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Thread: Palmetto State Armory AR-15 Review

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    Palmetto State Armory AR-15 Review

    Ok, I finally got my rifle built completely so here is the review. First, some pictures of the rifle, the parts I used to build it, and then a range report.






    It is, a Palmetto State Armory upper and lower. The upper is completely PSA built. They do all the cool tests and inspections to the parts. The gas key is properly staked. The barrel is a 416 Stainless steel 1/8 twist .223 wylde chamber 16" barrel made by Wilson Tactical. The Free Floated tube is the very light (although arguably not as good as Troy tubes) Midwest Industries SS12. The compensator is an Arredondo nXg comp. Finally, it has a Vortex Viper PST 1-4X24mm 30mm tube milrad adjustment scope mounted in a one piece YHM scope mount and Magpul MBUS buis.

    I built the lower half myself using a stripped PSA lower.

    It has an VLTOR A5 stock, Daniel Defense Lower Parts kit, Magpul MIAD pistol grip and JP single stage adjustable match trigger.

    So how does all that work together? Well, first, some groups to test for accuracy. First I will show what it CAN do, using high quality factory ammo, then I will show groups using more value ammo. (By the way, all the groups shown below were shot from 100 meters).

    Using 69gr Fed Match Gold which uses SMK bullets:


    yes, that is 5 shots, from an AR-15, into a nickel

    more typical groups from the 69gr Fed Match Gold look like this:


    60gr Hornady TAP:


    Hornady 75gr TAP:



    And Fed Match Gold 77gr SMK



    62gr Fed Am Eagle:


    IMI 55gr 5.56mm:





    Anyway, that is the stuff that has to do solely with PSA's contribution. I've put approximately 400 rounds through it so far, and I only use good magazines. No feeding issues, no failures to fire or eject, no malfunctions at all yet.

    Additional details: I used an Arredondo compensator and an VLTOR A5 stock kit to have an AR that NEVER leaves the target when shooting and I have been happy. You can watch the rounds impact. It is LOUD and blasty compared to an AR with a standard Flash Hider but the recoil and muzzle rise is comparable to a .22lr rifle. The A5 kit makes the cycling MUCH smoother. Between the comp, the stock kit, the mid-length gas system, and the single stage 3lb trigger, you can empty a mag into a target, put every shot on target, never leave the target, and do it quickly.

    Anyway, this concludes the review of my Palmetto State Armory AR-15. I will be happy to answer anyone's questions about it and provide more details for anyone who is interested. I am pleased with this rifle, the quality that PSA uses and I WILL buy from them again. To buy an upper capable of this and is 100 bucks cheaper than a BCM AND comes with the BCG sweetens the deal even more.Also, here is a video to see how it looks when shooting (note lack of recoil and muzzlerise:


    My conclusion is that this particular rifle likes 69gr SMK the best, however still does pretty well with the 75 and 77 gr bullets. Although it was far from my tightest group, I was most impressed with the IMI stuff. I bought this stuff 1200 rounds for 320.00 so for being cheap I thought it did exceptionally well.

    P.S. I want to officially apologize to my buddy for hitting him with my spent casings lol
    Last edited by DS-11B; 08-29-11 at 11:17.

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    geez no replies at all??

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    nice build. I do believe there lowers are on sale right now too. I also heard a rumor that labor day they will even be cheaper.

    Question: what is the difference between a DD LPK and Palmetto's mil-spec LPK? I've always wondered why the DD Kit is $30 more than a standard kit. THANKS

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    Nice rifle man. Why did you go with the .223 wylde. I haven't shot one but I am curious about it. I do like the scope the Vortex's are real sharp got to look thru one of my friends and shoot a few rounds but a little out of my price range. Unenjoyment kinda sucks. I was wondering if you had just put the camera on a tripod till it moved. I was lol on that one. Hope it didnt hurt your buddy as I know that spent casings can be a hot mofo if they get in the wrong place. Dont ask I wont tell. Enjoy your your new rifle I am jealous.
    WFD
    EMR
    FF

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatboyR6 View Post
    nice build. I do believe there lowers are on sale right now too. I also heard a rumor that labor day they will even be cheaper.

    Question: what is the difference between a DD LPK and Palmetto's mil-spec LPK? I've always wondered why the DD Kit is $30 more than a standard kit. THANKS
    Yeah I can't believe how cheap their stuff is considering the extra work they put in on them. Must be introductory or something.

