During my career in the military I was fortunate enough to use a wide variety of optics on the M-4 weapon system. While all of these generally performed well, each was built with a specific purpose and I routinely saw optics being mounted and employed incorrectly, and improper optic use quickly became a personal pet-peeve. Consequently, I’ve put together a list of considerations, tips, and TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures) to help you decide what kind of optic to place on your AR, and some things to keep in mind while you are training.
Purpose is paramount when deciding what type of optic to use, and most AR15 optics can be grouped into these two categories:
For the purposes of this article I will give a quick rundown of the background, purpose, and correct employment of each optic, followed by a few tips, training TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures), and lessons learned from my experiences with these optics.
While I was at SHOT show, I had the opportunity to go through some of CMMG’s new products with owner, John Overstreet. One that particularly caught our eye was their new takedown upper, which allows the rifle to be broken down in half for easy transportation and storage.
This was a pretty cool innovation by the team at CMMG and different from the current detachable and modular systems out there. As you can see from the pictures, the CMMG system uses a detachable rail/barrel combo in order to split the rifle into two pieces. It has a small flip-switch to disconnect the two pieces.
We recently spoke with John after returning from the SHOT show and he anticipates that he can get us one to test and write a full review on within 30 or so days. Needless to say, we are extremely excited to be able to bring cutting edge products to our readers here at NYFirearms.com!
Stag Arms is quickly becoming widely known as a great manufacturer of reasonably priced, quality AR-15 rifles. They are also very well known for making left-handed models of their AR-15’s. When I heard they were going to be releasing a Gas Piston rifle, I needed to get my hands on one to review. Well, thanks to Allstar Tactical, one of our site sponsors, I was able to borrow a Model 8 rifle to check out and review.
The direct gas system of a typical AR-15 rifle has worked well for decades, but it has is drawbacks with reliability and cleaning. The gas tube can become clogged from carbon buildup, especially when used with lower quality ammunition. Many manufacturers have answered this call with a gas piston system, which is exactly what it describes; the action moves based on the gas transferring its energy to a piston, which, in turn, moves the bolt rearward.
There are several other manufacturers of Gas Piston AR-15 rifles, but many of them are fairly pricey and extend upwards of $2000. The Stag Arms Model 8, with it’s MSRP of $1145, comes in a great price-point, and definitely competes very well in the market.
The gas-piston system on the Model 8 is actually quite simple. Gas bleeds off through a hole in the barrel, through the regulator, actuating the piston which pushes the bolt carrier back, cycling the action. There is a spring in the forward section of the piston system which keeps the piston in the forward position until the rifle is fired. The regulator also has two positions, ON and OFF. The ON position allows the rifle to function normally, while the OFF position will allow the rifle to fire, but will not cycle the action. This system is considered a short-stroke gas piston system.
Besides the enhancement of the gas-piston system, the Stag Model 8 is everything you would expect in an AR-15 rifle. From standard carbine handguards to a forward assist A3 upper receiver, this rifle is ready to go right out of the box. Another great benefit of this rifle for us NY residents is that it can be ordered right from the factory as a NY-compliant AR-15 rifle. In fact, the one that Allstar Tactical lent us was already NY-compliant. The benefit of this is that there is no extra costs for pinning the stock or the muzzle brake.
Another great feature for the Model 8 is that it comes with a pair of $200 flip-up iron sights from Midwest Industries. Midwest industries is highly regarded for their Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS) and other AR-15 accessories. Including these with the rifle only makes the price-point of the Model 8 that much more attractive!
We tested the rifle with 55gr Armscor 5.56 surplus Ammo, also donated by Allstar Tactical, and found that every round fired flawlessly. No failure-to-feed’s, no failure-to-eject’s, and certainly no jams of any sort. I was also very surprised at the accuracy of the rifle, even when using surplus ammunition. I was able to average 3-4″ groups at 50 yrds using iron sights, and I’m not that great of a shot!
So, great accuracy and ridiculous reliability combined with an MSRP under $1150 produces the Stag Arms Model 8 Gas Piston rifle, an AR-15 for the masses. Manufactured in the USA (Connecticut), the Model 8 also comes in a hard plastic case, and carries Stag Arms’ standard warranty. I would have to say that I definitely recommend this rifle to anyone looking for a gas-piston AR-15 and doesn’t want to break the bank!
|Caliber:||5.56 NATO Chamber|
|Upper:||Forged and Mil-Spec|
|Sights:||Midwest Industries Front & Rear Flip Up|
|Barrel:||16″ Chrome-Lined, 1:9″ Twist|
|Stock:||6 Position Collapsible (Pinned for NYS)|
Many people, who ask me about building their own AR-15, always seem unsure about which barrel twist to get for their rifles. Hopefully this mini article will help you guys figure out what is best for your needs.
