Piston ARs


December 11, 2009, 12:27 PM
I have a friend that works for a machining company that sub contracts for LWRC
he can get a substantial discount on rifles and uppers and im thinking of getting one of there M6A1 uppers

is LWRC a good company for piston ARs?

ive also been looking into LMT

who else makes piston uppers as i dont want an entire rifle

and what should i watch out for?

i know there are a few different designs floating around which ones would be the most reliable and durable?

thanks guys

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December 11, 2009, 12:53 PM
Do you have a regular AR?

December 11, 2009, 01:14 PM
To me, pistons on AR's is kinda like power steering on a honda civic

I do believe ParaUSA has uppers for sale now.

December 11, 2009, 01:44 PM
Piston uppers are a current interest - not necessarily because of a demonstrated superiority. IF there is a new carbine selected by the DOD in the extended future, and it's piston, then that design will override most others because it will become the de facto standard - Government issue.

Until then, it's a boutique item for well heeled buyers wanting something different - again, not because of any demonstrated superiority. Given a few hundred thousand rifles in the hands of soldiers with a few million rounds of ammo through them, we'll know something for sure.

Para claims it runs smoother with a better sight recovery because their design uses a forward spring. Others don't. That leaves picking and choosing the best one a real problem. There have been few to no published durability tests side by side.

If a new generation of carbines is chosen, it's not likely on the working AR platform. SF had already bought the SCAR, others are in the wings, and the proposed trials will be followed very closely next year. Even that may just be a short term bandaid, rather than long term cure for whatever "illness" we're trying to currently fix. Whatever the problem is, historically, it won't be one the next war. Humans and their institutions are too reactionary to plan ahead.

Whatever piston is purchased limits parts to that single source. Right now, I'd strongly recommend Ruger, who has outstanding customer service. Their demonstrated track record is to offer upgrades as recalls with shipping paid, and premiums rendered, such as magazines. Few if any other gunmakers offer that level of service. They are not the Ruger of old, and are actively offering and seeking arms to the tactical market.

December 11, 2009, 03:21 PM
I've had an LWRC M6A2 for about 8 months now and love it. Mine is in 6.8 with a 14.7 PA barrell. Quality has been top notch - put an ACOG on it and it works great. Bolt runs clean and cool - the rails are a bit snug for some of the attachments I've tried although I've never had an issue with any of the mounts from LaRue.

December 11, 2009, 11:49 PM
uh guys i think my question was pretty straight forward

i was NOT asking opinion on piston vs gas or weather piston is a fad or not

i asked if LWRC was a quality rifle and if not who is

i do not own a regular AR yet but will after Dec 25th and like i stated in my original post i have a friend that can get me a nice price for an LWRC upper so call me spoiled but id like to have both

thank you devil dog for an actual answer with your post

tirod i dont give a rats patoot what uncle sam may or may not use next i follow my own path im not an operator wannabe and dont ride the milspec beanbag

now before anyone else derails this post can someone give me a more insightful answer on one piston designs flaws vs other companies piston design? i know the early conversion kits had boundless problems but hear great things about LWRC LMT and of course the piniccal of pistons ARs right now the HK 416 i know there are others out there including Ruger and Para id go for Ruger except no uppers available as of yet (or at least to my knowledge) and i know there is no standardized piston design so they differ from maker to maker so i would like to know whos come up with a good reliable design so far

thank you for your time gentlemen

December 12, 2009, 12:44 AM
If you allready have an ar, and wanna change it, I recommend Osprey defense industries, piston drop in, very good. As for the complete uppers, whoever does Patriot ordinance seems to be top notch, but the Lmt and the lwrc, both seem to be very good as well. I have shot a few rounds through all 3, and they are all nice, easy on the recoil, i kinda liked the way they sound a bit over a regular gas ar. Whichever ones use the proprietary self lubricating/electrolysis coated type parts, which I know patriot uses, i would get. Maybe your guys use that same stuff as well.

December 12, 2009, 12:49 AM
LWRC is top notch and customer support is great.

Boba Fett
December 12, 2009, 12:53 AM
Piston is an interesting concept, but not sure all the "benefits" aren't just different problems.

