Gun Review: Accurate Ordnance MilSpec Signature .308 Rifle

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By Breanne R.

America is a country of tinkerers. Single-minded, often unemployable souls dedicated to producing the kind of high-quality products “the big guys” can’t afford (or be bothered) to create. You’ll find one such outfit in Winder, Georgia (pop. 14,099). Launched in 2011, Accurate Ordnance is a five-man shop building and assembling seriously expensive rifles for serious customers. AO built their $4395 M24-AO, for example, to satisfy a “contracting firm” looking to equip their counterterrorist sniper teams. When OTB Firearms offered me trigger time with AO’s MilSpec Signature Series rifle I quoted their website. “Who doesn’t want a handy, easily transported, lighter-weight, multi-purpose rifle?” What I got was . . .

the Rhonda Rousey of rifles. The MilSpec Signature Series rifle (MSS) boasts a perfectly realized full Kryptek-type camouflage pattern – complete with Accurate Ordnance’s signature Spider Monkey Cerakote finish. It gives the gun a fresh and funky demeanor. At the same time the three minimalist MIL-STD 1913 rails and standard night vision mount signal the inescapable fact that the MSS is all business. Gorgeous, certainly, but you never want be on its bad side.

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AO goes all out to make sure the MSS backs up its beauty with ballistic benefits. To start, they built the MSS on a XLR Industries most excellent Element chassis, It’s fashioned from a solid block of 6061 T6 Aluminum – the alloy used for the Pioneer spacecraft’s infamous plaque, pricey bicycles and high-end AR-15s. The MSS’s receiver block and forend are a one-piece design; there’s no weak point.

The MSS’s rear is fitted with XLR’s Tactical Lite Butt Stock. The design offers an adjustable length of pull (12″ – 15.5″), an ambidextrous cheek rest,  and a height- and cant-adjustable recoil pad. Weighing-in at just 23 ounces, the Tactical Lite Butt Stock offers QD flush cups on both left and right sides and mono-pod provision. If you can’t find a comfortable shooting position in four minutes, consult your doctor.

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AO chose Stiller Precision for the MSS’s action, based on Stiller’s reputation for precise tolerances and stellar durability. Speaking of metallurgy, Stiller hardens the MSS’s 416R stainless action to 41 Rockwell C. It utilizes a modified M16 style extractor and is a two-lug one-piece bolt with a 30 degree coned front. Put it all together (or let Stiller do it) and the bolt knob has a precise, positive feel. The bolt’s small amount of knurling gives shooters a positive grip without compromising comfort.

The MilSpec Signature rifle boasts a Rock Creek match barrel. The Sendero contour barrel made from 416R stainless steel via single-point cut rifling, with a 1:11.27 twist. The one-groove-at-a-time cut rifling process takes ten times as long as button rifling, but puts significantly less stress on the material and delivers superior consistency. Rock Creek hand laps the barrel before and after rifling. It’s finished at 18.5” and threaded 5/8×24 with a custom-knurled thread protector.

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The model tested came with a Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm with a Tactical Milling Reticle. At 23.6 ounces, the scope adds noticeable weight to the rifle chassis, boosting the rifle’s overall unloaded weight to to 11.73 pounds. The MSS is supposed to be fired from a supported position, so you can’t really knock the rifle for feeling a bit on the heavy side. The scope alone costs $2,749, but ask any long distance shooter — real accuracy costs real money.

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Setting-up Accurate Ordnance’s MilSpec Signature Series rifle on a sandbag support, the gun felt perfectly screwed together. Sturdy. The stock’s endlessly adjustable ergonomics and silky smooth action combine to make the MSS a seamless extension of the shooter’s will. No small thanks to the rifle’s Timney trigger that breaks at a mere 2.5 lbs. with OCD-level cleanliness.

