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Overview / Initial Impressions of the AREA 53 Billet Lowers

Posted on June 30th, 2015 by ar15news

We were given the chance recently to take a look at a couple of lowers from AREA 53. AREA 53 is a company that I’ve heard of and seen pictures of their products but really wasn’t that familiar with. They primarily focus on billet uppers and lowers including many different models and customization options for their billet lowers. Below I’ve included some pictures of the AREA 53 billet lowers I have that will eventually get built up into complete lowers.

PACKAGING

The packaging for the AREA 53 lowers is very cool. The boxes have the AREA 53 logo on the outside and cutouts for the lowers on the inside. The cutout hugs the lowers very tight to keep them from getting damaged in shipping. The two lowers I have are the AR-15 “El Jefe” and AR-10 “El Capitan – Challenge Coin”. 

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 1

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 1

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 1

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

AR-15

The AR-15 model has a large AREA 53 logo on the right side mag well as well as an ambi bolt release. The finish is very clean and consistent with no sharp edges. It also features different selector markings where instead of machining in the markings they recessed the area around them so the “Auto – Fire – Safe” are raised. 

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

AR-10

The AR-10 model is very similar to the AR-15 model with exception of the larger mag well. The AR-10 model we received is also a different model that gives you a place to install a challenge coin on the right side of the mag well. These can be pretty cool if you have a neat Challenge Coin to put in them. They offer the Challenge Coin model in both AR-15 and AR-10 models. The AR-10 model also features an ambi bolt release as well. The finish on the AR-10 model is equally as nice and the anodizing is nice and consistent.

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

SPECIAL FEATURES

As mentioned before, both the AR-15 and AR-10 billet lowers from AREA 53 feature an ambi bolt release. The ambi bolt releases come pre-installed and function very smooth. 

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

Both lowers also feature a threaded bolt catch pin. The bolt catch pin is notoriously the most annoying roll pin to install on an AR so any time its replaced with a threaded bolt catch pin is a great thing. Another feature not shown is the upper tensioning screw that is present on both models.

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

The front of the AREA 53 mag wells have been contoured to give you the ability to use it as a grip for your support hand. It also gives the lowers a nice look as well. 

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

AREA 53 Billet Lowers 4

Our initial impressions parallel all of the very positive things we’ve heard from others who have used the AREA 53 billet receivers for their builds. AREA 53 appears to take great care in making sure their lowers look and feel great. A couple of things I would love to see AREA 53 offer are 45 degree selector compatibility and possibly and ambi mag release but the lowers are very capable as is. Pretty soon we’ll get these lowers built up and make sure they function as well as they look which I’m quite sure they will. If you’re interested in using the AREA 53 lowers in your next build, head on over to www.AREA53.com.

AREA 53 Facebook
AREA 53 Instagram

Recently I started a new build. It was centered around a few key components, the Rainier Arms Mod3 billet receiver set, Rainier Arms 16″ .223 Wylde barrel made from a Rock Creek Blank, the LANTAC USA E-BCG and the new Fortis Manufacturing 14″ REV II MLOK rail. I just recently finished this build and will begin the process of shooting and reviewing it. Until then I wanted to give you an initial impression of the new REV II MLOK rail.

I have used many Fortis Manufacturing REV rails over the past few years and really like them a lot. Lately Fortis has come out with a few new rails including the new REV II rails which look great. As you would assume they are a modified version of the original REV rail that deletes the bottom picatinny rail section and forward side rail sections for a super sleek design, lighter weight and more flexibility in mounting your KeyMod or MLOK accessories. 

Fortis REV II MLOK 1

INSTALLATION

The REV II rails mount directly to a Mil Spec AR-15 barrel nut with a rock solid clamp just like the original REV rail. This type of mount is great for a few reasons. One, it creates an insanely solid union between the upper and rail. It also makes it easier for users to upgrade from the standard plastic “Glacier Guard” or other hand guards that use a Delta Ring as they will not need any armorers tools to remove the old barrel nut and install a proprietary barrel nut. Just cut the Delta Ring off, remove the spring, install your low profile gas block and your REV II rail will be on in minutes. Installation of accessories can be done while the rail is installed but can be done much easier by quickly removing the rail instead of installing them while on the rifle.

