Bets on MDR functionality on first range trip?

BurnOut

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I recently picked up a factory new MDR (equipped with the 2019 gas valve), and tomorrow will be its maiden voyage to the range. At this point, the only prep work that I have done to the rifle is to clean the bore, install a SiCo ASR brake, and bolt on an optic (3-15 XTR II in an Aadmount). Ammo will be 36 rounds of Winchester white box 7.62x51 147 gr FMJ, and 100 break-in rounds that I threw together (virgin Sig brass, WLR primer, 46 gr Varget, Hornady 155 gr BTHP, COAL 2.75x").

What are the Hide bets, re: functionality? Will it run? Will it rip rims off of cases that have to be beaten out of the chamber with a dowel rod? What say ye?
 

BurnOut

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Well, had some FTFs and some FTEs, but nothing that required any tools to unfuck. It seemed like it was just getting into the groove when I decided to stop shooting it because the blast from the muzzle brake was tearing up my shooting bag.

FWIW, I'm ~50 rounds in, and the last several groups of three rounds (until I fully trust semi-auto firearms, I only load a couple of rounds at a time in case there is a runaway type malfunction) functioned just like you'd hope. A few pieces of brass got mangled, but only one or two of them are so bad as to be unrecoverable. There are some definite extractor marks on the "inside" (forward face) of the rim on some cases (thus possibly indicating violent extraction), but again; nothing so bad as to render the cases unusable for future loading. Further, a couple of the (admittedly, only three shot) groups were MOA or slightly better despite the horrendous trigger.

So, all in all, nothing to brag about in the grand scheme of things... but given some of the problems that some folks have had with these guns, I'm reasonably happy. I certainly see potential in the platform once I get some more trigger time and devise a more durable/appropriate front rest, and look forward to the (eventual) availability of an improved trigger. Further, I'm planning on purchasing (at some point) an ES Tactical barrel in 6.5 Creedmoor, and think that that will really make this thing an absolute joy to shoot.
 
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Jamesr1

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Hopefully the issues clear up after the break-in, I'm waiting on the Tavor 7 to hit the market.
 

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@BurnOut Did your MDR come with a card outlining which of the updated parts have been installed? I'm curious if you still need the updates.
 

BurnOut

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@BurnOut Did your MDR come with a card outlining which of the updated parts have been installed? I'm curious if you still need the updates.
It came with the card, and of the three items listed, only the 2019 gas valve is installed. I sent an email to the email address on the card asking about the hammer spring and the wide extractor, but have not heard back from anyone yet.
 

The King

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Remember the map on the Legend of Zelda? That card brings back memories. A picture of a MDR half way to “Reliable Function Castle” to rescue Princess Trustworthiness from the evil clutches of Piss Poor Engineering.

It came with the card, and of the three items listed, only the 2019 gas valve is installed. I sent an email to the email address on the card asking about the hammer spring and the wide extractor, but have not heard back from anyone yet.
 

BurnOut

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Remember the map on the Legend of Zelda? That card brings back memories. A picture of a MDR half way to “Reliable Function Castle” to rescue Princess Trustworthiness from the evil clutches of Piss Poor Engineering.
Eh, I think that's a bit harsh. I mean, it certainly had some teething (not to mention coming-to-market) pains, but from what I'm gathering, the newest version of the gas valve seems to have made a big difference. While I freely admit that mine has not (yet) functioned as well as I would like, I don't at this stage feel like the design is fundamentally flawed. I think that it may need some further tweaking, but frankly that has been true of a LOT of clean-sheet-of-paper semi-auto .308 platforms over the years.

At this time, I'm cautiously optimistic. I have obtained from the support team at DT an RMA number under which I am going to send in my bolt for the large extractor upgrade, and then I'll need to finish the break-in procedure. Yeah, yeah, shouldn't need to do that in order to get it to run 100%, but plenty of HIGH end 1911s are also kind of iffy on function until they run a few hundred rounds... so it's not exactly unheard of. Realistically, given what we'll all pay for a decent bolt gun, I think that the MDR (assuming consistent, reliable function) represents a pretty respectable value given everything that it is.
 
