It wasn’t that long ago I put out my first article, an interview with Joel from V Seven Weapons Systems. In that interview, Joel let me know he would soon be releasing ultralight upper and lower receivers made from 2055 lithium-aluminum. Fast forward the clock a few months and the receivers are on the market, joining other ultralight V7 products like their titanium barrel and castle nuts. Joel had let me know during that interview, V7 was focused on building all the small parts that make up an AR before working up to finished assemblies. So far, that plan has played out just as he had envisioned.
I had purchased a barrel from V7 but changed directions on the build and called V7 to return it. I called in to exchange the barrel for one of the new Enlightened lower receivers, as well as a titanium QD end plate and castle nut. The lower also ships standard with an aluminum QD endplate. I worked them all into a build and here’s my impressions of these products.
First up is the humble castle nut. Made from grade 5 titanium, this is one tough nut to crack. Titanium doesn’t like being staked, so make sure to install with some threadlock gel. Slightly lighter than the GI castle nut, this comes in at 9.7 grams. It has a hole drilled in the side to allow tightening using the single point hook wrench commonly seen on AR multi tools. These run from $29-$34 depending on whether you prefer a raw titanium or ionbond black finish. There’s not a lot to say about castle nuts, but this one is lighter and stronger than the stock part.
Now lets take a look at the QD end plates. Next door neighbors to the castle nut, these QD plates represent the ultimate refinement in aft mounted sling attachment points. The big improvement in end plate designs came a few years back. Products such as Magpul’s ASAP plate allows shooters to snap into a ring on the back of the end plate. Some designs had one swinging ring, others had a ring on each side. They were an improvement over the 550 cord attachment points of old, but still had drawbacks.
In short, they were early designs. As Da Vinci once wrote, “Simplicity is the ultimate refinement.” Casting our gaze upon the V7 products, we see the QD sling port machined nearly flush to the end plate. So unobtrusive, you might not notice it’s there unless you’re looking for it. No steel loop to snag on, no rattling steel ring, just… simple. With aluminum and titanium available, these end plates come in at 5.5 and 7.2 grams, respectively. I feel confident in saying these are the best QD mounting endplates I’ve seen yet. At $27-$32, these won’t break the bank either.
Now, on to the final item. The pièce de résistance as they say in surrender-land. The V7 Enlightened lower has been on the wish list of many lightweight AR builders since it was revealed a 2055 lithium-aluminum lower was in the works. Coming in at a scant 6.4 oz, this is one of the lightest metal lowers available on the market. 2055 li-al is stronger, lighter and more corrosion resistant than 7075 aluminum. The receiver has built in strengthening ribs which conveniently and photogenically line up with the KNS anti-rotation pins I had installed. The lower has a built in winter trigger guard as well. While both the titanium and aluminum QD end plates fit, the exterior lines of the aluminum plate line up near seamlessly with this lower. If you put your gun through serious abuse or want to build an ultralight rifle, take a look at this. If you have concerns about your SBR engraved lower wearing out some day, pick up a tougher option. At $359 this is definitely priced in the premium range. The question you have to ask is: Is it worthy?
The fit and finish of all the V7 products I’ve seen is top notch. I haven’t seen a single instance of inconsistent coating, tool markings or rough edges. Customer service within V7 has been optimal when I’ve needed it. It’s rare I can afford to dip into the premium parts market, but this is one time I’m glad I did.
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