(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)
By Roy H.
What’s better than successfully harvesting a deer? Harvesting two deer. Or three. I don’t know that I would, but I’d like the option to if the opportunity arises. And I have come across the opportunity to legally and ethically do so. That is, I came across the opportunity if I had been wielding the appropriate lead slinger at the time. This review is really more of a gear review that a gun review. The Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Hunting Rifle is a homemade concoction of all the separate components that could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve been thrown together to make a hunting rifle capable of rapid, precise, and repeatable shots where recoil has been reduced to the point that shots can be viewed through a scope without being thrown off of it . . .
This review will delve into the physics of recoil that many lifelong shooters haven’t fully realized. I even consulted an actual physicist. Although many readers will have no interest in this type of hunting or its requisite rifle components, most would be interested in the review of recoil reducing measures and how they work. Skip down to the Recoil section if anything else is sure to bore you.
Anti-(MEAT)erial™ is a fun reference to the JP Recoil Eliminator muzzle brake I chose on my rifle that resembles something you’d more likely see at the end of a tank’s muzzle or an anti-material rifle than a hunting rifle. To be clear, I am not anti-meat. I am in fact very pro-meat. Like many other TTAG readers, I didn’t grow up in a family with a hunting tradition. I’m somewhat new to hunting with only a few trips under my belt, which makes my tastes for the sport open to divergent possibilities.
Not everybody that goes hunting is going for the trophy and there are a couple hunting scenarios in hog and deer hunting I know of where such a rifle could be used to its fullest potential. Although nobody’s going to turn down a great trophy catch if they come across one, a lot of us are out there just to enjoy the time outdoors. Harvesting meat, any meat, during that time just makes it better, and we’re not too particular about the meat that we harvest.
If recreational fishers are picking up 300lb tunas and hunters are picking up 800lb Elk, I don’t think it’s particularly greedy to nab two 100lb whitetail does and a 150lb buck in well fell swoop so long as it can be done legally and ethically. From what I hear, the more novice hunter you are, the more likely you are to care about the volume of harvested animals under your belt and bagging your limit. Hi, I’m a novice hunter, pleased to meet you.
- Hogs are usually found in groups, and because of their status as the consummate feral pest, you’re generally encouraged to take out as many as you possibly can. Hogs leisure time is spent destroying wildlife habitats and multi-million dollar agricultural operations. Their non-leisure time is spent on their primary occupation, copulating and reproducing, a job they take very seriously. Despite Texas hunters harvesting over 750,000 http://www.chron.com/sports/outdoors/article/Texas-losing-war-on-feral-hogs-4685490.php
hogs per year, these critters continue to thrive and multiply in Texas and many other states. The ability to do quick follow up shots really is a must in hog hunting that the Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle is perfect for. Unlike most other game, hogs are known to fight back. Rest assured that PETA is both well pleased that hogs fight back and that they’re rooting for the hogs. Don’t end up on their score card like this guy.
The Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle is a good rifle candidate for deer hunting as well. Last year was my first time going deer hunting. In Texas, an approximately $50 resident’s hunting license came with 7 deer tags. The non-resident tag cost about $300 and came with the same amount of tags. I’ve heard my hunting friends from some western states complain about a lack of deer to hunt. In some states out west where all the land is public land and it’s all been picked over very well, getting a single deer tag may require a lottery drawing.
But not in Texas. Seven deer tags just for showing up and smiling. Parts of Texas have between 25 and 64 deer per square mile. And if you didn’t know it already, there are in fact plenty of square miles in Texas. Last year, I didn’t get to go deer hunting until the very last week of the season. I got out early in the morning with my brother and waited near a treeline where we felt like we’d have a good chance of ambushing deer that were just getting up for their morning yawn. After waiting about an hour, a group of two, then three, and finally four deer started walking out of from the brush.
