Review: Palmetto State Armory 16" Mid-length AR-15

This is a discussion on Review: Palmetto State Armory 16" Mid-length AR-15 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Disclosure: This is a post I made on a local state forum, but figured I would share it here. I am currently a AR-15 newbie. ...

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Thread: Review: Palmetto State Armory 16" Mid-length AR-15

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    Review: Palmetto State Armory 16" Mid-length AR-15

    Disclosure: This is a post I made on a local state forum, but figured I would share it here. I am currently a AR-15 newbie. This is only my second AR15. I did a lot of research and reading before I ordered any parts. I wanted as close to Mil-Spec as I could afford, and I felt like PSA was a good value.

    I built my very first AR15 Lower late this Summer. I had ordered two Lowers and one Lower Parts Kit (LPK) from Palmetto State Armory, and got everything in sometime middle of August. I acquired a couple tools for the job, but still don't have some of the ones that make things easier like Roll Pin Starter Punches, Roll Pin Punches, Hammer Block and pivot pin installer tool. I went slow and took my time. Watched and re-watched the MidwayUSA.com and Brownell's.com videos on how to build a AR Lower. It was a lot of fun, and it's kind of cool to have a almost finished AR rifle I have built myself.





    I couldn't stand it while PSA was having their "Upper Madness" sale over the Labor Day Weekend, and I ordered a 16" Mid-length LW Upper with FSB for $279. I also picked up the Bolt Carrier Group and a Charging handle, so I would have a functional gun when the upper got here.



    -------------------------------------------------15 Days go by waiting on my Upper to arrive at the house-----------------------------------------

    My PSA LW Mid-length Upper came in today. Also ordered a Bolt Carrier Group and charging handle so I would have a functional rifle. I ordered during their Upper madness sale a couple weeks ago. I haven't figured out which forearm or rail I am going to use up front yet, so that decision will be made later. Bought a used Vortex SPARC red dot sight. It co-witnesses with the front sight.

    I like what I see with this upper, and it seems to have a lot of things in common with other quality AR makers. Features it has are chrome lined chamber and barrel, Bolt is made of Mil-spec Carpenter 158 steel, Shot peened and MPI. Gas key is secured with grade 8 fasteners and staked per mil-spec. Bolt carrier is parkerized outside and chrome lined inside, FNH 16" Chrome-lined, chrome moly vanadium with a 1/7 twist, M4 barrel extension, and a mid-length gas system. The special light profile barrel is high pressure tested and magnetic particle inspected and then phosphate coated. Barrel is finished off with an .750" diameter F-marked front sight base. It fits nice and tight to the Lower I built several weeks ago.

    I will be shooting it in the next couple of days. I'll update with how it performs.









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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    A complete dis-assembly was done, cleaned thoroughly, and lubed too much. Took it to the range the other day to shoot it for the first time. Using new 30 round Pmags I put 100 rounds of 5.56 through without any problems. I had some spare Remington UMC .223 ammo in 45 grn JHP and Remington .223 55 grn Soft Point bullets. Both of these bullets created Failure to Extract and Failure to Feed problems. Basically the used case would not eject completely and then the new round would not completely enter the chamber, thus creating the jam. (I should have taken a picture of the failure, but I didn't get a chance to.) It looked very simular to this picture.



    From what I have gathered and read, the buffer I have is the standard one. PSA labels their heavier ones with H, H2, H3. Mine has no marking except PSA Logo.



    Here is the stripped Extractor. Shiney spring with what seems plenty of tension (It was hard to get out with the firing pin while pressing down on the extractor). No rubber "O" ring. Extractor is sharp to the touch.





    -------------------------------------------A couple days later, I went back to the range-----------------------------------------------

    I went to the range a couple days later, and put 200 flawless rounds down range of 5.56 ammo. The gun did great. I did a thorough cleaning the night before even though it only had around 200 rounds through it. I think I had over lubed it in some areas that didn't need lube the first time, which made it not run smoothly once it started to get dirty.

