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My quest for the perfect rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by gunjunky, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. gunjunky

    gunjunky Arlington, WA Active Member

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    My Quest for the Perfect Rifle:

    As I am sure many do I have been on a quest to find just that perfect rifle. Many would argue that the perfect rifle already exists; it is rifle “X” that I already have. Most probably would fill in that blank with some variety of AR15 and yes the AR is an outstanding platform of rifle, I have a couple. I was issued the rifle in the service in a couple of configurations as well as the M14 (M1A) also an excellent rifle. The AR is still my issued work gun and definitely good enough for me to stake my life on.

    The AR's
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    However one of the short falls of the AR platform (IMHO) is its lack of ambidextrousness; important if you shoot left handed as I do. It does not have an ambi safety unless added by the end user, the charging handle is not lefty friendly, it ejects brass right in front of my face and a personal dislike is its DI gas system. Yes; all of these things can be changed or overcome, but why should they have to be. This is what started my quest. When I retired from the service I started looking around to buy a new rifle and spent many an hour searching on line for just that one to spend my hard earned money on.

    Enter the AK. I went through a bunch of these from the most basic Romanian to some high end Arsenal rifles and some Saiga conversion guns that I did myself (they showed the most promise). But the AK, as reliable as it is has a number of shortfalls as well.
    One of the Saiga's I built to be my idea of the perfect AK (note the TWS dust cover with aperture sight) This one is gone now.
    xm0qi8.jpg

    Enter the Sig 556. The Sig 556 made it onto the radar because of its AK like system and I ended up with not one but two of them, a classic and a SWAT version there were a number of things that I really like about the rifle and wanted to love it but couldn’t; in no small part due to the weight of the rifle. Sig announced the release of the XI version and I thought that might just be the solution so I sold both the other 556 rifles and started the wait.

    When Magpul announced the ACR platform I thought that would be the one. I was disappointed when the idea went out to Bushmaster and the price went right up with it. As it turns out I never even gave it a try and the search continued. After the Sig 556 rifles I started experimenting with piston driven AR’s and adding the aftermarket parts to make the rifle lefty friendly. I have been through a number of them and have settled on the two I keep around. While that was happening I went through a few iterations of the AR platform, Sig 516, a Colt or two an LWRC (great rifle) and acquired a PWS upper. The PWS platform has proven to be one of the two that has stuck in my collection. I like the long stroke gas system that it utilizes and it makes for a handy light clean shooting and very accurate rifle. The other that has remained in the system is an Adams Arms based rifle that is a nice set up as well.

    Enter the ARAK 21. One rainy day I was surfing the internet rather than doing something more productive and came across a video about the Faxon Arms ARAK; I was intrigued from the moment I watched that first video. An AR lower (great ergonomics) with an upper based on some very interesting concepts. A reversible non reciprocating forward charging handle, a long stroke adjustable gas system; based around the incredibly reliable AK system and available for left side ejection. I ordered one and continue to be very happy with it. It is not perfect though as weight is somewhat a factor in this rifle and although it works for an opposite side shooter it works best for the shooter it is set up for.

    ARAK
    2921b1f.jpg

    On another day of gun research I noticed the Tavor was finally making its way to shooters and had always been intrigued by this design. In fact the bullpup concept has always been interesting but as a lefty there was not a really good choice out there that I liked. As it turned out I had a chance to pick up a LH Tavor for a fair price and jumped. This is an outstanding rifle, very handy and reliable. It also has a couple of not perfect points that the aftermarket is addressing. The trigger is not great and it is a bit over gassed as well, especially with a can on. I am looking forward to getting hands on one of the Desert Tech rifles when they come out next year.

    Tavor
    2czzevd.jpg

    Well while all of this gun dealing was going on Sig finally released the “perfect” rifle the ambidextrous 556XI. So I picked one up and overall it turned out to be a very nice rifle but had one major (IMO) shortfall. Sig made this excellent ambi rifle but put the stock hinge right in the way for a lefty to use the rifle safety. Also the rifle did eject out the wrong side for me not a huge deal as most rifles do, but it would be nice to be able to address this issue with ease. So after much consideration the XI went on the chopping block for yet another gun in my quest.

    Enter the ARX 100, will this prove to be the perfect rifle? It addresses a number of points very well. It is light weight. It is fully ambidextrous and user changeable with no special tools. I was excited when I first learned about the rifle and began the waiting game until it was released a couple of months ago. But as I can’t have an endless supply of rifles in the collection one had to go to make funds available. The most recent acquisition the Sig 556xi hit the block to make room for an ARX. I picked up the ARX a few days ago and must say my initial impression is good. I have only fired 100 rounds as of this writing and the rifle performed very well. It does have a couple of things I would like to change but overall it seems to be very good. One huge point is the user configured flexibility of this rifle. Why you say is this important. Well I was asked that very question on our range when I took it there to flex it. I was shooting the rifle configured for me, a lefty. But in about 30 seconds I converted it to a right hand rifle and handed it to a co-worker who shot it and said “Okay that is cool”. In my family for instance I shoot left handed as does one of my sons; my wife, daughter and other son are all catawampus shooters. So just change the rifle over no special aftermarket safety or charging handle no add on left side mag release and no hot gas in the face. Wow this thing is kind of cool; now just make it in 7.62x39. Time will tell if it proves to be tough and reliable over the long run, we shall see. But this might just be the perfect rifle. Will I sell all the other ones I kept along the way, probably not.

