[00:00:30] everybody. Adam Maxwell here today. I want to talk to you a little bit about a new addition to my program this year that I’m pretty excited about. I’ve been shooting a variety of rifles over the last several year. It’s been an ongoing process to find the one that I like and I’ve partnered up with Primary Weapon Systems this year because they have a system that I’m actually pretty excited about. Initially, I came [00:01:00] introduced to PWS through some interpersonal connections that we had. We actually had a chance to tour the factory last summer when we were out in Idaho for Iron Man. That kind of started me down the path towards trying some of these out. When we were there, they were making, I believe, the first run of the Mark 1 Mod 2 rifles. That’s their small [board 00:01:24] rifle platform. M556 or actually 223 Wild and [00:01:30] this is the Mod 2 where they made some adjustments to the receiver and added some features to it as an evolution of their system. Actually, what jumped out at me first, everyone gonna make fun of me for this, is the ambidextrous controls that they put on it.
This magazine release here, that was a big thing for me and it was the intrigue that started me toward considering this. [00:02:00] They also have a really cool integrated bolt release on the standard side for the 80% of you that are normal handed. That may seem like a small thing to most people, the 80% of you. But ambidextrous controls represents about $200 that I have to throw at any rifle that I decide to shoot to get it to work for me. It is the mag catch that primarily would have to change. Mag catch is what holds the magazine and the [00:02:30] magazine presents the cartridges to the chamber and that can be the genesis of a lot of issues if it isn’t done right. So it looked like they did a really good job with that on this rifle in addition some flared magwells and things like that in a really lightweight package. So I became intrigued, but as time went on, I just kind of put it in the back of my mind.
I circled back around to it later last fall when I started getting really interested in applications [00:03:00] of both SBRs for myself as an athlete and in suppressors. When you start talking about SBRs and suppressor, you’ll land right back at piston guns because, for the most part, piston guns aren’t very prevalent in 3-gun. There’s a lot of really exotic direct impingement gas systems that give really light recoil impulses. But once you go back, start talking about shorter barrels and suppressors, there are a lot of advantages to a piston gun. [00:03:30] Then that’s what lead to me approaching PWS to get involved with some of the stuff that I had going on, both as an athlete and as an event promoter and went down from there. I got one, actually, from a friend as a loaner, tried it out, and that’s when things started getting really interesting because these are built as tactical rifles. They’re built to go into the sandbox, [00:04:00] get issued to tier one units and all that fun stuff.
For the crowd that really only has the criteria of “it just gotta run, it has to go bang every time,” and they aren’t really concerned about recoil impulse and sight tracking things like we are in 3-gun. So that’s what I was nervous about as I started shooting of these, but what I found out was actually these rifles, without modification, can be made to shoot as soft or [00:04:30] maybe even softer than a direct impingement gun. That has some things to do with the nature of how the system operates itself, how it uses the gas and then transfers it back into the receiver. Instead of piping gas through a gas tube, all the transfer of energy takes place at the gas block with a single transfer rod. That’s one piece or it’s an integrated piece with the bolt carrier. So it all travels back and forth as one piece. [00:05:00] But all the heat and all the carbon and everything stays at the front of the rifle. Now, PWS advertises their adjustable gas block for suppressed and unsuppressed settings. It’ll tell you that position one is for unsuppressed and then there’s two suppressed positions that you can use.
One’s for low pressure cans. One’s for high pressure cans. They won’t really talk about it, but you’ll quickly find out if you talk [00:05:30] to owner of PWS rifles that the gun will run just fine on position two in unsuppressed settings. So if you move the gas block to position two, you make a pretty drastic change in the way the rifle behaves and how the dot tracks. When I put it onto position two with a suppressor, it tracks just as soft as any impingement gun that I have had the change to own [00:06:00] and shoot many pretty exotic direct impingement guns. So this rifle is one of the softest shooting rifles I’ve ever shot. It recoils differently. I will say that. It doesn’t feel the same. But the amount of energy going back and forth is the same as a tuned up direct impingement gun. What you will feel that is different is that the rifle definitely has a forward [00:06:30] pulse when it cycles. The best way to articulate it would be you can feel it close. It goes shuck as it closes. A DI, all the energy is moving backwards.
