By Austin Knudsen
It isn’t every day that I get the opportunity to shoot a $2,500 rifle. My rifles generally fall more into the gun shop bargain rack category. So when the opportunity to play with one presents itself, I figure I’d better take the time and do it right. The rifle in question is a Robinson Armament XCR-M, chambered in .308 Win/7.62×51. Admittedly, I’m not much of a semi-auto rifleman. I own a couple, but I don’t shoot them all that much. For what I do, a bolt action is usually what the juris doctor ordered. Plus, I’m so careful with my ammo these days that I swear I hear a cash register ringing every time I pull a trigger . . .
I also tend to burn lots more ammo in a semi-auto rifle range session. However, a friend has recently gotten into semi-auto battle rifles in a big way and he asked me to spend a little time with his latest acquisition while he was out of town for a few days. Specifically, he asked me to test his new XCR-M with a handful of different loads, and see what kind of accuracy I could squeeze out of it. How could I say no?
Rather than regurgitate all the history of the rifle’s development here (it’s called Google, folks), I’ll give you my impressions as a certified non-tacticool, non-operator, non-mall ninja shooter. The XCR appears to be an attempt to hybridize the best of the AR, AK, and SCAR platforms. The grip, trigger, safety, magazine system and barrel are AR-based. The operating system uses a gas piston rather than direct gas impingement, a la the AK. The stock, receiver, and forearm are very SCAR-ish, except that on the XCR, these parts are all aluminum as opposed to plastic.
The only new control placement (as least to me) is the magazine release, which is an ambidextrous paddle located on either side of the rear of the magazine well, within reach of the trigger finger. Robinson Armament Frankensteined all of these ‘best-of’ traits together and the result is one very sexy fighting rifle.
Ergonomically, this rifle feels great. It balances well and the two-stage trigger is very good with the initial take-up followed by a fairly crisp 5-6 pound trigger break. It’s no Timney or JP, but it’s a very good factory trigger. I also really like the charging handle. It’s mounted on the left side of the receiver, on a non-reciprocating operating rod. It’s a generous-sized roller-looking affair that allows for an easy grip-it-and-rip-it approach, letting right-handed shooters charge the gun with the non-shooting hand (and without reaching almost as far forward as the muzzle to do it like the CETME/HK 91).
The stock is a well-thought out design that improves on the SCAR, in that it’s made of metal. It’s completely adjustable for length of pull, a feature that I really ended up liking. Whether you want it collapsed completely for close quarters work or fully extended for shooting prone (like me), this is a really cool feature.
My only gripe about the stock is that it’s a side folder. It’s not that I dislike the handy side fold feature, but that when unfolded and locked into place, the stock has just a bit of play to it between the receiver and the stock. This can be felt when shouldering the rifle and then placing a little direct rearward pressure on the grip. The stock will move on its hinge just a bit. Not a big deal, but during shooting the stock did shift in this manner a couple of times just as I was about to shoot, causing me to come off target and have to reset my shot. Again, not a huge deal, but for a $2,500 rifle, I’d expect the folder not to remind me of the $40 plastic side folding stock I put on a surplus SKS when I was in high school.
But my friend didn’t ask me to evaluate the XCR-M’s ergonomics. He wanted me to accuracy test it. I was asked to shoot several different loads through it because frankly, he was unimpressed with its accuracy and he really hoped it was user error.
For my testing, I chose five different loads: two bulk 7.62×51 loads (one American, one Spanish military manufacture), an Ultramax remanufactured 168 grain boattail hollowpoint, an Ultramax remanufactured 168 grain boattail soft point, and a Federal 180 grain soft point .308 hunting load for good measure. All loads were fired at a target 75 yards away, sighted through a mounted Vortex Viper 2.5-10 x 44 mm scope. All shots were fired from the prone position, using a Grip Pod Systems (G.P.S.) forward mounted handle/bipod (side note: I had never used one of these G.P.S. bipods before, but it was really handy and rock solid). Conditions were excellent: 38 degrees, sunny and no wind. A balmy Montana winter day. The beautiful weather and excellent bipod allowed me to get rock steady holds and not worry about the wind blowing me or my shots all over.
So how did this $2,500 rifle shoot?
It pains me to say it, but not worth a damn. I really wanted to like this rifle. I like a lot of things about it. But I have to be honest: after five different loads, I’d describe this rifle’s accuracy as mediocre at best. I can forgive a lot of things about a rifle, if it groups. A poor trigger, uncomfortable stock, shoddy finish: these are things that can be overlooked as long as the rifle produces reliable groups. But I can’t abide inaccuracy. And perhaps “inaccurate” is an unfair word for the XCR-M. “Mediocre” accuracy is probably more, well, accurate. I just kept hoping the XCR-M would pleasantly surprise me It just never did.
The best five-shot group came from the Ultramax 168 grain boattail soft point load. Three shots were great, piling within ¾ of an inch. But two fliers opened up the group dramatically, with the widest spread at 2 ¾ inches, again at only 75 yards. Next best was the Spanish surplus military load, which yielded a 5-shot group size of 2 7/8 inches. As before, three shots were exciting when they fell inside 1 inch, but again two fliers opened up the group.
Coming in third place was the Ultramax 168 grain boattail hollow point, which printed a 3 ½ inch spread. Fourth, the Federal 180 grain hunting load, which put up a 3 ¾ inch group. Bringing up the rear was the American bulk load, which gave a 4 ½ group that looked like I shot the target with OO buck at ten yards. In the final analysis, the best the gun could manage was 2 ¾ inches at 75 yards. Not nearly good enough to get me excited. Extrapolate that out to, say, 250 or 300 yards and what you get is positively awful.
Allow me to respond in advance to the inevitable carping about how “the XCR is a battle rifle — it’s only designed to be accurate enough to shoot man-sized targets inside 100 yards.” Bovine scatology. This is my subjective test and I demand more from a rifle than minute-of-Humvee accuracy. And my guess is that most professionals do too.
I don’t shoot at people, and hope I never have to. I do, however, regularly shoot targets and critters at distances well past 300 yards, and if I’m going to spend two mortgage payments on a rifle, it had damned-well better be accurate. Likewise, it seems to me a professional high-speed low-drag operator would be much more confident in his rifle at 25 yards if he knew it was capable of shooting a decent group at 250 yards.
As far as reliability goes, the XCR-M also suffered three failure to extract malfunctions while shooting my last load, the Spanish surplus ammo. On all three occasions, I had to get up and strike the charging handle against my wood deck to get the case to extract from the chamber. The owner reported that the same thing happened to him while he was shooting it a week earlier. After he was done shooting, he cleaned both the chamber and the bore.
Thus, after putting fewer than 25 rounds through a clean chamber, I suffered repeated FTEs. Yes, it could be the XCR just didn’t like the Spanish ammo. But I shoot that Spanish ammo through a couple of my 7.62 rifles without trouble. And my friend’s FTEs happened while shooting American bulk ammo. The problem would seem to be with this particular rifle’s chamber.
In the final analysis, I wouldn’t purchase a Robinson Armament XCR-M for myself. First, the repeated failure to extract malfunctions from two different shooters using two different types of ammunition with minimal round count should give pause to anyone considering staking their life on the gun. Second — and more important for me — is the mediocre accuracy. This is simply a rifle I have no use for.