I fed the MSS Federal’s 168 grain Sierra Matchking BTHP for the entirety of my test. I spent the day [happily] ringing an 8” gong and a 4” knockdown target out between 100-600 meters], hitting sub MOA every time. (No surprise there: all Accurate Ordnance rifles are guaranteed to shoot 3/8” MOA or better at 100 yards using factory match ammo.) I was hitting steel so consistently it wasn’t a challenge. Fun, yes. Challenging no. I wanted to test the MSS rifle out to 800-1000 meters, but hurricane season put paid to that.

Like so many small, dedicated rifle builders, Accurate Ordnance took the best parts from some of the best manufacturers and, inversely to Dr. Frankenstein, turned out something greater than the sum of its parts.

Accurate Ordnance MilSpec Signature .308 Rifle

SPECIFICATIONS:

Caliber: .308 Winchester(6.5 Creedmoor and other calibers available on request)
Sights: The rifle comes without sights, but it does have the pre-installed rail for scope mounting
Barrel Length: 18.5” w/ 1:11.27 twist
Overall Length: 38.5” (using 13.5” LOP)
Overall weight: 10.25 pounds with an unloaded magazine and no scope
Capacity: 10 Rounds using AICS AW (Arctic Warfare) magazines
MSRP: $3950.00 shipped

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Style * * * * *
The XLR chassis with custom paint and rail systems make this a Rousey-like rifle.

Ergonomics * * * * *
With the MilSpec Signature’s infinitely adjustable stock, even someone of my smaller stature can be perfectly comfortable behind the glass – without compromise. The adjustable trigger was perfect right out of the box.

Reliability * * * * *
Bolt action rifles are nothing if not reliable. This one is, too.

Customize This * * * * *
Ask, pay and ye shall receive! Accurate Ordnance is happy to build you a rifle in your preferred choice calibers, trigger weight, furniture, finish, whatever.

Overall * * * *
I was in love the minute I laid eyes on this platform. Unlike most love stories, this one did not disappoint. At all. Yet? Ever.

comments

  1. avatar Powers says:

    Damn, nice. 4K..I am just not that good. I need way more practice.

  2. avatar pwrserge says:

    I gotta ask, what’s with that forward pic rail? It looks hinkey as all getout.

    Also, is it just me, or is everyone mounting their stock to an AR buffer tube these days? (Regardless of whether the system needs one or not.)

    1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

      The forward rail is for night vision optics.

      2nd, Yes, the customization of the AR market and the solid lockup of well designed buffer tube systems makes this a great idea. It’s a standardized pattern, and there are pretty good stocks out already for it, so why reinvent the wheel. Besides, trying to create adjustable stocks that are quickly adjustable with a good cheek weld just nets you a similar design anyways.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Meh, lockup on a single tube is always going to be problematic. (You’re always going to get a bit of rotational slop given the need for your stock to actually clear the tube.) I like the sliding rail design used by stocks like the Magpul UBR. I can’t imagine that you can’t make a lighter dual rail mount like most top end adjustable stocks.

    2. avatar Robert W. says:

      Night vision tube in front of the scope.

      Because everyone makes them, so it’s easy to customize to your liking, and they tend to be customizable in themselves, perfect for a department rifle that gets passed around to different shooters. If you wanted a solid stock, you wouldn’t get this rifle.

  3. avatar Cowabunga Dude says:

    Could someone please reverse that flag patch on the forend? Or at least switch it to the other side?

    1. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

      Absolutely !

      Few people even realize that the National Colors are always supposed to be “advancing” (the canton facing “forward”)– never “retreating” –as in the way the flag is attached here.

      http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KU6WkEFKL.jpg

      See:

      Why Is The Army Flag Patch Reversed?
      http://www.marlowwhite.com/faq/f-why-is-the-flag-patch-reversed.html

    2. avatar Howdy says:

      Do what you will if you put down $4000 or any sum of your own money.

    3. avatar notdumb says:

      Get a life. Seriously? You have nothing else to say?

      1. avatar Daniel in NC says:

        Pride in one’s country is not nothing, please temper your comments accordingly. This rifle is a product of the US, its producer is proud of that fact, they should be informed of the proper way to display the American flag. It’s not just an icon or a bolt on rail component, the American flag stands for something; something worth dying for.

