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rowjimmy
November 26, 2016, 17:53
Guys,

I put together one of these kits (with the 11" railed upper) on an Anderson lower some time ago but didn't have any optics so let it sit in the safe. I recently picked up a couple of those Bushnell AR Optics from PSA and took it out to zero it today. It was all over. Now, I mounted the same scope on one of their premium uppers and had no trouble establishing and keeping a zero. The only other time I had a problem like this was with one of their TAC uppers some time ago.

I had two light primer strikes to start. I checked the hammer fall and it seemed a little weaker than my PSA lower, but nothing extreme. I then took the BCG out and broke it down. It seemed like there was oil on the firing pin and it was reluctant to move through the bolt. I wiped the FP down and blew through the bolt and reassembled. It worked fine from then on out.

The gun held and inch at 25 yards for the most part, but when I went out to 50 the zero shifted and seemed to be spotty, sometimes hitting poa and others a few inches high and left. Then, it did it high and right after some modest adjustments. At 100 yards I was using most of the upper half of a 12"x12" Redfield sight in target. Occasionally it would shoot poa, then it would shoot high and left/right. I looked at the muzzle (I think the PTAC I had issues with appeared off-center and not concentric with the barrel.) This looked OK to the naked eye. I also examined the bore and it had no obvious flaws or defects.

Any ideas? I have 4 kits sitting downstairs unbuilt, but if they will shoot like this I'm sending them back. I know they offer a variety of freedom kits (this is the melonite barrel), anybody else have issues like this?

Dazed and Confused
November 27, 2016, 00:57
That sucks, I hope you get it sorted out.

I just put together an AR using the Freedom upper & PSA Magpul lower kit assembled on a NODAK lower... Haven't shot it yet... We'll see how it goes.

I'll be watching this thread.

rowjimmy
November 27, 2016, 09:36
Damn guys, 70 views and no reply? Nobody else has built one of these particular kits and had/not had issues? What about the Freedom kits with MOE furniture?

CG&L
November 27, 2016, 09:54
Accuracy problems in an AR would either be in the scope/mount or the barrel

I'm sure you already know the twist rate and bullets used but it might be time to verify everything

You said you mounted the scope on another rifle and it had no trouble keeping zero but I would like to take a look at the scope/mount. It could still be the problem

The next thing to do would be to pull the barrel. The face of the upper probably isn't square and the barrel is a little loose.

I usually square the face of the upper. They're usually not very square, probably not enough to cause any harm but I like to know where I stand when building a rifle

If all the above fails, it's time to start taking measurements from the bore.
I have pin gauges and a bore scope. Slugging the bore would be an option as well

kotengu
November 27, 2016, 10:09
Damn guys, 70 views and no reply? Nobody else has built one of these particular kits and had/not had issues? What about the Freedom kits with MOE furniture?

I think 99% of the folks that bought these are in the "stash it" category so they'll never know. Even I was tempted by them, but I held out. I'm curious to see more reports too.

Sorry it's giving you trouble!

rowjimmy
November 27, 2016, 10:15
Accuracy problems in an AR would either be in the scope/mount or the barrel

I'm sure you already know the twist rate and bullets used but it might be time to verify everything

You said you mounted the scope on another rifle and it had no trouble keeping zero but I would like to take a look at the scope/mount. It could still be the problem

The next thing to do would be to pull the barrel. The face of the upper probably isn't square and the barrel is a little loose.

I usually square the face of the upper. They're usually not very square, probably not enough to cause any harm but I like to know where I stand when building a rifle

If all the above fails, it's time to start taking measurements from the bore.
I have pin gauges and a bore scope. Slugging the bore would be an option as well

I meant to say, if I wasn't clear, I used the same scope/mount combo on another rifle with no issue.

It's a 1/7 twist, but I've never had issues getting acceptable accuracy from 55 gr fmj with a 1/7 before. (Of course, perhaps the twist rate is tighter due to poor QC?)

Wouldn't the barrel nut keep the barrel tight against even an out of spec receiver if properly torqued? I'm trying to understand the reasoning here.

