Living in a free state is amazing, although it really shouldn't be anything other than the ordinary seeing as how the freedoms we enjoy are the very rights the state should be working to protect rather than deny. About a year and a half ago I built a rifle while living in California. (Read about it here.)
While the end result was excellent, I knew that one day I would reclaim my freedom and capitalize upon it to the fullest extent possible, i.e. build a kick-ass SBR with suppressor. In fact, to explore the very beginning of this rifle we mus first go allllll the way back to the end of 2007 when I new my move to California was unavoidable.
At the time I knew one day I would want an SBR so I purchased a SunDevil lower receiver from Rainier arms. These lowers are beautifully machined from billet complete with a potato-masher texture on the front magwell. The SBR tax stamp came back right before the move, so I filled out the cross-state ATF paperwork, stashed the lower in Utah under lock and key, and made the move to the People's Republic of California.
Fast forward one year to the beginning of 2009. The stars aligned correctly allowing my job to come back to Boise, Idaho, and me along with it. Flush with my liberated extortion money (income tax refund) I immediately celebrated my freedom through the purchase of an Advanced Armament SPR/M4 suppressor. I wanted this particular suppressor for several reasons. The first being I already had a rifle with the mount to fit it, the second because, well, it's the best darn 5.56 can out there! The last reason was because I found a darn good deal through the Polite Society website. The particular can I ordered was listed as a dealer sample, thus being about $300 off. Even better, it turns out it was brand new without even a round through it! Thus began the 6 month wait for the can.
Back to the lovely SunDevil Lower, recently redeemed from Utah exile (yes, yes, including all the ATF relocation paperwork). After entertaining a few fun ideas involving a hand-held engraver or metal stamps and a hammer, I came to my senses and shipped the lower off to Orion Arms to have them engrave the name of my trust and the like in a very professional manner. Came back absolutely perfect, props to them. In the meantime I decided to SBR another lower and build a traditional 10.5" LMT upper with LaRue rail. The SunDevil lower got some black Magpul furniture, including an UBR with an H-buffer (this will be important later). I added an ambi-safety (left-handed rifle shooter) and put on the KNS anti-rotational pins because they look cool (this was to be my Precious, after all). The stock trigger was sent off to Bill Springfield for a trigger job, which turned out pretty nice. With the lower build complete I mated it up with the LMT for a while, but when I finally received the second SBR tax stamp I used that lower instead. That lower got FDE Magpul furniture (CTR stock), and is the rifle we all know and love as "Little Missy."
So that still left me with the SunDevil SBR in black Magpul furniture. Well, I liked the FDE color scheme so much I just had to have the UBR in FDE. Hmmmm, how to get one? Well, luckily I had another black UBR still new in box. I ended up trading the new UBR plus some cash for an UBR in unobtanium--I mean FDE. Swap out the MIAD, and bingo! Now SunDevil is sportin some sweet FDE Magpul clothes. Oh, and the H-buffer was carried over as well (which will be important later). [Side note: In order to fit the MIAD on the SunDevil a fair amount of filing must be done on the MIAD backstrap. Nothing major, just 20 minutes of extra fun time to ensure a good matching fit.]
Now, During this whole time I'd been slowly planning out the ultimate SBR upper which I eventually would match to the SunDevil. I knew it would have to fit the SPR/M4 suppressor (which was still banished off to ATF limbo waiting for the stamp), so that ruled out a 10.5". Anyway, I already had a 10.5" and I wanted something a little longer to bump up the muzzle velocity and kick out the frag range. I'd heard excellent things about the 12.5" Noveske stainless steel barrels so this sounded like the perfect choice. Even better, Noveske builds a marvelous little device called the Switchblock. This is an adjustable gas block with three settings--normal, suppressed, and off. Perfect for someone like me dead set on slapping a suppressor on an SBR upper. The only problem was that at the time Noveske only was releasing the Switchblock as part of their full upper builds, or custom builds done by MSTN or G&R Tactical. I was pulling my hair out trying to think of the ways I could get the barrel I wanted with the rail I wanted including the Switchblock. Just when all seemed hopeless Noveske started selling 12.5" SS barrels complete with the Switchblock!!! I snapped one up lickety-split.