Could careful handloading and extensive load development reveal a magic round for this rifle? Maybe. But my guess is that my test was representative of what most shooters out there would do: run several different, readily available factory/military loads through it. So my “mediocre accuracy” label stays.
The XCR may have the CDI factor. As I said, this is a dead-sexy gun that looks badass, especially in olive drab with a nice optic on it. But my days of impressing chicks with my firearms are long gone (if they ever existed). And after a morning of shooting this rifle, I can honestly say I wouldn’t be comfortable shooting a deer at 100 yards with it, let alone a coyote at 400 yards. And if I can’t do either of those things, the XCR-M has no place in my safe.
UPDATE: This rifle has been sent back to Robinson for service. We’ll update this post when it’s returned and tested.
Caliber: .308 Win (also .260 Remington)
Length: 37″ collapsed
Folded length: 30″
Weight: 9.25 lbs. empty
Barrel length: 18.6″ (also 16″ and 20″)
Top Rail Length: 20″
Side and bottom rails: 9.4″
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy * *
Produced 3 – 4+ inch groups at 75 yards. Need I say more? I’ve seen 100 year old iron-sighted rifles do better. For $2,500 (or more), plus high quality optics, I expected this rifle to perform a lot better.
Ergonomics * * * *
An argument could be made that this category deserved five stars. I knocked it down to four because of the loose stock-to-receiver fit. That aside, the ergonomics of this rifle are excellent. It’s well-balanced, the controls are all in the right places and the few controls that are in new places work great. The adjustable length-of-pull stock is a great feature for further shooter comfort. A very good factory trigger rounds out an extremely user-friendly rifle.
After a cleaning, the rifle started experiencing FTEs after only one full magazine of shooting. If it had happened with only one type of ammo, it could be forgiven. But the fact that it happened to two different shooters on different days using different types of ammunition keeps this one at one star. This isn’t a rifle I could trust to take out in the field, let alone stake my life on in a fight.
Customize This * * * * *
A top rail, bottom rail, and rails on each side of the forearm allow you to mount any accessory, optic, or light you can think of. Add to that that you can put any AR pistol grip on it you want, and you have a rifle you can really put your own signature on.
Overall * *
This is a great-looking rifle that has some real potential if the flaws I encountered are addressed. Unfortunately, they’re big flaws. Poor reliability with surplus/bulk ammo used by most shooters, and poor accuracy for such a premium rifle, make for a poor overall rating. Expense did not equal quality in this case.
3-4″ groups at 75 yards? I can better that at 100 yds with my Garand’s iron sights (2″). Save your $2500.
I have a DPMS LR308B (18″ bull barrel) that will do 3/4″ at 100 yards all day. $900 back in 2008 (pre-Obama price, your cost may vary).
While I do not know the true accuracy of this rifle–this might be spot on or might not be– accuracy tests like this are often more a function of the shooter than the rifle. Put the gun in the hands of an expert shot or a machine vice if you want a reliable report.
Or it could be because the reviewer used junk ammo for testing. If you are going to test groups for a 308 rifle use the gold standard…Federal Gold match 168gr. Do not use Ultramax and cheap foreign surplus ammo.
yup, that too. Forgot to add that into my comment
On the other hand, my LR308B does not seem to be overly fussy about the ammo I use. I get 1-2″ groups with cheapo MagTech 150gr ammo (off sandbags). I suspect the short, heavy barrel has a lot to do with the accuracy, but you will have to run that question by a ballistics expert.
He experienced subpar accuracy with this rifle compared to other rifles running the same ammo. I suppose the rifle might really hate the cheap stuff but if a cheap rifle with cheap ammo can shoot better than an expensive rifle with cheap ammo that is a perfectly valid reason to not buy this rifle.
What good does a machine rest or expert do you when it comes to improving your own shooting or determining the PRACTICAL ACCURACY of a rifle. Not to mention that “experts” are EVERYWHERE these days when it comes to guns and going and looking for one is a sure way to end up with some clod who is probably going to talk a good game and then shoot like shit.
16″ on my LR308 Oracle. Similar results to yours. One afternoon in the prairie dog pasture with my buddy playing “spotter” I was throwing long balls at prairie dogs in the 450-yard range (4-12×40 Mark AR Leupold) and raining all over them with plain-jane 150-grain FMJ reloads at 2500 fps muzzle. I never quite hit one despite putting 40-50 yards downrange but if they’d have been zombies instead of squirrel-sized rodents, I’d have gotten a few. Maybe even headshots. Best thing I did to that rifle besides finally send it back to DPMS after endless fiddling when it was short-stroking from the first mag I put through it was drop in a 3-lb. Timney comp trigger. That was the last rifle I put one in after putting them in my 5.56×45 AR “Ranch Rifle” with a 18″ Wilson Combat stainless barrel and my AR “Sout Rifle” in 7.62x40WT with an 18″ Wilson Combat stainless barrel. Both of those home builds will shoot sub-MOA with Hornady V-Max reloads. I’ve never seriously grouped the 40WT but the 5.56 has put 10 rounds in 1″ @ 100 yards on two separate occasions. There is no such thing as a “good” factory AR trigger unless it’s in the parts can with a Timney in the receiver. K&N Precision anti-roll pins on the side.
Alex Robinson, the owner, has a well-derseved reputation for terrible customer service. His last platform–I don’t remember the name–was abandoned by him and he left his customers in the dust for parts and service. His attitude continues today.
Search his history before buying anything from him.
I just wish the man would make an aftermarket SCAR stock with less play and shut up.
That was the Robinson M96 that withered and died on the vine. If one were to call R.A. today and ask for spare parts for one, they’ll (pretty much) tell you “FOAD, that’s a dead platform.”
It’s kind of sad too. Alex Robinson’s shenanigans aside, a modern day Stoner 63 would be sweet and would definitely find a home in my safe.
I have had the old and new XCR-L in 5.56, 6.8 and now 300 blackout. All I can say is that the rifle is awesome. Out of the box I shot 20 rounds, cleaned it, shot another 20 and so on to about 200. No Failure to feeds etc.. Operated perfectly. This rifle performed flawlessly, and looks awesome. Also the caliber conversion kits are great and simple to change. Furthermore, the customer service has been outstanding. I don’t know where everyone gets their info but I would say buy one and then run your mouth.
I’ve got $3500 TOTAL in a 16″ LR308 withTImney 3-lb, comp trigger that’ll shoot sub-MOA all day with cheap 150-grain FMJ reloads I throw together, an AR15 with a Timney 3-lb. comp, Wilson Combat 18″ stainless match barrel and PSA build kits on a Spikes Lower and Umbrella Corp HUUR upper with Magpul STR and pistol grip, and another AR15 in 7.62x40WT (similar to .300 Blackout with 5mm more case length and no bitching Blackout fanboys whining they can’t find ammo) with a Wilson Combat 18″ match barrel, PSA upper and lower and build kits, TImney 3-lb comp and Magpul STR and pistol grip.
