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Piston AR15 system VS. Direct Impingement AR15 system.

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Awmish, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Awmish

    Awmish Oregon City, OR Member

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    Which is the best, most reliable, and less maintenance? You may use any scenario to prove your point. But extra points for SHTF Scenario, pro's and con's, reference material, weapon choices and Personal experience situations. I am asking this question because I want to buy an AR, but I am hesitant to get one with out knowing more about the two different systems.

    Let the debate begin!
  2. HandSolo

    HandSolo hillsboro New Member

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    There is no debate..

    if you are worried about SHTF zombies buy bulk food and shotguns
    PS.. gas AR's are crap, and suppress even more for crap.
  3. Awmish

    Awmish Oregon City, OR Member

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    Naw, zombies aren't what I am worried about. I could easily dispatch them with a sword or chain saw.:laugh: LOL. But on a serious note, any scenario or day to day situation.
  4. HandSolo

    HandSolo hillsboro New Member

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    yes from day to day your gun will sit in your safe or under your bed because it doesn't sound like you shoot guns alot.
  5. DSAPT9

    DSAPT9 North Idaho Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    I am a fan of the gas piston system and have seen it work well in many firearms like the M1 Garand, M14, FNFAL, Mini14 and the AK47/74 as well as many others. So it is a proven system that keeps the breach clean and free from wasted gases and burnt/un-burnt material.

    I currently run both Arsenal sgl20s (AK47) and DSA FALs for SHTF weapons and have owned at one time or another all the above listed so I have played with the gas system for a while now.

    So the AR platform in a gas piston is in my opinion would be the best but is it proven yet. It seems that every company has its own system and the parts are not interchangeable. Ruger so far is the only mass produce company that has one. Everyone else in the game are small firms that haven’t got their foot in the door yet to make a true play in the world of firearms.

    So unless the military picks one up my personal feelings are to stay with the gas impingement system.

    Short of Armalite and DPMS that offers a mid length there are 2 styles the full length gas system and the carbine. 97 percent of the parts are exchangeable with all others and everybody is either building them or carrying parts for them.

    So for a SHTF weapon based on the AR platform I would stick with the proven impingement system until they standardize the gas piston.

    Hope this helps

    Remember to plan for the worst, hope for the best and if you land on your feet running life is good!
  6. billstaf

    billstaf Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    Different strokes. I've had two DI ARs and now have a gas piston AR. The first DI was from Olympic Arms (total POS) and the second was a Colt, which was a very nice rifle and never let me down. It did get really dirty from a day out shooting though.

    Then I started reading about gas piston ARs and bought a new Ruger SR556FB. I have to say that I like the gas piston arrangement a lot. The rifle stays cool and the bolt carrier area stays totally clean. The Ruger is very accurate, but it is a bit heavier than my Colt was. More expensive too.

    Some guys have run into problems with retro fitting gas piston kits on conventional ARs. I wouldn't know about that. My Ruger was designed and built at the factory as a gas gun. I've never had a single problem with it.

    There are some guys who will get all hot and bothered about DI vs. Gas ARs. I don't bother with the crap. The only thing I can tell you is to read a lot and then buy what you like and can afford.
  7. jake2far

    jake2far Portland Active Member

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    .223/5.56 is a poor choice for SHTF caliber. .308/7.62 is a better choice. Direct gas verse gas piston, gas piston all the way. M1A/M14 is the best choice.
    .308 turns .223 cover into concealment Cover and Concealment
    Using light bullets 130 grain, short barrel and a folder makes for a light weight, fast handling, lower recoil 308.
    One hit from a 308 stops man size targets, 3 hits from a .223 sometimes doesn't. Car doors, car windshileds, walls, and all kinds of normal obsticals stop .223. .308 can and will penatrate to put down threats. In a SHTF you don't want to engage, you want to stay out of trouble, if you do have to fight you want to end it now. Small injuries can and will end your survival.

    My 2 pennies

  8. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    DI, no contest. You have interchangeable parts with DI, not so with piston AR's.

    Piston AR's are less than 1/10 of 1% of the AR market.
  9. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Get a good quality AR from the get go, and your headaches will be few.

    Like any Military designed firearm, they like to be run wet...so keep them lubed.

    They will run for many thousands of rounds before cleaning, and will push the grime out if need be.