Now, I’ve seen Bambi, so I was quite the expert on deer hunting already. I knew that at the first thunderous sound of gun shots, the instinctfully skiddish deer make a bolt in any random direction that’s most convenient for them, doing so immediately and at full speed. My brother was first to start lining up his shot, so I decided I wasn’t going to take one because I didn’t want to screw up any of his chances. I was just going to watch. He shoots. It becomes immediately apparent I forgot my hearing protection. Amidst going deaf, I see the deer drop like a sack of potatoes. Instantly. That was awesome!
But to my surprise, the rest of the deer gave zero cares about this recent development in their day. Jill, their deer friend, had just dropped right in front of them. All four of them were standing very close to each other when the shot went off. They pause to look around, notice their friend Jill just took a dive, and in their own little non-chalant deer way, just kind of shrug their shoulders then proceed to casually and slowly walk off. My brother and I were still trying to talk to each other. “Did that deer go down?”
“Yeah, I think I saw it go down.” “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.” “Wow, that was fast.” Several seconds into this exchange, it dawns on me. “Crap. I could have taken a shot too. In fact, I probably could have taken a second or third shot. My brother could have taken another shot! We have 14 tags between us, and we’re ending the season with 13 left! Nooooo!!!! What was I thinking!? Why didn’t I line up more shots!?”
Now, when I say “take another shot,” I’m not talking spray and pray shots, I’m talking well aimed, ethical shots capable of hitting the vitals with greater than reasonable expectation. And there was plenty of time for several of those shots in this encounter, that is, if I knew to do it, and if I had the right rifle. This is my journey towards that rifle.
The Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle needs to meet a few parameters.
- A semi-automatic rifle platform shooting a round with sufficient dropping power for deer and hogs.
- Be accurate and precise enough that you can trust a quickly lined up shot is going to go where you intended it to go.
- Recoil is mitigated to allow you to view consecutive shots through your scope without being knocked off your field of vision and having to reaquire your sight picture.
- Not really a requirement, but it’s nice. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good. Of course, when I say you do good, I really mean that you do well, but it sounds gooder there as good, not well.
I chose an AR15 platform chambered in 6.5 Grendel as my ideal Anti-(MEAT)erial rifle platform. 6.5 Grendel shoots an inherently accurate 6.5mm bullet. It shoots about 17% slower than a typical 5.56 round (2500fps versus 3000fps) but packs about 38% more muzzle energy (1800 ft-lbs versus 1300 ft-lbs.) The Grendel’s case is derived from the AK47’s 7.62x39mm, but necked down for the 6.5mm bullet. Shooting it through an AR15 gets you more recoil impulse than an AR-15 shooting 5.56x45mm but slightly less than an AK47 shooting 7.62x39mm.
This is ideal if you’re worried about recoil knocking you off target yet need a cartridge that can take down game reliably. The 6.5mm bullet has an unusually high ballistic coefficient that means it’s going to keep its speed longer in flight and be less susceptible to winds trying to knock it off course. For those reasons, I chose it as the base of my design. I used an Explore Optics 3-9x scope on it, but the optic will not be part of my review. The parts I used to achieve the 4 design requirements of the Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle build were:
- Stiller Precision Predator XT Lower. What’s an AR15 without the AR15 receiver? This was the base I used to build my gun. I’m typically not concerned with the quality of my AR15 lowers, but somehow I chose a really high quality one anyway. As far as I’m concerned, the lower is just a hunk of metal that serves two basic funtions. 1.) Hold the trigger. 2.) Hold the magazine. If It can do those two things, I don’t care much else about it. But the Predator XT Lower was a good one, and did have plenty of additional advantages. It’s reinforced where the receiver extension goes, extra cross braces are visible outside the magazine well, and the trigger guard is machined in to the lower. All to increase rigidity. As far as I know, I’ve never had a rigidity issue with any lower. Seems like overkill. The weak points are always going to be the pins attaching it to the upper. It does have a nylon tipped set screw in the rear of the receiver that allows you to put tension on the rear take down pin, which should stabilize the lower and the upper. The magazine well is flared, something I don’t need because I don’t plan on doing mag dumps with it. Great product, but overkill for my needs. On the plus side, it looks great!