Leupold Vari-X III 4.5-14×50 on the LR308, Leupold Mark AR 4-12×40 on the 5.56 and a Leupold HOG 1-4×20 on the WT. I can spray gravel on prairie dogs at 450 yards with the LR, put 10 rounds in 1″ at 100 yards with the 5.56 and center-punch prairie dogs at 150 yards with the WT. I haven’t benched it or pickup-hooded it but I’m confident it’s a 1 MOA rifle, give or take. Not too bad with .308s. Zero load development on the AR15s. Otherwise I’d expect more like 1/2 MOA from the 5.56 and
Counting the scopes and mounts I’m still under $5000 into the three rifles. How about you? I bought the LR308. My first AR. It’s been an awesome rifle but I shoot light loads and it was undergassed and I finally returned it and I think they drilled the barrel port. The 5.56 was my first build and it has 4000+ rounds of fairly warm V-Max reloads through it. 40-grains at 3300 fps and 55-grains at 3100 fps – I have a chrono so I know. Never a malfunction or failure that wasn’t my fault in the reloading room. I ended up with a few rounds with the wrong powder that were so hot they literally blew the primers out of the cases. The rifle just runs and doesn’t stop. Ever. The WT is way newer with way fewer rounds but it runs like a sewing machine too. 150-grain FMJs at about 2100-2150 and 110 V-Maxes at 2450-2500.
I’ll take on any factory rifle out there any day of the week from the bench, shoulder or prairie dog mound blasting varmints. On a good day without a ton of wind and mirage I’m pretty deadly at 200 yards with the 5.56 and at 250 they should still be wary. On occasion I might get one at 275. Longest shot ever was with my .30-06 Stainless Stalker shooting 110 V-Maxes. 15 mph crosswind and a serious downhill drop I popped one at 350+. Lucky as hell but I didn’t turn it down.
Building my AR15s I ended up with $1200 in the 5.56 but that was only because I decided to be stupid and put a Lantac Dragon on it. Otherwise it’s a $1000 rifle. Same goes for the WT. And Timney 3-lb. comp triggers and KNS anti-rotation pins run $225-$250 per rifle. Every time I see someone brag about a “good” standard AR triggger I laugh. Clearly some people have never shot a rifle with a good one if they believe a stock AR trigger can ever be better than “less bad”.
As for the rest of the guns, all I can figure is that some people are just way too impressed by fancy websites, YouTube videos, Dura-Coat or Cera-Kote and fancy logos engraved in lower receivers. Because honestly, unless it’s an aftermarket part from a company known for specializing it good parts for lots of different guns, like Wilson Combat or Timney, it’s overpriced if you can buy the same part from PSA for half price. Why people spend 2-3 times what they could build an AR for buying them and then brag about how good they are is beyond me.
Really? It works good? Wow. Isn’t that what you expected for that kind of money? That’s what I would ask them if I knew any people who would rather buy than build. I’ll build the guns I can to spend the money on the ones I can’t. There are guys that brag about $3000+ ARs while I’ve got an Armalite AR-50A1 .50 BMG with a Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50 FFP and a Les Baer Premier II Tactical 1911 with the optional 1.5″ @ 50 yards guarantee I probably wouldn’t have let myself buy if I’d dropped at least another grand each on those ARs and $1500 on the LR308. But to be honest, I might have bought them anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with spending money to get high-quality products AND get a good deal at the same time. I’m about $3500 into the .50 not counting all the reloading stuff I bought making it affordable to shoot at $1.50 a round for my “plinking” loads with surplus bullets, brass and powder. All in with everything to keep me in .50 for the next 10 years and full-length and neck sizing dies, Little Crow WFT Big Boy trimmer etc I’m maybe geting close to $5000 in .50. Some guys spend that and don’t even have a rifle. On the Les Baer I paid plenty for it “used” but it was available, like new, had the optional accuracy guarantee that’s $300 and I’m into it for less than $2000.
But I’m glad you’re happy with your 3 ARs. Or is it 1 AR with 3 uppers?
XCR also has some reputation. Not all of it is good.
I have owned a 5.56 XCR since 2008. I have dealt with customer service and repair twice since I owned it and have yet to have a bad experience. I do live in Salt Lake City where they are manufactured so I was able to go down to their shop so I can’t vouch for what it’s like with service out of state. Just this week I broke a small part in the lower receiver three days before flying out for a shooting course! I sent an email asking for immediate help and instantly was given a response from Holly stating: “Erick said you can come down here today, he said to bring in the rifle to make sure he is getting you the correct part.”
I went down there and in five minutes, they had my rifle parts replaced and up and running with zero cost! I can assure you I am NOT an employee and am sending this review completely on my own. MY experiences (again maybe easiest because I live locally) have been nothing but supportive and professional. I would definitely do your homework for both good and bad reviews but I can assure you their current customer service is top notch.
There is a reason why they did not get the contract to do the SCAR. The reasons shows on their SCAR copy.
Do your homework. XCR came before the SCAR dude.
XCR was part of the SCAR program, they got the boot because get this… they weren’t told they needed a BFA in a early test and got Bushwacked by it when they showed up on a test day (they were doing very well in the program up to this point). The Old boys club found a way to oust the new upstart.
I have an M96/stoner clone, I had he bolt break on me. I emailed and called to try to buy beg or steal another bolt. Not one single response. I was talking to my local gun dealer about my problem as he was trying to sell me an XCR, He made one call and got another bolt in a couple of days. Prior to that the broken gun or paperweight just sat in the safe. Robinson does not do anything for their customers.
Negative reviews are the reason people trust TTAG for unbiased information.
Wow, that is really horrible accuracy, given the price of the gun. I would send it back to Robinson to get it looked at, maybe they forgot to tighten down some screws during assembly. I can’t imagine that they make this rifle to such low accuracy standards.
See update at the bottom of the review. The gun has been sent back to Robinson and we’ll update the review once the rifle is returned.
I’m not defending the rifle but when a semi has such problems most reviewers will have the integrity to explore the mechanical components to determine the source of FTE&E, as 90% of all semi-auto failures are caused by user error the 1st remedial action should be a thorough cleaning .
Also the poor accuracy could be caused by a variety of factors including miss-assembly of components, a loose FH/MB or a defect on the muzzle crown. Too many factors were not addressed in the review for me to draw any conclusions on this firearm
I have fired AR-10s, AR-15s, M1Aa, Mini-14a, and a variety of AKs. The only ones that ever had any trouble were the AR 15 and Mini-14, all due to mags.
Hmmm…. I remember those guys. I didn’t know they were still in business.
A pity to hear that they they’re not great. I did kind of want one of those Bren gun style rifles from them. But really, it was just a passing fancy with the design.
Damn, I get better groups out of my Marlin 30-30. Sure didnt cost me 2500 bucks either.
Robinson Armament is a company that I REALLY want to see succeed, I love the XCR rifle design but a consistent lack of QC has left me very reluctant and this review further illustrates that. Even with the mandatory “grain of salt” we must take on everything internet posted, there is a great deal of evidence against the XCR being the rifle it should be and is advertised as. This review further’s that QC issue.
Plain and simple there are too many shooters asking RA why their rifles don’t work.
Terrible. For that price I would want it to have sub MOA accuracy at 100 yards and eat anything I want to run through it.
When you use junk ammo to test groups you get bad groupings. This review is terrible. Use quality ammo to test a gun not Ultramax and foreign surplus.