        1. Hi Daniel!

          We all noticed the same issues once the article published. We’re happy with the work Breanne did, and mistakes happen to anyone. We stock both flag plates for left and right-handed rifles to specifically orient the flag properly.. The wrong plate made it on the rifle and because this rifle was not hand-picked for an article and scrutinized excessively, such mistakes can happen. Good eyes, good thoughts, and thank you for the comments!

          Jason @ AO

  4. avatar Defens says:

    Nice gun and nice review. A couple of thoughts – 6061 isn’t really all that special; actually most of the lower end AR-15s are made from it. It’s arguable that 7075 is a “better” alloy. 6061 is popular because it takes anodizing so well, but that’s kind of moot if you’re going to spray it with that Hollywood-looking Kryptek camo pattern.

    I am a bit surprised that they are getting this kind of money for essentially no gunsmithing. With the 3rd party parts being used (top drawer ones, as you note), there’s not much “gunsmithing” involved. Open boxes, screw parts together, done!

    1. avatar schernobyl says:

      Simply because they can. Some people don’t want to learn their rifles and how they work just want one ready to go.

    2. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      6061 is more corrosion resistant on its own and is more easily worked and welded. It is not inferior to 7075 – just different.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Corrosion resistant? On Aluminum? You do remember that all aluminum is highly subject to corrosion and what we see as Aluminum is actually a coating of Al2O3 that instantly forms whenever the raw metal is exposed to air?

        1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

          It is that coating of oxidation that helps it resist further oxidation. Notice that aluminum boats last way longer than steel ones and only need to be painted for anti-fouling and decoration. It is rather anodic though. I built an airplane almost entirely out of 6061-T6 and it has hardly has any signs of corrosion after 7 years.

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          That’s sortof my point. All Aluminum is “corrosion resistant”… It doesn’t take a special alloy to make it more so. I mean seriously, check out any aluminum can left in the woods for a few years. The print will be gone, but the can will be nice and shiny.

        3. avatar actionphysicalman says:

          Yes, aluminum resists corroding by corroding well:-) Sorry I missed your point. A bit careless of me.

      2. avatar Gunr says:

        6061 aluminum used for industrial purposes is usually T-6, not sure but I think 7075 is usually T-8.
        I was working in a small fab shop, back around 1970, or so. The boss (engineer designer) came in wanted to make a chassis himself. He grabbed a piece of .062 aluminum and worked on it all day, punching out holes and cutouts. Then he went over to the leaf brake to bend up a couple of flanges.
        As soon as he bent up the first flange, the aluminum cracked! He had either forgotten, or didn’t realize that you cannot bend 6061 T-6, to a tight radius on a regular brake.
        He was really ticked off, all day for nothing! He should have used 5052.

      3. avatar Defens says:

        I agree – more easily worked, welded, and anodized. But in this case, there’s no welding involved. 7075 is a bit stronger, but that’s not necessarily a benefit. I’m just pointing out that there’s nothing at all magical about 6061 that makes it a special marketing point. It used to be that “cool” aluminum parts were made of “aircraft aluminum” – now we’ve progressed to naming the actual alloys. And of course, anything “billet” is automatically better than anything forged (not really), even if it’s just machined from bar stock (as most “billet” items are).

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Almost nothing is actually machined from “billet.” Aluminum billets don’t have the heat treatment into them yet – they’re just huge rods of the alloy, ready for further processing.

          The -T6 (etc) suffix on aluminum alloys is, in part, calling out the heat treatment. There is heat treatment on aluminum, and if you’d like to see what effect it has, just anneal a piece of aluminum (common 6061 bar stock will do wonderfully), and then leave another piece of 6061 alone as purchased from bar stock.

          Put both of them into a vise, side-by-side, and run a milling cutter (end mill, or face mill) over them.

          The annealed (ie, heated to about 900F and cooled) aluminum won’t machine worth a damn – it will smear like peanut butter. The 6061 left as it came from the metal distributor (ie, heat treatment intact) will machine up very nicely, letting nice, crisp chips come off the bar stock.

