Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tactical Reviews: YHM Black Diamond Specter XL Upper

© 2009, 2010, 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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I had the opportunity this weekend to handle and work with the latest AR15 upper from Yankee Hill Machine Co: the Black Diamond Specter XL.

YHM Black Diamond Specter XL

I don't normally use the AR platform very frequently, but after the 2009 SHOT Show, I was determined to familiarize myself with the latest AR15s and the many derivatives. I spent some time with the fellows at YHM, discussing the production, advancements, and accessories for the AR platform.

Upon receiving the Black Diamond Specter XL, I was pleased to see a very smooth, black matte finish with no variations on the upper and the free floating four rail forearm. The machining is exceptional, clean and crisp with no burrs or hooks. Assembly was done by someone who cares, not a mark, scratch, or ding anywhere. The rifle upper had a definite lean, aggressive look to it with the rails, flattop, and jagged flash hider.

Some of the features include:

* Mil. Spec. Forged 7075-T6 Aluminum YHM Flat Top Upper Receiver
* "T" Marked Upper Receiver
* Forward Assist
* Mil. Spec. Bolt Carrier Assembly
* 16" Chrome-Moly Vanadium Steel Barrel, Heat Treated to RC 25-32
* Chambered in 5.56 N.A.T.O., Chrome-Lined with either a 1:9" or 1:7" Twist

*Total Weight: 4.8 Pounds

The nice thing about buying a complete upper is that most everything you need is included.

* YHM Phantom 5C2 Flash Hider / Compensator (YHM-28-5C2)
* YHM Rifle Length Diamond Handguard (YHM-9635-DX)
* YHM Forearm Endcap (YHM-9484-B)
* YHM Low Profile Gas Block (YHM-9383)
* YHM Forearm Mounted Flip Front Sight (QDS)
* YHM Flip Rear Sight (QDS)

You can put it on a lower, put a magazine in it, sight it in, and fire away to your hearts content.

Forearm End Cap

The Diamond Series forearm (YHM-9635-DX) is free floating. No amount of reasonable pressure on my part could get the forearm to touch the barrel. The top rail is extended so that there is no gap between the receiver and the forearm and the rails are marked for accessory locations. Anti-rotation screws are used to prevent loosening and insure a secure installation. The tube is made of 6061-T6 aluminum and is hardcoated to military specifications. The forearm end cap provides protection for the end of your YHM forearm. It does not interfere with the free floating of your barrel and helps keep out debris. I'll be doing a separate post just on the forearm itself in the future.

Phantom 5C2 Comp/Flash Suppressor

At the business end of the rifle sits the Phantom 5C2 Comp/Flash Suppressor. (YHM-28-5C2) The popular Phantom Flash Suppressor has been redesigned by YHM to work as a muzzle compensator while maintaining the excellent flash hiding capabilities of the previous model. This five port design has no downward facing port which helps eliminate dust problems when shooting in the prone position. Notice the aggressive V cuts at the end for the occasional mano a mano!

In order to mount a full length rail system to a carbine length barrel, a low profile short gas block has been installed. The (YHM-9383) is mounted by the use of two set screws and is manufactured from high quality steel and finished with a mil. spec. phosphate coating.

The new Quick Deploy Sight System features an automatic deploy system. Pushing a button on the side of the sight base deploys the sight.

QDS Rear Sight deployed

QDS Front Sight folded

QDS Front Sight deployed

Both front and rear sights lock positively in the folded and deployed positions and are made from aircraft quality aluminum and hardcoated to military specifications. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and features dual apertures. The front adjusts for elevation and is a standard post. I found the sights to be at an excellent height allowing me to pick them up instantaneously. The larger aperture worked best for my eyesight, as the smaller blurred the target.

I'll be working with the YHM some more over the next few weeks. So far I am impressed with the fit and finish of the upper, and the thought put into the engineering of the product. We will be going out to the range for a full workout in the near future. If the quality I see is indicative, the range tryouts should be a breeze.

YHM Yankee Hill Machine Co.
YHM-7820 Black Diamond Specter XL Top End
MSRP $865.00

Albert A Rasch


Anonymous said...

Now that is some very nice hardware. I don't know as much about these types of guns as I would like so this added blog just might be the ticket for me to learn more.

Wise move Albert........

Anonymous said...

I think your "rear sight folded" photo is actual the front sight folded...

Albert A Rasch said...

Right you are!

I Don't know what I am thinking...

Albert A Rasch said...

I'll be fixing that soon, I don't know how I got the pictures garbled up, but thank you for pointing it out!



Albert A Rasch said...

Thanks Rick,

As I told Michael, I wanted to keep the atmosphere light on The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles. This one might be getting a little heavy now and again with subjects that are important and sometimes difficult.

Plus like you said, it's an opportunity to learn about new and different things.


Anonymous said...

The Black Diamond Specter XL is a very awesome AR-15, but I doubt a 556 is convenient for war against crime. Here in Rio de Janeiro, all our special operations troops use FAL paratrooper 762. It´s not as beautifull and lightweight as the Specter XL, but very, I mean very good at killing criminals.

Anonymous said...

i own /shoot a xl carbine - at 3/4'' group at 100 yds -- the details of the build like chromed barrel extension and bolt is MPI tested etc with 1/7 twist it one the best buy for a ar-15 !