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Author Topic: The K&M M17s 308. A True Modern Battle Rifle.  (Read 2822 times)
Tinglyfeet9
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« on: May 08, 2019, 11:04:29 PM »

Iíve spent about three months with my K&M M17s 308 20in now and wanted to give an initial review. I havenít done a ton of testing yet, but since information seems to be scarce on this pretty exceptional rifle I wanted to at least get something out there.  As I continue to use and test the rifle Iíll update this review.

I currently have ~850 rounds through it, 99% suppressed with a SiCo Omega.  It has been 100% reliable thus far.  As long as it is on the correct gas setting it cycles everything from Wolf to Hornady Superformance.  This includes Malyasian and Austrian surplus, Tula, AE, Federal, IWI Surplus, and handloads.  Quick side note, it was funny to see Desert Techís president call most of this ammo ďjunkĒ when it works just fine from the K&M M17s any my AR10.  The rifle has been used in -20f to 80f with no issues.  Gotten snowy, wet, hot, and dirty, no issues.  I haven't had the heart to mud test it yet, but that may be something I try in the future (although I believe since there is no dust cover it will fail a full submerge, but we will see).  It might not be quite the match for an AR in the mud or high particle environments (easily solveable with a port cover and slight chassis modifications if Ken or anyone wants to try) but I'd take it over an M14/M1A or FAL any day.  Heck even the Tavor failed in the Inrange mud.  Back the M17s though, mine has shown itself to be more than reliable enough for anything in my book, SHTF included.

Accuracy has been good with match ammo.  With 168gr FGMM I can easily ring steel at 450y (as far as I have access to right now) on reduced silhouettes.   I havenít shot it for groups much yet, but initial testing shows it doing about 1.5 MOA off a bag at 100y with FGMM. This is an area Iíll do a lot more testing using statistically significant methods and Iím currently collecting a lot more varieties of ammo to do so.  It isnít free floated and it isnít a match grade barrel, so it will be interesting to see what can be squeezed out of it.  Promising results already.

The excellent trigger is a large part of this optimism on accuracy.  Anyone whoís used an ELF trigger in their AR knows they are exceptional, and the units they make for the K&M M17s are no exception.  It has a bit more takeup than the AR version but no creep and a very crisp break (not quite as glass-y as the AR version though).  Easily the best bullpup trigger out there (miles ahead of even the RDB) and at least as nice as a Geissele G2S to give some more reference points.

Recoil is another area where this rifle really shines (especially against the direct competition).  It feels somewhat similar to an AR10 in that it is more straight back and it doesnít jump much at all.  Really easy to track and keep the reticle or dot on target.  Doubletaps are no problem at ~40 yards (trigger helps again here) which is really impressive with full house 308.  Granted this is with a suppressor, but suppressors are only about Ĺ as good as brakes are at taming recoil so a lot of this is down to the design and ergonomics.

Speaking of ergonomics and handling, the K&M M17s 308 as it ships feels pretty good.  But once you replace the grip and get a forgrip (I went with BCM but it is AR compatible so basically unlimited options) it really comes into its own.  The rifle feels very natural, balances surprisingly well, points extremely well, especially for having a 20in barrel (with another ~6.5in of suppressor and mount hanging off the end).  It still feels compact enough for CQB.  Relatively quick target transitions, again especially for a 308.  I do wish the handguard was maybe 1-2in longer (since I have long arms), but I realize that isnít possible with the 16in barrel.  Maybe someday Ken will have the time/money to make a longer chassis for the 20in barrel version like mine.  One other quick note, while it isn't meant to be shot lefty you certainly can do it and get NO brass in the face.  A quick transition around a corner or through a doorway is no problem.  You will get carbon on your face (especially when suppressed) but it isn't enough to notice till after you finish shooting.  I also haven't noticed the handguard getting too hot to handle, even after mag dumps.  It does get warm, but never to the point I had to put on gloves, let alone only grip the forgrip.  Maybe it is more of an issue on the 16in version, I'm not sure but it is easy enough to address if it does crop up.

