR but is comperable to the Mini-14. The advantages severely outweigh the disadvantages. It only weighs a few pounds and it will fold up and go under your seat nicely (pickup).

The worst part are the sights. If you do not get the A2 sights on it I would invest in a red-dot or other scope to go onto the built-in rail.

For the money it is a good plinker.

megavolt121
12-06-2006, 6:02 PM
Just get an OLL. Buy used parts and you'll spend a tad bit more than an SU-16 but a much better gun where you can upgrade later if you wish.

donger
12-06-2006, 6:10 PM
Sorry, but I would have to disagree with the two guys above me.

The Kel-Tec SU-16, especially the SU-16CA model is a good little gun. You will get better accuracy with the SU than you would with a stock Mini-14.

For a Californian, the SU-16CA is great option.

E Pluribus Unum
12-06-2006, 6:12 PM
Just get an OLL. Buy used parts and you'll spend a tad bit more than an SU-16 but a much better gun where you can upgrade later if you wish.

I have an OLL and there are still situations where the SU-16 is an advantage.

I take it backpacking. The thing only weighs 4.5 pounds! I can fold it up so that it fits in my backpack and carry the 9mm for immediate personal defence. If I feel like plinking or happen upon some game I can take the rifle out and be ready to go.

I do agree however that if accuracy is paramount, buy the OLL.

Fillagin
12-06-2006, 6:12 PM
I have two ar-15 built up now but with all the law crap thats going on now I thought I would try one, already have the mags and ammo.

E Pluribus Unum
12-06-2006, 6:15 PM
Sorry, but I would have to disagree with the two guys above me.

The Kel-Tec SU-16, especially the SU-16CA model is a good little gun. You will get better accuracy with the SU than you would with a stock Mini-14.

For a Californian, the SU-16CA is great option.

Maybe the newer models are improved. I was on a waiting list for 8 months to get one. I got one of the first models a couple years ago. It has a very thin barrel and terrible sights. Its not really an issue because I have a red dot scope on it. I have looked at the newer models and it looks as if they have improved it considerably. It would not suprise me if the accuracy is a bit better too.

Another thing; buy a metal AR magazine. The stock ones mine came with were terrible. They would always BARF all the rounds out the top when not physically in the gun.

At the time I bought mine it was $500 but I think they have gone down in price. I fully enjoy the rifle and it gets a lot less attention from the LEOs.

naimad
12-06-2006, 6:16 PM
the kel tec su-16 ca is fun little gun i was impressed with mine the very first time i shot it i thought it was alot better than the mini14 i had if you do buy one get the ca model

Ryan HBC
12-06-2006, 6:28 PM
SU-16 has no place now that the OLL's are available. If you are willing to unfold an SU-16CA and mess with the annoying hinge pin, you might as well just separate your AR upper and lower to get the same effect.

The AR is more accurate, more durable, has more options, and is more evil.

The SU-16 is lighter, and cheaper.

E Pluribus Unum
12-06-2006, 6:41 PM
SU-16 has no place now that the OLL's are available. If you are willing to unfold an SU-16CA and mess with the annoying hinge pin, you might as well just separate your AR upper and lower to get the same effect.

The AR is more accurate, more durable, has more options, and is more evil.

The SU-16 is lighter, and cheaper.

One only has to deal with the hinge pin when assembling the rifle. Once the rifle is assembled he does not have to pull the take-down pin every time he wants to reload.

Furthermore the ergonomics on the SU-16 are superior to an AR with no pistol grip but this of course is opinion and will be different for each user. I do have to admit however I tried the U-15 stock today and it was very nice! It is similar ergonomically to the SU-16 therefore aesthetically pleasing yet being more accurate than the SU-16.

If one built an OLL with the U-15 stock with no evil features (to retain the detachable magazine) AND bought the ambidextrous safety switch (one cannot reach the safety with a U-15 stock) THEN the OLL would be superior in every way but weight and cost.

