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Considering my first AR

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by soberups, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    I have zero experience with AR's and am considering buying my first one. Can someone explain the difference (in layman's terms) between piston vs direct impingement? I am not a tinkerer or a gunsmith and would probably leave whatever I buy in stock condition. I am hearing good things about Ruger's new AR, the direct impingement model, and I am wondering if this would be a good, reliable shooter out of the box for an AR newbie.
     
  2. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    For the price I dont think you can do any better. Not exactly sure what they are selling at as I have not seen one in a retail store yet.
     
  3. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    Quick description:

    The original AR-15 (and subsiquent M-16, M4, etc) were all direct impingement. The gas created by the discharge of the round hits the bolt directly using a buffer tube in the stock which assists with the bolt being cycled. Yes I'm glazing over a lot of details, but that is the short of it.

    The piston systems are more like the AK-47 systems. Basically the gas push on a piston which cycles the bolt, which is above the barrel and doesn't have any recoil operation going on in the butt stock.

    As for the new Ruger AR whic his being sold in stores like Big 5 and the like, I haven't handled one in person. There have been a few decent reviews of them recently, I think Gun Tests gave them a B+ or something. So they most likely are decent introduction ARs.
     
  4. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    If you can find one I think the Ruger would be a fine choice. Its small bucks (for an AR) and I think is a good representation of a M4gery. It should be fun to shoot and hold its value well, I cant see how you could go wrong ;)
     
  5. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    Direct impingement: gas blows up from the barrel through the gas block into the gas tube, which shunts hot, high pressure gas back into the action, which forces your bolt carrier back to load another around.

    Pros: less moving parts, more accuracy potential (less mass, less moving parts), simpler/fewer moving parts, how the rifle was originally designed

    Cons: arguably more fragile and less reliable, chamber gets real dirty from carbon build-up and needs to be cleaned regularly OR run really wet

    Piston driven: gas from the barrel pushes up into the gas block and pushes the gas piston back which then pushes against the bolt carrier to cycle the action.

    Pros: arguably more reliable, cleaner running

    Cons: no industry / platform standardization (every manufacturer does it slightly different enough that there's little interchangability with the gas systems), slightly heavier, less accurate (but not by miles and miles).


    Long story short, my AR is a specifically built precision rig, so I went DI. If I was building some end of the world SHTF boom stick, then I'd look long and hard at a piston system of some sort (or an FAL, heh).
     
  6. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    For your first AR dont get sucked into the piston/DI controversy. The DI system is not an issue and will serve you reliably with just a bare minimum amount of cleaning and care. Most of the DI concerns are unfounded in today's world. Here is an example of a DI gun running over 40,000 rounds with one cleaning. For the record the AK family of guns entire life span is around 6000 rounds (that touted pinnacle of reliability)



    http://www.slip2000.com/blog/s-w-a-t-magazine-filthy-14/


    The long and short of it is for your first budget AR dont sweat a piston system, you dont need it, it will cost twice as much and weigh more than the Ruger AR556
     
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  7. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    How does the steel-cased Russian .223 bulk ammo do in AR's?
     
  8. gryghin

    gryghin Beaverton Active Member

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    Pull the trigger and it goes boom. Then you can use a magnet sweep and pick up your casings to keep the forest clean.
     
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  9. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    Stopped by Sportsmans on my way home today. No rifle yet( Ruger AR 556) but it is in there system and listed for 629.00 so with the 10 dollar BGC thats not to bad of a deal. I have seen them on gunbroker already for 589.00 plus shipping but its a wash in the end.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  10. 808hondacrguy

    808hondacrguy Eugene,OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My first AR was a Smith & Wesson M&P Sport. It has been dead reliable over the years and honestly, is my favorite AR out of my collection. Others have come and gone, but this one has always been my go to gun when we go shooting. True, it has no dust cover or foward assist, but I have never ever needed either in the 4? years that I have had it, and have cycled thousands of rounds without a single malfunction, steel and brass. I recommend these to everyone I know.
     