    The difference between the LPKs....you know, you are the FIRST person to ask me that lol. The difference, I'm sure, is that I was on a very tight schedule to get this build done before August 22nd so I was in a hurry and unfortunately PSA doesn't have expedited shipping options so I ordered from Midway.

    As far as the quality? feels just like every other LPK I have ever handled. I guess if it says DD on the plastic bag it comes in, it warrants an extra 30 bucks lol

    It literally came down to if I would have ordered from PSA I would have received it on Monday Aug 22nd. By ordering on Midway I got it Wednesday the 18th. I'm not sure if there are any other differences, like I said, it looked and felt the same though.
    Last edited by DS-11B; 08-29-11 at 08:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DemonRat View Post
    Nice rifle man. Why did you go with the .223 wylde. I haven't shot one but I am curious about it. I do like the scope the Vortex's are real sharp got to look thru one of my friends and shoot a few rounds but a little out of my price range. Unenjoyment kinda sucks. I was wondering if you had just put the camera on a tripod till it moved. I was lol on that one. Hope it didnt hurt your buddy as I know that spent casings can be a hot mofo if they get in the wrong place. Dont ask I wont tell. Enjoy your your new rifle I am jealous.
    I didn't know what .223 Wylde was so I looked it up. (Prior to purchase of course). Anyway, from what they said about it, .223 is generally a little more accurate than 5.56 barrels, but .223 barrels can't shoot hot 5.56 loads. So .223 is an intermediate bore that is tighter to more resemble .223 accuracy but it can still handle the 5.56 rounds. That is my understanding anyway. I figured I would give it a chance and I haven't been disappointed so far!

    Yeah my buddy is ok, he is a marine anyway lol

    So far I have been really impressed with the Vortex scope. The only thing I wish was different is the that I wish the illumination on the reticule was brighter. During the brightest part of the day it is still visible but doesn't stand out enough to work as an RDS. I initially thought the 500 price tag was a little steep but it felt/looked/operated like the scopes more in the 800 price range so I was impressed with it. The best part is their "if it breaks send it back" promise. That includes everything except maybe shooting it lol. I don't know I'm just guessing they probably wouldn't give you a new one for shooting it. Aside from that though apparently they replace anything.

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    Nice review, but what was the distance on the groups you posted? Read through it twice and did not see it anywhere...

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    Good review.

    If I were going to build a gun for accuracy, I'd go with the Wylde or tighter chamber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shootist~ View Post
    Nice review, but what was the distance on the groups you posted? Read through it twice and did not see it anywhere...
    Ah! Thanks for pointing that out! I edited it. All the groups on there are from 100 meters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    Good review.

    If I were going to build a gun for accuracy, I'd go with the Wylde or tighter chamber.
    Yes that definitely seems to be the case. I was a little skeptical about the Wylde chamber at first but so far it has proven to provide exceptional accuracy. I don't know if it would be better than a 5.56 stainless barrel but it has proven to be excellent regardless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DS-11B View Post
    Ah! Thanks for pointing that out! I edited it. All the groups on there are from 100 meters.
    Very nice accuracy and across a broad selection of ammo as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shootist~ View Post
    Very nice accuracy and across a broad selection of ammo as well.
    yes I know! I've been impressed. I do think that it does best with the 69gr SMK stuff though. The worst group using that bullet is as good as the best groups (displayed) using 75 and 77gr bullets. The SMK bullets in general seem to be outstanding though. I thought maybe their reputation was a little hyped but apparently not.

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    That is a well built and good looking rifle. Just one question, why do you dislike the MI rail or say that it isn't as good as the troy. I have two of SS15 rails that have been pretty solid performers for me.

    Before I purchased them, I researched this site and although there seems to be some negativity towards the MI rails, I have never seen any proof of why. I am just curious is all, so no negativity meant.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slvr Surfr View Post
    That is a well built and good looking rifle. Just one question, why do you dislike the MI rail or say that it isn't as good as the troy. I have two of SS15 rails that have been pretty solid performers for me.

    Before I purchased them, I researched this site and although there seems to be some negativity towards the MI rails, I have never seen any proof of why. I am just curious is all, so no negativity meant.

