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Thread: Review of the new LE-M4 upper receiver from Spikes Tactical

  1. #1
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    Review of the new LE-M4 upper receiver from Spikes Tactical

    I was pretty impressed at what I got for the money, so I figured I would give my impressions of the new LE-M4 and Spikes / Samson Mfg BUIS from Spikes Tactical…
    Bear with me on the photos as I’m not a photographic prodigy like Stickman or mfingar, but I’ll try my best…

    So, I had a few bucks left over from my tax refund and I wanted to throw together an inexpensive carbine for the wife and kids to shoot. Since I was in the area, I decide to go see Tom at Spikes Tactical to see if he had any “blem” or “bargain bin” uppers that I could pick up at a discount.

    He did not have anything like that, but what he did have was their new LE-M4 upper and he told me that right now they were taking $50 off of the normal $525 sales price…
    I say ok, so that puts me at $475… How much extra for the BCG and charging handle?
    No extra he says… $475 is complete with the BCG, Charging Handle and a ST-T2 Buffer!!!!!

    $475 complete sounded good for all that, so I picked one up…
    Then I see about getting a flip up rear sight for it and I was thinking about a Magpul MBUS because of the low cost, but I really wanted a Troy because I really favor sights constructed of metal over polymer, but I didn’t really want to fork over $130-$140 for a Troy flip up rear sight…
    He then showed me the new Spikes flip up rear sight that was being made for them by Samson Mfg… it was very nice and the price was under $100 for just the rear or $179 for the pair… looking back I should have gotten the pair because it costs less that way in the long run and I could always use an extra font sight (I’m always building and reconfiguring… it’s a sickness) but I decided to just get the Spikes / Samson flip up rear, I figured it was more expensive then the MBUS but less expensive than the Troy and I still get an all metal BUIS… sounded good, so I paid for the upper and BUIS, thanked Tom and went on my way.


    When I got home I took a look in the safe to see if I had anything else that I could throw on this upper to spruce it up… I had a Daniel Defense 7” Lite rail that I picked up in a trade a while back and an EOtech 511 that I picked up on line sometime last year on the cheap… this new upper seemed like a good home for both of these lonely items, so I went to work disassembling the upper in preparation for the DD Lite install…
    (Pic of upper before I started)
    [IMG][/IMG]


    First thing I noticed after removing the factory hand guards was that they had double heat shields… they were good quality and if I wasn’t going with the rail I would have had no problem keeping them.
    [IMG][/IMG]


    I looked for marks on the barrel before I took the hand guards off and I didn’t see any, but once I removed the hand guards it was pretty hard to miss the very crisp engraving designating “ST 4150 CMV 5.56 NATO 1/7 CL MP”…
    Well, I was pretty happy with that… those are pretty much the same specs as my LMT barrel… 4150 Chromoly Vanadium Alloy / 5.56 chrome lined chamber and bore / 1:7 twist / and magnetic particle tested… not bad for $475…

    Removing the “F” marked front sight base took a little work as that thing was staked pretty well… (not that I’m complaining)… but once I removed it I was surprised to see that the barrel was completely phosphate coated under the sight base, which is a big plus in my book… not all manufactures do this and I fell that this is one of those areas that really needs the extra corrosion protection… glad to see they took the time to do it.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]

