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Posted: 9/17/2004 4:40:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/18/2004 8:50:13 AM EDT by Winston_Wolf]
I was at a party this week and had the opportunity to fondle an LR 300-SK Z-M Weapons systems fitted AR-15.

... I love the feel of the rifle but at estimated $1565 per kit (excludes rifle) they are simply overpriced. Because of their monopoly, they just don’t have incentives to reduce costs to us customers.

  • Are there any competitors out there to the system?

  • With the seemingly recent huge surge in popularity in AR15’s wouldn’t one of the big 10 accessories/gun manufacturers out there want to get a piece of the market and provide cost-effective options to Z-M Weapons’ exorbitant pricing structure?

  • If no to above questions, would anyone be willing to help design and manufacture a short-run, “improved design” using lean engineering techniques? All designs in compliance with the guidelines of the US Patent Office on such endeavors?

  • Link Posted: 9/17/2004 5:01:45 AM EDT
    [Last Edit: 9/17/2004 5:11:26 AM EDT by Tomislav]
    Good Lord, they put some ghettotastic red-dot on a zillion dollar AR? Sheesh. That said, what is the selling point with these things? Folding stocks? Gotta be something else...

    Edit: OK, dug around a bit and see that it has some new-fangled gas system. Plenty of good reviews out there, it seems, but for the price, it's up in the Les Baer leagues, and my poor ass is ordering from Model 1. I suppose if it was demonstrated that the system was actually better than the conventional AR system, Armalite/Bushmaster/Etc would have put some time, money, and effort into making their own psuedo-piston uppers.
    Link Posted: 9/17/2004 5:48:53 AM EDT
    I've shot one and can say it's a very nice and well made piece of equipment. Unfortunately, Zitta Weapons is more of a botique shop where these are hand crafted in very small batches, hence the price.
    Link Posted: 9/17/2004 5:58:52 AM EDT
    There is a common misconception about these that they have a gas-piston driven action. This is not the case. They simply have a forward operating rod/spring that takes the place of the standard AR15 buffer, but they still use the direct gas impingment system of the type a standard AR15/M16 uses.

    Good rifles, but NOT gas piston driven.
    Link Posted: 9/17/2004 5:06:07 PM EDT
    … I would really like to commence a marketing/engineering research phase of this project with ARFCOM members. As end-users, our contributions of compiled ideas could possible lead to an improved design that may even someday become marketable.

    … Who knows where this could go, but if any group of people could pull it off, it would be the board members here.

    … I’m not even entertaining building a prototype at this time, merely a concept of a simplicity, modularity, cost-effective, producible - high-quality design.

    … I thoroughly enjoy doing these things. Could this take off?
    Link Posted: 9/18/2004 7:36:05 AM EDT
    [Last Edit: 9/18/2004 7:37:10 AM EDT by William_lxix]
    The above link is for GOATBOY getting feedback on a broup buy for ZM.

    A copy is not the same in some instances. I could cite MANY firearms that the copies are not NEARLY as well as the original. Vulcan Arms comes to mind (HESSE, etc.).

    I know the price is steep, but they are well worth every cent. I want to buy another.

    I love my ZM. Alan Zitta backs up his product too.

    You only pay for quality, once. Crap you will pay over and over...

    Link Posted: 9/18/2004 8:44:44 AM EDT
    [Last Edit: 9/18/2004 9:57:54 AM EDT by Winston_Wolf]
    ... Nice looking rifle there William_lxix

    ... Agreed, a cheap knock-off of a proven weapon system is sacrilegious in this industry. The two infamous companies you site are classic examples.

    The problem with these two (like a multitude of others) is that they are not an engineering anchored business. At best, they may have a talented smith or two that hack together a reverse-engineered copy of an AR15 or AK47 and put them up for sale wherever they can. They count on cheap and unsuspecting suckers to buy the kludged together, poorly made products.

    In contrast, I’m a firm believer that just about nearly any mechanical system has room for improvement. Some more than others. I’m not just talking about a better mousetrap either.
    No, I’m talking a ground-up Quality Management / Lean Engineering System approach to the improved design. You know, reduced parts-count (DFMA), optimized forging materials driven by good stress analysis work, man-machine human factor considerations and the latest CAD/CAM/CAE technologies. Not to mention the production side of the house: CNC machining, strict process control and superior finishing.