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Potss

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There are problems beyond function though. IF (and that is a huge if) the 2019 updates have solved the immense basic reliability issues, there are still the following show-stopping problems that need to be resolved before the MDR can be considered a serious rifle:

1.) Weak poly that breaks under load (including the charging handle cutout).

2.) Pins warping and walking at even medium round counts.

3.) Trigger, mag release, and forward ejection mechanisms jam quickly in high particle environments.

And after that you have the glaring problems that make it a big step down over the competition:

4.) Very high recoil for the weight/round. Supposedly not fixable as a large amount of KE is needed to work the forward ejection (further shown by the new gas valve having the old "adverse" setting as the new "normal" setting).

5.) Very gassy when suppressed with anything but an OSS.

6.) Heavy, stage-y trigger.

7.) Gas system not adjustable without removing handguard.

I'm honestly not sure why everyone is spending so much time an energy trying to get the MDR to work when a honest company is already making a 100% reliable .308 bullpup: the K&M M17s 308. Not just reliable, but lighter weight with a better trigger and not gassy as hell with a suppressor with no pin walking issues and built out of solid aluminium. And basically all the small parts (grip, ejector, extractor, bolt release, mag release) are AR15/AR10 compatible. There is a big shell deflector so you can shoot it righty or lefty, just wouldn't want to make a habit of lefty. Tavor 7 wait also seems silly when such a rifle already exists.

At least you now have a lifetime warranty according to DT OP.
 
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The King

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I never liked the aesthetics of the M17. At all.

Then again I have 0 use for a 308 bullpup anyway.

Give me a nice 556 and we will go from there lol.

I’m mostly mad at the MDR because I wanted it to be what it was supposed to be. A nice sub moa convertible bullpup with a fantastic trigger made by a company known for accurate guns.

Instead, when we were on the honeymoon and she pulled off the Burka it was one of the Golden Girls after she escaped from her grave and was burned in a terrible deep fryer accident.

Still had the French Fries sticking out of her burn scars even.

There are problems beyond function though. IF (and that is a huge if) the 2019 updates have solved the immense basic reliability issues, there are still the following show-stopping problems that need to be resolved before the MDR can be considered a serious rifle:

1.) Weak poly that breaks under load (including the charging handle cutout).

2.) Pins warping and walking at even medium round counts.

3.) Trigger, mag release, and forward ejection mechanisms jam quickly in high particle environments.

And after that you have the glaring problems that make it a big step down over the competition:

4.) Very high recoil for the weight/round. Supposedly not fixable as a large amount of KE is needed to work the forward ejection (further shown by the new gas valve having the old "adverse" setting as the new "normal" setting).

5.) Very gassy when suppressed with anything but an OSS.

6.) Heavy, stage-y trigger.

7.) Gas system not adjustable without removing handguard.

I'm honestly not sure why everyone is spending so much time an energy trying to get the MDR to work when a honest company is already making a 100% reliable .308 bullpup: the K&M M17s 308. Not just reliable, but lighter weight with a better trigger and not gassy as hell with a suppressor with no pin walking issues and built out of solid aluminium. There is a big shell deflector so you can shoot it righty or lefty, just wouldn't want to make a habit of lefty. Tavor 7 wait also seems silly when such a rifle already exists.
 
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Potss

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Well if you want 5.56 there are a lot more options, but again I'd argue the K&M M17s 5.56 is at the top of the heap in a lot of ways. More accurate than the X95 with less gas in your face, same with the AUG and a nicer trigger than both. And, it isn't a keltech.

I've always been function over form, but I can get why you wouldn't dig even the updated aluminium M17s. I like it, but the look isn't for everyone.

And I completely agree about the MDR, it was a very sad decent to watch. I canceled my pre-order a while ago and I'm very glad I did.
 

BurnOut

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There are problems beyond function though. IF (and that is a huge if) the 2019 updates have solved the immense basic reliability issues, there are still the following show-stopping problems that need to be resolved before the MDR can be considered a serious rifle:

1.) Weak poly that breaks under load (including the charging handle cutout).

2.) Pins warping and walking at even medium round counts.

