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VooDoo Innovations 5.45×39 AR Upper Build / Review

Posted on March 23rd, 2014 by ar15news

Whether you train with an AR-15 or just shoot a lot you know how expensive it can be. Ammo costs have skyrocketed in recent years and what we would normally consider affordable ammo is either non-existent or double the price of what it used to be. This is what got me to really start looking for a more affordable and readily available ammunition option. I wanted something that would feel and shoot similar to my normal 5.56×45 AR-15′s and the answer was Russian surplus 5.45×39 ammo. It can be found just about anywhere for roughly half of what it would cost to buy 5.56 and it shoots very similar to a 5.56 upper. Now I just needed to figure out what parts I needed to build my upper. 

As it usually happens, great minds are thinking alike :) and the guys at VooDoo Innovations (Sister company to Adams Arms) were getting ready to introduce a 5.45×39 Conversion Kit that included everything you would need to convert an existing AR-15 upper over to 5.45×39 but it also would make for a great kit to build a new upper with. I had originally just written an article and shared the info with you guys but when they found out I was interested in building an upper myself they offered to let me review one which of course made my day.

The 5.45×39 Conversion Kit from VooDoo Innovations is offered in both Carbine and Mid Length versions. I have to admit I had no idea what to expect when building this upper. Quite a few people told me that 5.45×39 is hard to get to cycle correctly, has hard primers, dirty ammo, etc. I decided standard with AR’s which is a carbine length gas system and then adjust things as needed from there. The kit showed up with a 16″ Melonite coated Carbine Length barrel, a Melonite coated 5.45×39 bolt, a Melonite coated A2 flash hider, one 5.45×39 ASC Stainless Steel magazine and a High Power Hammer Spring to ensure ignition even with harder primers. 

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

If you’re looking to build a 5.45×39 upper you’re going to hear a lot about how corrosive it is. You can either clean your rifle a lot or get parts that are designed to deal with it. As I mentioned, the barrel, flash hider and bolt are all Melonite coated which is perfect for the corrosive Russian 5.45×39 surplus ammo. The Melonite coating is on the inside and out of the barrel and which gives it awesome protection against corrosion and extreme durability. The deep black coating looks really great too.

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

It just so happened that at the same time I received a box of goodies from my friends at Geissele Automatics. In it was a new SMR MK5 KeyMod rail, Super Gas Block and an SD-3G trigger (more on the trigger in a few). I knew immediately that I was going to put the SMR MK5 rail and gas block on this upper and got it all assembled. I added a few of my favorite KeyMod accessories which are the QD Sling Mount and Handstop pictured below from Impact Weapons Components

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

For this build I went with what receivers I had on hand which was a forged upper from IS Fifteen and an AERO Precision Ambi forged mil spec lower. This particular lower is actually my favorite forged lower because it has the PDQ Lever installed and works great. Because I didn’t have a matched forged receiver set the fit was pretty tight. I installed a set of Battle Arms Development EPS (Enhanced Pin Set) pins and it made it much easier to push the pins in and out to separate the receivers. As you can see I decided to go with the Geissele SD-3G trigger. I was tempted to use a standard mil spec trigger with the High Power Hammer Spring instead of the SD-3G but I really wanted to try what I would normally do to an AR first and adjust things later. This ended up being a great decision.

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

At this point the rifle was done. I had added a Trijicon SRS red dot, some Troy BUIS, Rainer Arms RAPTOR charging handle, etc. I had purchased 1,080 rounds of 5.45×39 from AIM Surplus for $170 plus shipping. I still hadn’t shot it so the next step was to hit the range and do some function testing, nail down any issues and make any necessary changes…or so I thought.

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

I ended up taking the completed 5.45×39 rifle out to the range in 19 degree weather with some crazy blowing snow. If you’re gonna test something why not take it to the extreme, right!? After an initial inspection verifying that everything seemed to be installed correctly and functioning right it was time to shoot it. The main things I was keeping an eye out for were feeding issues, ejection issues, light primer strikes and making sure the bolt held open on an empty mag.