You can feel the bolt carrier move back, bottom out in the buffer tube, but you don’t really feel it go forward. This one you can feel it go forward and at first, that would seem to be a negative. We have two pulses now that we have to deal with, but [00:07:00] when I was practicing with it, getting used to it, what I noticed was is that the forward impulse of the rifle tends to work in harmony with the physiology of how I’m trying to hold the rifle. As the dot moves when it goes back, as the bolt closes, it also tends to reset me back to where I was. So the dot moves away, but it also resets back to where it was. There’s a definite forward pulse and through [00:07:30] assertively trying to hold the rifle in one place as you fire the shot, the sight will return exactly where you had it in the first place, which is a really unique sensation to these rifles that I’ve really come to like. It is probably what’s going to keep me shooting them for a long time.
The other thing that I really like about piston guns that you’ve probably heard before is that the dirt, the carbon and the fouling and heat stays out [00:08:00] of the receiver where all the small parts are that wear. Also, there are also parts that are hard to clean, so the parts that are easier to clean are outside here getting dirty and you can see there’s quite a bit of fouling that gets on the outside of the rifle. Shawn over at PCC actually has a pretty good picture of me shooting this rifle and you can see how much gas comes out of the front there. But that’s all gas and carbon that’s not going into your receiver. [00:08:30] So your oil stays clean. Your oil stays cool and all the parts in there have what I would say is a larger operating window to where they’ll need attention. When I was shooting direct impingement guns with lightened bolt carriers, they would shoot soft. They were high performance systems, but as you go to places like Idaho, Las Vegas, Texas, Utah, Southern Utah, [00:09:00] you’ll get a lot of this fine sediment in the gun, be it clay or sand.
That will start to, over the course of a multi-day event, will start to slow down your rifle. More often than not, you’ll get through the match without needing to clean your rifle, but you run the risk of short stroking. That may or may not be a big deal. It may or may not cost you the match, but it could happen. So it’s kind of my superstition. I don’t like to clean rifles [00:09:30] at a match. I like to service them when I’m at home, go to the match, shoot the whole match without taking it apart, and bring it home again and then service it again. I don’t like to take apart guns that are working at a major match. So having a system like this that stays cleaner in the receiver where all the moving parts are is appealing to me as well. Then as we get into suppressed applications, that’s even compounded further because there’s [00:10:00] more back pressure with the suppressor. There’s more coming back into your bolt carrier and there’s more fouling to deal with that way. So all of that it mitigated with a piston gun.
So that’s kind of how it all came together here with the Mark 1 Mod 2 for me. So far this season, I’ve shot, I believe, three major matches with this particular rifle and had a lot of first and second so far in factory division. So it’s been working out pretty good for me. [00:10:30] For the most part, it is a stock PWS Mark 1 Mod 2. I’ve obviously changed some stuff on the back here to reflect some of my preferences. I’ve obviously changed the trigger. I use a dead air muzzle break, which, fun fact, is also manufactured by PWS, even though they’re a separate company. But overall, the rifle is pretty much what you would buy out of the box and I’ve been super stoked on it so far. [00:11:00] Then moving forward, looking to do some more testing with the short barrel rifles here very soon. That project is ongoing and I’m sure we’ll be putting out more information as that develops over the summer.
So if you’re interested in checking out some of these long stroke piston guns, feel free to hit me up at the match or check us out Facebook, Instagram Primary Weapons Systems or Hawkeye Ignite or Ordinance. [00:11:30] You’ll see lots of exciting stuff coming your way with the PWS long stroke piston rifles.