    The average shooter will never use/push the piston version enough to justify the cost.
    They will plink with it a hundred or so rounds, clean it and back in the safe it goes...any standard gas system will do for that kind of shooting, and will last your lifetime doing it.

    If you're talking about SHTF side of things, you will find more gas parts than piston type, should your gun need some parts replaced.
  10. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    AR15 Type Systems - Direct Impingement vs. Gas Piston - Pros/Cons

    Impingment Pros:

    The Direct Impingement system really shines in 16" or longer barrel systems and especially in longer range, less round count, applications. The lower inital purchase price, lower cost of replacement parts, the common and universal parts make this the best choice for a SHTF, Hunting, Longer Range, or in applications where there is not a high round count - although most Direct Impingement systems can handle a 500 round count training day with cleaning at night. If your concerned about high round count, close quarter, faster rate of fire applications, then the Gas Piston should be seriously considered.

    Common/Universal amongst manufacturers and after market
    Parts readily available. Parts universal and interchangable from brand to brand. In dire times, parts can be cannibilized.
    More inheritently accurate because you can free float the handgaurd
    Lighter Weight
    Works well in non-fully auto - you can go fully auto (assuming you have the appropriate NFA stamp) but this is not its strength because of one of the cons
    Modern cleaning tools, methods, and accessories make cleaning a lot easier and more effective than even 5 years ago
    Works in conjuntion with a Advantage Arms or Ceiner .22LR Conversion kit which gives you small game and quieter operation doubling the effectiveness of one tool for SHTF applications

    Impingment Cons:

    Dirty system (poops where it eats)
    Hard to clean the deep recesses of the bolt and chamber area
    Can have a tendency to have malfunctions and on occasion jam (malfuncations and jams are different!)
    Not as conducive for suppressor use - you can use them but not as well as Gas Piston
    More sensitive to environmental and/or hygene (lack of or improper) issues

    Gas Piston Pros:

    This system really comes to life and to its own in shorter than 16" barrels (which require an NFA stamp) and you're going to use it in sessions with a high round count, high rate of fire, longer periods of time between cleanings, and if a surppressor is used and especially if full auto is used.

    Exhausted gas is vented outside and not inside
    Less mess inside the bolt, chamber et al. Cleaner
    Easier, faster cleaning
    Longer duration between cleanings
    Less debris and fouling related malfuncations and/or jams
    Better suited for supperssor use
    More tolerance for ammo variation

    Gas Piston Cons:

    Cannot be free floated thus potentially effecting accuracy particular at longer distances (beyond CQC and Self Defense ranges/uses)
    The piston is causing more see saw effect which hammers the bolt more than the direct impingement which in turn can cause the carrier to tilted upward.
    Some would argue it has more felt recoil
    The AR platform was not designed/engineered for Gas Piston and has been retrofitted....the timing can be off enough to cause issues with a system not designed for it.
    More expensive then Direct Impingement generally
    Key is this system is NOT standardized and many manufacturers have even modified and changed their systems making them not universal, requiring non universal, specific, parts.
    In an emergency, SHTF, or suvival situation one cannot as easily or readily canniblize parts from other ARs. Also one is limited on aftermarket parts for this system making availablity limited and prices higher. Some manufacturers/vendors change their parts two or more times.
    Parts are more expensive and difficult to find
  11. Bob D

    Bob D Oregon, Cascades Well-Known Member

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    That's the key: A rifle that's made for a piston is a world of difference from a conversion kit. If you're asking for a realistic situation in which one is better than the other, well your most realistic situation is a nice sunny day out target shooting with some friends or family. For that situation, whatever you like shooting, can afford, and don't mind cleaning is the answer. For me, it's whatever I feel like shooting that day, and god has blessed me with an income that can sustain it, so I have both. The real truth about SHTF is that most likely, S will not H the F. Most likely, your AR will be used for days of fun and enjoyment, and then be sold, given away, or passed on to your heirs. So that's what you should aim for. Its helpfulness in surviving a Zombie attack is just a bonus. ;)

    Also, having gotten a good look at the incredibly simple parts used, I don't see a reason I couldn't machine them all myself if CMMG decides to go out of business and I need replacements.