- Dan Lilja AR24 6.5 Grendel 22” inch threaded bull barrel. Reduces recoil, increases accuracy, and dropping power. In general, the thicker the barrel, the more consistent and precise it will be. I went with the 22” barrel because I wanted to get every last bit of speed and power out of that bullet that I could. The longer the barrel, the more space and time the bullet gets to accelerate in front of the expanding gasses. This was important to me in a hunting rifle because I want to make sure the bullet has enough terminal energy down range to give a deathly blow to the critter on the receiving end. The 6.5 Grendel round is considered by some who don’t use it for hunting to be under powered. But for those who do use it for hunting, they report it being great at taking down animals. Some even goes as far as to claim they’d use it for Elk. Go figure. The people who don’t think it works won’t use it and the people who do think it works will use it. I think it will work, I’ll use it. The bullet itself has long been known for its accuracy over 7.62mm and 5.56mm caliber bullets. Having 38% more power than 5.56x45mm rounds yet less recoil than .308 cartridges, it seemed like a good choice for me where I wanted good terminal performance but reduced recoil to allow me to keep my sight picture through the scope while lining up for follow up shots. Dan Lilja barrels are hand lapped and have a reputation for great quality. I went with a stainless steel finish for aesthetics.
- Maxim Firearms 6.5 Grendel Bolt. Dan Lilja headspaces his barrels with Maxim Firearms bolts and recommends that his customers buy them. This was mostly a given that I would have to get this bolt.
- JP Recoil Eliminator muzzle brake. Reduces recoil. While I know of at least one more muzzle brake that is more effective than this one<<<>>>>. I just absolutely love the look of this ginormous brake and it legitimately reduces up to 70% of recoil allowing the shooter to keep on target through the view of their scope. Yes, it’s ginormous. But it’s not a compensator so, no, I’m not compensating for anything. I just like the way it looks.
- JP Adjustable Gas System low profile .936” bolt on gas block. Reduces recoil and increasing accuracy. I knew I wanted a 15” handguard going into the build, so I was going to need a low profile gas block. When picking a gas block, you can pick press on ones or bolt on. Pressed ones have to be pressed into place, sometimes by a 12 ton press or similar, and then pinned into place on the barrel. The stress of pressing it around the barrel may decrease the harmonics and precision of the barrel, so going with a bolt on gas block is usually better. This one attaches with 8 allen head screws and makes a secure seal around the barrel and gas port. It achieves the same end result as a pressed on gas block, but without putting as much stress on the barrel leading to better relative accuracy. It has a screw up top that can be turned to adjust the amount of gas that can pass through it. Finding a handguard to fit such a ginormous low profile gas block is tough. I knew I wanted the Seekins handguard to go with it, but JP recommended a handguard with an inner diameter of 1.75” to allow a minimum 0.05” clearance of the gas block. Since the handguard isn’t round, I wasn’t sure if it would clear my gas block. After scouring the internet for dimensions of both and reteaching my high school geometry. I finally came to the conclousion that it was going to clear the gas block by 0.04” or greater. Good enough. The adjustment screw for the gas block is easily accessible through the side vents at the top of the handguard. By adjusting it to allow only the right amount of gas through to cycle the rifle, this will significantly decrease felt recoil. More details on this are below. It’s a fascinating read.
- JP Low Mass Operating System bolt carrier. A standard M4 or M16 bolt carrier weighs 9.4-9.6oz. The JP Low Mass Carrier weighs in at an amaing 6.2oz. Does this decrease recoil? Maybe, maybe not, read my explanation in the recoil section below to find out. What I can tell you for sure is that when the gun was approaching 10lbs in weight, I found the opportunity to decrease weight here appealing. JP makes these in a white and black finish. When I ordered mine, I wanted a white finish so I picked “Stainless.” Well, apparently JP uses a low friction coating on their stainless ones that turn it black. The white one I wanted was their “Polished Stainless” carrier. My mistake. No worries.
