Palmetto State Armory - Terrible barrels!

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by BoulderDash, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. BoulderDash

    BoulderDash New Member

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    Hey all,

    I finished my latest project last weekend, building two PA-10s in 308. I made the mistake of going with Palmetto State Armory barrels - specifically their 18" 308 midlength stainless steel barrels. I wanted to post this up to give you all a warning to heed if you're building a rifle and expect decent accuracy.

    I gathered a variety of ammunition to shoot through the rifles and one good thing is that they function fine, albeit with a lot of recoil which will be mitigated with adjustable gas blocks when I rebuild the uppers with the new barrels. Here are pictures of the best groups of the day:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The first picture is using Federal Gold Medal Match with 175gr SMKs. The second is Prvi Match with 168gr HPBT. They measure approximately 3.5". The target with two groups was where I shot a group, zeroed (as much as you can from a group like that) and shot another group. Other groups with both match and non match ammunition were in the 5-6" range.

    Is this normal for Palmetto State Armory barrels? I have friends with 556 PSA barrels that (they say) shoot great, and I've seen good performance out of them on YouTube. Personally I hold any rifle to a higher standard than 3 or 4 MOA.

    I contacted Palmetto in an email Saturday night expressing that this performance is unsatisfactory to me, and I've not heard back. Hopefully I will, and if so I'll post back here.

    I'd love to hear that this was just a bad batch and they'll refund me, but I won't hold my breath.

    In the mean time, anybody have any luck with Rainier Arms' 308 barrels?
     
  2. Seargent_York

    Seargent_York New Member

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    I would be reserved about trashing PSA barrels myself, nothing but excellent experience with their quality. However, all PSA barrels are not created equal. For a brand new barrel to perform this way is suspect. Is there damage to the crown? A manufacturing irregularity? It would help to know the following:

    - what distance is your pictured target?
    - what type of optics are you using - scope (what kind) or red-dot?
    - what is the barrel's twist rate?

    other ideas:

    - see if lower weight bullets stabilize better. Try some 140 and 150 grain bullets

    and the key question is:
    - what do you normally group at that distance with other rifles?


    PS: if you do find out that the shooter, and not the barrel, to be the issue, will you start a thread "BoulderDash - Terrible Shot!"? :p
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016

  3. BoulderDash

    BoulderDash New Member

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    There are 2 barrels on 2 separate rifles
    100 yards
    SWFA 3-15x42 FFP, SWFA mount
    Nikon M308 4-16x, SWFA mount
    1/10
    140s? No
    Depends on the rifle. Have two rifles that shoot sub-MOA.
     
  4. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think part of the point Mr. York was trying to make is, holding off making disparaging remarks until you see how PSA plans on dealing with the issue, especially an open gun forum that thousands are reading.

    as with any mass produced items, no matter how great the company, a few bad items end up on the market. how the company deals with those defective items is what makes or breaks a company and whether people have confidence in buying from them.

    I have to agree with Mr. York on this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  5. BoulderDash

    BoulderDash New Member

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    Y'all are sensitive.

    I'm asking this open forum whether they've had the same issue, and this open forum will know if Palmetto ends up making it right or not.

    I'm not here to make things up- these are my results with their product and anyone else who got the same barrels would see the same result.

    If you're worried about Palmetto's reputation, find a way to help them make more accurate barrels rather than tell people not to share their personal experiences with their products with others.
     
  6. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    That certainly is not acceptable. Have you tried any Federal GM308M Gold Medal 168 gr. match rounds? I would be interested in seeing the results from that test. If it will not shoot those you certainly have an inferior barrel. The scopes and good mounts should not be the issue. Since from what I perceive from above both barrels are doing the same thing? I assume you were shooting from the bags on a very stable bench or support? And with the rifle at natural point of aim. Otherwise not torqued and breath control.
    Obviously with you shooting sub MOA Groups with your other rifles it is not you or your technique! Could very well be a damaged crown or simply a defective barrels ? As we know they do not make their barrels the buy them! And as stated any company can get a shipment of bad products. And it is what they do with the issue that is important. Customer service is everything in the industry today!
    Keep us informed!
    03
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  7. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    trust me, i'm not the least bit sensitive about it since I have no dog in this hunt, but I have read way too many great reviews on many different gun forums, that I wouldn't hesitate in buying their products for an AR build.

    but you do what you feel you must, but make sure you leave a little room for the crow in case you have to eat some!
     
