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I fully admit to being a huge fan of Adams Arms’ piston system. As far as a short stroke design goes — long stroke 4 lyfe, homie. Anyway, while Adams Arms is a relatively new company making AR-15 rifles they have rapidly expanded their product line and started branching out into just about everything. From competition rifles to super short SBR guns, they make it all. Now word comes today that they’re launching a piston-driven .308 Winchester rifle . . .

Today, Adams Arms is proud to announce the Introduction of our Revolutionary new Piston Driven Small Frame .308 Rifle! With our years research and development we’ve engineered the finest .308 to ever hit the market. Weighing in at under 8 pounds and more than 50% reciprocal to standard AR-15 components, the new Defender and Defender Enhanced rifles will be setting a new standard in the firearms industry.

This pre-order is for the limited edition run of BILLET lower receivers with serial numbers 10 through 500. 

Reserve your .308 now!

A deposit secures your billet lower and preferred serial number (if available, first come first serve). We will begin shipping the rifles in November and will be contacting each customer for their preferred configuration of each person’s custom selected serial number. There will be four models to choose from, these rifles will have a MSRP range from $1,329.99 to $2,999.99. Your deposit will go towards the final purchase price of the rifle.

Pre-orders are first come, first serve. The deposit is non-refundable and is due at the time of checkout to secure your custom picked number and will be used as a credit towards the final purchase price of the rifle. The rifle MUST be shipped to an FFL dealer of your choice.

Please use this link to access the pre-order:


Adams Arms

Compared to yesterday’s launch of an entry level rifle from Ruger, this makes a little more sense. Rather than “just another” AR-15, the piston-driven .308 is a rare commodity and the only options at the moment seem to be from Ruger and SIG SAUER (or H&K if you hate your bank account). A lower priced entry into a typically higher priced market is a welcome addition, and a smart move for the young company.

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    • Add the Ruger SR762 and Rock River LAR 8 Varmint and you can put some of the “accuracy due to piston movement on barrell harmonics” questions to the practical test, Nick.

      Not much info yet on various models, but Adams Arms video addresses the tilt on bcg issue on this video, which is very helpful, and once a few of these piston kits/guns get out of beta in .308 I can see them being a great way to custom build or get a basic .308 at a decent price. Adams is selling kits and parts at discount, so they are confirming the slowdown in AR market right now. Might be a good time to take advantage before the next Obama induced panic gun buying surge…ya gotta know “I’m proud of my Activist AG legacy” Holder has something up his sleeve with that Ferguson comment, as he scurries out the door just ahead of the judge ordered FOIA releases Oct 16 and Nov 1…

      Maybe he’ll hook up with Shannon…won’t Dirk be jealous…;)

    • Same. Although my first thought was “Damnit i just got my sig patrol 716” Even though its my first purchase alongside rockisland 1911.

  1. Arrrggghhh! That looks really nice! And here I sit, waiting patiently for my PTR-91 to return from the manufacturer… for the second time.

    • I have one of their piston AR-15s and as it arrived from the factory it left a bit to be desired. The standard handguards are just standard round-profile handguards with milled slots to accept the piston. Due to the milling the notch in the handguard that keeps it tight to the front handguard collar is gone, so you could push them apart pretty easily.

      The trigger was a typically mushy AR-15 affair. On top of that, last week (mind you, this is a gun with less than 200 rounds through it) the hammer pin walked out of the receiver and I was getting double fires. Kind of scary and very annoying for a new factory-built firearm.

      On the plus side, it is so freaking awesome to not have to clean the crud out of the nooks and cranny’s of the bolt and the upper after shooting it.

      • Yeah, that stinks! Mine worked flawlessly and ate everything I put in it. Unfortunately, my bolt gap was shrinking every 40-60 rounds, so I sent it in. When it returned, I was getting light primer strikes almost every other round. That lessened significantly after about 100 rounds but the bolt gap continued to shrink. So, now I had a gun that still had the original problem, plus a new problem… at no extra charge! So, back it went and I’m hoping it is okay when it returns. I will say that PTR has been very easy to work with though I was hoping they might say they would just send me a new rifle…

  2. ” a piston-driven .308 Winchester rifle ” hmmmm….sounds like an M1A. You know what they say about the more things change…

    • That is like making fun of it for being a gas-operated semi-auto. The action is nothing like an M1A.

      • yup, and the number of gunnies that can fix a bent or frozen M1 op rod is shrinking fast. Vs drop in a new short piston in the Adams Arms piston kit, which I assume will be upgraded for .308.
        Some one did a review of an Adams Arms AR15 piston kit to prove it ran WITHOUT a piston spring, not advised but a what if SHTF defending situation and spring broke….pretty impressive, I thought.

  3. I’ll have to wait to see some reviews for this. If it turns out to be decent and hold up well I might sell my FAL and pick one of these up.

    • Just my opinion, but I’d keep the FAL. Nothing against AR rifles, but the FAL is super-duper ultra reliable in my experience. I sold mine over 20 years ago and STILL regret it.

  4. I’m waiting for someone to release a revolutionary roller-locked action in .308.

    The Adam Arms rifle does look nice – although I’m still not convinced that a piston system is all that much better in a .308. The gas systems seem to work fine in the other .308 offerings. If I was to buy a new AR chambered in .308 today, it would probably be one of the Rock River Arms X-series, which has a lot of nice features AND uses the FN-FAL mags, of which I own a boatload.