3.) Trigger, mag release, and forward ejection mechanisms jam quickly in high particle environments.

And after that you have the glaring problems that make it a big step down over the competition:

4.) Very high recoil for the weight/round. Supposedly not fixable as a large amount of KE is needed to work the forward ejection (further shown by the new gas valve having the old "adverse" setting as the new "normal" setting).

5.) Very gassy when suppressed with anything but an OSS.

6.) Heavy, stage-y trigger.

7.) Gas system not adjustable without removing handguard.

I'm honestly not sure why everyone is spending so much time an energy trying to get the MDR to work when a honest company is already making a 100% reliable .308 bullpup: the K&M M17s 308. Not just reliable, but lighter weight with a better trigger and not gassy as hell with a suppressor with no pin walking issues and built out of solid aluminium. And basically all the small parts (grip, ejector, extractor, bolt release, mag release) are AR15/AR10 compatible. There is a big shell deflector so you can shoot it righty or lefty, just wouldn't want to make a habit of lefty. Tavor 7 wait also seems silly when such a rifle already exists.

At least you now have a lifetime warranty according to DT OP.
You've made a number of points here, some of which I agree with, and some of which I do not; so let me address them in order.

1) Weak poly - while I have read accounts of some folks experiencing this issue, it has not popped up for me yet. If it does, I certainly won't be shy about mentioning it when the subject (MDR) comes up. I will say that I tend to treat my weapons with more respect than some folks on this forum do. To me, my multi-thousand dollar rifle/optic setup is closer to being a precision instrument than a tool, and I treat it accordingly. A rifle should not be counted upon to do double duty as a hammer, a wheel chock, a crutch, a shovel, a boat paddle, or anything else. Yes, accidents happen in the field (things get dropped, fall over, etc...), and a weapon should be durable enough to withstand that sort of incident, but I do tend to take reasonable precautions to try to prevent such occurrences. Again, if I run into issues with this, I will freely discuss them and the surrounding circumstances.

2) Weak pins - another issue I've not experienced at this time. I realize that my time actually on the gun has been very limited to this point, so it's entirely possible that this has not happened... YET. Again, it it something that I will keep an eye on, and if I experience this problem, I won't be shy about discussing it with anyone. I can say that the pin detents tend to be somewhat stubborn to the point where I need a tool of some sort (tip of a cartridge, etc...) to get them moving; but again... my MDR is pretty fresh, so I'll have to see how things progress as I spend more time using the gun.

3) Sensitivity to high particle environments - I'll have to do some testing on this one. The highest particle environments in which I am likely to be using a firearm of any sort is in West Texas, with all that that implies. Wind, dust, tumbleweeds. Based on my time in that environment (mostly prairie dog shoots from a portable bench and hog hunting from a side-by-side), I'd be surprised if the MDR malfunctions as long as I do a reasonable job of treating it like a gun instead of a tool. Now, if I end up dropping it in the dirt/sand and do a basic clearing (drop mag, cycle action and dry fire a few times) then reload it and it fails to function, then I may or may not have a problem with it. At this point in my life, I have never dropped a rifle in the field, and am not looking to start now. Again, though, if it happens with the MDR and I have functionality issues that result, I'll certainly relay my experiences.

4) High recoil - this has not yet been my experience. That said, I did fit my MDR with a SiCo ASR brake/mount, so that may have something to do with it. Another factor may be that the heaviest projectiles that I have shot at this point have been pretty light-for-caliber at 155 gr. I have no idea of the MV with that load (46 gr of Varget), but if I had to guess, I'd say 2400-ish out of the 16" barrel. This is another issue that I'll have to keep an eye on as I move forward.

5) Gassy when suppressed - I have no first hand experience here, so I can only say that once I get around to playing with it, I'll post my thoughts/experiences. Primary suppressor on this gun will be an old Specwar 7.62, but I can also test with an Omega 300 and a Hybrid.

6) Shitty trigger - no ifs, ands, buts, or two ways about it, I agree with this one. Here's to hoping for the Shootingsight/RPS trigger comes to market to help resolve this issue. Let's be honest, though... plenty of other semi-autos on the market also have this issue; that's why you can buy aftermarket trigger packs for the SCAR, the Tavor, etc...