- Kyn-Shot hydraulic buffer. Reduces recoil. In theory. The Kyn-shot uses a hydraulic piston to slow down the recoil impulse and prevent the gun from slamming into the back of the receiver. I ended up not using it in this gun and went with a standard carbine length buffer instead. As it turns out, it’s pretty hard to get these to work unless it’s a seriously overpowered gas system. With the Kyn-Shot installed, I couldn’t tune my gas system to allow the bolt to fly far enough back to hold open on the last round. So I ditched it for a run of the mill standard buffer.
- Mega Arms thick walled, slick side upper receiver. Aids in accuracy. With a 22” long bull barrel, a thick, strong, heavy upper are extremely important to hold the long barrel and prevent accuracy robbing flex in the receiver. As far as I know, this receiver does its job. It’s milled, not forged and made of 7075 aluminum for enhanced strength. I didn’t bother with a forward assist because the JP LMOS bolt carrier didn’t have a provision for it anyway. I had the option of getting it with a side charging handle slot milled in to the side, but chose not to do that either because I wasn’t sure if I could even attach a charging handle to the side of the JP LMOS bolt carrier. In retrospect, I should have got the one with a slot. It turns out it is possible to put a side handle on the JP LMOS bolt carrier.
- Fab-Defense GL-Shock adjustable carbine stock. Reduces recoil. The GL-Shock is an adjustable carbine stock that’s locking pin is spring loaded. This means that under recoil the gun starts to compress the stock and it’s spring before transferring that energy to your shoulder. It slows the recoil process down enough to make a noticeable change in felt recoil. In the video below of me shooting the rifle, you can see that the gun recoils slightly farther back than my shoulder does. This hints that it may in fact actually reduce recoil and isn’t just a fun gimmick. It also came with a tension adjustable cheek riser. You can see the scope I’m using comes with a backup red dot. Although I don’t need the riser for the 3-9x scope, if I were to take on a marauding gang of hogs within 50 yards or so and knew I wouldn’t need the zoom scope, having that riser to get me a solid cheek weld on the red dot is a big plus. When I first got the stock and put it on, I tried depressing the stock in. It budged a little bit. I thought this must be a cheap gimmick afterall and nearly gave up on the stock. However, with further inspection, I discovered that loose plastic left over from the molding process was still stuck in the slot that the locking pin travels down on recoil. I reached in there with a hook and was quite easily able to clear it out, and then it worked fine. The stock can recoil about an inch before being fully depressed.
- Geiselle Trigger. Almost know travel, clean and crisp break, and 3.0lb pull. What’s not to like? I love it. Having a good clean trigger aids in accuracy and is a big plus in this rifle system.
- Seekins Precision SP3R V3 15” free floating handguard with a flat bottom. This is a really neat hand guard. In a novel design development, Seekins moved away from the traditional tube shape and made a handguard that is circular up top, but flat and wide on the bottom. Why is this so amazing? When resting this gun on anything, whether it’s a bag, a ledge, or tripod, it is much more stable to shoot with the wider contact area. It doesn’t pitch or roll. Eliminating that factor out of your shot alignment should allow you quicker shot placement. Designed with three gun competitors in mind, it’s wonderful on the Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle too. Some of the hunts I do are from elevated blinds that have ledges, this is going to make shooting from there very easy and controllable.