But if other rifles get significantly better groups with the same ammo is it not a sign of issues in the gun?
This exactly. Back when the AR-10 was being produced in Holland, they produced a batch for Portugal in 1960 that was getting about 1 inch groupings at 100 meters off of standard issue 7.62 ammo. For all the flack the AR-10 and AR-15 catch, you’d expect someone to be able to easily fix the issues and produce a product that at least matches the gun it was meant to replace.
I mean, the XCR got disqualified early in the SCAR competition because they didn’t send in the blank fire adapters, but it doesn’t seem like it would have fared that well, anyway. I mean, the SCAR won and it’s pretty much been relegated to DMR status.
No, it’s not. Especially when he shot three different kinds of cheap remanufactured “military” FMJ ammo most likely loaded with cheap crappy FMJ bullets and one heavy-bullet .308 hunting load that’s probably overgassing the hell out of the rifle. Why he didn’t decide to shoot say 2 quality 150-grain FMJ service rifle loads like say..Winchester white box and something else name-brand with good FMJ bullets loaded to a similar or identical velocity and then two mid-range 150-grain light hunting loads from good American companies with mild velocities from BTHPs or ballistic tips? Or one of each? The 180-grain loads are way heavier than I’d ever think about shooting through my LR308 or M1A.
150-grain bullets at 2500 fps muzzle is a good rule of thumb for gas-operated .30-caliber “service rifles” – AR10/LR308/M1A/M1 Garand. If the rifle functions well it should shoot them well. And if it shoots 150-grain FMJs well it should shoot jacketed HPs or BTs well. Those were basically elk loads he was shooting if they were 180-grain bullets. And despite all “expert” claims to the contrary, .308 isn’t “equal to” .30-06 and in the heavy bullets the differences show up.
All that said, his groups may not have been that bad. I know nothing about this particular rifle but cost alone doesn’t make it a high-end sniper rifle. A good M4-style carbine with chrome-lined chamber and barrel will shoot good 5.56 FMJs into 3-4 MOA and that’s pretty standard. He’s shooting similar groups with a larger bullet at 3/4 the range and we don’t know his skill level so I’m not going to say the rifle is a piece of shit without knowing it is.
I have an AR15 I built with a Wilson Combat 18″ stainless match barrel and Timney 3-lb. competition trigger and all good, but not stupid expensive parts. I have $1200 in the rifle. With basic Hornady V-Max reloads I don’t put a lot of time into it’ll put 10 rounds in 1″ at 100 yards. I’ve done it twice, and I”m NOT a superstart sharpshooter. I had some 5.56 FMJ reloads I threw together with cheap bullets I got from Everglades ammo and those things shoot 6-8″ 5-round groups at 100. So I think its obvious why I don’t put much faith into cheap FMJs. Even quality FMJs are never going to shoot as well as quality hunting or varmint bullets of the same weight because of how the bullet is constructed. FMJs tend to be ass-heavy and nose-light. If they’re not good bullets moving at a good clip through a barrel with a fast enough twist to stabilize them, they can be a little shaky.
Remanufactured usually means “mixed head stamp range brass volume processed and reloaded”, or at least that’s what I found the day I hit the range to scrounge brass and somebody had shot up a box of 5.56/.223 remanufactured ammo. And they may even use “pull down” bulk powder from another source and probably the least expensive bullets and primers they can get. .223 and 5.56 are one thing. They’re small cases and most of what you find on the range is going to be 5.56 NATO of good quality. Lake City, FC, PMC and a mix and match assortment of commercial .223 cases. Still pretty good, consistent stuff. They use 7.62×51 all over the world and make it all over the world and each NATO country has a pile of different 7.62×51 military rounds they use and the stuff can range from near-new to Vietnam-era.
I don’t know that’s the case here, but generally speaking, if you’re shooting for groups, either use good quality factory ammo or good quality reloads with a little time put into making them “even”. That doesn’t mean you have to match the cases, etc. But if you have mixed brass its a good idea to FL size it all, clean the primer pocket and trim it to the length of the shortest case if it’s shorter than the max allowable. If it’s a litte long, trim it back to trim length and trim them all back. Beyond that, a lot of jacking a round matching cases isn’t worth the time with loads you’re not developing and tuning and hand-trickling.
Regardless, I think anybody who says “its junk” or “its you” or whatever without having hands on and eyes on the rifle and targets and ammo is jumping the gun. Not to mention he said “about 3-4′” or something along that line. Is it 3″ or 4″? 4″ is 33% larger than 3″ and 3″ is 25% smaller than 4″. And since he’s at 75 yards, that’s what, a 1.25 MOA spread or so?
If somebody asks you to see how much accuracy you can wring out of a rifle and you throw three boxes of cheap reman FMJ and a box of overpowered hunting ammo at it and report “about” results, you didn’t do much wringing.
I’ll stick with my M1A.
Sending the rifle back after bitching about it on the internet? Don’t expect to get it back fixed, Alex Robinson has said himself he won’t fix one of his shitty rifles if he finds out the owner complained about it on the internet.
Just another reason never to buy anything from them.
A few thoughts:
– when testing a .308/7.62 rifle, I like to use Federal Gold Medal ammo, in either the 168gr or 175gr loadings. I’m not shilling for Federal here, it is just that these factory loads have such a good track record in so many different rifles that if a rifle doesn’t group reasonably well when shooting the Federal Gold Medal product, I don’t jump on the ammo issue immediately. Instead, I start looking at the rifle. The only “military” ammo that I’d use as a benchmark would be Lake City Match XM118.
There are other very good sources of match .308/7.62 ammo (eg, Black Hills), but in a .308/7.62×51 rifle, if you use one of those two ammos and it won’t group, I find the rifle builder ceases arguing with you about your ammo immediately.
– As others have stated, an adjustable front rest and a sandbag under the buttstock on a bench helps remove the human factor.
– testing at 100 yards is a better way to go, because that’s where most rifles are test-grouped. To attempt to estimate what your groups would be at 100, I’m multiplying your 75 yard group sizes by 1.25… and coming up with numbers that are, as you say, really poor. Still, it is better to have organic 100 yard numbers.
– I like to look for the simple, low-tech, easy explanations for poor groups first: Is the scope tight in its mounts? Are the mounts tight on the receiver/barrel? In this type of rifle design, I’d be making sure the gas block is tight, the barrel is tight into the receiver, etc.
– in AR-type barrel systems where the front tube is supposed to not make contact with the barrel, I’d verify that it doesn’t.
– If all of that checks out, then I’d try putting a different scope on it, just to eliminate the possibility of the scope being damaged.
– The FTE issue can sometimes be diagnosed with careful examination of the brass. If people took good photos of FTE brass (you’d need a shot of the case head, and two sides of the case), maybe some informed speculation could happen.
I’ve got to agree with DG. Accuracy testing needs to be done with a rock solid scope and mounts, a good rest, and premium ammunition. I’ve also had consistent results with Federal Gold Metal Match in a variety of platforms. It was the load of choice in a SWAT / Sniper course I took several years ago with 5-shot groups averaging 1/2″ to just over 1″ for the whole class of shooters. The Black Hills .308 is also very good.
The stock movement may be another issue.
