I've been studying and researching carbines for a while now, reading what various trainers and trainees have experienced with carbines that have been pushed some. What I noticed about reviews and articles is that, for the most part, the round counts are rather low-I won't blame them for not shooting a case for every rifle they test, because that's a butt load of money-and the courses of fire don't generally show what the gun will do when the carbine is pushed. What I found from other sources contrasts quite a lot with what reviews say.
When the test consists of 300 rounds of leisurely shooting, every carbine on the planet is going to look pretty much the same. With that sort of light use, differences in parts quality won't show up, and a parts gun made with OK parts is going to perform similarly to a Colt, LMT, or LWRC. To see the differences in guns, they have to be pushed.
The reason that Colts and the other brands listed previously at the top have such a stellar reputations is that they hold up under hard use. Second and third tier guns, the commerical brands, have track records of failure that are well documented, as well as being traceable to particular things that differ from the top of the heap. Bolts break because they're not all MP tested and shot peened. Receiver extensions come loose because castle nuts aren't staked. The list goes on.
The thing that's bugging me, because I realize I've touched on this before, is that gun writers are expected to be experts. At least they were when I was growing up. Jordan was a BP agent that had used guns when life counted on it. O'Connor was out slayin' critters all over the world. I'm just not sure that gun writers now live it like they did in the day. There are a few, but they're few and far between. Most of the articles read the same way: here's the history of the rifle...again. Here's the features and stuff the rifle comes with...BTW, a carry strap isn't a tactical sling. Here's the stuff the writer bolted on to take the gun to the range. Here's the list of ammo, and we'll throw the velocity in there for...who knows why. And, 300 rounds later, here's the verdict: "this rifle worked like a champ and all the bullets that fired hit stuff. This rifle worked great, so if you're in the market for a carbine, buy one".
Here's the real bottom line: there's a very good chart that's probably the best resource to determine what's what with commercially available AR carbines. Rob-S, who's been on a lot of forums and who's chart has been declared "good to go" by several big name trainers and carbine authorities. Its the most accurate resource going. The beauty of it is that you can kinda "dial a price" and have a good idea of what features you're getting compared to other brands. Additionally, it shows the difference between the bottom of the line and the top, and if you're savvy, it explains why top tier brands cost what they do. If you happen across Rob-S and his characteristic orange visor, give him a hearty "thank you" for the effort he put into the chart.
2 years ago