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DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 5:20:19 PM
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 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:


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:


And finally, cheaper 62gr Fed Am Eagle


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.
bjkb1f
I heart ammo
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Posted: 8/20/2011 5:29:42 PM
Very nice rifle you have there and great report. Thank you for the info.
Poppin' PMAGs in the ice....like a blizzard. When we FO we do it right, gettin slizzered. Sippin Syzerp in the BOV, like three six. Now, I'm feelin' so fly like G6.
epsgunner
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Posted: 8/20/2011 5:32:01 PM
nice rifle and setup.

great groups also..

(I like my PSA upper also)
Alaskacajun
"First you start with a Roux"
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Posted: 8/20/2011 5:33:21 PM
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
Somebody send me some Boudin!
wagonwheel1
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Posted: 8/20/2011 5:37:00 PM
This same upper was waiting at my doorstep this morning. I think I made the right choice.
forum95
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Posted: 8/20/2011 6:41:55 PM
That's HOT
Bammer55
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Posted: 8/20/2011 8:56:27 PM
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?
NorthStaR209
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:10:00 PM
If that stainless barrel is meant for .223 which it obviously is, do not run m855 in it or 5.56 period.
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:13:17 PM
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.
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:13:54 PM
[Last Edit: 8/20/2011 9:14:48 PM by DS-11B]
didn't mean to post again
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:17:02 PM
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.
tarip
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:18:11 PM
excellent information. thanks for the info.. I'm looking hard at this upper as well.
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:19:42 PM
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....
BCV
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:35:00 PM
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!
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:46:38 PM
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?
BCV
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Posted: 8/20/2011 9:57:06 PM
none, Im broke and on a forced budget!
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 10:11:00 PM
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!
Bammer55
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Posted: 8/20/2011 10:39:54 PM
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
Strike3
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Posted: 8/20/2011 10:41:31 PM
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.
Bammer55
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Posted: 8/20/2011 10:46:52 PM
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?
epsgunner
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Posted: 8/20/2011 10:50:55 PM
[Last Edit: 8/20/2011 10:52:03 PM 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..
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 11:24:18 PM
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.
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/20/2011 11:38:33 PM
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).
BCV
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Posted: 8/21/2011 2:14:10 AM
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!
TX_Road_Warrior
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Posted: 8/21/2011 3:28:01 AM
Nice rifle and report. I have the same setup but with a PRS stock and 11" Troy TRX.
DS-11B
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Posted: 8/21/2011 3:57:58 AM
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!
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