Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

AR15 Rifles, Uppers, Lowers, and Components: ARS Gas Piston Kit review Part 1 of 4 223 5.56

Recommended Posts

ARS Gas Piston Kit review Part 1 of 4 223 5.56

Hey folks!

I have another review to do. This is going to be one of my most detailed and favorite by far. This will be a 4 part review and will be on going for 4 different caliber set up’s. First part will be with the more common 223/5.56. I will have two other calibers to review and test in the coming months.

Today the “Black Rifle Disease”, as we call it in the forum world, is infecting people all over. One of the new “Diseases” out there today is the Gas Piston System. For years the “DI” or Direct Impingement System was the norm. Today several companies like ARS, are making drop in Gas Piston Kits. This review and testing will be done on the ARS Gas Piston System. By now we all have heard why the Gas Piston Systems are more superior to the DI systems so I wont go into to much detail on the benefits of them. A simple Google search of Gas Piston System or a search of an AR-15 based discussion forum, like AR15Armory.com, will give you any and all info on the who’s, what’s, where’s etc. about them.

Carl with Black Hole Weaponry invented this kit that ARS uses and when he asked me to do another review on this kit, I eagerly agreed. I have reviewed and tested several Barrels from Black Hole Weaponry, and was very impressed. Carl designed this Gas Piston system drop in kit and ARS sells it. Kit runs $379.99 for the Carbine system with a small price increase for the mid-length and rifle length systems. For this 3 part review, I will be using the Carbine System. The kit includes the following:

1. Modified bolt carrier: This is a once piece FA style carrier group that is a solid molded in gas key with a recoil lug built in.
2. Double railed .750” diameter gas block. (clamp on style) Has rail pica tinny rail on top and bottom for mounting of folding iron sights, lights, lasers or any other attachments you so choose.
3. Gas regulator. Includes 3 total allen screws/gas regulator’s for using with FA or suppressors.
4. One Piece Operating Rod. One piece rod with spring.
5. Standard Carbine Handguards and hand guard cap.

Installation seemed like it was going to be difficult, but as soon as it arrived with the pictured instructions, it was a breeze. You will need to remove your bolt, firing pin, firing pin retaining pin and cam pin. Install them into the new carrier proved in the kit. Installation will involve removing of the flash suppressor, gas block assembly and hand guards. If your not comfortable with this. Stop now and review a DVD or search online for these steps. I would like to see a more detailed step by step manual or even a short CD or DVD with it, for the folks that are scared to try it. Here are the steps with photo’s on the install. I would also like to see a change in the way the gas regulator locks into place in the gas block. The ball bearing seems to work fine, but being able to secure it down with say an allen head screw would make me feel more secure when shooting it..

Step 1. To start with, remove your flash suppressor/muzzle break/comp from the barrel. If you do not have one, no worries, skip this step.

Step 2. Remove your gas block/front sight.

Step 3. Slip the hand guard cap over the barrel past the gas port hole. The curved end will be facing the receiver. There are two cut outs on the cap. The larger one will be at 12 o’clock and the smaller one will be at 6 o’clock.

Step 4. Slip the gas block assembly onto the barrel with the tube facing the receiver as shown in the picture. Tighten the gas block screws up after lining the gas block correctly over the gas port hole in the barrel. This is easily done, buy leveling the gas block rail with the rail on the upper receiver. Tighten all three screws down.

Step 5. Insert the operating rod assembly with the rod end first. Align the rod into the gas tube hole on the upper receiver. Slide it in until it stops.

Step 6. Insert the gas regulator into the gas block as shown. Push it all the way in, turn it until it locks. There is a groove cut into regulator and a spring loaded ball bearing in the gas block that makes contact and locks it in place. To remove, depress the ball bearing with a small punch and turn gas regulator and pull out.

Step 7. Install hand guards.

Step 8. Install Bolt Carrier that was provided with the kit, along with your parts from you DI carrier installed in it) and your charge handle.