Fortis REV II MLOK 1

Fortis REV II MLOK 1

Fortis REV II MLOK 1

FIT AND FINISH

Fit and finish on the Fortis Manufacturing rails is second to none with a very nice dark black Type III Hard Coat Anodizing, smooth edges and aggressive lines. Not to mention they just look stinking sexy! As you can see in the picture below I also used the Fortis Manufacturing Low Profile Gas Block which looks great with its similar lines.

Fortis REV II MLOK 1

Fortis REV II MLOK 1

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall I am very impressed with the Fortis Manufacturing REV II rail and would put them very high on the “Recommended List”. They offer these in both KeyMod and MLOK versions all the way from 7″ long to 14″ long.  So far there really isn’t anything I would say I don’t like about the rail. One note I would make is that anti-rotation tabs are a great feature but as you may already know, not all  billet uppers will accommodate them unless they manufacture of that upper has designed it to work with a rial with anti-rotation tabs. This is not an issue with the rail but more of an issue with manufacturers of billet uppers. The Fortis Billet Upper and Rainier Arms Billet Upper work great with them and many others will too. Check out the entire build below. Once I’ve had some time behind the trigger on this build I will update with more reviews on the different components.

Fortis REV II MLOK 1

The Redi-Catch – An Old Product I’ve Never Seen Before

Posted on May 11th, 2015 by ar15news

Every so often I run across a product that to me seems new but in reality its one I missed a long time ago and just didn’t know it existed. Last month, RECOIL published an online review of the Redi-Catch by Boonie Packer which seemed like a really cool new product but apparently its been around for some time. It allows you to lock back your bolt using the mag release button like the AXTS A-DAC system. If you want AXTS’ A-DAC system you have to buy a specific lower from a company that has paid to use that system. With the Redi-Catch you can virtually retrofit any AR lower to do the same thing using only a different magazine catch bar and an “S” shaped piece of Spring Wire. 

Boonie Packer Redi-Catch 1Photo by RECOILWEB.com

I’ve said it probably 100 times before but its probably worth saying again, “I couldn’t care less about an ambi bolt release” from a right handed shooters perspective. When I insert a mag, I slap the paddle with my left hand and the bolt goes home like it should. However, I find a ton of value in the idea of an ambi Bolt HOLD for clearing malfunctions, etc. I really have no need to lock the bolt back while shooting unless I am clearing a malfunction. With an ambi Bolt HOLD a right hand shooter can keep their shooting hand in its firing position. The Redi-Catch covers two steps to clearing a malfunction all in one. By depressing the mag release you are dropping the mag and able to lock the bolt back at the same tim reducing the overall time it takes to clear that malfunction and get back into shooting steel…or bad guys, just depends on the activities for the day. 

The Redi-Catch can be purchased for just $34.95 on www.Redi-Mag.com

Read the RECOIL Review of the Redi-Catch at www.RECOILWEB.com

Initial Impressions – SCALARWORKS LDM/MICRO Mount

Posted on May 9th, 2015 by ar15news

A while back I helped introduce the SCALARWORKS LDM/Micro mount for Aimpoint T-1/H-1 red dots. They have been a very popular mount since then and now I’m excited to actually get to try one out for myself. I’ve had the Absolute Co-Witness mount on my SBR for about a week now and wanted to give my initial impressions with a long term review down the road.

The LDM/Micro mount was designed to be a low profile and light weight QD mount. The Absolute Co-Witness mount weighs just 1.25 ounces which is extremely impressive, especially for a QD mount. You can immediately tell when holding it that its quite a bit lighter than most mounts. For instance one of my other favorites, the ADM Micro Mount weighs 3.7 ounces (according to the ADM website) which is about 3 times what the SCALARWORKS LDM/Micro mount weighs.

Scalarworks LDM Micro Mount 1

The fit and finish on the LDM/Micro mount was also very nice. No sharp points or inconsistent anodizing at all. Just a very clean, high quality look. Another thing I noticed was that the anodizing seemed to match up color wise to my Aimpoint T-1 which at a quick glance makes it look like a one-piece Optic/Mount setup. The design itself I think is very attractive.