    3. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Ha! I had both those same thoughts. 6061 is one of the most common aluminum alloys out there. And I kept reading, waiting for the part where something on this rifle was custom-built by the shop, but it never came. Just off-the-shelf parts bolted together.

      Looks like a great performer, but I wonder how much less one could build the same rifle for if you have your own set of wrenches and screwdrivers.

      1. avatar notdumb says:

        Kind of hard chambering a barrel with a screwdriver I’d think.

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Okay, fair enough. I wonder how much you could build the same rifle for if you have your own set of wrenches and screwdrivers, and a few hundred bucks to have a smith chamber and install the barrel…

        2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

          Stinkeye: AO sells barreled actions for $1500 (stiller Tac30 and Rock Creek barrel), they will cut it to length and crown for free and something like $60 to thread the muzzle. Add $200 to cerakote (single color) if you want it finished. From there you would need to add a trigger, optics, and a stock to get that running.

          For comparison, I have a Remington 700 that I have been debating having rebarreled in 6.5Creedmoor and most smiths would do that (including action blueprint) for about $1200-1500 spending on which barrel I chose, and what other upgrades I opted for.

        3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          You don’t need a screwdriver to chamber a barrel. Only a roughing reamer (if you wish), or a finish reamer.

          If you wanted to chamber a barrel by hand, all you do is stand the barrel vertically in a vise, put in a live-pilot chambering reamer, affix a t-wrench made for a reamer shank to the reamer and start turning it clockwise.

          You use some honing oil or naptha, pulling the reamer every .050″ or so to clear the chips, then you’re back in. When you get close, you attach the receiver, tighten, put in a go gage, put in a stripped bolt behind it and check to see if you can just barely close the bolt.

          There are lots of barrels sold that are merely rough reamed and you need to finish ream them – which you can do easily by hand, no lathe required.

    4. Hi Defens!

      This is Jason. I am the machinist at AO. I can assure you that quite a bit of gunsmithing is involved. These rifles are not bolt-together parts piles. If you’re ever near Winder, feel free to stop by and see the shop- I can give you a good view of the type of work that goes into a rifle like this.

      Thanks!

      Jason @ AO

  5. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    Why only 4 stars if you love it so much? I’ve seen 5 stars given to lesser guns on this site.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Yeah, I noticed that too. Every criteria got five stars, so why only four stars on the overall??

    2. avatar Joel says:

      I would bet the price has something to do with it. 😉

      1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

        The price is really good considering its performance and comparison to all of its competition.

  6. avatar seans says:

    Really curious what type of contracting company is requesting a bolt action rifle in 7.62 for counter sniper work. Just get a AR10 and call it a day and spend the extra money on training ammo.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Yeah…and for counter-sniper?

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      The sad thing though, now that I think of it, is that it is probably true. There are still a lot of people who don’t get there are AR10 guns out there shooting 3/4 MOA or less with good ammunition. If you are willing to spend $3K on a 10lb+ short action bolt gun, don’t.
      Long/magnum action, different story, at least for now.

  7. avatar Joe R. says:

    Like Jack Nicholson’s charactor in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest says “where do you think she lives?”. : )

    Nice rifle, need to aspire harder (both in talent and $).

  8. avatar Tile floor says:

    4K is a bit rich for my blood 🙁

  9. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    See, this allows you to run that, and still gives other options. There are stocks out there and better buffer tubes that eliminate almost all of the slop.

    Heck, you can run a carbine stock on it, and just put a commercial stock on a milspec buffer tube for a really tight lockup.

    They haven’t come up with a lighter system, unfortunately. Everything based around the rails comes out as an overweight UBR. Adding all that material sucks.

  10. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    What are ‘serious’ customers (and guns for that matter)? Ones that don’t smile?
    Nice infomercial.

  11. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    I’m perfectly capable of missing a target at 1000 meters without the need of an expensive sniper rifle to confirm this fact.