- DPMS Tactical Grip. I just liked the look of it. What else can I say? What else is it good for? All I can say is that I grew up in the 90’s. At some point, my brothers and I rented Metal Gear Solid from Blockbuster. It was an action video game for the original Play Station. We spent a 14 hour night playing it from start to finish so we could return it before we got charged for a second night. Love the game and it was my first exposure to the H&K PSG-1 “sniper” rifle. This is the same grip used on the PSG-1 and my whole adult life I’ve been looking for an excuse to get a PSG-1 grip on a rifle, any rifle. This was my rifle, and my opportunity. I don’t know what that huge palm swell is good for, or how to use it. It doesn’t matter, I just needed it on my rifle. The grip didn’t fully seat well onto my receiver. I’ve had that happen before with other grips, but I had a LaRue Tactical grip handy that I was able to use to confirm whether it was the receiver or the grip that was the problem. The LaRue one fit fine. When I get to fix it, I’ll use a razor to slowly wittle away material until it can properly bed. You can see the gap in contact in the picture. Other than that, it looks great and feels great. Still don’t know what the palm swell is for.
Principals of recoil and their application to the Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle.
Recoil reduction was an essential component to the design of the Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Hunting Rifle. Before I get into whether or not the rifle succeeding in its goal of lowering recoil to keep you on sight through the scope at all times, I want to review the principles and reasoning behind all the recoil reduction steps taken. According to classical Newtonian physics, recoil is caused by momentum. Perceived recoil is momentum spread out over time.
In a semi-automatic rifle, there are two sources of recoil. The first is caused from the bullet and gasses exiting the front of the barrel, this happens relatively fast. The second is caused by the mass of the bolt carrier group, buffer, and spring reciprocating back and forth in the receiver. This is a slower process that is more responsive to measures that speed it up or slow it down that could affect perceived recoil.
The most effective way to reduce recoil from the bullet and gasses exiting the front of the barrel is to use a muzzle brake. Without a muzzle brake, it’s like the muzzle of your gun is a rocket engine shooting gasses forward that propel the gun back into your shoulder.
A muzzle brake uses baffles placed in the way of the gases like sails on a ship to collect the winds of burnt powder to push the gun forward, effectively redirecting the energy of the escaping gases. A hole is placed in the brake large enough for the bullet to pass through and then the gases will hit the baffles surrounding the exit hole for the bullet. This redirects the gas pressure back towards you, pushing the gun away from you and lightening the recoil. And it can be pretty effective.
As The Truth About Gun’s Jeremy S showed, the right muzzle brake can eliminate up to 74% of recoil in an AR15.(((()))))) In a test of epic proportions, Jeremy gathered 35 different muzzle brakes and tried them against the recoil of a bare muzzle. In his test, the Precision Armament M4-72 brake reduced 73.84% of recoil. According to that test, it was the best, but I chose his second place winner, the JP Recoil Eliminator instead anyway.
At 70.41% of recoil reduced, I chose it over the alternatives strictly on a style preference. It’s hard to have an Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle if it doesn’t at least resemble an anti-material rifle, right? That’s what I thought. Case closed. I think it looks gooder and will be gooder because of it. The Mass of the rifle also helps reduce recoil. At 10.1 lbs, this rifle is good at that, I guess. Wouldn’t mind shedding a couple pounds though even with that tradeoff of weight for recoil.
The next component of recoil and how to eliminate it gets confusing. How do you reduce the recoil associated with the reciprocating action parts? The bolt carrier group, buffer, and spring have mass that is moving. Moving masses have momentum and momentum causes recoil, how do you reduce it? Many people know the best way to do it, but few can explain it thoroughly.
So they may know that it works from hearing about it, but they probably don’t know why. Some think they know why, but their why is incorrect or incomplete. This is the part where I had to do a lot of digging, consult with a group of scientific minded people, and then ultimately with a physicist to finally come to a full understanding.
First thing you can do to reduce recoil here is to reduce the powder charge of the ammo you’re using. Less charge, less recoil. Pretty easy to understand. For 3-Gunners, this is an easy thing to do. All they need to be able to do is punch a hole in the target, so if they got a 5.56x45mm round shooting out at 2000fps versus 3000 fps, what do they care? But for hunting or tactical applications, this is a total no go. Dropping power is too important to sacrifice it in exchange for less recoil.
