Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby MarshallDodge » Tue 30 Jun 2015 1:09 pm

PSA just sent me an email with their 4th of July specials. One of the items is a 9mm specific lower assembly.

Note the hammer provided in the assembly is an un-notched hammer that is compatible with the 9mm bolt carrier. You may want to check yours to be certain that it is un-notched as well.
Kirk
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"The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." John Steinbeck
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby manithree » Wed 01 Jul 2015 7:19 pm

MarshallDodge wrote:Note the hammer provided in the assembly is an un-notched hammer that is compatible with the 9mm bolt carrier. You may want to check yours to be certain that it is un-notched as well.


My hammer isn't notched.

I've been on vacation for a week, and got to the range with my 9mm AR. It locks back EVERY time the mag is empty, no matter which magazine.

I tried twice with each of my 3 current magazines (2 Promag polymer, 1 IWI steel), and it never failed to lock back. I did find it interesting that 2-3 times it failed to feed when I released the bolt on a fresh mag (usually with only one round in it). So, if I understand correctly what the test was for, it seems the problem is NOT that the bolt isn't moving back far enough.

I picked up my metalform PSA mag tonight, and I'll probably give it the same test tomorrow, but if it performs the same, I'll probably send back the upper. Unless anybody has any other good suggestions ;-)
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby manithree » Wed 01 Jul 2015 7:25 pm



Thanks, that's good info.
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby MarshallDodge » Wed 01 Jul 2015 11:37 pm

It could be that your lower or the adapter are out of spec and are holding the magazine too low. If you could get a measurement somewhere as a reference then that may help diagnose the issue.
Kirk
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"The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." John Steinbeck
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby manithree » Sun 05 Jul 2015 8:06 am

MarshallDodge wrote:It could be that your lower or the adapter are out of spec and are holding the magazine too low. If you could get a measurement somewhere as a reference then that may help diagnose the issue.


I can't think of any way to get a reference measurement, but there is some play in the block. It can be pushed higher up (into the upper) than it sits.

I tried the PSA metalform magazine yesterday, and some Remington +p 115gr JHPs. Same thing, except the bolt rarely locks back with the metalform mag with any of the 3 types of ammo I've tried.

I think I'm going to send back the upper tomorrow, just to eliminate any potential issues with it. I suspect they'll tell me it's fine.

Then I'll try a different lower, or maybe a shim to raise the block in the mag well.
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby MarshallDodge » Mon 06 Jul 2015 8:14 am

If the magazine is not locking back on the bolt catch, that could be one more reason to believe that the magazine is being held too low in the rifle.

If you send the upper back, I would send the adapter block back with it, and have them check the tolerances on it.
Kirk
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"The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." John Steinbeck
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby manithree » Fri 28 Aug 2015 10:23 am

So, I got my AR-9 upper back Monday. I would have had it back on the 10th, but either PSA or FedEx messed up and it went all the way back to SC before they re-shipped it to me.

The good news is, PSA customer support was very responsive. They offered to issue me another shipping label if I kept the upper for 30 days and the first one expired. I was thinking of trying to finish up my son's science fair project before I sent it back. But I didn't.

The bad news is two-fold. I forgot to send back the mag insert, and it still malfunctions in exactly the same way. So I'm guessing the problem is with the insert or the (Tegra) lower.

Anybody have a pistol lower that I could try my insert in (and upper on)? My only other AR lower came built as a rifle from PSA, so I can't legally try my upper on it. The mag insert requires removal of the bolt and magazine catch. I could meet at a range in Utah County or SL area.
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby MarshallDodge » Tue 01 Sep 2015 12:04 pm

I have a Spike's pistol lower but I use it with a 223 upper. We may have to swap hammers to use it.

I could meet you at the WSA range in Kaysville sometime if you would like to do that.
Kirk
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"The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." John Steinbeck
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Finally, success!!

Postby manithree » Sun 13 Dec 2015 11:54 am

It's a long, boring, story, but I finally got this pistol working reliably. Pictures will be coming, but it was snowy and muddy at the "range" yesterday, and I was in a hurry by the end.

I ended up getting a dedicated 9mm lower from CMMG for several reasons. It's enough trouble (to me) to push out a roll pin and remove the bolt catch, that once the mag block insert is in, it's essentially a dedicated lower, anyway. I'm certainly not going to switch calibers at the range. Plus Gunnies had the lower with trigger group, selector, grip, bolt catch, and mag catch for only $250. The stripped CMMG lowers go for $199 from Brownells, and that's before shipping and FFL. And that leaves my other lowers free so I can build my long range rifle and my .300 pistol.

I learned a few things in this process, so I'll share them here.

Palmetto State Armory really does have good customer service if you know how to navigate it. Don't e-mail them. The only e-mail address I got was a generic one, so I would reply to an e-mail, and someone different would reply to me. They never figured out that I was replying and would treat every e-mail like it was a first contact with their CS dept.

If you have an issue with PSA gear, CALL THEM. I had gotten a nice letter back from the gunsmith saying he had upgraded my BCG to a slightly improved newer model, and that he had fired more than 30 rounds through it with no issues. But they sent me a new mag block that was clearly manufactured wrong:
Image here.

I noticed it as soon as I unpacked the box, but I took it to the range anyway, just in case I was crazy. I only managed to fire one shot with it, and that was lucky. So I called about that in November (I originally ordered this in May), and she offered me a full refund on the whole kit. I was tempted, but now I'm glad I resisted.

Finally, yesterday, I sent about 100 rounds downrange from 4 mags (IWI, metalform, promag), and didn't have a single issue. My son and I have chronographed several 147 gr. defense loads, and done ballistics gel tests comparing the same loads out of a 4" barrel to the 10.5" and I'm really impressed. Ballistically it's not quite .357 Magnum, but a 147g HST at 1370 fps is formidable, with impressive penetration and expansion.

I don't like the Sig Arm Brace. I shot without it yesterday, and I could tell a difference, but I'm not sure the difference justifies the cost or the weight. If I had shot this pistol with and without the brace before I bought it, I would have bought mags and ammo instead. Now I know. It's heavy. This pistol isn't light, but the weight and balance difference with the arm brace is significant.

In conclusion, I love it. It's fun to shoot, and easier for me to shoot accurately and quickly than a typical pistol.

The mag block inserts work for lots of people on the interwebz, so I think I just got unlucky.
It's not about the odds, it's about the stakes.
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Re: Palmetto State Armory AR-9 initial review

Postby MarshallDodge » Sun 13 Dec 2015 1:59 pm

Thanks for the update!

I'm glad you got it figured out. 8)
Kirk
-Seconds count, misses don't-
"The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental." John Steinbeck
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