I'm no gunsmith and only have an AR armorer's wrench.

Supposedly, these barrels are lead lapped from what I've read and are melonite coated. The barrel feels tight and the rail is very tight as well.

Thanks!

rowjimmy
November 27, 2016, 10:18
I think 99% of the folks that bought these are in the "stash it" category so they'll never know. Even I was tempted by them, but I held out. I'm curious to see more reports too.

Sorry it's giving you trouble!

I'm not sure stashing a 9 moa gun is a good idea. :facepalm::wink:

I am tempted to break out an upper from another kit to see if it behaves differently, but don't want to eat it. I'll contact PSA this week and see what they say.

Aim has CBC kits for the same price with free shipping.

hkshooter
November 27, 2016, 11:11
You never said what ammo or how many kinds you tried. FWIW, I have a 50cal can of Norinco yellow box 55gr that shoots minute of foot at 50 yards no matter what I put it in. Same gun, different ammo, and we have groups instead of patterns.

rowjimmy
November 27, 2016, 12:44
You never said what ammo or how many kinds you tried. FWIW, I have a 50cal can of Norinco yellow box 55gr that shoots minute of foot at 50 yards no matter what I put it in. Same gun, different ammo, and we have groups instead of patterns.

I was shooting Wolf 55 gr brass cased 5.56. It shoots comparable to Fed XM193 in all of my other AR's. Its good ammo. I was thinking of trying some other ammo and likely will, but I think its the rifle

hkshooter
November 27, 2016, 13:23
I was shooting Wolf 55 gr brass cased 5.56. It shoots comparable to Fed XM193 in all of my other AR's. Its good ammo. I was thinking of trying some other ammo and likely will, but I think its the rifle

The only thing I've seen cause your symptoms is a loose barrel but a defective barrel could do weird things I guess. I'd try it with different ammo and depending on the result, remove the sight and try the irons.

richbug
November 27, 2016, 13:43
What do you have on the muzzle? Any evidence of bullet strikes? I had a DPMS barrel that was threaded crooked enough to get strikes on a brake.

Otherwise I'd make sure the barrel nut was torqued up good.

The freedom uppers I have bough have all been good shooters.

CG&L
November 27, 2016, 13:59
Wouldn't the barrel nut keep the barrel tight against even an out of spec receiver if properly torqued?


I've taken barrels of rifles that were barely on hand tight. A loose barrel with a not-so-perfect receiver face would cause cause problems

I've never encountered an AR receiver face that wasn't out of square a little. I think it makes it easier to get the gas tube aligned when the face is out a little

If you ever square a receiver, the barrel nut will torque a lot faster giving little room or alignment.

rowjimmy
November 27, 2016, 14:42
The only thing I've seen cause your symptoms is a loose barrel but a defective barrel could do weird things I guess. I'd try it with different ammo and depending on the result, remove the sight and try the irons.

It's a railed upper so I have no irons. I have a cheap set of plastic sights I could throw on but I don't think it has to do with the scope.

What do you have on the muzzle? Any evidence of bullet strikes? I had a DPMS barrel that was threaded crooked enough to get strikes on a brake.

Otherwise I'd make sure the barrel nut was torqued up good.

The freedom uppers I have bough have all been good shooters.

A2 flashhider. Oddly enough, i've had rifles that showed evidence of rounds striking the flash hider, but the rifles shot really well. There is no evidence of that here. It still looks like a nice circle.

Wouldn't the barrel nut keep the barrel tight against even an out of spec receiver if properly torqued?


I've taken barrels of rifles that were barely on hand tight. A loose barrel with a not-so-perfect receiver face would cause cause problems

I've never encountered an AR receiver face that wasn't out of square a little. I think it makes it easier to get the gas tube aligned when the face is out a little

If you ever square a receiver, the barrel nut will torque a lot faster giving little room or alignment.

