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We used to get a lot of ARs to review around here. At one point in 2012 I had three of them in my gun safe (only one of them my own) and then Sandy Hook happened and the flow of T&E guns went dry for a while. Well, let the floodgates open again: I just picked up Del Ton’s Evolution carbine from my FFL guy . . .

I should have said “it doesn’t feel like a heavy two-stage trigger.” It’s definitely a two-stager, but it feels like a good one. The rest of the Evolution has all the good gubbins you want on an AR: a chrome-lined 16″ barrel, midlength gas system, Samson sights and free-float rail, and Magpul furniture.

Now all I need is about 500 rounds of the cheapest bulk 5.56 you can point me to.

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    • Yep, best one you’ll ever hold. The Samson Evolution handguard is awesome. Small diameter, amazingly light weight, easy to hold, and simple to mount rails to. It’s my go-to rail for building ARs.

      • That’s the doohicky that allows you to take a trim 7-8 pound rifle and turn it into a 12 pound gadget? I keed. I keed. Mostly.

        • Ahh, the benefit is that you don’t *have* to mount anything at all. As opposed to the “hand shredders” AR owners have been purchasing and hence need “rail covers” in order to use, with the Samson Evolution you can chose to mount nothing more than a front BUIS if you so desire. From there they are a delight to use and make for an easy 6.5# AR that’s actually useful. Imagine that.

      • Interesting. I’ve been considering replacing the polymer Magpul MOE handguard with something free-floated. I’m not aiming to attach every doohicky under the sun to the rifle, I just want things to be as sturdy as possible. And the benefits of a free-floated barrel are nice, though perhaps debatable on a carbine.

        Thoughts, if I may ask?

        • Easy to do and definitely a good move. The major benefit is cutting down on interference with “barrel harmonics” with the pressure your hand puts on the non-free float handguard and the ability to have an extended top rail on which you can mount a scope forward of the receiver and the ability to chose your own front sights, collapsable or otherwise. Interference management tends to be very minimal, but the greater “rail” estate on top is a huge plus. Carbines can benefit in that you can chose to have a forward grip point out past 7″ and can get a longer sight radius for BUIS.

  1. If you’re in the VA tricities area, walmart has a good bit (5 boxes of 1 caliber per person, but they stock both .223 and 5.56)

  2. midwayusa has 420 rounds of 5.56 for $219.99. it comes in a ammo can and has 10 stripper clips included. seems reasonable if you want 5.56

  3. Why does anyone bother to review ARs? You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. The only differences I can see are the particular furniture chosen and the trigger. When it comes down to it, aren’t most of these “manufacturers” no more than parts assemblers, buying the various pieces elsewhere?

    • You’re right in that it’s mostly the furniture and the trigger, but they are not “seen one, seen ’em all.” Some of the “manufacturers” are parts assemblers, but some are exactly that: manufacturers. Reviewing guns from a given “manufacturer” of either variety tells you about their build quality and bang for the buck. It lets people see a review that says, “If I buy this off-the-shelf gun from this maker, it will likely be good (or not).” Really, what you are testing is the things that aren’t the furniture or the trigger. A Magpul stock is going to work like a Magpul stock on any other gun, but if the manufacturer in question specs out and uses a cheaply made upper or lower, with wobbly tolerances and a crappy finish, the entire rest of the gun and its performance will suffer as a result. An upper or lower looks like an upper or lower when it’s just laying on the table, unless it’s extraordinarily bad, so the only way to test it is to build a rifle out of it.

      Also, the review might be testing the trigger, if a named-aftermarket one wasn’t speced in the build. That way, you’d know if the off-the-shelf trigger is crunchy like a KitKat, or is a pretty good example.

      There’s all kinds of reasons to review ARs, and if for no other reason, then “because guns.” You would prefer more political news?

  4. You wouldn’t happen to live in southeast Austin would you…somewhere around the Maple Run neighborhood would you? I know that fireplace.

    • Isn’t it neat that once Chris is done, we’ll likely have an actual review to look at, rather than your off the cuff statement?

  5. And why in the world are you bridging the receiver and handguard with those cheap rings? A quality quick release mount should be used only on the receiver so that a BUIS can be used. This is AR Building 101.

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