  8. BoulderDash

    BoulderDash New Member

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    Sniper03,

    I agree, it isn't acceptable. I did try Federal GMM in 168, but the groups were not as tight as the groups I posted pictures to.

    I was shooting with bags under the front and one bag under the rear of the rifles.

    Absolutely! I'm absolutely open to these barrels being defective in some way which is something that can affect any manufacturer. I'm not picking on Palmetto, just sharing results.

    Thanks


    Dallas53,

    Thanks for sharing your opinion that after reading some great reviews, but never owning any of the products yourself, you believe my experience is bullwhip. That's helpful.
     
  9. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    please don't start making assumptions. I said I had no dog in the hunt, not that I didn't have any experience with their products.

    and what is bull**** is your approach to the situation. first place i'd ever start is contacting them and seeing how they would or will deal with the issue, long before dealing with it on an open forum. have you even given them a chance to deal with the issue yet? apparently not as you said you haven't gotten a return reply to your email. and your wording of the thread? Terrible Barrels! pretty good way to expect them to want to rectify the situation. many of those manufacturers of guns and gun parts frequent these gun forums and when someone from PSA happens to read such a thread, i'm pretty sure they are going to jump through hoops wanting to help you out. but hey, what do I know? you're probably a smarter fellow than myself. so i'll let you alone to figure it out for yourself. you have good day sir.
     
  10. BoulderDash

    BoulderDash New Member

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    So you answered your own question there...

    And let me ask you, how would you rate the performance of a barrel that shoots 4" or greater groups at 100 yards with the best ammunition available? I'd say "terrible" is a totally accurate descriptor.

    As I've said twice in this thread, I honestly do hope that this is just a bad batch of barrels. In that case if Palmetto is a great company as you seem to think then they will rectify this situation. Whatever the outcome is, I will post it here and keep anyone reading this apprised.

    Thanks for your interest in the situation.
     
  11. Seargent_York

    Seargent_York New Member

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    another thought, are you sure you checked the head space correctly? not assuming you did not at all but that could effect accuracy

    I'd mention this, myself and a couple others have had great success with PSA products and while no one is perfect, they have always been great to deal with and sell great products for really good prices. The title of your thread is simply not accurate. PSA makes nothing close to terrible barrels, however, the fact that you have 2 behaving this way says to me that either they had a batch issue or that you did not properly head space the barrel. Or a damaged crown. Or you are not capable of shooting better, but if you have shot sub moa groups with other rifles I'd say your marksmanship is not the issue
     
  12. BoulderDash

    BoulderDash New Member

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    I forgot to mention that both rifles have Geissele G2S-E 2.5LB two stage triggers in them.

    For anybody interested, those triggers are amazing. IMO they're just as good as Geissele SSA's I've installed on other rifles, but being the E version they're a little lighter. Very clean, light break. I'm super pleased with the triggers and the SWFA optic and mounts have been great so far as well.

    EDIT:
    Seargent_York - just saw your post. Headspacing on AR-Type rifles is done by the barrel manufacturer when the barrel is mounted in the barrel extension. When ordering an AR "barrel" you're actually getting a barrel + barrel extension. When building a rifle, as long as the bolt locks into the barrel extension during a simple function check, you should be good to go. Thanks for the thought.

    I really hope so! I'd love for these to just be a bad batch - I agree that I've had good luck with PSA before and I have friends with a combined 20+ rifles built using almost exclusively their products with no issues.

