These have been out for a while, but I decided to finally jump on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, my favourite shop for these sort of things, SFRC, was long sold out. Nordic Marksman has these, but they charge a lot more for them, and the best deal around still was with S&J Hardware.
To tell the truth though, I loathe to deal with S&J Hardware. When I first got into firearms back in 2012, I had an S&J Hardware free float hand guard for my first AR. I didn't know a thing about the aftermarket, but I thought it was awesome....until the retaining screws that held it to the barrel nut started to back out. I lost two during one range trip.
Anyway, I contacted S&J Hardware and the owner, Simon, responded to my e-mail saying he was going to send a few replacement screws. I thought wow, that's pretty awesome service, and he didn't really have to do that. A few weeks go by and nothing, so I contact him again and he said he was busy, but they will be in the mail .....time goes by....nothing. I contact him every few months and eventually, he just stops responding.
About a year after my initial contact, the screws show up out of the blue.
A few years later, I was browsing their website and they had a used shotgun listed. I didn't think much about my first interaction with the company, so I placed my order and payment was taken. A few days later, I get an e-mail from S&J Hardware saying that the shotgun I wanted was already sold, and their website is not actually a live representation of what they have in inventory. WTF. Ok, whatever, they offer me a $5 voucher for my next purchase, and I forget about it.
Fast forward to July 19th of this year and I'm looking for one of these C8 uppers. I missed out when SFRC was blowing them out at $600, but I find them on sjhardware.com. I remember my last experience with them, but I cautiously add to cart but did not finalize the order because I was still sort of on the fence about it. On July 20th, I get an e-mail from Simon reminding me that I have items in my cart, and there were only two units left.
The website looked updated, so I decided to take a chance and order. A few days (business days) go by, radio silence. I decided to e-mail S&J Hardware and don't hear back right away. OK, I've had better dealings and better comms with people in the EE, but whatever, I'm not at all surprised because it's S&J Hardware.
July 26th, I get an e-mail from S&J Hardware saying my order is on it's way. The tracking number on Canada Post indicates the shipper created a shipping label, however the item has not been received by Canada Post. I love how S&J Hardware's website has a disclaimer on it blaming Canada Post for slow updates:
Canada Post didn't receive the item until July 31st and I finally got the upper on August 6th. Wait, it's not over.
Looks great right? Surplus C8 upper, surprisingly great condition....maybe a bit too clean, the receiver anyway.
There's clearly wear on the charging handle, barrel, hand guard, FSB and flash hider, so how the hell did the receiver stay so clean?
The thing looked practically new. And what's the deal with the forward assist retaining pin? Why's it sticking out like that?
Top of the carry handle looked like it was never touched.
The front end looks like it's seen some contact.
I pull out the BCG to look for the "D" mark as promised, however none was to be seen. Instead, I see an "E" mark. WTF.
I have no idea how to tell if the charging handle was made by Diemaco, but it has quite a bit of wear compared to the inside of the receiver. Now, I'm not complaining about the wear because I knew ahead of time when I purchased this that it was a surplus upper and probably beat to hell. I just found it odd the receiver looked so clean.
That does not look like a Diemaco "D" marked BCG.
I pull out my authentic Diemaco BCG for comparison and I can tell already, these are not the same. The staking is clearly visible from the side on the Diemaco BCG.
More visible from the top.
The one that came with the upper says MPC, but the Diemaco one reads MPD 4329.
There was a T scratched into the one that came with the upper.
I'm 99% sure this is a Diemaco FSB, but maybe any experts can chime in here.
The barrel has the "D" mark at least.
The inside of the upper receiver does not appear to be used.
The gas tube even looks new.
So, I'm guessing this upper was cerakoted at one point. What I'd like to know is if they came like this from the agency that surplussed them, or did S&J Hardware take them apart and do this?
There's the pin again for the forward assist. Anyway, I'm going to contact S&J Hardware and find out what's going on with my order. I'm not super concerned about the cerakote job, but I am not at all happy about the BCG they subbed in.
What I have so far for my Blackhawk Down Colt 723 clone. Interesting read about the Diemaco C8 and it's relation to the Colt 723 here.
Anyway, I sent S&J Hardware an e-mail last night (6Aug18), let's see where this goes.
Radio silence from SJ Hardware. E-mail was sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Forward the e-mail to email@example.com today, got a reply from Simon indicating he was away until Sunday (12Aug18) and he will address it when he gets back. He also stated that he did not oversee the sale so he was not sure what happened.
E-mail sent to Simon to follow up on issue
No reply to previous e-mail, new e-mail sent to Simon to follow up on issue