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Thread: Aero Precision 308 OEM Review

  1. #1
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    Aero Precision 308 OEM Review

    Let me start by saying this review was written over the course of a few weeks so where something can be seen as good with my first initial impression, it can be later be viewed as troublesome in the range report. E.G. Tight bolt.

    Aero Precision 308 OEM Review.
    First here are the specs that brownells lists so you do not have to look them up. The specs seem to be good especially for a gun that's under $1000.
    Link to Brownells
    http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts...AERO+PRECISION
    • 308 AR Aero Precision Upper and Lower Receiver
    • Rifle Length Gas & Barrel System with Low profile gas block
    • 18” 308 Winchester, 1:10 Twist Barrel
    • Barrel is machined from 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium steel, with a tapered profile, then treated with a QPQ corrosion-resistant finish.
    • 5/8-24 barrel thread pitch includes an installed A2 flash hider
    • 308 Bolt/Carrier Group features 8620 steel carrier with phosphate finish & chrome lining, and has a properly-staked Gas Key
    • Bolt machined from 9310 steel – High Pressure Tested & Magnetic Particle Inspected 308 AR Aero Precision Lower Receiver
    • Accepts DPMS 308 components & magazines (PMAG compatible)
    • Flared mag well & upper tension screw
    • Standard 308 AR Lower Parts Kit
    • Mil-spec AR-15/M14 Buffer Kit
    • Forged from 7075 T6 Aluminum
    • Matte black hard anodized finish
    • DPMS short buffer

    Initial Impressions
    The parts are nicely machined and the finish is top notch. This appears to be a quality finished firearm that has attention to detail. I am liking it out of the box. The upper and lower fit nicely and the color matches well. The barrel has a nice taper that lighten it just a little but has a nice heavy contour which looks to produce minimal POI shift with the suppressor. The bolt fits tight inside the carrier and the bold catch/release is a snug fit. The threading looks concentric to the bore. but I have no way to measure it, I can only go by looks. The charging handle has a tight pull at first then it loosens up once the lugs unlock, the BCG slides freely inside the upper.
    The OEM design is basically a user build platform which it comes bone stock without all the add ons which most people end up replacing items on their AR, so the OEM offers a base to build off of without wasting money by adding the parts the end user doesn't need. I am a fan of this concept because it keeps from adding to the spare parts bin and my garage from accumulating junk. Basically the user has to add a stock, forearm/rail, and sights at minimum. So far I am impressed and this looks to be a quality gun.



    Last edited by ace4059; 03-22-16 at 11:32.
    Quote Originally Posted by Outlander Systems View Post
    In 2014, a RDS and a WML are pretty much mandatory for a defensive long-gun.

    Lights are way easier to fire up than NODs when rolling out of bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJC3081 View Post
    You should have your balls removed for posting such stupidity. This is not the other site...

  2. #2
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    The Build.
    When I started disassembling the gun to add the parts, I noticed most of the parts seemed to be hand tighten only. This led me to disassemble most of the gun and tighten everything to proper torque specs. The barrel nut was barely tight which I replaced with a Fortis Anti-rotation barrel nut for the Fortis Switch Rail (DPMS high rail). Others have suggested that Aero Precision does not tighten nor crank down the nuts and bolt because they know the user will be having to disassemble the rifle to add their own parts.
    The low profile gas block was properly aligned with the barrel gas port but the barrel was not notched for the set screws. I used the jig and notched the barrel on the minimal side to retain the setscrews for the gas block. Blue locktite was applied and it was reassembled. While I had the gas block off, I measure the gas port with a drill bit. I had a .080" drill bit and a .090" drill bit. The .080" drill bit was very loose and the .090" barely would not fit so I am taking a guess that the gas port is around .087"

    The barrel is not dimpled for the gas block.


    Center punched the hole.


    One good this is the gas block was properly lined from the factory with the gas port. The jig verified this and the barrel was dimpled


    The A2 flash hider was removed and an SilcecerCo flash hider was installed with Rocksett for my 762 Specwar suppressor. The suppressor aligned well with the bore and I did not have any baffle strikes while firing the gun.

