150 rounds into a 500 round no-clean and no-lube test, and the PTAC upper seems to be functioning perfectly so far.
Using the first 5 magazine loads of the 500 rounds sent along by Wideners Reloading and Ammunition Supply, the rifle was sighted in. Then.... out to 100 yards and used to bring a new shooter into the AR family. She took to this rifle like a duck to water, quickly announcing it fits her much better than my own slightly larger, and considerably heavier bull barrel carbine.
"I Can't hit that target from here!" Yes..... yes she could. In fact, her very first ten rounds of anything larger than .22 rimfire fired in her life mostly populated the black on a standard smallbore target.
The rifle functioned flawlessly. There were no Failures to feed, fire, or eject. Accuracy was acceptable, with steady 10 rings on the 50 yard sight in target, and all in the black at 100 yards. I suspect a scope may be required to reveal the upper's true accuracy potential. Moving to dirt clods on the 200 and 300 yard berms, hits were like clockwork.
An interesting discovery, of no significance to the test, my issues with the Eotech holo sight giving me a line instead of a center dot were resolved. It turns out eye and eyeglass placement made every difference, with a more squared up aspect being required to give me a clear picture through the bifocals.
The slick side upper, lacking forward assist and dust cover, also lacks the bump behind the ejection port normally found on an AR. This minor lack allows the ejected shell casings to ding against the right side of the receiver, leaving a bit of brass marking. It also has the ejected cases hitting the ground way off to the right, about 5 positions down the range. I'd hate to be
standing behind the shooting positions to the right of this rifle as it's fired. On the other hand, the empties piled up like dirty gold, in a small area.
General impressions so far: It's a decent upper for the $269 price tag. Fit and function are all there. With only 150 rounds in, I simply can't find anything to grouse about yet. (Honestly... I'm beginning to wonder if 500 rounds of no-clean and no-lube is enough to really stress this upper. Maybe I should stretch it to 1000?)
Yeah, it may look a bit funny being a 'slick side' upper, without the features we normally expect on an AR receiver. That said.... it functions just fine.
Disclosures: Wideners was kind enough to donate the ammo for this testing. Nice people, and clearly a company populated with shooters. Give their site a visit if you like. The upper being tested, I just bought that for myself. I'll likely be buying more of PSA's products, depending on how this test works out.