Even still I like being able to conceal a 4 pound .223 rifle with detachable magazine under my seat. Itís fast, convenient and sufficiently accurate out to 300 meters. Show me a California legal AR-15 that will do all of that, let alone for $500 or less and I will concede that there is no place for this rifle in California. Do it not sir and I would respectfully like to disagree with you. :)

sthornwall
12-06-2006, 7:00 PM
I was thinking of getting one for a plinker

A friend of mine has one. He loves the thing. He has two OLL's but his Kel-Tec SU-16ca is definitely his favorite rifle only because he can use his pre-ban 30rd mags and won't get harassed by LEO's as much. Plus the thing is super light and compact when it's stored. When the stock is folded, it renders the weapon inoperable therefore it doesnít qualify as a tactically functional folding, telescoping or collapsible stock in respect to an assault weapon modifiable stock. The great thing is this weapon is just as functional as any AR-type weapon just without the so-called 'evil features'. Plus you can store another loaded pre-ban 30rd mag in the buttstock. I do agree that the OEM sights are not as reliable and accurate as traditional AR-type iron sights so I would recommend upgrading to an optic of some kind. I am not sure if you can place AR-type sights on a Kel-Tec. I would have to check that.

Cleanup is very quick and easy. The Kel-Tec SU-16ca is a gas piston driven upper as opposed to the traditional AR-type which is purely a gas driven upper. So you get very little carbon dump into the chamber as compared to any AR-type gas upper. All you really need to do is disassemble the weapon and do a quick wipe of the components and the piston, then use a little break free to keep the internal components lubed and protected from moisture.

I am going to build my Double-Star 15 with a "POF Gas Piston Upper". This will allow me to have an AR-type weapon that functions similar to the AK/Kel-Tec weapons platforms. They have this upper for sale at Cold War Shooters for just under $1000. This option is expensive, the complete piston driven upper assembly is double in cost compared to the standard gas driven uppers.

The Kel-Tec SU-16ca is a lot cheaper and not subject to the CA AW laws unless you make any mods that don't comply with the Cal Assault Weapons rules. Kel-Tec designed this rifle to comply with the very limits of the CA AW regulations. It was made specifically for Californians and other states the must endure these ridiculous regulations.

I say "go for it". :cool:

shark92651
12-06-2006, 7:10 PM
I like my SU-16CA for the reasons mentioned above. It is very light and can be folded to easily fit in a backpack. It is not as durable as my AR or as accurate, but is a lot of fun and has it's place in my collection. I along with some others, had some issues with FTE at first but I replaced my extractor with a bushmaster and the problem is gone now.

The CA model has a thicker barrel than the original A and B models and the poly magazines have thicker walls now that solved the problem with the original design not holding the rounds in. Of course, you can use any of your AR magazines if you want. I added a yankee-hill brake and the compact forearm for maximum evilness.

It's not a bad gun for the $560 (if I recall correctly) that I paid for it. The forearm replacement was like another $45.


http://static.flickr.com/116/285276955_4f945d2631_b.jpg

TonyNorCal
12-06-2006, 7:17 PM
I owned an SU-16A model (which has a thinner barrel and worse sights than the CA).

Advantages of SU-16CA

~better accuracy than a stock mini. Some guys report very good accuracy. Maybe they'll come along and post photos. My A model shot well, I didn't shoot for tight groups and didn't measure. But it shot decent groups, to the point of aim, etc. and was generally impressive that way.
~takes detachable mags.
~folds (if that matters to you).
~Kel-Tec has amazing customer service (from what I hear) and lifetime warranty.

Disadvantages

~my biggest gripe is that it just doesn't seem 'solid'. And, I am not against polymer firearms. I own a Glock and others. But the A model I had just didn't seem solid. Someone here had a photo of a cracked receiver (fairly recently). Maybe someone will link that thread.
- of course, as a range commando gun how solid does it need to be? I tend to like robust, solid feeling, military type firearms. But, that's just me.

~I'm not sure how many repairs you could do on it yourself. It sucks to have a gun that needs to go to Florida for service even if the service is good. Some people mention the extractors aren't so hot, but evidently that's an easy swap you can do.


I'd choose an AR over a an SU16, but you mentioned having a few. If you're worried about the legality of the AR you could always go MonsterMan or U-15 stock and forgot worrying about the secure mag issue.

Or, you could order a CMP Garand. Service Grades are out again...but you can geta Field Grade for less than an SU-16CA.

Field Grade = $425 + 25 shipping.

SU-16CA = $499 shipped + DROS (25) + FFL fee

So you could get a Field Grade + ammo for the price of an SU-16CA. You'll have no durability problems:p then and a rifle which will appreciate in value. You'll also have a serious battle rifle with a big boy cartridge.

The SoCal Gunner
12-06-2006, 7:17 PM
I am feeling the need to get one. Wonder if they will have one chambered in 7.62.