    The magazine release looks to be a standard AR-15 button and the magazine catch also looks to be a standard AR-15 design. The AR-10 is wider so the screw only catches with about two turns and there is a large gap inside the button where the screw should be flush with the button. To fix this issue I used a Battle Arms Development Enhanced magazine catch button. It fit nicely and is a quality design.
    With me being left handle the BAD-ASS is an automatic install on all my AR's.

    Notice the screw is barely threaded into the magazine release button


    Even with the mag release button screwed flush with the side of the lower there is still a gap from the screw not being flush with the mag release


    BAD enhanced magazine release installed. This does a nice job of hiding the gap where the mag catch screw doesn't thread all the way in the back of the mag release button.


    The AP factory trigger is on the lighter side for a MIL-SPEC trigger and has a smooth clean break. This is comparable to a ALG trigger. Very nice for a factory trigger. I was having accuracy issues with this firearm so I replaced the trigger temporary with a Giessele SD-E trigger to be absolute sure I was getting a clean break. This did not help with the grouping.





    The castle nut was staked in one notch but the staking was what I could call the bare minimum. I replaced the receiver plate with a IWC QD plate and staked the castle nut in two notches.

    Factory staking


    The BCG had a nice finish and the gas rings had a nice fit. The bolt is on the tight side and will not slide easily into the carrier. It is so tight you just about have to use a rubber mallet to put the bolt back in the carrier. The extractor spring had a dual spring and two (2) O-rings.

    Nice finish but notice the small gap where the mag catch fits inside the lower


    Dual spring and two o rings



    The charging handle is just the plain style charging handle.
    The Aero Precision uses Allen screws instead of the standard roll pins for the Forward assist and Bolt Catch. I was on the edge about this design initially but I now like the idea of it because of the ease of replacing parts. More on this later.

    Thankfully the Allen screw made replacing the bolt catch and forward assist easy



    The Foregrip that the AP 308 comes with is the standard A-2 style grip. I replaced it with a Magpul grip and when replacing the grip, you can easier adjust the tension screw that eliminates the play or slop between the upper and lower. This screw was about to fall out when I removed the foregrip. It was installed with maybe a half turn. I tightened it on the minimal side for a firm but not overly tight to apply pressure on the upper. The threading for the grip screw was smooth and threaded all the way. I have ran into problems with different brand lowers where they were not properly threaded. This AP was easy and hassle free on installing the grip.
    Last edited by ace4059; 03-22-16 at 11:33. Reason: Added pictures
    Quote Originally Posted by Outlander Systems View Post
    In 2014, a RDS and a WML are pretty much mandatory for a defensive long-gun.

    Lights are way easier to fire up than NODs when rolling out of bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJC3081 View Post
    You should have your balls removed for posting such stupidity. This is not the other site...

  3. #3
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    Range Testing.
    This is where my love for the Aero Precision 308 OEM stops.
    I did a few standard function tests with the rifle. The first thing I noticed was the Forward Assist would not push the BCG forward. Through a little internet research some people said the F/A could be out of spec and is on the short side. The F/A is a standard AR-15 part. I called Aero Precision and in short order I had a new one in the mail.
    I loaded up several magazines with one round each to make sure the bolt would lock back. My first impression was the gun was over gassed. I was getting an ejection pattern of about 2 o'clock. On round number six (6) the bolt failed to lock back. The culprit, broken bolt catch. So another call to AP and I had a new part on the way. These parts took a few days to arrive in the mail from Washington to Texas.

    Remember when I said I was on the fence about the Allen screws hold key components instead of roll pins, well these Allen screws made changing the parts a breeze. That was a wasted range trip. The six shots were all over the target.

    Bolt catch snapped on round number 6


    Bolt catch and F/A replacement. AP was quick to send these replacement parts out.



