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The AR-15 platform has indeed gotten a bit stale. Everyone and their illegitimate cousin twice removed makes a version of the gun these days, and for most manufacturers all they actually do is grab a barrel from one supplier, a receiver from another, slap their branding on it and call the thing “new.” And for most consumers, that’s good enough. But Adams Arms has gone a few steps further. Not only have they completely re-designed the gas system to use a piston instead of direct impingement, but they go to the trouble of making their own parts — barrels included. While that’s all very impressive, as always the proof is in how well the gun actually runs. And even on that end, the company does things, well, differently . . .

Having reviewed few guns in my time, I’m used to companies putting conditions on my ability to test their guns. “You can have it, but it needs to be back in three weeks.” “Use only brass ammo, and don’t feed it after midnight.” “Use only the provided lube.” So I wasn’t surprised when I reached out to the guys at Adams Arms about testing out one of their piston-powered AR-15 rifles and they added a caveat of their own. But it wasn’t something I was expecting. Here’s the direct quote from their email:

Would you be willing to beat the crap out of our stuff and do your best to break it under real world application? If so were in.

I had never heard a firearms manufacturer say those words before and it was music to my ears. I was going to be given free reign to try and kill their gun, and given the design that appeared to be a pretty tall order. So I asked them to send me a SBR-length upper receiver as well, since the higher pressures involved with that gas system length would do a lot of the stress testing for me.

One day a few weeks later, the whole package arrived on my doorstep. So naturally, the very first thing I did was take it all apart and find out how it works.


The AR-15 was designed to use a “gas expansion” system, where a gas tube feeds directly into a piston in the bolt carrier group. It’s an effective design that works great most of the time. But when the gun gets dirty, it has a tendency to malfunction. Not that it takes long to get filthy — since the gas port empties directly into the chamber, the bolt carrier group can go from a shiny nickel boron coating to a grungy, gritty black in only a few minutes.

Adams Arms, however, has designed their piston system to avoid that issue. They keep the gas contained within a small chamber, instead using a piston to transfer the energy needed to cycle the action to the bolt carrier group.

The impact of that design is obvious: the upper I’ve been shooting hasn’t been cleaned once, and even after thousands of rounds downrange the bolt is still clean. You might notice that there’s one unclean part: the chamber specifically designed to capture the gasses. The way the piston system works is that the operating rod has a small cup on the end into which the regulator is inserted. The system uses that cup not only to align the operating rod so it slides into the upper receiver properly, but also to contain the exhaust gasses that are bled off. The result is an immaculate gun.

The concept is well established — trying to mate the reliability of the AK-47 with the accuracy of an AR-15. But in this case, it seems like their design got a little drunk one night and had a one night stand with an SKS instead.

The Adams Arms system is a “short stroke” piston similar to that used in the SKS and M1 Carbine, meaning that the bolt carrier is only being acted upon for a very small period of time before physics and momentum carry the reciprocating mass the rest of the way through the reloading cycle. It’s the more common format for a piston-based AR-15, but companies like PWS believe that a “long stroke” system (like that used in the AK-47) is better. Either way, the Adams Arms system suffers from the same drawback as all of the other systems, namely that it allows the chamber to open much earlier than with gas expansion (direct impingement) systems. The reason is that pistons force the bolt open immediately, but gas expansion needs time to pressurize the piston before it starts unlocking the bolt. The result is more exhaust coming from the ejection port, which you can see in the video.

So, the gas system works. And I have to admit, it’s great. I’ve done everything I could think of to get it to choke, including running without any lube, burying it in the Texas dirt for a bit, and running the piston without the spring attached (hey, what if you lose it?). In each case the gun continued to function without any issues. So long as the regulator was set to the “normal” setting and not “suppressed,” that is.

The regulator is probably my only complaint about the Adams gas system. For serious shooters, the ability to “tune” your gas system to where you want it is getting close to mandatory. “Normal” and “suppressed” settings are nice, but having a little more granularity wouldn’t be a bad thing. Thankfully Adams Arms has fixed this with their latest gas system regulator design, which has a bunch of different settings so you can tinker to your heart’s desire.


Out on the range, the ergonomics of the gun were right where you’d expect for a “run-and-gun” setup like this. The rifle is very light, and the handguards extend past the gas block allowing you to get a better grip on it. Due to the operating mechanism the gas block needs to be bigger than normal, but Adams decided to incorporate the top of the gas block into the picatinny rail instead of trying to make it disappear. It’ll get hot when you’re shooting so Magpul BUIS are right out, but a metal sight would work just fine.

As is usually the case, the Evo’s trigger is the standard “meh” trigger you’ll get on most factory AR-15 rifles. It’s a bit squishy and not really conducive to shooting tight groups. Again, that’s par for the course for run-and-gun rifles. For most higher level shooters, the very first thing they’ll want to do is slap their trigger of choice in there. So while it’s not really a major concern for those with more experience, we test guns in their “stock” configuration and the trigger is part of that.

