Choices and preferences are an amazing facet of human cognition. The firearms world is no different. While certain arms are developed for certain tasks (an argument I use on uninformed dingbats asking why I have guns and not just gun), many shooters will argue to the grave over the best tool for the task at hand. In this case, that task being long-range precision rifle shooting.
I guarantee a good half of the readers here just had a helpful thought bubble pop into their heads to see our old friend, the Remington 700. Yes, they’re great, they’re reliable, they’re…sexy? Let’s not go nuts. It’s a little on the boring side. It’s like the Lexus of guns. (Lexus-owning apologists, slow your roll. Do a Google image search of ‘most boring car’ and you get an ES-300. But hey, that’s another blog.)
I’m a proud owner of a LaRue OBR 7.62. If you’re thinking I’m going to sing its praises, you’re right. If you think I’m about to get be a little hard on it, you’re also right. No rifle is perfect, but a precious few are fucking sexy.
It was Black Friday 2012. I was getting a lunch with a friend near RifleGear in Orange County, CA. Anyone who likes a good black rifle shop simply must pay them a visit, they’re far too cool to pass up. I decided to poke around the store with said friend plus his precocious five-year-old, and, half-joking, inquired about the unobtainium- the LaRue OBR. The big one. The one nearing perfection. The one that Colby Donaldson over-pronunced on Top Shot. That amazing piece of machinery carved out of a giant hunk of billet. That fucking rifle…with a waiting list.
“Could be a good six weeks dude, that’s all I’m saying, that’s average.” A muscly Asian guy was adding me to a crude list that was simply titled ‘OBR’. “Could be faster since you want the 20″, but hey man, I’ve seen it take six weeks, I’ve seen three months.” Fine, I thought, that should be enough time to prepare for the purchase of a rifle that costs $3,370. I’m a freelance TV producer, I thought, I’m working, all is well. A few days go by and my phone buzzes in my office du jour in South Bay. The terse description of the situation before me is without drama, so I’ll paraphrase with the guy calling me back saying, “Did I say six weeks? More like six days! Get down here…if you still want it.” A familiar TV clip was playing before my fragile little brainpan.
I made an early, caffeinated drive to RifleGear that Sunday, and filled out the 4473 and the insane CA forms to get my rifle with a bullet button. My pickup date would be in ten days- 240 hours and one minute, whatever bullshit they pulled on gunowners to make gun purchases less convenient under the guise of safety. But it would be mine.
Twelve days later, I decided when I woke up that today was pickup day for me as I could probably hit OC really easily at lunchtime. Very happy Friday, until I flipped on the TV. Bad day to be a gun owner. The store was icy, the news was on. We all knew it was gonna be pretty damn bad, that in light of this tragedy, there would be a run on, oh, everything. Facebook was exploding on my phone, I was nervously lying to certain coworkers as to where the hell I went to lunch that day. A part of me knew I had the last one for they’d be getting in for a while.
Let’s break this thing down.
She’s really made solid, like freaky-solid. Naturally, this is far from the first company to make a good AR-10, nor will they be the last, but the craftsmanship on this weapons system is the basis of its reliability. As before, when you’re cutting the rifle out of a block of 7075-T6, it’s as light and solid as can be, and also guarantees a proper fit. Everyone who’s ever frankensteined an AR together knows the upper-lower wigglefest that happens, the reason the accuwedge was invented. A solid CNC job like this is the literal framework of accuracy. This is also not the rifle for someone with little upper body strength. A 20″ configuration with optic, mag, new stock, Harris bipod, it adds up my friends- this beast is in excess of 15 lbs. fully loaded. But hey, it ain’t a doorkicker’s gun.
Now the meat.
When you’re talking AR-bolts, can you really reinvent the wheel? I’ve seen a lot of gimmicks, some with merit. Bolt and BCG are a chrome-coated and over-engineered gas system, right down to the key- performance of which I’ll get to in a minute. Giessele SSA Combat trigger group is set to 4.5 lbs. and breaks very nicely. Until recently, the barrels were Lothar Walther LW-50 barrel blanks, and the secrecy of the components and their assembly in the factory rivals Apple Computer®. It’s now believed the barrels are made in-house for quality control, but I’ve yet to see someone do a side-by-side comparison of both brands of barrels. As far as range time, yes, it’s a sub-MOA gun.
I shot her stock for a while using the Bushnell Elite Tactical HDMR 3.5-21 x 50. For the Horus reticle haters, lend me your ears. Gone are the days of doping with Kentucky windage. Yes I learned on Mils. This is mils and graph paper! Using a proper optic will guarantee you’re getting the accuracy this weapon is capable of. It will be the topic of as many range discussions (which must be hilarious to the outside observer because everyone’s yelling over ear pro), and it will get as many questions as the rifle itself, fanboys passing by your table going, “Oooooooooo.”
And now for the tough part.
In the vein of having to pour more cash out on this for a suitable optic (all she ships with is a giant bag of rails, kids – your parents put it together), this is a perfect, sub-MOA gun at 100m. You can be the envy of your friends and have a little steel plate concert at 300m in a semi-auto platform. But she’s not a consistent 1000m gun without adding the right components. I went with a Magpul PRS and a PWS30 brake. Good comb, good eye relief, brake pushes back and not up anymore. I literally saw a >20% boost in consistent *dings* beyond 600m with just these two things. That plus using match grade ammo, and you’re looking at a $6000 investment. Is this match rifle that’s all tacticool worth it?
Well, guess it’s a matter of choice.