Scalarworks LDM Micro Mount 1

Installation is very simple. The QD wheel on the LDM/Micro mount features very positive clicks as you turn it that help lock it in place not allowing it to unwind by itself. It also makes it extremely easy to install or remove if needed. Once tightened down by hand it is extremely solid and has zero wobble or movement to it.

Scalarworks LDM Micro Mount 1

The LDM/Micro mount uses a telescoping guided clamp that is the entire length of the mount which should help it hold zero very well and is something they talk about in their marketing. This is one feature I have not had any time to test out but will very soon. Just a matter of shooting a group, removing the mount, re-installing the mount and shooting another group, repeat!

Scalarworks LDM Micro Mount 1

So my initial impressions are very good. I am looking forward to using the LDM/Micro mount full time on my SBR this year. Pricing on the SCALARWORKS LDM/Micro mount is a bit higher than some of the other mounts on the market but I think the quality and lightweight/low drag aspect of it makes up for that very fast.

One thing to note is that the LDM/Micro mount does not come with screws and requires that you use your “factory” screws. If you are like me and bought a T-1 with something other than the factory low mount you will probably need different screws. My T-1 came with the Factory LRP QD mount which has really long screws. Thankfully I had some screws from a different mount that I was able to use. This is not a problem, just something to keep in mind, when purchasing you might want to contact Aimpoint to purchase a new set of screws.

It just so happens that the same week SCALARWORKS sent me my mount, they also sent Rainier Arms a shipment of both Absolute Co-Witness and Lower 1/3 Co-Witness mounts. If you’re looking for a great place to purchase one from, head on over to www.RainierArms.com.

Many of us are what our friends at Jerking The Trigger refer to as an “AR Pistolero”. Meaning we have one…or more…AR Pistols in our collection of Firearms. AR Pistols started gaining in popularity when Sig Sauer introduced the SB15 Arm Brace because everyone saw the “possibilities” that it represented. It wasn’t until the ATF gave us their approval (which has since been rescinded, not sure why we even asked for permission) to fire an AR Pistol equipped with an SB15 Arm Brace from the shoulder that their popularity shot through the roof. The SB15 was and still is pretty difficult to install, bulky, heavy and most of all, expensive. Recently KAK Industry secured the distribution rights to the new Shockwave Blade AR Pistol Stabilizer which addresses all of those issues many people had with the SB15. They have also produced a new AR Pistol Buffer Tube called the Shockwave that is designed to work flawlessly with the Blade. We’ve received a kit to try out so below you’ll see pictures of the install and a comparison between the SB15 and Blade kits.

THE KIT AND INSTALLATION

KAK Industry sells all of the new Shockwave components separately and as a Shockwave Package complete kit, which is what we received. The kit includes the new Shockwave AR Pistol Buffer Tube, Castle Nut, End Plate, Buffer, Buffer Spring, the Blade stabilizer and a copy of the Blade approval letter from the ATF. 

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

Many AR Pistol buffer tubes just simply tighten down without the use of Castle Nut. The Shockwave Buffer Tube was designed to use any mil spec End Plate and a Castle Nut like your traditional AR. This gives you the most solid lockup and allows you to stake the castle nut in place.

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

As you can see in the picture below, the Shockwave AR Pistol Buffer Tube that KAK Industry designed was made with 12 dimples on the bottom (6 o’clock) of the tube. These dimples allow you to adjust the Blade stabilizer to any of the 12 spots and lock it in place using the set screw retention system.

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

To lock the Blade in place, find the desired length of pull, turn the AR Pistol upside down and line the set screw channel over the corresponding dimple on the buffer tube, insert the set screw and hand tighten. Once the set screw is in place, the Blade cannot slide forward or back and cannot spin on the tube like the SB15 has been known to do.

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

That’s really all there is to installing the KAK Shockwave Kit and Blade. As you can see it looks great on my 7.5″ 300BLK AR Pistol. I assumed there would be some play between the Blade stabilizer and the Shockwave buffer tube but with the use of the set screw there seriously is ZERO movement when I try to wiggle it or spin it. Its pretty impressive. 

KAK Shockwave Blade 1

THE BLADE VS THE SB15

You’re probably like me and want to see how the Blade setup compares to an SB15 setup so I went ahead and did that for us. 

