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Piston System ARs

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by pslyke, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. pslyke

    pslyke Portland Active Member

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    I am considering putting money towards a varmint style AR and was wondering if I should wait until some piston system becomes standardized (like in the military)

    My fear about buying anything right now with DI is I have an outdated system in a few years if the military changes over to a piston. There seems to be a big movement towards pistons right now but I don't see any standardization. Without standardization of parts and systems I worry about having something obsolete/irreplaceable in the future.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Silverbullet-2

    Silverbullet-2 Issaquah Member

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    Fear not, the DI guns will be around long after all of us. I have both, and like them both. I just think that the piston solves a problem that doesn't exist.

    If the Military moves away from the M-4, then it will be a different platform all togeather. The SCAR almost made it. HK 416 almost made it. The Military wants a Vastly Improved rifle. Could take another 20 years.

    Just my .02, JPG
     
  3. jagerMR

    jagerMR Hillsboro Member

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    I gotta agree with silver there.
    I have both, sell piston uppers too, and especially for a varmint rifle, i suggest sticking with a DI system.
     
  4. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    jagerMR,

    Why do you prefer DI for varminting? (I'm not arguing, I'm interested!)

    I've been considering a piston kit for my S&W, mostly for ease of cleaning.

    Bob
     
  5. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Northern Idaho Member

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    The piston system still has some bugs to be worked out and lacking the whole battle proven thing. With my AR being ceramic coated, I don't need to worry about carbon build up in the action, it just blows right off.
     
  6. haythrower

    haythrower SW WA Member

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    I have both DI and piston systems. My piston systems are from two different piston manufacturers. One system is from Adams Arms and it resides in a retrofitted Stag upper I have. No functional problems, only issue was making sure my rails fit the new piston system properly. The 2nd one was a factory LMT system. It is very solid and easy to maintain. Bottom line is DI is cheaper out the gate, but piston isn't a negative compromise in my opinion.
     
  7. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    Personalty I would want to remove moving parts from a varmint gun, not add them.
     
  8. ch139

    ch139 teh gehtoe Active Member

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    Piston system = solution in search of a problem.

    One would think that if the DI system was any kind of problem, the military would have found a solution a long time ago. The DI system seems to have worked just fine all these decades. Not saying it doesn't have its shortcomings.

    ...and is the DI system all that hard to clean? I've never had a problem.

    If enough of the hype catches on then we might see a migration so a standardized piston system, but I'd imagine we'll see a whole different weapons platform before that ever happens.
     
  9. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Northern Idaho Member

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    The only real complaint I get about the DI systems is how dirty the bolt gets. And even at that, it's just the back end of the bolt where all the carbon builds up. On an uncoated bolt, the carbon sticks to the metal quite easily and one needs a scraper to get all of it off. On the ceramic coated bolts the carbon builds up and falls off. It's the best improvement I have seen to the old school system. I agree that the piston system is an unnecessary solution. My biggest beef with it is that it was added as an afterthought. The M1A and FAL were designed around their gas pistons and they work well. The AR-15 was not and problems are showing up that will need to be deal with.
     
  10. usfatboy01

    usfatboy01 Hillsboro, Oregon Member

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    M-Pro 7, cleans carbon off easy! DI, battle proven, less moving parts and lots of them to be had. Not a lot of cash to buy extras parts. Me, keep it simple stupid, but I'm kinda weak minded.:paranoid:
     
  11. Outrider

    Outrider Oregon Active Member

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    The DI system has two main drawbacks. 1) It makes the interior of the AR filthy and 2) It directs a lot of heat back into the interior of the AR.

    By adding extra fouling and heat, it adds wear to the internals, requires more maintenance (i.e. more cleaning) and reduces the lifespan of the firearm. For most civilian shooters, these things are not issues. Unless someone is doing a lot of shooting, he hasn't put a lot of wear and tear on his personal AR to see the problems manifest. If he has done a lot of shooting, he will see it. -For the U.S. military, the situation is what it is and to switch to anything is prohibitively expensive unless the next system is way ahead of the current one.

    That's not to say the AR piston retrofit kits or piston driven uppers are perfect or fix the problems without creating their own. One of the big issues for the piston kits is carrier tilt. Carrier tilt causes the the bolt carrier to strike the buffer and buffer tube at an off angle and travel in the upper receiver in a way that increases wear. People who have used them a lot have found some versions to produce metal shavings from the wear. Additionally, there's a lot of additional force on the carrier key with gas piston kits and they have been known to break free.

    The AR has its pluses and minuses. The DI system is not great. Most other modern rifles do not make use of it. However, the AR was designed around the DI concept. Trying to change the core of what makes the rifle work without changing the rifle completely is a difficult task. If you want an AR, get used to DI. If you want a rifle with a gas piston system, get a different rifle.
     
  12. Selftest

    Selftest Bellingham, WA Member

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    So far, the biggest "benefit" of a piston system has been ease of cleaning... Are we all THAT concerned with 10 extra minutes spent cleaning something that should be clean anyway?

    Look, I shoot DI. When I bother to scrape the bolt (Haven't done it yet and have about 1200 rnds through) will it effect me at all? No.

    The piston system is just an alternative. I don't see any REAL benefits, and may even see potential problems. Why ADD parts to a proven system?

    This is not saying piston guns don't have there place, but I'll own at least 5 more DI rifles before I ever dabble in the piston world.