After years of reading “Meh, another overpriced AR” hundreds of times in the comments section here, I’ve come to the conclusion that a certain vocal portion of our readership will never see the value in spending car downpayment money on a modern sporting rifle. As a guy who has seen what $100 worth of training buys, I get it. And as someone with a box full of tools in his shop, I get it that way too. But the fact remains that under capitalism, something’s worth what people are willing to pay. And not everyone is you or me. Some of them are willing to shell out $2,385 for a rifle. For those buyers, War Sport Industries is ready with their GPR-CC…
The overwhelming response I got when I mentioned that I was testing a War Sport rifle was, “Who?” Several people also thought the name of the company was tacky. As it goes, I was just pleased their name didn’t include the words “tactical” anywhere.
Perhaps better known for their distinctly snouted LVOA series of rifles, War Sport isn’t necessarily filled with hopeless dreamers. They fully recognize that most buyers are not so willing to shell out almost three grand for an AR-15.
With that in mind, War Sport introduced the GPR series of rifles a few years ago to appeal to a slightly more cost conscious buyer. The GPR base model was, to my eye, wildly overpriced and the GPR-E, predecessor to the GPR-CC (competition/carry) noted here, needed work to make the juice worth the squeeze. So War Sport went back to the drawing board and tightened things up a bit to bring the CC to market. The changes are few, subtle, and welcome.
The biggest, boldest, and most important is that the barrel length has been stretched from 14.5″ to 16″ meaning that the muzzle device no longer has to be pinned and welded to bring it into a NFA compliant length. Even though all War Sport guns are designed to be perfect out of the box, many users want to swap out muzzle devices so they could add silencers or use the brake of their choosing. With the E model being pinned and welded, this became much harder. The CC model addresses this, and you’ll notice in the pictures that one of the first things I did was put a brake on the end that allowed me to use a silencer.
The other changes were fairly minor and included moving away from the B5 Systems butt stock in favor of a Magpul CTR. Somewhere, some operator, operating operationally, either grimaced or made a small triumphant fist at that change. I’m not so high speed that it has mattered.
Alternatively, the E model used the SSA-E trigger from Geissele while the CC model sports the slightly heavier, but still very nice SSA version. To me, that actually matters. The SSA-E is a fantastic trigger for delicate, precision work, but it feels a bit out of place on a running and gunning rifle. The standard SSA at 4.5 pounds is a much better fit. The rest of the rifle remained largely unchanged. The net effect to price was that it went up from the ~$2200 range to a MSRP of $2385. From what I can tell, War Sport is very aggressive with their dealer system, so MSRP is largely representative of the street price.
Unlike many manufacturers, War Sport did not intend for this rifle to be heavily modified. It was designed and produced to be ready to go out of the box. The box, by the way, is a hard case with rigid foam inserts. It will not pass TSA standards, but it will keep your $2400 baby from getting scratched and marred while enroute to be scratched and marred at the range. Also included in the box is a manual, a Hexmag, and ostensibly, some hardware for the rail. Mine, as a media beater did not include the hardware, but more on that in a minute. I’ll reserve judgement on the Hexmag for a later date, but side by side with a Magpul PMAG, it felt a little flimsy and weak. It looks cool, and cool is what the GPR-CC does well.
The last thing that’s included in the box, and something that I really enjoyed was a set of Magpul’s MBUS Pro sights. I hadn’t had the opportunity to use them before shooting the GPR-CC and I was very pleased with their operation, adjustability, form, and accuracy. I mention this specifically because this is a rifle that can be picked up at the local FFL, charged up with ammo, and shot immediately. No need to buy alternative aiming devices, or swap out triggers, or do any other work. Click, buy, ship, shoot. That’s it.
And shoot it I did! If you read my earlier piece on the LVOA rifles, you’d know that I have a somewhat adversarial relationship with expensive guns. I judge them disproportionately hard and expect flawless perfection. Because, let’s face facts, the reason you pay $2400 for an AR is to let someone else do the thinking for you. Hundreds of hours of my time have gone into selecting the various rifles in my safe and in the case of the ARs, they’re special little snowflakes, built to my spec. Buying a rifle like a GPR-CC says, “Somebody else do the heavy lifting and tell me what I need to be using.” Given the air of elitism that comes along with delivering something to a customer with a guarantee that it is perfect, I’m naturally skeptical and just a little bit angry.
Which is why this gun received no cleaning, no lubrication, and an inoculation of four standard capacity magazines worth of steel cased 55 gr ammo. It is filthy, disgusting, weak ammo and a great place to start. The first two rounds went flawlessly, but the third tripped up on the way in the chamber. I cleared the malfunction, reinserted the (Hex)mag, and proceeded to mag dump as fast as I could into a nearby berm. I experienced no other failures after that point.
With the barrel sufficiently fouled and hot, I slapped on my go to testing optic, a Bushnell DMR, and started running through various factory ammo offerings to evaluate the accuracy potential of this rifle. Because let’s be honest, even if it ran flawlessly, it could suck from an accuracy standpoint and then I could go home early, pointing and laughing.