    Thanks!
    Well, two things. First let me say that on one of the things that I was concerned about, it was probably operator error, I probably am to blame. Anyway,

    I like the way the Troy VTAC handguard feels better, it seems a little more narrow.

    The other thing, and the Troy handguard might have the same problem, I don't know. The Aluminum of the MI handguard seems pretty soft. I accidentally stripped out the set screw.... The only thing about that is, I never strip screws! Believe me, I was NOT torquing on this screw at all. I put the proper sized hex key in the set screw to see how big of a pain it would be if I ever wanted to change handguards, and it literally immediately stripped out and began spinning freely. That might be a problem with ANY aluminum but I was surprised for one thing that they used aluminum set screws in the first place. I also don't know that I wouldn't have had the EXACT same problem with the Troy handguard but I don't know....

    I can't emphasize to you enough how little effort I put into turning the hex key before it stripped out. Anyway, so now I'm thinking I am going to have to take it to the gunsmith and have him drill it out and rethread it (after stripped the screw I am not doing anything else to that handguard).

    Since you have experience with these particular handguards I will ask: Have you ever had problems like this before? I wholly believe that it was my screw up that caused this problem but I'm telling you, I BARELY turned the hex key at all and it happened. What do you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DS-11B View Post
    Yeah I can't believe how cheap their stuff is considering the extra work they put in on them. Must be introductory or something.

    The difference between the LPKs....you know, you are the FIRST person to ask me that lol. The difference, I'm sure, is that I was on a very tight schedule to get this build done before August 22nd so I was in a hurry and unfortunately PSA doesn't have expedited shipping options so I ordered from Midway.

    As far as the quality? feels just like every other LPK I have ever handled. I guess if it says DD on the plastic bag it comes in, it warrants an extra 30 bucks lol

    It literally came down to if I would have ordered from PSA I would have received it on Monday Aug 22nd. By ordering on Midway I got it Wednesday the 18th. I'm not sure if there are any other differences, like I said, it looked and felt the same though.
    Cool man. I figured it was pretty much the same.

    I just ordered this kit.

    https://delta3tactical.com/store/pro...Parts-Kit.html

    First time I used this website. I called first and talked to the owner Don. He's a super cool guy with plenty knowledge. I ordered it friday so I should have it by tuesday I hope.

    It's going in this lower

    https://www.joeboboutfitters.com/Kie...illetlower.htm

    Also a first timer for me to use, and I called Joe Bob, also a cool guy. That lower is already waiting for me at my FFL once I get back into town tuesday I will have it.

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    Ok, I understand now. That screw is absolutely the weak point IMHO of the MI system. I purchased a BCM upper pre-built with the MI SS15 handguard. I removed the handguard to make some changes and then replaced it. I did the exact same thing you did. I completely stripped the hole as you did. I was pretty pissed at myself for doing that. I wasn't sure if I should re-thread it or contact MI to see about what they could do. I also was unsure if it was just the screw that was damaged.

    As my luck would have it, I contacted MI via email during the week of this years SHOT show. A MI CS rep replied back that night. I honestly wasn't sure if I had stripped the screw or the hole the screw sits in. He told me that he would send out a new screw as soon as they returned the following week. True to his word he sent a brand new screw at their cost. I tried it and unfortunately confirmed that the hole was the issue.

    I sent him another email telling him that the hole was in fact stripped. I told him that I wanted it fixed and that I was more than willing to pay for it since I damaged it. The only thing he asked was the length and color of rail that I had.

    He sent me a brand new complete kit to replace the system I had. I could not believe that they sent the entire kit. The CS rep did not even want the old want back. With the complete kit came the installation instructions which CLEARLY stated to install that silly screw only finger tight. It is not to be installed with any significant torque. The screw is only designed to keep the handguard from turning if the jam nut comes loose.

    I was really amazed about the CS that MI provided. Especially since I did not buy it directly from them. I was not even asked to provide any proof of having the original rail. I am sold on this company and now would not hesitate to buy more of their stuff. I am sure that the troy rails are bad ass. At the time that I purchased the pre built upper, the MI SS15 was the longest rail provided.

    I would highly suggest that you contact MI and let them know of your issue. From my experience they will take care of you. I know of one other forum member who also had issues with his rail and was taken care of immediately.