In general, rifling twist rate determines the optimum weight of the bullet for a given caliber. It also determines the speed of the bullet by preventing any yaw or pitching. Rifling twist is measured in the number of revolutions per inch of barrel. For instance a 1 in 9″ twist means that the bullet made one revolution while traveling 9″ down the barrel.
So, what is the best twist rate? Well the answer nobody wanted is, “It Depends!” 🙂 A good rule of thumb is that the more weight or longer the bullet is, the faster the twist rate has to be in order to stabilize the bullet. Also, in general, lighter/shorter bullets can usually be fired in barrels with faster twist rates, but heavier/longer bullets cannot be fired in barrels where the twist rate will be too slow. Let’s examine this in more deatail as it relates to AR-15’s.
The original M-16 started off with a 1 in 14″ twist rate which is good enough for bullets around 55gr. However, when temperatures dipped below freezing, the density of the air caused the bullets to lose their spin, resulting in much less accuracy. In order to solve this problem, the military adopted a twist rate of 1 in 12″. The SS109/M855, which is 62gr, required a 1 in 10″ rate to stabilize, but the military settled on a 1 in 7″ rate due to the need to fire the heavy and long tracer rounds.
What does this mean for the civilian AR-15 enthusiast? Well, considering most barrel manufacturers produce their barrels in both 1 in 9″ and 1 in 7″, choosing either will not hurt the performance of the rifle for the majority of shooters out there. If you think you will be shooting the heavier grain bullets or tracer rounds, then it is probably safer to pick a 1 in 7″ twist rate barrel.
I hope that this short article on AR-15 barrel twist rates helped clear up some information! Please feel free to leave us some comments or questions if you would like more information!
If you bought a GSG-5 SD model rifle with a fake suppressor on it you should read this. The ATF now says the fake can is regulated and must be replaced. From what I can gather by reading online the SD model shroud is hollow whereas the smaller carbine shroud is solid with a hole drilled through it.
“To all retail customers:
On January 2010 American Tactical Imports Inc received official notification from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives that the original barrel shroud (aka: fake suppressor) supplied with your GSG 5 SD model must be replaced. It has been determined that this shroud is regulated under the National Firearms Act. American Tactical will provide a replacement shroud at no charge for each GSG 5 SD model sold or currently in inventory.
Consumers in possession of a GSG 5 SD model with the original shroud in place on the firearm are now in violation of the NFA. To avoid continued violation of the NFA, ATI asks that all persons in possession obtain a replacement shroud as soon as possible. We anticipate arrival of the new shrouds to begin by the middle of February 2010.
IMPORTANT: THE ORIGINAL SD MODEL SHROUD MUST BE RETURNED ACCOMPANIED BY THE FIREARM SERIAL NUMBER BEFORE A REPLACEMENT SHROUD IS ISSUED. THE DIAMETER OF THE SD SHROUD IS 1-9/16″. DO NOT RETURN THE SMALLER CARBINE SHROUD.
WHAT TO DO:
If possible return your old shroud to the dealer where purchased and show him this notice. The shroud will be returned to ATI along with a list of serial numbers from the guns that the shrouds were removed. ATI will send replacements to the dealer for pick up at your convenience; ATI will be sending replacements as fast as logistics allow. If your dealer is out of business or difficult to reach, or you purchased your gun used, from a consumer, return the shroud directly by US mail or UPS to American Tactical Imports Inc. 100 Airpark Drive Rochester, NY 14624.
PLEASE TRY NOT TO CALL US. We will provide comprehensive information on our web site or by e-mail to [email protected]
REMEMBER, INCLUDE THE FIREARM SERIAL NUMBER WITH EACH SHROUD OR A REPLACEMENT WILL NOT BE ISSUED.
This action IS NOT being instituted through any fault and is strictly due to NFA compliance. American Tactical will assume the responsibility to satisfy the requirements in an effort to minimize the impact on our customers and protect your investment.
We at American Tactical Imports Inc. sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this unfortunate situation.
I first found this info here and a google search turned up the same info on many other site. However, it does not appear on the ATI website so it’s probably best to contact ATI via email if you own one.
Doug Turnbull (Bloomfield, NY) is known for his firearm restoration and custom work by gun collectors, owners and dealers throughout the world. His shop’s work on rifles, shotguns and handguns includes finishing, barrel work, wood work and complete restoration. Take a look at their site for examples of their work, list of services and complete pricing.