SCAR-H Review & Long Range Test

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Since the SCAR-L and SCAR-H came on the scene and touted as the next best thing  I was skeptical to say the least.  Even now after using them both enough to get to know them, I find the 556  SCAR  neato, but  nothing about it justifies the hype that preceded it.  The H on the other hand I think has some real potential.  Recently we finally got around to testing one out in a manner that I felt gave me something  to say about it.

The SCARH has seemingly taken on the role of battle carbine and as a “sniper support “rifle and after a lot of shooting I think this is its most useful role.  We fired it for group and at longer ranges to see how it would do.   And I was well pleased with what it showed me.

Normally I would put my usual 18x leupold target optic on it for long range testing and firing for group but the owner assured me the Elcan 6x optic pictured on the gun would be enough.  For long range shooting on man sized steel gongs it certainly is.  For group shooting it limited me to 100 yards.  I could have shot further but I feel trying to small groups with smaller power can be rough when eyes get tired  and the strings stretch on and on. With that in mind I didn’t feel it fair to the gun to shoot 200-300 yard groups with the 6x.   And I am not going to lie., the thing has a reputation for  narfing up optics. Or so I am told, so it did not take much to convince me to stick to the Elcan.  With all that in mind  lets take a looky-poo at what it did.

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Above is the typical average group for the day.  Fired with 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match ammo which I was told the Elcan was calibrated for .  Group was a 10 round string with the flyer being the first round fired. This is a common flyer for a lot of semi auto guns due to the difference between the bolt closing and locking up under recoil as opposed to by hand with less force.  Certainly only the most hardened keyboard marksman would complain about it too much in this case, but the first round flyer on a hand chambered round always was a little off from the main group. I do feel this group is representative over all  so I am not going to post all of them up.

After some general drills and plinking I moved it off to long range.  I used my usual man sized steel gong  roughly shaped like a small man from belt to head.  The wind was blowing like a democrat running for president and combined with the 168 grain ammo NOT being 175 or heavier, I chose to put the target out to only 750 yards.

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No real reason that I didn’t set it at 800 other than the simple reason I couldn’t find a flat enough spot to set the target.  750-800 yards is what I consider the far end of what a 168 grain 308 round can do from a  barrel length around that of a SCAR especially. Really  its a pretty good rule of thumb in my opinion that making hits past 800 with the 168s starts to become problematic with anything less than a 26 inch barrel.

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With a little wind reading, the elcan 6x put the hits right on the steel using the BDC stadia for the appropriate range.  Very few rounds missed and that was due to 35 to 45 mph winds moving full value to 3/4 value all day.  One thing we noticed was the light profile barrel did not to seem to have any problems with POI shift as it heated up quite a bit.  The PWS muzzel device made fast follow up shots very easy. The grass muted any chance for a dust signature in this case so i can’t speak to that.  I was very impressed with the ease of making hits with the Elcan though  it is was a little crowded for my personal tastes.  That’s not a gripe. I spent most of my life, and 99 percent of my long range shooting life during the time of the mildot being the most complicated thing out there.

Towards the end of the long range shooting,  with  the strong wing I attempted to hit the steel rapid fire 20 out of 20 without waiting for lulls in the wind. I managed 19 out of 20  on target in about 35 seconds. That is a very good run in  high wind using  a short barrel and the 168 grain round I have so little taste for use in  serious long range shooting .  I was especially pleased with its performance considering the size of the target. I am barely 5’9  and as you can see the gong is not really as big as a normal man.

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I would very much like to  test for myself how the SCAR H does with 175gr match ammo or something else more tuned for longer ranges.  The rest of the time at this range was spent hitting the gong as if it was no further away than 200 yards  once the wind stayed blowing in a  steady direction.   .  At 750 the H shot about as good as the 901  with the 901 grouping better when accuracy tested. One caveat being the 901 did have the 18x though so keep that in mind.  I do have a gut feeling the 901 will have the advantage at the extreme long range since it has a barrel free floated and not piston operated.

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Now comes the part with  the down sides.  That Elcan 6x while very clear and very useful is VERY heavy.  It makes a fairly light handy 762 battle carbine into a very fat chick.  With the gun loaded and with other mission required additions such as a light or PEQ etc, this thing turns into a brute. I am not afraid of rifles that have some weight if the weight has a good reason, but the optic on this one really makes it tough to say I would every really buy one myself for constant use.

