Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Modular and Marketable: Black Rifles Still Hot In '09
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Remington continues to make its way through the world of the AR-15 through joint venturing with fellow Cerberus-owned companies Bushmaster and DPMS. This year Remington added the Model R25 to its line of AR Hunting Rifles. The R25 is built by DPMS for Remington in .243, 7mm-08 and .308, on its large-frame AR variant. The new R25 features a fluted free-floated button-rifled Chrome Moly barrel with recessed hunting crown, 4.5-pound single-stage trigger, a receiver-length Picatinny rail for optics mounting, full Mossy Oak Treestand camo coverage, and a 4-round. magazine (standard DPMS .308 magazines can also be used). The .243, 7mm-08 and .308 calibers make fine additions to the product line and expand the variety of the game that can be taken. The only barrel length being offered in any of the calibers is 20 inches. As an aside, Remington refers to its rifles whether in .223 or the calibers mentioned above as modular repeating rifles in order to help dissociate their rifles from the previous “bad boy” AR image. While the terminology may not be effective in deflecting attention away from the guns, it defines the type of firearm that any AR-15 truly is. Find out more at www.remington.com

Rock River Arms
I can tell you for 2009 that Rock River is planning on a major introduction at the SHOT show. It was so top secret that it could not be released as I was penning this article. There are also some mid-year releases for 2009 planned as well. What’s news about a product release that I can’t even give you a hint about? With nearly every manufacturer trying to keep up with just what they have on the market (and falling behind at that) few companies have time to develop, or need to develop, anything new. Intros for 2008 that are moving along well include the RRA LAR .308 Rifles, which like all .308 variants are built on the expanded AR-15 receiver; thus always gives them an ungainly look. Available in Mid-length A2 and A4, Standard A2 and A4, and a 26-inch barrel Varmint Version (they grow varmints big in Illinois), the .308 versions add a new dimension to the AR experience without a huge addition in weight. For example the LAR-8 A2 weighs in 9.3 lbs, (the full-size DTI Standard 5.56mm A2 rifle weighs in at 9 lbs) which allows it to maintain a practical weight level. The LAR-8 utilizes either FAL metric or L1A1 inch magazines which makes the logistics of feeding it much simpler as these magazines are available everywhere and the LAR uses both. The 5.56 Elite Comp is a 2008 upgraded M4 variant that is selling well, and it features a chrome-lined 16-inch barrel with Wilson Comp, RRA Tactical Muzzle Brake, RRA flip front sight mid-length gas block, and RRA two-stage match trigger and winter trigger guard. What makes the Elite comp really distinctive is the half-quad RRA mid-length free-float forend tube and the Magpul CTR stock, which is superior to the basic M4 adjustable stock design. As is so indicative of these wild times in the gun industry (at least the black gun end) Rock River is posting on their web site a notice warning of delays due to exceptionally high call volume. Customers are being advised to place orders online rather than over the phone. Order now at www.rockriverarms.com

SLR-15’s Greg Sully has some exciting new projects from his AR specialty shop. Marketed primarily to law enforcement and military users (Sully is an expert in this area as a SWAT operator, which gives him insight as to what is really needed in the LE Tactical world) SLR-15 is perhaps most famous for their Grail (Yes, as in Holy Grail) rifles, with their distinctive round ventilated rail forends. For 2009 the Grail is being offered with the more reliable and smooth mid-length gas block system and a 1-in-7 twist rate to stabilize heavier projectiles. At this time the 1-in-7 rate is an optional twist now but may become standard in 2009. Sully is also working on a Special Purpose Rifle with a magnified optic for use by select law enforcement precision marksmen (it would also work on a tactical team) who are out on patrol. This is an accurized AR with an 18-inch free-floated barrel designed for heavier projectiles (in the 69- to 77-grain range) for dealing with active shooters who are at greater distances, where no SWAT sniper is available. Not everyone would be issued one, just select, specially trained officers, just like the military concept. The SPR will also be equipped with a bipod to assist with the longer shots. Although not in production yet (Sully likes to make sure that everything is thoroughly tested before it goes out) the SPR will in all likelihood use a less expensive forend tube than the Grail and a Surefire muzzle brake. SLR-15’s Sully buttstock (a restyled A-1 length stock that works great with or without armor) is being upgraded with a more aggressive buttplate to resist slippage, and quick detachable sling mounts at the rear that work with two- or thre- point tactical slings. Sully is also using a new PRI flip-up front sight on their tubes that locks down securely out of the way to avoid interfering with low-mounted scope sights. Find all this stuff at www.SLR15.com

Black Rifles
Author with Midwest Industries AR15 Mid-Length CMMG upper on Sun Devil Custom lower. Shown with Nightforce NXS 2.5 to 10x Variable Compact Illuminated Scope. Note Surefire X300 mounted beneath center rail with Surefire Rail Mount switch.

Sun Devil MFG
Sun Devil has refined, redone and revised its 6.5 barrel upper, with delivery to commence in December 2008. The new version features a 6.5 Lothar-Walther heavy barrel, redesigned gas block, quad rail and Vortex flash hider. I had a chance earlier this year to handle a non-functional prototype 6.5, and the construction was impressive. Dave Beatty, owner of Sun Devil, has also developed a proprietary 9mm Super Express cartridge based on the 5.56mm case. He has to date gotten velocities with 115- to 124-grain solid copper bullets in the 2200 to 2400 fps range, using the standard-sized lower and upper receivers. It promises to have potential in hunting, barricade situations or for specialized entry purposes. Sun Devil is also releasing various 16- and 20-inch barrel length uppers and complete guns in December as well. The quality of their machining and construction is outstanding. I have been working with a 20-inch precision gun in 5.56mm this year and can tell you that its performance, in terms of both the upper and the lower, continues to be outstanding. Find this fine gear at www.sundevilmfg.com

Black Rifles
Author with Sun Devil Custom 4 5.56 mm 20 Inch SPR with Nightforce NXS 3-15x Illuminated Reticle Scope.

Black Rifles
Sun Devil Custom 6.5” barrel 5.56mm SBR

Scott Wagner is a Police Academy Commander at Columbus State Community College in Columbus Ohio, and Commander of the 727 Counter Terror Training Unit. A 28-year law enforcement veteran, he is the Sniper for the Union County Sheriff’s Office SRT Team.

This article was originally published in the Gun Digest Shooter's Guide, 2009 and is used here with permission of the publisher. To find more articles on various firearms topics, log on to www.gundigest.com and check out the Gun Digest Research site.

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