  12. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I have been told, by people who know more about barrel harmonics than me, that if you’re using a bench rest you should rest the gun on the forestock (heat shield, etc.) and not on the barrel.

    True?

    1. You are correct sir!

      Jason @ AO

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Absolutely correct.

      This is the reason for free-floated barrels from forearms on a stock. It used to be that using a sling on a rifle where the stock normally touched the barrel would tend to pull the stock away from the barrel, changing the POI. By free floating the barrel, the stock could be pulled away with a sling and the barrel didn’t change POI because the stock didn’t have any effect to begin with.

  13. avatar CaribooLou says:

    I don’t get Kryptek

    1. avatar Defens says:

      Me neither. It is probably one of the “coolest” camo patterns out there to just look at and appreciate for design and aesthetic value, but it has way too much contrast and square edges for practical use. In my environment (Pacific Northwest, open to brushy evergreen forests) the best patterns I’ve been able to find and use are German Flecktarn (which replicates the evergreen foliage color, as well as dead ferns and brush in the understory) or the A-TACS foliage camo. In more open country, multicam rules.

      Kryptek looks cool on Kyle Lamb in the ads, but if you are really interested in hiding? Not so much.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        I don’t know about up where you are, but here in the Texas hill country, the Highlander pattern works incredibly well. After a few years using it during spring turkey season, I’m sold on it.
        I wore the Yeti pattern on some Wyoming antelope hunts and it seemed to do the trick there as well.

        1. avatar PerplexedPistolero says:

          Kryptek Highlander works pretty well in the marijuana grows (I mean national forests) of Trinity County. I wear Sitka and Kryptek not so much for the patterns, but because they’re some of the few manufacturers that actually use decent outdoor fabrics in their stuff. But I’ve had close encounters with quite a few animals that should have run and didn’t, so as camouflage, it works for my purposes.

  14. avatar Gunr says:

    Dan! You forgot a very important piece of information in the specs!
    The babe’s specs, and phone number!

  15. avatar Bdk NH says:

    I hate when people criticize reviews on safety or some obscure technical detail but….. That rifle needs to be shot with the chassis stock on the rest not the barrel. I would bet a paycheck that rifle doesn’t shoot MOA with the set up in the video or pictures and would have a hell of a time ringing 4″ steel at 600m. Seriously makes me question the knowledge and experience of the reviewer and therefore the review.

    Otherwise, nice rifle and would love to have one in 6.5 Creedmor or 260 Remington with some $3K glass.

  16. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

    I hate to be ‘that guy,’ and I might be way off here, but is Breanne paid either by the manufacturers or distributors? Don’g get me wrong, I have nothing against sponsored content. But if anybody is paying her or other folks here to review or promote their products, it should be labeled as such.

    1. Nope. Neither. We wouldn’t run this as a gun review if she was paid by the maker or seller. And we ID all sponsored content at the top of the post and run it in a different color typeface so there’s no mistaking it for regular content.

  17. avatar Accur81 says:

    Looks like a cool, albeit pricey, gun. My $900 LTR .308 with a Burris XTR 312 on a US Optics XL mount and rail which accomplishes the same “mission” with less cost. Once the trigger got replaced with a Timbey due to the recall – I’m about done with Remington.

    My buddy has that same Leupold scope and throughly enjoys it. He swaps it between a POF AR 10, AR-15, and a Tikka .300 WSM. In my opinion the Mark 6 is one of the best all-around scopes out there.

    But accuracy and consistency are usually pricey and I wouldn’t pass up on the chance to shoot one of these. I would have liked to see some 5 round 100 yard targets with Federal GMM or Eagle Eye. Mine’s about .6 MOA with Eagle Eye, so I’m behind this rig.

    Thanks for the review.

  18. avatar foo dog says:

    $4K AR. Meh.

    Still, nice tats. “The model tested came…”

    Maybe I have been watching too much Craig Ferguson.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Who tested that model?

  19. avatar Dale Smith says:

    So…..
    Was this a photo shoot for a calendar or a gun review?