WEIGHT: The Blade is made of a hard polymer like many AR accessories and is much lighter than the SB15. Combine that with the weight savings of using the new Shockwave Tube over using the popular Super Sig Tube and you’re over a half pound lighter already.

—  KAK Shockwave Buffer Tube:  4.6 ounces
—  Blade AR Pistol Stabilizer:  5 ounces
–  Combined weight:  9.6 ounces

—  KAK Super Sig Tube:  6.3 ounces
—  SIG SB15 Arm Brace:  12.1 ounces
–  Combined weight:  18.4 ounces

ADJUSTMENTS: The Sig SB15 can slide forward and back on a buffer tube but is not as solid the further back you position it. Many companies have tried to address that issue by making different buffer tubes that are longer like the Super Sig Tube (shown below). The Blade and Shockwave Tube however can be adjusted all the way forward towards the receiver for a super compact setup and adjusted all the way back to the last set screw position without compromising its solid lockup and all with the same buffer tube.

KAK Blade Vs SB15 1

SIZE: As we mentioned earlier, the SB15 was always kind of bulky and awkward. The Blade is the exact opposite of that. It is not only light weight but it is compact. If you look at the pictures below you will see a good comparison and that SB15 is much wider than the Blade.

KAK Blade Vs SB15 2

KAK Blade Vs SB15 3

Overall, my initial impression of the KAK Shockwave Kit and Blade AR Stabilizer is very positive. As we all know, the recent ATF decision on how you are allowed to fire an AR Pistol  has made some people less interested in building an AR Pistol. I can’t recommend shoulder firing an AR Pistol but I can recommend “There’s 1/8 of an inch between the stock and my shoulder” and “Don’t shoot with any ATF Agents”. :) While I totally agree that there’s nothing quite like owning an actual SBR, there are plenty of good reasons to own an AR Pistol other than to shoulder fire it such as transportation across state lines, carrying loaded in your vehicle in most states with your CCW, avoiding registration with the government as well some states do not allow you to own an SBR.

You probably think I forgot about one of the issues mentioned above with the Sig SB15 setup….the PRICE! As I already mentioned, KAK Industry sells these parts separately or as a kit. The KAK Shockwave Kit sells for just $95 which is less than you’ll pay for an SB15 brace by itself with no buffer tube kit. For more information or to purchase for yourself, head on over to www.KAKIndustry.com.

For a while now the main thing that has been missing from the whole KeyMod and M-LOK rail push is companies that were willing to create direct mount products for these systems…and that is understandable when you think about how fast this industry moves from one new solution to another. Look how fast M-LOK has taken off because its backed by Magpul. Up until now most companies have been making adapters for existing products such rail sections that allow you to attach a 1913 picatinny product, a light ring for adding a light, etc. This mindset kind of goes against the whole “new attachment method” thought process which should create products that attach directly to the rail without the need for adapters thus reducing weight, cost, etc.

Well, today I am proud to announce a new partnership between two very respected companies in the industry that have come together to create an amazing new product. Elzetta Design, makers of the toughest and highest quality flashlights known to man and Impact Weapons Components, one of the most innovative Mount and Accessory manufacturers have partnered up together to introduce the new MINICQB which combines their new ALPHA light and IWC’s modular light mounts into a weapon light. This is a true “Direct Attach” Weapon Light.

IWC Elzetta MINICQB 1

The new MINICQB Weapon Light features all of the same specs as the original Elzetta ALPHA single cell flashlight including 315 lumen output from a single CR123 battery and Elzetta’s Momentary, twist on tailcap with the others tailcap options available. The ALPHA is designed specifically as a CQB or Close Quarters Battle light producing a “wall of light” intended for room clearing and close encounters within 50 yards. The proven IWC mount arm is machined from the same piece of billet aluminum as the light body itself making a much stronger union than using the typical adapter style mount. 

IWC Elzetta MINICQB 1

Now this is where things get REALLY interesting. The MINICQB incorporates Impact Weapons Components new KML mount technology which basically means Keymod & M-LOK compatible. That’s right. No longer do you have to decide “Do I buy this for my KeyMod rail or should I go with the M-LOK version for my new M-LOK rail?”. This KML system is awesome. I’ve attached the MINICQB on both a Geissele SMR MK8 M-LOK rail and on my Rainier Arms FORCE Mod2 KeyMod rail (shown below) and it works amazingly well. To switch between KeyMod and M-LOK you just simply unthread the reversible nuts, turn them around and thread them back on. The MINICQB will also be available with a 1913 Picatinny Rail Mount as well. 