To start I put 2 rounds of 5.45×39 in the supplied mag, inserted it into the magwell and fired away. The first round fed into the upper very smooth. I pulled the trigger on the Geissele SD-3G and sure enough, BANG! First round fired properly. I check to see that the round had ejected properly, which it did and was laying on the ground to my right. I pulled the trigger again and just as it did the first time it sent a round down range with a great sounding crack! Remember I had only loaded 2 rounds so a quick twist of the rifle to my left and I can see that the bolt has definitely held open on the empty mag. (FYI, unlike what some people told me, 5.45×39 does not work in a PMAG unless its modified)

Right now I was pretty happy! I decided to load up a full mag and have at it. After a bit of sighting in we set a 6″x6″ steel plate about 75 yards down range and went medieval on it. Trigger pull after trigger pull, in extreme cold conditions, it continued to perform flawlessly. We were able to repeatedly blast that 6″x6″ plate with ease from a standing position. The Geissele SD-3G trigger had absolutely no issue igniting those hard Russian primers.

620 VooDoo Innovations 5.45x39 Upper Build 1

Surprisingly, this upper is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I simply can’t say enough good things about it. So far I have put over 300 rounds through this upper and have not experienced a single Failure To Feed, Failure To Eject, Light Primer Strike or any malfunction of any kind. I didn’t have to make a single adjustment to the upper after assembly. I’m very happy with the quality of the components and it’s proven to be very accurate. On my next trip to the range I’ll get some bench shooting in and grab some data on grouping at 100 yards, etc. If you’re on the fence about building a 5.45×39 upper or just looking for a more affordable option for the range, don’t hesitate. This 5.45×39 Conversion Kit from VooDoo Innovations is something I would recommend all day long. Quick thanks to VooDoo Innovations for making an awesome product and letting me get my hands on it.

I wanted to make it easy on you so below is a list of links to purchase the items I used in this build.

First and Foremost
VooDoo Innovations 5.45×39 Conversion Kits and Parts
5.45×39 Ammunition at AIM Surplus (big shipment coming in this week so get on the email list)

Additional Components
Geissele Automatics SMR Rails, Triggers and Gas Blocks
Impact Weapons Components KeyMod accessories. (Use code “ar15news” to save 5%)
Battle Arms Development EPS pin set and Safety Selector
Rainier Arms Raptor charging handle
AERO Precision Ambi Forged Lower
IS Fifteen Forged Upper
Trijicon SRS Red Dot
Magpul Stock and Grip
Phase 5 Weapon Systems Trigger Guard

Lancer, Magpul and HERA Arms Mag Rebuild Kits at Tactical Link

Posted on December 9th, 2013 by ar15news

With the 1/1/2014 effective date for the California state ban on “High Capacity” magazine rebuild kits coming quickly, Tactical Link has decided to offer to ship most of the magazines they carry in their store as rebuild kits. The cool part is this includes both the HERA Arms H3, and most importantly, the Lancer L5AWM (Advanced Warfighter Magazine). In fact, Lancer Systems has even promised to get Tactical Link as many of their mags as they need to fill all of the orders, even if they sell out. The Lancer L5AWM is an awesome magazine and in some circles is held in higher regard than even the PMAG due to its tough construction and hybrid polymer body with steel feed lips. If you are in California and trying to find a great source for good quality Magazine Rebuild Kits before the 1/1/2014 deadline, go to www.TacticalLink.com and click on the “Magazines” tab. 

*JUST ADDED – Magpul PMAG Rebuild Kits*

Tactical Link PMAG CA Rebuild Kit magazines

620 Tactical Link Lancer L5AWM CA Rebuild Kit magazines

620 Tactical Link Hera Arms CA Rebuild Kit magazines

Also, starting now, all orders up to $200 receive flat rate $7.95 shipping. All orders over $200 get FREE Shipping. www.TacticalLink.com

HERA Arms H3 Windowed 30 Round Magazine Rebuild Kits

Posted on November 19th, 2013 by ar15news

My buddy Brian over at Tactical Link just let me know he is now shipping rebuild kits for the HERA Arms H3 Windowed 30 round magazines. As far as I’ve seen they are the only ones doing this with the HERA mags and not very many people in general do it with other mags. So for those of you in states such as California, this is their way to help you guys out. Tactical Link has been working with HERA Arms from the very beginning and was influential in helping them make some revisions to the H3 mag to fix the initial issues that users complained about. HERA was very receptive to the input and made some changes that made Tactical Link very happy. If you are interested in picking up some of the latest version of the HERA Arms H3 mags, Tactical Link has a bunch of different styles in-stock including the rebuild kits.  Check them out at www.TacticalLink.com under the “Magazines” tab.