    Now I have the parts replaced and its back to the range. With the prior shots all over the paper, I gave the gun another through cleaning and paid special attention to the bore. I took a coated Dewey cleaning rod with me to the range to do a barrel break in because I was hoping the groups would tighten up. After a 20 round break in the groups were still having a vertical string and no consistent grouping. I attached my 762 Specwar suppressor and the grouping shifted about 12" to the left. I redialed the scope and was hitting about center mass again. The groups were so bad I was now checking the scope to see if the QD mount was loose. This vortex scope was been used on my other gun for testing and I placed it on my AR-15 that I had in the truck. I dialed it in after a few rounds and was getting solid 1 MOA groups with the scopeon the AR-15. No wondering zero and the screws were all tight. I had a few Failure to ejects with the AP 308 but I just thought the gun needs a few rounds to break in. With the suppressor the ejection pattern was at 12 o'clock. I did not know a gun could throw brass in front of the barrel like that. These factory rounds were showing pressure signs. They had ejector swipes and the primers had a deep strike with a ring around the indention. There were a few of the 762x51 lighter loads that were ejecting at 4 o'clock without the suppressor. This ejection pattern has marred up the front side of the receiver where the front of the dust cover would be. This leads me to believe that it could have a tight chamber.


    Grouping


    So my next thoughts were the Aero Precision did not like this type of ammo. I went to the store the next day and bought a few different brands and bullet weights and hit the range again. The first thing I noticed was when switching between brands the groups would shift several inches. This not unexpected because on my other guns the groups will shift between point of aim and point of impact a few inches (2"-5") but with this 308 the shifts were in 12"-20". With all the different ammunition the groups were 6"-8" on average. My best groups were with Federal Premium Match 175 gr Sierra MatchKing. My bolt guns shoot this stuff 1/2-3/4MOA but the AP was shooting about 4 MOA with this stuff. I knew then something was wrong so I went home to re-inspect the gun.

    I tried several boxes of different ammo


    Groups








    Best groups





    You get the idea on the poor accuracy of the barrel.



    I got home and took the barrel nut off and re torque it on the lighter side of 35lbs I didnt find anything wrong. I removed the two O-rings from the bolt to see if that would help with the failure to ejects. I tried it a few different way and still had several failure to ejects. The next several range trips were frustrating. The bolt catch/release had always been on the tight side but it has become so tight where you can not release the BCG to charge the firearm with your thumb. It is binding and takes two hands pressing as hard as I can to release the bolt. The only practical way to charge the firearm is with the charging handle. The bolt is still very tight inside the chamber. It acts as if Bolt lugs are sticking in the barrel extension and you have to pull forcefully to first open the bolt. Once the lugs clear the barrel extension, the BCG slides effortlessly. But there is no visible wear on the bolt lugs, which leads me to believe the it is the bolt sticking inside the carrier because it is so tight.

    Failure to eject






    Notice it's damaging the brass by bending the case mouth. Looks like the 300 blk out case mouth.


    Something is leaving lines on the brass




    Video of the bolt catch not releasing the bolt.
    http://youtu.be/K8gwii7zZis




    I later discovered I had broken a second bolt catch and I am now on my third. That was the cause of the bolt catch not releasing the bolt.



    Notice how the bolt catch is bent


    Crack in bolt catch





    I noticed the charging handle has high wear on the top of it and around the latch area for the few times I have used it (less than 50). Something is really cutting into the aluminum and it as almost as if the charging handle is too big to fit into the upper receiver. I'll probably replace it with a BCM. Sorry I did not take any pictures since I noticed it as I was boxing up the gun and getting it ready to send back.


    I fired 180 total of the course of multiple range trips with poor grouping and frustrating experiences. I purchased this rifle with the intention of doing a review since the Aero Precision 308 OEM version is fairly new for the company and their upper and lowers get good reviews. I tried to contact Aero Precision for several weeks and never could get through. I left numerous messages and sent several emails and it took Aero Precision almost three weeks for them to contact me back. They sent me a return label and I mailed it back Yesterday. I will update this article when I receive the firearm back. Contacting AP was a hassle and I was on the verge of sending the gun back to Brownells for an exchange. Since AP did finally contact me I am going to let them fix the firearm.

    This is not a review to hate on AP. I want to like the gun because of the money and time I invested into it, but with the four MAJOR problems of terrible grouping, failure to eject, bolt release sticking, and bolt sticking in chamber, as of right now I cannot recommend this firearm. It is intended for educational purposes and to show the quality that AP has so buyers can make informed decisions in the future. I was hoping this would be a great gun and AP would break the mold by releasing a reliable 308 AR for under $1,000 but it looks like they have more work to do. Don't get me wrong, this could be a nice gun with some changes and I would like to say I received a lemon and this just slipped through QC but I will hold my judgment until I get the gun back.
    Last edited by ace4059; 03-22-16 at 11:30.
    Quote Originally Posted by Outlander Systems View Post
    In 2014, a RDS and a WML are pretty much mandatory for a defensive long-gun.