    I just posted this in the AR vs AK thread because it came up there, but it's much more on-topic here:

    Awmish and (deleted member) like this.
  12. dmancornell

    dmancornell Portland, OR New Member

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  13. mckenzb

    mckenzb Vancouver, WA Member

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    I had NUBUS of TNT weaponry here on the forums custom build me a gas piston driven Monolithic Upper on a nice Mega lower and I've put probably 2000 rounds of cheap bubblegumty wolf through it without a hiccup. I clean it after each outing, but I don't need to. I hardly get any grime on my cleaning cloths when wiping out the parts. It's amazing that that piston does to keep the chamber clean.
  14. CaliberGeek

    CaliberGeek Seattle, WA Member

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    DI or bust. If you want a weapon with a piston, don't look at the AR-15.
    BAMCIS and (deleted member) like this.
  15. dmancornell

    dmancornell Portland, OR New Member

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    Just for comparison's sake, I do own a POF-308 which is piston driven. But the 5.56 AR market is different compared to 7.62. The 5.56 market has several high quality makers at a price point that is only slightly higher than the commercial hobbyist grade stuff, but prices in the 7.62 market take a big jump once you pass off Armalite/DPMS/Bushmaster. AFAIK the quality DI's in 7.62 are KAC (absurd $), Larue, LMT and Noveske (all $2500+).

    I like my POF rifle. No signs of carrier tilt and the BCG is NP3 coated. After the yearly cleaning I hit the BCG with Ballistol, wipe off then lube with Lubriplate grease (same one I use with the M1A). The grease stays in place as opposed to oil which just runs off. My AR's stay running between cleanings if I put a couple drops of CLP in the BCG gas ports. The POF just keeps shooting without any attention.

    But if OP is interested in a 5.56 AR, then a quality DI is the only way to go.
  16. Hardwood floor guy

    Hardwood floor guy Beaverton Active Member

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    i have the pof in 5.56 and it is by far the finest rifle i have ever owned.
    it is a tack driver,little heavier than my DI guns but worth the extra 0.6 lbs.it has run flawless and eats any ammo i have used.
    its clean after shooting all day,the bcg has 0 carbon buildup the np3 coating dont require any oil(though i use a little)
    shtf???...buy an extra op rod,piston,and plug from pof for $125 and you have your back up parts though i cant see them breaking since they are build like a truck.i would want the same parts kit for a DI gun so whats the difference?
    if you see the quality parts used on the pof you will see why i say lmt and noveske are over priced.
    timney trigger stock,vltor stock,np3 no lube finish,rock creek barrel for under $2000 beats a $2500 gun with stock trigger,chrome lined barrel and magpul stock.my pof will out shoot my buddies lmt at 500 yards too.
    if you dont like a piston ar15 you have never shot a good one.this is not an ak style piston either,no springs or linkage just drop in the op rod,piston and turn the plug which is also for supressed or non supressed.noveske still has a better barrel though.
  17. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    You are aware the main difference between a ArmaLite and Noveske 7.62 AR is the barrel and hand guard, right?

    The Noveske N6 is a ArmaLite AR-10B clone with a Noveske finished PacNor barrel and a Noveske branded hand guard made by Superior Weapons System.

    DPMS=extruded 6000 series aluminum upper
    ArmaLite=forged 7500 series aluminum upper.

    You are comparing apples to oranges.
  18. mr45auto

    mr45auto Oregon City Member

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    The AR15 is a fine rifle design. It works well and will run well suppressed for far more rounds than you can carry. I run direct impingement guns and they work fine. The 5.56 allows you to service multiple targets quickly and allows you to carry a significant quantity of ammunition at minimal weight. If I were having to run and gun I'll take a DI AR in 5.56 over any other firearm.

    Shotguns are the most worthless SHTF firearm to defend yourself with. Try taking a target at 200yds with a shotgun :laugh: Distance will not be your friend.

    In short, go DI and buy a quality rifle. 5.56 will do just fine. It's a compromise but it's currently the best compromise.
  19. eldbillbo

    eldbillbo clackamas New world samurai and a redneck none the less Bronze Supporter

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  20. HollisOR

    HollisOR Rural OR, South of Dallas Active Member

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    People who do not shoot, read and read and read and wonder and wonder. So they ask. Get out and shoot.