  5. I emailed the folks at Huldra (the Fleet Farm branch of Adams Arms retail) early this year and they confirmed that a .308 platform was being tested. I immediately took out a fleet farm credit card and started saving gift cards.

  6. I was hoping to see something on the Adams website addressing the (in)advisabililty of using .308 or 7.62x51NATO ammunition interchangeably in their .308 rifle.

  7. I wonder if they’ll have to rename them because Armalite came out with their own Defender line a couple months ago.

  8. What about the LWRC REPR? While somewhat expensive compared to the Ruger or Sig, it is still a quality 308.

    • Well sure – and that’s the question. Is it worth the extra $$$?

      After owning a 516 Patrol for a year now and comparing it to other top-tier piston ARs I would say no. About the only thing the LWRC IC has on the Sig is the fully-milled ambi lower and a slightly better charging handle from factory. The Sig’s piston system is actually *easier* to clean than LWRC.

      With the $1000 or so you save going with the Sig, you can buy a B.A.D.A.S.S. safety and a BCM charging handle of your choice and still have hundreds left over for ammo or whatever else you might want to add.

      That said, I’m still going to be buying an IC one day. Why? Because it’s about the only other AR on the market I would consider “good enough” (along with the HK556) and I actually like that extra 10% fit and finish that you pay 50% more for. Same reason I really dig HK.

    • Only reason I didn’t already bite on the PWS over the new AA release (in 300 BLK) is that I really want an adjustable gas system (especially for 300 BLK), after my recent experience with a DI 9″ setup that liked to choke on subs, spit gas back in your face like all hell and get real dirty after a few mags, enough so that the gas key starts binding on the gas tube.

  9. I’m dying to get my hands on one of their new 300 BLK 9.5″ uppers with the new 5 way adjustable XLR system, but can’t find even one iota of a review out there, I have some concerns about a 1:9.5 twist rate, and have no idea how the F you can adjust the gas settings when the block is buried under the (samson evo) handguard.

  10. I wish people would learn what “billet” means.

    They make the lower out of bar stock, not billet.

    • I would assume Adams Arms knows what “billet” means and used the correct term in their presser. Billet is a semi-finished casting product defined as a length of metal that has a round or square cross-section, with an area less than 36 sq in (230 cm2).
      It seems to me that it would be cheaper and not substantially more difficult to machine a lower receiver from billet than bar stock, which is a finished product obtained from billet.

      • No, billet isn’t the same as bar stock. The material properties are refined in bar stock.

        First of all, billet aluminum isn’t heat treated. Billets are simply large quantities of aluminum alloy for inputs into forging, re-heating, forming for bar stock, etc. Billets are what come out of aluminum smelters, ready for further processing.

        Part of the designation on aluminum bar stock is the heat treatment. For example, the “mil-spec” for aluminum in AR-15/M-16 receivers is “7075-T651” aluminum. “7075” is the alloy specification, “T651” is the heat treatment/etc treatment after the bar is formed.

        Here’s a sheet from Alcola that shows the effects of the various treatments on 7075 aluminum:

        Next, if you’re going to make a receiver out of “billet,” you have a problem: How do you get a piece of said billet into a CNC machine to start whittling on it? You could cut the billet down to size in a saw (several times), but you’re going to end up with a lot of waste. You could buy a machine big enough that you could toss a slab of billet onto the table and start whittling away with an end mill, but that’s going to be wasteful as well, because the larger work envelopes that would allow you to do this cost big bucks in the machine tooling world.

        No, you’re going to buy a piece of rectangular bar stock that you can fit into very standard workholding fixtures in a CNC machine and you’re going to buy bar stock that has the required heat treatment and spec, so you don’t have to do the heat treatment yourself, because that’s not a process for which most CNC shops are equipped. You’re going to load up the work fixtures on a CNC machine with a bunch of pieces of bar stock, all cut to the same size, you’re going to put said workholding fixture into the CNC mill, you’re going to close the doors, hit the green button and chips will start to fly.

        You’re not going to fool around with an absurdly large piece of aluminum like billet.

        • It could be, but for a shop making receivers from “billet” (ie, bar stock), why bother? Part of the advantage of using bar stock and a CNC for machining components is that you just cram the bar stock into the machines as fast as you can, and parts come out. They then get finished (deburred, perhaps polished a bit), then anodized/coated and you’re done.

          Now, in steel, because the hardness level reached is so much higher than in aluminum, yes, heat treating is often done after machining. eg, the heat treatment protocol on a M-1A/M-14 receiver and bolt are exquisite and involved, and are done after machining.

          I’ll also add this: heat treated aluminum often cuts FAR better than just raw, soft aluminum. I’ve learned this the hard way when I’ve welded up aluminum sub-components into a larger assembly, then went to CNC the result. The area of the weld and HAZ (heat affected zone) around the weld machined about as well as warm chewing gum.

        • Just my 2 cents. I worked as a metallurgy technician for Alcoa in the ingot department of the Lafayette operations. We primarily made nice round billet, but I was involved in work on a specialty billet that was shaped and looked like a lower AR-15 receiver before machining. We were working with the customer on this to remove a step in the manufacturing process and thus cost savings.

          Yes, Alcoa can and does make billet that is has shapes other then being nice round. The ingot department I worked in had a pretty large amount of specialty shaped billets that we poured and that had no heat treatment or any other type or level of processing.

          Just thought I would share.


  12. I have a lead on a Adams Arms .308 in my area that is well below MSRP brand new. Now….do I ditch the Socom 16 itch for the Adams?

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