Editor’s Be aware: This text is the continuation of Half 3 in our “Tailor-Made ARs” sequence. If you have not already, we strongly suggest you go right here to learn the primary half of this text — it units the muse and explains the logic behind the 13.9-inch pin and weld rifle seen right here. In any other case, learn on as we clarify the main points of this construct.
13.9-inch Pin and Weld Rifle
Picture by Tom Marshall
For my second rifle, I made a decision to realize the legally required barrel size so I didn’t should register it as an SBR, subsequently avoiding the $200 tax stamp and interstate journey restrictions related to SBRs. Somewhat than shopping for a 16-inch barrel and ending up with extra size and weight than I wished, I began with a Criterion CORE Collection 13.9-inch barrel. This barrel got here with some optionally available add-ons: a headspaced Bravo Firm MFG (BCM) bolt service group, a Badger Ordnance fuel block, and a fuel tube. My native gunsmith — Wright Armory in Mesa, Arizona — completely hooked up a SureFire Warcomp muzzle machine to the barrel, extending it to fulfill the 16-inch minimal. That is normally known as a “pin and weld” setup, as a result of that’s precisely the way it’s affixed.
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The barrel is put in in an American Protection Manufacturing ADM4 billet aluminum receiver set. Just like the receiver I used for my 11.5 construct, the ADM4 has an enlarged, ambidextrous bolt catch and launch, nevertheless it additionally provides an ambidextrous journal launch and a ahead help. Though it has additional controls that differ from Mil-spec, the usual controls gained’t really feel unfamiliar to anybody who has run an AR earlier than.
Above: The ADM4 receiver’s massive bolt launch paddle is inconceivable to overlook, and it’s paired with a lever on the alternative facet of the receiver that provides the identical capabilities to the shooter’s index finger. The magazine launch can also be ambidextrous.
A Midwest Industries Night time Fighter 13.5-inch handguard is designed to cut back handguard flex, which might be helpful if I add an IR laser for night time imaginative and prescient use sooner or later. That rigidity can also be helpful for stabilizing the load of the rifle through a bipod; I hooked up a Harris bipod to the handguard utilizing a Midwest Industries M-LOK bipod adapter. Though the SureFire Warcomp can function an attachment level for a suppressor, there’s not sufficient clearance between it and the tip of the handguard; if I determine so as to add a suppressor to this construct sometime, I can set up a shorter Midwest Industries handguard for extra clearance.
The decrease receiver was accomplished with one final half from Midwest Industries, an Enhanced flat-face drop-in set off. It gives a clear 3.5-pound break and well-defined reset which are appropriate for precision capturing, nevertheless it’s additionally able to fast photographs at nearer vary. Just like the 11.5, this construct additionally includes a Radian Talon 45-degree security selector and a Radian Raptor charging deal with.
Above: The primary of two mild setups I examined is primarily based round a SureFire Scout Professional with dual-switch tail cap and distant change. The wires are routed neatly due to anodized aluminum WireGuides from Arson Machine.
I experimented with two mild setups on this construct. The primary is a SureFire Twin Gas Scout Gentle Professional, which gives 1,500 lumens with a chargeable 18650 lithium battery. It additionally accepts two widespread CR123A batteries with a decreased output of 1,200 lumens. This dual-fuel functionality is a pleasant possibility for long-term emergency situations, since I can both recharge the principle battery or swap to some spares that I already carry for different instruments. The Professional physique provides a swivel mount that nestles the sunshine as shut as doable to the handguard. It is arrange with a DS-SR07 dual-switch tail cap and distant change. The wires for the change are stored neat and tidy utilizing M-LOK WireGuides from Arson Machine.
The second mild I attempted is a Cloud Defensive OWL, which produces 1,200 lumens and 50,000 candela from a chargeable 18650 battery. This all-in-one unit is constructed like a tank and has spectacular long-range throw that matches the precision-oriented construct of this rifle. It’s a bit “chunky,” however I recognize its sturdiness and easy built-in strain change design. If I’m going to a daytime class or match, I can pop the sunshine and the bipod off in seconds to lighten the rifle. Neither requires additional instruments — the OWL’s tail cap has a built-in socket wrench to loosen its rail clamp bolt.
Above: The Cloud Defensive OWL is a little bit “big-boned,” nevertheless it’s additionally almost indestructible (a useful trait for a survival rifle) and produces a high-candela beam that’s well-suited to lengthy photographs in low-light circumstances.
As with lights, I attempted two totally different setups, every involving a low-power variable optic (LPVO) and an offset red-dot sight. The primary is a Leupold Mark 8 CQBSS 1-8×24; it affords first-focal-plane magnification and 4 totally different illuminated reticles to select from. I picked the M-TMR mannequin, which options 0.5-MIL hash marks and a small collection of ranging brackets to assist decide distance to a goal. This optic is put in in a Badger Ordnance Situation One 1.54-inch-height modular mount with a Badger Ordnance 45-degree J-Arm and Delta Level Professional adapter plate. That plate holds (you guessed it) a Leupold DeltaPoint Professional NV sight. Absolutely the-cowitness top of this optic setup is nice for establishing a strong cheek weld whereas capturing from susceptible, and I just like the DP Professional’s massive window for fast goal ID at shut vary.
