Or: Why I can't recommend Del-Ton to anyone.
To recap -
I ordered two AR15 uppers from Del-Ton on 1/31/09. This date is important, so keep it in mind.
Between February and the end of November, I made the following posts about it:
Great googly moogly!
Yet another Del-Ton delay
Good news, better news, and bad news
Good news, everyone!
Chris's upper showed up in September, and mine showed up the first week of December of that year. I neglected to post about the upper showing up due to my grandfather's passing, but it did show up that first week in December. By the time mine showed up I was just thrilled to see anything. So: Ordered everything at the end of January, and the second upper showed up almost a YEAR later. In that time, I received absolutely no information from Del-Ton - I had to waste my time and call THEM to get the same answer over and over and over. I don't care how busy a company is, a form email does NOT take much time to write and send out to customers. Thanks to the beauty of technology, said email could have been drafted while someone dropped the kids off at the pool. Anyway, moving on...
We did not get any opportunity to test either upper until 7/4/10, and on that range trip both rifles had consistent issues. I posted about the problems we had here. We did not get another chance to really test anything until last month, when Chris's friend helped him diagnose the problem. After swapping bolts, uppers, lowers, and magazines they were able to determine there was an issue with the gas system in both uppers. Please note, I was quite angry...I expected better of Del-Ton. I suppose I should have used the lack of communication from them as a sign regarding their build quality.
By now, it's well past any warranty would be in effect, so this weekend we took the uppers to Dan over at Gun Connection. Dan was able to diagnose and repair both uppers while we waited. What he found, though, was a bit distressing...both because Del-Ton sent defective parts and because neither Chris nor I knew what we were doing with these rifles. I spent much of Saturday fuming at Del-Ton's shoddy build quality and my own stupidity, and I have since learned my lesson.
So, the problems: On Chris's upper, the gas block was so screwed up there's no way he'd actually get anything to cycle properly. If you take a close look at the photo, you'll see where the hole inside it was poorly drilled...it almost looks like the person who worked on the part used a small explosive to get that hole in there.
That's pretty freaking bad. It also wasn't on properly, as we could jiggle it without loosening anything. No wonder there was an issue with the gas system!
Dan replaced the gas block with one from Daniel Defense and put everything back together. On my upper, the gas tube was off by about 15 degrees and it was clogged (user error - it wasn't properly cleaned before we took it out the first time). He reseated everything and did a particularly thorough cleaning for me. A little over a hundred dollars in parts and labor later and we left with two functioning rifles, though we were charged with testing both over the weekend to make sure everything worked.
Yesterday, during a break in the nasty weather, we took them out...and they worked beautifully. Chris had some difficulty with his optic, but that's user error and will be rectified once he reacquaints himself with the instructions. I, on the other hand, landed almost every shot where I wanted it once I figured out how to use my scope. Overall, I'm glad this ordeal is over, and I'm especially glad we now have two functioning rifles that are quite a bit of fun to shoot.
To sum up:
yay Gun Connection
thoroughly educate yourself about a firearm if it's known to be finicky
thoroughly educate yourself on a retailer before spending a significant amount of money.
The final result of two mags through my rifle (while also learning the particulars of my optics - the low shots were the first few i took, and i aimed for each box at least once to see how well i could do):
...Yeah. I'm happy now.