Do you wish you had as many guns as you do concerns about your crippling poverty? Huh, do yah? Well, Palmetto State Armory can help you with the guns part with just about any one of their AR-15’s from the Freedom Rifle line. Since I am also poor, this review will ONLY cover the “PSA 16″ 5.56 NATO 1:8 MOE Freedom Rifle”. That’s the full name of the gun as found on PSA’s website at the time of my purchase.
As you might know, the Freedom Rifle line of AR-15’s at PalmettoStateArmory.com has been comprised typically of 16-inch barreled AR’s with A2 front sight posts that come in at or around $500. The cheapest members of the Freedom Rifle family often sport lame, M4-style furniture, but the model of Freedom Rifle I bought comes with flat dark earth colored Magpul MOE furniture, which I found to be ergonomically sufficient, as do a lot of other people who cross paths with Magpul’s MOE stocks, pistol grips, and hand guards. The PSA 16″ 5.56 NATO 1:8 MOE Freedom Rifle, which I shall refer to as the “Freedom Midlength”, bears these features…
I have had my Freedom Midlength since mid-June of 2017 and I scored it for $449.99 shipped and payed $20 for a local F.F.L. to transfer it to me. Mine came with the gun, a Gen 2 PMAG30, a product manual and a cable lock that was promptly thrown away. Some of the Freedom Line of rifles don’t come with a rear sight, by the way. I have strictly used mine for fully fledged, clandestine, tier-one, counter terrorist operations half way around the globe with satisfactory results leading to the capture of many, high ranking Al-Qaeda and Hamas commanders. Wait, I actually just made that part up.
I fired 2,088 rounds through my Freedom Midlength. Approximately, half of the rounds were steel cased while the other half was brass cased 5.56/.223. All rounds fired, ejected, and chambered… every single round. But that isn’t the entire story, my Freedom Midlength did have other problems. Particularly, mine had magazine compatibility issues where the bolt catch could not be fully pushed up to hold open the bolt when the last round was fired. Basically, the channel in the lower receiver where the bolt catch resides was too wide meaning it had an extra amount of play in it, and this allowed the bold catch to be pushed out of the way by the rear most portion of the follower on certain magazines. These certain magazines where from ASC and Amend2. Also, the bolt catch was under spring tension for less than 25% of its pivotal travel, which was caused by the bolt catch plunger being deeply positioned into the receiver and then staked into place. This lack of spring tension may have caused the bolt to twice lock back during firing on a still loaded magazine. However, I failed to fully record this issue and all I know is it happened with steel cased Tula .223 Rem loaded an ETS magazine. That’s another thing, I haven’t personally had ETS magazines work properly in any of the AR-15 I have tried but a lot of YouTube channels have had nothing but success with them so I guess mine might be lemons but that will require further scrutinization on my part. At any rate, this gun worked with zero problems with Gen2 PMAGs, Gen3 PMAGs, Mission First Tactical, Lancer Systems, and 20-Round Brownell AR-15 magazines.
Due to the bolt catch issues, I did eventually contact PSA for them to resolve the problem. Which resulted in only the fix of the spring tension problem. The magazine compatibility issue was ignored by the individual who “serviced” my gun and this is exactly what he had to say about my concerns “Our lowers are made to mil spec. The little bit of wobble is fine”. After reading that I think I will now avoid PSA lowers until further notice because the Anderson Mfg. lowers I have handled don’t even have that issue. I complained to PSA about the magazine compatibility issue not being fixed and they did offer to examine it again but I decided to cut my losses out of frustration since the problem I so explicitly identified was ignored.
I am not one of those accuracy weirdos who prays to Satan to reduce their group size by 3.25% so it can be under .65 MOA or one who “breaks-in” their barrel or some such nonsense but the best group I ever produced with this gun was .376” at 25 yards (5 shot group) using the A2 front sight with a Magpul MBUS rear sight. I was also using a sling to stabilize the rifle and had used Perfecta 55gr .223 Remington. In case you were wondering, Perfecta is made by Fiocchi and disturbed by Tula. It actually replaced the Turkish made ZQI ammunition on Wal-Mart’s sporting goods shelves around 2014. Most of the 5 shot groups I shot hovered around .900” at 25 yards… please don’t make fun of me. I did use red dots sights and a 3-9x40mm rifle scope with this but never shot a better group than the aforementioned .376” at 25 yards. I personally have a long way to go with rifle accuracy until I am satisfied with my abilities.
For $449.99 shipped, this particular Freedom Rifle is a good deal and, for the most part, there wasn’t much wrong with mine as long as I stuck to PMAGs. I would imagine that most of the “Freedom Rifle” from Palmetto State Armory perform similarly so I think I could feel safe recommending others in their line up. I did decide to sell mine on account of the combination of the magazine issue, my thirst for other guns, and also because I could easily build an AR-15 and outfit it with the exact components that I want.
Thank you for reading my article. I put time into making sure it is well constructed and informative. If you have any questions, criticisms, or comments go ahead and let me know in the comment section. So go ahead and tell me what is on your mind.