IWC Elzetta MINICQB 1

To give you some comparison information, the MINICQB Picatinny version weighs just 4.5oz and the KML (KeyMod / M-LOK) version weighs just 4.7oz. A SureFire M300 without a mount weighs 4.8oz and an Inforce WML without KeyMod or M-LOK adapter weighs 3.1oz. 

I’ve had my MINICQB for about 5 days now and am super impressed with it. The direct attachment makes it feel as if the Light is actually part of the weapon instead of an added on piece. The design of the mount keeps the light very close to the rail for a nice low profile design. Having an Elzetta flashlight with the IWC KML mounting technology is about as awesome as it gets.

IWC Elzetta MINICQB 1

IWC Elzetta MINICQB 1

The pricing for the new MINICQB is very reasonable as well with the 1913 rail mount version retailing at just $205 and the KML M-LOK / KeyMod mount version retailing for just $230. Once you purchase your MINICQB you will also be able to purchase the hardware for the other mount style. So if you buy the KML version you can purchase the 1913 cap and screws to give you a truly universal mounting system. 

The new MINICQB Flashlight should be available today at www.ImpactWeaponsComponents.com. Don’t forget that you can use the code “AR15NEWS” at checkout to save yourself 5% off your order.

Also, check out JerkingTheTrigger and 47 Images Photography for additional reviews and photos.

KAK Industry 7.62×39 AR Pistol Build and Range Report

Posted on October 20th, 2014 by ar15news

I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve not had a ton of time to go to the range but last week I specifically made time to hit the range and function test my 7.62×39 AR Pistol I built. This thing had been sitting in my HSP INCOG Rifle Bag completely ready to go just begging for some action and it was my pleasure to oblige. Below you’ll see some pics of my 7.62×39 AR Pistol. I’ll first cover the components I used to build it and the range report will follow after that.

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

Basically all you need to retrofit or build any AR upper as a 7.62×39 is the Barrel, Bolt and Mags and KAK Industry has everything you need in one place. I already had an extra AR Pistol lower built so I just needed some of their awesome upper components. The lower is a Noveske N4 forged lower with an ALG Defense ACT trigger, Battle Arms Development Selector, Magpul MOE K2 grip, Law Tactical Gen3 Folding Stock Adapter, Phase 5 Weapon Systems Pistol Buffer Tube and a Sig Sauer SB-15 Arm Brace. I upgraded to a Wolf High Power Hammer Spring but probably could have done without it. 

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

For the upper I sourced the heart of the build at KAK Industry. They make all of their own components and have a great reputation. I used the KAK Industry 11″ 7.62×39 barrel, KAK Industry 7.62×39 complete BCG, KAK Industry Gas Block and Gas Tube. The upper receiver is an AERO Precision forged upper with a Northtech Defense Ti-FANG Titanium forward assist, Fortis Mfg Hammer charging handle, Centurion Arms 11″ CMR rail and a BattleComp BABC. Topped it all off with a Vortex Optics Viper PST 1-4 scope and an American Defense Mfg QD mount.

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

Of course the weather is changing up here in Michigan. It was cold and rainy that morning at the range but I couldn’t care less. I brought along some really nice Hornady 123gr 7.62×39 SST ammo to run through the brand new AR Pistol. The best thing you can do when function testing a new AR is to take it slow. I only had one ASC 7.62×39 mag so I loaded one round in the mag, pulled back on the charging handle, flipped the selector to “America” and pulled the trigger. As expected it went BOOM so I checked the chamber to make sure the rifle ejected the spent casing, which it did. After that first round goes as planned you get a bit of a smile on your face and start to have fun.