7) Have to remove hand guard to adjust gas - or carry a tool (like a long-shaft flathead screwdriver). I agree that this is less than ideal, but in the grand scheme of things, it just isn't that big of a deal for me. A couple of my ARs have adjustable gas blocks under the handguards, so I need long stem allen wrenches to adjust them... which isn't that big of a deal because even if the gas block WASN'T under the hand guard, I'd still need an allen wrench to adjust them (but could use a more commonly available short stem).

Regarding the option of the K&M piece that you mentioned, I had never heard of it until you mentioned it so that's a big reason why I didn't consider it instead of the MDR. Questions that I have about it, though, are, can I buy off-the-shelf user-replaceable barrels for it in different chamberings (like 6.5 Creedmoor, etc...), and is it convertible to short action cartridges like 300 BLK? Additionally, it's just not my cup of tea in regard to aesthetics (but that's both a matter of personal choice and relatively insignificant in regard to the core function of a firearm). It's entirely possible that you and I just want different things out of a rifle of this type, but that's what's beautiful about the free market is that suppliers are free to create and sell products to meet the wants and needs of the customer... even if those wants and needs vary from one customer to the next.
 
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The King

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I am of two minds about some of this reply. I sometimes use my guns as a thing of beauty to be cared for. And sometimes it pretty much has to be smashed against the door frame for me to do what I’m there to do. I need to put it down in tbe dirt right fucking now and nothing less is going to be OK.



You've made a number of points here, some of which I agree with, and some of which I do not; so let me address them in order.

1) Weak poly - while I have read accounts of some folks experiencing this issue, it has not popped up for me yet. If it does, I certainly won't be shy about mentioning it when the subject (MDR) comes up. I will say that I tend to treat my weapons with more respect than some folks on this forum do. To me, my multi-thousand dollar rifle/optic setup is closer to being a precision instrument than a tool, and I treat it accordingly. A rifle should not be counted upon to do double duty as a hammer, a wheel chock, a crutch, a shovel, a boat paddle, or anything else. Yes, accidents happen in the field (things get dropped, fall over, etc...), and a weapon should be durable enough to withstand that sort of incident, but I do tend to take reasonable precautions to try to prevent such occurrences. Again, if I run into issues with this, I will freely discuss them and the surrounding circumstances.

2) Weak pins - another issue I've not experienced at this time. I realize that my time actually on the gun has been very limited to this point, so it's entirely possible that this has not happened... YET. Again, it it something that I will keep an eye on, and if I experience this problem, I won't be shy about discussing it with anyone. I can say that the pin detents tend to be somewhat stubborn to the point where I need a tool of some sort (tip of a cartridge, etc...) to get them moving; but again... my MDR is pretty fresh, so I'll have to see how things progress as I spend more time using the gun.

3) Sensitivity to high particle environments - I'll have to do some testing on this one. The highest particle environments in which I am likely to be using a firearm of any sort is in West Texas, with all that that implies. Wind, dust, tumbleweeds. Based on my time in that environment (mostly prairie dog shoots from a portable bench and hog hunting from a side-by-side), I'd be surprised if the MDR malfunctions as long as I do a reasonable job of treating it like a gun instead of a tool. Now, if I end up dropping it in the dirt/sand and do a basic clearing (drop mag, cycle action and dry fire a few times) then reload it and it fails to function, then I may or may not have a problem with it. At this point in my life, I have never dropped a rifle in the field, and am not looking to start now. Again, though, if it happens with the MDR and I have functionality issues that result, I'll certainly relay my experiences.

4) High recoil - this has not yet been my experience. That said, I did fit my MDR with a SiCo ASR brake/mount, so that may have something to do with it. Another factor may be that the heaviest projectiles that I have shot at this point have been pretty light-for-caliber at 155 gr. I have no idea of the MV with that load (46 gr of Varget), but if I had to guess, I'd say 2400-ish out of the 16" barrel. This is another issue that I'll have to keep an eye on as I move forward.