Step 9. Secure the completed upper to your lower and your ready to rock!!!!!

Now on to the fun part. For this testing I was using a stock milspec upper and lower with standard trigger. No need to name them for this as we are concentrating on the Piston system. Barrel was a 16” M4 5.56 chambered barrel from Black Hole Weaponry. All testing was done outdoors with temp around 65 degrees and sunny. I had a total of 500 rounds of 5.56 ammo loaded by myself. This ranged from FMJ to Ballistic tip loaded and various charge weights. This was done to simulate several different types of ammo from plinking to defense ammo.

I fired the first 10 rounds, one round a time loaded in the magazine. This was done so I could see if the carrier and bolt would lock on an empty magazine and that they would pick up another round with the bolt locked to the rear when released. I wanted to check this before I really dove into shooting all 500 rounds as this test would ensure to me that the system was working and everything was in stalled correctly. All 10 rounds, when fired, locked the bolt to the rear on the empty magazine. Each time, I loaded one round in the magazine with the bolt locked to the rear, and hit the bolt release and it charged the next round all 10 times.

I went to town firing the rest of the 490 rounds. I stopped around 200 rounds to let the barrel cool some. I disassembled the upper from the lower and pulled out the carrier. Still cool to the touch. The barrel of course was hotter than donut grease! One of the plus’s to having a Gas Piston system. Carrier was still well oiled and no noticeable carbon build up at all. It was amazing how the carrier was so cool. The two guys I was shooting with wouldn’t touch the carrier until I did, and they were just as amazed as I.

Being as I don’t have a class III license and I really really wanted to test this system in full auto mode, I opted to do a few bump fires. I took 90 rounds and bump fired 3 magazines as fast as I could. No problems at all. All 90 rounds fired without a hitch and the bolt locked to the rear each of the 3 magazines. This was by far the most fun!!

The rest of the 500 rounds we spent shooting, double taps, triple taps, slow fire, rapid fire and a few more bump fires. Stopping every 100 or so rounds to let the barrel cool for about 5 minutes. We even shot the rifle upside down, on both sides and one handed. Not one single hiccup. 500 rounds and not one single malfunction at all. Not to shabby for a drop in kit that was new and not broken in yet.

For a rap up of the review, I have to say that I am impressed. For a long while now, I have not given into the whole “Gas Piston Disease” mainly due to the cost but also for the fact that I don’t tend to jump on the bandwagon until products are tested and the bugs are all worked out. The kits are starting to come down in price and they are being testing and used in combat and in the field. Recoil with the Gas Piston System, is hard to explain so I will do the best I can. Recoil was not cut down as compared to a DI system, but rather very smooth and solid. Kind of like shooting an M1A. The action is very smooth and not near as violent as with a DI carbine system. Double and triple taps were very easy to do without coming off target. After 500 rounds of shooting I don’t feel as exhausted and beat to death as I do shooting my DI systems, like I have for years. I don’t get to worked up over so called “new and improved” gadgets, but the whole Gas Piston System has got me sold. If you don’t take my word for it, go try one out. You will not be unhappy I will guarantee you that.

I will be contacting ARS very soon to upgrade my 18” SPR prairie dog set up to a gas piston kit. When shooting 1500 plus rounds in the Kansas 110 degree heat in two days, I could use anything that would cut down on heat. I hope they are reading this, because a 1500 round hunting test would make for one heck of a review!!!

Parts 2 and 3 will be testing of the same gas piston kit on different calibers with nothing being changed other than the barrel and the magazines. Stay tuned!!

ARS's website is under construction at the moment but if you have any questions about the kit or would like to purchase one, you can call or visit the following sites:

James Bigalow with ARS at 1-253-273-9634 www.ar15solutions.com
Carl with Black Hole Weaponry at 1-509-793-5374. www.blackholeweaponry.com

  • Author
  • Category
  • Submitted
    03/20/2010 02:08 AM


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...