The rifle (initially the 14.5″ with a pinned and welded flash hider) works as advertised, but there was one variable left to test: accuracy. And that proved to be a bit of a sticking point.


This isn’t good. I shot this at the standard 100-yard distance using a bipod, sandbags, and the same scope I had just used to test a Ruger SR-762, so I was pretty sure that I wasn’t the cause of the inaccuracy. And while the horizontal variation in the bullet impacts isn’t very much, that’s about a 3-inch spread vertically. It looked to me like there was a problem with the gas system causing the shots to wander. Naturally my first call was to the guys at Adams Arms, letting them know about the problem, and once I shipped back the 14.5″ gun they shipped me out a new 16″ rifle


As this was a new gun, I had to start from scratch. Some malfunction testing, a little light torture and a few hundred rounds later I was satisfied that the rifle performed as well as the previous one in the basic battery of tests. The only question left to answer was whether the rifle performed better than its predecessor.


Using some 77gr “match” grade rounds (Federal Premium in this case) I was able to get this roughly 2 MoA group out of the gun at 100 yards using the exact same scope and setup as before. Just to test the barrel, I tried the upper on my competition lower receiver (with a Geissele trigger) and I was able to get right around a 1-inch group. But since that was with a different lower, it doesn’t really count.

So the Evo’s accuracy was par for the course for a “gunfighter” rifle, but it’s good to know that you can significantly improve it just by swapping out the trigger.


The Adams Arms rifle is good, but it has a lot of potential being wasted in the current configuration. A more adjustable gas block, a better trigger and probably a better stock, too would put this gun into the running to be one of the better guns I’ve tested recently. And – what do you know? – they released a gun at the SHOT Show that fixes exactly those issues. So if you want a good gun to “run and gun” and possibly upgrade later, this is a pretty good investment. But with the 3-Gun version right around the corner I’d wait for that instead.


Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Barrel Length: 16 inches, 14.5 inches (pinned & welded)
Weight: 7 lbs (16″), 6.9 lbs (14.5″)
Capacity: Ships with one Magpul 30-round magazine
MSRP: $1,690 ($1,360 street)

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
All ratings are relative compared to the other weapons in the gun’s category. Overall rating is not mathematically derived from the previous component ratings and encompasses all aspects of the firearm including those not discussed.

Accuracy: * * * *
The gun is capable of much better accuracy if you swap out the trigger, but as-is, it’s not bad.

Ergonomics: * * * *
The gun fits me very well and everything on it works great. If I could nit-pick I’d put a bigger latch on the charging handle, and the exposed gas block can give you a rude surprise if you’re being too aggressive in your grip.

Ergonomics Firing: * * *
It might just be me, but it feels snappier than a normal AR-15. And that trigger is only meh.

Ease of Maintenance: * * * * *
The gas system keeps the gun clean, and among the piston systems I’ve seen this one is among the easiest to disassemble and re-assemble. Works like a charm.

Reliability: * * * *
The gun runs 100% perfectly every time. I’m removing one star due to the accuracy issues on the first gun, since there might be some additional variation in the quality that I’m not seeing. But if your gun doesn’t work right, the guys at Adams Arms seem to be more than happy to work with you to make it right.

Customization: * * * * 
The only difference between this gun and the standard AR-15 is the gas system. Everything else is interchangeable, except the bolt carrier group.

Overall Rating: * * * *
It’s a great start, but the gun is capable of much better things than the current configuration allows. Based on features alone the gun would be about a 3.5, but since the rifle’s MSRP is well below the asking price of other common piston-powered AR-15s such as the Ruger SR-556 (and the street price is even better) it gets knocked up a half star. But slap a better trigger in there and maybe a better charging handle and we’ll see about giving it a better rating.

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  1. So, it looks like another brand of HK416, not an AR-15 (though you could possibly argue that the HK416 IS an AR-15). That was my first thought on seeing the picture. The Stock, grip, and some of the other furniture look identical to the rifle. Then I saw that it uses a piston rather than DI. I think the brand and the barrel shroud is the only difference. Regardless, I’m happy about that. To my knowledge, HK has halted production indefinitely of the civilian version of their rifle, so I’m glad someone else has taken up the slack.

      • As an SR-556 owner, I would tend to agree. I have a CMMG piston 6.8 SPC upper on a different AR as well. This system looks very similar to the CMMG unit.

        If I had more cash to experiment, I wonder if my 2 MOA ARs could be 1 MOA (or 1.25 ish) with a good match trigger. Since my work guns are all crappy mil-spec single stage triggers, upgrading isn’t a huge priority.