E Pluribus Unum
12-06-2006, 7:24 PM
I am feeling the need to get one. Wonder if they will have one chambered in 7.62.

I would not mind seeing a .45 ACP carbine. That would be a nice little gun.

CA SHOOTER
12-06-2006, 7:25 PM
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g273/JamesDub131/DSC00636.jpg

And another pic ...
http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g273/JamesDub131/DSC00635.jpg

I love mine , fun gun . Its a SU16B with a Bushnell HoloSight .

But I'm also building a OLL right now :D .

vrejshah209
12-06-2006, 7:37 PM
.....

JHC
12-06-2006, 7:38 PM
I have an A model, well actually Kel-tec has it and is hopefully repairing it since it self destructed.

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/DSCN6548.jpg

shark92651
12-06-2006, 8:21 PM
I have an A model, well actually Kel-tec has it and is hopefully repairing it since it self destructed.

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/DSCN6548.jpg

Ouch! I have never seen the olive color, must of been an early model? I certainly hope whatever that failure is has been corrected in later models. How many rounds have you put through it?

LECTRIKHED
12-06-2006, 8:26 PM
From an owner of a SU-16CA, I will say you should buy it. It is cheap, fairly accurate and can shoot anything. The piston gas system is rugged like an AK47. The magazine storage in the stock is pretty cool. Mine worked straight out of the box.

I would reccomend a couple of alterations to make it a better rifle. Replace the extractor, it takes a standard AR extractor that costs $15. You can call Kel-Tec and they'll send you one for free aswell. Also replace the charging handle with the old style. Kel-Tec will probably send you one for free. Add a sling and a muzzle break. Sand the bottom of the bolt carrier with fine grit wet automotive sand paper.

The Rifle works great out of the box. But it is a much better rifle with those changes. All the work above should not take more than an hour.

drclark
12-06-2006, 8:34 PM
I have an SU-16ca. Evaluating it on its own merits here are the things I like and dislike.

Likes:
-- Light Weight
-- Folding feature = compact and more easily concealed
-- Adequate accuracy for plinking; some have reported as good as 1.5 in groups, ymmv
-- AR mag compaibility
-- ca model frontsights similar to AR type front sight (metal, wing & post)
-- gas-piston operation keeps system very clean
-- integral picitiny rail.

Dislikes:
-- Length of pull seems fairly long when compared to other similar rifles; stock design makes shortening the LOP difficult if not impossible.
-- the rubber-butt pad is very thin and flimsy. The top on mine has a tendency to try to come out during firing.
-- the hinged upper & lower receiver make field-stripping awkward. Re-assembling the bolt carrier into the receiver is tricky.
-- integral bipod is marginal at best. Either don't use it or replace the bipod with the "compact fore-end" sold by kel-tec.
-- manual operation of the bolt-catch is a bit awkward
-- my biggest dislike is that the stock feels like it should have more drop to it w.r.t. to the sight line. To get a good sight picture I have to really scrunch my head and neck down on the stock. After awhile, it can get rather uncomfortable. For me, either the stock needs to have more drop or the sightline (irons) needs to be about .5 in higher. Maybe kel-tec assumed that most people would mount a red-dot or other optic on the integral rail.
-- OEM mags are flimsy (the in-stock storage is kinda neat).
-- some people have reported extraction problems with the OEM extractor. I have not had any problems yet. Apparently using a replacing OEM with a bushmaster extractor has resolved the issue for those who have experienced it.
-- some people have reported problems using wolf (steel case) ammo. I do not shoot wolf, so I cannot comment.
-- Lastly, not many after market goodies for it.


Overall, I like the rifle. It is light and handy. It is accurate enough to plink with. Its exactly what it says it is, a sport-utiliity rifle. It's never going to be a bench-rest rifle. If you want to butt-stroke someone you're better off getting a louisville slugger. Its not a military combat weapon, but in a Katrina type emergency it would be a good option in my opinion. Its light enough to hike with and can more easily concealed in a bug-out pack or duffel bag in the trunk if need be.

I've seen some Su-16s at the range that are loaded up with high power scope, extended muzzle brake, vertical foregrip, light, lazer, etc.... I believe in the philosophy of "to each is own", but I personally feel that loading this rifle up with all sorts of tactical do-dads takes away its biggest advantages.

