Wednesday, September 6, 2017

DR Guns AR15 Receiver Set Review

DR Guns AR15 Receiver Set Review


Earlier this year, Dave Rybacki the owner of DR Guns connected with me at the annual SHOT Show around what they were doing from a production and OEM perspective on their AR15 billet upper and lower receivers. At that time Dave Rybacki has just formed his company into DR Guns and was just getting his new facility up and running.  He had sample of the receivers as well as some new Glock 9mm AR15 receiver prototypes which frankly overshadowed the extremely well made AR15 receivers.


A few months passed and DR Guns reached out to ask if I would be willing to work up a few builds featuring some of their then early pre-release/pre-production handguards and an upper and lower receiver to get some feedback on aftermarket parts compatibility with a note that these would have a few blemishes. What I received was a stunning set of receivers and handguard which were hardly shop worn and exhibited some nice refinements from the prototypes I had seen at the show earlier in the year. The pre-release/pre-production lower receiver did have a few minor machine swirls which DR Guns noted, beyond these noted blemishes the detail and finish was perfect.


What is shocking is that DR Guns is selling these upper and lower receiver sets for $229 standard billet - $349 3D milled billet which is an exceptional deal. The standard billet model is designed to match the lines of a standard forged upper receiver where the 3D model features a heavier hex profile lower which matches the profile of DR Guns hex profile upper. The 3D upper is compatible with forged uppers, but the lines will just not match up as well unless a matched billet 3D upper is used. This featured set was the 3D sets model delivering more rounded edges due to the increased 3D milling process.  These low prices are close to the price of quality forged receiver sets, but with all the typical enhancements you would see on billet sets.


THIS BUILD

For this build I used a tried and true match grade 16-inch Black Hole Weaponry Hex Fluted Bull barrel with threaded muzzle. I am a huge fan of BHW barrels and their exceptional accuracy and consider them one of the best deals for barrels. I have yet to have a BHW barrel deliver anything but sub-MOA accuracy across both AR15 and bolt action formats. This particular .223 Wylde match chambered barrel was a Hex fluted Black cerakoted and then hand patina-ed. As expected this Black Hole barrel did deliver ½-MOA or better accuracy depending on the match grade ammo and my abilities on that particular day.


To swap the gas pressure between suppressed and unsuppressed, I opted for a Bootleg Adjustable Bolt Carrier Group. This BCG provides three settings of tuning which is directly accessible via the ejection port door. To further tune the gas pressure I opted for a Superlative Arms adjustable gas block. Having two adjustable gas blocks is probably overkill, but this provides some finer tuning to get the gas pressure just low enough for reliable function on the “normal” setting of the Bootleg BCG. In reality I was only needed about two - three clicks on the adjustable gas block to bring the gun perfectly into tune.  The muzzle was tipped with a YHM QD brake for the YHM Ti Phantom suppressor.


Other add ons were KNS JJ Anti-Rotate pins, V7 titanium magazine release and pivot/take-down pin set, ELF button safety selector, and a top and HiperFire ECL match trigger. A Strike Industries bolt release was added to dress up the left side of the receiver a bit further.



A WMD Charging handle, forward assist, Dust Cover, and Mil-Spec buffer tube were used paired with a Oden Works charging latch and Rogers Super Stock. Of note after literally using dozens of adjustable polymer stocks, from my perspective the Rogers Stock is still the best rattle free and tight stock I have used thanks to its simple and easy cam lock system. Mission First Tactical magazines and grip were used to finish up the lower.


DR Guns’ own MLOK 15-inch handguard was used for this build and they did an exceptional job with the design considering this was a first run production prototype. I did find that the barrel nut’s internal dimensions wsa just a tad tight on some barrels, so Dave noted he would update the barrel nut internal dimensions to accommodate any tolerance stacking between barrels and the barrel nut. This is a well made, extremely lightweight and rugged mounted handguard which I feel DR Guns hit it on the head with this simple, light and strong handguard design.


For optics I really wanted to try something different and I used both a ATN HD Night Vision X-Sight 3-14X and one of their new ATN Smart Thor 2-8 Thermal optics. Just two years ago I had tested the previous version of these optics. These new HD versions are literally light years ahead of where the old versions were. The clarity is worlds better, the crispness is greatly improved and the features are much more refined for the shooter wanting a digitally connected optic. What both of these optics deliver is technology far beyond the price range including IOS and Android app support for programing, setup, capture of pictures and video, and live video streaming. I had an opportunity to do an initial coyote hunt with both these optics and I can say they deliver truly amazing capabilities in the field. On this suppressed platform it allowed us to see in the dark and pick out a lot of live critters moving around - though no coyotes that night. Though both the ATN HD Night Vision X-Sight, and ATN Thor-HD384 2-8x deliver night vision capabilities, but the Thor steals the show with the added ability make live game super visible out to 800 yards. Much more on these optics in a future review.


FIT, FEEL, FEATURES, AND FUNCTIONS
What I really like about the DR Guns receivers are that they are free from a bunch of logos. It seems that the trend is to have your logo plastered in five different areas on a receiver, so it was refreshing to just see the basic ATF labeling requirements. These receivers are a very cleanly and sparsely labeled receiver set which delivers a nice blank canvas for cerakote or other artistic build freedoms.


The DR Guns receivers have all the features you would expect from a billet receiver set. The extra beefy look and build to increase stiffness and strength, a heavily flared magazine receiver well, front magazine well is textured as a grip surface, integrated extended trigger guard, Machined from 7075-T6 Aluminum, Mil-Spec Type III Hard Anodized Finish, and a threaded receiver tension adjustment hole.


Functionally I had no issues with the receiver set at all. The only functional tuning I had was expectedly around tuning the gas pressure to find that perfect compromise of working perfectly both with and without the suppressor attached. Once tuned I was able to transition from unsuppressed to suppressed with perfect gas pressure just with the turn of the gas adjustment detent on the Bootleg BCG to one of the three positions. This setup works extremely well with or without an adjustable gas block.


FINAL THOUGHTS
In a sea of me-too AR15 manufacturers, it is refreshing to see someone come to market with something a bit different while offering an extremely competitively priced alternative for builders. The final result is an beautiful AR15 with a heavily fluted bull barrel that feels like a much lighter standard barreled AR15. DR Guns is delivering really beautiful quality at a price which is low enough it touches into the price range of high quality forged receivers such as Aero Precision and others. I am excited to see the Glock 9mm format AR15s hit the market as well. DR Guns is bringing a lot of innovation to the market in a time where AR15 building and pistol caliber carbines sales are surging.


SOURCES
Black Hole Weaponry - https://columbiariverarms.com
Superlative Arms - https://suparms.com
Mission First Tactical - http://www.missionfirsttactical.com

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