Yankee Hill Machine is probably one of the top 10 names that come to mind when it comes to modern AR-15s and accessories. With a proven track record of quality complete rifles and suppressors, Yankee Hill Machine (YHM) stands out as a quality manufacturer in many people’s minds. I was recently sent a Yankee Hill Machine Model 57 (YHM-57) in 300 Blackout and today we’ll go over my experiences and some details about the rifle.
TFB Review: The Yankee Hill Machine Model 57 in 300 Blackout
The YHM-57 was first unveiled during SHOT Show 2014. YHM at this point had already had well over 50 years of AR manufacturing experience and they were seeking to come out with a new billet carbine. The YHM-57 fulfills that role. The core of the rifle consists of a billet-machined receiver set. Although the version of the rifle I was sent was chambered in 300 Blackout, they also made the rifle available in 5.56 NATO as well as 6.8 SPC.
Quality from Start to Finish
One thing that YHM has built its name on is a combination of quality and price. The YHM-57 was shipped to me in a nice solid hard-plastic case with foam padding inserts. This is what I would call a “retail kit.” The rifle was shipped with a gun lock, manuals, and two Gen 2 black 30-round PMAGs.
For someone who is looking for a complete rifle that is assembled properly, you can count on YHM to deliver that right out of the box. Everything you need aside from the ammunition comes in the box and the rifle is ready for its first range trip right after you buy it.
One thing I would have liked to see added to the case is perhaps a cleaning kit – I’ve started to see a lot of manufacturers include cleaning kits specific to the firearm sold and I think its a nice feature. It adds just a bit more top-notch quality and definitely something I’d expect out of a reputable manufacturer like YHM.
The YHM-57 sports some unique characteristics that set it apart from your standard AR-15. Aside from the matching billet-machined receiver set, the YHM-57 comes standard with the following features:
- 16″ 4140 Steel Barrel, Heat Treated to RC 25-32, Melonite QPQ
- Fluting Style Exclusive to the Model-57
- Geissele 2 Stage, 5 Lb. Trigger
- Includes Tactical Charging Handle Latch
- YHM Slant Brake (YHM-26-MB-A)
- S.L.R.® Slant handguard, Specter Length (YHM-5145)
- Q.D.S.® Sight System, hooded (YHM-5040-H)
- Magpul MOE Pistol Grip
- Two Gen. 2 Windowless PMAGS
- Adjustable Magpul CTR Buttstock
- Forward Assist
- Direct Impingement, Carbine Length Gas System
- Total Weight: 7.43 Pounds
Although normally the YHM-57 comes with a YHM Slant Brake, YHM included a 30 Caliber Q.D. Muzzle Brake which is compatible with their Nitro and Resonator suppressors. Unfortunately, I did not have either suppressor to test with the brake but I did enjoy the muzzle brake that was included. It was threaded in an odd 1/2×36 thread pitch.
I can’t say I quite like that as I feel it’s an extremely esoteric thread pitch when you are used to seeing 1/2×28 and 5/8×34 thread pitches. This feature severely limits the number of muzzle accessories you can use with the YHM-57’s beautifully fluted barrel – which is unique to only the model 57.
I was able to take a couple of range trips with the YHM-57 and tested a variety of ammo including SIG Sauer Elite Performance 220-grain subsonic, Sellier & Bellot 220-grain OTM Subsonic and some American Eagle 150-grain FMJ. The rifle handled all three ammunition types well and even without the suppressor, the carbine length gas system was able to cycle the subsonic ammunition reliably and lock the bolt back after the last round was spent.
I did run into a couple of problems on my second range trip. I had left the gun in the safe for about two weeks and when I took it to the range for the second time the rifle refused to extract several rounds from the chamber. I thought it might have been a magazine issue at first as I had switched to some D&H 20 round magazines but I also experienced this problem with the standard PMAGs both in 30 and 10-round configurations.
I was able to get the rifle running normally again buy covering the bolt with a good coating of CLP. After doing that, the rifle seemed to run fine. I have had only one other rifle fail to run fairly dry and if I had to guess I think that the extremely tight tolerances of the rifle setup made running it 100% dry a bad move.
However, the tight tolerances made for some great groupings, particularly with the Federal American Eagle at 100 yards. I was able to squeeze a modest 1.6 MOA out of the rifle when shooting from a stabilized position in some light winds using a 1-4×24 LPVO scope. In freehand, I was able to land shots consistently on a 12″ steel plate at about the same distance.
In addition to the ranged practice, I did my initial testing of the rifle with just the iron sights and those did very well and I like the pop-up feature. The included Geissele two-stage trigger was a smart choice by YHM to include with the model 57. Your mileage may vary, however as accurate shooting is just as much about the shooter as it is the rifle.
While the Yankee Hill Machine Model 57 has been out for about 6 years now, I still think it holds up with today’s rifles with one major exception. Does anyone still use KeyMod? YHM handguards are some of my favorite and even though this one was made in a KeyMod configuration I still liked it.
YHM included some nice rail covers that went with KeyMod and they were comfortable to use and the addition of the Picatinny rail sections at the end of the rifle meant that if you wanted you could still install some regular accessories without the need for rail adapters.
For an out of the box 300 Blackout rifle I don’t think you can argue against the quality of the YHM-57. It comes with everything one could need aside from glass and is field ready from the box with quality furniture and quality assembly. The rifle YHM sent me has an MSRP of $2100 and is available through your local dealers. The rifle is also available in a Burnt Bronze color scheme.
In conclusion, the YHM-57 is a beautifully constructed rifle with unique stylings, high-quality features and parts and excellent range performance that I feel can compete with any modern AR. Thanks for reading and your comments and thoughts are always welcome down below.