The second thing you can do is to adjust your gas block settings. This, as it turns out, is the most important thing you can do. Most gas blocks have a single fixed setting. The gas port in your barrel has already been drilled and the gas block has a fixed and untouchable hole passing through it. You’re stuck with whatever volume of gas is going to come through that sucker. But there are plenty of adjustable gas blocks these days.
Some of them have fixed settings where you adjust the gas by predetermined amounts and many of them are infinitely adjustable by turning a screw that covers or uncovers the hole in the gas block. That restricts or releases more or less gas as needed. Generally, the less gas you feed into the action of the gun, the less recoil you’re going to have. But there’s a caveat there, and I’ll get to it in a moment. For my rifle, I got a JP low profile adjustable gas block, and it’s infinitely adjustable.
The third thing you can do is to change the springs out for reduced power ones or extra power springs. Which one do you need? It depends. If you have a lot of gas coming through a fixed gas system, you might benefit from an extra powered spring. It slows the bolt system down and prevents it from slamming into the rear of the receiver extension, an even that dumps tons of momentum on you instantaneously. You can feel it.
However, if you have an adjustable gas block, you can slow your bolt carrier down and reduce recoil by releasing less gas. And if you release less gas you can use an even more reduced power spring. And now that you have an even more reduced power spring, you can probably use less gas which will cause less recoil, again. See what’s happening there? But there is a limit on how much you can reduce a spring’s power. At some point, the spring won’t have enough power to push your bolt carrier and a new cartridge into battery.
How do you know if your reduced power spring is strong enough? From the open position with your bolt stuck behind the bolt catch, you should be able to lower the catch and the spring strip push your carrier forward stripping a fresh cartridge from the magazine and chamber it. As long as it’s still doing that, every time, you can progressively try weaker and weaker springs until you reach the minimum strength spring needed to reliable operate your gun. You can cut coils on an existing spring or just buy springs with a lower spring constant.
The last thing you can do to the system to reduce recoil is change its mass. And this is the part that can seem really complicated. If you go to JP’s website where they advertise their Low Mass Operating System bolt carrier, they will tell you less mass reduces recoil and allows you take quicker and better follow up shots http://jprifles.com/1.4.7_bc.php. Well that sounds fantastic! I LOVE quicker better follow up shots!!!
But if you go to VLTOR’s website and check out their A5 buffer system consisting of progressively heavier weights, they’ll tell you their heavier weights will reduce recoil and allow you to take quicker better follow-up shots. https://www.vltor.com/product-category/a5-system/ Great! I LOVE quicker better follow up shots!!! Wait a second, that didn’t answer anything. They both said the same darned things! Which is it?
If you ask competitive 3-gunners, the consensus is that lower mass systems reduce recoil. They’ll tell you it may speed up the bolt cycle, but less mass reciprocating in there is going to cause less recoil. If you ask Heckler and Koch engineers who designed the new AR15 based M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, they’ll say heavier weights reduce recoil. If you ask Jim Sullivan, colleague to Eugene Stoner and who helped design the original AR15, he’ll say heavier weights reduce recoil.
Watch this video where this professional engineer and gun designer tells you you’re crazy if you go with a low mass system. About the 6 minute mark. https://www.full30.com/video/9b50f8a825ab510b4c227c7b32a76bc1 High mass advocates will tell you the increased weight slows the bolt down, and the slower speed of the mass causes less recoil. So again, which is it? I had to do a lot of digging and get pointed in the right direction of what would become an epic mathematical journey to find out the truth about mass and recoil. And the answer is… it depends.
But to really answer the question, it’s either going to be heavier masses reduce recoil or it just simply doesn’t matter. If you thought the answer was lower mass systems create less recoil, you’re mostly wrong, but you’re still right. I’ll explain in a bit.
