Monday, September 28, 2015

Upgrading the Rifle the Needs No Upgrades

Upgrading the Rifle the Needs No Upgrades

Over the years since I was the first editor to review the Black Rain Ordnance Fallout15, my super awesome little custom BRO rifle has been a host for numerous optics reviews - currently the rifles features a Burris AR553 which has been a blast to shoot with. It is a really beautiful gun which many note has had some obvious wear over time from thousands of round chipping away on the shell deflector area and a few dings from me using it versus just babying it. Regardless of the minor wear, the rifle is still a head turner.

I have never really wanted any other upgrades beyond those already done. After all, it came equipped with a stunning hydro dipped billet upper and lower matched receiver set, match grade .223 Wylde stainless barrel, Geissele trigger (current versions come standard with BRO’s own trigger), a free float forend, KNS Anti-rotate pins, a NiBo carrier, and all USA made components including the buffer assembly and Magpul furniture. The gun only had three key upgrades which including an Ace Ultra Light stock, BRO adjustable gas block, and a Clark Carbon Fiber Handguard.

Recently, I found myself needing to pull the original Geissele trigger coincidentally for another Black Rain stripped lower build. There were also some great Strike Industries parts and a JP Rifles Ultra LMOS carrier loitering around on my desk looking for a home on a rifle. Let the upgrades begin on a rifle that really “needs” no upgrading.

HiperFire HiperTouch 24E $215.00 - There was nothing wrong with the Geissele trigger that originally equipped my Fallout15, however I tend to prefer a single stage trigger for faster paced spirited shooting such as what I typically do with this rifle.  

When it comes to really fast and light single stage triggers, I am pretty enamored with the performance of the HiperFire line of HiperTouch triggers and represent a complete redesign of the AR15 trigger unlike anything on the market. The 24E is considered Hiperfire’s higher tier entry with just a hair more pre-travel than their 24C models. It was the perfect trigger for this build and delivered a bit faster trigger for a gun I do a lot of blasting with plus a little bit of precision shooting work.

Strike Industries - Strike has been just banging out one killer product right after another. If their innovation, design, and engineering does not grab your attention, their stunning reasonable prices will. I replaced the original Mil-Spec parts with Strike’s new Extended Pivot Pins, AR Forward Assist, Enhanced Bolt Catch, and Enhanced Magazine Catch. 

The Extended Pivot Pins deliver users a ton of style with fingernail notches to makes things quicker and faster when breaking open and AR. The Strike Forward Assist and Enhanced Magazine Catch both simply look cooler with stylistic design elements.

JP Rifles New Ultra LMOS - Ultra Low Mass Operating System Alloy Carrier - $340 - Back a few years ago I used, tested and reviewed the LMOS stainless Carrier from JP Rifles and it was freaky insane how low I could turn down the adjustable gas block. That LMOS carrier was only 6.68oz and about 5 oz less than your average AR carrier. The whole idea is that the less mass the gas system has to move, the less gas pressure is required to move that BCG mass and the further you can turn down the gas pressure. The lower you can get that gas pressure, the lower the experienced recoil to the shooter. The upgrade had my AR15 spitting out .223 rounds with the felt recoil of a Ruger 10/22.

Later JP also introduced an Ultra LMOS carrier as well which dropped the carrier weight to a stunning 3.76 oz as an option for those that wanted to maximize recoil reduction. The problem was it did require a little maintenance and was a bit finicky to tune which lead to JP dropping the product, however the scalpers starting pawning these amazing alloy carriers for 2-3 times their original price. 

JP was mad enough about the price scalping they restarted the Ultra LMOS product with a few tweaks to decrease maintenance, extend logevity, and further improve performance. This is a product that is running on the edge of reliability designed to squeak out every bit of recoil reduction to speed up shot to shot performance on the competition circuit, so there are some compromises.

According to JP Rifles’s site, the 7075-T6 aluminum Ultra LMOS Carrier -  “Non-ferrous specialty carriers (like the Ultra LMOS) should be considered consumable rather than lifetime parts. The JPBC-1 yields a performance advantage for competition applications at a price. Your usage and maintenance will determine the duty life of your carrier. The JPBC-1 is a competition/race gun part only and is not recommended for any duty/defense use where absolute reliability is required. This carrier should also be run with an adjustable gas system to minimize stress on the entire bolt carrier assembly.  This carrier is not recommended for use with gas systems shorter than mid-length for longest service life. Use with carbine or shorter gas systems may result in gas erosion in the tail-stock area and subsequent leakage and reduced service life.”

I don’t intend to toss my factory Black Rain BCG, with the above noted caveats noting that at some point 1000s of rounds from now, the carrier will need to be replaced.  My original intent was to install this carrier on a build with a carbine length buffer tube, however I had timing issues which prevented the bolt from locking back on the last round. The simple fact was that the carrier was out running the bolt catch. I found that this carrier really does prefer a rifle length buffer and once I installed it on this build, I didn’t have any more issues getting it tuned up and running perfectly. JP Rifles does note that this carrier is not intended for defense or LEO use, but is intended for high performance competition rifles which are already running on the edge of performance/reliability. With the Ultra LMOS installed the rifle feels like an electric stapler vs a AR15.

V7 Weapons - CT Bolt - $80 + Titanium Cam Pin $17- V7 is a newer entrant into the AR15 parts space however their design and quality is absolutely top tier. I choose to add several components including their CT Bolt and titanium cam pin. The AR-15/M16 compatible bolt is made from Carpenter 158 Steel which is then cryogenically treated to -300 degrees, MP tested, and has shown to have a 200% increase in life expectancy due to the treatment. They even guarantee the CT bolt for life regardless of round count and its all made in the USA. A great deal for only $80 for a top tier AR15/M16 Bolt which I added to the JP Ultra LMOS carrier.   V7 offers some amazingly well designed ultralight AR15 components including their 7.2 gram, titanium melonited Cam pin which was designed to deliver smoother functioning. The nerds in the group will say “what about the nobility of titanium and its galvanic corrosion on aluminum?” Well to the nerds I would say stainless on aluminum is one of the worst pairings you can make from a galvanic corrosion perspective and we don’t seem to have AR15s falling apart from that… now do we? My theory was that the less weight the carrier sees the less stress it will endure and hopefully extend its known limited life span.

Doing this set of upgrades to an already perfectly wonderful AR15, makes me want to start tearing out all my other custom AR15s and begin adding in all the neat little custom parts. There was a definitive performance uplift of going to the lighter JP Rifles Ultra LMOS carrier. The Strike Industries accessories added a lot of cool factor with a few extra features in the process.  I love Geissele triggers… love them, however it was pretty transformational to shoot the same rifle with the extremely fast single stage Hiperfire 24E trigger after being used to feeling some take up on the two stage Geissele. Not bad for a rifle that didn’t need any upgrades.


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