So this happened.
I caught wind of people in the US scoring these guns for $5.98 each from Target stores and had to try it myself. A quick check with the hivemind and a little hunting, and I was in business. 3 Elite Alphas for under 20 bucks out the door.
If you are wondering, none of the Target stores in question are (supposed to be) shelving these yet, because they haven't reached street date for a few more weeks. We know about them through online tools. We punch in a zip code, Eywa tells us which nearby Targets have received their initial (soft release?) shipment of three EATs. We then go there, get the Alpha Trooper DPCI checked, and clean 'em out.
I am not going to post links to those tools, but you can find them for yourself if you know where to look.
Oh, and the whole "selling EATs for 6 bucks" thing? Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either and I feel like a bandit too. Most likely, it's because the DPCI was reused from the old non-elite Alpha, which had been clearanced at low LOW prices at some point or another. Word is, Target is about to fix that loophole.
So what's it like?
Well, it's a factory Alpha DP conversion. Not much more to it than that... It's just as you would expect. It runs great and shoots great, just like the old RP Alpha, except now "shoots great" is in line with the norm of NSE.
Data from chronograph session with bone stock EAT.
It performs nominally. I was expecting more given MLD's enthusiastic video reaction... but this gun, which BTW was checked out and found to be in good health, hung right around 70fps like many other stock NSE products. Is it an improvement over the Rampage? No, it's around the same.
All through the test, it ran smoothly. I haven't really tested its reliability yet but being that 90% of the action is identical to the highly regarded non-elite Alpha, I am not expecting problems.
Now comes the bad news.
The bolt has a very thin section in the ring groove near the rear end. The failure above, for the record, did NOT occur with the gun assembled or in service - it was an accident while punching the AR out. However, I seriously doubt the design of this bolt.
I cannot give any modded data until this is fixed. Currently the bolt is repaired and reinforced, but the seal needs more work.