    • I have experienced nothing but completely unacceptable (i.e. virtually nonexistent) customer service from ADAMS ARMS…purchased a new horribly inaccurate/chambered/barreled “Tactical Elite” upper with ridiculous inaccuracy, spent two weeks of persistent calling to all departments to get ANYONE to answer the phone, had filled out web forms, etc. etc. and to no response…FINALLY after two weeks and countless hours, I got a hold of someone in purchasing and they said they would follow up with the Customer Service guy ASAP…then no response for days…then called again and got a gal in accounts receivables (imagine that – the folks who receive money actually answered the phone – funny) and asked for the CEO…got on a conf call with the “Customer Support” ‘kid’ (inexperienced and disinterested in customer issues in my experience/opinion) and he hadn’t even listened to my multiple voice-mails one of which was over two weeks old…said he gets A LOT of calls…agreed to an RMA – sent it back and RECEIVED A SECOND DEFECTIVE UPPER that was internally peeling itself apart with aluminum shavings throughout the upper receiver and bolt carrier assembly…sent back the second one and then THEY SCREWED THAT UP TOO – a return for refund and HAVE NOT PAID ME MY REFUND…even when they promised to cut me a check that day…that was over 10 days ago – NO CHECK…- I wish they would just honor their commitments…As the Facebook website has MULTIPLE customers with similar experiences on the customer service side…… BUYER BEWARE – Buy an ADAMS ARMS product at YOUR OWN RISK!!!

      • I can completely agree with you. Adams Arms customer service is dog shit. I bought an upper to use on my legal SBR. Accuracy was horrendous. Like 7-9 inch groups with match ammo. Multiple kinds of match ammo. Having been a long range shooter and machinist I took the upper to my friend the gunsmith. After looking inside with a bore scope, I was horrified. Huge tooling and reamer marks in the barrel. It copper fouls after just a few rounds. Garbage. And I can’t get ANY response from adams arms at all!!!

  2. I have an Adams Arms upper on an Aero lower with a Geissele two stage trigger. With my Burris scope and cheap steel cased Colt ammo, I get about 1.5-2 moa from the bench.

    The rifle is very picky about cheap mags, I’m guessing that’s because of the higher carrier velocity. But with good mags, it’ll run 100% all day long.

  3. I really want to like gas piston AR15s, being a huge fan of the AK series myself, but I can never seem to get comfortable with them. They always seem.. Wrong. I’ll have to watch this space and see if any updates come of it.

    • Piston is da wave of ze future! Took me a while to get used to seeing a piston instead of where the gas key is on the bolt also ha. Piston is a must on an AR pistol imo 🙂

    • Run what you like, and what works for you. I don’t have to argue piston vs AR since I’ve got both. DI tends to be lighter and more accurate, piston tends to be heavier, more expensive, easier to clean, and more reliable. YMMV.

    • Not exactly just another piston AR they have been around for quite a while. Not only that if you were to buy a piston gun from JP Enterprise, ATI, Rainier Arms, Spikes, Core15, S&W, Black Rain Ordnance, Devil Dog Arms, Huldra probably others all use this Adams Arms piston setup with their own logo added. They must be doing something right if there is so many other mfg using their setup. I have converted 2 PSA CHF uppers with the AA railed gas block piston kit and I love it I have no problem with DI either though I have both. It really isn’t much heavier then my similar equipped DI guns maybe a little up front but not like people like to make it out to be on the internet. Price is pretty good too and there is tons of rail options that will work with the AA setup unlike the Osprey kit, I don’t know about the CMMG kit but most all other mfg piston guns like Ruger never seen anything on them but what comes from factory. I have a Centurion C4 and a Samson Evo both with the FSP cutout.

      • You can add Smith and Wesson to the list of companies whose piston offering is based upon the Adams Arms piston kit.

  4. I own 2 Adams Arms Uppers. One on a LRB Lower and another on an AERO lower. Both have mil-spec parts, so nothing fancier than some polishing done to the trigger groups. Both are extremely reliable, and shoot much better than anything I’ve ever been issued by the Army. The LRB AA rifle will shoot just a hair outside of 1 MOA, call it 1.25. The AERO AA rifle is still getting broken in, but right now it’s firmly a 2 MOA rifle. Both like heavier bullets, specifically 69 gr HPBT’s (hand rolled over IMR4895, sorry don’t recall OAL or chrg off hand).

    • I have experienced nothing but completely unacceptable (i.e. virtually nonexistent) customer service from ADAMS ARMS…purchased a new horribly inaccurate/chambered/barreled “Tactical Elite” 18″ upper with ridiculous inaccuracy, spent two weeks of persistent calling to all departments to get ANYONE to answer the phone, had filled out web forms, left Voicemails, etc. etc. and no response…FINALLY after weeks and countless hours, I got a hold of a good guy in purchasing who seemed to genuinely care and he said he would follow up with the Customer Service guy ASAP…then no response for days…then called again multiple times and got a gal in accounts receivables (imagine that – the folks who receive money actually answered the phone – funny) and asked for the CEO…got on a conf call with the “Customer Support” ‘kid’ (inexperienced and disinterested in customer issues in my experience/opinion) and he hadn’t even listened to my multiple voice-mails one of which was over two weeks old…said he gets A LOT of calls…agreed to an RMA – sent it back and RECEIVED A SECOND DEFECTIVE UPPER that was internally peeling itself apart with aluminum shavings throughout the upper receiver and bolt carrier assembly (not hte only guy to have this issue – see …sent back the second one and then THEY SCREWED THAT UP TOO – After weeks and Weeks and Weeks of waiting…and after all that – a return for refund and THEY HAVE NOT PAID ME MY REFUND…even when they promised to cut me a check that day…that was now over 15 days ago – NO CHECK IN HAND…- I wish they would just honor their commitments…As the Facebook website has MULTIPLE customers with similar experiences on the customer service side…… BUYER BEWARE – Buy one of their products AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!

