Originally Posted by Maximumbob54
You have the first Sparta that I have seen posted on this forum. I would love it if you would do a full on review of it.
I didn't think I had the first one, but it may be so. There are a couple of good reviews on YouTube right now, by Rook Voice.
- I won't repeat what has been said there, at least not in video. Instead, I'll run down my impressions from the time it arrived until I shot it.
When the box arrived, I thought it was too big. It turns out that the packaging is purpose built with two foam blocks at each end of the standard plastic blister pack. If you get one damaged in transit, the carrier must have really beat it up. Nice way to ship something. Totally overkill.
Opening the package, I found it fully assembled, except for a tiny caliber tag that installs on one side, just before you install the aluminum top rail. These were tucked inside the pistol grip storage compartment. It was great being able to snatch it from the package and present arms, as if it was already loaded with my action. It felt good. The finish is as good as any polymer stock I've ever seen, except on a non-critical edge where the polymer meets the aluminum. It took me a while to spot, so it's really a non-issue. Any fancy solution would have driven costs up, so I think it's acceptable for the price of this stock. It is absolutely on par with the Tapco and ATI stocks, though not as fine as a Glock or similar firearm. One more thought I had on the stock being fully assembled; It permits a high level quality check for someone to assemble the unit before packaging. I like that.
It did not include an 1/8" hex wrench needed for disassembly and reassembly, field stripping duties. You must remove the four screws, two at each end of the aluminum top rail. They are substantial and designed so that the screw is the index for the interface of stock and rail. The thread is 1/4-20 and the polymer has steel inserts molded in to protect against wear from field stripping, etc. This was the big improvement that kept these off the market all last year. Upon reinstalling the rail, I was impressed by the fit. One of the reviews I saw suggested a low strength thread locker on these screws. I advise against it. When field stripping to add another rail under the fore-end, these required some effort to remove.
When removing the rail, you first take out the screws, then slide the rail forward maybe 6-8mm to disengege several lugs, then it tilts up just a bit from the rear and comes off. In the videos, you'll see a hammer used here to aid moving it fore and aft. I found it quite a tight fit, but resisted the use of force. In putting the rail back on, make sure you start all four screws before tightening them down. A hex wrench is all the leverage you need here.
Before you drop in your action, you need to install your guide channel without the little horseshoe on the front, and remove your rear sight. The video covers this. Once laid in place, it's retained by the rest of the assembly. Install your action as usual (note that the action must be locked open in order for the operating rod to clear the stock), then buckle it down with your trigger group. This is where you will meet the spring loaded filler between the trigger gaurd and the grip. It's a nice touch, but requires a little manuevering to install the trigger group. The lock-up is very tight, better than both my wood and synthetic factory stocks. Now you can slide the top rail back on and tighten it down as above.
The feel is excellent. The weapon is well balanced and very rigid. It gets this stiffness from the stock being reinforced by that long hunk of aluminum you just bolted on. No twist or give at all.
Length of pull is adjustable to four positions, ranging from short to too long. It should suit just about anyone.
The stock is a proprietary design that is a little stiff to operate, but has no slop as a result. I would have liked to see an M4 type stock tube, but this was another measure to keep the price down. Tooling required for such things drives up the cost more than the parts used in the assembly, so I can see some sense in this choice. It also has a real rubber butt pad and is fully finished, complete with Archangel logo underneath.
There is also a proprietary cheek weld on the stock. It is unusal in that it is basically hinged at the rear and elevates at the front. There are seven positions locked by an aluminum thumb button on the left side of the stock. Once adjusted, it's very nice. Adjusting it, however, is tricky. The fit in the mechanism is not exactly precise, but again, it is slop free. It just requires a deliberate amount of effort to make a one click change.
The pistol grip is slighty beefier than an A2 grip, but not as fat as the "Saw" grip on the Choate or the grips on the Tapco and ATI stocks. The storage compartment is just right for a front sight tool and a bore snake, or some spare batteries for a tac light. It is not interchangeable, again, a cost measure, I suspect.
The fore-end is really meaty. It fills your hand like a Remington shotgun. The Operationg rod is protected to keep your fingers from interfering with the action, a flaw that I noted in my Ameag Ranges Mini-Scout rail. The fore-end is heavily reinforced in the front couple of inches, adding stiffness. Looking at the inside, you can see several lugs molded in that can be easily drilled for adding a picatinny rail underneath. I spoke to a ProMag technician and came away with the impression that this was a compromise short of offering a bunch of accessories at added cost.
The sight picture is much like a bare back AR type rifle. The OE front sight is now obsolete, so if you make this a permanent upgrade, you can have a clear conscience when you cut down that barrel and add a flash hider. Because the rail extends well behind the receiver, you can mount conventional scopes with normal eye relief and have a lot of room to adjust the position without messing with the scope rings. BUIS sights are right at home and there is plenty of room for other rail mounted accessories. One very nice piece to note, I had zeroed my optics for my rifle with the Amega Ranges rail. When I went to rezero them, adjustment was minimal because the rail is so true to the barrel center line. That is a huge vote for the quality of the Sparta stock.
Shooting was a bit improved from the OE stocks due to the new alignment of the action to your shoulder. It makes the rifle come straight back with less muzzle climb. Magazines fall free without issue and the gun seems to function fine. (I do need to point out that I had a couple of FTE in the first box of ammo, but I also had more than 5 fail to go bang at all. I disassembled these rounds, then tried again to fire the primer and they were true duds. This box of ammo proved very inconsistent, so I measured the powder charge in each of the dud rounds and found them to vary WIDELY. I have dismissed my malfunctions as ammo related and have had no further issuses in the next 100 rounds.)
I now have two optics (3-9x scope and C-MORE reflex) configured and I leave a Magpul MBUS front sight installed full time. The stock also has four metal QD sling swivel points molded in, so I made up a new sling today. I drilled and added a fore-end picatinny rail for bipod and tac-light mounting. Another reader asked about the weight difference, so I broke out the scale and found the gun to be one pound heavier.
I am VERY happy with this $200 investment. I feel like I got most of the value that an expensive chassis system would provide, but at a price I can swallow.
Some Pros- It's stiff!, the rail is a mile long!, 4 QD swivel mounts, The grip, ergonomics overall, price!, storage in the grip, real rubber butt pad, IT'S MADE IN THE USA!!!
Some Cons- It could have been a folder (shrug), it could have used M4 stock and grips for interchangeability and upgrades (sigh), +1 pound, added steps to field strip, moving parts are kinda sticky in their operation (graphite lube?)
I give this a 8.5 out of 10 on my satisfaction meter. Only features that would come with added cost would make it rate higher, aside from the sticky adjustment of the cheek weld. I am very happy and recommend this for anyone short of an actual battlefield operator. I think they need to look at the Troy chassis.
I'm happy to answer questions ....