Gear Review: Palmetto State Armory PA10 – .308 AR Rifle

The AR platform – short for Armalite Rifle, not Assault Rifle – comes in so many flavors and varieties. Carbine length gas systems, 7.5 inch barrels, rifle length buffer tubes, NiB bolt carriers….the possibilities are endless.

To give one even more choice paralysis, there are a variety of different calibers you can obtain; 5.56, .300 BLK, and the heavy hitting .308/7.62×51 round. If you like to reach out and touch steel, or hunt, the latter is a caliber you should be well versed in.

Well given the prevalence of AR pattern rifles, the uniform manual of arms that extends past the 5.56 caliber to all platforms, and the familiarity of controls, it’s no wonder people like myself opt for a similar platform across 9mm, 5.56, and .308 cartridges. Given that I’m a fan of PSA’s American Made brand and that their kits appeal to the tinkerer in me, I knew I has to opt for a PA10 kit for my next build. This review will be an overview, and we will circle back to go over a comprehensive accuracy test.

The kit itself arrived in PSA’s normal packaging, with all the parts labeled and in tact. I was especially impressed with the lower receiver. It’s made 7075 T6 aluminum, as is the case with most mil-spec lowers, with an integrated trigger guard. This was a pleasant surprise as driving in the roll pin on a trigger guard on a 5.56 lower is one of the more difficult aspects of finishing a lower. This particular kit came with an LPK (lower parts kit) and a fully assembled upper. You can also get a complete lower if you wanted to forego the rigmarole-pinning. (Get it?)

The upper itself arrived well assembled, sporting an 18 inch, 1:10 twist 416R stainless steel barrel with a mid-length gas system and full 15″ free float rail. The rail itself is MLOK, and includes several QD ports on it (as pictured). This is both useful and looks good. You can run a Magpul sling with QD mounts: one being secured to the rail, the other secured to the Magpul Stock that came with the LPK kit. The muzzle thread is 5/8-24 if you want to go silent and put a suppressor on this rig.

My only ding on this entire build was the marring of the rail on the left hand side – but frankly, I run my rifles through the ringer so it doesn’t bother me. I just wanted to point it out in the interest of being thorough. This is pictured below, and again, very minor. 

Moreover, the top rails are lined up perfectly, and everything related to the gas tube and barrel is timed correctly. Also, as you can see in the picture below, they have their logo on the top of the receiver as well. The forward assist pin is flawlessly driven in, and the forward assist does it’s job – although I haven’t had a single problem getting this rifle into battery, even when doing press checks. 

The bolt carrier group is like any other, except this one is branded with PSA’s logo, which I don’t mind. Some of you may want your BCG’s to be “clean” but as long as it’s staked with Grade 8 fasteners and made of the correct materials – which it is – I don’t really care what it looks like. As long as it runs and locks up, I’m good to go. The BCG is nitrided and runs smoothly. Of course, with any rifle, when first assembled it’s a bit “gritty” but with use and lubing, that will loosen up over time. 

Speaking of lockup- it has a chrome-lined chamber that locks up tight.

In addition it has “M4 Style” feed ramps; meaning the nose of the round will slide easily into the chamber when cycling, regardless of if it’s feeding from the left or right. Also, as shown, the gas tube is properly situated.

Moving to the lower parts kit, it went together simply, and without any issues. I’ve built my fair share of rifles, and this one went together extremely simply. In fact, the only other differentiation from a 5.56/300 BLK assembly is the tigger guard, as previously mentioned, and the extra spring for the rear detent within the pistol grip. Other than that, if you can build a 5.56 kit, you can handle this.

All the parts were labeled and in their proper number, and they even include an extra couple detents and detent springs! (Thanks PSA! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “boing” while putting the takedown pins in and spent the next 20 minutes scouring my floor)

What I especially like about this LPK is the Magpul MIAD grip. You have different options with this grip. If you’re a fan of the A2 style “bump” under the middle finger, (see left) you can install a similar front strap on the grip. I don’t so I opted for Magpul’s familiar grip angle (see below). All in all, the MIAD grip is super modular, and that’s awesome. What’s even cooler, is the oil storage in the grip!

The trigger is PSA’s EPT (Enhanced Polished Trigger) and has a standard break for an AR pattern rifle, roughly 5.5 lbs. It’s exceptionally familiar as it’s the same fire control group as any 5.56 or similar AR. I do see a Timney in the future, so stay tuned for that. It breaks crisp, minimal take up, and is not mushy at all. Is it the best trigger? No, because like Glocks, AR’s now have a ton of accessories and upgrades to counteract this. But unless you’re a precision or competition shooter, the trigger will do it’s job just fine – it’s not bad at all, just a milspec trigger.

As far as function, it runs. Like a top.

I put Magpul MBUS sights on top so I could at least know what I was shooting at. Clearly this type of a rig, with it’s longer barrel and heavier cartridge, is begging for some glass on top. Once we lock that in, expect a full accuracy test pushing it out to at least 100 yds.

Overall for the money, it’s a hell of a deal for a .308 battle rifle that’s made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. Yes, you read that right. For the hobbyist it’s a great and fun kit to put together, and for someone looking to break into long range shooting, it’s a great start. That being said, it would also serve well as a hunting or SHTF rifle.

Pros, what we like: Great price point, easy to assemble, runs like a top, and the parts just work. The BCG is slick and not phospate coated (read: less gritty), and the EPT trigger is definitely serviceable out of the box. The rail on it is well secured, comfortable, and comes with a bunch of QD slots, as does the Magpul stock. For the money, you’d be hard pressed to find a rifle as well built with Magpul gear on it out of the box. And the lifetime warranty doesn’t hurt either… Snag your lower HERE and your upper HERE.

Cons, what we don’t like: Other than the slight mar on the left side of the rail, nada- good to go. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.

Where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.