This is the last of three posts detailing the media event put on by Lancer Systems at the awesome shooting facilities of Virginia International Raceway. The first post covered some interesting facts about Lancer and its other, high-tech business units, and the second post concentrated on the various magazine-related, competition-style challenges and tests we did. While Lancer’s magazines continue to increase in popularity as more and more people realize they’re worth the extra couple bucks, I can’t say I’ve actually seen a Lancer rifle in the wild. Thankfully, the shooting events at VIR gave us a solid amount of hands-on experience with the company’s various AR-pattern offerings. . .
First we loaded up a handful of mags to do a little offhand shooting at steel and paper targets out to 100 yards. The rifle menu included three 5.56s and two .308s.
In 5.56 I shot the L15 Patrol Rifle, a handy little carbine with a 16″ barrel, adjustable stock, and a flash hider, and the L15 Outlaw, a 17″ Bartlein-barreled, Geissele SD3G-triggered AR-15 intended for 3-Gun type shooting. They’re both clean, precise ARs fit and finished very nicely. Hitting steel at 100 yards with the EOTech-equipped Patrol Rifle was easy as pie, and was a given with the Nightforce-equipped Outlaw. The Nitrous muzzle brake, Geissele trigger, and competition magwell make it feel like a bit of a racecar. Which, of course, is no accident, and later in the day we actually got to drag race a pair of them.
In .308 I shot two of Lancer’s L30 Heavy Metals, one with Lancer’s Nitrous compensator and one with their Viper brake. Shooting from inside of the firing line enclosure, the Viper brake was awfully loud and concussive for bystanders. However, it’s certainly effective and the recoil and muzzle movement mitigation was a noticeable step up from the Nitrous, which is itself a very solidly-performing brake as we’ve seen. The 18″ heavy contoured White Oak Armament barrel (.308 Obermeyer chamber) combined with the lightweight, carbon fiber buttstock make the L30 HM a little front-heavy, but it’s also highly controllable and a pussycat on recoil.
Like the L15s, the L30s are precisely fit and finished and the quality is apparent. An extended-length, carbon fiber handguard, flared magwell, and Geissele SD3G trigger make the Heavy Metal version well-suited to competition and other fast shooting types of uses. I’m borrowing one for the forthcoming .308 muzzle brake shootout, and will then do a full review after playing with it for a while.
We also played with a SIG MPX, since Lancer makes the OEM magazines for it. Mostly, I’m bringing this up again so I can share this sweet photo of me shooting it in the rain again.
Next up, Lancer put us behind an L30 LTR (Long-range Tactical Rifle) in .308 — it’s also available in 6.5 Creedmoor — and asked us each to shoot a 10-round group at 100 yards within 30 seconds. The LTR sports a 24″ barrel, Geissele Hi-Speed NM DMR trigger, full-length top rail with a 20 MOA cant, a KFS TacMod stock, and Lancer’s Viper brake.
Visible in the photo above, the top rail is relieved in front of the receiver to provide increased clearance for large objective scopes. This is definitely a feature-rich rifle and a smooth shooter, but it sure ain’t cheap.
The excellent trigger, solid barrel weight, and Viper brake combine to make a soft shooting .308 that stays right on target. Putting 10 shots near a 100-yard bullseye in only 30 seconds was easier than anticipated, even in the pouring rain.
Another nifty item of note is the L30’s ability to swap magwells. In addition to the typical flared options, left- and right-handed magwells are available to allow for magazine insertion and removal within less vertical space. This comes in handy when shooting from a bipod.
Next up was the drag race elimination challenge from VIR’s shooting tower.
On the shot timer’s beep, two prone shooters with matching L15 Outlaws raced to make a hit on a steel target — one for the left-side shooter and one for the right-side shooter — at 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 yards. The shooter to complete the course first moved onto the next round.
The rifles were fast, reliable, butter smooth, and spot-on accurate. I sprinted through the course a few times without a single miss. Although I believe one of my runs set the record for fastest completion time of the event, I got beat out in the finals by less than half a second. Sure, yeah, I’ve got a good excuse, but I’ll keep it to myself because I couldn’t have lost to a nicer guy. Of course, with 5 tours as a Marine designated marksman under his belt, he probably should kick my recreational shooter ass every time anyway.
On the morning of the second day, we walked back to the 1,000 yard line to stretch out a few L30 LTRs. We started out with a similar heads-up race, engaging steel every 100 yards from 400 to 800, dialing in the dope for each range.
It was during this event that I suffered my first stoppage — a feeding jam with a round that didn’t want to chamber. Unfortunately, it didn’t even make it in far enough for the extractor to engage and it took me what felt like forever to drop the mag, clear the jam, and reload. Somehow I still won that heat by hitting the five targets in five shots. Good barrel, good trigger, good optic…good accuracy results.
When it came time to hitting at 1,000, though, my luck had run out and the inconsistent wind was torture. Every time the hold was adjusted the wind did something new, and I managed to singe the steel silhouette’s ears, shoulders, and hips without actually making contact with it in 10 shots. In calm conditions I swear 8 of those shots felt right and would have been hits, but gusty winds sure do a number on .308 at this range.
I think that about covers it. Thanks to Lancer for putting on this event and to BECK AMMUNITION for supplying the gun food. The magazine testing further confirmed my preference for the L5AWMs, and it was great to finally get some trigger time with Lancer’s rifles. My overall impression of the guns is that they’re high-end thoroughbreds. Fast, sleek Ferraris of the rifle world that run well, shoot straight, and look great. With the price tag to match, yes.
full-length top rail with a 20 MOA cant
A what, now?
The rail is actually angled downwards (higher at the charging handle and lower towards the muzzle). Basically, for long range shooting it isn’t uncommon to max out the elevation adjustment range on a scope and find that you can’t adjust “up” enough to compensate for the amount of bullet drop. Adding 20 minutes of angle to the rail means 20 less that has to be dialed into the scope. At 1,000 yards, it’s effectively making your point of impact almost 17 feet higher than if the same scope with the same adjustment were on a rifle with a rail that’s parallel to the bore.
BTW if you actually zeroed at 100 yards for a typical 168 grain match .308 load, you’d hit like 38 feet (~45 MOA) low at 1,000 yards.
They told me there would be no maths.
I like the looks of those grips. Any idea what brand they are?
The original ERGO grip and the fat/target “Tactical Deluxe” ERGO grip: http://ergogrips.net/products/ergo-rifle-grips.html
The standard one has been my #1 choice for a long time now and I have a Deluxe on my target gun. I’ve also used their SWIFT grip a fair bit and the more vertical angle is good for a short length of pull but the hard plastic certainly isn’t as nice as their usual rubber overmold material.
It’s an Ergo Grip. They are my preference for AR’s
This was at the VIR? That’s down the road from me. Damn, if I’d have known. And been invited. And… never mind.
Sure was. They have awesome shooting facilities! Classrooms, shoot house, 360* range, a few 50-yard or 100-yard ranges, the shooting tower that lets you get out to 800 yards, a berm behind the tower for stretching things out to 1,000, etc…