Another Full-Auto Meltdown from the Mad “Scientists” at IV8888 – This Time a Cheap AR

After learning from the first video and subsequent “meltdown” tests, Eric at IV8888 has upped his game – now using a flak jacket and armored mask to protect him from the entertaining tomfoolery of taking a weapon well past any reasonable point of use seeing where it will fail.

The latest test subject is a Palmetto State Armory direct impingement upper receiver. Basic configuration weapon with a carbine gas original M4 profile barrel, pinned FSB, iron sights, and what looks to be a nitrided BCG. As Eric contends, it’s basically “the cheapest upper you can buy.” Note – “cheap” does not mean “lack of quality.”

In the same vein of the last tests, the weapon is utterly destroyed by the “test”, lasting about 440 rounds before the handguards melting and catching fire. The heat was too much for the gas tube, which melts “like spaghetti”. ย After the test, the barrel was found to be bent.

Looking at this “cheap” AR test, it certainly gives a bit more credence to the performance of the first DI AR-15, which was equipped with a stainless steel barrel and shot even more abrasive bi-metal jacket bullets. However, I must disagree with Eric’s statements of “supporting” the barrel with various handguards. If anything, the stock M4 handguards just keep the barrel from cooling as efficiently.

Moral of the story? One, don’t do this at home and two, the AR is a remarkably resilient weapons system for something not designed to be a light machine gun.



TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


  • PK

    “the AR is a remarkably resilient weapons system for something not designed to be a light machine gun.”

    Perfect way to phrase it. For this particular type of abuse, it does just fine.

    • Too bad the myth of the barrel getting hot enough to droop has been perpetuated again. You can not get a barrel hot enough to droop from its own weight and still contain pressure from firing. The “droop” is usually from either thermal expansion and/or reaction forces associated with firing the gun. The AK is famous for this due to the axial thrust on the piston.

      • jimmy craked corn

        He did say the barrel could have been bent when he threw the thing to the ground. He had a piece of plastic fall on his hand.

      • PK

        I’m not sure that myth will ever die, honestly. So few people experience truly hot metal bending strangely due to where the heat is concentrated or the way in which it’s being mechanically stressed that an explanation has no real-world basis on which to build.

        Even with ambient temperatures being discussed, it’s hard to convince anyone how much a barrel (or any given metal in any shape) flexes under mechanical stress. I’ve been accused of faking slow-motion video of barrel whip, for example.

        • pun&gun

          Show them a sword striking a cutting target in slow motion. Most people don’t appreciate the amount of flex required in those, either.

        • JF

          dude – I’ve seen it happen to Elmer Fudd several times. It’s on video. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Ive never seen the point of these “tests” but whatever.

    • PK

      Entertainment, mostly. It’s like any TV show, really.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Not really, some shows are good.

      • USMC03Vet

        Yes Youtube is entertainment. The issue is when people take it seriously.

      • James Young

        Always interesting to see what fails first on the rifles they use. In this case the gas tube burst. Besides, who doesn’t want to see the polymer handguard catch fire and melt?

    • Flounder

      Entertainment. If they do enough of them it may show something. But all they have proved is a vepr is about twice as good a machine gun as a WASR. And a factory POF machine gun is better than a build using good components and almost anything is better than a PSA. This is the worst performing rifle yet I think. Although I think it is close to the WASR.

      And! The .22 they tested beat their test. They couldn’t melt it down.

      • iksnilol

        You’re saying the future of MGs is .22s?

        • Flounder

          Just imagine the suppressive fire those could provide!! And how much ammo people could carry! I really wonder how a belt feld 22 mg would roll…

          We might actually make the bean counters happy!

          • Risky

            That was the idea behind the American 180

      • Risky

        Can’t burn the tires off a Yugo, either.

      • Chippah

        The difference is that you can literally kick a wasr back in order and continue sustained fire.

  • USMC03Vet

    I love these videos. IV8888’s latest video is about German gun laws and the German has his identify hidden because otherwise Merkel’s goon squad would be raiding the poor guy.

  • iksnilol

    But what if… what if we used it like an LMG ?

    • Dan

      No one would ever do that, would they? When they have a perfectly good SAW? The Army is way to smart for that.

      • Brett baker

        Uh,SOCOM profile barrel?

      • The Marine’s on the other hand…

      • vv

        what if you’re a delta left behind in the korengal valley

  • Pete Sheppard

    I’d like to see him run a Sport 2 upper, to see how much longer (if at all) the heavier barrel would last.

    • James Young

      The Sport 2 does seem to have a beefy barrel for what a budget AR. I’d be curious to see how long it’ll last too. Just for fun

    • iksnilol

      Doubt there’d be much of a difference, the gas tube bursts before the barrel.