Just my opinions,
drc

bu-bye
12-06-2006, 8:40 PM
I'm a fan of the SU-16CA but not the A or B models. The CA and C model have all the features that the buyers asked for. KT has done a great job of listening to the people and building what they want. I have sent a number of e-mails to them asking for a 7.62X39 that takes AK mags and a 308 model that takes FAL mags. They keep saying that they have no plans to build such rifles but with every e-mail they get the more they sit down and think about it.

Anyway back to the CA. I love mine. Its light, cheap takes my preban mags, It folds up into a backpack and WILL shoot sub MOA......

http://64.124.10.205/su16ca/su16camoasmall.jpg
Never seen a stock Mini-14 ever come close to that!

elmo
12-06-2006, 8:45 PM
i've owned an SU16 A model and it was pretty good for what it costs. I wished at the time i sprang for the CA model, much better sites and a thicker barrel. It shot pretty well to 100 yards and never gave me problems. Negatives is it doesn't 'feel' solid.

enchantor
12-06-2006, 9:00 PM
Unfortunately I've had nothing but trouble with mine, I think I need to replace the extractor, but I've never got around to it. Anyone know of a good website where I could order one? I should probably do that, considering it's been collecting dust since the day I bought it practically. hah

Dont Tread on Me
12-06-2006, 9:08 PM
Unfortunately I've had nothing but trouble with mine, I think I need to replace the extractor, but I've never got around to it. Anyone know of a good website where I could order one? I should probably do that, considering it's been collecting dust since the day I bought it practically. hah

Just phone Keltec customer service they will send you one free of charge.

I had the FTE problem and got a replacement extractor and have not looked back. I have one fast and accurate gun.

It is not a robust mill grade weapon but it's a lot of fun. I've got 2K rounds through mine and I'm still enjoying it.

DV8
12-07-2006, 6:51 AM
I bought an A model when they first come out, dont know how many rounds through it. The only problem has been a broken firing pin which Keltec replaced free of charge. Accuracy is ok, function flawless plus I get to use my old AR mags. Never had a problem with the factory 10 rounders. It is a little tricky to fieldstrip the rifle though...

If it were me, I would get the CA. Its how the rifle should have been sold in the first place.

ketec_owner
12-07-2006, 7:59 AM
SU-16CA

Pros.
------
great customer service and warranty
m16/ar-15 mags
reliable
stoner breech system combined with gas driven piston
picatinny rail system
folds in half
threaded barrel
buttstock storage of mags
cheap
extremely light

cons
-------
not accurate as some rifles - more accurate the many (such as the mini and SkS)
folding bipod not useful
metal parts not heat treated or case hardened (hammer for example)
many small parts not rust protected (bipod spring for example)
no chrome lined barrel


Hope this helps.

bu-bye
12-07-2006, 9:58 AM
Actually KT said the metal parts are hardened all the way through not just surface hardened.

ketec_owner
12-07-2006, 10:01 AM
Yes - I remember that discussion on KTOG. But the wear on the hammer face is what I was referring to. Can't remember - but I think I heard the KT said hardened but not heat treated?

enchantor
12-07-2006, 10:06 AM
Thanks for the info I'll definately give them a ring.

Just phone Keltec customer service they will send you one free of charge.

I had the FTE problem and got a replacement extractor and have not looked back. I have one fast and accurate gun.

It is not a robust mill grade weapon but it's a lot of fun. I've got 2K rounds through mine and I'm still enjoying it.

ibbryn
12-07-2006, 10:23 AM
Someone who has a Kel-tec please give us an estimate of how many rounds you have fired through it.

I occassionally take Fighting Rifle/Tactial type courses. Over two days we shoot about 1500 rounds. The guys running the courses have these courses frequently and see a lot of rifles in use.

They say the Kel-tecs consistently fail sometime during the weekend.

750 rounds a day, many in rapid succession, might be more than you plan on shooting. But if this your primary weapon you should get something that is 100% reliable under whatever circumstances. If you want a plinker, go for it. If you want something light that you can fold up and put in your backpack or under the seat of your truck, do you want to trade conveinence for life-saving reliability?

Your OLL will do the job. The Mini14, if you have reliable mags, will also function well.

shonc99
12-07-2006, 11:42 AM
Another thing; buy a metal AR magazine. The stock ones mine came with were terrible. They would always BARF all the rounds out the top when not physically in the gun.

