Happy Thanksgiving all.
Today I am thankful that I got to try a few different rifles this morning. I did side by side shooting of a Larue 7.62 Ultimate Upper rifle, Colt LE901-16SE, and a KAC SR25-EC.
It isn’t really fair to directly compare these as there are some major differences between them. Sort of like comparing apples to apples to oranges. But that never stopped me from being critical about things before.
This first comparison will be short. I had these three rifles available to me so I decided I would start with 20 rounds each rapid fire with an Aimpoint T-1. I would do some rapid engagements of a target at 10 yards, and do some double taps at 10 yards. I ended up firing 32 rounds from the Larue due to functioning issues, and only 20 from the others. Not exactly a comprehensive test, but a start.
I shot the Colt LE901-16SE first. When Colt release the 901, they first released the LE901-16S, which was a full railed model. I believe they sold a few -18S with an 18 inch barrel.
After that, they release the -16SE. They shaved a pound off the rifle by replacing the quad rail on the monolithic hand guard with a proprietary modular rail. This model appears to have been discontinued and the newest model, the CM762 adds an ambi safety, longer MLOK hand guard, and an ambi charging handle. The new model is also available in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 18 inch barrel.
The rifle is is stock configuration with a Aimpoint T-1 added to it for the comparison. With the exemption of the lack of an ambi safety, I found the controls on this rifle to be the best. The right side bolt release is easier to hit, the larger and lower left side mag release gives more leverage and is easier to use.
The list weight on the -16SE is 8.4 pounds. When I shot it I found it tended to recoil straight up. I felt that it was fast and easy to shoot, but my performance on paper was the worst with it. Back when I the 901-16S side by side with the 901-16SE, I found that that 1 additional pound of weight made the fully railed 901-16S have much less felt recoil.
The Ultimate Upper is an economy large frame rifle kit from Larue Tactical. You can purchase the upper kit in SR25 or DPMS pattern. If you buy a kit you can buy a Larue lower for it. This isn’t really a fair comparison to the others as I added a Surefire Warcomp to this rifle. The Warcomp can drastically reduce recoil. I think this gave the Larue the major advantage in shooting. But I had multiple short strokes when shooting the Larue. I fired an additional 12 rounds at another target trying to diagnose the issue and trying out the offset sights.
The Larue lower is the only one of the bunch that isn’t ambidextrous. I find the bolt catch on it harder to use than the one on the 901. Not hard on its own, but less easy than the 901. The receiver extension on the Larue is AR10 pattern, but doesn’t have the hole locations to collapse the stock completely. The photo above shows the stock as closed as it will go. This made the UU kit rifle longer than the others.
The Safety Level that Larue includes in their parts kit is horrible. I have two of these Larue safeties and they don’t move positively. Several times when I was bringing the rifle up for a fast aimed shot, attempting to flick the safety off it would only move half way. I did not have any issues with the safeties on the other rifles.
The recoil spring on the Larue is much lighter and easier to work the action than the other two .308 rifles. Felt more like racking a standard AR15. When firing the action felt like it moved much slower than the other rifles. I think this also made it feel more controllable and easier to shoot well it – when it worked. Compared to the others, shooting the Larue Ultimate Upper kit felt like shooting one of the other rifles in slow motion. I’m going to start calling this the LTUU762 for Larue Tactical Ultimate Upper.
Unlike the others, the KAC SR25-EC uses a rifle length gas system on the 16 inch barrel. I had always heard that the KAC SR25 were so extremely smooth shooting. Much to my disappointment it didn’t seem any better than the others.
The SR25s for a long time not have come with ambi controls. The right side safety is scalloped and the rifle has a right side bolt release. The rifle weighs about 2 pounds heavier than the other rifles. This was noticeable in the handling and recoil characteristics.
When shooting the SR25-EC it recoiled straight up. Settles right back down on target. To me it seemed like it had similar recoil to the 901, but the 901 is about 2 pounds lighter.
I think it was the lighter two stage trigger on the KAC that helped me shoot it rapidly better than the standard AR15 trigger on the 901.
Right now, if I had to pick one for a fight it would be the 901. Even thought I shot it worst in this side by side comparison, it is far lighter than the KAC, and the LTUU7.62 is currently unreliable. I previously had a Warcomp and match trigger in the 901, and it drastically reduced recoil and made it easier to shoot. I returned it to stock before this comparison.
I’ll be talking more about these rifles in the future.