Wholeheartedly agree with both of you. While I wouldn’t call the ammo used for the testing “crap”, I would try and stick to the standard. Federal gold medal match in 168 gr BTHP. I used it in sniper school as well. Great stuff. I have taken apart several so I can model my reloads after them.
I am curious what the twist rate is in the barrel. This may effect groups based on bullet type and weight.
I should amplify your point. I wasn’t making any judgement as to the quality of the ammo used in this test, I’m just saying that the Federal stuff is the “standard” for testing .308 rifle accuracy.
Can someone make better, more accurate handloads for a particular rifle? Absolutely. The FGM stuff is just of such uniform quality that it has achieved the “standard match ammo” crown through lots of use in lots of different rifles over years and years of use. The Sierra 168gr Matchking bullet it uses has been used by competitors for many years. It’s still the bullet I use when loading 7.62 brass for my M1A, altho recent all-copper bullets might cause me to switch in the next couple of years. I use the same bullets for .30-06 loads as well, and they help a Springfield 1903A3 perform better than it can with Lake City ball ammo.
I still have boxes of the Federal Gold Medal I bought at $9/box in the mid-90’s. A gun shop was going out of business and selling their inventory rapidly. Store was packed with people oogling at guns.
Buddy calls me and says “Know that fancy Federal ammo you like? They have it here – $9/box.”
Got in my truck, drove down there and bought every box they had at that price, ignoring the guns. In hindsight, it was one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever made in gun stuff.
I know nothing of the XCR, but I own two R96s that I purchased new directly from Robinson in 2000. I can confirm from repeated personal experience what Rab, RD, KeithF and Murdoc refer to above. After I had purchased the rifles, Alex Robinson refused to take my phone calls, and was mostly unresponsive when I attempted to communicate with him via mail and email about my concerns about the rifles. I will not do business with him again.
Sorry to hear of your problem, but thanks for confirming it first hand.
I wholeheartedly concur with RD:
“a modern day Stoner 63 would be sweet”.
My experience with Robinson was a big disappointment.
Expecting good shooting performance from a $2500 308 “battle rifle” is not out of line. That thing must be broken somehow. My lowly M&P 10 with medium priced ring/optics shoots MOA with 168g SMK. It cost less than half what the XCR-M cost at a significantly lower weight (about 8 lbs with MBUIS and a M/I float fore end).
The best part is that it will run cheap steel and hunting ammo no problem while shooting decent groups.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to how well a firearm hits its target.
I owned an XCR in 5.56. It was my first “AR” and I expected perfection for the price tag. I experienced similar issues (FTE, mediocre accuracy) and sold it. I went with the ACR and have been happy as hell. Most troubling was having the hammer shatter when it was cold. It was free to replace. Further, the buffer pad disintegrated after shooting. For me to own a rifle, I expect it to be decently accurate and utterly reliable. I might have to depend my life on this.
Lastly, the 5 or 6 position adjustable gas setting seemed ill-suited for military use. Simply, it isn’t “Joe proof.” I can figure it out in the comfort of CONUS indoor/outdoor ranges but with the two way ranges of Afghanistan, absolutely not.
I know this is remotely anecdotal, but friends of mine who are also instructors have had several students come through their carbine classes with XCRs. None of them performed worth a crap – the guns didn’t run, and when they did the accuracy was atrocious.
Plus – aluminum, while strong, is a lot heavier than the industrial-grade resins used in the SCAR. So no real advantage there, either.
Nice looking rifle – not a good one to own, apparently.
Thanks for all the comments on my article. Some very good points. I didn’t undertake this rifle test with the goal of writing a review. The owner asked me to shoot his rifle for him with the ammo he and I had on hand. It wasn’t until I was done with my testing that I thought it might make an interesting article.
The rifle has been returned to Robinson Armament, and according to the owner, there was an issue found. I don’t know what that is yet, but he has agreed to let me retest it when it gets back and I will update on what was found. When I do, I will try to get my hands on some match ammunition.
Assumption: All data below pertains to 100 yards.
Federal Premium GMM comes in three flavors, 168 gr. GM308M, 175 gr. GM308M2, 168 gr. GM762M, and 175 gr. GM762M2… and both GM762’s are usually very difficult to find and expensive… then, there’s American Eagle AE762M1A, 168 gr. loaded for the M1A… you will get distinctly different performance from each.
My M1A shoots 3/4 MOA with the American Eagle, and about 1-1/4 MOA with the GMM, whereas my Springfield SAR4800 (FAL) keeps GM308M inside 3/4 MOA for the first 5, and 2 MOA all day long.
I can put four brands of ammo through one of my AR’s, and it will hold four distinct 1-1/4 MOA groups…but spaced 2 – 3 MOA between groups… with variation in both drop and drift. Wolf, on the other hand spreads the first three at 5 MOA, and the next 17 at 5 MOA.
Will never buy Robinson Arms firearms based upon words that have come straight from the owner’s mouth. A quick google search for “Changes at Robinson Armament” or even just a quick google search for Alex Robinson (owner)let me know everything I need to know. In short: a potentially great weapon hobbled by their seemingly proud-to-provide sub-standard customer service. I’ve now avoided sending nearly 5k their way and counting….
I have several XCR’s and have a great deal of experience with them. I have run an XCR at Thunder Ranch twice and they kicked the crap out of most of what was there. I understand Robinson’s problems with Customer Service, and I would like to think it is quite a bit better, at least that is what other owners have told me.
Failure to extract could have been a chamber issue, but I would be curious o see what gas setting it was on–or did the tester even know there were different settings? The stock is adjustable for tightness, so as it wears, you can tighten it up. To say he borrowed from the scar is a slap in the face, maybe the other way around. there was a lawsuit–the bolt release on the ACR is a direct copy of an XCR. If aluminum is strong but so much heavier, then why isn’t the SCAR lighter? The Scar is made from plastic because it is cheaper–what a revelation!
I really like these rifles. They have three huge lugs, are long stroke piston driven, superb ergos, a massive extractor and disassemble super easy. Barrel changes take about 60 seconds and the barrel gas assembly is about $500 vs $1200 for a SCAR. I have a 7.62X39 that shoots sub inch groups with 25 year old steel cased Norinco–the smallest group I have shot was 5/8 of an inch at 100 yards with a 4x scope in front of witnesses. I have not shot the XCR-M yet for accuracy, but several people on the XCR forum are reporting MOA or less. These rifles gobble up steel cased ammo, too. This rifle was designed around this piston system and is not an after thought or refit. It runs and runs well.
I really thought this review was kind of crappy–was it the scope, the rings or the rifle. Maybe that high quality ammo ( how dd=id the ammo shoot in another rifle?), maybe even the shooter.
To be clear Robinson had some QC problems at first and from the feedback I get–most of that has disappeared. Customer Service has been less than stellar, but seems to be quite a bit better. I’ve shot these rifles from the beginning and when I go out to shoot, I shoot my XCR. I’ve tried to find something I like better and I cannot. Robinson is a small company, they do not have the resources of FN, but they’re still smart enough to put a non-reciprocating charging handle on their rifle unlike the SCAR. So I had a new ruger .22 MKIII pistol that the mag wouldn’t stay in–so that must mean all of the MK pistols are crap? No that just means I got a bad one and they made it right. I think Robinson is at least due the opportunity or at least eliminate the other possibilities. Take 5 minutes and mount up that quick release scope/mount on a known rifle that shoots and compare groups. That would be a little better than–Unga Bunga, it no shoot good.