Above: On this photograph, you’ll be able to see the Leupold Mark 8 and DeltaPoint Professional purple dot mounted in a Situation One modular mount. The Harris bipod has additionally been faraway from the Midwest Industries M-LOK bipod adapter to cut back front-end weight.
This setup paired greatest with the SureFire mild, because the larger-diameter physique of the Cloud Defensive OWL intruded into the window of the DP Professional purple dot.
The second optic setup I attempted relies round a Vortex Razor HD Gen III 1-10×24 scope. This optic can also be a first-focal-plane design, and options the wonderful EBR-9 reticle, which features a shiny illuminated dot and ring in addition to MIL subtension markings. Some shooters may discover the detailed “Christmas tree” reticle a little bit distracting at greater magnification settings; I like that it permits fast and exact holds for windage and elevation, so I can spend much less time dialing the optic and extra time capturing. I mounted this scope in a Scalarworks LEAP/09 1.93-inch-height mount and added the brand new Scalarworks KICK/02 offset purple dot mount with a Trijicon RMR. As I discussed beforehand, the taller optic mount has some trade-offs, however I discovered it to be extra snug for my face form and cheek weld place whereas standing.
Above: Right here’s a comparability between the 2 offset red-dot setups. The RMR on the Scalarworks KICK mount (left) is positioned at a 35-degree angle for fast acquisition and snag discount. The DeltaPoint Professional sits at a typical 45-degree angle within the Badger Ordnance mount (proper), which helps it clear the Mark 8’s locking windage turret.
The KICK mount aligns the RMR at a shallower 35-degree angle and doesn’t protrude as removed from the LPVO; this has professionals and cons. On one hand, it’s exceptionally quick to pivot from aiming by the LPVO to the RMR, and it reduces the danger of bashing or snagging your optic on obstacles. Then again, the windage turret obscures a section of the RMR’s window by design, and optics with longer turrets (e.g. the Mark 8) can cowl the dot fully. Fortunately, after testing our construct, we discovered that it’s straightforward sufficient to visually “tune out” the turret intrusion for this specific setup.
Each configurations give me redundancy — an etched reticle for major use, and a purple dot to function a backup sight. I usually go away the LPVO set to 4x magnification at a minimal, since I can transition to the purple dot for close-range targets. Nonetheless, if the purple dot fails for any cause, I do know I can nonetheless crank my LPVO again to 1x and click on on the illumination.
Above: I discovered that the broader design of the BCM SOPMOD inventory helps me preserve my head extra secure whereas capturing — a should for this LPVO setup. The VBOST tab gives retention for a rubber band to maintain my sling stowed neatly in opposition to the inventory.
The final bits and items for this construct got here from Bravo Firm USA (BCM). There’s a Gunfighter Grip Mod 3 pistol grip, SOPMOD Inventory Mod 0, Vertical Grip Mod 3, and a set of MCMR Rail Covers. I trimmed one of many covers with a Dremel, so it completely fills the house between the bipod mount and the vertical grip; this offers me nonslip texture all the best way across the floor of the handguard. The SOPMOD inventory is a bit wider than that on my 11.5 construct, since cheek weld stability is way extra essential for a precision-oriented rifle. Lastly, a BCM endplate and chateau nut had been used to connect a VLTOR A5 buffer system. Like my different rifle, I hooked up a QD sling mount to sockets on the rear of the handguard and the tip plate, however this time I went with a Blue Pressure Gear Vickers padded sling. A rubber band secures it to the inventory when it’s not in use; the BCM inventory has a Automobile Borne Operations Sling Tab (VBOST) characteristic that’s designed for this actual objective.
Speak to anybody who works with instruments for a dwelling — mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and so forth — and also you’ll be taught some useful classes about high quality tools. The perfect instruments are scratched and scuffed, well-worn, and well-loved. They’re not stowed in velvet show circumstances and dealt with with white gloves. They’re typically soiled and greasy as a result of they’re used day-in and day-out, and this fixed use is a testomony to their reliability. Once they’re wanted, they both get the job completed, or they’re unceremoniously changed.
Equally, my rifles don’t simply sit round gathering mud till an emergency arises. They’re not stashed in a wall-mounted case with a label that claims, “break glass if SHTF.” Each are constructed from high-quality elements that weren’t low-cost, and whereas I definitely gained’t intentionally abuse or injury them, I’m not going to pamper them both. Below regular circumstances, the 11.5 sits at my bedside for home-defense functions, and the 13.9 makes a superb game-getter. Each have been utilized in leisure capturing competitions on weekends, and each are often taken out to lessons the place I run them by quite a lot of drills. I cycle by new kinds of ammo in every continually to look at for malfunctions and shot group deviation. So, though they’re survival rifles and could be employed as such, they’re additionally my every day drivers. If the day ever comes the place I’ve to make use of both in a life-and-death scenario, that’s how I do know they’ll be prepared.
If I needed to do all of it with one rifle, I’d most likely break up the variations between these builds, working a short-barrel configuration with a purple dot sight and detachable magnifier much like Tom Marshall’s mini-recce construct in Half I of this sequence. However my different emergency preparedness instruments all have backups and overlap, so my rifle setup philosophy sticks to the identical sample — two is one.
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