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3/20/2017 5:03:23 PM
Posted: 8/20/2011 1:20:19 PM EDT
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.
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAcomplete1.jpg
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAcomplete2.jpg
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAcomplete3.jpg
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAcomplete4.jpg
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAcomplete5.jpg

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 probably 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. I still want to try out some M855 to see how it likes that and some more high quality larger grain stuff like 75gr Hornady TAP and 77gr Fed Match Gold but here is what I have so far:

Using 69gr Fed Match Gold which uses SMK bullets:
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAgroup269grFedGoldMatch.jpg
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAgroup2569grFedGoldMatch.jpg
yes, that is 5 shots, from an AR-15, into a nickel

more typical groups from the 69gr Fed Match Gold look like this:
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAgroup169grFedGoldMatch.jpg

60gr Hornady TAP:
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAgroup160grHornadyTAP.jpg

And finally, cheaper 62gr Fed Am Eagle
http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/John_Does_Identity/PSAgroup255grFedAmEagle.jpg

I haven't taken any pictures of groups using cheap 55gr ammo yet but if anyone is interested I can. The 55gr Am Eagle and Fed Value Pack 55gr groups pretty similar to the 62gr Am Eagle stuff. So with this rifle and 30 cents a round ammo you CAN shoot around 1MOA. I'm sure many are a better shot than I am so they can squeeze tighter groups out of the rifle, YMMV.

Anyway, that is the stuff that has to do solely with PSA's contribution. I've put approximately 300 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 initial review of my Palmetto State Armory AR-15. I will be happy to answer anyone's questions about it and provide more pictures or video 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.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 1:29:42 PM EDT
Very nice rifle you have there and great report. Thank you for the info.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 1:32:01 PM EDT
nice rifle and setup.

great groups also..

(I like my PSA upper also)
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 1:33:21 PM EDT
Thanks for the review and the pics...

It's refreshing to finally see something in the Tech forum that is actual range experience and not a "what's the best XXXXX" or "XXX vs. XXXX" thread...

- Clint
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 1:37:00 PM EDT
This same upper was waiting at my doorstep this morning. I think I made the right choice.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 2:41:55 PM EDT
That's HOT
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 4:56:27 PM EDT
Nice setup, Iv'e been looking at that exact same upper from PSA. Looks like one of the nicest complete uppers in that price range. How much does it weigh? Also I notice you have a grip mounted underneath, was the rail included? Can you mount rails on the sides as well?
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:10:00 PM EDT
If that stainless barrel is meant for .223 which it obviously is, do not run m855 in it or 5.56 period.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:13:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bammer55:
Nice setup, Iv'e been looking at that exact same upper from PSA. Looks like one of the nicest complete uppers in that price range. How much does it weigh? Also I notice you have a grip mounted underneath, was the rail included? Can you mount rails on the sides as well?


Thank you. The upper is fantastic and very accurate as you can see. The whole rifle in this configuration weighs right at 9lbs. That is not because of the upper though. I went with a scope that was 5oz heavier than I initially planned, a one piece scope mount instead of rings which is heavier as well, and the EMOD stock instead of the IMOD stock which weighs 5-6 oz more than the IMOD. That combined puts it at about a lb heavier than I was shooting for which was 8lbs. The MI Free floated handguard weighs between 11 and 12 oz without the rails. This is very light for a FF tube. It comes with a 5"? rail and a 2" rail which I have mounted on the side facing the floor. The rails are attached by a screw and nut and are fairly easy to install. I hope that answers all your questions, if not feel free to ask more.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:13:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2011 5:14:48 PM EDT by DS-11B]
didn't mean to post again
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:17:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bammer55:
Nice setup, Iv'e been looking at that exact same upper from PSA. Looks like one of the nicest complete uppers in that price range. How much does it weigh? Also I notice you have a grip mounted underneath, was the rail included? Can you mount rails on the sides as well?


If you look at the very first picture on my review you will see that there is a 2" rail on the side of the handguard.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:18:11 PM EDT
excellent information. thanks for the info.. I'm looking hard at this upper as well.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:19:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By NorthStaR209:
If that stainless barrel is meant for .223 which it obviously is, do not run m855 in it or 5.56 period.