      • Pete Sheppard

        I thought about that, since gas tube failure is a designed-in safety feature. Eric showed how the barrel itself drooped, so a heavy barrel *might* go a bit longer, and just might be usable with a new tube.

  • I wunder

    Resilient? All I gotta say is POF and Vepr. Both lasted quite a bit longer. I don’t think many di ar gas tubes are up to it. I doubt a Colt or Daniel Defense would have done much better, as the gastube was the weak link. Short of some special gas tube, most di ars will fail the same way. A carbine length gas system just makes it happen sooner. The ar test I want to see done is an Adams piston setup.

    • ostiariusalpha

      The POF would die early. As for DI, there is already a video of a torture test on a Colt M4A1, and it went 911 rounds before failing. Compare that to the 895 rounds the Vepr did in Eric’s test.

      • I wunder

        Pof die early? They already ran a pof piston build and it did excellent at 2737 rounds and never did catastrophically break. What kind of unobtainioum was that Colt’s gastube made of? Eric has a different di ar meltdown that failed the same way, blown gastube. No di ar is going to do a whole lot better without some special gastube. It is a known quality at this point that a standard gastube is gonna go pop. That being said, the busted gastube/ruined barrel of the ar easier to fix, vs an Ak that has warped the receiver like his earlier Ak meltdown.

        • ostiariusalpha

          That POF is a .308, not an M4 equivalent. And I’ve never seen any video of the test to evaluate their procedure for exactly how they got those results, but I’m perhaps being ungenerous to Patriot Ordnance. Eric did a torture test video of a 5.56 POF P416, and it started malfing at the 780 round count.
          It was actually the stainless steel Faxon barrel that failed in Eric’s AR-15 test, not the gas tube. Which is no big surprise if you know anything about barrel metallurgy: SS barrels can outlast CMV ones in slow fire, like you’d see from a bolt action. In full auto though, the CMV barrel will keep on chugging through heat that will (and did) kill a stainless barrel.
          There was nothing special about the gas tube used in the Army’s test video; it wasn’t an Inconel tube, which you can purchase just about anywhere online.

          • CJS

            “Eric did a torture test video of a 5.56 POF P416, and it started malfing at the 780 round count.”

            Maybe but it kept going till 2700+ rounds, so ‘I wunder’ does have a point.

            P.s. I don’t really care one way or the other, I’m waiting to see if Eric’s got the stones to try a meltdown with a bullpup ๐Ÿ™‚

          • ostiariusalpha

            In Eric’s test, the super-duper POF chamber channels failed and a case got stuck; that’s game over for a gun in a firefight. In contrast, the M4A1 with a standard chamber design continued to fire, and even after the gas tube melted down, it still managed to manually chamber, fire, eject with no difficulties. That would have kept it in a fight as a useable weapon.

          • CJS

            OK have to confess to being confused now, Eric’s p416 did 2737 rounds, are you referring to another video as well?

            And yes a round got stuck (twice actually), but that was after 1000+ rounds fired (i.e. after the Palmetto’s gas tube had already seriously warped. The POF never mechanically failed, yes it failed to pick-up rounds on full auto, but near the end of the test Eric set it to semi and it chambered, fired and ejected every round.

            Regardless of the semantics’ you have to admit that’s bloody impressive.

  • Sully

    The Colt M4A1’s gas tube lasted for 900 rounds, why does this one only go up to 400 rounds? Is it because the Palmetto State model’s gas tube is made of inferior material or something?

    Anyone here knows?

    • Dima

      Link or title to the Colt video?

      • Joshua

        YouTube search Colt M4A1 meltdown.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Yes, there is a difference in the gas tubes. The “cheap” ones probably have a higher sulfur content in the stainless steel alloy they are made of. The high end one would be an Inconel alloy stainless steel; that holds up to thermal abuse quite well.

  • int19h

    These uppers go for $260 complete right now. When you think about it from this perspective, 440 rounds of non-stop full-auto is more than I’d have expected it to handle.

  • DunRanull

    I guess that this is why my old Bushie came with the heavy barrel!
    That said, Ive never even came close to “melting” my old pencil-barreled Colt AR15 (which is an actual original AR15 without the forward assist and having the short buttstock)..
    The AKs Ive used are like the energiser bunny, they just keep going and going and going

  • Kenneth Schmidt

    Sorta makes you reflect upon the circumstances at the Battle of Wanat.

  • Waah

    My respect for the di ar has been restored. You would be well armed with one. No malfunctions as to shooting, bolt holdback did not prevent firing at all. So how much would it be to have a cheap, decent ar?

  • GuruOfGuns

    The original mil spec M16 handguards used on the rifle and short versions are much better at conducting heat away from the barrel than aftermarket versions. But nothing at all around the barrel is bound to be better if you’re taking it to this extreme.

  • jack daugherty

    I wish he would melt a few Galils.