For some further perspective, here is a statement apparently penned by Alex Robinson, which is also available here:
It’s content provides an interesting glimpse into Mr. Robinson views himself and his relationship with his customers.
“Dear XCR Fans:
As usual I don’t have much time to bother with these sites. We’ve made a lot of much need changes at Robinson Armament Co. Before I address the changes, let me put things in perspective.
Robinson Armament could have made lots of money making AR-15 knockoffs. It would have been infinitely easier for us to have just made an upper receiver which would have fixed some but not all of the shortcomings of the AR-15. Instead, we ventured to make a better battle rifle. We began with the M96. The M96 was a tough project. It had a piston drive and a better bolt and ejector. However, it still retained many flaws that were inherent in Stoner’s design. Many didn’t buy the M96s because they were “too expensive” or “had ugly welds”. Nevertheless, the M96 was a step in the right direction.
The XCR was designed almost totally from scratch. We make or have made almost every part, pin, and spring. The goals of the XCR were very ambitious. Especially, the modularity and multi-caliber aspects. I pose this question: How many other firms have really designed anything really new from scratch? FN, Remington, Bushmaster, Colt? The answer is none of them. (I must admit that at least FN has made the P90 and that 2000 Bullpup).
The fact is that almost every “new” rifle out there is based on someone else’s work. The XCR is not. It is truly unique. Yes, it borrows some concepts from other rifles, but each part had to be designed without copying anything else to get the result we wanted. In short, Robinson Armament dared to challenge the establishment with a very different rifle.
Robinson Armament’s efforts should have been embraced. However, from the beginning, we have nothing but crap on the internet. I distinctly remember posts on AR-15.com shortly after I announced the XCR. The post were that it was “Vaporware”. Other posts exclaimed that it would never be built or never work as promised. Such posts made it very difficult to get the XCR off the ground and made people very skeptical of the new XCR.
Other posts exclaimed that we were going out of business. It seem that the whole rifle world was against us. I have often wondered why so much negativity for a new weapon platforms? It is as though people really don’t want any new platforms. Thee people claim to want the best but all they do is whine. It is no wonder to me that others don’t venture out with new designs – they are shot down before they begin.
It has been just over 5 years since the first XCR shipped. The XCR was not perfect and our processes and procedures for making it have not been perfect either. When we began the XCR, we had no manufacturing experience. Not only did we come up with a new and different rifle design, we had to learn to manufacture it.
I will say that learning to make the XCR has been equally or more demanding that designing it in the first place. It has taken over 5 years to get the XCR where it is. The XCR now shoots 4 calibers (we are just finishing testing 5.45x39mm). I shoots them all well. It has the best ergonomics on the planet, and the most modularity. It is also super reliable and durable.
With this background let me explain the much needed changes.
We spent much of this year retooling our shop to make XCR parts better and faster. Concurrently, we completely revamped our quality control, not only during making parts but during assembly and final testing. Every rifle that leaves our facility now is much more thoroughly tested. There should be few if any returns needed from this point forward.
In addition to making the rifle better, we have also gone through our complete staff and made the changes necessary to improve customer service which was sorely lacking. We have a completely new staff for sales and service who are eager to help. Turn around on any service problem will be very fast. To get fast service, read on.
I’d like to post just a few more comments regarding service. Some of you will not like these comments:
First, when you call for service, be polite. If you are not polite to my staff, I guaranty you will have a pleasant experience. Remember the old saying, “You can attract more files with honey that with vinegar.” If you call with an attitude, my staff has been instructed to put you on the back burner. If you are nice and polite, you will get quicker service.
Second, please read the manual carefully. I know it’s boring but there’s important information there. Many people do not understand that you need to set the gas correctly for function and durability. It’s really quite simple – put it on the setting that throws the brass 8 to 15 feet from the rifle for any given ammo. Do not just leave the gas system on the highest setting, If you do, for some ammo it will kick like hell, throw your brass 40 feet, give you trigger slap, and damage your recoil buffer (a cheap part).
Third, please send us the following information:
Name, Address, Email and Cell number;
Signed Copy of your warranty Registration found in the last pages of the Operator’s Manual; and
A complete description of the problem, BE BRIEF. If you write and essay about your vast knowledge of firearms base on your long time relationship with your AR-15, we won’t read it.
We will authorize the return to us of part or all of your firearm. WE DO NOT PAY FOR SHIPPING TO US.
Fourth, if you post a bunch of whiny petty negative stuff here or anywhere, I guaranty very slow service. I have made that a policy. Yes, we’ve made lots of mistakes with service but that is behind us.
Now for some parting comments. I am very happy with the current state of the XCR. It continues to gain in popularity. A great part of our sales are to Military and Law Enforcement professionals. Though we’ve got the XCR to the point where is nearly perfect, we are not stopping. We will continue to perfect the platform and add accessories. Work continues on the XCR .308. It will be finished when it is perfect and we hope that will be soon.
We appreciate those who stand by and support us. They are true patriots. We have to question the motives of those who continue to tear us down on this forum. They cannot stop us. Their petty feeble minds are easily exposed. The XCR will gain momentum until it covers the whole earth. There is no other platform like it and it is the best.
Alex J. Robinson
Robinson Armament Co.
P.S. Don’t expect me to read and respond to this post. It is for your information only.”
I have recently purchased a RA XCR in .223 and have yet to fire it and I am confident it will work fine. I am thinking getting another one in 308 and I was wondering what scope would you recommend for the XCR-M so that I can get the whole package the one time?(the shop will give me a slight discount if I do)
Thanks in advance.
Love my xcrm and xcrl. I started with the M and a 3.5 acog. It shot 2″ with different ammo at 100 yards. Next came the L. I put the acog on it and it shot 2″ with different ammo at 100 yards. Now being a machinist for 41 years, a journeyman for 37; maybe once out of a thousand you can place a vice on the mill table, indicate it and think the indicator broke when it’s dead nuts. Thats what happened when I put the acog off the m on to the L. It’s dead on. I didn’t have to adjust it one bit. I still haven’t had to adjust it.
I put an accupoint trijicon on the M . After adjusting it shoots 1.5″ at 100 yards only after placing a soft foam pad under the harrison bipod feet. Setting them on a hard surface opens up the group.
I think one major point was missed here (I read it fairly quick so I could have missed it). I have an xcr-m. 308 which had issues on accuracy after I cleaned it. This was because I didn’t torque the bolt that holds the barrel on (only bolt located on the bottom). Through much frustration on testing different load outs, I finally contacted my dealer and he stressed the point of making damn sure you torque that bolt to 200 in lbs. Bam… with 168gr Hornady sst bullets she’s a laser beam. honestly I can get 1moa at 100 yds on the factory field sights. As for the jams, I turfed the factory mag and got the sr25 magpul’s. Shoots norinco junk ammo without a fuss. Also talked to rob arms and had no issues with customer service. Give em a break guys. As for the reviewer, I’d check your barrel and Retry your accuracy tests! I think you’ll find it a lot better.