    Lights are way easier to fire up than NODs when rolling out of bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJC3081 View Post
    You should have your balls removed for posting such stupidity. This is not the other site...

  4. #4
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    Final thoughts

    This firearm is a good base for the upper and lower. My thoughts are the barrel needs to be replaced along with the BCG since I feel both are out of spec. The barrel needs an adjustable gas block if you are using a suppressor. The LPK seems to have poor quality since AP did not catch the FA being out of spec and the AP bolt catches keep breaking. You may want to replace the key components in the LPk.

    More updates will follow.
    Last edited by ace4059; 03-22-16 at 11:56.
    Quote Originally Posted by Outlander Systems View Post
    In 2014, a RDS and a WML are pretty much mandatory for a defensive long-gun.

    Lights are way easier to fire up than NODs when rolling out of bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJC3081 View Post
    You should have your balls removed for posting such stupidity. This is not the other site...

  5. #5
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    Saved for updates at later time
    Quote Originally Posted by Outlander Systems View Post
    In 2014, a RDS and a WML are pretty much mandatory for a defensive long-gun.

    Lights are way easier to fire up than NODs when rolling out of bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJC3081 View Post
    You should have your balls removed for posting such stupidity. This is not the other site...

  6. #6
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    saved for future updates
    Last edited by ace4059; 03-22-16 at 11:57.
    Quote Originally Posted by Outlander Systems View Post
    In 2014, a RDS and a WML are pretty much mandatory for a defensive long-gun.

    Lights are way easier to fire up than NODs when rolling out of bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJC3081 View Post
    You should have your balls removed for posting such stupidity. This is not the other site...

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the detailed review. I've been tempted by APs OEM 556 and 308 offerings, but I'll be holding out for awhile.
    - Rhino

  8. #8
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    I hope it all works out for you, I'm sure it will. My experiences so far have been better and hope they continue. I wanted to get back into the .308 game, so I started with the Aero 16" complete. My plans are for a future lightweight and looking at the 2A set or a complete rifle once they offer it. No marks on brass, no receiver wear or other issues. Charge handle does show wear. I do have a spare DPMS bolt catch and do have a replacement FA from Aero as mine was short as well. In my opinion, the FA should be eliminated from the receiver.
    A tad over 250 rounds right now, zero malfunctions. My reloads and factory go from 230-330 ejection. No pressure on them. Shot PMC, XM80, Magtech, FGMM, Hornady White Tail, Fusion and my reloads.

    No pics but the FGMM was at 1" and the to hunting loads were 1.3-1.4
    Not bad for basically a "carbine" with a standard trigger and 1-6 variable

    The commercial is a mix of everything fired and the LC is once fired from a big gun. Nothing done to brass other than FL size, trimmed and deburred. No sorting, etc of bullets, cases. IMR4064, Hornady 150 FMJBT and CCI standard LR primer. Crimped using LCD

    The center target on the commercial one is where I made adjustments, lowering the impact, so It's not a group.

    oh-use a multi colored Sharpie set to color the bullets and use a Qtip with alcohol to show color if not apparent. Helpful if shooting different charge weights, etc especially Ladder testing.

    Mark


    GET IN YOUR BUBBLE!

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the very detailed review and pics OP - lot of time spent on this review.
    I've heard so many reports of trouble with the AP 308s, whether complete rifles or build using their receivers.
    A definite pattern. Yet because of cost, people still buy them in droves compared to, say, the proven MEGA MATEN platform.
    Thanks for the honesty and detail.

  10. #10
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    In this price range for a complete rifle, it's hard to beat the Armalite DEF10 - this takes SR25 compatible mags. If you want a nice freefloat handguard, Raptor ambi charging handle, and nice 2-stage trigger, look at the Armalite TAC series.

    Armalite, SLR Rifleworks, Midwest Industries, SWS, JP Rifles, and Noveske (I'm sure I'm missing some) make Armalite compatible freefloat handguards, and you can get pretty much ask any barrel maker to spin up a barrel for you if you provide a bolt and barrel extension (DSG Arms usually has 'em).
    Scout Rider for the Mongol Hordes

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