Perhaps I'll need to pull the rail off and check the barrel nut. Thanks for all the feedback.

rowjimmy
November 27, 2016, 14:43
Tomorrow is the first day of buck season for rifle here, so it might be some time until I revisit this, unless I get a Sunday to test fire.

rowjimmy
November 27, 2016, 20:14
Dammit Forrest. You're the only guy I know that likes psa more than me. I was hoping to get some feedback from you. :)

yellowhand
November 27, 2016, 20:54
I've bought/built several of the PSA kits and built countless others for folks.

If the barrel it tight and scope is fine, ya might try this.

Take 3 30 round mags, and simply smoke the barrel, break in, set all the parts, bcg, wear on all surfaces, etc..
Rapid fire, on all three mags in a row, then let barrel cool to touch and give it another try putting it on paper.

Folks tend not to allow enough ammo to pass thru these things to get them hot and broken in properly.

Friend brought me his new AR, it was shooting all over the place, and he noticed the bolt carrier was rough riding inside the upper, etc.
Dropped enough break free into it to float a ship, grabbed a couple of mags, dumped both rapid, thing was smoking good.
Cooled off, on paper, tack driver.

4x401
November 27, 2016, 22:52
The only problems I've ever experienced with PSA stuff is the crappy PTAC line of parts, and a bunch of Stainless Steel barrels with FUBAR chambers..

That's why I don't buy either..

ftierson
November 28, 2016, 00:45
Dammit Forrest. You're the only guy I know that likes psa more than me. I was hoping to get some feedback from you. :)

:)

I've bought a shitload of PSA kits and stuff, but only three of the Freedom Kits, which were all the 1/7 SS 16in Midlength barreled ones that 4x401 mentions having problems with...

I've never had problems with any of the kits I've purchased, including the SS Freedom ones (although I've only shot one of the three SS Freedom kits, which turned out to be a tack-driver with no chamber problem).

That's been my experience, although I'm not trying to discount the problems some have reported (like 4x401 and the SS Freedom kits).

My first thought about your problem revolves around a loose barrel as others have already mentioned. In terms of A2 FS misalignment, it would be hard to get one angled enough to kiss bullets without easily noticing it.

I'm assuming that the bore looks OK. It takes a fairly large problem to result in the groups you mention.

I wish you the best of luck in tracking down the problem.

Forrest

ftierson
November 28, 2016, 00:56
I probably should also mention that I've never purchased any of the PTAC kits, hearing about enough smoke that suggests a fire to me.

In terms of barrel problems, I only remember two off the top of my head out of a couple of dozen ARs. The first was a 20in RRA LAR-15A2 with a ringed chamber. RRA replaced it quickly.

The second was two DSA midlength uppers with fluted barrels that had chambers so oversized that the fired cartridge cases wouldn't even fit in reloading dies. Got my money back from DSA on them and have stayed away from DSA AR stuff ever since...

Whoops, I just remembered a problem with a 20in chrome lined barrel from Doublestar/J&T Distributing several years ago that had an extremely rough bore. I had them replace it with a non-chrome lined one that was just fine.

Forrest

ftierson
November 28, 2016, 01:11
:)

My first thought about your problem revolves around a loose barrel as others have already mentioned.


Actually, now that I think about it, that's not quite true. My first thought revolved around the sighting system. I also picked up a couple of the Bushnell scopes when PSA had them cheap and have been pretty happy with them so far. Having said that, things can still go wrong when mounting and whatever, and there is a parallax consideration too.

If the setup is shooting decent, repeatable groups at 25 yards, then a loose barrel becomes less likely as the cause and sighting problems or a bore not stabilizing the bullet well become more likely culprits...

Forrest

hueyville
November 28, 2016, 05:55
I don't buy any kits or Palmetto Freedom parts. Buy their premium blem parts as find deals. The kit thing seems to cost as much as complete rifle. LGS has complete AR15's for cyberMonday at $429 and had Smith M&P 15's for $479 on Black Friday. Suggest start with a different optic first to ensure bad optic isn't your issue. If still wanky with proven optic then would look close at barrel and face of upper. Sometimes front of upper is out of square and has to be trued. Put a JP Enhanced Reliability Spring Kit in trigger and will lower pull and raise reliability. Bet light primer strikes go away for $9.99.