:D
Such a funny visual, yet so true........

shark92651
12-07-2006, 1:08 PM
Someone who has a Kel-tec please give us an estimate of how many rounds you have fired through it.

I occassionally take Fighting Rifle/Tactial type courses. Over two days we shoot about 1500 rounds. The guys running the courses have these courses frequently and see a lot of rifles in use.

They say the Kel-tecs consistently fail sometime during the weekend.

750 rounds a day, many in rapid succession, might be more than you plan on shooting. But if this your primary weapon you should get something that is 100% reliable under whatever circumstances. If you want a plinker, go for it. If you want something light that you can fold up and put in your backpack or under the seat of your truck, do you want to trade conveinence for life-saving reliability?

Your OLL will do the job. The Mini14, if you have reliable mags, will also function well.

I assume you mean a gripless build, right? I mean who wants to take a tactical course with a rifle they have to crack open every 10 rounds either :confused:

JHC
12-07-2006, 3:20 PM
Ouch! I have never seen the olive color, must of been an early model? I certainly hope whatever that failure is has been corrected in later models. How many rounds have you put through it?

Thousands.

ketec_owner
12-07-2006, 3:58 PM
about 2,000 rounds of XM193.

TheClap1
12-07-2006, 4:36 PM
I have a SU-16CA and it hasn't given me any problems. I have shot 500 rounds through it. Accuracy is good out the box.

iridesportbikes
12-07-2006, 4:54 PM
i've shot well over 1000 rounds(various ammo brands) thru my SU16CA and not a major malfunction, even without the upgrades. Great rifle!

rayra
12-07-2006, 5:12 PM
SU-16 has no place now that the OLL's are available. If you are willing to unfold an SU-16CA and mess with the annoying hinge pin ONCE, you might as well just separate your AR upper and lower OVER and OVER to get the same effect.

The AR is more accurate, more durable, has more options, and is more evil.

The SU-16 is lighter, and cheaper.Touched that up a bit for you.

Totally ignoring the speed and ease of use of reloading the weapon with multiple 10rd mags, vs cracking open an OLL and handloading or hoping your stripper clip setup works...
That's a major issue, and you sailed right past it like it wasn't even there.

rayra
12-07-2006, 5:16 PM
I like my SU-16CA for the reasons mentioned above... ...I added a yankee-hill brake and the compact forearm for maximum evilness.
...
http://static.flickr.com/116/285276955_4f945d2631_b.jpgEggselent

Stevil
12-07-2006, 9:01 PM
I've had 2, the Alpha I ran about 9,000+ rounds through it without a problem, and a CA that after the initial extractor problems were resolved by using a AR one has worked perfectly through 1,000+ rounds. :D

http://allcocked.com/img/su16rails/07.jpg
http://allcocked.com/img/su16sps/01.jpg
http://allcocked.com/img/su16qdrings/01.jpg

Ryan HBC
12-07-2006, 9:25 PM
Touched that up a bit for you.

Totally ignoring the speed and ease of use of reloading the weapon with multiple 10rd mags, vs cracking open an OLL and handloading or hoping your stripper clip setup works...
That's a major issue, and you sailed right past it like it wasn't even there.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Cali AR's can be reloaded with multiple mags as well.

I was talking about breaking it open for storage, you only have to do it once. Not over and over again. Breaking my SU-16a in half is equally as difficult, I HAVE to have that little tool to pop the pin out. My AR hinge pins remove much easier without a tool, and those pins don't get misplaced by accident.

Striper clip set up? Come on, who here actually uses that anyways? If you don't like fixed mags, go gripless. You'll thank yourself later when you get better accuracy and durability.

Think about the average number of OLL's owned here. Now think about the average number of SU-16's. There are good reasons for that. Don't get all mad at me.

vega
12-07-2006, 9:37 PM
Breaking my SU-16a in half is equally as difficult, I HAVE to have that little tool to pop the pin out. My AR hinge pins remove much easier without a tool, and those pins don't get misplaced by accident.
You can always replace the pin with Cotterless Ring hitch, the ones from Home Depot are a lot better looking than that.
http://parts.centrevilletrailer.com/images_parts/1744trailerpart.jpg

ketec_owner
12-08-2006, 2:15 AM
Ditto that. The hitch pin was my first mod.

But really - IMHO the point is conceded on the AR being a better platform. But it's like comparing a Jeep to a Land Rover. Either one will work. You just don't mind getting the Jeep a little dirty - the Land Rover - well.