Speaking of the optic, the charging handle.  Or as I think of it, the SCAR H knuckle skinner.   When the charging handle is on the left side, which is the best side for righties, you do not have much choice of places to mount any optics if it sticks out over the side of the rifles top rail any at all.  Hand position is critical as well since you can stop the gun or take a knock from the handle as it operates. Same thing if the CH touches anything around you when in use. I am not a fan of it nor will I ever be. I have read and heard all the reasons why it was given this feature, but I still think it just sucks.

I had some problems with the factory safeties. I could not use the right side of the ambi safety in any way that was useful and I struggled to quickly and smoothly use the left handed full sized lever.  This is something easily fixed now a days and its a good thing.  If I was to buy a SCAR H I would have to order a replacement ambi safety before I even got home with it.

The trigger was the superb Super SCAR Trigger ’nuff said.  It did not have the factory trigger in it so I can’t really give any opinion on that.  I would highly recommend that super scar trigger though to anyone buying one of these guns.

As hideous as some find the butt stock and as much fun as it is to joke about it,  there was no trouble from it.  The stock was comfortable and  easy enough to adjust.  For average guy in the US use I don’t see it being any real issue though I do understand it has had some problems in the past in combat.

I heard so much hyperbole over how the PWS muzzle device was so loud that it would cause dead bodies to rise from the bottom of lakes and make  instant rain storms.  It wasn’t that loud and it wasn’t that blasty in my opinion.  It did however work great. Same as the L model. But it’s much appreciated on the 762 model.  Rapid fire off hand, prone  or any strange position I tried was like shooting a 556 gun. Maybe even less.  I do find  I would like to see how it feels without it. The Colt 901 has very pleasant recoil with no recoil dampening muzzle brake at all but the HK417 has  recoil I find to be way too much considering what it is. So I would like to see how the piston SCAR feels with no brake compared to the piston 417. I stood beside it and over it while some one shot it prone and walked all around it during firing with nothing more than foam plugs in. It’s not that bad at all. Or I am well on my way to deafness.  Other shooter remarked it was not as bad as it has been made out to be.   Unrelated, the SCAR H and the L  vents a hell of a lot of gas out onto the barrel in front of the gas block and even onto the brake.  I would like to see what kind of flash is produced at night when the gun is suppressed and from a position directly in front of it.

Unlike the HK 417/Mr762 which I loathe, the SCARH never failed us during use. I found it shot more accurate and  was much more pleasant to shoot recoil wise.   I know I have brought it up many times but that HK 417 really surprised me by how much recoil it has.  In the review of the HK you can even see the bruising it caused another shooter from its recoil. The SCARH and Colt 901 are as pleasant to shoot as a 556 gun to me. Not so for that HK417.   The SCAR was as reliable as the 901 though I did not shoot quite as much through the SCARH as I did the Colt 901s.

One last complaint about the H is the rail space. There is not a lot of it on the gun for positioning extras you may have much need for or just simply  want.  There are of course fixes for that and other models with longer rails but the SCARH tested was the configuration it first came out as and is a product of the time period it was designed.

I was impressed  with the guns accuracy and performance.  I would certainly own one  and set it up in the sniper support role.  Oddly there are as many things I don’t like about it as there are things I do like. But I feel it has a couple of roles that it excels best at.  As a combat carbine, I think in its stock form it leaves a lot to be desired and the 762  pattern ARs are superior in most ways. If I wanted to use a 762 carbine like  I would a 556 carbine, I would hands down go with something like the Colt 901 ( which is my first pick) the KAC EMC carbine or whatever they call it this month, or even the LMT MWS god forbid.  If I wanted a piston operated 762 DMR or sniper support rifle/carbine., I would absolutely use the SCAR H especially when it is dressed with its longer rail and the current upgrades.

This review with some time with the SCARH is late enough that it’s not changing anyone’s mind about buying one at this point,  but I would suggest making sure you know exactly what you want out of  it and what you may need to change on the H if you are thinking about getting one. I certainly would get one if I had use for it even in its standard  guise.

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