    After I removed the barrel from the upper I took a good look at the chrome lining in the chamber area… very neat and thorough… the chrome was uniform and coated the entire face of the chamber extending beyond the chamfer… a good inspection of the bore revealed more of the same quality craftsmanship… again, very happy.
    (Notice the oil… this thing came thoroughly coated in Bob Marvel’s custom gun oil, every nook and cranny was well lubricated)
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I also took a minute to gauge the gas port hole size using the back end of a set of decimal machinist bits… it gauged right at.062”.
    Much bigger and it winds up being over gassed, too small and under gassing causes short stroking… .062” is about right for a carbine gas system. It might sound crazy, but I have seen barrels with gas holes way out in both of the spectrum, so I like to check before I go through the trouble of putting it all together just to save some trouble shooting later, but this one looks good.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    The next thing that I looked at was the dry film lube inside the upper…
    Not much to say about this other than it was applied in a very neat and uniform coating.
    Just another good sign as to quality workmanship.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Moving on to the bolt carrier group… I disassembled it and inspected the extractor, gas rings, gas key staking, gas key chrome and the chrome inside the carrier.
    Everything looked good, chrome was uniform and in all the right places, the gas key was properly staked and the bolt was marked as having been magnetic particle tested.
    Everything fit together well and the finish was uniform.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]


    All in all I am very impressed with the quality of this upper, especially for the price.
    All indications are that it is built to the same specifications as LMT, BCM and other top manufactures, but with a much more reasonable price tag.

    Here are the specs from the web site:
    Upper Specs-
    -Spike's Tactical M4 flat top upper receiver, Machined from a 7075 T6 Mil-Spec Forging with Mil-Spec Type III Hardcoat Anodized finish, T-markings, our logo and M4 feed ramps.
    -Barrel is 4150 Chromoly Vanadium Alloy, M4 barrel extension, Chrome chamber and bore, 5.56mm Nato chamber, 1:7 Twist, Magnetic particle testing on every barrel, Phosphate finish.
    -M4 Profile with Carbine length gas system.
    -Barrel is Phosphate finished under the F marked A2 front site base.
    -The M16 carriers are Chrome lined with a Mil-Spec phosphate finish.
    -Forged Mil-Spec carrier key, Chrome lined, attached with Grade 8 hardware and Properly staked.
    -MP tested bolt, Each extractor is fitted with a Mil-Spec black insert and Mil-Spec Viton o-ring.
    -Double heat shield M4 hand guards.
    -A2 Flash Hider.
    -Each upper also comes with an ST-T2 buffer.
    And here is a pic after I installed the DD Lite rail and Spikes / Samson BUIS.
    [IMG][/IMG]


    Weather permitting I plan on taking her out to the range this Sunday and putting her through the motions to see how she does… specs are nice, but range time tells a lot more… a range report will follow shortly.
    Last edited by CONKLE73; 02-26-10 at 08:44.

  2. #2
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    reserved for range report

  3. #3
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    Nice Pictures

    Thanks for the review, great pictures too. Like some others who are new, I too am looking for an upper unit. I'm kind of a hand-gunner to begin with last 8 years. Not a hunter or outdoors type, strictly antipersonnel. A few years back picked up an SKS for plinkin' then an AK but as ammo cost went up (9mm used to be cheap) so I started shooting a 22 pistol first then got a Thompson Center R55 rifle. When scoped is pretty deadly out 75 yard or so. Needless to say I started to lust for a more sniper "like" gun, something to reach out and touch some one.

    That led me to a Bushmaster Predator for popin' them off the bench, like I said before I have killed lots of paper. Fun as that is, now I want to add a more CQC option t my target shootng. I plan at least for now to use the Bushmaster lower, it's a pretty nice trigger and I'm looking for options, Spikes seem one of the good choices and price under/around $500 seems kind of like a sweet point too.

    I originally ordered a CMMG 1/7 4150 Chrome but got a WASP 4140 in the mail so I'm dealing with that. Still thinking about few others and kicking around the thoughts on a hammer forged barrel option. Thanks for your review, this whole site has been impressive, kind of never came by before because I thought it was just M4 stuff, it's the best AR site I've seen.
    Last edited by DrScooter; 02-26-10 at 10:43.

  4. #4
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    That is a good review. I can't wait to see how it preforms.
    "I have never heard anyone say after a firefight that I wish that I had not taken so much ammo.", ME

    "Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas !", General Sam Houston

  5. #5
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    Great review Conkle. Thanks for your time. Looks like a great deal too.
    Matthew 10:28

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