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-   -   My experience/review of the ARES GSR-35 Piston Kit in an M&P rifle (

Gregchico 04-06-2009 10:39 PM

My experience/review of the ARES GSR-35 Piston Kit in an M&P rifle
The purpose of this post is to only share my experience with the ARES GSR-35 piston kit and how well it worked in my M&P 15FT. There was nothing wrong with my rifle before I did the conversion, I only did it because I was cereus and wanted to. Iím not trying to start an argument over which system is better. Yes, my review is in narrative/book report form with some boring personal parts, but you can skip those areasÖ.

I ordered the kit from PK Firearms and it arrived in 3 days. I have always had good experienced dealing with them. I opened up the kit and read over the instructions twice and was impressed about how easy this system would be to install. The installation went painlessly, it was as simple as removing the gas tube. I did notice a space between my gas block and the body of the kits spicket upon installation. I removed my gas rings from the bolt then lightly lubed the carrier and went to the range to see how well it worked. I knew from the postings that I would have to remove some material from the to of my Troy hand guard to make everything fit, so I took my rail to a friend with a Ĺ ball mill and let him do the work for me.

Above you can see the 12 oíclock piston vent (at space 27) (it has them at 3,6,9&12), knurled handle (25) and the spring covered piston portion (21).

I only brought 60 rounds with me, 30 South African, 2 Winchester White Box and 10 reloads. Everything went good as expected, no failures, bolt locked back every time on an empty magazine. All the brass was ejecting about 12 feet to my 5 oíclock position. I then pulled out my Spikes 22lr conversion kit t just put a few more bullets down range and I noticed that the conversion kit bolt would not close, as the top of the bolt was hitting the piston rod inside of my receiver. This was a deal killing surprise. I would happily give up my piston for my 22lr kit.

Came home and examined the problem some more and since I could not see how much was hitting or where I would have to remove material to make it work I decided to sell the piston kit before my idol hands grabbed my file and grinder. I placed the kit up for sale, had several PMs/emails, but nobody with a solid Iíll take it so after a few days my curiosity got the better of me and I reinstalled the kit.

I wound up grinding down some of the metal on my conversion kit and if I did not tell you that I did, nobody would know. It was an easer problem to fix then I thought it would be.

I took the rifle back out to the range with 450 rounds of .223 and put her through her paces again. The only problem I had was with the Wolf ammo short stroking. It would not pick up a new round from the magazine and obviously it would not lock back on empty. I have both lacquered and polymer 55 & 62gr types that all had the same problem. Not using Wolf is not an option as I have, letís just say a lot of it. I tried lubing the buffer tube and BCG better, and went back to the range but still had short stroking issues. I then removed 3 coils from my buffer spring and everything ran fine. Iím not happy about having to trim my spring, but it made things work for now.

I like this piston kit and can really see tell how much cleaner the system is compared to the gas system after a day of shooting Wolf. Am I going to convert any other of my ARs to a piston system? No. Do I think the ARES kit is a high quality, well made kit that was easy to install? Yes. Did it change affect accuracy? I do not think so. Iím a little embarrassed to say I never shot this rifle for groups, but my sight in targets were about an 1.5 at 100yds with good ammo and still are about 1.5 inches at 100yds.

nicoroshi 04-06-2009 10:47 PM

Nice review. I have been looking at changing my 5.56 DI build out to a piston after noticing the difference in cleaning time between my 6.8 SPC piston, and the 5.56 DI.
Is that system on a carbine length gas system, and does it come in the mid-length as well?

joelukehart 04-07-2009 1:59 AM

You should thoroughly clean your barrel after using the .22lr kit or build a dedicated .22 upper.Nice review though.Is that rust on the Ares piston?

Gregchico 04-07-2009 7:23 AM

I chose this kit to maintain the factory look of the rifle and this one was the only one that had a chance of fitting under my factory rail. At this time, I believe it only comes in carbine length.

There is no rust on the system, the discoloration on some of the parts is due to heat treating and hardening process. The first generation of this kit did not go through as much testing/hardening before shipment. It was prettier, but some people had failures.

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