620 Tactical Link Hera Arms CA Rebuild Kit magazines

620 Tactical Link Hera Arms CA Rebuild Kit magazines

**IN-STOCK** Magpul MBUS PRO – Save $10 Off Set

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by ar15news

I wanted to get this up on the site right away for you guys before they sold out. A ton of you guys have been looking for the new Magpul MBUS PRO backup iron sights. My friends over at Chase Tactical just shot me an email letting me know that they had the new MBUS PRO in-stock and they’ve knocked $5 off each. They also have some PMAGS in-stock too. I’m really excited to try a set of these out for myself. The purchase information for both the MBUS PRO and the PMAGS is listed below. Get Some!!

Purchase the Magpul MBUS PRO Front Sight HERE. –  SOLD OUT

Magpul MBUS PRO Front 1

Purchase the Magpul MBUS PRO Rear Sight HERE. –  SOLD OUT

Magpul MBUS PRO Front 1

Purchase some Magpul MOE Gen2 PMAGs HERE

Magpul PMAG MOE

Weekend Special!! LPK and Two 30 Round USGI Mags – $60

Posted on July 28th, 2013 by ar15news

PSA has been really turning out the weekend specials lately. I don’t post about all of them because I like to mix it up a bit but this one is worth noting. Right now, buy a PSA Classic LPK and you’ll also get two 30 round D&H magazines with Magpul anti-tilt followers for $59.99 but the deal ends tomorrow at 12 noon EST. Talk about a great way to finish off those stripped lowers you’ve all been buying. Details at the link below. Purchase at PalmettoStateArmory.com

PSA LPK and 2 Mags 620

Classic LPK:
A high quality lower parts kit needed to assemble your AR-15 lower. Parts are made in USA! Assembly takes place right here at our new facility in Columbia, SC. Features black oxide coated hammer and trigger springs.

D&H Mag:
Brand new mil-spec M16/AR15 30rd aluminum mags with grey teflon finish and yellow or foliage green Magpul followers. Made by D&H (Company formerly named Labelle) for Palmetto State Armory. These are the best of the breed because they have a slick durable Teflon coat inside and out. Stamped with US military cage code Q4TQ4.

Floorplates marked:
Palmetto State Armory, LLC
Columbia, SC

MAGAZINE SPECIFICATIONS

Aluminum, 6061 – T0 Body. Resistance welded to US Military Specifications
Aluminum Magazine Body
is Heat Treated to T6, then Hardcoat Anodized
Magazine Body Black Teflon
Spring is 17-7PH Checked for Compression with a Chatillon Gauge
Follower: Magpul Yellow OR Foliage Green Anti-Tilt Follower

Awesome Deal!! 10 PMAGs and a MOE LPK for $150

Posted on July 11th, 2013 by ar15news

This is one of the better deals going right now. PMAGs continue to sell out as soon as they hit the shelves. Some sites are still trying to gouge on the price of these popular mags while some sites like Palmetto State Armory are using their supply of PMAGs to make some awesome deals like this one. Over the past 6 months so many people bought stripped lowers its not even funny. Now they need two things. LPKs and mags. PSA has put together a sweet bundle that will fix that. Right now  you can purchase a 10-pack of Magpul MOE PMAGs and a PSA Magpul MOE Lower Parts Kit for just $150. The 10-pack of PMAGs right now is probably valued at $150 itself so you’re basically getting a FREE $60 Lower Parts Kit. That’s it. Nothing else to say but….GeT SoMe at PalmettoStateArmory.com.

PSA 10 PMAGs and a MOE LPK 620

Includes:

10 MagPul 30rd 5.56mm PMAGs MAG571-BLK.

A high quality lower parts kit needed to assemble your AR-15 lower. Parts are 100% made in USA! Assembly takes place right here at our new facility in Columbia, SC. The LPK-MOE also replaces the standard A2 Pistol Grip and the standard trigger guard with Magpul MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) grip and MOE trigger guard.

New Gen 2 Kit!! Features black oxide coated, coiled spring pins for the bolt catch, and black oxide coated hammer and trigger springs.

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