On another topic Gman was recomending Faxon melonite barrels in another thread. Can back his recomendation and Red Barn Armory has their 16" 1:7 melonite barrel for $89 this morning. If need some 16" barrels might want to pop on a couple. I am waiting till after Christmas still as have plenty of build parts except buffer tubes.

rowjimmy
November 28, 2016, 22:37
I've bought/built several of the PSA kits and built countless others for folks.

If the barrel it tight and scope is fine, ya might try this.

Take 3 30 round mags, and simply smoke the barrel, break in, set all the parts, bcg, wear on all surfaces, etc..
Rapid fire, on all three mags in a row, then let barrel cool to touch and give it another try putting it on paper.

Folks tend not to allow enough ammo to pass thru these things to get them hot and broken in properly.

Friend brought me his new AR, it was shooting all over the place, and he noticed the bolt carrier was rough riding inside the upper, etc.
Dropped enough break free into it to float a ship, grabbed a couple of mags, dumped both rapid, thing was smoking good.
Cooled off, on paper, tack driver.

Thanks. A good friend of mine who is an experienced shooter suggested it might be a barrel beak-in issue. I had feed problems with my 1911 and he said "mags." I tried everything else first, and it ended up being the mags. Yall might be right.

The only problems I've ever experienced with PSA stuff is the crappy PTAC line of parts, and a bunch of Stainless Steel barrels with FUBAR chambers..

That's why I don't buy either..

This isn't SS, so hoping that's no the problem.

Actually, now that I think about it, that's not quite true. My first thought revolved around the sighting system. I also picked up a couple of the Bushnell scopes when PSA had them cheap and have been pretty happy with them so far. Having said that, things can still go wrong when mounting and whatever, and there is a parallax consideration too.

If the setup is shooting decent, repeatable groups at 25 yards, then a loose barrel becomes less likely as the cause and sighting problems or a bore not stabilizing the bullet well become more likely culprits...

Forrest

This is the second of a pair of Bushnell 1X4 AR optics I bought in a Primary Arms mount. The first shot fine. I'll be pissed if this is the scope. I have a cheap but functional pair of plastic sights. I may need to try them. I can hold 3 moa with irons pretty easy from a rest (don't laugh.)

I don't buy any kits or Palmetto Freedom parts. Buy their premium blem parts as find deals. The kit thing seems to cost as much as complete rifle. LGS has complete AR15's for cyberMonday at $429 and had Smith M&P 15's for $479 on Black Friday. Suggest start with a different optic first to ensure bad optic isn't your issue. If still wanky with proven optic then would look close at barrel and face of upper. Sometimes front of upper is out of square and has to be trued. Put a JP Enhanced Reliability Spring Kit in trigger and will lower pull and raise reliability. Bet light primer strikes go away for $9.99.

On another topic Gman was recomending Faxon melonite barrels in another thread. Can back his recomendation and Red Barn Armory has their 16" 1:7 melonite barrel for $89 this morning. If need some 16" barrels might want to pop on a couple. I am waiting till after Christmas still as have plenty of build parts except buffer tubes.

Thanks Huey.

yellowhand
November 28, 2016, 22:58
Local range rats love to see me coming with a new firearm.
Large bag full of loaded magazines, and knowing the time will come quickly to pass it around for everyone to shoot up "free ammo"!:rofl:

AR's have a lot of moving parts, often times just needs to be "broken in" or "settled in" to realize accuracy potential.

But don't listen to me, I'm "that guy" who will fire a brand new AR without cleaning of any type until it finally stops working.:rofl:

Things comes with a 30 round magazine for a reason, as in, need to shoot something, just shoot it four or five times or until it stops wiggling.:whistling::smile:

fmj_shooter
November 28, 2016, 23:25
I would check the barrel nut. I've seen the nuts bottom out on the receiver before there was full engagement on the barrel. If it's close you may be able to shim it. If this is the case, pm me and I'll send you some shims.