    However, in this case, I have to stand by my statement that these barrels are terrible. The caveat is that ANYBODY could have a bad batch of terrible barrels and the really important thing is that the issue is rectified.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  13. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    My experience with Prvi Partisan "Match" ammo has given me less than stellar results on barrels that had already proven accuracy with other match loads. If get 3-4 rounds at around the 1.5-2moa mark and then have 1-2 flyers opening groups to 4 MOA or more. Had one rifle that didn't do well with Federal GMM other rifles liked it. I've also had a Stainless match barrel that didn't settle into any good groups until I had run 150 rounds through it.

    Dunno. Some barrels are funny about what they like and when they like it. I'd say if you are getting those groups out of two barrels with the same ammo and you normally get better groups out of different rifles wih the same loads, then the barrels are probably the problem. If you got bad groups out of several rifles from the same ammo it would be a possible ammo problem( they can make bad lots every now and again.)

    Keep us posted on how PSA deals with the issue. I've got a .308 build to finish.
     
  14. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    If they will not shoot a decent group with either barrel and with the Federal GM308M. It is time to contact the good folks there and explain what is going on. If you are having an issue with two barrels of the same run. They probably would definitely want to know about the problem since I am sure they have more of them which would be a problem to deal with once they have been purchased by other customers and are in the field or they have more on the shelf. As the guys mentioned, it is all about customer service and reputation.
    Let us know what comes out of it. That is what counts.
    03
     
  15. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    BoulderDash,Sorry to hear about your barrel problem. I've been fighting with Seekins Precision about the same type of problem for a long time,and mine is sold as a "Match Grade" barrel. It has always shot like crap,but Seekins says it is in spec and won't replace it.
    Unless PSA has a guarantee on the accuracy of their barrels,your probably SOL about them doing anything about them.

    Give them a chance to fix the problem,and if they don't,then rant the crap out of them.
     
  16. 762

    762 Active Member

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    cant say anything about their 308 barrels. but i can say the customer service has always been really good. i have one of their freedom barrels in a 556 build that i'm pretty happy with. i've built 4 AR15s with a bunch of PSA parts and one LR308 as well. i've really only had issues with a PTAC LPK, but that's the only PTAC stuff i've bought from them.


    i have heard good stuff about Rainier arms barrels. i plan on using one of their 18" 223 wylde match barrels on a SPR type build and possibly swap out the barrel on my LR308, but that will be down the road.
     
  17. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From what I understand PSA's premium 5.56 barrel is made by FN, mine was stamped as such. My groups also looked like yours but I'm not blaming the gun. Please let us know what PSA says after you contact them.
     
  18. BuryTheHatchet

    BuryTheHatchet New Member

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    A few things to consider...

    Test shoot for groups in a bench rest. You mentioned recoil, plus a light rifle will wiggle around.
    Recoil...do you flinch?
    Check the specs...is this a 308 chamber or 7.62 NATO?
    Did you do any barrel seasoning or break in?
    Cleaning regiment? Oil or no oil in barrel? Some barrels also need fouled for "X" amount of rounds before one sees good accuracy.
     
  19. big shrek

    big shrek Well-Known Member

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    Let's see, new guy shows up, has less than 10 posts,
    immediately starts bashing a well-known & trusted MFR...:pot stirrer:
    sensitive isn't what I'm thinking,
    openly skeptical of a possible troll would be.
    No real history, no proof that the trigger nut isn't the issue,
    no reason to believe Palmetto ever messed up.
    Of course we are going to question EVERYTHING about the situation.
    Including your build, seasoning, cleaning, ammo, failure to use a Lead Sled, etc.
     
  20. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Shrek, PSA might be well known but I wouldn't say trusted. I've read too many negative post on many forums about the quality of the stuff they sale.
    I have built a lot of AR's over the years, and I don't buy from them.

    And using a Leadsled with an AR style rifle is pretty useless. You will get better groups shooting off a front rest and rear bag.