Unfortunately, it grew quite fond of Federal Gold Medal in the 69 grain weight class. With sort of boring regularity, it would hammer home 3/4 to 1 MOA five shot groups. Other 69 grain loadings seemed to be fairly popular with the GPR-CC, most of them hovering right around the 1 MOA mark. I was unable to find a 77 grain load that it liked, with most of them falling around 1.3 – 1.5 MOA. 55 grain loads were all over the map with some Black Hills reman squeaking in under the 1.5 MOA mark pretty regularly.
The cheaper 55 grain stuff was good for about 1.5 to 2 MOA. Frankly, I would have been floored to see this rifle shoot everything sub MOA after running through 120 rounds of steel cased commie ammo, but to see it hang in the 1 MOA club with premium ammo after getting absolutely filthy, it gets my begrudging approval.
With the important tests of reliability and accuracy out of the way, and barring the sort of failures I’d hoped for, I turned my attention to ergonomics and controls. Billed at 6.5 pounds from War Sport, it feels solid in the hand. There’s absolutely zero rattle in the receivers, though the Magpul CTR has a touch of the jigglies. The left side features an oversized bolt release, a nicely shaped 90 degree safety selector, and an oversized trigger guard.
The right side is largely clean with the exception of the ambidextrous safety peaking through to the other side. This was my first time spent in earnest with one, and I’ve grown quite fond. Using the thumb to put the rifle on fire, and your index finger to bring it back to safe just feels right and is undoubtedly a bit safer.
The rest of the controls are mil spec with the exception of the War Sport logo’d AXTS Raptor charging handle. Ambidextrous and a bit oversized from stock, it provides a great deal of leverage to get things moving in a hurry. And this is where the GPR-CC starts to justify that price tag. Everything feels really good. The bolt moves like it is on oily, glass rails. The safety makes a crisp little “nick” noise when it is manipulated. The trigger is crystalline, the sights have positive little detents, and slapping the bolt release gives you a satisfying “thunk” as the bolt locks home. But I’m not immune to a bit of sticker shock induced euphoria.
In an effort to remove myself from the process a bit, I laid out several ARs of various quality ranging from a home brewed beater to an Armalite and the GPR-CC. I had a friend over who knows nothing about guns beyond what he’s seen in video games, but runs a pretty nice lab on a research campus here in Austin. He’s savvy to fine mechanical things, so I handed him each rifle and had him manipulate the controls. After many minutes of fondling and dry firing, I asked him to rank the guns in terms of fit and finish. Essentially, which was felt like the highest quality rifle of the bunch. And wouldn’t you know it? He picked the GPR-CC top of the list. It is one of those things that I could write a thousand words about, but never fully communicate. When you see it, you know.
Moving forward of the receivers and butt stock, we get to take a peek at two of the most interesting parts of the rifle. But first, a quick detour. There’s this really great bit by comedian, Patton Oswalt, where he describes his love of four star chefs. Specifically, he talks about a restaurant that he has yet to visit but wants to based on their website description:
“Every day at Fleur De Lys, we fly in 3000 ice pink roses and put them each in their own silver dusted crystal decanter. And you read that and you go ‘wow that has nothing to do with the food.'”
Reading through the manuals and talking to my marketing contact, you hear the same sort of fevered insanity. Nearly every other AR manufacturer, especially a small botique shop like War Sport, is completely satisfied to purchase barrel blanks on the open market and turn them to spec on a lathe. But not War Sport. They stopped buying commercial blanks years ago due to quality control issues (I hear), and built a state of the art drilling operation to make their own barrels in house. You can even go out and buy one if you’d like. It doesn’t make any sense at all, but here they are with a couple million dollars invested in barrel making so they can crank out their very own barrels. The GPR-CC sports a .223 Wylde chambered, 1:8 twist, sixteen inch model with a mid length gas port and a fairly heavy profile. As you can see from the photo above, the gas block is pinned to the barrel, a sign of the durability expected from the rifle. The rust is compliment of a small bath and overnight excursion it took.
The other interesting part, and the thing that covers up all that snazzy barrel tech is War Sport’s very fancy, very stout rail. This shares the same DNA as the LVOA rail but without the snout on the end that covers the brake. This one ends a few inches short of the muzzle and based on the heavy use of triangular webbing, appears to be built for the end times. While I never ran over it with my truck, I did heave it across the road a couple times for good measure, and I was unable to break anything beyond my mother’s heart. “Why do you treat nice things this way?” she asked.
The most intriguing part of the rail is the attachment system. While the top is all Picatinny, the sides and bottom are replete with threaded holes and larger reliefs cut in between. This system is designed to function with Key Mod accessories and allows you the opportunity to directly bolt on your favorite Key Mod accessory panels.
In my case, I slapped on various Picatinny sections, QD swivels, and a bipod stud. Everything fit perfectly, and I was able to torque the devil out of it, ensuring that my accessories were going nowhere. It is a genius little system in that it makes use of the widely adopted Key Mod standard while providing the strongest possible lockup. The downside of course, is that it is heinously expensive to manufacture due to the number of cuts, holes, and threading required to create it. But like those ice pink roses in the silver dusted decanters, it matters to someone.