I own a XCR-L and have had zero issues with anything. I ordered another barrel from them chambered in 7.62 with no complaints. Most complaints I see on here is personal opinion which is fine and dandy but we do not know the variables to all the negative interactions with Robinson Armament. Most of the negative reviews I have read are dated 2009 or earlier. I believe when a innovative product does hit the market there is a period that the bugs need to be ironed out. The owner of the company has evolved over the years because he had to in order to survive. Bottom line is that if your looking for a great looking rifle that is truly modular this is the rifle you have been looking for.
Once a Marine, Alway a Marine!
All- the rifle reviewed in this article has come back from Robinson Armament after a trip for service following the review. According to the owner, 2 major issues were found with the rifle; major enough that RA replaced the entire upper. Sounds like the customer service experience was positive. Keep watching TTAG for an updated review.
Enjoyed the review; it read well. However, in your next review of the XCR-M, please consider addressing the following variables which were left ambiguous in this piece:
1) If possible, run a TRADITIONAL accuracy test at 100 yards with bench/table, mount, etc
2) Specify type of optic mount used, or use optic setup that has given good results in other tests
3) Troubleshoot adjustment screws in folding stock to remove play
– In discussions of rifle function
4) Indicate whether rifle has gone through 200 rd break-in period.
5) Specify brand of mags used and consider testing with other brands
6) Properly adjust gas setting and trying other settings if you’re getting failures
Great reviews and opinions!
I have been researching purchasing a XCR L, heavy barrel .223.
Unfortunately my experience has been if you mount garbage low cost accessories you get crap results.
If you don’t maintain your rifles (just like a car) again you get crap results.
It sounds to me like if you shoot and clean and service your XCR they work fine?
If you by good grade optics and high grade mounts specifically designed for AR style rifles the XCR works fine.
I really like the fact that the weapon comes out of the box with a folding adjustable stock so I can hand it to my daughters to shoot with minimal hassle!
Even a ruger 10-22 jams with old or crappy ammunition and I taught both my girls to shoot with them, again they work best if they are clean and screws tight!
Are there any updates as of yet? Sounds like they identified the issue at R.A. Anyway, I had an XCR-L some time ago and really liked the rifle! I ended up selling it to an LEO IIRC…I know he was as happy as I was. I’m looking into the XCR-M to replace my M1A Scout-Squad. I’m looking at the XCR-M 16″ Mini to carry around here on the farm, so I’d be glad to see what transpired!
The Robinson XCR is a really great concept that I bought into and really hoped would be awesome in practice. My XCR-L was a MOA shooter. Ergonomics were great, although it’s heavy. What wasn’t great was the out of battery detonation that occured at range. Robinson claimed it was a product of my reloads, that I was using ‘soft’ primers. There’s something wrong with the bolts on these guns. Every round I fired, factory or reload, created an inverse primer pocket (portruded out, not in), even went real light on a batch using less than minimum powder charge and the primer looked the same. Ultimately the gun suffered an out of battery detonation. The round exited the right side of the receiver with the bolt 2/3rds of its travel forward. After multiple phone calls and emails, Robinson fixed the rifle, but I found that shooting it still resulted in the same odd primer divet. If you’ve got an XCR and your primers don’t look right, stop shooting it NOW.
What primers were/are you using? You SHOULD USE CCI #41’s to see if the same thing happens.
I saw nothing in his review regarding gas pressure settings for his loads. My understanding about the XCR gas piston (AK) has 5 settings to handle hp loads down to a null setting for use with subsonic / suppressor. What was the settings on the gun?
THIS IS NOT AN AR-15 NOR IS IT BUSHMASTER, SAVAGE, DANIEL DEFENSE ETC…
I have owned an older XCR-L and now I own a newer model XCR-L with the key-mod rail in FDE. I agree the company has had their ups and downs but all companies do when they are in a business that is always evolving and products continue to get more complex.
I can say that I have never had one issue with my XCR-L’s that Robinson Arms did not address immediately and timely. Not only were my issues addressed, but it was done with quality customer service.
I own several firearms that are AR-15 platforms and several that are bolt action platforms including the very pricey Desert Tactical Rifle.
Firearms are like vehicles, you get what you pay for in most cases and you cannot properly critique one unless you own it and put it through your own personal paces and situations. What may be important to you, may not matter to the next guy or girl but there is one thing that will always stand true: until you play with it, work on it, experiment with it and spend quality time with it, your opinion is only an opinion and we all are welcome to have one. I understand that as consumers, we have to rely to a certain degree on what these reviews provide but when you step over the line by bad mouthing a company or its owner without having personal experience you are simply just ignorant or have nothing better to do with your time. I am not a psychologist, but I would guess that overall you are just one unhappy person and have really nothing good to say about anyone or anything, especially something that you can’t have or are too afraid to take a risk and try something different. I bet you are the type of person that relies on others to do that work and then you just jump on the wagon and usually it is the wagon that is negative because you are simply an unhappy, negative person overall. I would even bet that you have never really taken any risk financially to go out and run your own business or pursue any dream or project that you have thought about.
I would say the firearms industry needs more people like Alex, people who are willing to step outside the box and produce something a little different, even if it does adopt some of the concepts of others, but then adds to that. Unfortunately, it is more difficult than one thinks because there are more “haters” out there with no experience that review products as just a job, than people that say “hell yea something different, go for it”. And no, I don’t know Alex or anyone who works there, except, Holly in customer service. That is because she is awesome just like their customer service.
RA has handled every issue I have had or even thought about and did it with excellent customer service and has always fixed the issue or taken action to address the reason for my call. Call Bushmaster, Remington or Mossberg and see if you can remember who you spoke with.
Go buy the everyday AR-15 and get all the little accessories you can find for it (millions of different ones) and guess what, no matter what you do to it or no matter how you dress it up, its still a basic AR-15. Pull out your XCR-L at the range and see how many people look at it and talk about it because it is different and if it was just another knock off AR-15, I can assure you that not all of these people would be talking about it. Just like a BMW or other semi exotic car, yes over time you may have more maintenance or some issues that you wouldn’t have with a Honda or a Toyota, but guess what? It is not a honda or a toyota? So some people like myself, like the things in life that are a little different and not just the status quo. Not because it cost more but because we like to try different things or experiment with something new.
So to sum it up and get off my soap box, the XCR-L does cost more money, the parts are not mass produced so they are a little more difficult to get or you have to wait a little longer for them, the company is smaller (which is why everyone knows who Alex Robinson is – tell me who owns the other companies? Very few people even know because very few people care) and produces a different product not an AR-15. Thats why the product is unique and awesome all at the same time. Most of the people that will have or have purchased this product are people that like firearms that are a little different and people that like to try new and different things. Give the new XCR a chance before you just assume things about it.
Anyone reading this knows that if you shoot a rifle for pure accuracy purposes then your setup is of the upmost importance. Thats why you have to take these reviews with a grain of salt. When they write these reviews, the reviewer counts on his readers to have less experience than he or she does. What they offer is just their opinion. I bet the reviewer has never spent more than the one session with that firearm. Have you ever had your most favorite gun just be off one day? I am sure you have, and I bet it wasn’t the firearm.