Of course the rail had to be LaRue. I love LaRue rails and I think they're the best out there. But of course that's just me. The switchblock won't fit under the rail and must be exposed. The gas system on a 12.5" barrel is carbine length, so that means a 7" rail. For many people that's too short, but I think a rail is just fine at that length. The only thing I have to watch out for is running the VFG forward and allowing my hand to slip up and burn on the gas block. Enter a good set of gloves.
With the barrel and rail taken care of, that left me with the receiver, bolt-carrier-group, and charging handle. By this time it was nearing the end of the AR feeding frenzy and LMT F/A BCGs became available, so I got one of those. I choose a PRI Gasbuster CH because I planned on shooting suppressed. So that just left the receiver. Hmmmm, what to get, what to get? Well, since this was to be the SBR build to end all SBR builds, I needed a VLTOR MUR-A1, of course! I already had one on a different rifle and I liked the way the looked very much. The MUR also adds some reinforcement to areas of the receiver which help strengthen it and improve rigidity. Unfortunately MURs weren't readily available quite yet (and still aren't, even though Rainier had a bunch this last week and G&R is supposed to get some soon). So yea, I ended up paying the scalper's price. Precious gets what Precious wants.
So throw in a set of FDE Magpul MBUS and we can call that upper done! Well, not quite, it still has to be assembled... I didn't really feel like doing it, especially since I'm short a vice at the moment. Luckily I knew an awesome company which did stuff like this: ADCO Firearms. I'd already had them assemble one upper for me and they did a marvelous job, so I didn't think twice about having them do this one. I packed all the parts in a box, threw in a bottle of LaRue Dillo Dust as a shameless bribe, and sent it off! Here's how it left:
The parts arrived at ADCO on a Monday, and they shipped it out the next day. Awesome. Those guys rule. As before, the assembly was flawless. Very glad I had them do it. Here's the finished product:
LaRue rail and Switchblock
AAC SPR/M4 suppressor and Blackout mount
The full upper
To continue the Magpul theme I choose FDE XTM rail covers. These things are great, you can choose any number to match the particular length you want. You can even slice 'em in half. I like shooting with a VFG so I choose the LaRue FUG, which happens to be my favorite grip. The QD ability as proven its worth to me time and time again, and with all other things LaRue the quality is outstanding. For a weapon light I used a Surefire Scout Light with LaRue mount and remote light switch strapped to the back of the FUG. It's a good position which is placed out of the way enough to avoid white light NDs, but still accessible without changing my grip. As a primary optic I chose the ultimate CQB red-dot sight: the Aimpoint T-1 Micro. Quite amazing, those things.
So without further ado, I give you "Precious" in all her glory:
So the question on all of your minds is undoubtedly, "How does she shoot?" Well I can tell you in no uncertain terms, "Like a friggen wet dream!!!" Amazing. Incredible. Everything an SBR should be. Granted Precious is a little heavier than a bare-bones 10.5" blaster, but the weight balances out nicely. The stainless barrel is heavier than normal, and there's also the FUG and Scout Light out there. The UBR adds the weight to the rear to balance things out, which is especially appreciated when the suppressor is mounted.
The Switchblock worked as advertised. Set on the normal mode it cycled the XM193 ball just fine. With the Switchblock set to suppressed mode and no suppressor it would bounce the bolt back slightly, but not enough to eject the case. With the can attached it cycled the XM193 flawlessly with the Switchblock set to suppressed. Unfortunately, things didn't work out so well when I switched over to the 223 pressure cartridges--Hornady 55gr and Brown Bear 55gr. Those loads would only cycle the gun half the time with or without the can under corresponding Switchblock settings. Funny thing is that the exact same thing happened with the previous epic rifle build I wrote about
: the darn buffer is too heavy! I can see why an H buffer would be too heavy on a mid-length rifle build, but on a 12.5" barrel? Yea, interesting. Unfortunately I didn't have a the normal buffer with me, so I had to make do in order to finish off the ammo. Hopefully I'll take Precious out again next Saturday with the normal Buffer and see how she runs.
I also took a few videos from the range:
Without the can
With the can
With the can and Switchblock set to 'off.' Therefore, all sound is entirely due to the shot (no bolt cycle noise). Recoil was amazingly light with no bolt movement.
So there ya go. The chair is against the wall.