Lastly (for now) I wanted to mention the blowback with a suppressor.  It really shocked me that this rifle is now second only to my properly setup ARs in terms of limiting the blowback to the shooter.  I even get less gas in my face than I do with my RDB and the same SiCo Omega can.  Not sure if it is how the piston vents or the relatively large chassis but gas just doesn't get to the shooter quickly enough to matter which is a huge plus.

All in all I'd say this rifle is a stunningly overlooked piece of exceptional engineering.  It is rare I have a semi-auto rifle I feel I can trust that isn't an AR or AK pattern, much less one that I can trust suppressed and in 308.  Moreover the K&M M17s 308 is just a pleasure to shoot, it puts grins on peoples faces.  Whats more it is backed by the best CS I've ever experianced from a gun company, period.  Ken has answered every dumbass question I've asked, and even sent me spare parts for free.  Hell of a guy, hell of a rifle.  If it sounds like I'm gushing it is because I am.  There have been a ton of disapointing rifles out over the last 10 years or so, and to finally come across one that ticks all the boxes and then some is beyond refreshing.  I hope to have my next update up sometime in late summer when work/family/travel allows.  I'll answer whatever questions I can in the meantime ITT, so feel free to ask!

TL;DR for the lazy- 100% reliable with large variety of ammo suppressed and unsuppressed, low recoil, excellent handling, low gas in face, great company & CS.   Only downside is ~12 week wait on new orders currently and high cost of aftermarket barrels.






« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 11:20:09 PM by Tinglyfeet9 » Logged
Desert Kraut
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2019, 12:20:19 PM »

Thanks for detailed great review of the M17S. Although I don't have the .308 yet, I have thoroughly enjoyed  shooting my 5.56/.223. Although it is not meant to be a battle rifle, it checks off most of the boxes on my list of HD firearms features. Looking forward to acquiring my own .308 once I have saved all my pennies.
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Tinglyfeet9
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 08:04:14 PM »

Haha, I'm in the opposite camp.  Now that I've been so pleasantly surprised by the 308, I want to get the 5.56 version soon.  Maybe run it against an X95 SBR.

One quick update on the ergos I did want to bring up is the safety.  It is crossbolt which can easily be take from safe to fire.  But going from fire to safe requires you to break your grip unless you have ungodly large thumbs.  Not a big deal, but worth a mention.  The charging handle is also a bit stiff.  Again no issues but you really need to rack it.  Lastly, the reloads are slower than an AR (like everything else) and take some getting used to (like all bullpups).  Again, not a huge deal but something to note.
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xdmikey
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 04:47:32 PM »

Thanks for the great review Tinglyfeet9.

I already have the 556 model and now I see I'm going to have to take some drastic measures to get my hands on one of these riles!
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ddavis
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 10:35:37 PM »

Thanks for the review.  This is about the most in depth review I've read and gives me hope that mine will someday work when I get a can that it likes. 

-Dan
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thehun
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 10:22:27 AM »

Great gun...but one thing thing I would disagree with is calling it a true modern battle rifle...if it was so...it would be ambi...or have the capability to convert to ambi.

If you are a right handed shooter...this is a great great 308 option...much better than a MDR.
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sboone
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2019, 08:50:33 PM »

Is it a 2 position adjustable gas block? Sounds like it has a suppressor setting and a normal setting? Or is it something like a FAL or RFB where its more tunable
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Tinglyfeet9
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2019, 10:20:32 PM »

It has an 8 position gas block and is tune-able.  Goes from very high back pressure suppressor (tiny hole) to adverse conditions (XL hole).  Not quite as many settings as the Kel Tecs or FALs but more than most other firearms, and more than enough to run reliably with every ammo type I've tried suppressed and unsuppressed.  Really low pressure stuff (like Tula) is usually one click open from higher pressure loads (like Hornady) both suppressed and unsuppressed.
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Air-cooled
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2019, 11:08:18 AM »

If the government showed an interest in using the K&M, I'm sure Ken would make a left hander.  But it's just not cost effective to do it for the current low production numbers. I have the .308, 16". I consider it a work of art in addition to being functionally great.
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thehun
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2019, 11:20:05 AM »

The US government wouldn't consider a bullpup for service...so...

