Rifleshooter.com: Remington R15 30AR Review (Model 60100)
We’ve all been dragged into the “is the 223 a good deer round” debate at sometime in our life. All too often, those arguing its virtues for this application are inexperienced (or no experience) hunters looking to take their mil spec rifle into the woods. Lots of times, these are the guys who aim at the whole animal and are still in their infancy of trying to cultivate an understanding of ethical hunting.
While there are stories of accomplished hunters and woodsman who are successful with this combination, the 223 is anything but a recommended cartridge. When I hunted the Natal, my PH, Stephan told me he would “meat hunt” with a 223. Stephan grew up as a biltong hunter, and would take game as large as kudu with a 223. When he would discuss the practice he always suggested it should be avoided by everyone except professionals. (Note: The staff of rifleshooter.com agrees, we would never recommend a 223 to hunt deer, even in areas where it is legally permissible)
There is some merit to the underpinning of the argument, these points aren’t cartridge based, but platform based. If a shooter is already familiar with an AR15, why not hunt with one? Many shooters have far more trigger time on an AR15 platform then any other. In fact, as I look back on my nearly twenty years of military service, competition, instruction, and training with a long gun, I have probably fired ten times the rounds from the AR platform then all others combined. Hunting with an AR 15 style platform makes sense for some shooters.
If a shooter wants a 7mm-08, 243 or 308, in an AR style platform, he can always look to the AR10 sized guns. These cartridges are all ideal for deer, but the platform is on the large side. Enter the Remington 30AR, the Remington Arms Company’s answer to the search for a medium-sized game cartridge on the standard AR 15 sized platform. Using a standard size AR15 lower receiver, the 30 AR can push 125 grain .308 diameter bullet 2,800FPS. This exceeds 7.62×39 (~2400fps, and uses .308 not .311 bullets) and approaches 308 performance. The entire world of .308 diameter bullets (up to 150 grains) is now available to the reloader in an AR15; pretty nifty.
Remington currently offers four factory loads for the 30 AR, 123 grain Metal Core, 125 grain AccuTip, 150 grain Core-Lokt, and a 125 grain pointed soft point. The 123 grain Metal Core was used for this evaluation.
Our test gun is an R15 Model #60100. The rifle is equipped with a standard, A2 style trap door stock, flat-top upper receiver, free float tube, and 22″ fluted 1:10 barrel with a railed gas block. This semi automatic rifle uses direct gas impingement to cycle the action. The rifle weighs 7.75 pounds and is 40 1/4″ long. The entire rifle is coated in camouflage and comes from the factory with a 4 round detachable box magazine. For testing purposes, we equipped the rifle with a Leupold Mark 4 3.5-10 TMR scope with 1/4 x 1/4 MOA turrets in a GG&G QD 30mm scope mount.
So, how does the R15 compare to a stand AR? Lets take a look.
I headed out to the range on an exceptionally hot and humid day. Temps ran 100F and humidity was high. Mirage was the worst I have seen in years. Accuracy testing was conducted from prone, using a Harris BR bi-pod and Triad Tactical Rear bag. Initial zero was conducted at 25 yards. After shooting two 3-round groups, three round groups were fired at 100 and 200 yards to confirm zero and verify accuracy.
I was pleasantly surprised during the initial phase of testing. Recoil was only slightly more than a standard 223 rifle and the handling characteristics were basically the same. There were no failures to fire or feed. The barrel has a fairly light contour and I shot it quite a bit in a short time. The rifle grouped well. Keep in mind, this barrel has a 30 caliber hole down its center.
The trigger was reminiscent of a standard GI trigger, but stacked differently. While it was nothing like breaking a fine glass rod, it proved serviceable.
100 yard three shot groups ranged from .990″ (initial 100 yard group) to 1.916″ with an average measurement of 1.411″ and a standard deviation of .435. It is worth noting that the initial two shots of each group were always closer than the third, most likely due to heating the barrel.
200 yard three shot groups ranged from 1.929″ to 2.526″ with an average measurement of 2.221″ (1.111 MOA) and a standard deviation of .299.
I spent some time position-shooting to simulate field conditions with the scope set to 3.5 power. The rifle handled and hit well.
In an effort to function check the gun, I shot a series of 4-shot, rapid fire groups at 50 yards. The rifle functioned flawlessly.
I invited a newer shooter at the range to shoot the R15. He had spent the morning shooting his M4. He spent some time firing off a few magazines 30 AR. The initial concept of this type of rifle was proven correct, give the hunter a medium sized game cartridge in a platform he is familiar with and he will shoot well.
Overall, I am impressed with the gun and the cartridge. The gun was sub 1.5 MOA accurate, reliable, familiar and capable of taking medium-sized game. Even with a 22″ barrel, heavy duty scope mount and 30MM tactical scope the gun handled very well.
If I were to take it hunting, I would probably opt for a red dot sight. I am already very familiar with the platform and most of the familiarity is with red dots and irons. I found the magnified scope worked well for the evaluation but would prefer the red dot in the field. For the gamers out there with the flip up magnifiers, I see a potential application: use your magnifier while in the stand and if you stalk, remove it.
Remington did a nice job offering hunters an effective medium-game cartridge in a familiar platform.
For more information on the R15 and the 30AR cartridge, visit Remington’s website.
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