The Ultimate Urban Combat Rifle: Barnes Precision Machine .308 — Full Review

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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.

The author used Federal Edge TLR for testing purpose. This bullet houses a 175-grain Edge TLR bullet.

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.

SPECS

  • 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.

Range Time

The author used the Steiner M5Xi 3-15X to create his ultimate urban combat rifle.

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.

{ 45 comments… add one }
  • Tar Heel Realist September 15, 2017, 5:40 am

    One of the best kept secrets in the AR World…Barnes Precision.

  • Fergis Graham September 8, 2017, 8:47 pm

    What am I missing? What happened in the past few weeks that lets us believe a domestic war on the streets is coming?

    .308 for urban environments seems a bit much for a modern city/suburb unless you are attacking it and mean to destroy as much property and people as you can. Why would you ever need to shoot, say, 700-yards in Long Island, or Tampa, or Pittsburg? There is the promise of killing those that are not a part of the scene, no? That would mean we are truly in a war zone and are conducting war and have waivers that free us from accountability for actions done as a part of our sanctioned activities. Overwatch and sniping, maybe. CQB combat? Hmm. . .

  • Will Drider September 6, 2017, 1:07 am

    Geographicly, Urban is city and you can stretch that to the burbs if needed. How about: The Ultimate Country Carbine that you can take to town. Lol.

  • JoshO September 5, 2017, 12:56 pm

    LWRC REPR 12.7″ barrel with SF SOCOM-RC2, NF 1-4×24, Magpul UBR with metal plate in case you need to club a sumbitch. Dunno why you’d need a 16″ barrel or 15x optic in an urban setting. I’d rather have it suppressed and keep the length and weight down.

  • Zupglick September 5, 2017, 10:57 am

    I think I’ll keep my 7.62 bullpup. Better rifle for a bit less $$.

  • Mike day September 4, 2017, 8:59 pm

    To who this may concern Get the socom M1A Period ! Want it better send it to Smith Enterprise get a trigger job Good old fashion iron sights there barrel and war fighter gas system with there REAL FLASH HIDER ! Total Amount spent I spent was 3300 my weapon with a 16 inch barrel shots out to 300 yards and I am a older man with older Eye sight with a spotter just shot a steel Target 16 inch cleanly at 500 yards ringing the dam thing as if one shot one kill!

  • Russ H. September 4, 2017, 4:37 pm

    Well, I figured it would be expensive but not that expensive. The cheapest I could find for both rifle and scope was $5,000. More than I would pay (well, except for the scope) and why I build Aero Precision AR308\’s and use Nikon scopes to bang around. Apparently not in too many other people\’s price range. Good article but if you keep talking about guns and gear that people can\’t afford you\’re gonna lose readers.

  • USMC Sgt. September 4, 2017, 3:20 pm

    My go to rifle if TSHTF is a LaRue PredatAR 7.62X51 Vortex 2.5X10 scope and Vortex red dot in an angles mount. 16″ barrel is good to go to 800 yrds if you practice and have a good optic and good ammo M118LR 175grn. Heavier than a 5.56 rifle yeah, a little. Longer range and more accurate than an AK rifle. My choice not anyone else’s carry what you think is best for you. I’ll probably drag along my custom built Tactical Long range rifle which is good to 1760yrds and my Sig 1911 Tacops. Once I establish a base camp them I’ll come back for my Mossberg 930JM and my .22 long rifle all the food and water I have and as much ammo as I can load on the truck. If I can make one more trip I’ll have all the ammo I have for me and my wife who has her own 5.56 M4 and a M&P 9mm.

    • JoshO September 5, 2017, 12:57 pm

      Oh, the end of the world delusions. I love reading them.

    • Fergis Graham September 8, 2017, 8:48 pm

      I think you forgot about the water and spare socks.

  • USMC Sgt. September 4, 2017, 3:04 pm

    I pretty much agree with the choice of a 7.62X51 AR style rifle with a minimal optic. I have an offset red dot for up close and personal business. I’m not going to get upset over how much some one else spends on a rifle of their choice, mind is a LaRue tactical with a 16″ barrel accurate for out to at least 800 yrds (tested) with a Vortex 2.5X10 Viper optic and offset Vortex red dot. Magpul mags and a streamlight. The forearm is railed but all the same options maybe more are available for attachment, also have a forward angled handgrip, not saying it’s for everyone but on my way out the door if the time comes it’s going with me!

  • Ken September 4, 2017, 2:35 pm

    Sweet ! 308 over 223 all day long. Pownd for pownd is a get what you pay for deal. More is more accurate. Less is better to pack .if you like it is all that matters

  • Mike September 4, 2017, 2:00 pm

    Why all the bitchin about the price? – he said pretty plainly that he didn’t want an “all right” trigger, he wanted the best he could get – why would anyone think he took a different approach with anything else with this gun? If ya got it – spend it. You’re not takin it with ya.

    • Russ H. September 4, 2017, 4:39 pm

      The trigger price isn\’t the issue. The rifle alone runs about $2500 and another $2500 for the scope. Trigger\’s about $300.