Making it a lefty...wouldn't be that difficult honestly...
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Tinglyfeet9
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2019, 11:10:56 PM »

The impression I get is that it is about scale and time.  Last I heard there is a 13 week wait on the .308s.  They can barely keep up with demand and are a small company.  I'm 110% sure lefty isn't hard to do, they just need time and to scale the biz which can be very hard to get in the current market environment.

I hope they do grow though, and eventually are able to do a lefty version.  As I mentioned there are more refinements that could be made to the design to really perfect it if they only had the time/budget.
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thehun
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2019, 09:46:08 AM »

I'd try one if it was lefty...no i am not learning to shoot as a righty...lol
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jroachgp
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« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2019, 07:04:46 PM »

@thehun Iím a lefty and am waiting on one now. I donít mind shooting righty and have seen video of it being shot lefty without too much bother. I look forward to understanding it better, and maybe coming up with some device like a small cheek piece on the side, right behind the ejection port that would serve to give every ejection guaranteed at least 45 degree angle away from my face.

For me honestly itís a tossup between would I rather a lefty 308 option or an sbrd 300 blackout. Perhaps an sbr 308 would be doable with a barrel swap and with a can it would still come to just about the hand guard length? Interesting possibilities with this gun, my first bull pup, and Iím almost glad I missed out on the mdr train to end up getting the superior product out the gate.
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mig1nc
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2019, 04:26:42 PM »

The US government wouldn't consider a bullpup for service...so...

Making it a lefty...wouldn't be that difficult honestly...
According to insiders at SSD, the USMC favors the General Dynamics bullpup in the NGSW-R program.

I think they realized that if they want suppressors as bad as they say, and the velocity to penetrate armor, and be as small as an M4, they must go to a bullpup.

But...I side track.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

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Tinglyfeet9
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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2019, 01:10:07 PM »

Just wanted to put up a quick update on this rifle: it is still awesome.  Closer to 1500 rounds on it now and everything in the initial review stands.  I will have a much larger update sometime in the next several months but for now I wanted to affirm that the K&M M17s in 308 continues to impress me every time I get it to the range.

I also wanted to add some observations for those who may be decided to pick up this rifle or not, and maybe for Ken to pick through if he still reads this board:

1.) This and the 5.56 versions are not competition guns.  The mag changes (even if you train a lot) are always going to be slower than an AR15, and pound for pound there will always be slightly more felt recoil.  You could do well in something like 3gun but not finish first.  That said, the mag changes are not prohibitively slow for any other uses.

2.) The barrel is what is holding back the accuracy (caps out around 1.5moa), more on that in the next update.  If you replace the barrel with a match barrel (which several smiths can do and Ken will sell them the parts, really just need the barrel extension) the rifle is capable of .8moa 5x5 thus far with quality match ammo.

3.) This rifle DESPERATELY NEEDS MLOK.  That is the one thing holding it back from erganomic perfection.  Having to attach heavy, bulky, sharp pic rail sections anywhere you want to mount something is just inexcusable these days.  Takes it from a 10/10 to an 8/10 ergos wise and adds a lot of unneeded bulk & weight.  Ken I'm not sure if you read these threads but if you do, please consider making at least an Mlok version of the Chassis.