  5. Nick,

    I’m usually on-board with your reviews and ratings but this one seems to be a bit generous in the handing out of the stars.

    Case in point – the not-great accuracy of this weapon somehow earned it 4 stars after “upgrades” were applied to the rifle (along with a completely new rifle swapping-out)?

    The ergonomics were described as “snappy” with a mediocre trigger, yet it still got 3 stars?

    Edit – I just realized they’re out of FIVE stars… not 4. Still, a bit over the top for a $1600 AR with issues.

    • I’d agree that it was a bit much if it were a $1,700 gun, but what you’re getting is a pretty nice setup for $1,400 cash on the barrelhead. The standard upgrades alone put it on par with other guns in the same price range (handguard, stock, etc) and the gas system is the icing on the cake.

      If it were actually selling for MSRP, then 3.5 would be the tops. But that $300 difference drops the price low enough where the features really make it stand out. In my opinion, at least.

      • How many rounds the first test rifle have through it? If you were in a long line of T&E-ears for that particular unit then the barrel may have been shot out by the time you did your trial.

      • I’m a retired Army Paratrooper. I started out with the M 14, which I loved. Then we got the Colt M 16 series of weapons. We called them Mattie Mattel’s after the toy manufacturer back then. I hated them, and still do.

        As a civilian LEO, I carried the SIG P 220, because of their success in the Special Ops community. Now I own several, from W. German manufacture & domestic manufacture, and have outfitted my family with P 220’s, all in .45 cal, of course. I feel there is none better off the shelf & out of the box. Then I decided to try SIG’s 556. I have never experienced any problems with this weapon system, although they are a little more pricey than the AR systems. I have the highest regard for this weapon system, too. I have several, and would like to have even more. Next, I want to get my hands on the SIG 716 SASS.

        I’m a private citizen, don’t work for anyone, and have no stock in any firearms company. I have fired & used numerous weapons from numerous manufacturer’s both foreign & domestic. I wonder why you and others have not run the SIG 556 through these tests.

        Last comment, I took a almost new (80 rounds or so) DPMS Panther in .308 in trade some time back. I’ve had all kinds of trouble with it feeding properly. It absolutely will jamb if I try firing 7.62 through it, and it only likes some magazines, even of the same brands.

        I stumbled on this site while searching for info on Adams Arms. I’m glad I did.

      • Nick
        As compared to my Barnes, Daniel Defense and others; it isn’t close in accuracy or price. I’d say you were past generous to a 2 MOA rifle.

  6. I have an Adams Arms 16″ Upper on a Spike’s lower. It is mated with a Nikon P223 and Dueck 45-degree BUIS. I have about 1500 rounds through it and have yet to have it malfunction with Gen 2 PMAGS and USGI steel mags. I do finds the recoil signature to be a little “twangy” and there is a notable “fwoosh” of compressed gas that I can hear emanating from the piston area, but the rifle is extremely clean shooting and GTG. The build quality on the upper seems fine – nicely finished with no burrs or scratches. It is mildly heavier than a standard carbine upper, but it is mitigated with a light weight handguard – I use a Magpul MOE with an AFG, which makes for a very balanced rifle.

    Overall I find myself shooting the AA more than my DI guns because my down time for cleaning is so greatly reduced. If you’re married to DI, you’ll find reasons not to go for a piston gun – but if you give it a chance, it really is a reliable system. Oh…as for grouping, I’ve only taken it out to 75 yards by have groups averaging 1.5″. I think that the slap of the short stroke pistol may cause some craw until you learn to compensate. Just my two cents.

  7. If you want to save a little $ on an Adams Arms rifle or upper, pick up a Huldra upper from Mills Fleet Farm. I picked up a complete upper for $599. These are made by Adams Arms for Fleet Farm and they don’t hide that it’s just a rebrand. Also, the Mills family is SUPER pro 2A and very active in MN gun rights issues.

    • I have a mid-length carbine Huldra Arms piston upper from Fleet Farm. I’ve been using it for about 2 years now, with decent results. 100% reliable with everything I’ve shot in it, but I’ve never tried steel-case ammo (I only shoot steel-case in SKSs and AKs, period). Accuracy is highly variable, with average groups being in the 1.5″-2″ range (@ 100 yards). Federal M855 5.56mm stays around 1.5″ all day long, but it really didn’t like the .223 American Eagle 50 grain flat-based HP — would you believe 5″ evenly scattered buckshot-like groups at 100 yards? Did it several times, including one blind-loaded test (buddy loaded the mags and the gun so I wouldn’t know what was in it), and the results were repeatable. That loads shoots very well (around 1″-1.25″) in my DI guns, including a 1/7 twist Colt carbine.

