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Gas piston question

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by quinnt, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. quinnt


    Jan 26, 2005
    New Hampshire
    I'm looking into building my first ar-15, and being in college that makes it somewhat a budget build.

    If I were to go the gas piston route, would that significantly increase the build price? And for those that have a gas piston rifle, have you fine a significant increase in reliability or cleanliness?

  2. I have an LWRC...and it runs very clean because of the piston and the forged barrel. If I was you, I would wait until after college when you have a wife, kids, mortgage, and a whole lot less money.

  3. mjkeat


    Jun 17, 2009
    I have a LWRC as well. It was my 1st personally owned firearm. Though I enjoy it I've gone the way of DI ARs in the 5 or so since. DIs are lighter, less expensive and more than adequate.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  4. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Mar 13, 2001
    Not a chance
    Cleaner yes , more reliable that's a debate that will rage on for years..
    I built my SBR with an Adams arms kit it added about 300 and everyone loves to shoot it. they say it shoots softer???
  5. True, very true. The LWRC's just fancier...but great if you hate cleaning guns.
  6. Airborne Infantryman

    Airborne Infantryman 'Murica!

    Nov 20, 2009
    LWRC for the win!



    The most expensive thing if you go piston, is gonna be the upper, although you can probably get a good deal on an LWRC upper. I highly recommend them. Fail Zero EXO coated BCG, Bolt, Trigger Group, barrel extension, etc. Basically anything that would need lube, is permanently lubed with EXO.

    As far as shooting it, it is a little "different" feeling than a DI gun; I shoot my M4 Carbine at work a LOT, and it just has a different recoil impulse feel to it. Its more "springy", where as my two LWRCs are more "spongy", if that makes sense.

    It definitely runs cleaner and cooler, and its 'supposedly' a better platform to run a suppressor on, due to the heat build-up associated with a suppressor.

    But as for DI, its MORE than adequate. As a matter of fact, I'm looking to buy either a new shotgun or an LMT Defender or a Daniel Defense DDM4......they would be my first DI guns since I sold my S&W M&P15 MOE, and I have no issue with DI; just takes 5 more minutes to clean them, is all.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  7. I'm completely new to AR's and was pleasantly surprised to find my S&W to be darn near spotless after 400 rounds the first time it saw the range. The only carbon deposits I could find were on the gas tube and the bolt face.
  8. Airborne Infantryman

    Airborne Infantryman 'Murica!

    Nov 20, 2009
    S&W makes a very solid AR. My first AR was an S&W M&P15 MOE. It was great, but I sold it to fund an FN Five-seveN when there were talks of a ban on them. :faint:
  9. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    I'll chime in since I own a piston AR too. The debate is endless as already mentioned. Just gather your "facts" and get what tickles your pickle after that. Really thats what it will boil down to.

    No pistons arent "better". Nore are they worse...just different.

    Yes pistons run cleaner in the barrel extension aka the star chamber.

    Yes pistons run cooler in the chamber and bolt so oil you put there, stays there. Its doesnt burn off or dry up the little rubber gas rings (since piston gun sdont have gas rings on the bolt to begin with)

    Yes pistons still get fouling. But instead of fouling in the star chamber, its fouled on a round piston head...which in my opinion is ALOT easier for me to access and clean.

    Yes pistons can be heavier but not all. Mine weighs 6lbs 9oz. That is less than my issued M16A2 from back in the day.

    Yes parts arent standardized. Just educate yourself on what parts often cause a malfunction or suffer a breakage? Its usually a weak extractor spring? bone dry bolt? dried up gas rings? magazine issues? firing pin issues? ammo issues?.... NOT a part related to the piston system, but a part that both piston and DI share that fails. Yes piston op-rods can fail but its rare. Very rare! You'd be hard pressed to find more than a handfull in the thousands that have been built in the last 3 or 4 years? They just dont fail like the haters like to hype. If you arent a hard core operator then I think your non standardized parts will even last longer since they arent serving in Iraq conditions! lol.

    yes pistons can suffer from carrier tilt...3 or 4 years ago this was a major concearn. Today with the advent of carrier "skis" and even better... the notched buffers from (FRS) firearms ready solutions or carrier tilt is almost non-existant. Actually with the notched buffers carrier tilt "IS" 100% non existant.

    My piston gun has about 3k through it now and I have no carrier tilt. It has wear from breaking in and the natural occurance of interfacing metal parts? But no buffer tube demolishing carrier tilt.

    Can you build a piston AR on a budget? Maybe? If your budget is $800 for a piston upper then yes. It can be done. Pistons uppers from ADDAX and Stag M8 plus package can be had for under $900 I believe? But the top tier offerings will be significantly higher than $1000+ just for an upper like an LWRC, LMT, HKMR556A1 and such.

    Will you get hated on for going with a piston AR? Yes. Its just a sad aspect of our hobby.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  10. thisaway

    thisaway Moderator

    Jan 11, 2000
    Soddy Daisy, Tenn.
    I bought a used DSA upper w/Adams Arms retrofit piston kit from another GTer for $425 last year. It seems to shoot just fine, after 1000 rounds or so that I have put through it. The recoil impulse feels a little different, but other than that, it's just another AR. Toys for big boys!
  11. scromer

    scromer Millennium Member

    Oct 22, 1999
    Upstate South Carolina
    I have three DI guns and one Adams Arms piston upper. The more I shoot the piston gun, the more I like it because of ease of cleanup.

    But if this is your first, go DI.
  12. quinnt


    Jan 26, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Thanks guys, due to funds I'll save the gas piston for a later build.
  13. LA_357SIG

    LA_357SIG Milspectacular

    Aug 28, 2006
    Not Los Angeles.
    Osprey Defense drop in kit. Buy a regular AR. Buy the OPS-416 and drop in. If you don't like it, you can take it out and go back to D.I.

    Although this was a ground up build, and in 7.62x39mm, it will also work on factory assembled AR's in 5.56.