4.) This rifle really needs a longer handguard on the 20in version.  Not having the ability to run a bipod and grip the rifle effectively is a huge negative, especialy for the 308 version.  A 20in 308 can be shot at 1000y+ and a bipod is a very effective tool for that.  On DMR-type rifles like 20in AR15s and AR10s, it is very easy to run a bipod and either C-Clamp or run a foregrip at the same time.  That is impossible on the M17s and a real shame as it limits you to something like the Mako/Fab Defense TPOD G2 if you want to be able to both effectively grip the weapon and effectively stabilize it.  Yes there are several QD bipods that are quick on/off but none are quick enough and easy enough to access (as Inrange TV showed time and again with their Stoner project) to make up for this.

5.) The M17s REALLY needs a dust cover because you can see the top round in the magazine through the ejection port.  Not a huge deal in most cases but it is easy to see how in a high particle environment that could spell trouble quickly.  I haven't had an issues and I don't foresee one where I use the rifle, but it should be noted and it should be implemented.

6.) The M17s in 308 specifically needs more gas settings to deal with different suppressors and loads more effectively.  I can always find the right gas setting for a given load, but they seem a little narrow.  I'd like a more restrictive one for hotter loads than currently exists, and one in between gas settings 1 and 2, and 2 and 3 to really get it right for milsurp and steel cased in higher back pressure suppressors.  On more between 3 and 4 and 4 and 5 would be great for the same tuning with lower back pressure cans.  None of them are needed for function (except the most restrictive setting with very high pressure loads and a high back pressure can) but you can tell that the rifle with certain load+suppressor combinations is either overly sluggish or overly eager and some in-between settings would solve that when dealing with some suppressors and loads.  Maybe I've just been spoiled by my SLR Rifleworks gas blocks on the AR15/AR10 but the ability to really dial in a rifle for your load & suppressor is amazing and should not be overlooked.  The M17S is still miles ahead of things like the T7 with a measly three settings but it should be noted that it could benefit from more.

7.) Total pie-in-the-sky dream but after using some V7 and Hodge ARs a Chassis in a Lithium Alloy like 2055 or 2099 would be amazing, lighter and stiffer.

All that said I still highly recommend the M17s series of rifles, I'm just hoping for improvements in the future to make a 9/10 rifle a 10/10 rifle.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 01:15:21 PM by Tinglyfeet9 » Logged
MikeSmith
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« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2019, 11:30:10 PM »

Thanks for the update, interesting stuff.

Are you indicating you have an aftermarket barrel?

I agree with the comments about the hand guard simply from looking at pictures.  It's a shame to leave that barrel hanging out there by itself and not use the space for a longer hand guard.  That's one of the things I really like about the MDR.

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Tinglyfeet9
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2019, 05:27:46 PM »

Yes, I now have an aftermarket barrel on mine as of a few weeks ago.  A Rock Creek cut rifled 5R 1:12.25-11.75 gain twist barrel.  Nitrided it as well.  Will go into a lot more detail once I finish testing over the next few months but I can say that as of now it is A.) .8moa with match ammo (should be able to get even more accuracy from handloads which I'll test) showing that the stiff aluminum chassis is acting like a tensions barrel setup even though it isn't floated, and B.) is giving a LOT more velocity than the stock barrel.

As I said Ken will sell you the required parts (really just need the extension) so any smith worth their salt should be able to make a barrel for you.  Swapping them yourself really isn't hard either if you wanted to do it.  However, I got mine done by a guy localish to me and K&M: Fink's Custom Gunsmithing in AZ: https://www.finksguns.com/  They did absolutely amazing work and I highly recommend them.  I'll post more details about the process later, but suffice to say he is now 100% set up to spin up whatever aftermarket barrels I want for the M17s in whatever cartridge I'm looking for.  He would probably be the fastest and safest bet if anyone else is looking for an aftermarket barrel for their M17s as he has now done a few  Evil

As I said I understand why the handguard is as long as it is: the 16in barrel barely clears it.  I also understand for a small biz dumping money into expensive ass tooling for something not many people would buy is a hard sell.  But from the sound of things Ken/K&M are backed up with orders so maybe as it gains popularity this could happen, I'm very hopeful!
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