      The only thing the Huldra upper needed before use was a new handguard. The oval-cross-section one that came with it fit poorly, and tended to pinch if given a chance. A Magpul mid-length handguard fixed the problem. I am running a two-stage RRA match trigger in the self-built lower, and have had no problems with this set-up (except the accuracy issue detailed above).

      • Same issue with the handguard. Poor fitting and replaced with a Magpul. I run steel through mine all day, had to replace the buffer spring with a lighter wolf spring per the recommendation of the folks at Fleet Farm.

        There’s also a Huldra (AA) upper in 5.45x39mm. The fleet farm guys have a YouTube video with one they ran 2,000 rds of corrosive milsurp ammo without lubrication or cleaning and 0 malfunctions.

  8. Why not review some cheap guns? I appreciate all the reviews of expensive cool guns but sometimes you need to get down to the simple stuff.

    -Hi-Point carbine
    -PSA AR build (some of the cheapest, decent ARs you can get).
    -Marlin 795.
    -Marlin Papoose vs. Ruger 10/22 TD
    -Savage Axis
    -Savage mark2 (with the accutrigger).
    -Savage 64
    -H&R Handi Rifle
    -something made by Weatherby
    -Saiga 7.62×39/.223

        • Talk to any Appleseed instructor and they’ll recommend 1 of 2 rifles, either the Marlin 795 or the Ruger 10/22. They get recommended for a number of reasons, first they fit the Appleseed venue pretty well. Both are very reliable rifles. Both are fairly economical in terms of initial purchase cost. In my personal opinion, as an Appleseed instructor, I think out of the box, the Marlin 795 is the better rifle, it’s more reliable and more accurate (better stock barrel rifling) than the 10/22. The Ruger 10/22 however is the barbie-doll of semi-auto .22LR’s. It can be customized to the same degree as an AR. The trigger and sights are almost unusable out of the box. The sights are just absolutely terrible. On my 10/22 they couldn’t be brought onto target, which was fine because they we’re immediately replaced with aperature sights, and then subsequently an optic, but just realize that if you pay $250 for a Ruger 10/22 there’s a good chance you’ll be adding another $50 for basic aperature sights. My personal go to rifle for Appleseed is a Ruger 10/22, but I’ve rebuilt it and the only factory part left is the receiver, at 25 yards it’ll put 5 rounds into a nice clover with all holes touching. No way a factory Ruger 10/22 is going to do that. The Marlin 795 won’t shoot those sort of groups either, but it’ll shoot a lot tighter out of the box than the Ruger 10/22. So I shoot the Ruger 10/22, but bought my son a Marlin 795 since I didn’t plan on re-investing the original cost of the rifle in aftermarket parts for his Appleseed rifle (Liberty Training Rifle). His rifle supported his effort to earn his Rifleman patch, and has taken untold numbers of squirrels and rabbits. Just don’t go looking for aftermarket parts for the Marlin 795. -If TFG would like me to review the two rifles, shoot me a note and I can probably put something together.

  9. It’s possible I just got lucky or something, but the three adjustments on my AA upper work perfectly. Normal has never failed me and cycles .223 and 5.56 so consistently that I find the brass stacked in a literal pile right where you’d expect it to be lke 8 feet away (if I’m staying still, of course, like shooting form a bench). It ejects more consistently than pretty much any gun I’ve shot before and I have never had a stoppage. With a suppressor on, the low mode on the gas block works perfectly. Ejected brass continues going the appropriate distance instead of getting kicked out with too much force. Without the can but with the gas block on low, it typically won’t cycle fully with .223 (won’t quite reset the trigger) and the brass basically just plops out. So there’s an obvious difference. 100% reliability with the can on. In the “off” mode, the action stays completely locked up. This is the best scenario for shooting suppressed and/or preventing your brass from flying away.

    YES, it’s possible that I would prefer “infinite” adjustment or maybe twice as many clicks. However, for everything I’ve done so far the high/low options plus off option have worked absolutely perfectly, and that sure simplifies choices and switching between them without messing up. You can always run suppressed with the block on high, anyway, but it ejects the brass really hard and you get extra gas out the ejection port like in Nick’s video.

  10. Things have gotten so boring on the AR front that I’ve moved onto installing fixed rifle stocks and a carry handle sight. I’m thinking about swapping grip colors to make one of them all black. May even go full bakelight foregrip! … Wish someone would just sell that Charon 3d printer receiver, that would spice things up. Maybe some leather panel grips too.

    • I have been thinking about going with triangular grips and a gas block with flip-up sight. I put a quad rail on the thing and frankly I don’t like the feel of it at all – too rough for my delicate petunia hands. (Seriously)

  11. Nick,

    It would be a very interesting discussion to have just on the topic “what is a 5 star AR” in abstract. You’d probably have to constrain the judgement to specific applications, competition, hunting, defense, combat, etc.

