In my last post, I laid out my thought process for choosing a defensive rifle. I focused on a concept I called the “defensive carbine”. It is a rifle that you can use to defend yourself and your property out to roughly 500 yards. I think this is a distance well suited for somebody in a suburban area.
One thing I have noticed, is that our weapons are typically much more capable than we are. It’s easy to hit at 500 yards with a 5.56 on a known distance range from the prone, but it’s much different to hit at 500 yards shooting on a side hill over bushes and through trees after you just ran a mile.
Going from my own personal experience, I would say you are likely to see your groups open up two to three times as much under a combat condition vs shooting on the range. So that one minute of angle rifle just turned into a 3 minute of angle rifle in your hands when you are cold and tired, and shooting from a non standard position.
Now that 500 yard limitation is a result of the ballistics of the ammunition used. So basically, if we want to shoot farther we need a different caliber. Of course there are things we can do to try and get a little more distance from our 5.56, but now we are doing things to our defensive carbine system that is changing the dynamic we initially started with, just to get 100 more yards from the rifle. In other words, is the extra money you will invest in a better barrel and more expensive ammunition worth it?
Now we could argue ballistics all century, but to get the most bang for our buck it would be hard to not choose a rifle chambered in 308 Winchester. For a long time I had my mind made up against having a 308 semi-automatic rifle. Mainly because they were always pretty heavy and mounting optics on most of them was a pain. Almost all of your popular 308 rifles were designed in the 1950s before the individual rifleman had optics available to him, so they weren’t really designed with using optics in mind.
Of course people have come up with ways to do it, everything from clamp-on mounts to weld on rails. The only exception (I can think of at the moment at least) being the AR 10 series of rifles with a flat top receiver. But even these rifles came with their own unique issues. Mainly the fact that it still was big and heavy compared to an AR 15. So even a shooter familiar with an AR 15 was basically going to have to relearn how to run an AR 10 efficiently.
That was where my thoughts were on the subject, even though I knew I needed a rifle system capable of shooting past the 5.56. You see, where I live I can just as easily imagine having to do security patrols in a suburban setting as I can in a rural setting. Think rolling hills and farmland and that’s what I mean by rural.
For a long time I was content with the fact that I had a bolt action 308 that was set up as a target / tactical rifle. It was a Remington 700 SPS tactical with a Vortex Viper PST 4-16 FFP. It was very accurate and I had a lot of fun shooting out to about a thousand yards with it. And to enhance its capabilities I equipped it with a detachable magazine setup with 10 round magazines.
But as time went on and I worked on developing a training plan for a security team, I quickly realized that implementing this bolt action rifle into a small team was not very practical. It might be for a SWAT team or a military unit where they have additional security to rely on, but a small team providing security with no reinforcements and no assets to call on needs all the organic firepower it can get.
Just simple buddy team fire and movement becomes very lopsided when one guy has an AR and one has a bolt action rifle. Now you could say the guy with the bolt action should also be carrying an AR, but I have also set forth a restriction of 60 pounds for total weight of gear carried. Not to mention its just damn cumbersome to carry load bearing equipment, a 3 day pack, a sniper rifle, and another rifle.
So my quest began to find a weapon system that I could bridge the gap between my defensive carbine and my sniper rifle. I also wanted to limit my spending to $1,500 to get this weapon setup. Now had my budget allowed me more I may have had more options, but I don’t really feel like I needed them.
A few more requirements included being able to carry at least 200 rounds of ammunition on my person. I wanted it to be capable of holding a two minute of angle group. I wanted the reload technique to be efficient and quick. I wanted the optic mounting system reliable. I also wanted the ability to clear rooms with it if need be. I wanted it to be able to serve in any position through the assault cycle of a squad. There was no way I could have done all those things with my bolt action.
So my research began. I looked at a few different weapon systems, but given my $1,500 constraint there weren’t many that really stuck out. The two I looked at the most heavily at first where the PTR91 A3S and the Smith and Wesson M&P 10. I was actually more sold on the PTR than the Smith and Wesson simply because the magazines are $3 a piece. And then a colleague asked if I’d seen the g2 series from DPMS. I have not, nor have I heard much about them I said. He showed me to a series of videos on YouTube that James Yeager produced running one through its paces.
Now I’m not one to say that everything on the internet is the gospel, and I wasn’t very familiar with James Yeager. But what started to sell me right away was his attitude towards 308 ARs in his first video of the series. He was just as skeptical that rifle would make it a thousand rounds or be worth having as I was. But after thousands of rounds and no cleaning, and splitting the rifle down the center by Remington ,and they found nothing wrong with it, I was starting to be convinced that it might be something worth looking at.