If you have a fixed gas block and your buffer is slamming into the back of the receiver, then the only way to slow it down and eliminate that final smack down is to increase the weight of the system. The more mass does two things. Like I’ve said a few times already, momentum is recoil and perceived recoil is momentum divided over time.
By slowing the mass down, it’s going to take longer to part it’s recoil to you which creates less perceived recoil. It’s also going to travel less distance down the spring. If you can increase the mass to where the buffer slows down and is completely arrested by the spring before hitting the rear of the receiver extension, you win on both fronts. No instant shock at the end, and your momentum is divided over a longer time, all reducing recoil.
But, if you have an adjustable gas system. None of the above matters. You can tune the gas to only allow the bolt system to travel a certain distance down the spring. You can argue that low mass systems have less recoil because they have less weight and therefore need less gas to be pushed the proper distance. The net effect of decreasing mass and decreasing gas to get the bolt to travel the desired distance? ZERO change in perceived recoil because the momentum over time ration hasn’t changed one bit.
You can argue that heavy mass systems have less recoil because they have more weight and travel slower even though you need more gas to push it the proper distance down the receiver extension. The net effect of increasing mass and increasing gas to get the bolt to travel the desired distance? ZERO change in perceived recoil because the momentum over time ration hasn’t changed one bit.
I’ll publish more of the mathematical equations used to get here at the very bottom of this article, but for now, here is a relative chart showing the changes to get lighter and heavier mass systems to go the same distance in a tuned gas setting. I assumed 10oz for bcg, buffer, and 1/3 weight of sping as a low end, 15oz as normal, and 20oz as heavy and the desired distance travelled is just far enough to lock the bolt back on the last round. Feast your eyes on my relative math.
|Mass||Change in Mass||Gas Pressure||Cycle Rate (speed)||Change In Momentum||Distance Traveled||Momentum Over Time|
These are relative numbers for the 10oz and 20oz systems compared with the 15 oz system. Relative numbers work better here because there were assumptions made on best guess of actual values for gas pressure coming out the gas tube, how long it’s applied, what the spring constant for an AR15 spring is etc. But no matter what those exact numbers are, the relative changes would not change. As you can see, no matter how you change the mass of the system, when you factor in the changes in speed even with the changes in gas, the momentum divided by time doesn’t change, and neither will your perceived recoil.
So, are low mass systems bad? No. All other things being equal with a tuned gas system, why not shave the extra weight? My gun with its 22” long bull barrel, comes in at 10.1 lbs. At this point, I’d love to shave extra weight where I can, so I will. The faster cyclic rate will ding up the brass when extracting, but to me it’s worth it.
Competitive shooters would want less mass so they can swing their rifles faster. Tactical minded people may choose to increase the weight or keep it average because supposedly the higher masses are more steady and reliable. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s what I hear. What I do know is that the mass doesn’t matter on recoil if you’ve tuned your gas properly.
How did Roy’s Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Hunting Rifle perform?
I took the Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Hunting Rifle out to the range to test it against its 4 design requirements.
- Dropping Power
How did it do on dropping power? Hell if I know. I shot some paper targets with it. It worked great! Plopped right through those suckers. I’ll use it for actual hunting in about a week’s time. Until then, it’s impossible to know how it performs hunting. I’ve heard plenty of people say it’s great for deer, hogs, and sheep. I’ve heard slightly less say they would take an elk or moose with it. I hear a lot of things on the internet. I’ll test that later, but for now, with muzzle energy 38% higher than a 5.56x45mm round, and knowing that some people hunt with those, I’m guessing it will be just fine.
How did it do on accuracy? Hell if I know, but pretty good. To be fair, I don’t consider myself a marksman. I’ve been shooting since I was a teenager, but it’s mostly consisted of plinking steel targets or pieces of office furniture in the desert. Oh, and Tannerite. I shoot tannerite, often. No better way to celebrate freedom than shooting tannerite. Have you ever seen FPS Russia shoot targets and zero scopes? Neither have I. And I don’t really do it either. It’s a rare occasion that I make my way to a bench and target, but for your and my own edification, I did so today.