  11. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    Yup...



    I actually am veering away from most ARs...not necessarily because they're DI and I prefer piston, but because of their locking chambers. This is one of the primary factors as to the reliability issues with the ARs...hence why I prefer the AK/SKS/Galil platform over the ARs...

    If you are stuck on buying an AR-15, then I actually will side with the consensus and recommend you to purchase a simple DI AR. You should be okay with most steel-cased brands as well. I've had a lot of ARs pass through my hands and a mix issues...some with ammo, some with parts...all of my AK issues have been mag issues and I've only seen issues with ammo (hard primers) and specific rifles have failings (AMD-65 stocks failing, VZ-58s crap design, etc.)
     
  12. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    My experience has been the Wolf & Brown Bear ammo is fine, the Tula not so much. The Tula is loaded light and does not play well with many AR's

    Be aware that the bi-metal bullets in the Russian ammo will wear out your gun. 4000- 6000 rounds of Tula or Wolf and you will need to replace a barrel. You can shoot two, three or even 4 times as much straight copper jacket ammo though a barrel before reaching the same level of destroyed. It is simply hard on guns. The ammo was designed to be shot through weapons that had a lifespan of 5000 rounds or less and where disposable (SKS,AK's) You dont rebarrel a SKS, you throw it away... (Well you could, but it would cost as much as a new rifle so why would you?) And accuracy is not so hot. Again SKS and AK's are 3-4 MOA guns, there is no reason to make ammo capable of shooting 1/2 MOA. Even a cheap AR is capable of shooting 1-2 MOA at 100 yards so you will be able to shoot better than the Russian ammo will let you.

    For a $600 AR shooting out a barrel is not a big deal. A new barrel is $150-$200 and simple to change. It always amazes me that people pay $1800 for a fancy AR though and then pound buckets of cheap, destructive Bi-metal ammo though it. False economy.
     
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  13. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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  14. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    Now that's just funny right there.
     
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  15. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    Gee Will,
    don't leave us hanging elucidate us as to your enlightened position!:p
     
  16. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    "Highly subjective" is all I can say. The Kel Tec is a toy ( I have one, its a cool toy and there is nothing wrong with toys) The Mini 14 platform is less accurate and far less fun to shoot in my opinion. 2 MOA out of a newish mini is possible but the older ones are real sloppy and more like 3-4 MOA guns. ( I have owned several of them as well although I dont at the moment) The Mini would probably be a better choice as a beater truck or ranch gun. They take living under the seat of a pickup well ( I had one that lived behind my seat for half a decade and still fired reliably ) Shooting a Mini is a different experience than shooting a AR. Shooting a mini is driving a Chevy Luv, Its a dependable boring and economical, It should be great but its not ( I owned one of them too :)

    They all are fun and people like different things. You can buy either the Kel Tec or a Mini for less dough than a AR and all of them will be fun to punch paper or ring steel with.

    That being said, I cant imagine if you had your choice of the three for free that you would go home with a Kel Tec or the Mini, but thats just me. (although the Mini target rifle is pretty cool, I might pick that just because I already have a pile of AR's and its different )
     
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  17. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    Perhaps if your Mini was not stored under the seat of your truck it may have performed better; My 181 shoots 3 into 1" and my 189 groups under 2" with bulk ammo but I only have 3 ARs to use as comparison.
    As to the Kel Tec, all tools have a purpose
     
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  18. jrprich

    jrprich PNW Well-Known Member

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    When you can buy a brand new Colt 6920 for just under $900 the choice seems easy.
     
  19. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    mmm.... The Colt is a fine gun, but its 50% more money. Its basically the same rifle, You think the Colt parts are worth 50% more for a beginners plinker?
     
  20. jrprich

    jrprich PNW Well-Known Member

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    All up to the buyer, worth it to me as I don't plan to have several ARs.........but then I have said that about so many guns ;^)
    I have never lost $$ on any Colt.