So I recently acquired an Adams Arms 7.5" Tactical Elite upper for a good price. I decided that since I also recently got my stamp for my Specwar 762 in that I would shoot the upper suppressed. First thing I did was call SilencerCo and confirm that the can would be warrantied, which it was. I also asked if I should shoot it with the muzzle brake as opposed to the flash hider to "save the blast baffle" as I've heard commonly on the interwebz. The customer service rep on the phone stated that since the baffles are all stellite, it doesn't make a difference whether I used the brake or the flash hider, so I decided to use the flash hider.
First, a little about the upper. It arrived in a timely fashion from DSG Arms. The fit and finish was excellent, and I was impressed at the quality of the machining of the BCG. This is my first piston AR, as I normally see it as a solution to an over exaggerated problem. I built a DI 7.5" upper with a Noveske Pig a while back to run on my SBR which has been excellent to date, but I was intrigued on the idea of a piston on an SBR.
Shooting- I brought 310 rounds of PPU M193 to the range for the upper's initial break in. Accuracy was fine at 25 yards and the gun zero'd quickly. I understand the limitations of this short of a barrel, both from a range aspect and ballistics standpoint and do not intend on using it for self defense, I've got plenty of other options for that. The flash hider worked well and did not have the typical "fireball" commonly associated with SBR's.
The recoil impulse was strong but linear and easy to control. With an overall length of less than 26" this gun is a blast to shoot. Just about everyone on the firing line stopped by and asked about it at one point or another. One of the advantages of the Adams Arms design that drew me to it was the ability to go from the regular gas mode to suppressed to "off". I quickly realized that switching the gas block was quite the chore after shooting a mag or two through it and spent a good bit of time trying not to burn myself(unsuccessfully) on the gas block.
Once I was able to switch the gun to suppressed mode, I threw the can on. The Specwar adds a considerable amount of length and weight to the gun, but it is manageable and reduces the felt recoil of the gun.
I've been shooting DI AR's suppressed for a bit now and have become accustomed to the gas in the face dilemma. I've bought just about every gimmick for reducing gas blowback to date, and have not found a thing that works perfectly, even when used together(my 11.5 has an Innovative Arms WAR upper, PRI gas buster charging handle and a gas vent forward assist, and my M4-2000 still shoots gas back in my face, oh well
). Long story short, yes, there was gas to the face on the piston AR. The Specwar heated up insanely fast and after two mags of 1 round a second, the middle of the can began to become discolored from the heat.
Seeing how quickly even slow fire heated up the can, I'm not sure I'll be shooting this build suppressed all that often, but it's nice to know that I can(and that SilencerCo will stand behind their product).
Overall impressions were good. The gun fired all 300 something rounds in fairly quick succession with no initial cleaning(few drops of fireclean applied prior) and did not jam or fail to feed once. I'm happy with the purchase and plan on shooting the pi$$ out of this upper. According to the maunal, Adams Arms recommends cleaning the piston system every 3000 rounds. This is good because with the Specwar's flash hider, there is not clearance to pull the piston system out of the front of the gun, so luckily I won't have to deal with that too often. The gun stayed fairly clean considering I just shot about half of the round suppressed. Cleaning only required a quick wipe down of the BCG/upper and a little attention to the chamber. The action of the rifle remained smooth throughout and I did not notice any perceivable "grit" as the gun was fired more and more.
Final Thought- This type of gun is not for everyone. Most will say that it's a useless toy and they would be mostly correct. It fit a niche for me, I wanted a short, unique, reliable AR. The lowered projectile velocity is also a plus for me as it wears on my steel targets a whole lot less than a round from a 16-20" barrel. I've heard a lot of arguments where people say "go buy a PS90 and shoot 5.7x28". Well I did, and I hated it. Yes, the terminal ballistics are comparable, yes, there is less recoil in the PS90, but gosh darn it, I hated paying for the ammo(when I could find it). Just something to be said for ammo/parts compatibility and availability. This is not my "go to" gun. My 11.5" build would fill that role. If you're in the market for a 7.5" AR, I strongly urge you to look at Adams Arms before going to PWS, LWRC or Noveske. Those are fantastic companies, with fantastic products, but for the extra $600-1000 I just don't see the added value. Adams Arms puts out a decent product and I look forward to abusing the heck out of it. At some point down the road I may consider a .300 blackout in a similar length of rifle. I can't imagine the recoil being much more/less and I do see the benefit to the .30 caliber round and versatility of the bullet loading's for the caliber.
Bonus Question- Maybe its a generation thing, but everyone asked what the logo was I had laser engraved into the lower receiver, any guesses?