    If managed correctly, an engineering team driven by customers input and critique of existing systems, could in-fact yield a superior design at lower costs with tighter quality controls (variability reduction).

    Everyone comes out ahead. Well, except perhaps those that are so overconfident that they refuse to take into consideration what customers want. What the market can bear and that competition-spirit drives paradigm shifts in todays world market. Antiquated systems once thought to be untouchable become obsolete.

    ... A clear example - think about what Surefire® did to Mag-Lite® over the past ten years. See, it can be done, it’s the American way!
    Link Posted: 9/18/2004 8:50:13 AM EDT
    [Last Edit: 9/18/2004 8:53:15 AM EDT by Combat_Jack]
    Goatboy was asking the same thing...

    ETA: Somebody beat me to it.
    Link Posted: 9/18/2004 8:55:02 AM EDT
    I would be interested. Sure its somewhat expensive but its a unique piece. H & K seems 2 be dragging its feet with the 416. You can count me in.
    Link Posted: 9/18/2004 3:19:15 PM EDT

    Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
    Goatboy was asking the same thing...

    ETA: Somebody beat me to it.

    ... No, it looks like they're testing the waters on a group by. I'm just sampling opinions on the possibility of a new upper for AR15's. It sure looks like there's a marketing potential in that arena lately. The real icing on the cake would be a government contract some day!

    ... This is a complete aside to anything GoatBoy may be working on for the members.
    Link Posted: 9/19/2004 8:15:12 AM EDT
    Mr. Wolf- OK I understand you more now. You sound very knowledgeable in this arena you cite.

    My 2 cents would be this to improve on the ZM system:

    #1. Barrel quick change or Easier change to accomodate different calibers & barrel lengths.

    #2. Forward located charging handle, drop the AR style charging handle and go with something akin to the G3/MP5 handle. This would change many peoples immediate action drills, but if it were similar to the above mentioned weapons, that would be great for many to not have to learn a new drill.

    For those that trumpet the M96 system, that is an option too.

    Thanks. -Will
    Link Posted: 9/19/2004 8:48:43 AM EDT
    [Last Edit: 9/19/2004 8:52:30 AM EDT by Duffy]
    As a previous ZM owner, I think it's better to retain as much AR15 parts commonality and control placements as much as possible, which ZM has done. It makes transitioning much easier (the same strong points for using the Colt SMG).
    What I would like to see is a lighter folding stock. Ace's stock is nice but the folding mechanism sucks, ZM's stock is very tough but heavy. Also lighter front end, with accomodations for more rail handguard options that also facilitate better heat dissipation.
    Lastly, though this would not matter to many ZM owners, is change the bolt carrier a little so it can be used with a standard M16 lower receiver without drilling more holes. The current bolt carrier doesn't trip the auto sear, ya have to drill 2 more holes to reposition the sear.
    Link Posted: 9/19/2004 10:00:37 AM EDT
    That’s a lot of re-engineering just to obtain a side-folding stock.

    Tubular side-folding Buttstocks usually always offer a terrible cheek weld. Also, the length of pull is fixed at one position.

    This is an improvement to the AR series of rifles
    Link Posted: 9/19/2004 10:13:26 AM EDT
    I think the ZM thing is pretty cool. If I had a ton of money to buy a bunch of cool guns, it would definately be on the list. But right now I'm putting together two good AR-15s for less than that kit costs, and I'll have enough money left over to buy a case of ammo.
    Link Posted: 9/19/2004 11:06:39 AM EDT
    ZM does sell a folding and length adjustable stock, it's nice. As far as I know there's none like this for AR15s, stocks either fold or telescope but not both like ZM's.
    Link Posted: 9/19/2004 9:23:13 PM EDT
    The awesome ZM 5 position stock is rather heavy... But damn, if it isn't the coolest true-folder I've ever used, I don't know what is!

    Link Posted: 9/19/2004 9:25:36 PM EDT

    Originally Posted By AKM:
    That’s a lot of re-engineering just to obtain a side-folding stock.

    Tubular side-folding Buttstocks usually always offer a terrible cheek weld. Also, the length of pull is fixed at one position.

    This is an improvement to the AR series of rifles

    Reduced recoil too.
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