Gas vs. Piston

This is a discussion on Gas vs. Piston within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was looking to get a new AR. Actually was going to order a Colt 6721 with a heavy barrel. Got persuaded to get a ...

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Thread: Gas vs. Piston

  1. #16
    Member Array jasgo's Avatar
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    I was looking to get a new AR. Actually was going to order a Colt 6721 with a heavy barrel. Got persuaded to get a long piston design Mk116 rifle made by PWS (Precision Weapons System) at a favorite gunshop. Handled one and it was also broken down so I could examine the parts. Weighs a little under 7lbs. All makes of two stage triggers are supposed to fit. I won't get mine for 3-4 months so won't know how it will shoot until then. Seems to be a lot of favorable reviews on it.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Array fernset's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for your input. Muach appreciated.

  4. #18
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    I haven't looked at pistons in a little while but I seem to recall that the parts where not always interchangeable. Maybe someone else can say if this is still the case

    Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk 2

  5. #19
    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmcjuryny View Post
    I haven't looked at pistons in a little while but I seem to recall that the parts where not always interchangeable. Maybe someone else can say if this is still the case

    Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk 2
    You're correct, they are not interchangeable. There's no milspec for them as of now, so each company does it their own way.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

  6. #20
    Member Array Geronimo45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fernset View Post
    Looking to get an AR 15, what should I get. New piston driven or conventional gas driven?
    Pros/cons? Pricing? Availability or parts?

    I don't have any experience with these but have read the piston driven tend to heat up at the foreend but are easier to keep clean and maintain? Opinions?
    Conventional gas system will be cheaper. I wouldn't trust the cheap piston systems. PWS, LWRC, and HK seem to be good choices, but they are expensive.
    If you're putting lots of rounds downrange a year (tens of thousands) you might be better off with a piston system. Since the bolt is mostly protected from gases, parts last much longer than direct impingement systems. This matters with high round counts (more parts replaced more often). Short barrels can run better in a piston system than direct impingement. Once you get shorter than 14", problems start to crop op with DI.
    DI also heats up under the handguards. If you're firing a long string, you should wear gloves... or use a foregrip.

  7. #21
    Member Array jasgo's Avatar
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    Yes, for short barreled AR's, a piston design may have better inherent advantages in terms of reliablity. The carbine versions of the M16/AR15 has the gas bleed closer to the chamber using a short gas tube. The entire recoil/impulse cycle rate is altered from the original barrel/gas bleed length design. For most civilians, probably not a significant factor since usage is a lot different from military applications (i.e. fully automatic firing, continual firing in a firefight). Could be a factor for civilian owners who take intensive rifle courses though.

    After experiencing eroded gas rings and a fractured bolt in a DI carbine, I can't wait to see how cool and clean the PWS I'm waiting for will run. I recommend anyone with a DI rifle to have spare gas rings, gas tube, gas tube pin, and bolt carrier group parts.

  8. #22
    Member Array lnferno's Avatar
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    Bumping an old thread as I'd rather do that than someone say "use the search".

    I'm in the same boat, except I'm a lefty and I am dead set on getting a left handed AR. Please don't anyone try to convince me to get a right-handed AR as I've 100% made up my mind.

    I'm looking at getting either a Stag Arms Model 2TL or 8TL (DI vs gas piston, respectively).

    I've read tons of articles and videos online with absolutely no clear consensus on DI vs. GP.

    Decisions Decisions.
    NRA Member
    "Remember the first rule of gunfighting ... have a gun."

  9. #23
    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fernset View Post
    Looking to get an AR 15, what should I get. New piston driven or conventional gas driven?
    Pros/cons? Pricing? Availability or parts?

    I don't have any experience with these but have read the piston driven tend to heat up at the foreend but are easier to keep clean and maintain? Opinions?
    The answer to this depends on two things in my opinion. How often you plan to clean the weapon, and how long of a barrel you plan to have. (pistol? SBR? carbine? precision rifle?)
    I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

  10. #24
    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    Both piston and DI will get dirty - not sure why that's a consideration (we're talking about firearms here right?).

    The infamous 'filthy 14' guns are DI.

    Filthy 14 is now over 40,000 rounds - AR15.COM
    Monotony is the awful reward for the careful

    How can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his Gods?

  11. #25
    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon. Go big or stay on the porch.

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Just to point out.... My post on the previous page from 4/12, two months before the Vickers thread on M4c, I said the same thing about where the piston guns do have their place.

    Still, I have a couple years and tens of thousands of rounds, suppressed and not, through 10.5" DI rifles and have never had any real issues.

    On Lightfighter, Mick-Boy posted a thread about his experience as a contractor with LWRC. Almost half the guns didn't work. Their REPR's that LWRC wouldn't have them send back, ended up being hand delivered and they finally acknowledged the problem. The 5.56 PSD's are finally starting to run right, two years later and a few trips back to LWRC.

    When LWRC get it right, they make a great rifle. Currently, they seem to be doing well. Before, when the company changed hands then so did the management, there were plenty of QC issues.

    I've yet to meet someone, hobby shooter or carries a rifle for a living, that has said they saw a significant advantage with their piston M4.

    As I've said for a number of years, I'd still likely buy a true hk416 upper should I happen across one. Other than that, unless I go below 10.3" with 5.56, I don't have a need.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

  13. #27
    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    Interesting to note that Larry instructs with a DI gun
    Monotony is the awful reward for the careful

    How can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his Gods?

  14. #28
    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    I don't know if I've ever seen him with a piston gun.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

  15. #29
    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by munch520 View Post
    Both piston and DI will get dirty - not sure why that's a consideration (we're talking about firearms here right?).

    The infamous 'filthy 14' guns are DI.

    Filthy 14 is now over 40,000 rounds - AR15.COM
    The reason gas impingement ARs got such a bad reputation for jamming during Viet Nam, was mainly due to all of the soot gumming them up via the gas tube. A piston rifle (like the AK) doesn't jam up after a few thousand rounds in the same manner, so a piston rifle can generally run longer between cleanings without fear of failure.
    Piston rifles have other problems though, like carrier tilt if it's not a very well-built piston AR.
    I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

  16. #30
    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    I don't know...me, Jon, and others have gone thousands of rounds without cleaning. No issue. Most crud is blown away during firing. Between action speed, pressure, and temp - a lot of carbon is actually burnt away.

    Proper weapon setup (port, buffer, etc), ammo, and lubrication are all a DI gun needs to run reliably without cleaning.

    That said, a SCAR H and LWRC PSD are on my short list.
    Monotony is the awful reward for the careful

    How can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his Gods?

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