    What accessories are a must for each application? What accessories are junk for each application? What are the ways to best implement accessories, what are common mistakes (like mounting VFG too far back)?

  12. I have a 16” AA Tactical Evo. I’ve managed to get sub-MOA groups consistantly when firing polymer-tipped rounds like Hornady V-max. I also used a 40 gr ballistic tip from Fiochii that shot .5 MOA. Seems to be all about the ammo you choose.

    • Yes it does. These guys should know better than to shoot steel case ammo in ANY AR. From the very beginning (Vietnam) or at least the real battle test, ARS have been proven to be very fickle about the ammo one runs through them. Yeah, you may have an AR that chews steels up and spits them out, but as a general rule….and I thought EVERYONE knew this….ARs love brass cased ammo. I wouldn’t use steel case in them, unless it was a dire emergency. Don’t be a cheap-skate, when it comes to feeding your AR, then blame it on the rifle. By the way, I just looked on Huldra’s sight and looks like they’re having on hell of a sale.

  13. People can say what they want but I can say that the people there at Adams Arms are willing to help & are SUPER helpfull!! I bought the rifle being tested & so far I fired it & did not like the trigger(I like a soft trigger) so I called them & they sold me a Hypertouch & INSTALLED it for less than I could have bought the trigger for, I am new to the AR platform & they took the time to show me what I needed to know.. The trigger is most likely the issue with the grouping in the first test.. These are the people you need to buy from, I bought a rifle from Henry & once you pay them you are on your own, Adams= not like that, they make friends, show you around the machine shop, chat & the guys made sure I got what I needed, OUTSTANDING people to deal with!! Oh & the rifle is great also!!

  14. I picked up one of these and while I have not been able to find out how accurate it is due to a defective scope (not the fault of the rifle) it has been 100% so far. The recoil is definitely more than a regular AR but still not bad.

    Has anyone tried a heavier buffer in one of these to see if that smooths things out a little?