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

I loaded up another 5 rounds and proceeded to fire them down range sighting in the Vortex Optics Viper PST 1-4 scope.  First 3 rounds went through perfect but on the fourth I had a Failure To Feed. Keep in mind I only had 5 rounds in the mag to start meaning this was the second to last round in the mag. I stripped the mag, removed the round and inspected it noticing that once the mag was removed the round didn’t really seem to be stuck or anything. I loaded another 10 rounds and again, second to last round FTF. This was a recurring theme and it became very clear that the issue was with the mag and definitely not at all a problem with the Upper, BCG or Barrel. Other than the second to last round of each mag issue I had absolutely ZERO malfunctions with this build. It really was a pleasure to shoot. I’ve heard the ASC mags get better as you wear them in but I will also be looking into some other brands and will do a followup article specifically regarding 7.62×39 AR Mags.

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

So after blowing through almost all of my ammo getting to know the 7.62×39 AR Pistol, I saved the last 5 rounds to get a little grouping on paper. Now keep in mind, when I test fire my AR’s I always go to the shorter range. Its basically a 30-35 yard range that typically has less people on it. When I shoot for groups I usually head on over to the 100 yard range but being that this is just an AR Pistol, I had no bipod, etc I decided to stay on the shorter range and just get a group there. The image below shows you a 5 round group, just resting the handguard on a block. I’m positive I could tighten this group up but I was out of ammo. One of these days I’ll get it out on the 100 yard range and get some longer range data. I was very happy with this group though based on the distance I would expect to shoot this rifle at in a real world situation. 

KAK Ind 762x39 AR Pistol Build 7

Overall, I am very pleased with this build. Aside from the magazine issue, all of the parts functioned flawlessly. KAK Industry really is a one stop shop for tons of AR Parts including 5.56, 300BLK, 7.62×39, 458 SOCOM and .308 builds. This is not my first experience with KAK Industry and I’ve enjoyed every part I’ve purchased from them. For this specific build you can check out the KAK 7.62×39 AR Parts here. For all other builds just visit the KAKIndustry.com website and get to looking around at the awesome stuff they offer.  

AR15NEWS SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) Build

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. 

1 CIV Tactical SPR Barrel Crown

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.

1 Civ Tactical SPR Upper Lapped

1 CIV Tactical SPR Barrel Extension True

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. 

CIV Tactical SPR 0

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. 

CIV Tactical SPR 1CIV Tactical SPR 6

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.

CIV Tactical SPR 2CIV Tactical SPR 3

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!  

CIV Tactical SPR 9

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. :)

Civ Tactical SPR at the range

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.

1-CIV Tactical SPR Range 1

2-CIV Tactical SPR Range 2

3-CIV Tactical SPR Range 3

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.

CIV Tactical
Tactical Firearms Solutions
Parallax Tactical
Vortex Optics
Battle Arms Development
Geissele Automatics
LUTH-AR Stock
Griffin Armament
Atlas Bipod

Greenline Tactical

My Journey To NFA Ownership Starts Now

Posted on September 9th, 2014 by ar15news

I’ve finally decided to get involved in the world of NFA Ownership and I’m going to document my journey. Basically, I want to legally own an SBR, Suppressor, etc. As a life long gun owner in the state of Michigan, it was all but impossible to own Suppressors or SBR/SBS due to state regulations…that is until now. Over the past few years Michigan gun owners have spoken up and lobbied the State Legislators to lift the ban on Suppressors and most recently the ban on SBRs and SBSs. After all, why would a state feel they need tighter regulations than what our Federal Government does.

Coyote Rifleworks NFA TRust 2
Photo courtesy of  UWone77 who is already a legal NFA Owner

As a family man with a wife and kids, I wanted to make sure there were no legal issues with my wife, or children as they get older, being in possession of my NFA regulated items. I decided to start with an NFA Trust but I’m new to this so I didn’t know where start. My buddy Stickman (widely regarded as one of the top weapons photographers in the industry) started his 100K Giveaway on Facebook a few weeks ago and one of the sponsors is a company called Coyote Rifleworks. They advertise $95 NFA Trusts and Same Day Turnaround. This sounded awesome, almost too good to be true, so I contacted them through Facebook to get some additional information. I got a very prompt/friendly response and we decided to talk on the phone. Eric spent an hour on the phone with me explaining how at Coyote Rifleworks they want to help as many people become NFA Owners as possible. They could charge more but don’t ever want anyone to say “I just couldn’t afford it.”. They’ve spent a ton of money having an attorney help them create the trust that you ultimately receive. I really felt comfortable with these guys so I decided to go for it. 

