Many people know about Palmetto State Armory, or PSA for short as a new player in the AR world. Specializing in online sales, with store-fronts in only South Carolina, they have been flooding the market with low priced uppers and lowers for the past few years. They follow the mold of many other companies in that they don't manufacture any of their own parts, preferring instead to outsource and assemble them into uppers and lowers. To many, including myself, they are the TJ Maxx of the AR world, with a rotating stock of goods that changes by the month. For their AR uppers, they focus on providing a high quality barrel and a high quality BCG for one of the lowest prices around. I personally am a big fan, as most other parts of an upper are generic and rarely fail or develop problems. The barreled upper that I own is from their Premium line, which sports a FN-made chrome lined barrel that is button rifled (as opposed to hammer forged). Mine specifically is a 16" government profile mid-length barrel, 1:7 twist, made from CMV steel, and is HPT/MPI tested. It is phosphate finished and has a pinned F-marked FSB. Also included were a pair of single heat-shield handguards, which I have replaced with Magpul MOE handguards. The flat top upper receiver is forged 7075, has a T-marked rail and M4 feed ramps. When they are in stock they sell for between $260-280 (as of 2013-2015 time frame) and may or may not come with a BCG, charging handle or rear sight. I bought mine for $280 (without the BCG/CH/Sight) plus $15 shipping. The lower is a PSA blem. I have replaced the 6061 buffer tube with one that is 7075. I'm also using a B5 grip and a BlackHawk buttstock (which is made by Knoxx). https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-...AAA-s/3q31eOakCG8/w1200-h458-no/IMG_3286a.JPG A big topic of conversation in the AR world is about how an upper is "gassed". That is to say, how much gas from the burned powder is being used to cycle the action. Over-gas the rifle and you are putting extra stress on the extractor and it can even lead to malfunctions. Under-gas the rifle and the bolt won't lock back on empty magazines or it might even start short stroking. In proper context, whether or not a AR in over/under gassed is relative to how much gas is being put through the system. A rifle that is fine shooting lower powered ammo like steel cased of PMC Bronze might be over-gassed when shooting Independence 5.56. The opposite is also true. In my experience, PSA's 16" mid-length upper will run anything from steel cased 223 to full power 5.56 without malfunction, but it is over-gassed at the high end with a basic carbine buffer and spring. I also tried an H2 buffer for a while, but didn't notice any real difference in perceived recoil or ejection pattern, which was slightly forward of 2 o'clock. Since I shoot reloads at about max pressure for 223 ammo, I have started using an extra powered Tubbs flatwire spring with the carbine buffer. I think it offers the best overall solution for full powered 223 and 5.56. If I were shooting steel cased Monarch/Wolf, I'd stick with the included buffer and spring. If I were shooting exclusively 5.56, I'd probably use the extra powered spring and H2 buffer. Ejection pattern isn't gospel, but I do prefer to have it in the 3-4 o'clock range. So lets talk about accuracy for a moment, which is important but often over-rated. I think many shooters, especially new shooters, focus on things that are measurable but don't put them in the proper context. When looking at a firearm as customizable as an AR, one needs to think of it as a system. There is no point in focusing on one part and neglecting another, like buying a highly accurate barrel and shooting cheap, inaccurate ammo out of it, or shooting it without a support, or with a red dot/low powered optic. Any accuracy advantage gained is completely negated by one or more other factors. That is why I am a big fan of chrome lined barrels. They last a long, long time and are accurate enough for most peoples shooting styles and abilities. My PSA specifically is good for an AR, without being amazing. Using a sandbag for a support and my Weaver Super Slam 2-10x42mm scope for testing, I was consistently able to shoot at or around 1.5moa with ammo it liked. Using some cheap FMJBT bullets, the accuracy went down to about 3-5moa. These are all 5 round groups at 100 yards, with 55gr Hornady SP w/c, 52gr Hornady BTHP (both reloads) and 55gr HP Hornady Steel Match. The bolt carrier group (BCG) is a premium PSA blem which has no markings on it. I bought this before the PSA upper and used it in my 20" A2 rifle for 2-3k rounds. It is approaching 9k rounds. The bolt is made from 158 Carpenter steel, has been MPI'ed and shot peened. It was not HPT, nor is it marked MPI on the bolt. It came with a standard extractor spring, black insert but no O-ring. The bolt carrier is 8620 steel with phosphate outside and chrome lined inside. The gas key is staked heavily, which is in favor right now because almost no one ever has to replace one. The only wear has been to the finish and some erosion on the carrier at the gas ports. I have replaced the extractor and insert with new one as part of preventative maintenance. The charging handle is forged 7075 and has an extended steel latch. The cost came to $40 between the two items, which puts it in the same price range as the enhanced CHs like the BCM Gunfighter. I don't regret the purchase, but for the price of CH + aftermarket latch, there are other options out there. Extensive use of an extended latch will lead to uneven wear in the finish, as can be clearly seen. The rear sight is PSA brand, but they are also included on some Sig ARs. This is the newer version (which has been around for at least 2 years) and are improved over the older ones, which had trouble clamping on the some rails. These do sit a bit low compared to other rear flip-up sights, which means most people with them will have to lower the front post quite a bit, but mine has no zeroing problems from it. It also comes with a large and small aperture, which is a perk on a budget rear sight.