    And no way I’m paying that for a freaking .308 parts rifle. I built a custom .375 Cheytac for less.

    1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      Ha, “parts rifle” that gave me a good laugh.

      Maybe research the company a little before spouting uninformed bullsht.

      http://accurateordnance.com

      1. avatar Defens says:

        Tex, not sure I understand your response here. Their website shows a list of services that you can find from virtually any gunsmith: barrel installation, muzzle threading, stock bedding. I notice they charge $300 to install a chamber a barrel, which seems a bit high, but if they get good results, that’s okay. They also list a lot of high-end parts that they use. Again, very nice. However, they apparently do just assemble other people’s components into complete firearms – they don’t make any of their own components. Hence, “parts rifle.”

        1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

          I meant that people say “parts rifle” as if it was the same thing as the AR you or I just screwed together in a garage with a $50 bench vice and basic hand tools.

          By your definition GA Precision and any other custom rifle shop is “just a parts gun” because after all, they all just use premium aftermarket actions matched to premium rifled barrel blanks from other manufacturers.

          You watched a YouTube video of Larry Potterfield finishing a short chambered pre-fit barrel with a t-handle and a finish reamer, so that must be the same thing right?

          Yeah ok

        2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          An accuracy smith today is often using a “through the bore” pressure lube system, and this technique is worth the extra time and trouble for a hand-lapped barrel. You spent extra money purchasing a lapped tube, why allow cuttings to grind up that lapping just forward of the chamber?

          It costs more because it takes more time to set up in the lathe.

      2. avatar Dale Smith says:

        Like an AR?!?! Lmao. Really? They’re not that simple?!?! Um…. I think you stopped reading my comment after “parts rifle”. I know exactly what goes into putting together a precision rifle. I’ve done it friend. More than just once or twice. 😉 My own labor is free, and I guess I don’t value my time as highly as these guys, which is fine. Folks charge what the market will bear. Good for them. But for that price, I’ll build my own.

        1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

          LOL building a Savage with a Shilen Pre-fit barrel and a piece fired brass for head spacing doesn’t count bro 😉

      3. avatar Dale says:

        Ok, seriously, in the interest of full disclosure…. After reading through some of the other comments on here, do you own the company, or own an interest in it? Owned by family or close friend? Get work done there on a regular basis?

  20. avatar neiowa says:

    “Rhonda Rousey of rifles” – way to damn the thing. Phony/pretend poser, plastic enhanced. unreliable, ridiculous ?

  21. avatar 5Spot says:

    Love the bike ref as I am a mt biker.
    Two things that still require hand manual fitment and craftsmanship……bikes and guns!

  22. avatar Noah says:

    Mark and Willy (and the rest of the crew at AO) are great standup guys.

    I own a TMR in 6.5 Creedmoor that is just amazing to shoot.

    Many of their staff (and their owner) were formerly from GA Precision.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Do they build guns in magnum action?

      1. avatar Noah says:

        They can build anything you want.

  23. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I don’t remember reading any reviews from Breanne R. before.
    If this is an audition, I’d say cast her, and I look forward to future contributions.

    By the way, nice job with the photos. Window light is awesome if you know how to use it.

  24. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I had not known of Rock Creek single point cut barrels before this. Now I do. Thanks for the tip. I’ll be calling them this winter on some projects.

    BTW – NB that I’ve written at length before on the use of single-point cut barrels. I’ve told you folks that these are the types of barrels that competitive long distance shooters are using for scores. Here you see another rifle builder using a single-point cut barrel on a LD rifle. I’m not sure of the need for such a custom twist rate, unless it’s optimized for a very specific load/pill.

    As for the price: Between the Stiller action, the chassis, the scope and the barrel, the price is in the ballpark. If you guys go back and read some of the comments I’ve made on high-accuracy custom rifles, you’ll see that the price for this sort of thing is in the thousands, and I’ve commented on the price of high-end glassware for LD rifles. I don’t see the price as being out of line. My only question would be if the chassis could use a different action – say, Defiance Machine’s actions.

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