Coyote Rifleworks NFA TRust 1

I will be documenting my entire process of becoming an NFA Owner from start to finish. You’ll know of any and all snags, if any, that I run into. My gut feeling is that this will be a very enjoyable, easy process. I can tell you right now I have already filled out the required information on Coyote Rifleworks’ website, called to make payment and received my trust paperwork back within a few hours. Now that’s impressive and I’m very happy so far. I will go into more detail on this process including what to do after you get your trust paperwork back in the next article in this series. You can keep track of my progress by following along on the website or using this specific thread URL: http://www.ar15news.com/category/ar15news-journey-to-nfa-ownership/ You can also get started on your very own NFA Trust now at www.CoyoteRifleworks.com.  

**AR15NEWS is not a law firm and is not authorized to provide legal advice. Please verify that Trusts purchased online are valid in your state.

NEW!! Umbrella Corporation Gen2 Premium Bolt Carrier Group

Posted on September 3rd, 2014 by ar15news

Umbrella Corporation Weapons Research Group recently released their new Premium Bolt Carrier Group and man this thing is sweet. As I’ve explained this BCG to many people already, its basically a “No Corners Cut” BCG. Every single part of the BCG production was scrutinized to make sure this BCG is as high quality as it gets. I was able to get my hands on one and wanted to take some pictures of it and share my initial review of the UCWRG Gen 2 BCG with you guys. That way you could make an educated decision as to whether this was the right BCG for you.

Umbrella Corp WRG Premium BCG 2

Not only does it feature the awesome Umbrella logo but the fit and finish is perfect. At first glance you wouldn’t think the coating is Phosphate because its much smoother than what is required to meet Mil Spec. They also went above and beyond using the best materials possible such as the 4340 Extractor (everyone else uses 4140; both are allowed by the M4 data package but since 4140 is less costly, it always gets the nod), using Carpenter Technology No. 158 gun quality aerospace steel alloy, etc. They also proof fire each BCG, clean and inspect to make sure every one is perfect before it goes out the door. 

Umbrella Corp WRG Premium BCG 1

Umbrella Corp WRG Premium BCG 3

Aside from the quality of the BCG, there is another aspect of it…which is that it looks really awesome. Whether you have UCWRG receivers for your rifle or not, seeing the Umbrella logo through the ejection port just looks cool. Of course if you do happen to be lucky enough to have some UCWRG receivers then this BCG will really tie everything together. 

Umbrella Corp WRG Premium BCG 4

Umbrella Corp WRG Premium BCG 5

Umbrella Corp WRG Premium BCG 6

Overall, I think the UCWRG Premium Bolt Carrier Group is the perfect upgrade for someone who wants only the best in their rifle. I’m really excited to put some rounds down range with this BCG. Once I’ve had some time to get a good round count with the rifle shown below, I will come back and do another writeup to let you know about my experience with it. At this point I would definitely recommend the UCWRG BCG to anyone. Having such a detailed list of components/features (listed below) makes it easy to see why this BCG would be a no-brainer. Not to mention at the introductory price of just $165 it is not much more than the “suspect quality” BCG’s I see floating around everywhere. If you want one for yourself, they are in-stock now at www.UCWRG.com.