It will run M855 or any other type of 5.56 or .223 ammunition compatible with a STANAG magazine just fine. It is a .223 WYLDE barrel, NOT .223. Consult Google and become enlightened....
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:35:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By NorthStaR209:
If that stainless barrel is meant for .223 which it obviously is, do not run m855 in it or 5.56 period.


It's a .223 Wylde, it will run both just fine... Btw OP i have that same rifle minus the vortex and sling! Good choice sir!
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:46:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BCV:
Originally Posted By NorthStaR209:
If that stainless barrel is meant for .223 which it obviously is, do not run m855 in it or 5.56 period.


It's a .223 Wylde, it will run both just fine... Btw OP i have that same rifle minus the vortex and sling! Good choice sir!


You too!

BTW, what optic did you go with?
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 5:57:06 PM EDT
none, Im broke and on a forced budget!
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 6:11:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BCV:
none, Im broke and on a forced budget!


haha I understand! I sold one of my other ARs to fund this project so I fortunately had enough to get the scope. Just make sure you get something good when you can afford to put some glass on it!
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 6:39:54 PM EDT
Ok I see them now. Do you think it's a standard rail mount, so one could use longer/different style or would we be limited to the included ones only? You mentioned more pics or videos, please post them!! Also, did you install the compensator or have PSA do it when you ordered it? I really appreciate all the info
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 6:41:31 PM EDT
Looks good.How long was the wait time ? I want to order a PSA upper also in SS, but I want a different gas block.I was told that" they dont do custom work" ???? That was via a phone call and an email response.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 6:46:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Strike3:
Looks good.How long was the wait time ? I want to order a PSA upper also in SS, but I want a different gas block.I was told that" they dont do custom work" ???? That was via a phone call and an email response.


Whats your concern about the gas block?
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 6:50:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/20/2011 6:52:03 PM EDT by epsgunner]
Originally Posted By Strike3:
Looks good.How long was the wait time ? I want to order a PSA upper also in SS, but I want a different gas block.I was told that" they dont do custom work" ???? That was via a phone call and an email response.


They put a low-pro on mine vs. the std FSB for free.. I just put it in the notes..

IM them on here and see.. its down in there SECTION also.. just drop in there and ask..

They may not weld things on or something.. but as of 3 weeks ago they would swap my FSB for a low-pro GB..

BCM does not do custom work.. I got the email from them on that.. thats why I went PSA.

and I had my upper in 7 days FLAT..
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 7:24:18 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bammer55:
Ok I see them now. Do you think it's a standard rail mount, so one could use longer/different style or would we be limited to the included ones only? You mentioned more pics or videos, please post them!! Also, did you install the compensator or have PSA do it when you ordered it? I really appreciate all the info


To address the questions about the MI handguard, I would first of all suggest that you consult their website: http://www.midwestindustriesinc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=271 That will get you right to the exact handguard on the rifle. I did check to see if magpul polymer rails would work and it appears that they would, you may have to use the MI nuts though, I'm not sure that the backs for the magpul moe handguard would not just slip through the holes.

In regards to more pics and videos, I will get some more pics of groups using 55gr value ammo up tomorrow. I will be going to the range next weekend so I will shoot a short video to demonstrate the recoil and muzzle rise reduction and try to show how smooth the JP trigger etc. (I would have already done this but I just got a camcorder yesterday and I haven't been to the range with it yet.)

As for the compensator, I did that myself, it came with a standard AR birdcage flash hider. I'm not sure if they will do that or not but if you bought an upper AND a comp from them it sure couldn't hurt to ask if they would go ahead and slap it on there for you so that you don't have to buy in the least the action block to mount the upper in and if your like me, a vice as well and something to mount it on. If you have a vice already, [b]DON'T[/b] try to improvise something. You need to get the proper action block to mount it in if you decide to do it yourself. You can crush the upper if you over-tighten which is really easy to do without the proper tool (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=593549). Anyway, like I said though, I would be surprised if they refused to install for you, a comp you bought from them on an upper you bought from them. I'm not saying they will for sure because I don't know, but they've always seemed reasonable and friendly on the phone to me so I would be surprised.

Anyway, let me know if you have any other questions at all.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 7:38:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Strike3:
Looks good.How long was the wait time ? I want to order a PSA upper also in SS, but I want a different gas block.I was told that" they dont do custom work" ???? That was via a phone call and an email response.


