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Old 02-09-2011, 13:33   #1
wolf19r
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Piston vs Gas uppers

What are the experiences on GT with piston vs gas uppers? Cleaning, problems etc.. who makes a good complete upper? I have been looking at 16" Daniel, Noveske, Ruger 556 and LWRC. Thanks
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Old 02-09-2011, 13:49   #2
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This is like gen 3 vs gen 4. It all boils down to both have their advantages/disadvantages. Look at what you need it to do and decide. I went with di since its been proven to work for so long, also when i saw the breakdown of both systems and saw all the extra parts in a piston system so I went with the minimalist approach, pretty much the same reason I use a glock. All those brands are gtg for uppers, everyone has their favorite brand.
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Old 02-09-2011, 14:07   #3
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If you want a piston get an AK, if you want an AR get DI and just keep it clean and you won't have any problems. Flame suit has been put on for responses.
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Old 02-10-2011, 18:48   #4
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if you want an AR get DI and just keep it clean and you won't have any problems.
Actually, just keep it lubed and you won't have any problems. One of the most common misconceptions regarding the AR platform is that they must be clean to be reliable. It just isn't true. A very dirty rifle will run reliably as long as it's wet.


To answer the OP:

A piston on an AR replaces one standard reliable part (gas tube) with several non-standard proprietary parts, more parts with the potential to fail. It also add weight out front where it's very noticeable. Carrier tilt can also an issue with a piston.

DI ARs are as accurate as they are with little felt recoil and muzzle rise because of the in line nature of the barrel, bolt carrier, and buffer/spring. Adding a reciprocating piston above the line of the bore negates this concept as designed.

A piston AR may be cleaner, but as I mentioned ARs don't need to be clean to be reliable, so it's really a solution to a non-existent problem.

These are my thoughts, YMMV.

Last edited by Captains1911; 02-10-2011 at 18:51..
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Old 02-10-2011, 19:13   #5
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A piston AR may be cleaner, but as I mentioned ARs don't need to be clean to be reliable, so it's really a solution to a non-existent problem.

These are my thoughts, YMMV.
Not really much cleaner. Just dirty in different areas. I probably wont ever purchase a piston gun again. DIs work just as well for my semi only self.
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Old 02-10-2011, 19:28   #6
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I'll leave pistons to the AKs, & gas to the ARs.
I've been shooting those for 25 years, no need to change now.
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Old 02-09-2011, 14:10   #7
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I'll take a gas upper over a piston.
Less moving parts, more accurate, proven design, no carrier tilt issues
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Old 02-09-2011, 14:12   #8
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Do you have a spare flame suit I can borrow?
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Old 02-09-2011, 14:17   #9
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Do you have a spare flame suit I can borrow?
No flame suit needed.........it's a good question.
It's a debatable question,........should be a great thread!
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Old 02-09-2011, 14:21   #10
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Did not know about carrier tilt. Any info GTers have is appreciated. Thanks
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Old 02-09-2011, 16:48   #11
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I have an Adams Arms piston retrofit kit on a DSA upper, and I have been very pleased with its performance so far. It does keep the action cleaner (not clean, but cleaner) than a DI model, and it does keep the heat out front and away from the action.

BUT...it is no more accurate or reliable than my DI ARs. I bought it just to try it out for myself...personal experience is better than internet rumour. I do not prefer it over my DI ARs, but neither do I shun it. It is just a play pretty for me, and I have played with it a lot since I bought it!

LMT, POF, Stag, S&W and CMMG are some of the makers who offer complete piston uppers. But IIRC, Adams Arms offers complete uppers now, also.
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Old 02-09-2011, 17:21   #12
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DI for me. I figure leave pistons on guns designed for them.
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Old 02-09-2011, 19:31   #13
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DI for me. I figure leave pistons on guns designed for them.
Agreed. Plenty of good piston designs around: SCAR, AK, AUG, SIG 556, etc.
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Old 02-09-2011, 21:18   #14
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I have several AR's and have tons of experience in both gas and pistons. I own both and use both at work as well. I like the piston so much I put my life and my team members lives on the line daily with them. We run the HK 416D at work and find it to be very reliable. It never fails. But I havent had any issues with the gas guns either as long as some kind of cleaning and care is provided. Either will be a fine weapon but if you want to run em dirty and not worry.... Then piston is the only choice IMO. I personally own a POF .223 piston AR and love it as well. I also own 5 other AR's in different calibers and they are all gas and I love them. If I could only choose one to keep it would be the piston for reliability and the fact I can run it dirty if I need to with no worries.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:52   #15
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People always try to claim a Piston AR is more reliable than a DI, well to be honest its BS, they always claim the AK is sooooo reliable, well it is, but it was designed a piston, but the key reason its so reliable, is it is made with loose tollarances. The bolt carrier does not know if its being hit with a piston, a hammer or a shot of gas. The AR has very tight tollarances, and needs lubed, pure and simple, remember when POF ran their ads about not needing as much? Well they discovered increased wear, on all their surfaces where steel met aluminum (bolt carrier and upper). If you still have any questions on reliabilty or durability, http://www.bravocompanymfg.com/v/vsp...hy14_oct10.pdf "Filthey 14". All the pistons bring to the AR table, is a gimmick, and a way to sell more AR's in a flooded market.

ETA, break a piston, you will need manufacturer specific parts to get it back up and running.

Last edited by mstennes; 02-10-2011 at 14:18..
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Old 02-10-2011, 17:41   #16
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Quote:
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People always try to claim a Piston AR is more reliable than a DI, well to be honest its BS...a gimmick, and a way to sell more AR's in a flooded market.
Pretty much says it all.
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Old 02-13-2011, 21:22   #17
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Originally Posted by mstennes View Post
People always try to claim a Piston AR is more reliable than a DI, well to be honest its BS, they always claim the AK is sooooo reliable, well it is, but it was designed a piston, but the key reason its so reliable, is it is made with loose tollarances. The bolt carrier does not know if its being hit with a piston, a hammer or a shot of gas. The AR has very tight tollarances, and needs lubed, pure and simple, remember when POF ran their ads about not needing as much? Well they discovered increased wear, on all their surfaces where steel met aluminum (bolt carrier and upper). If you still have any questions on reliabilty or durability, http://www.bravocompanymfg.com/v/vsp...hy14_oct10.pdf "Filthey 14". All the pistons bring to the AR table, is a gimmick, and a way to sell more AR's in a flooded market.

ETA, break a piston, you will need manufacturer specific parts to get it back up and running.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqRwx4wtmms

Just found this vid interesting. Nothing more.
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:38   #18
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I have both. My LWRC has been a great firearm. The DIs have been great as well. Cleaning really isn't a big deal to me. If sat on the barracks floor for weeks cleaning the same weapon system. 15 minutes at home watching TV is a breeze. Either way you'll be happy.

I'm not comfortable w/ the add-on piston systems like Adam Arms. LWRC is a good choice. Remember that most piston systems are proprietary.

Id go DI.

Last edited by mjkeat; 02-10-2011 at 09:39..
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:30   #19
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Thanks for the experience and info that goes along with it, I appreciate it a lot. Now I need to decide what company to go with for the upper.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:50   #20
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BCM is a great place to look into. Daniel Defense is wonderful. Noveske is awesome. It all depends on your budget.
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