It's hard to get an AR to shoot that bad. It's possible, but palmetto has a good reputation as far as bargain parts go. Still I have seen barrels that could not perform, bad chambers, bad threads, bad crowns, etc.

rowjimmy
November 28, 2016, 23:27
I would check the barrel nut. I've seen the nuts bottom out on the receiver before there was full engagement on the barrel. If it's close you may be able to shim it. If this is the case, pm me and I'll send you some shims.

It's hard to get an AR to shoot that bad. It's possible, but palmetto has a good reputation as far as bargain parts go. Still I have seen barrels that could not perform, bad chambers, bad threads, bad crowns, etc.

Thanks. I've got a deer to butcher tomorrow but will see what the week brings for time to diagnose this problem.

hagar
November 29, 2016, 12:29
My wife's cousin bought one from PSA a couple of months ago, I helped her sight it in last Saturday. Used my own reloaded 55 grain softpoint bullets and it worked flawlessly. Not quite as accurate as my Remington R15 with the same bullets, but that shot darn near one hole groups at 50 yards.

jhend170
November 30, 2016, 22:39
ARs are inherently accurate. Even the cheap ones aren't bad. This means that only a few things can affect it.

1. The scope or mount. Has it been put on another rifle of decent accuracy and checked? Had my Remmy 700 and put a new scope on. Chased that damned zero for a box of 20 rounds (and at $2.50 a round for .270WSM that was a pisser) and never hit the same place twice. After the first 10 rounds or so I took the mount off, remounted the scope completely, did exactly the same thing. As you've probably figured out the scope was bad. I'll fail to mention names, but as I'd had it about 6 months before finally mounting it the return time had passed. Ran into them at the NRA convention when it was here and they made it REALLY right. Said that particular model had some QC issues that got the guy in charge of production canned. They replaced it with another scope, a spotting scope, AND a pistol light/laser. But I digress...

2. Other possibility is the upper face is not square. I have a lapping tool, lap every AR upper I build. This trues the face to the barrel extension flange and ensures the barrel is perfectly perpendicular to the bore of the upper. It also eliminates any highs or lows around the face than can allow the barrel to tilt, even when the nut is properly torqued. Buddy at work had this exact problem, and after just a few seconds of lapping the face the problem was obvious, a high point that was invisible to the naked eye. Just a few thousandths of a high point at the face of the upper can make for the need for dramatic adjustments to sights, or never seat and float around like yours may be doing.

3. Another, less likely scenario is a long chamber where the projo has to jump a significant distance to get to the lands.

4. I assume you checked the barrel itself for issues. A burr can occur where the gas port is drilled but they typically shoot out after just a few rounds.

5. A terrible milspec trigger doesn't help things.

Still bet money the issue is the scope or mount or the barrel nut or upper face.

rowjimmy
December 01, 2016, 18:19
I took the rifle out again today with a pair of iron sights to swap out to if it still performed poorly. My first three hits were high right at 100 yards, with some vertical stringing, but they kind of grouped. A little more adjustment and I was poa/poi and was shooting decent three shot groups. For most, two rounds were within an inch and a third was about 2 inches off. So, for 2 moa ammo (wolf gold brass) I can't complain. I don't know what was different (and today was windy), but the gun is shooting well now. Perhaps it was just the barrel and optic "settling in." She seems to be a shooter.

I am a little perplexed by the BDC on the Bushnell scope though. It claims a 100 yard zero has you putting the first drop hash on target at 200 to make hits, but that seems like quite a hold over IMO. I tried it and both my hits were near the top of the target. I'll need to play with this out to 500 to see if the BDC really works, but at least I have a zero and the rifle groups.

Thanks for all of the replies. If I run into a jam like this again, I'll know what to try. I'm kind of happy I'm not going to have to return the scope to Bushnell or tear the upper down to check the barrel tightness.

Perhaps the important thing I needed to learn here was to be patient. But, after my PTAC experience, I was afraid I had another lemon.

yellowhand
December 01, 2016, 18:23
Don't clean it until it stops running and make sure ya hold your head at a 16.2 degree angle!:)

Happy it worked itself in for ya.