    ARX100
    2ihtt7s.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
    chemist, Benny503 and orygun like this.
  2. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    glad you found your ideal rifle but your choice is so far away from what I would consider my ideal rifle its almost the exact oppisite.
     
    orygun likes this.
  3. gunjunky

    gunjunky Arlington, WA Active Member

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    Mark what is your choice?
     
  4. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My Ideal rifle would first depend on its intended use. It could be a Winchester Model 70, It could be a Winchester model 1885, it could be a Savage model 12, It could be a M1 Garand.

    But since I have no interest in the modern combat style rifles it wouldn't be something like that.

    Just not my thing.
     
  5. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Great read. Looks like you (the OP) have incrementally worked your way to near perfection.
    I'm like Mark, though. I suppose that the exact opposite would be a single shot rifle, maybe even a muzzle loader, but my favorite is a bolt action. Then again, I'm more of a hunter than a fighter.
    Got any pics to decorate your post with? I've never even heard of some of the rifles you talked about.
     
  6. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I think there's a lot to be said for damn the "perfect rifle". I think it more practical/realistic to become perfect with the rifle one is issued at work and or that rifle that's very very common in those theaters one finds himself. Here, and around the globe, it's the AR.. not some gee whizzed out ambi bullpup or whatever.
     
  7. jluck

    jluck Really,Really, Close to Newport Oregon 97365 Voted #1 Member

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    #1 Battle type for me. Steyr AUG NATO

    #1 Hunting Steyr scout stainless 7mm-08

    These are if I was limited to one.
     
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  8. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    But that's two! :s0005:
     
  9. gunjunky

    gunjunky Arlington, WA Active Member

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    Mark - There is a lot to be said for the bolt gun. The fact is that if a rifle has to be used for survival or civil unrest the bolt gun would serve admirably.

    Certaindeaf - You are correct in your thinking, one should train (a lot) with the issued platform rifle, and I do. I qualify regularly with my issued gun and it goes to many a call with me. I have well laid muscle memory with the AR platform (20+ years worth), but my work rifle still has a lefty safety. There are still two AR platforms in my personal collection, but that does not stop an enthusiast from seeking something different.
     
  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I hear you and expected as much.. and I agree, rifles are good!
     
  11. gunjunky

    gunjunky Arlington, WA Active Member

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    Pics per Orygun, more to come.
     
    orygun likes this.
  12. jluck

    jluck Really,Really, Close to Newport Oregon 97365 Voted #1 Member

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    If I was limited to one type that is...;)
     
    orygun likes this.
  13. clearconscience

    clearconscience Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I'm a lefty and I'm obsessed with ARs the lefty thing doesn't bother me anymore. You get used to manipulating the rifle, but I can shoot it right handed too. I shoot pistols right handed and rifles lefty so I can go back and forth a little. But I've never had a problem with all the functions of an AR shooting lefty. Just have to practice. And I can buy 2-3 for the price of the other rifles.
     
  14. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My ideal rifle would be a bullpup (like the DT MDR) with light weight (sub 6 pounds sans optics), gas piston with adjustable valve (preferably more than just 4 positions like the MDR) - or better yet, something that senses what it needs to work correctly - like some semi-auto shotguns, switch barrel, barrels are lightweight (preferably partially carbon fiber), takes standard mags not proprietary, ergos of rifles like the AR.

    Alternatively, or even preferably, the mag would be something like the FN P90 or the Calico helical mags - high-cap on top of the rifle, not sticking down. Ejection would be downwards (although you do NOT want to have open sleeves when shooting such firearms as hot brass down your shirt sleeve hurts! - DAMHIK). Besides the advantage of not having the mag sticking down, catching on everything, sticking out and making prone shooting difficult, the weight and position of a top mounted mag that runs along the top of the barrel reduces muzzle rise and in a balances the rifle better - IMO.

    The barrel setup would be amenable to swapping in an integrally suppressed barrel easily and quickly.

    The base of the sight rail system would have some kind of adjustable cam with multiple positions to go to a preset windage and elevation for different chamberings so you don't have to change the or sights optics settings (granted, not well thought out - all kinds of details to work out on this - if it would at all be possible).

    The rifle would be thin horizontally - too many of the bullpups are just too thick.

    The rifle would be extremely modular - no clamshell stocks, etc. - I prefer something that hinges in the middle like the AR or the FN-FAL.

    The barrel would be as low in the rifle as possible to keep the recoil impulse lower.

    The outer skin of the rifle would mostly be a rubberish non-slip material like the Hogue overmolded rifle stocks. The buttstock recoil pad, cheek weld, handgrip and foregrip areas would be even softer rubber. It would have a builtin cleaning rod (bullpup AKs have this), cleaning kit, and the handgrip would have storage for small items.

    The BUS would have click adjustable, no tool required, settings for elevation and windage out to 1000 meters - the rear sight would be a ghost ring with a flip up smaller aperture for longer distance. The front sight would be fiber optic orange or red, and would have a tritium dot too.
     
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  15. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Mine is simply an Arsenal AK
    Bells and whistles can be added later.

    I regret selling mine!
     
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  16. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    i predicted arx-100 before hitting the bottom of the post. awesome.
     
  17. gunjunky

    gunjunky Arlington, WA Active Member

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    Sights changed to Troy micro set and a lower mount for the aimpoint.