Lets see....I ordered it on a Tuesday, and it would have gotten to me the following Tuesday had UPS not royally screwed up the whole thing. First they took my zip code down wrong so it was going to a town on the opposite end of my state (I guess UPS doesn't enter the town they just go off of zip code). THEN they kept having to "change delivery info" which delayed it another day. THEN the tracking info on their website said it was NOT going out for delivery that day which I verified with them via phone. At that point I asked them if they could just change the delivery so that I could just come pick it up that day. They said "no the shipper is the only one that can modify the delivery". So I called PSA for the second time regarding this upper (both times they were very friendly, patient with my concern and request and helpful) and asked them to modify the shipping so I could just go pick it up. They obliged me and took care of this within literally 10 minutes of my phone call. I drove the 45 minutes to the closest UPS pickup location where the online tracking site AND the person I talked to on the phone said my upper was currently located. Come to find out, the corporate UPS cust service people and the website don't know what they are talking about because the upper was actually on the truck and would have been delivered that day had I not called and said I wanted to pick up instead. So they refused to deliver that day even though it was ON THE TRUCK and I had to pick it up the next day, which was Thursday.

That is the long answer.

The short answer is that I ordered it on a Tuesday and received it 7 business days later (not bad at all when they say on the website it takes up to 7 days to be assembled and ready to even ship). That said it is not PSA's fault that it even took that long. I would have gotten it in 5 business days if UPS hadn't been cluster****ed on this package.

PSA customer service is great, UPS's is NOT.

In regards to your comment about the gas block, did you request one that they stock or something else? Seems like they would use one they keep in stock if you wanted them to but then again, I don't know. If they won't I'm sure they have a good reason, they've always been ready to help when I've called them. If you know of a gunsmith close by I would check with them, its a pretty simple job so I bet they wouldn't charge too much (there's one close to where I live who changes flash hiders and compensators for free).
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 10:14:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DS-11B:
Originally Posted By BCV:
none, Im broke and on a forced budget!


haha I understand! I sold one of my other ARs to fund this project so I fortunately had enough to get the scope. Just make sure you get something good when you can afford to put some glass on it!


I am working on another PSA build right now, just waiting for them to get the upper in stock then im gonna sell it to a friend, hopefully should be able to pick up a nice Tac-30 or maybe a Accupoint. But I don't know right now cause I literally just put a two weeks notice in so I am jobless as of september 4, 2011! May have to hold off on toys till I can get a better job! Gotta pray though!
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 11:28:01 PM EDT
Nice rifle and report. I have the same setup but with a PRS stock and 11" Troy TRX.
Link Posted: 8/20/2011 11:57:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TX_Road_Warrior:
Nice rifle and report. I have the same setup but with a PRS stock and 11" Troy TRX.


Nice set up! That PRS stock is heavy though!
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 12:16:55 AM EDT
Nice rifle. Looks like a shooter. I bet it would shoot bugs with a trigger upgrade.

I do have a video request. If you get a chance could run 2 or 3 Beta mags through it and post vid.
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 6:52:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DS-11B:
Originally Posted By Strike3:
Looks good.How long was the wait time ? I want to order a PSA upper also in SS, but I want a different gas block.I was told that" they dont do custom work" ???? That was via a phone call and an email response.


Lets see....I ordered it on a Tuesday, and it would have gotten to me the following Tuesday had UPS not royally screwed up the whole thing. First they took my zip code down wrong so it was going to a town on the opposite end of my state (I guess UPS doesn't enter the town they just go off of zip code). THEN they kept having to "change delivery info" which delayed it another day. THEN the tracking info on their website said it was NOT going out for delivery that day which I verified with them via phone. At that point I asked them if they could just change the delivery so that I could just come pick it up that day. They said "no the shipper is the only one that can modify the delivery". So I called PSA for the second time regarding this upper (both times they were very friendly, patient with my concern and request and helpful) and asked them to modify the shipping so I could just go pick it up. They obliged me and took care of this within literally 10 minutes of my phone call. I drove the 45 minutes to the closest UPS pickup location where the online tracking site AND the person I talked to on the phone said my upper was currently located. Come to find out, the corporate UPS cust service people and the website don't know what they are talking about because the upper was actually on the truck and would have been delivered that day had I not called and said I wanted to pick up instead. So they refused to deliver that day even though it was ON THE TRUCK and I had to pick it up the next day, which was Thursday.

