Posted on September 16th, 2014 by ar15news
A while back I wrote a few articles about the new CIV Tactical SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) barrels that they were producing one at a time by hand and the extreme accuracy reputation they have. That got me thinking I needed to get my hands on one myself and do a new SPR build. My plan was to buy one of Dustin’s barrels and assemble the rifle myself but after talking to him a bit he said, “Hey, send me all of the parts you have and I’ll hand assemble it the CIV Tactical way.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but it sounded cool to me.
I already had a Tactical Firearm Solutions receiver set and Parallax Tactical rail ready to go that TFS and cerakoted a nice Sniper Gray for me. I boxed up the Upper Receiver, Rail and Gas Tube to which Dustin would add the new SPR Barrel (which comes with a matched Bolt), Gas Block and CIV Tac Flat Line Muzzle Brake. I had never had Dustin build me a complete upper and still didn’t know what the “CIV Tactical Way” meant but I was soon to find out. Along the way Dustin sent me some pictures of the progress and detailing some of the things he does to make sure you get the accuracy that his barrels and uppers are known for.
One of the first photos he sent me was showing the Bling Bling of the barrel crown that he does by hand on his lathe.
Another set of pictures he showed me was the process of Lapping the face of the receiver threads and the rear facing side of the barrel extension. This process is typically done in precision bolt action rifles and ensures that the barrel is in perfect alignment with the upper receiver which obviously is done for increased accuracy.
After a couple of weeks I received the assembled upper back and and couldn’t wait to get it all kitted out and take it to the range. Below is a great shot of the barrel itself before mounting the rail on the upper. As I mentioned before these barrels are completely hand made 416R Stainless Steel, 1/8 Twist and are chambered in .223 Wylde. The .223 Wylde chamber will shoot any .223 or 5.56 round but is designed to increase the accuracy of 5.56 NATO ammo.
The assembled upper has a Tactical Firearms Solutions Upper, Armageddon Tactical charging handle, Griffin Armament 45 degree offset Fail Safe Sights, Ares Armor NiB Bolt Carrier with CIV Tactical Match Bolt, Vortex Optics Viper PST 4-16 FFP scope, Parallax Tactical FFSSR 15″ rail, CIV Tactical 18″ SPR Match Barrel, Gas Block and Flat Line muzzle brake.
The lower I assembled myself and used the matching Tactical Firearms Solutions lower, Battle Arms Development Selector and EPS pin set. The EPS pins were a big help as the Cerakote made it nearly impossible to install a standard set of Takedown Pins. Even now they are very tight (which is how I like them) but the detent for a bullet tip on the other side makes it a breeze to push them through. I also used a LUTH-AR MBA1 stock that I got from MidwestPX. This stock is about half the price of comparable models such as the Magpul PRS but it still performed great, however its not quite as refined quality as you would expect. For an SPR rifle I don’t thin you would want to use anything other than a nice 2-stage trigger which is why I went with the Geissele SSA-E. I have this same trigger in other rifles and its seriously one of my favorite triggers I’ve ever used. Smooth, light take-up, you feel the wall (beginning of the second stage) and know if you pull any further that rifle is gonna go bang. The SSA-E will easily make any lower feel like a highly tuned machine.
I mounted the Vortex Optics Viper PST 4-16 First Focal Plane scope in an American Defense Manufacturing QD mount and purchased a B&T Industries Atlas bipod. This setup really completed the rifle and man did it look sick!
The whole rifle just really came together perfectly but what you and I really want to know is….”How does it perform at the range?” I loaded up my rifle, some Greenline Tactical 75gr .223 ammo and headed to the 100 yard range. One thing I didn’t want to do is put the rifle in some lead sled and get accuracy data that way. I wanted to shoot it exactly how I would if I were actually using it which for me is Bipod in front, Bag in back. After getting the scope dialed onto the target it was time to do my best not to mess this up.
I decided to shoot 5 round groups instead of 3 just to show consistency. The following images are just a few of what I would consider excellent groups that I got out of this rifle at 100 yards. There were so many of these to choose from so I just picked three that were somewhat different. The first image shows a 5 round .5 MOA group (looks like 4 shots but the 5th went through one of the other holes). The second image shows 5 round .625 MOA group. The third image shows a 4 shot .5 MOA group with a low 5th round that knew I pulled as soon as I shot it.
The upper shot absolutely perfect with zero FTE’s and zero FTF’s, bolt held open on an empty mag, it was just perfect. I own and have shot lots of other supposed “Match” barrels and many of them are so inconsistent that they made me think I was doing something wrong. The CIV Tactical Match SPR Barrel proved to be an extremely consistent rifle even in the hands of a novice precision shooter such as myself. Suffice it to say, the CIV Tactical SPR barrel is the real deal. I know there are some true shooters out there that could get even more accuracy out of this barrel. As I’ve mentioned before, I typically build all of my own AR’s but I would not hesitate even for one moment to have Dustin at CIV Tactical build me another upper. When you couple the hand made CIV Tactical barrel with the gunsmithing that Dustin does prior to assembly, it shows that precision shooting isn’t just reserved for bolt action guns. You can purchase this exact CIV Tactical SPR barrel in either 18 or 20 inch lengths with a matched Bolt right now at www.CIVTactical.com.
I have listed all of the pertinent links below. Be on the look for some followup reviews of items like the Vortex Optics Viper PST 4-16 FFP scope and Griffin Armament Fail Safe Sights.
Tactical Firearms Solutions
Battle Arms Development