    It is running good for now. I was able to dress it up a little more with the Magpul MOE FDE Forearm, Mini Vertical Grip and a BAD Lever. Now I need to make a decision on a rear backup sight, sling and sling connections. My 11 year daughter is already calling this rifle hers. We will have to see about that.





    Currently, as it is in these pictures (excluding the Vortex SPARC), I am into the rifle for $722.22 including FFL transfer for the lower and shipping for all parts.

    I'll be updating this thread in the future when I get more rounds through it and detail it's performance.
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    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    ************UPDATE**************

    I was finally able to get out to an outdoor range today with the rifle. I had picked up a rear sight earlier in the week and wanted to zero my irons. I used PMC 5.56 M855 62 gr. green tip ammo for this range trip. About 150 rounds iirc.

    I'm not the best shot by any means, and shooting the irons is not the easiest thing to do as far as I'm concerned. I need lots of practice for sure. I'm too use to shooting with a magnified scope. I was able to print off several types of targets on the web, and found one that would make zeroing the irons a little easier by doing the shooting a 25 meters for a 50/ 200M battle zero.

    I started out getting on paper at 50 yards with 4 sets of 5 shot groups. Groups #1, #2 and #3 were all aimed at the large center target. #4 was aimed at the little High Left target a little later. My front sight post was low at first, so I had to bring it up a ways to bring down my first group. Then I had to come several inches left, by adjusting my rear sight.



    After getting that done, I moved on to the 25 meter (27 yards + 1 foot) target to dial things in. 15 rounds. I think I was aiming to high on the little black silhouette, which is why my rounds were not all in the little circle. I will be practicing more of that on the next range visit.



    Here is some more shooting at the 25 meter mark with the irons. I can't wait to get it out again. It is slowly coming together.



    New rear sight.

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    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    New 2 point sling was ordered from Frank Proctor of Way of the Gun
    I had read a couple good reviews about it's use and simple lightweight design. It seems to work as advertised, and I really like it's adaptability.

    Way of the Gun






    Link to the sling: I had it in three days. WOTG: Apparel/Gear

    Video discussing the sling:




    New light mount came in. I ordered a Impact Weapons Components SMC (Side Mount Cantilevered) 1" LIGHT MOUNT-N-SLOT for my MOE handguard. Install was easy to do and the components seem to be top quality. I'm using it with a old Streamlight Scorpion flashlight that I have had for years, but will shortly be ordering a Surefire soon.











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    VIP Member Array Smitty901's Avatar
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    Looks like you covered the bases on good parts.
    Some what concerned it was giving you problems with .223 it should fire just fine with them.
    Enjoy the new tool.

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    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    I was worried about it too at first. Since then I have put hundreds of rounds through it with no malfunctions.

    I shot with some buddies a week ago and put 150 rounds of the PMC 5.56 and .223 through it with no issues. Also put 150 rounds of steel cased .223 with no malfunctions. Currently, I estimate I have about 950 rounds through the rifle at this point. I just keep lubing the BCG before I shoot it.
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    Good job on the writeup and on the pictures.

    oneshot likes this.
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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    I agree with HotGuns. I really enjoyed that and thanks for posting tmoore. Good job and congrats on the new rifle!
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    Enjoyed, thanks for your work and photos!

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    You're having waaaay too much fun.

    Looks like a nice AR.
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    Member Array Drgnfly's Avatar
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    This is awesome thanks for posting! The parts for my FIRST AR are being shipped to me as we speak. I'm hoping to have a good experience while building it. I'll try and take some good pictures like you did lol.

    I went with PSA LPK as well.... it still hasn't shipped even though everything else has... kind of annoying.

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    Distinguished Member Array kapnketel's Avatar
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    Well done quality review. Considering a SPARC myself.
    I'd rather be lucky than good any day

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    I think that the review and photos were probably more work than the rifle assembly!

    Excellent job
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    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. It was fun building my first lower. I'm hoping to get a lot more rounds through it soon.

    PSA's problem right now is that they are completely slammed and their customer service has been lacking to a lot of people. I got all my stuff before the rush. Hopefully they can catch up. Their parts are quality stuff at a great price, but you have to wait on it.
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