I chased bullets for a little bit trying to zero my scope for 200 yards, at the 50 yard range. I did one grouping on purpose just to satisfy a minimum requirement that I shoot at least 3 shots at 50 yards.
Yeah, so I actually shot four shots. I pulled the one shot. Somebody else next to me fired a shot at the same time and it easily frightened me and I knew dang well I pulled it. I could see it pulling in slow-mo as I was pressing the trigger. If you discard that one, we appear to have a 0.5 MOA group. Whether or not it’s actually 0.5 MOA doesn’t really matter to me, I just want to make sure this thing was pretty darned accurate, and that’s pretty darned accurate. That’s most definitely the closest group I’ve ever shot on paper at 50 yards in my lifetime.
After the 50 yard group, I took it to 200 yards. I’m not going to claim any pull shots on this, but I had a 5 shot group that hints closer to 1.25 MOA. That’s plenty fine by me and my skill set. That was actually the first time I’ve ever shot more than 100 yards on paper, so I was pretty impressed. Is it 0.5 MOA or 1.25 MOA? Hell, I don’t know, it’s probably somewhere in there though.
How did it perform with recoil?
The recoil test was a total success. All I wanted was a rifle that allowed me to keep on target without losing my position looking down the scope. And it delivered. I filmed a five-shot melee between me and a 200-yard target. I went as fast as I thought was reasonable that the shot was lined up. I never lost my focus through the scope while running through the five shots. That’s important. My five shots were quick and I believe all of them were on target.
You get two views in my video, one shows the gun recoiling on me as I shoot. The second is a scoped view through a camera. The camera is mounted on the right side of the gun and although it shows cross hairs, they’re not zeroed in by a long shot. But you can see in the video, I get knocked off about 24 inches at 200 yards and am able to come back to the same spot repeatedly and rapidly. I’m shooting for the black target in the middle through my actual optic. It was getting late in the day and we didn’t have time to change papers, so I reused an existing target already out there. I believe that all the shots I made were on target, but’s it’s impossible to tell because there were a few other shots on the same paper.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Performance: * * * * *
It did what it was meant to do. It throws decent powered rounds down range at a fast pace while remaining accurate.
Weight: * *
This is the downside of the rifle. It weighs in at 10.1lbs. The plus side is that its helps reduce recoil. Shooting from a prone or seated position with an appropriate rest, ledge, or bipod are totally fine. The down side is the weight makes it tough to shoot from the standing position. The long barrel with heavy muzzle attachment throw the center of gravity pretty far forward making you need to start to shift your weight back to balance. This is not ideal for standing shots, but relatively still doable. A future version of the Anti-(MEAT)erial™ Rifle could benefit from a barrel at least 3” shorter and fluted. It would be good to trade in the heavy duty lower receiver for something lighter. Getting the gun down to 8.5lbs would be ideal.
Style * * * *
The gun looks great. It has all the bells and whistles of a precision machine designed to do take out critters like 20mm rifles take out APCs. The bolt was stainless, but stained black with a coating at the factory taking away from the black and silver theme. The JP Muzzle brake and Lilja barrels were slightly different tints, something you wouldn’t notice until up close. The long hand guard fits in with the rest of the gun and the unique look of the flat side bottom adds to it’s appeal. The DPMS Tactical Grip looks at home with the companion 22” barrel.
Value: * * *
Total cost of the components of the gun come out to roughly $2500. The gun delivers on what it was sought out to do, but is the opportunity to compete in the unofficial sport of multi-harvesting worth it? I don’t think so. If it weren’t for addiction to obsessive compulsive internet buying, I wouldn’t have ever built this gun. But I did. Because I had to. Even though I didn’t. It made sense at the time.