    I kept the damaged rail and now use it on my daily carry patrol rifle. I did try to re-thread the hole with the same diameter tap. It didn't work. I considered using a larger diameter but the new screw must coincide with the recess within the barrel nut. I have not tried anything else. I have been running the handguard with out the screw and have had ZERO issues. I just keep an eye on the jam nut to make sure that it is still tight. YMMV.


    Quote Originally Posted by DS-11B View Post
    Well, two things. First let me say that on one of the things that I was concerned about, it was probably operator error, I probably am to blame. Anyway,

    I like the way the Troy VTAC handguard feels better, it seems a little more narrow.

    The other thing, and the Troy handguard might have the same problem, I don't know. The Aluminum of the MI handguard seems pretty soft. I accidentally stripped out the set screw.... The only thing about that is, I never strip screws! Believe me, I was NOT torquing on this screw at all. I put the proper sized hex key in the set screw to see how big of a pain it would be if I ever wanted to change handguards, and it literally immediately stripped out and began spinning freely. That might be a problem with ANY aluminum but I was surprised for one thing that they used aluminum set screws in the first place. I also don't know that I wouldn't have had the EXACT same problem with the Troy handguard but I don't know....

    I can't emphasize to you enough how little effort I put into turning the hex key before it stripped out. Anyway, so now I'm thinking I am going to have to take it to the gunsmith and have him drill it out and rethread it (after stripped the screw I am not doing anything else to that handguard).

    Since you have experience with these particular handguards I will ask: Have you ever had problems like this before? I wholly believe that it was my screw up that caused this problem but I'm telling you, I BARELY turned the hex key at all and it happened. What do you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slvr Surfr View Post
    Ok, I understand now. That screw is absolutely the weak point IMHO of the MI system. I purchased a BCM upper pre-built with the MI SS15 handguard. I removed the handguard to make some changes and then replaced it. I did the exact same thing you did. I completely stripped the hole as you did. I was pretty pissed at myself for doing that. I wasn't sure if I should re-thread it or contact MI to see about what they could do. I also was unsure if it was just the screw that was damaged.

    As my luck would have it, I contacted MI via email during the week of this years SHOT show. A MI CS rep replied back that night. I honestly wasn't sure if I had stripped the screw or the hole the screw sits in. He told me that he would send out a new screw as soon as they returned the following week. True to his word he sent a brand new screw at their cost. I tried it and unfortunately confirmed that the hole was the issue.

    I sent him another email telling him that the hole was in fact stripped. I told him that I wanted it fixed and that I was more than willing to pay for it since I damaged it. The only thing he asked was the length and color of rail that I had.

    He sent me a brand new complete kit to replace the system I had. I could not believe that they sent the entire kit. The CS rep did not even want the old want back. With the complete kit came the installation instructions which CLEARLY stated to install that silly screw only finger tight. It is not to be installed with any significant torque. The screw is only designed to keep the handguard from turning if the jam nut comes loose.

    I was really amazed about the CS that MI provided. Especially since I did not buy it directly from them. I was not even asked to provide any proof of having the original rail. I am sold on this company and now would not hesitate to buy more of their stuff. I am sure that the troy rails are bad ass. At the time that I purchased the pre built upper, the MI SS15 was the longest rail provided.

    I would highly suggest that you contact MI and let them know of your issue. From my experience they will take care of you. I know of one other forum member who also had issues with his rail and was taken care of immediately.

    I kept the damaged rail and now use it on my daily carry patrol rifle. I did try to re-thread the hole with the same diameter tap. It didn't work. I considered using a larger diameter but the new screw must coincide with the recess within the barrel nut. I have not tried anything else. I have been running the handguard with out the screw and have had ZERO issues. I just keep an eye on the jam nut to make sure that it is still tight. YMMV.
    Wow that is excellent customer service. If they are giving out that kind of treatment and stand by their product that much then I will definitely be willing to give them a shot. I will contact them and see what they say. I will let you know what they say when I hear back. Thanks for letting me know this, you saved me a ton of trouble. Would you mind outlining to me how you eventually got the old screw out? I tried a screw extractor and all that accomplished was basically finishing off the threads. Did you just drill it out? Anyway, let me know what ended up working for you.

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    PM sent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slvr Surfr View Post
    PM sent.
    I got it thanks. Did you get my response?

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    Thanks for the review! I'll be purchasing the same upper this week to finish my build, really looking forward to it!

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