  • Paul Ruffle September 4, 2017, 1:29 pm

    As others have observed, the rifle is very nice, but way overpriced. In addition, a 16″ barrel for a .308 is just stupid. You get a whole lot of muzzle blast and reduced velocity. For a .308 rifle, you want at least a 22″ and preferably a 26″ barrel for optimum exterior ballistics.

    • Steve September 4, 2017, 3:49 pm

      for an urban warfare gun?
      I get what you’re saying, but I personally prefer an 18″ barrel for semi auto “duty/combat” rifles. 22-26″ seems way too long(which is why almost no manufacturers make .308 ARs with barrels that long, and those that do make them as SASS rifles.

    • Big John September 4, 2017, 4:30 pm

      +1 on the barrel lengths, one thing designed to do multiple tasks never does a single task well. In my experience long guns are like golf clubs, you need different ones for different applications (same as pistols). Regardless, the 16″ rifle in 7.62mm has always seemed more of a novelty to me due to the velocity loss and excessive flash. If it’s being used in conjunction with a “Can” I find it a bit more understandable (just a bit).

      I’m old enought to remember when the M24 came on line (I considered it a step backwards from the M21 except for the extra 2″ of tube). It was reported to have the barrel spec’ed out at 24″ (vs. the optimum 26″) to fit in the issue “airborne weapons case” of the day. As a rifleman I always felt it would have been much more effective and balanced in a 26″ length with a “Sendero” weight barrel (not to mention better fielded in a short acion like the USMC M40). It’s obvious the designers never had to “hump” the damn thing, but hey…what the hell do I know?

      That said, thanks for the run down Clay, it gives us something to think about. As for me, my truck gun is a re-import stamped Garand, originally issued about two Generations before my time. It’s fast, balances well, reaches out, hits hard and doesn’t draw alot of attention. Not optimum for house clearing, but I don’t forsee alot of that in my future any time soon. We all draw from our own military experiences and no two eras or conflicts are the same. In the end, any competent graduate from Pineland U. should be able to start out with a pocket knife in the morning…and be driving home an M1 Abrams by late afternoon. All you have to do is keep trading up.

    • Russ H. September 4, 2017, 4:42 pm

      What? 16\” stupid? Seriously? Go back to your cave and READ THE ARTICLE – it\’s an urban combat rifle not a sniper rifle. I prefer 18\” myself but 16\” is fine too.

    • Kyle September 5, 2017, 9:07 am

      16″ is plenty for 308. You’d be surprised what a 12.5″ barrel can do for you. I suppress mine. 2700fps with the 130gr ttsx is all I need for hunting out to 300 yds. Nobody needs a 1000yd gun for urban environments. If you need to make that kind of shot, your tactics could use some work.

  • Charlie September 4, 2017, 1:11 pm

    Put that much money into a firearm it should-Talk-Walk-Bring you coffee in the morning many other things and also shoot.

  • John M. O'Connor September 4, 2017, 12:10 pm

    Clay,
    would you please consider doing a segment on “economical” optics for AR’s, that you would consider suitable to trust one’s life with…?
    Steiner’s are magnificent…however, I know I could not afford the mortgage payments…thanks for your time…!
    Via Con Dios & Semper Fidelis,
    jo’c

  • ~ Occams September 4, 2017, 11:25 am

    I like how he uses a cycle and hammer to mentally reinforce who are ‘enemy’ is….. They never give up, do they?

    • USMC Sgt. September 4, 2017, 3:36 pm

      Sickle and Hammer is the of communism, do disagree that they are the enemy of a democratic republic at least as dangerous and self serving politicians and monopolistic corporate conglomerations?

  • Vic vapor September 4, 2017, 11:00 am

    you sure know how to get folks riled up, Mr. M.!… I liked the article. And I’m kinda sure if you set your Barnes down next to some of the other primer dimplers mentioned by other commenters, the differences of the extra dollars would be come very apparent. I’ll likely not ever be able to have the rig you built. You can be my friend and keep me an the Mrs safe if we are ever in Idaho. Stay strong.

  • Chris Marsh September 4, 2017, 10:46 am

    Just curious. All the comments on price. Are we comparing .223 prices to .308 AR prices. Seems to me low price .308 ARs are rifles that are very bare bones.

  • victor mazzone September 4, 2017, 10:28 am

    Always good to listen and read many opinions. Just remember that when the social problems become intense, you have to remain adaptable and versatile. The wide open spaces of Idaho will be total different from Sunset Strip in Southern Calif. Keep your mind clear and watch your topknot. VM

  • john creveling September 4, 2017, 10:11 am

    ” Vanity strikes even me sometimes.” Hell Martin you have an ego the size of an aircraft carrier.

  • Steven Kaspar September 4, 2017, 9:06 am

    Just another way over priced AR!

    • Tenbones September 4, 2017, 10:03 am

      Agree!