The DI has one set of issues, the Piston has another set. Which is better? IMHO, Piston needs to be used longer to gain more "real world" data for a good decision between the two can be made.

nutnfancy has a good video on it:


December 12, 2009, 05:27 PM
You might look at CMMG piston AR's. I have a M4LEP (P stands for piston) and it has been flawless. I have over 3,000 rounds through it and it is easy to clean and has shown me nothing but reliability. CMMG is supposed to have a piston model for under $1000. AR15.com has a forum where you can ask the reps from CMMG any question you might have related to their product.

I have seen nothing but high regards for their AR's from knowledgeable people, which is one of the reasons I bought one.

December 12, 2009, 06:32 PM
I'm also looking at the CMMG piston upper.

I was talking to an Army Major who's been in the desert over 3 years with a M4 and also has a piston AR. According to him, once you have a piston AR, you'll never want a DI upper.

December 12, 2009, 06:52 PM

Daowoo of S. Korea had an AR with an AK adjustable piston since the 80's. The USA AR's finally caught on.

December 12, 2009, 11:52 PM
The short answer is yes, LWRC makes very good products. I would have no problem with an LWRC piston AR being the only AR in my safe.

December 13, 2009, 01:09 AM
The short answer is yes, LWRC makes very good products. I would have no problem with an LWRC piston AR being the only AR in my safe.

What he said.;)

December 13, 2009, 01:58 AM
I owned four DI AR-15's before I bought a piston gun. I bought an LWRC, and within the next three months sold 3 of my DI guns and bought two more LWRC rifles... i since sold off the original LWRC to a friend who begged me to sell it to him...

My total now stands at one DI custom shortie, and one LWRC DEA model, and an 18" LWRC DMR model.

Got rid of all the others, and I really have to say I dont think I need anything else in a .223 repeater.

Uncle Mike
December 13, 2009, 02:09 AM
Piston needs to be used longer to gain more "real world" data for a good decision between the two can be made.

Its been used for...forever! Garand, FAL, G3, M1A/M14, AK, SKS, it goes on.....

I know what you mean...it has no track time in the AR disguise.

Why don't we just come up with a really, really, reeeeally clean burning powder!

Boba Fett
December 13, 2009, 02:48 AM
I know what you mean...it has no track time in the AR disguise.


Uncle Mike
December 13, 2009, 03:18 AM
Yea...but a piston is a piston is a piston!

Only problem I can see may be the op rod key on the bolt...? and the camming action of the bolt along its longitudinal axis...but then again, wouldn't it be the same being pushed rearward with gas or the rod...?

Boba Fett
December 13, 2009, 04:33 AM
If you watch the nutnfancy video I linked above, there are several issues with piston ARs to be concerned about:

1) Some issue with the bolt carrier not being pushed straight back and clipping the buffer tube. Seems to be limited primarily to conversions and is more of an annoyance than a real "gun failure" problem.

2) Weight. In general, the piston AR seems to be heavier.

3) Swing weight. Since it is heavier, it takes longer to bring it into action, especially since it is heavier further out on the barrel.

4) It does run cleaner and cooler in the receiver area. It does however get much hotter at the front of the barrel where the piston system is at. Apparently hot enough to burn the heck out of your arm after very few rounds. That front area also gets very dirty and also requires about the same level of cleaning as a DI to ensure it continues to function well. Plus it can put carbon and such all over your front rail and attachments.

5) Seems that piston guns may not like cheap ammo such as Wolf. Not really a big deal since I don't shoot cheap ammo like Wolf, but still a factor to consider.

6) No standardized design yet.

Again, these are nutnfancy's concerns. Not a reason to exclude the Piston AR as he says, but things to consider when comparing the DI and Piston AR-15.

Both Piston and DI have their areas of concern to be aware of. Is one better than the other. *shrug* I don't know.
I think the Piston AR is a great idea, but I would like to see them become more standardized and have a longer track record/history of use before I consider switching to Piston. I know the "limitations" of a DI gun and can easily work with/get around them.

Just my 2 cents combined with nutnfancy's 2 cents.

Watch his video...a bit long, but very unbiased and informative...as most of his reviews are.

December 13, 2009, 04:55 AM
I have an LMT MRP piston and love the barrel change concept (back to DI in a minute). That said, LWRC is very high quality, so the "substantial discount" part should make for an easy decision if you are in the market for a piston flavor AR.

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