That is the long answer.

The short answer is that I ordered it on a Tuesday and received it 7 business days later (not bad at all when they say on the website it takes up to 7 days to be assembled and ready to even ship). That said it is not PSA's fault that it even took that long. I would have gotten it in 5 business days if UPS hadn't been cluster****ed on this package.

PSA customer service is great, UPS's is NOT.

In regards to your comment about the gas block, did you request one that they stock or something else? Seems like they would use one they keep in stock if you wanted them to but then again, I don't know. If they won't I'm sure they have a good reason, they've always been ready to help when I've called them. If you know of a gunsmith close by I would check with them, its a pretty simple job so I bet they wouldn't charge too much (there's one close to where I live who changes flash hiders and compensators for free).


On my PSA order I reqested the FSB taper pins "unset" as I will remove and shave it down myself, so as to retain a pinned unit. No problem and was sent as ordered.
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 7:45:32 AM EDT
Looks like a great upper for the $. Thanks for posting the review.
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 7:48:05 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PredatorWhacker:
Nice rifle. Looks like a shooter. I bet it would shoot bugs with a trigger upgrade.

I do have a video request. If you get a chance could run 2 or 3 Beta mags through it and post vid.


Hmm....let me think....no I am not going to spend 80-100 bucks on ammo plus what looks to be 275 PER MAG to make you a stupid video...lol

In regards about your recommendation that I upgrade the trigger....did you miss the part where I said I have a JP single stage adjustable match trigger in it that is set at 3lbs? It doesn't get much more upgraded than that sir...lol

Thanks for the compliment on the rifle and my sincerest of apologies that I cannot accomodate your unreasonable video request
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 7:49:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By FrankSL:
Looks like a great upper for the $. Thanks for posting the review.


Thanks, the Lower Receiver is PSA as well BTW.
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 3:20:01 PM EDT
A little off topic ,,but I added to this post earlier about PSA not doing custom work.Well I got a response on that.They are in the process of re-vamping the site to make in stock parts to be placed on your purchase (build),with the ability to track the progress.So until then no mods.What you see is what you can get.It clears up alot of things and I got that response on a Sunday.What more could you ask for ? Great CS as far as I can say .Just thought I should post.
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 4:10:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Strike3:
A little off topic ,,but I added to this post earlier about PSA not doing custom work.Well I got a response on that.They are in the process of re-vamping the site to make in stock parts to be placed on your purchase (build),with the ability to track the progress.So until then no mods.What you see is what you can get.It clears up alot of things and I got that response on a Sunday.What more could you ask for ? Great CS as far as I can say .Just thought I should post.


Thanks for the info! Very useful!
Link Posted: 8/21/2011 4:24:57 PM EDT
PSA website could definitely use some work, they could start by adding a zoom on the pictures of their products!
Link Posted: 8/22/2011 3:12:00 PM EDT
Very slick, how long did it take for them to ship the upper? My lower is on the way but tomorrow will be the 7 business days they said to ship the upper. I've checked my email 5 times already today. I was looking at the exact same upper. Decided on the 9" YHM version only because it's supposed to be a couple ounces lighter but it was a tossup.
Link Posted: 8/22/2011 4:15:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Longbowyer:
Very slick, how long did it take for them to ship the upper? My lower is on the way but tomorrow will be the 7 business days they said to ship the upper. I've checked my email 5 times already today. I was looking at the exact same upper. Decided on the 9" YHM version only because it's supposed to be a couple ounces lighter but it was a tossup.


I called on Day 5 and they said it was shipping that day.. maybe give them a ring.. I received mine on Day 7..
Link Posted: 8/27/2011 8:40:09 PM EDT
Ok, got back from the range, new groups and a video. I used IMI 55gr (5.56mm), Hornady 75gr TAP (.223) and Fed Match Gold 77gr SMK

First the IMI:


Hornady 75gr TAP:



And Fed Match Gold 77gr SMK



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.
Link Posted: 8/27/2011 9:38:07 PM EDT
good review!
Link Posted: 8/29/2011 12:14:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MTNmyMag:
good review!


Thanks!
Link Posted: 9/10/2011 11:45:31 AM EDT
Would still like see the difference if you swap this upper to your old lower and vice versa
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