5) Gassy when suppressed - I have no first hand experience here, so I can only say that once I get around to playing with it, I'll post my thoughts/experiences. Primary suppressor on this gun will be an old Specwar 7.62, but I can also test with an Omega 300 and a Hybrid.

6) Shitty trigger - no ifs, ands, buts, or two ways about it, I agree with this one. Here's to hoping for the Shootingsight/RPS trigger comes to market to help resolve this issue. Let's be honest, though... plenty of other semi-autos on the market also have this issue; that's why you can buy aftermarket trigger packs for the SCAR, the Tavor, etc...

7) Have to remove hand guard to adjust gas - or carry a tool (like a long-shaft flathead screwdriver). I agree that this is less than ideal, but in the grand scheme of things, it just isn't that big of a deal for me. A coulple of my ARs have adjustable gas blocks under the handguards, so I need long stem allen wrenches to adjust them... which isn't that big of a deal because even if the gas block WASN'T under the hand guard, I'd still need an allen wrench to adjust them (but could use a more commonly available short stem).

Regarding the option of the K&M piece that you mentioned, I had never heard of it until you mentioned it so that's a big reason why I didn't consider it instead of the MDR. Questions that I have about it, though, are, can I buy off-the-shelf user-replaceable barrels for it in different chamberings (like 6.5 Creedmoor, etc...), and is it convertible to short action cartridges like 300 BLK? Additionally, it's just not my cup of tea in regard to aesthetics (but that's both a matter of personal choice and relatively insignificant in regard to the core function of a firearm). It's entirely possible that you and I just want different things out of a rifle of this type, but that's what's beautiful about the free market is that suppliers are free to create and sell products to meet the wants and needs of the customer... even if those wants and needs vary from one customer to the next.
 
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RickyRodney

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There is so much that needs to be said to these dumbasses, that I have figured out to just say "whatever" and try and get away from them.

Although, a friend of mine's dad was talking about a bullet rising once it leaves the muzzle. I chimed in "that is absolutely incorrect". Then my friend said, "dad, you might want to listen, he's hit targets at a mile, with a rifle bullet, he might know a thing or two, now days".

He never made statements like that around me again.
I am of two minds about some of this reply. I sometimes use my guns as a thing of beauty to be cared for. And sometimes it pretty much has to be smashed against the door frame for me to do what I’m there to do. I need to put it down in tbe dirt right fucking now and nothing less is going to be OK.
Yeah the more I spend, the more I expect. I spend 2k on optics and 3-4k on a rifle because I want match accuracy in a rifle that handle abuse like drops and laying in the dirt. Still fire, maintain accuracy and hold zero with minimal maintenance. I think the MDR falls into this category and would be held to that standard, and its not meeting the standard.

Like the new (to civilians) Scar 20s, sub MOA rifle, AND SCAR reliability, with FN craftsmanship. Great rifle. The wearing in of tolerances of a tight 1911 isn't the same as flaws in engineering. If they made the MDR, more inexpensive, a 1/2 minute gun with a softer recoil system, more suppressor friendly and it was advertised as a compact enjoyable mild hunting and target rifle then maybe its flaws could be more overlooked.

As it stands personally I'm glad I dropped from the MDR waitlist. I do sure hope your luck is better than what has been posted. Many had really high hopes for the rifle. I personally love my SRS.
 
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BurnOut

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I am of two minds about some of this reply. I sometimes use my guns as a thing of beauty to be cared for. And sometimes it pretty much has to be smashed against the door frame for me to do what I’m there to do. I need to put it down in tbe dirt right fucking now and nothing less is going to be OK.
I can understand that... I'm just saying that for *my* uses, I can generally afford to treat my guns pretty gently. I don't use them to make a living, I don't use them competitively, I don't go on hunts where I'm going to need to dangle my rifle at the end of a line while I rock climb my way to the hunting grounds.