  15. Since I will chime in as a PRO AA gun owner, I can certainly say that calling it LIKE an HK, IS LIKE SAYING A CETME IS AN HK KNOCKOFF! You went the wrong way in your timeline! These things, from the beginning, are VERY GOOD QUALITY and have been from the onset. Sure, even Cadillac has glitches, but, are they stood behind and made correct…and ADAMS DOES IT BEST and quickly if it occurs.
    I have owned the LWRC, the CMMG and the HK…and THAT is NOT how I would rate them. Put the CMMG in place of the LWRC, and that is how my choices went based on price, bang for the buck and reliability. Comfort from trigger pull to sending the round, I was MUCH happier with the short stroke and my CMMG LEPII is STILL in the inventory..the others are gone! THAT WAS MY CHOICE! After the CMMG and LWRC purchase, I came upon the ADAMS ARMS product, and it was notably similar, so it FIT. Since I had just bought the STAG piston, I had a while to get to the AA after enjoying the Stag and CMMG as my daily go to options!
    LIKE ANYTHING, I keep NOTHING stock and TRIGGER is a big deal…however, a simple item like the trigger adjustment screw, the Ergo spring kit and the T2 buffer brought it all together. Once I moved to the ADAMS, I was HOOKED. EVEN THOUGH I STILL OWN AND OPERATE my LMT, my ARMALITE and my cache of others, I LOVE THE ADAMS and all I have created and maintained around them.
    Fit and finish has CONSISTENTLY emerged to put a lot of others in their place and for a LOT LESS! AND, I can assure you, that they all had plenty of changes to Super G, G2, JP, Spikes, LWRC, ALG defense and a couple of other triggers that I enjoy! But, I have only experienced a couple of STOCK triggers that needed LITTLE OR NO WORK! And I have a long list that I have chosen from.
    NO NEED, to argue for PISTON OR EXPANDING GAS, they both clearly are PROVEN and have a place. I love the touch, operation and employability of the ADAMS and in my worthless opinion, to others who may not be on board with piston, I FEEL that they are the BEST CHOICE in duration, lock up, adjustability and yes, ACCURACY!
    I break in guns a particular way! I do it under the assumption that if I do it correct, the long term is that it will accept anything you throw at IT, when it COUNTS! I have one that was BROKEN IN and until NOW, I was torturing it, with little cleaning, but I do keep it lubed, and put all at it with almost OFFENSIVE abandonment! NOW, that is not to say I take less than great care of my weapons, because I have some oldies that folks CAN NOT BELIEVE have ever been deployed…and THEY ARE EXTREMELY WRONG! AND I HAVE NO DEAL OR ANYTHING OFFERED OR GIVEN BY ADAMS that allows me to contemptuously mistreat this particular one…but, I cleaned it 4 days ago, put it in the hands of 3 good friends, and EVERYONE of them offered to buy it on the spot, after running it…YES, it sold and not for hardly under what I had into it!
    I have had the OTHER manufacturers brands NOT get better, or even hardly change…that can be bad or good, depending on the performance. I TRULY FEEL that against the Ruger model, both little and big brother, it is a much better option and if you range them for the day, you will understand why. Not bad choices, but, for the money, NO CONTEST!
    THE FACT that ADAMS puts so much into THAT product, and yes, there are “DI” options from ADAMS, I think the focus is where it needs to be for a company that leads, not only in innovation, but also in quality for what the piston IS…LIKE IT OR NOT!
    I shoot with GREAT accuracy and have much paper, and many the friend, or foe, who has handled and EXPLICITY AGREED, even if not a fan of the piston being in the AR PLATFORM! They fight it, but, eventually, if you handle the AR A LOT, you will KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND FEEL THE DIFFERENCE!
    I DONT EXPECT YOU TO RUN AND BUY ONE ON MY WORDS, that is not my point! I simply say GIVE THE FIREARM ITS DUE and understand the what and who is behind it for WHAT IT IS! AND DONT FORGET THAT THE ANNOUNCEMENT TO DROP THE PRICES, while coming out with some of the best quality parts and full lines, YOU WILL NOT BEAT THIS RIFLE NOR ITS COMPANY and sisters that support it!
    I just broke in a new DI, and NONE of it was ADAMS…that does NOT MEAN I will not be owning a pistol version (less than 16 and with Sig Brace), it just shows that I am not a ALL OR NOTHING guy. I SIMPLY am stating the obvious, that when the money comes from deep, and you are working for something that you can count on, and MAY RIGHTLY SAVE YOUR LIFE, you will not only have the best option in ADAMS, you WILL BE AMAZED at the caliber of customer service and make it RIGHT attitude and commitment!
    From Tier One brothers, to my daughter and her friends, these rifles continue to get the nod and HIGH remarks for a reason. Hell, you can find people that dont like gold, because its not enough, that makes it no less valuable.
    I gladly offer the range time, the ammo and the product for ANYONE to put up against their own in the same or better class. GLADLY! But, dont find problems, simply to do so, as you will be far from honest with yourself, if you are not impressed with the consistency! And unlike a garbage product that is CONSISTENLY BAD OR CHEAP, this will be taking care of shooters, for a long time and the ability to keep it going and on target, is simple and easy to dial in, and rarely do you get that from a shelf gun or a stock set up, even close to this price!
    Thanks for the great article and I always enjoy your words and reviews! VERY HONEST, very direct and your experience proves many of the details in your articles! You are a great proponent of the industry and I look forward to your writings and others feedback! I just hope that the feedback is done so in a manner that is proofed and not felt by thought alone! Then it is just OPINION and we all know about opinions without data…nuff said!
    Now, everyone go get your rifle, your gear and your paper, and have a safe, proficient day and enjoy the choice you make. Just remember to NOT EXPECT THAT WHICH IS NOT CLAIMED, BUT, TO ENJOY ALL THAT IS CAPABLE AND RIGHTLY USED TO MEET YOUR NEEDS! If you are on the fence, find someone with what you are interested in, and make a valuable decision, after you can honestly say, you have put the time in, to find what will work best…and is not different, simply based off of words from the profane. God Bless or blessing in yours and that which you find strength. YOU ALL MATTER!

    • I have experienced nothing but completely unacceptable (i.e. virtually nonexistent) customer service from ADAMS ARMS…purchased a new, horribly chambered/barreled “Tactical Elite” upper with ridiculous inaccuracy, spent two weeks of constant calling to all departments to get ANYONE to answer the phone, had filled out web forms, etc. etc. and to no response…FINALLY after two weeks and countless hours, I got a hold of someone in accounts receivables (imagine that – the folks who receive money actually answered the phone – funny that) and asked for the CEO…got on a conf call with the “Customer Support” ‘kid’ (worthless) and he hadn’t even listened to my voice-mails of over two weeks old…said he gets A LOT of calls…agreed to an RMA – sent it back and RECEIVED A SECOND DEFECTIVE UPPER that was peeling itself apart with aluminum shavings throughout the upper receiver and bolt carrier assembly…THEN they screwed up the return for refund and HAVE NOT PAID ME MY REFUND…even when they promised to cut me a check that day…that was over a week ago – NO CHECK…Looks like off to court for me…As the Facebook website has MULTIPLE customers with similar experiences…class action lawsuit anyone? I contacted Gordon Law Offices in Boise… BUYER BEWARE – Buy an ADAMS ARMS product at YOUR OWN RISK!!!

      • ive had bull shi;’., from them also poorly made 14.5 ar rifle wrong camo color which they seem to say its no big deal upper and lower are very loose shoots a foot and a half low at 40 yards accuracy is horrible the one I have is in my opinion is junk 700 bucks down the drain think ill just stick with the ak this rifle can not compare and I thought it would run with any ak well I was wrong buyer be ware don’t buy don’t buy don’t buy

  16. I’ve built approx twenty AA based rifles from pistols to match grade JP barreled, sub moa rifles. Other than an issue I caused with one gas block I’ve had no problems with their stuff.

