SOTA Arms Upper

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SOTA Arms Upper

Postby Anokamnman on Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:45 am

So a little over a week ago I ordered my upper from SOTA Arms. I was nervous about going with a company that I couldn't find a lot of feedback and info about. But I decided to give the Minnesota boys a shot and the price was so good. I had tried to email them and call them. It took 2 days to get a call back from them and 4 days to get an email back from them. Which i suppose isn't too bad. It is a small company and from what I hear they are swamped. I talked to the guy on the phone for 20 - 30 minutes asking him all sorts of questions. I told him I was interested in the 16" stainless steel free float barrel with the flat top. I told him that I would probably end up putting a quad rail on it when I got it. He told me that for $60 more they would do it for me. Why the hell not. Less for me to do.

I asked how to place my order online and note that I want the quad rail and he told me that any customaization to an order has to be done over the phone. I decided to pull the trigger on the order. I asked how long it would take to make my upper and when would I see it. He told me that they are totally swamped and that they usually ship from there location in 5 business days but right now it would probably be 10 business days. Ummm heck yeah sign me up. A lot of place I have looked at are 4 weeks and longer. Plus I figured if they screwed up my order... it would be a nice short drive to North Branch to get their attention.

I got my upper from the UPS guy yesterday. My only concern with the whole process was the delivery. And maybe I am just being weird, but there was no signature required. Says on their website they ship with a signature required. And I certainly wouldn't want this just sitting on my front step for someone to walk off with.

The upper looks awesome. Its feels nice. I want to weigh it and see what the total weight is. Haven't done that yet. Wish I could fire it today but I don't have my lower yet. Keep thinking about borrowing my brothers lower and take it to the range in circle pines. But we will see.

Now I just need to get off my lazy butt (on spring break) and go pick up the Vortex Strikefire. Already have 8 mags full of ammo.

Whenever I take it out to the range I will write up a review of the upper. But so far... I am pleased with the service i recieved from SOTA Arms. Oh and don't try to save money by going up and picking up the upper when it is complete. They only knock off like $5. and since shipping is included... let UPS do that. It takes one day for it to be delivered.

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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby rukwikenuf on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:15 am

Awesome man. I'll be stopping over some time today. Don't worry, I'll call ahead so you're wearing pants :)
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby justaguy on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:35 am

You care to share the OTD price?
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby Anokamnman on Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:15 pm

Final price on the invoice came to $469.90 after tax. Thought it was a little lower since i forgot about tax. That was the exact amount. But still a great price for what I got. That was with the quad rail upgrade and stainless barrel and the bolt carrier group. Everything. Just need to pin it on a lower. Her are some pics of it pinned on a extra lower that my brother had laying around. Slapped on some nice flip up sights and a magpul single point sling. Got 6 pmags loaded and ready for the range this afternoon. 5 more should be here today whenever the lazy mail man decides to come. Range report to follow either later tonight or tomorrow morning. I have loaded some .223 to test out different loads. But will run 100 American Eagle Black Box rounds through at a slow pace to warm her up first. Then start with my lighter hand loads first. Want to see which handloads give me the best performance.

Also, I am thinking about doing all the furniture in the dark earth. Really makes the black and stainless pop. What are your opinions?

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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby rukwikenuf on Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:46 pm

I like the FDE with the black. I think it looks cool, but what do I know?
saying that guns kill people is like saying that spoons made Rosie O'Donnell fat.

if God wanted us to drink whiskey, he would have given us stomaches

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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby CarRacer on Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:19 pm

I think the FDE looks great on stuff like that. Avoids the monotony of all black.

How was the staking on the gas key on the bolt by the way? Feed ramp alignment if there were any M4 cuts? Have fun going to the range with it.
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby Anokamnman on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Took it to the range today. I always get a little nervous when putting the first rounds down the pipe. Set up a target and loaded up some magazines. Started off shooting 100 rounds of American Eagle Black Box .223. Started with slow rate of fire. Ran a few down the pipe then swabbed the pipe and sprayed the bolt and chamber with some oil. Then shot off some more and repeated the process. The black box ammo did typical factory ammo groups. Nothing special at 50 yards. But the gun performed flawlessly.

After I was out of the cheap ammo I oulled out my hand loads. I had just began to relax at this point. But now loading up my magazines with my home made rounds I got a little nervous. Mainly because these were the first rounds I have ever loaded. I kept having visions of bad things happening. I made up 5 different batches of ammo with 20 rounds each to test and see which would hold the best group. Brought my notebook with to make sure I took notes about each batch.

I was shooting from a bench using proper breathing and utilizing a shooting bag with iron sights.

First batch was a Sierra 60gr HP with a 23.5gr load of AA2230. I loaded up 20 rounds in the PMag. First group I set the target at 25 yards. First group was 3 rounds in about a 1" group. Not bad but lets bump it back to 50 yards. Next group was a 5 round group at 50 yards... 1.5" Hmmmm Still very acceptable to me. 3rd group was still at 50 yards and was a 3 round 1" group. Very nice. Last group on this batch was my favorite. It was a 9 shot slow and steady pace at 50 yards. It was less than an inch. I was hooked on reloading at this point.

Batch 2 was Hornady 68gr BTHP with 24.1gr of AA2230. Started at 25 yards. Fired 4 shots in the 1" bullseye. Not the tighest group of the day but all the shots were in the red. Still happy with it. Next I fired 6 rounds in a 1.5" group at 50 yards. Nice group but my aim was a little off. The group was about 2" high but on center. Next group was 10 shots. The wife was getting bored. 10 shots in 1.75" group at 50 yards. Not bad with a nagging wife behind you saying "When can I shoot?" Get your own gun woman!!! lol.

