Anyone have first-hand experience with the Superlative piston system in a weapon used with a silencer?
Well, I ended up getting a kit from them. Gotta build the gun, and then I can provide some initial impressions for anyone else that may be interested.
Finally got the gun together. Initial impressions are as follows.
The packaging, presentation, and included literature are all top-notch. The pieces seem nice but, in my opinion, dainty. Most piston systems have a pretty robust gas block that typically doesn't fit beneath a handguard. They certainly could have used more of the gas block journal, length-wise, to perhaps further reinforce everything. I am not an engineer or weapon design specialist though, so those impressions of mine may be meaningless. I certainly agree with their rather adamant recommendation of proper dimpling and red loctite, followed by a proper pinning of the gas block. Mine is currently dimpled and loctited, and will be pinned once I have a little more time behind the gun, and am sure it's how I want it.
The kit comes with two optional pieces: a piston return spring and an oprod bushing. I am using the return spring, as the sound of loose piston clinking around bugs me. They recommend checking on the spring during cleanings, as it will deteriorate and need replacement. I am not quite sure what the intent of the bushing is, as the literature doesn't really detail it's installation. Best I can tell is it's meant to be pressed into the cavity the oprod passes through, inside the receiver. I could be wrong on that though. The carrier seems very nice, and has a slick finish.
I have only fired ten shots so far, and got my gas setting pretty dialed-in, using a Griffin M4SD-K. I went straight for the "bleed-off" settings, as that feature is the main reason for my purchase. The gas block is certainly extremely versatile, when it comes to the range of adjustment. Pretty good detents on the adjustment too. It does require a tool to adjust, which isn't ideal, but not a deal breaker either.
Shoots very smooth and soft, depending how you have it adjusted. I have a regular carbine spring and light buffer in it now, and it is quite nice. I am excited to do more vigorous shooting with it, to assess it's performance with a silencer more thoroughly. The only thing I see so far that could be a bad thing is the cloud of gas puffed out the front. It will almost certainly be a problem when shooting at night, with white light or IR illumination. It may even be an issue during the daylight hours, in terms of hindering your sight of the target, and potentially enhancing your signature as perceived by the target. But hey, I bought it for the "bleed-off", and everything is a compromise. Further shooting will reveal more.
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Very cool. It seems the adjustable gas blocks work well, once you have the settings dialed in. Makes me wish all gas blocks were somewhat adjustable. Although, running suppressed is really the main reason they need be used, which is off the table for many.
Thanks for the update.
Another small update. The local gunsmith drilled and pinned the gas block this morning. He noted that the gas block was quite hard, in comparison to the barrel, which I suppose is a sign of quality. Granted the barrel is a Ballistic Advantage, so not the best there anyway. I have had good accuracy out of the BA barrels though; better than I have had out of Roscoe.
I have also shot the gun a bit more, since that initial ten rounds. A friend tried it as well, and agreed that it has a pretty light recoil impulse.
I did notice some silencer-related things during this shooting session too. I think I am experiencing a phenomenon similar to what I experienced with my 553 recently. Even with an adjustable piston gun, if the handguard doesn't allow the gas to vent favorably, you'll run into problems with a silencer. I think the fact the gas block is tucked under the handguard and it's front vent port is partially occluded by lights, a laser, and the silencer itself is causing some vented gas to be deflected back my way. When I disassembled the gun, to get the gas block pinned, I did notice some gas residue accumulation on the inside of the handguard. I am going to monitor this, and perhaps further modify the handguard, to remove any obstructions from the gas's vent path. Either that, or create some kind of gas-deflection heat shield piece. I also cleaned the gun, and noticed that the portion of op-rod that is within the receiver was pretty dirty, which leads me to believe that there is still some amount of over-pressure coming back in from the bore, due to the silencer. I understand I am splitting hairs, but it's kind of turned into a fun mission for me, to try and cut-down negative gas effects on a suppressed gun as much as possible. I swapped the muzzle device to the OSS, and that'll be my next experiment. I was hoping the gas system would allow a conventional can to thrive, and it is better, and certainly cleaner, than my other guns, but it seems that even the "bleed-off" system can't totally mitigate the negative effects.
One more thing worth mentioning, but almost goes without saying, is the Superlative-equipped gun is louder than a DI gun. I would guess it's most likely due to the "bleed-off" feature purging gas out the front. Everything is a trade-off, when it comes to guns, and even more so when silencers are involved.This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
Another thing I noticed, when cleaning the gun, is the cam pin track on their carrier is such that the pin galls the inside of the receiver, behind the pocket, worse than I have ever seen before. I am not concerned about it, but it's interesting.
I shot this gun a bit more last night, alongside another gun of mine that is a dedicated-suppressed DI gun. I used an AAC 762SDN6 on the Superlative Arms gun. Even with the .30 can, I experienced a good bit of gas in the face, when compared to the DI gun. The Superlative experiment is more-or-less a failed one at this point, as far as I'm concerned. Not delivering what I hoped, in the scope of my desired application.
Interesting and thank your for the feedback. I've considered their gas block for my 8" 300 BLK. I know I'm currently over gassed, but haven't made the decision if it's worth dealing with an adjustable.
I'd say the overall quality and functionality of the Superlative unit is very good. It just didn't end up achieving a very specific goal I had hoped for. I don't have a high round count through the gun, but initial impressions are favorable.
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