Piston-driven AR-15 rifles are becoming the norm these days. Once…

Piston-driven AR-15 rifles are becoming the norm these days. Once a sort of specialty rifle, they have really caught on. And they certainly have their advantages. Most are more reliable with various types of ammunition. Many have adjustable gas systems, allowing the operator to adjust for differing loads or suppressor use. They tend to run cleaner and cooler. With little or no gas going back into the bolt group area, they tend to run better under dusty and dirty conditions. When they work, they can be an improvement over the standard gas impingement design.

They do have a couple of drawbacks, however. They can be a tad heavier depending on the gas system used. Some are less capable of accepting the many forend systems available these days. There are quite a few that must use the system that comes with the gun, so changing out rails, for example, is just not possible. Sure, a rail is a rail, but many operators want to use their preferred equipment.

Lastly, they can be less accurate. Not necessarily less accurate in general, but over a broad range of ammunition, they can be less consistent. In my testing, some piston rifles will shoot one round fabulously and another miserably. Most of the impingement guns seem to shoot about the same with less variance. The vast majority of rifles built with precision in mind remain gas impingement systems. This has certainly been the case for me with any of the larger calibers, and at times with 5.56mm rifles, too. So, when I got the opportunity to test the Huldra Arms Mark IV Tactical Elite, I jumped on it.

Gun Details

Huldra Arms’ rifles are manufactured to their specifications by Adams Arms. The Adams Arms gas piston system has been around for a while and has become one of the most popular on the market. Its ability to be retrofitted on a standard direct impingement gun has added to its popularity. It is pretty simple, utilizing a drive rod to impact the bolt carrier instead of direct gas. This rod uses a machined step in the rod to stop its movement, with a spring to slow it down. Unlike other systems, the Adams Arms system will still run if this spring breaks. A spring-loaded bolt is also used in order to cut down on cam pin wear. The gas system is adjustable for differing loads or suppressor use.

There are several advantages to this particular system. It can be used with several different forends, many with little to no alteration. The entire system can be accessed from the front, making cleaning and takedown a breeze. There are not many parts, so cleaning is easier in this respect, too. The Adams system also tends to run cooler at the bolt group. There is still heat, of course, but it stays near the handguard and gas block, and less is transferred to the bolt, bolt carrier, and the rest of the internals. Its design vents the gas forward to keep it out of an operator’s face.


The rest of the rifle is produced by Huldra and includes a number of their own accessories. The piston system and barrel have been treated with their salt-nitride-meloniting process and is placed in a mid-length free-floated handguard. The 16-inch 4150 chrome-moly-vanadium barrel has a 1-in-7-inch twist rate with M4 cuts in the chamber for reliable feeding. Both the upper and lower receivers are machined from 7075-T6 aluminum forgings that are then Type III hardcoat anodized. The supplied JP EZ trigger is crisp and precise with a 4.5-pound trigger pull. The rifle’s supplied ambidextrous safety is very positive and fit perfectly. The Tactical Elite also features a Vltor IMod stock and an Ergo Grip.

The rifle also included a set of their folding battle sights, a couple of different panels for the rails on the forend, sling swivels, and a sling as their recommended accessories. To facilitate testing, I added a few items: a Weaver 3-15×50 Tactical scope mounted in a Nightforce Unimount, as well as a BlackHawk Precision Tactical Bipod, to wring out the greatest accuracy possible.

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