As I mentioned in the Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) MK12 Replica review, there is serious debate about 5.56 versus .308 for urban combat roles. Just a few weeks back, some of the guys still on active duty called a few of us retired guys, and we had round table about what we liked for city fighting. In a meeting with north of 100 years of sniper experience, there was no consensus.
A Lasting First Impression
Many men whose opinions I respect immensely fall in the 5.56 camp. There’s nothing wrong with that. They had the combat experience that added validity to their argument. I, however, fall firmly in the 7.62x51mm camp. I can carry fewer bullets, the gun is heavier, the recoil is harder, and inside of 800 meters, the reach of either is a non issue. This is all true. I like 7.62 for one simple reason. The first enemy I dispatched with it fell down like they had been hit by the fist of God. At this point in my life, I am no stranger to combat and my first experience with the 7.62 left a lasting impression — that round is lethal. Prior to that incident, all the work I had done was with an M4, a machine gun or grenades. Bullets are cheap; lives are expensive. There was no chance for a follow up with the 7.62, and no need. I was so shocked at how effective the round was that I actually came out of the scope to look with my naked eye, like my green NVG (night vision goggles) sight was lying to me. (Good luck seeing in the dark with naked eyeballs, but that is beside the point.) After that night, I wanted 7.62 all the time.
Now I am not saying 7.62 is a magic bullet: It isn’t. I would eventually see multiple bad guys walk them off as well because humans are tougher than we tend to believe. But I am a fan of the. 308. It has lots of reach, and it hits like a sledgehammer even with the match style bullets, which is a poor choice if you have options. This love of .308 Winchester led me to look for an all-purpose battle rifle in the chambering. I wanted a do everything gun, with the reach of 1,000 meters, and the maneuverability for a street fight. I wanted an Apocalypse Gun, and I knew just who to talk to.
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Barnes Precision Machine
Barnes Precision Machine of Apex, North Carolina, has a long history of direct support for the boys from Ft. Bragg. More loaner upper receivers have been used in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) than you will find any official statistic on. With a need for accuracy and reliability well beyond the normal government-issue junk, Green Berets have field tested the BPM products in the least forgiving environments on earth. Barnes is also a favorite on the local competitive circuit for 3 Gun, with many of those same soldiers using a BPM for matches. I believe in the product so much, my wedding rings are cut from a BPM .308 barrel blank.
- Type: Semiautomatic AR-10 rifle
- Cartridge: .308
- Barrel Length: 16 in. 416 stainless steel match-grade barrel
- Overall Length:
- Stock: Magpul MOE Stock
- Sights: Magpul MBUS sights
- Finish: NiB BCG
- Muzzle Device: BPM Flash hider
- Trigger: Geissele G2s Trigger
- MSRP: $2,550
- Manufacturer: Barnes Precision Machine
As a base gun, I selected the BP-10 with a 16-inch barrel, though nothing from BPM is what you would call basic. It came out of the box with Magpul furniture, a collapsible 5-position stock and a Geissle trigger. The bolt carrier group is nickel-boron coated, which is the Barnes standard. This finish is so slick it is unreal, and it makes cleaning a cinch. Their finish is of my favorite features of these rifles. The BP-10 runs an ambidextrous bolt release, a feature that is growing on me. The lower receiver has been shaved down for weight reduction, and is very close in size to an AR-15, except for the magwell. The barrel has received a WMD Nitromet treatment, which offers a 30-percent increase in barrel life, as well as enhanced corrosion resistance. Rounding out the package is the legendary BPM handguard, now with M-LOK slotting at the 3-, 6-, and 9 o’clock positions. This handguard is my all time favorite, and the M-LOK cuts have the added benefit of lightening the package.
Adapting to Your Environment
This isn’t just a review gun for me, this is something I ordered and paid for. I live in the wide open spaces of Idaho, I need a truck gun that has some reach behind it. I immediately wanted to change a few things to meet my specific needs. The first order of business was optics. There are a lot of good choices here, but given my ranges, I was looking for abnormally high magnification. If you are in a city or the dense woods of the east coast, a Bushnell SMRS 1-6.5 is probably the optimal choice. I wanted something with enough power for over 1,000 meters, also factoring in the often-high winds we have here. A 10X would have been ideal, a good balance of scope weight and magnification. That seems to have fallen from popularity though, so I settled on a Steiner M5Xi 3-15. The top end is plenty for observation and shooting, and the bottom end works great for mid range rapid engagement. The one thing a 3X optic doesn’t do well is being practical inside of 100 meters, and I still live in the city. For any close range work, a 1x is the absolute gold standard. Fortunately for me, Troy Industries now makes a set of 45 degree offset folding iron sights. Troy has been my gold standard for folding irons for some time, from my days in the Army. They are tough as nails, but most importantly, they are dimensionally correct. I prefer the H&K style round sights, heresy for a U.S. Marine of my vintage. I have always gotten better groups with them than the U.S. standard butterfly shaped fronts and find them faster to acquire. The dimensions are very important. I have owned H&K styles before, from other manufacturers, that are not spaced for carbines. You end up not being able to see the edges of the front sight, which means they might as well not exist.
I wanted to keep the buttstock collapsible, to minimize the size for in the truck. Normally on a .308, I will go ahead and switch to a Magpul PRS, which is a factory option from Barnes Precision. Sticking to the collapsible, the obvious problem of cheek weld with a scope rears its head. I solved this with a Larue RISR, or reciprocating inline stock riser. This bolts onto a standard CTR buttstock without modification and gives per cheekweld for most scope rings. It also retains your ability to charge the rifle with the stock collapsed, something no other add on riser allows.
For a trigger, I opted to swap for an AR Gold drop in module. The Geisselle is an all right trigger, but I wasn’t looking for all right. I was looking for the best option available, and that is AR Gold. I went for a new flat faced model, not because they work any better, but because it looks cool. Vanity strikes even me sometimes.
What and how to feed this beast? Hex mag is a new brand to me, so I decided now was as good a time as any to test them out. 308 magazines are not cheap, so a polymer option would be a godsend. I am happy to report, the Hex Mag’s worked flawlessly. This will be an ongoing test, but I am happy so far. For ammunition, I had two fantastic options from Federal Ammunition. First up was the new .308, with a 185-grain Berger projectile, called the Juggernaut. This is the Gold Medal match grade special, and it did not disappoint. It gave me a ½ inch 100m group, which is more than a battle rifle needs. I expect no less from Barnes Precision Machine, but I was still very happy. I also fed it the new Edge-TLR, which gave me expansion at close to 900 meters last month in another test. I had no desire to mix up another batch of corn starch ballistics gel, to learn something I already knew. This is what I plan to carry in the gun, given its terminal ballistics.
The BP-10 lived up to all of my expectations, it was an excellent purchase. Storm clouds are gathering, and we may very well be fighting in the streets soon. If you need to start handing out justice 175 grains at a time, this is the platform I recommend.
For more information about AccuTac bipods, click here.
For more information about Troy offset sights, click here.
For more information about Barnes Precision Machine, click here.
For more information about Federal Premium Ammunition, click here.
To purchase a Barnes Precision Machine rifle on GunsAmerica, click here.