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Pneumatic Recoil System
By Alex Osinski
There are now probably hundreds of variations, modifications and accessories for the AR15/M16 rifle system. Some are more popular than others, some are effective, and some or not. What eventually landed in my lap is probably the single best item for reducing muzzle jump and that irritating "twanngg" every AR15/M16 shooter gets familiar with hearing immediately after a shot is fired. While the "twang" is merely an irritation to precision shooting slow fire, it can become an issue in rapid fire, and this device totally eliminates that issue.
Las year, a guy came into my shop and showed me a novel recoil system he claimed to have developed for the M16. At the time, I was skeptical of the device and passed up the chance to get it. The system cost around $150 and in my opinion, was a wasteful "solution" to a $25 issue. I was later contacted by email from another guy who claimed to have developed the system. Still not convinced that it would be worthwhile, I declined to purchase the unit, but the guy offered to send me one for evaluation. I accepted the unit for evaluation and promised to give it a fair test.
For now, the Pneumatic buffer system is only available for the rifle stock configuration of the AR15, and not the Carbine or "telestock" models which will require a shorter model. Much of this has to do with the size of the unit in relation to the necessary range of movement for full rearward travel of the unit. The Pneumatic recoil system is basically a pre-charged gas strut which also acts as a spring. No maintenance is necessary, although one is advised to occasionally lubricate it. The unit is made mostly of stainless steel and brass and appears to be plenty durable for any environment.
The AR15/M16 system is not long on recoil to begin with, but experienced shooters know that recoil is usually a detriment to accurate follow up shots and precision accuracy. The traditional stepped recoil of the M16 and rebounding of the buffer inside the stock is often cited as a distraction to precision shooters and something that a perfectionist could live without. This is one thing that the Pneumatic Buffer system will eliminate entirely.
I did the evaluation with a fairly standard preban A2 rifle which most closely matches the capabilities of the Israeli designated marksman's rifle which is basically an M16A2 with a Colt 4X scope mounted on the carry handle. Most accomplished shooters can accomplish 2MOA with this system under stable wind conditions. Shooting with this system will almost always be semi-automatic in order to maintain accuracy, with reacquisition of targets coming about every three seconds. With the pneumatic buffer, you can easily cut that time in half. In fact, I found it fairly easy to not only reacquire targets very quickly, but with some practice, it was possible to spot the bullet impact on and near the targets with the worst deviation from point of aim, even on rapid fire, being around 10 MOA. I personally think that could be reduced even more with the use of an effective muzzle brake. The pneumatic system under the best case scenario will not make the gun more accurate in slow fire, but will reduce shot to shot recovery times which will make it easier for the average shooter to perform closer to the optimum accuracy with the rifle. This effect in both slow and rapid fire will be immediately evident, but probably most noticeable in rapid fire.
I had not tested the buffer system in full automatic mode, but I would strongly suspect that it makes the gun much more controllable and would make the employment of aimed three shot burst a realistic practice. Regular full auto fire will probably have a slower cyclic rate and smoother harmonic.
Now consider that recoil reduction on the AR is accomplished a lot of other ways. Most of the time, this is by adding weight to the rifle which makes the gun less suitable for field use. Muzzle brakes are probably the most simple solution, but this can prove to be a challenge with postban configuration rifles and nearly impossible for military personnel who are not allowed to alter issue weapons. In comparison, installation of the Pneumatic system is entirely drop-in and undetectable once it is installed.
In conclusion, I have to consider the Pneumatic Buffer system to be some very good gear that I had overlooked before. It represents a technological leap in small arm and one of the many revolutionary small arms developments that has been produced by the private sector.
Note, I have been contacted by the inventor of these and it turns out there is a little bit of fraud going on with the marketing of these units. The individual in Canada was apparently selling a production overrun batch that had originally been produced for R&D purposes and he did not have license to produce more (hence, the dead links on the website). The current production models are made and marketed exclusively by Olympic arms. The contract between the inventor and Olympic will run out in January 2005 and we will have the buffer systems available then priced around $75 each shipped. There is no wait list forming at this time, so keep checking this page for updates on price and availability.
Interested parties should not contact the address below. I am only leaving it up for reference purposes
F.L Corp , 1103 Macey, Sutton, QC Canada JOE 2KO
Field Logic Corporate Website