Additional Details from the UCWRG website

Umbrella Corporation AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups are our take on a premium, no snake oil, combat ready BCG. Each and every bolt is proof fired, ultrasonically cleaned, tested via magnetic particle inspection (MPI), and once certified, parkerized for corrosion protection and lube retention. In keeping with a superior product, we don’t utilize a Crane O-Ring as a crutch to increase extractor tension. Instead, our bolts are built with a mil-spec black insert coupled with a Tactical Springs 5-coil high load extractor spring that’s compatible with all DI gas system lengths. It’s rated for 150K+ cycles to outlast your rifle barrel many times over. We have improved on the finish requirement of the TDP and have chosen the best materials of those allowed per spec, not the lowest cost like nearly all of our competitors. This second gen product is manufactured to the highest standards with an unconditional guarantee against material defect and manufacturing failure. We challenge you to compare our Bolt Carrier Group specs against the competition. Beyond using Carpenter’s 158 alloy for the bolt, ask what alloy they use for their extractors, Extractor pins, ejectors, and whether their cam pins have a solid film lube per TDP. You will likely find they don’t advertise any of these specifications.  And don’t fall for the 9310 alloy bolt substitute; it is a less expensive, inferior alloy for this application. Bought into the hype and don’t believe us? Ask Carpenter Tech; they manufacture both materials and will without hesitation tell you 158 is the proper, superior alloy. The draw for 9310 is that it’s a decent material when heat treated properly though since there’s no spec, how do you know what “proper” might be for this application? It’s less costly, and you don’t have to buy mill run quantities for manufacturing. It’s the little things that make the real difference and we cut no corners with our Bolt Carrier Groups. as before, this initial first release is offered with a discount below our suggested retail pricing. Assembly/function check by a qualified Armorer is required.

SPECIFICATIONS

–  Bolt, precision machined from Carpenter Technology No. 158 gun quality aerospace alloy, heat treated per mil-spec (stress relieve, carburize, oil quench, temper, refrigerate, repeat temper), shot peened per ASTM B851/SAE AMS2430S, vibratory tumbled, individual high pressure/proof test fired, individual magnetic particle inspection ASTM E1444/E1444M, ultrasonically cleaned, markings deep laser engraved (SP=Shot Peened/HPT=High Pressure Tested, MPI=Magnetic Particle Inspection/158U=Car Tech 158 alloy type and Umbrella manufacture), manganese phosphate

–  Extractor, precision machined from 4340 tool steel alloy per SAE AMS6415T/AMS6484D (vs typical 4140; mil-spec allows for either 4140 or 4340), heat treat, shot peen per ASTM B851/SAE AMS2430S, markings deep laser engraved (SP=Shot Peened/4340U=alloy type & Umbrella manufacture), manganese phosphate

–  Extractor Retaining Pin, precision machined and ground S2 shock resistant tool steel alloy per ASTM A681-08 (vs typical S7; mil-spec allows S1 to S7), heat treated per ASTM A681-08, shot peened per mil-spec print, manganese phosphate

–  Extractor Spring (premium spring eliminates need for Crane O-Ring), Tactical Springs/Sprinco 5 coil, ASTM Grade A401 Chrome Silicon wire stock, heat treated, stress relieved, Molybdenum-Disulfide infused, cryogenic processed (all post winding), mil-spec black insert/synthetic elastomer extractor buffer (nitrile-butadiene, shore hardness 80+/-5 durometer per MIL-PRF-6855)

–  Ejector, S2 shock resistant tool steel alloy per ASTM A681-08 (vs typical S7; mil-spec allows S1 to S7), heat treated per ASTM A681-08, shot peened per mil-spec print, manganese phosphate

–  Ejector Spring, Tactical Springs/Sprinco ASTM Grade A401 Chrome Silicon wire stock, heat treated, stress relieved, Molybdenum-Disulfide infused, cryogenic processed (all post winding)

–  Gas Rings, mil standard stainless steel X3

–  Carrier machined from AISI 8620 aircraft qualty alloy per ASTM A108/A322-13, full auto profile, surface finish improved over mil-spec, heat treated (carburized/strain relieved per mil-spec print), hard chrome bore, precision ground gas key interface, Umbrella logo deep laser engraved, manganese phosphate

–  Gas Key machined from 4130 chromoly steel alloy per ASTM A108/A322-13, heat treated, hard chrome internal, manganese phosphate, Permatex sealed, Grade 8 Torx Plus cap screws torqued and staked all per mil-spec

–  Cam Pin—precision machined 4340 chromoly steel alloy per SAE AMS6415T/AMS6484D, heat treated/processed per mil-spec, manganese phosphate, solid film lubricant applied and cured per mil-spec

–  Firing Pin—precision machined 8640 steel alloy, heat treated/processed per mil-spec, hard chrome plate

–  Firing Pin Retaining Pin—1038 carbon steel, heat treated/processed per mil-spec, manganese phosphate

–  All components, material, and packaging made in the USA

https://www.ucwrg.com/materiel/upper-receiver-parts/60/premium-bolt-carrier-group/

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