Batch 3 was Hornady 55gr FMJ BT with a 24.0gr AA2230 load. Set target to 25 yards for first group. Fired 5 shots. 0.5" group at 25 yards. Looked like one big hole. Very pleased. Pushed the target back to 50 yards. 6 shots were all aligned vertically 1" left of center and a little high. I blame this on bad trigger control and breathing control. Looks like a vertical line of holes. Group was 1.75" long about an inch above the bullseye. Next was a 9 shot group doing the vertical line thing on center also about 2" long but this time 1" below the bullseye. But still a decent group.

Batch 4 was Hornady 68gr BTHP with 23.0 gr of AA2230. First group was at 25 yards. 5 shots in a 1" group just left of the bullseye. Pushed it back to 50 yards. fired 7 rounds in a 2"group. Then I fired the remaining 8 rounds in a 2.5" group. Not sure what went wrong with this batch. I could have just blown the shots. But I dont think I did anything different. Personally just don't think the slower loads work well for this rifle. Still better than the factory load groups. But nothing to write home about.

Batch 5 was an awesome set up. Very pleased with the results. Hornady 68gr BTHP with 25.0gr of AA2230. First group was 3 rounds at 25 yards. first shot was dead center in the bullseye with the other 2 shots within and inch of it. Sweet but anyone can shoot great at 25 yards. Bumped the target back to 50 yards. 3 shots in the bullseye ring and all 3 shots were connected so I would say less than .5" group. I love it. Next was a 3 shot group inside the bullseye ring. litterally looks like 2 connected holes. But if you look closely you can see it is actually 3. so less than a .5" group. Next was a 3 shot group, 2 shots connected inside the bussleye ring. the third shot was about 1.25" high. Should have quit when I was ahead. lol. But still a nice group. I never shoot this good. I had 8 shots left. So i decided to have a little fun. Decided to speed it up. Was going to fire all 8 shots in less than 10 seconds to see what that group would look like. Rapid breathing, rapid trigger pull and over confident. All 8 shots are about 1.5" high but center. I would guess it is a 2" group. Still very happy with it.

I have to say... I thoroughly enjoyed the full experience. Firing my new rifle and firing my first 5 batches of hand loads. I am hooked on handloading. The best part is even though the wife was bored she did notice that i was shooting MUCH better. She wants to go to Gun Stop tomorrow morning and buy more dies, powders, primers and bullets to load everything we have. She said she will only buy factory ammo for her taurus. So I plan on dropping some coin there tomorrow. Thank you Jesus for giving me a wife that allows me to do this without hiding my purchases.

Tomorrow I will begin loading batch 5. Thinking I will load up 500 rounds to just have on hand since it did so well. Maybe even load up 500 of Batch 3.

After firing about 200 rounds through the new rifle. I was quite pleased that there were no failures of any kind. It cycled smoothly. Looks sexy. And was a nice price. I would totally recommend Sota Arms uppers.

Let me know if you have any questions on the trip to the range. I will do my best to answer them.
Wrap that around your overly muscled left wing and row your dinghy in counterclockwise circles as a result.
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby rukwikenuf on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:28 pm

awesome. i'm glad the handloading was a success, i was a little worried. now, you gotta get that thing out to a distance!!!
actually, i suppose you should wait to get your own lower reciever first, huh? i can see Jamie rolling her eyes over you doing a happy dance
saying that guns kill people is like saying that spoons made Rosie O'Donnell fat.

if God wanted us to drink whiskey, he would have given us stomaches

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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby Anokamnman on Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:33 pm

I will be doing some 100 yard shooting tomorrow I hope. Monday at the latest. Will stop up at the ranch and set up the target and see how it does at 100yards. Will be up late loading ammo for my next battery of tests.
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby mn4wheeler on Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:03 pm

Anokamnman wrote:
Also, I am thinking about doing all the furniture in the dark earth. Really makes the black and stainless pop. What are your opinions?



do it, the dark earth is cool.
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby Anokamnman on Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:45 am

Well I decided to do all the furniture in flat dark earth. Made the rounds last night looking for FDE rail covers. Booths Bills locations were out. Fleet Farm only carries black. Gouger Mountain didn't even have black ones (apparently the Blaine store doesn't carry many AR accessories). So I ordered them from midway along with an angled forend grip. Now I just need to decide which scope to slap on and get some angle mounted back up iron sights.

Now the wife wants me to put an AR platform rifle together for her. Oh darn, looks like I have to get another rifle.
Wrap that around your overly muscled left wing and row your dinghy in counterclockwise circles as a result.
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby OldmanFCSA on Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:55 am

Make one of those AR platforms an AR-50 !!!
A whole new game of reloading.

Good job on the reloading of the 223.
Just do more testing before mass loading.
Try some Varget and 748 powders too.

Let me know if you want to borrow a 10-40X 50mm objective 30mm tube scope with ultra-high rings.

Good start - keep the Wifey happy - makes everything much better!
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby Anokamnman on Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:00 am

Oldmanfcsa... The AR-50 is on the list. But with the upcoming purchase of our new home... That toy will have to wait a little longer. So until then I will just have to be your sidekick at the range.
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby Shooter McGavin on Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:36 am

Any other experiences with them? I've seen some very negative stuff about them too.

Tied emailing to ask if they have anything in stock in the showroom and got no response (week now). Tried calling several times. Just goes to a voicemail box that's full (and doesn't even identify it as SOTA Arms).
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Re: SOTA Arms Upper

Postby ammosponge on Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:41 pm

very purty and fast.... kinda wish i wasn't 6 weeks gone with redx arms.
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