A Top-Tier Purpose-Built AR
By Holt Bodinson
Black Rain Ordnance is one of the premier custom AR companies in the country. They make a variety of purpose-built rifles and offer a complete line of high-quality, uniquely designed components for the AR builder or owner who simply wants to upgrade their existing gun. Company Founder and President, Justin Harvel, sums up the purpose of the company with this simple statement:
“Our mission is to produce the highest quality products out of the highest quality materials, with the best customer service in the industry. From the inception of Black Rain Ordnance, we vowed to never produce anything that we would not personally own and operate.”
BRO offers three platforms of purpose-built AR’s using their own components. There’s a Competition Series, a Hunting Series and a Recon Series. In addition to complete rifles, the company markets their own brand of complete uppers and upper components, complete lowers and lower components, handguards, barrels, silencers and flash suppressors.
The 5.56 Recon Series Scout seen here is a perfect example of the quality of their in-house components and finished rifles. It’s a racy looking rifle wrapped in Cerakote Smith’s Grey and with BRO’s slim and highly stylized handguard running all the way to the muzzle, which is capped off with BRO’s own differentially polished flash suppressor. Weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces, with an empty magazine, the Scout is a dynamic rifle with great balance and is quick as a cat on target.
The heart of the Scout is BRO’s proprietary receiver which sports a number of interesting features. The bolt and carrier group are nickel-boron coated providing lubricity to the moving parts and a fouling-resistant surface so cleanup is a cinch. The BRO drop-in trigger is a dream. It’s single stage and factory adjusted to a 3-1/2-pound pull. It’s crisp with a minimum of overtravel and a real asset in placing shots on target.
The 6-pound, 9-ounce rifle BRO Scout (above) was quick to
the shoulder. The receiver sports a nickel-boron-plated bolt
(below), carrier and anti-rotation trigger pins.
The Scout, built with BRO’s precision components, is a racy,
stylish rifle. The sculpted, free-float handguard provides a
seamless continuation of the Picatinny top rail.
ith locking anti-rotation pins visible on both sides of the receiver as a small bridle connecting the pins. Finally, the BRO tactical/competition charging handle features an oversize, serrated latch easy to grab and cycle. The whole machined handle is further coated with Teflon for smooth, trouble-free operation.
Mated to the BRO receiver, the BRO free-float handguard provides a seamless continuation of the Picatinny top rail which ends in a neatly dished out arc and then reappears at the muzzle end of the guard. The handguard is machined for the Magpul M-Lok easy on/off accessory attachment system, and BRO catalogs M-Lok rail sections, bipod mounts, hand stops, sling mounts and vertical grips. The Scout pistol grip with its storage compartment is also a Magpul design. The only downside I’ve experienced with all-metal handguards is they can get hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
The Scout is available with a lightweight, 16-inch, stainless steel barrel in 5.56 (1:8 twist); .300 Blackout (1:7 ) and .308 Win (1:11). The 5.56 Scout we tested features a .223 Wylde chamber which makes firing either .223 or 5.56 NATO ammunition perfectly safe. The Wylde combines the best qualities of the short throat of the .223 chamber and the longer leade of the 5.56 chamber. It also features tighter headspace than found in a 5.56 chamber. If you have a choice in the matter, the .223 Wylde is the way to go in an AR chamber, and BRO is to be commended for making it their standard.
BRO’s milled flash suppressor (above) is both flashy looking and
effective suppressing flash. The proprietary tactical charging
handle (below) proved easy to grab and cycle.
For optics, I mounted the Scout with my favorite Leupold Mark 6 1-6x20mm variable with a range-finding and trajectory compensating reticle. It’s a tough tactical scope you could pound nails with, and the conventional and familiar optic to employ.
Two new items were added to the test—SIG SAUER’s new 77-grain match-grade ammo (which turned in outstanding accuracy) and a 30-round, color-coded Hexmag.
The barrel of the Scout had a definite preference for the 77-grain OTM loadings from SIG and Black Hills. I shot the first and last group of the session with SIG ammo to check how well the BRO barrel responded to heat. Remarkably, the last group (0.73) was smaller than the first group (0.87) and the point-of-impact had not changed.
Five shot, 100-yard results were as follows: SIG 77-grain (2,382 fps/0.73 inches), Black Hills 77-grain (2,607/0.96), Black Hills 52-grain (2,837/1.10), CorBon 55-grain FMJ (3,035/1.56).
Black Rain Ordnance’s rifles are a real step up in quality AR’s. The Scout impressed me for its overall quality, its magic trigger and its sterling performance on the range. It’s as lethal as the black rain that follows an atomic blast.
Maker: Black Rain Ordnance
P.O. Box 1111
Neosho, MO 64850
Action: Direct gas impingement semi-auto
Caliber: 5.56 (tested), .300 Blackout, .308 Win
Barrel length: 16 inches
Overall length: 33.25 to 36.5 inches
Weight: 6 pounds, 9 ounces
Finish: Cerakote Smith’s Grey
Sights: None, 1913 Picatinny rail plus M-Lok slots
Stock: Mission First Tactical Minimalist
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