    I now only use their gas systems in my builds. The Voodoo barrels have all held near 1moa with decent ammo and of course good triggers in the rifles.

    I seldom if ever use their receivers though as the early units didn’t have the greatest fit and finish. The newer units seem to be nicer though I stick with Seekins, Mega, 2A Arms etc…

    I have experienced issues with communication though. It took approx two weeks to hear back on a question I asked them.

    Everyone makes a lemon now and then, but how you handle it is key.

  17. I upgraded my Ruger AR-556 with a JP captured spring and an Adams arms piston kit. Took it the range yesterday after installing the Adams arms kit and was able to shoot 5.56 55gr federal ammo on the low/ suppressed settings with no issues but had to to use the full open 12:00 o’clock setting when shooting with .223 55gr fiochi ammo. I have the stock flash hider installed. Should I consider the Jp spring kit?
    Ps. The reason I changed to low /suppressed setting because I felt a lot more noticeable recoil when shooting the 5.56 ammo…

  18. I have a AA 16″ upper I got from MidwayUSA for $584 delivered a few years ago. I mated it with a Spikes Punisher lower a Vltor stock. I have a hydraulic buffer and a DPMS 2 stage trigger. My optics are a EO-Tech XPS 2-1 and a Sightmark 5X magnifier. I love my gun. I use it for patrol and haven’t had 1 failure or jam. I don’t dump sand in it or run it till its caked but, I really can’t do that. This is one of the tools that stands between my life and death. Anyway I’m in the 1moa with it. I run regular 12 o’clock but have run supp, and single shot gas routings and haven’t had a problem. I just built a 6.8SPC II which is a complete mutt!! BISON barrel AA Upper receiver and gas sys. a New Frontier Polymer lower and generic parts w/ ALG combat trigger. My only issue was setting up the gass system an getting it aligned properly. I really wish AA would have sent a factory production gas block instead of the crappy one that clamps on. I hardly have the room to pin it to the barrell. My Next build isn’t set in stone but it will be a SBR with a MVB Industries ARC stock and most-likely a AA 10″ to 11″ upper. Possibly smaller but I doubt it and a suppressor.

  19. I have 4 AA systems, One is the 7.5 inch upper on spikes lower and the others are all AA kits. Two on 16″ M4’s and one on a 8.5″ SBR 300 BLK. I have had fantastic results with all of them and don’t have a bad word to say about AA. In fact I have contacted them sevel times and have had very fast response (and polite). Understand that you are not the only one trying to talk to them and not “Special”; give them resonable time to get back to you. I have never waited more than two days for a response on Email and 3 days on phone calls. Remember also, their tolerances are tight and you need to break the uppers in with brass before trying to shoot the cheep steel. Oh, My MOA’s are all under 1″ Even the SBR’s… but I homeload everything. I will be building Custom order M4″s shortly (retiring first). And you can bet AA will be my choice for piston system orders.

  20. I have an Adams Arms AR15 and it performs well, but the trigger is terrible. I presume it can be replaced with the replacement performance AR triggers offered on the market. In other words, the piston AR does not have a specific type of trigger….correct?

  21. Received my small frame 308 last week. Would not cycle although it works great as a single shot. Contacted AA they have been most gracious no complaints there. still waiting on an RMA supposedly they have a fix for this problem. My issue is this, on a platform with this many problems why would you not test fire each weapon before it leaves.

  22. I’m a happy buyer. I got a 7.5″ upper for my 0-50 m gun. Built my own lower out of off the shelf parts & machining.

    Put her together & took her out. Cold bore she put two holes in the black with 3 rounds.

    Added a bump stock. Which reduces accuracy – but works for me.

    Tried it with a .22 adapter & she ran true – 2 moa at 100yds.

    I’m satisfied with my purchase. I paid $700 for the upper from AA. She fits the niche I had planned for herr. She isn’t meant to be a 1
    Moa gun. She’s meant to engage reliably at close range. And I’m quite happy with how she performs.

    A bit heavy forward weight – forward grip helps with that. Short barrel throws the balance off a bit. But it’s easily compensated. Climbs a bit more than a standard m4. But I always start at the kneecaps so not much adjustment.

    For those of you who had bad experiences with AA – sorry. My experience has been good.

  23. nothing but problems with this company. I was had so many problems getting customer service of a resolution with this company. So I was able to return everything only to get half of what I pay for it

  24. I very much enjoyed reading your review and valuable comments.

    I did purchase an Adams Arms a couple of days ago, but have not yet fired it as I am loading my own ammo and plan to do some upgrades (like the trigger that you mentioned, which I was already aware of).

    I would like to ask if you had noted the barrel twist rate(s) of the first rifle you initially tested, and that of the second one that Adams Arms sent to you in testing the 77grain ammo.

    I would be more than a little curious as to what twist rates you had – and were they both the same.

    Although I believe there are different rates available, I specifically wanted (and purchased) mine with a 7” twist.

    I would welcome your comments (and enjoyed your article).

    John Hickman
    Prospect, Tennessee


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