So after much googling and video watching and looking at one in the store I decided that would be my rifle. A local farm and fleet store actually had a year end clearance going and they had a g2 recon and a hunter on sale for $1,250. So the day came to purchase the rifle and I walked into the store and the Recon was gone! They just sold it the day before! So I was quite dismayed at first because naturally this was the only model I looked at since it was their tactical model. Standing there looking in the shelves I started to get another thought in my head.
I asked to handle the hunter, and at seven and a half pounds it felt amazing in my hands. And for $1,250, I figured I could afford to get the barrel threaded. And since I had an extra Silencerco trifecta mount at home for a 308 making it suppressed wouldn’t be hard. It actually came with the stock I prefer versus the collapsible stock that came with the Recon. So home she came with me.
I still have some work to do on the weapon including mounting some rails on the fore end, and installing some sling mounts. I would also like to install some back up iron sights as well. I think I will also cut some holes in the handguard for ventilation. Similar to the PRI carbon fiber handguards.
As for ammunition, since I reload I could make a custom load for this rifle, but I have chosen not to. I simply am cloning the 175 grain Federal Gold Medal Match load. And from what I’ve seen so far, there’s no need to change. This rifle is easily a half minute of angle rifle and that is shooting from off my 3 day Pack, not a bench rest.
I recently had it out to the range and at 425 yards I was shooting a 4 inch group consistently.
So far I have about 60 rounds through the rifle, and having used six different magazines and I’ve had no issues whatsoever.
So what’s the big difference between a g2 and an AR10 you might be asking? A g2 is a complete redesign by Remington and have they improved vastly from the original AR 10 design. You can check out all the details on their website but the biggest seller to me was that their lower receiver is the same dimensions as a 5.56, except for the mag well of course. This mean same parts, same stock, and exact same manual of arms.
.308 not on safe, shame on me.
This was very important to me because that meant I don’t have to relearn how to run the weapon. It also means all the training I do on my 556 transfers over, and vice versa.
There are a few things to get used to, like the longer and heavier bolt throw. But with practice now these are minor issues. I am definitely planning on changing out the charging handle latch to something a little easier to get a hold of. I am a big fan of the BCM Gunfighter charging handles, and I hope they come out with one for the G2. It is actually funny when I get on my 5.56 AR I feel like I’m going to break it. I can understand how the guys back in the sixties must of felt when they were issued an M16 for the first time.
And you know what is crazy? Unloaded with optics, both my G2 and my AR15 weigh the same. 10.5 pounds each.
So what about optics for this rifle? Should I have kept my Vortex Viper? Should I get an ACOG? These were questions I was asking myself. But just like the initial process to choosing a rifle I had to go back to my needs. What optic would allow me to satisfy my needs?
First off, what were my needs? I needed this optic to allow me to do the things I could with my defensive carbine, but still give me most of the capability I had with my sniper rifle. There really are not a lot of optics out there that really fit this role. ACOGs are great as a combat rifle optic, but I wouldn’t really say they make a precision rifle optic. The same could be said for most any precision rifle optic as a combat rifle optic.
I actually thought about running two optics on this rifle on quick detachable mounts. Basically an ACOG would stay on there most of the time, but I would have a precision optic in a QD mount if I needed to shoot past 600 yards. I’m a firm believer that having 1 power of magnification for every 100 yards you want to shoot makes things a lot easier. (10x for 1000 yards, 4x for 400 yards, etc. So when you are picking an optic, think about that for a second. Ask yourself, “What is the max range I need to be able to engage?” If your answer is anything more than 200 yards, I would say you need to look at a magnified optic. Now, if your answer is 500 yards for example, I don’t think you need a 4-16x optic. A 1-4, or 1-6 would probably be excellent. More to come on that subject.)
Then I happened across the Pride Fowler Rapid Reticle scopes. Having never heard of them and having no experience with the company I was very skeptical. What I was attracted to was the rapid reticle design. It was actually designed for the US Army for use on their designated marksman rifles.
It gives the shooter the ability to quickly range and engage targets with minute of man precision. Not that the scope isn’t capable of more accuracy, but the reticle is really designed for a combat environment.
So the actual scope I bought was part of their RR-Evolution line. It is a 3 to 12 power optic that is illuminated and first focal plane. A great feature I was very surprised to find out about, was the fact that it actually has a second reticle that appears in about 5 power and below.
3x at about 15 Yards.
It has large brackets that frame the main reticle on the left and right, and the bottom stadia is very thick. At 3 power, this along with the illumination make for a very quick reticle to pick up in a close quarters situation.
6X at about 300 yards
3x at about 100 yards
12x at about 1000 yards
Mind you, these pictures were taken with my cell phone, so don’t judge the scope based on these alone. I can tell you that the glass is every bit as good as my Vortex was. I will be posting a full review of this scope soon.
I will post more about this optic the more that I use it, but suffice to say I’m very impressed. Especially considering the fact that I got it for $250 shipped.
So there you have it, my concept of a go to gun for providing ‘retreat security’ in a rural setting.