When I visited the War Sport booth at SHOT this year, I had grand dreams of going full Leghorn in my review, roasting the company, the product, the customers, and anybody who had ever set foot in Robbins, North Carolina. The truth is that I came away begrudgingly pleased with the rifle I tested. It has all the right parts from third parties, and enough home grown innovation to set it apart from the field. Not by much mind you, but enough so that it stands out.
On the other hand, it’s an unfortunately expensive rifle that represents about 4.5% of the median gross income in this country. For that kind of money, you could buy a beater AR, a nice optic, a case of ammo, and the attention of a dedicated instructor. And that’s still my recommendation to nearly all new gun owners who ask, “What AR should I buy first?”
This is a niche rifle that plays to the crowd with enough money to spend, and neither the tools to build their own, or the experience to know what they want. And yes, War Sport has counted Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, and Chris Costa as customers. My statement on experience isn’t meant to discount customers like either of those gentlemen. But the way I see it, the GPR-CC exists as a rifle for the person concerned with shooting, not with tinkering or trial and error.
The GPR-CC’s controls, the fancy hand guard, the barrel, and the off-the-shelf accessories combine to create a rifle that’s a joy to shoot and handle. It’s about a half pound too heavy to be called a lightweight carbine, but those eight ounces seem to add to the feeling of quality and finish the GPR-CC brings to the table. It swings fairly easily from target to target, and as you’d expect from a sixteen inch barreled AR, it shoulders easily and comes to the eye quickly and efficiently. It’s like shooting every other AR, just a touch more refined.
Specifications: War Sport GPR-CC
Caliber: .223 Wylde chamber
Barrel Twist:1:8 RH
Barrel length: 16.0″
Gas System: Mid length DI gas system
Weight carbine: 6.5 lbs
Length open: 35.5″
Length closed: 32.75″
Included: War Sport hard shell case, Magpul MBUS Pro front & rear sight, 1 Magazine (Hexmag), Accessory Panels
Available colors: Black, FDE, Foliage, Wolf Grey
Ratings (out of five stars):
Fit, Finish, Build Quality * * * * *
As much as it would delight me to find fault with this rifle, it came out of the box looking very good for a rifle that was also very clearly used. The machining is superb, the lockup between the upper and lower is tight, and the application of the coatings is second to none. For $2400, you expect perfection, and the GPR-CC delivers
Accessorize This * * * * *
While the AR-15 is known for being a Barbie for grown ups, this rifle isn’t meant to be hacked apart and put back together. At most, War Sport expects that you may swap out the muzzle device and add some accessories. Motivated buyers may change out the butt stock. Otherwise, it’s designed to be just right, or damn close, right out of the box. The threaded Key Mod compatible hand guard presents an elegant solution to a major worry — namely that Key Mod accessories could come loose. If you’re worried about that sort of thing, the GPR-CC rail ensures that you can torque down and thread lock to your heart’s desire. The accessories you stick to the rail aren’t going anywhere.
Reliability * * * *
It had one hiccup at the very beginning, and then ran like a well oiled machine for the rest of my testing. I’m chalking it up to a magazine issue because using Magpul magazines for the remainder of my test gave me zero problems. No matter the ammo I ran, with a silencer on the end or not, I couldn’t make it die. I didn’t lube it, I didn’t clean it, and I went out of my way to try to foul it with cheap commie ammo. It just went bang.
Accuracy * * * *
I realize that the results of my testing are skewed a bit by my testing protocol. Namely, I shot a bunch of cheap commie crap through it, and then attempted accuracy testing. This is not how you go about getting bragging rights groups, but anything that will put up 3/4 MOA groups with at least one brand of ammo while hot, dirty, and tired is worth commendation. I was surprised to see that it rejected all the 77 grain ammo I threw at it and that 55 grain ammo was hit or miss (*rimshot). If you’re considering one of these rifles, do yourself a favor, and go buy a pallet of 69 grain FGMM. You can afford it.
Ergonomics * * * * *
With a collapsible stock and a hand guard capable of accepting any number of grips, the GPR-CC can be configured for all shapes and sizes. The controls are very crisp, big when they need to be, and ambidextrous with the exception of the bolt release. Between the trigger, the controls, the hand guard, and the butt stock, it is a damn pleasant rifle to shoot for hours upon hours.
Overall * * * *
Short of War Sport giving me the rifle (they won’t), the GPR-CC doesn’t have a place in my safe because I’ve already invested the time, effort, and money in building an AR based rifle to do what this gun would do for me. That said, people are buying them, and I can see why if I squint my eyes just right. It’s a reliable, accurate rifle that’s well thought out and should last a lifetime without any significant changes required. I’m not the buyer, and a vast number of our readers probably aren’t either, but that’s not stopping War Sport from cranking them out and shipping them to plenty of happy customers.