I can say, that I have owned two and have several caliber conversions and this is my go to rifle. I have only had a few Failure to feeds and I have always been on target with this rifle. Also this rifle has the benefit that everyone loves the way it looks and functions. I would recommend the firearm and the company for quality, reliability and its unique nature.
Product – Five Stars
Customer Service – Five Stars
Not Your Normal AR-15 – Five Stars
Guys Like Alex Robinson (Innovators) – Priceless
You missed a few historic details in the review on its AR-15 roots such as the lower receiver copies the layout of the Vietnam War M16E1 with the horizontal wall above the magazine release button.
Those aren’t “historic details” of the AR15. The “roots” of the AR15 are in the AR10 Stoner submitted and got accepted before that assclown McNamara and his “Whiz Kids” neutered it and sent U.S. troops to war with a .22-caliber rifle.
Failure to eject/ feed is almost always a gas issue on this gun. it has a 200 round break in and I have personally observed that different loads and brands require you to change the gas setting. failure to observe break in and adjust gas will net you a lot of grief.
switching between 150 and 168 always requires a “click” on the gas block.
This gun has a 1/10 twist, throwing cheap 147, 150gr surplus ammo is going to give you bad results. its designed for 168’s and 175’s to test it with less does the rifle a great injustice.
Testing at 75 yards? on a .308? realy? the ballistics are kaput… most premium heavy .308 ammo doesn’t settle down and stop corkscrewing till around 150-200 yards, you will almost never get a good grouping under that range if you are throwing big pills. Often I find that with .308 the 100m grouping ends up being the same size or larger then the 300m group with bullets like berger 168’s and barnes (this is an observable trait, berger even put a video out on it)
I have a gen 1 XCR-m… and following the instruction manual, I have not had any problems the author has.. at 400m I can hit a 2/3 ipcc target with cheap chinese ammo with the majority of the rounds using a low power scope, with good 168gr ammo its a MOA rifle.
I can see the profile of the barrel, it is a light barrel
its only meant to do 3 rounds at most before it opens up… its meant for hunting not target strings.
The only fair way to test its accuracy is to do 3 round groups or shoot 5 round string over 10 minutes to allow the barrel to stay cool. you will find the groups will stay nice and tight. Testing any gun on a hot barrel is going to net poor results.
Of all the semi .308 rifles I have used, this is overall the best one for reliability and grouping size. Ive run M14’s (great accuracy can be achieved but the gun is prone to banging out and requiring gunsmithing to keep it shooting tight) Famea 542 (light, reliable, minute of barn) RFB (shoots ok, can’t ame a range day without having to take it apart and fix something). I would like to say I have used an AR 10… but alas I live in canada and its a restricted rifle and there for a range queen so i have little interest in owning it.
I hope I have a fairly balanced view of RA and Alex (you can’t separate the two)
I owned a mid era XCR-L. It was totally reliable and far more accurate than the highly touted Rock River AR I owned latter (both have been sold)
It truly is an outstanding design. I disagree that its all new, he took the best of AR, AK and addition of very good ergonomics layout (which was original on the mag release) and having shot all 3, the XCR is by leaps and bounds better.
You could take the barrel off and back on with very miner POI change.
I upgraded to the latter trigger and it indeed was a major improvement.
As time went on (1000 rounds or so) it developed an issue with cratered primers, close to pierced. Gun went to RA and back with no change. Then the bolt went to them and it was improved. I know a lot more about cratered primers now and how to correct it (firing pin issues). RA was struggling.
My question to them was why should I send the whole gun back when its just a bolt issue?
I was on the forum and I saw how RA operated.
My conclusion is that while Alex is a design genius of sorts, like many designers and even builders, he has no business sense and his world view is that of a jerk.
He has to have someone with deep pockets behind him, based on his business practices and staff turnover (repeatedly in customer service that I know of) he should have gone under a long time ago.
He jumped from one project to the next and did not clean up the mess behind him (the firing pin issue was a bit one).
I lost all confidence he would continue and sold the gun.
No one twisted his arm to make guns, he then get rabid about critics when he has over promised and under performed. The stuff he promises is always years late.
If he had a good business manager and stuck to design, it would be a great product. Some people are simply incapable of doing both and that not a slam. His arrogance is he does not recognize that he is the problem and figure out what to do about it.
I saw the customer service try, then leave, try again, then leave. At least 3 iterations.
I have had follow up discussions on the forum. The new offering in the XCR-L in its target oriented version is quite good. The original was also good accuracy wise.
To this day I am tempted to buy one of the latest XCR-L in 7.62 x 45.
And there in lies the conundrum. Great idea, very good product when it works, backed up erratic service that never settled down while I was dealing with them.
And the fear that you better get a spare bolt and the parts kits to ensure you did not wind up with an orphaned rifle.
As far as the SCAR comparison, the XCR was there before SCAR.
I would try accurate ammo in it before I dismissed it.
Fail to extract with any ammo is an issue but the gas adjustment should always be checked.
XCR-M 308 is the best semi-auto rifle I have ever tested and shot. Follow the manual, run her really wet lubed or greased and keep your alen key in your pocket to tighten up the barrel lug if it needs to be and it will put a smile on your face permanently, guaranteed.
This company has the attitude of a jackass in its original packaging. They do not answer phone calls or e-mails and will not explain a holdup in shipping. Bad service. I will never again do business with them. The owners letter says it all. I will be selling my XCR-L and purchasing an AR.
My experience with them is total opposite from yours and I can’t even describe how great they were, professional and kind! Who did you deal with and for what reason?
If you expect instant reply it won’t happen, they’re too busy but will reply within a few days.
When I tried to get hold of Alex with some questions I was informed that he was in Europe on a business trip and that he will contact me back once her returned.
And he did! He helped with all questions and was very professional, as soon as he was able to respond. The owner and director of the company himself?! C’mon people, whatever made you say negative bashing comments is nothing but baseless hatred filled attitude, or as Trump simply puts it “Fake News” lol…
Where is the update on this test?
It has been shown in experience now that several Ms have accuracy issues due to the gas block
layout and muzzle device. There is now a standard RA M “accuracy update” package that solves this.
I have had and L since ’09 and have never had any customer service issues. XCRs of all calibers
used to have major break in periods using max gas setting. Newer ones do not. These guns are not for idiots who want to run cheap shit ammo out of the box. You need to figure out the proper gas setting for YOUR ammo at YOUR elevation and YOUR temperature after break in. Yes, you can over gas it to run it reliably in all scenarios if you want to also. Recoil will be stiffer and wear will accelerate though.
I also ran mine in a carbine course and blazed through failure drills with ease. I won the accuracy shoot-off. I also had the fastest el presidente drill time which was the final test of the course. Two ARs went down which required a halt to training to fix. Does that make all ARs junk? Of course not.
They are expensive because they are not mass produced and the design is superb. There is one supplier for everything. Their barrels are outstanding. Parts are actually easy to get now including caliber conversions (which take seconds). Where are the SCAR and ACR caliber conversions? End users can service the entire rifle with wrenches from the local hardware store. The new FAST3 stocks are unmatched anywhere in the black rifle world for strength, simplicity, and user adjustability.
I think RA will eventually resurrect the M96 (Alex told me a year ago he was considering it and making spare parts but cost would be huge due to the welding required) and develop a pistol caliber carbine.
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