I generally live a pretty first-world, suburban lifestyle, which means that I spend far more time sitting on my ass than I do pursuing rough-and-tumble activities of any sort... if that makes me soft/a pussy, I'm okay with that... the point is that I'm a comfortable pussy. ;-)

Seriously, though, it's easy to get caught up in the mentality of wanting the best, most durable gear available 'cause you never know what could happen; which is true... anything could happen. However, given my lifestyle/environment, I choose to take what I consider to be a more pragmatic approach which is that it's not about what could happen, but about what is likely to happen. Don't get me wrong, I also have some "just in case" stuff... an AKM, an SKS, a DI AR, various modern bolt guns in common chamberings... I just don't see a realistic need for everything I own to be 100% bomb proof in case the zombie apocalypse kicks off TEOTWAWKI with a SHTF event which in turn results in a WROL situation. Would that be ideal? Sure. However, given *my* reality, I choose to make some compromises in the name of budget, feature set, and honestly, just what I think is cool. Would I own an MDR as my only gun? Personally, no. However, as *part* of a collection? Sure. If I need dead-nuts reliability, etc..., I have other guns that I can grab out of the safe.
 

The King

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That’s a fair reply.

And again I’m mad at what the MDR isn’t because i sure as fuck wanted it to be the girl I could take home to the parents and not the one that left me in a bathtub full of ice in a Mexican hotel room.

Instead the beatings will continue to accrue to old faithful.

8DF6204E-2C01-4B46-9962-4ED4EB493371.jpeg
 

BurnOut

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And again I’m mad at what the MDR isn’t because i sure as fuck wanted it to be the girl I could take home to the parents and not the one that left me in a bathtub full of ice in a Mexican hotel room.
I hear ya, and can definitely see the roots of your position. Things certainly could have been handled much better by DT in regard to the original release (both in terms of the product and in terms of expectation management for the customer base).

I mean, it seems like if your expectations (as set by DT) hadn't been so high, you wouldn't have been as disappointed in the product that you ended up with. Truly, it seems like the version of the rifle that I have (call it Mk I B) is going to function well enough to (hopefully) allow the manufacturer to further tweak the design in a year or two to what we all want it to be. Like the version of the SCAR that @RickyRodney mentioned... the initial version of the rifle has been in the wild long enough and its undesirable traits well-enough known that FN was able to learn from that effort, keep the good bits and improve the bad bits, and end up with a more polished product as a result.

I mean, no manufacturer (especially for something like firearms) can afford to come out and say, "Hey, buying public, here's the first version of Product X, and while we've done as good of a job as we know how to do on the initial design and testing, we realize that you guys will inevitably find shortcomings that we overlooked. Anyhow, we'd really like you to pony up ~$2500 to be among our Beta testers, so go out, use the product, let us know what works and what doesn't, and once we've collected enough data we'll get to work on the 2nd gen version of Product X which we intend to address all of the issues that you folks find along with a couple of new gee-whiz features." They can't say that... they have to at least present Product X in such a way that people want to buy it and use it... and at the same time they want to let people know the expectations for the final product so that user feedback is couched in that way ("You said that Product X could slice, dice, chop, and julienne... WTF? It slices and dices just fine, but only chops okay and doesn't julienne for shit!") so that they know where to focus in their refinement efforts. That said, the risk that is taken with this approach is that it can easily turn people off to the brand/product once the initial version falls short of expectations. Alas, this is effectively the development cycle for every (evolutionary) product I can think of... and as consumers, we just need to be cognizant that new designs are almost certainly going to go through an evolutionary process (some changes will be made early and quickly, others will be considerably longer in nature); that still doesn't take the sting out of buying a product for which you had such high hopes and which failed to live up to those hopes, though.
 

ddavis

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Well if you want 5.56 there are a lot more options, but again I'd argue the K&M M17s 5.56 is at the top of the heap in a lot of ways. More accurate than the X95 with less gas in your face, same with the AUG and a nicer trigger than both. And, it isn't a keltech.

I've always been function over form, but I can get why you wouldn't dig even the updated aluminium M17s. I like it, but the look isn't for everyone.

And I completely agree about the MDR, it was a very sad decent to watch. I canceled my pre-order a while ago and I'm very glad I did.

My M17s flat out doesn't work with any of the 3 rifle cans I have, even with the gas at the lowest setting. Still over gassed.