I’m back! Yes, after 6 months away, I’m finally ready to resume my sporadic posts. As a start, I’m going to resume my series on ultralight weight AR-15s. I’ve spent a fair bit of time gathering details on different parts such as their weight and cost. Of course, I’m relying on manufacturer’s claims, which may my inaccurate or inconsistent. But today, I bring you a warning about a fellow ultralight enthusiast.
Throughout these posts, I will sometimes refer to a tumblr account, Sub60Ounces.
Sneak peak of his finished build
It’s a great resource and I came to many of the same conclusions that he did, but some of his other decisions were very poorly thought out. For example, he decided to use a nut instead of a magazine release button. It forces him to disassemble the gun to reload it, and it only saves him 0.04 ounce. He made some unwise and potentially dangerous decisions, so please, read on to help avoid some potential pitfalls.
Smoke Composites is a relatively obscure company, but I’ll mention them again when it comes to shoulder stocks. Their handguards seem very light weight, but the stats on their website are a bit misleading. It seems that those weights are for just the handguard tube, and do not include the barrel nut, mounting screws, or optional top rail. They claim their carbine-length rail is 3.74 ounces, but adding the top rail adds 0.8 ounce, and the complete assembly weighs 6.14 ounces. By extension, their other rails should weigh 6.99 ounces (midlength) and 8.61 ounces (rifle length) complete with top rail. Unfortunately, their handguards are also expensive, costing almost the same a BCM KMR. For the sake of comparison, a BCM KMR weighs 5.2 ounces (carbine), 6.0 ounces (midlength), or 7.7 ounces (13″, longer than rifle).
Further, he also uses a Taccom Lightweight buffer system and a Smith Enterprises aluminum bolt carrier (discontinued). Although he ordered the Taccom buffer from Tactical Link, he apparently ignored the part where TacLink warns “although some have used the Ultra Lightweight Buffer with aluminum and titanium carriers, Taccom has not tested this and can not recommend the use of the Ultra Lightweight Buffer with those carriers.” Curious, I went over to Taccom’s website, and it turns out that TacLink was almost quoting Taccom. Taccom said “Although some customers have used our recoil system with aluminum and Ti carriers, we have not personally tested this and can not recommend the use of our recoil system’s with those carriers.”
Finally, he’s using the shoulder stock from Smoke Composites. Now, this is one seriously light weight part. It’s significantly lighter than conventional stocks, and probably one of the best weight-to-dollar ratios. However, it’s all carbon fiber. That’s probably fine, but he’s also using a combination of buffer and bolt carrier that were never meant to be combined, and Taccom warns that the buffer “may result in poor operation or DAMAGE TO YOUR PLATFORM.”
Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I just think it would suck to damage a $220 shoulder stock, and if anything went really wrong, I’d rather not rely on a carbon fiber tube to contain the problem.