  • Doc September 4, 2017, 8:39 am

    Beautiful weapon, however, way out of the price range for Joe Smoe. When I went shopping for a new long arm, I opted for an AK 47. I did this due to reliability, price, and durability. I also own an AR15 just because. I guess what I’m saying is when shit hits the fan, have a weapon, be trained, and shoot straight.

  • andrew dawson September 4, 2017, 8:15 am

    Cool rifle. I’m not going to complain about the price of the rifle, rather I’ll complain about the author’s intended use. $2550 rifle with a $1000 optic and this is a truck gun to him? Perhaps his definition is different from mine but to me, a truck gun is the rifle that gets tossed behind the seat of the truck (or in the back of my Jeep) for when that random hog comes out of the brush or whatever. I use a underfolding AK. It’s tough and I won’t destroy a $3500 rig.

    • Mark Are September 4, 2017, 8:51 am

      What $1000 optic? Click the link. It is closer to a $3000 optic. I guess only rich folks write for this site.

  • James Drouin September 4, 2017, 8:05 am

    So, you live in wide open spaces, and you’ve built an accurate super heavy hitter for close range with a short barrel that limits it’s long range suitability … don’t believe I get that.

  • Mark Are September 4, 2017, 7:40 am

    Wellllllll….$2550 seems a bit steep for me just so it can say “Barnes” on it. My Aero Precision has to be better because at least they keep the forward assist on it, for that one round that maybe didn’t get sized perfectly and you have to use it. And with my KAK double ejector BCG, and the 18″ Mega Arms barrel, I suspect that it shoots just as well as that one. Oh, and gee…with Burris XTR scopes and some others available like Vortex, Nighforce, Primary Arms Platinum…tell Steiner to join the real world and do away with their insane prices.

    • James Drouin September 4, 2017, 8:14 am

      Funny thing about forward assists … according to a firearms dealer I know, he claims that ARs without them simply won’t sell. They’re useless as teats on a boar hog, but trying to sell an AR without one is like trying to find a liberal with intelligence.

      • Mark Are September 4, 2017, 8:45 am

        I have found a use for them on a few occasions. One was with a box of 300 Blackout that wasn’t quite to spec and every round had to be pushed in that last little bit because of an under powered recoil spring. When I changed the spring out, which I didn’t carry with me, it worked fine even with that slightly out of spec ammo.

      • USMC Sgt. September 4, 2017, 3:07 pm

        I needed mine a few times in a stinking hot country in southeast asia!

  • Bobby September 4, 2017, 7:16 am

    I am unable to obtain a complete spec sheet on the rifle. Any idea how it compares to an fnh scar 17s on weight?

    • kk September 4, 2017, 11:22 am

      thinking same thing…i’d say its pretty darn heavy since the weight was not mentioned.

  • William September 4, 2017, 6:10 am

    Good article! Our military should take heed!

    Your comparison of the Weaver rail, and the Picatinny rail, was not!f

  • P. Sheffield September 4, 2017, 5:08 am

    There must be an extra digit in the price. I say that if you remove the “2” you are spot on. 2550.00, remove the “2” and you are at 550. That is all it’s worth. Don’t get me wrong, nice gun, but WAY OVERPRICED!

    • Not a cheap ass September 4, 2017, 5:57 pm

      $550 for a factory built AR 10??? It is always funny to read the comments on the gun reviews. Half of the comments are people that built one cheaper. Well no shit. Company’s are in business to make money people. i can mow my yard cheaper than a landscaper but should I expect someone to mow it for the price of a couple gallons of gas??

      And no one ever mentions the resale value of their Frankengun that no one wants to buy or who they will contact if they have a problem with it. Rock on with your Bubba Gunsmithing but i like quality over quantity.

  • Russ H. September 4, 2017, 5:00 am

    Good article! I built my AR308 from Aero Precision parts and a 18\” Ballistic Advantage barrel – very accurate, a little heavy. All I could afford was a Nikon M308 4-16x scope. I too have a thing for Troy\’s HK style sights. Thanks for the tip on the LaRue RISR. Been to combat myself a few times and was really surprised to see M14\’s being hauled around the chow hall in Iraq (2004). Afghanistan was a lot more of the same later (2013). I believe if I\’d had a choice it would have been a 308 as well – something comforting about a 170 gr+ bullet vs 62…

  • Mike Moser September 4, 2017, 3:15 am

    In 308 all I have is a DPMS Sportical,16″ barrel and stock Pardus collapsable stock and short carbine length handguard.Wanting to know if I can install those Troy off-set irons(My handguard isnt K MOD)and what about the Larue riser ,will that work on a Pardus collapsable stock.I removed the bipod I had on the rifle cause I couldnt get enough room to put my support hand on the handguard.Any suggestions,thanks

    • Ben September 4, 2017, 8:15 am

      The offset sights clamp to the top rail of your receiver and hand guard so you don’t need an MLOK unit for those. The riser is made to attach to a Magpul CTR butt stock which has slots molded into the sides for attachments to clip into. I’m not familiar with the Pardus stock but you may be able to modify it by chiseling slots into it (I did this to a Magpul rifle length stock so I could use the CTR riser on it) but it may be easier to just swap it out for a CTR.

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