There is nothing more American than more horsepower. Not mom, not apple pie, not a bald eagle clutching a baseball whilst curb stomping a commie and humming Yankee Doodle Dandy. While the Euro-weenies ( and our current FBI) are enamored with 9mm, us red-blooded John Wayne disciples developed the 45 ACP, 44 Magnum, and 10mm. While they made lighter sports cars with 2 and 3 liter engines, we created things like the Super Sport and Shelby Cobra. So it is with giddy anticipation this week that I present a gun that sounds like it came off the set of “ The Expendables 7: Everyone Gets Shot in the Face.”
The NEMO Omen has been around for a while, but this is the first time I got my grubby mitts on one. When I heard semi-auto and 300 Winchester Magnum, I assumed the gun had to be gigantic. It is large, but not Micheal Bay oversized. At first glance, you can see the DNA shared with an AR-15. There are a few changes to accommodate the caliber, but it keeps the things I find important.
First off, the caliber choice is uber-manly. 300 Win Mag might not be the best in class for efficiency, but it does bring the pain. You can tell the thought process of the cartridge designers back in 1963. What if we took the 30 caliber bullets Americans are so fond of and made them go ludicrously fast? Good idea Jim! How are we going to do that? Simple. We put a metric ton more powder behind it.
What a 300 Win Mag lacks in ballistic coefficient, it makes up for in anger. Pushing a 190-grain bullet, it will kill anything in North America, and most things in Africa. And for putting Jihadi’s in the ground, accept no substitute. If you want to see a tango cartwheel out of his flip flops, this is the one for you.
So on to the rifle. I have shot a lot of 300 Win Mag out of a bolt action, and I find it to my liking. But for most combat situations, semi-auto is better. Much better. So this is like finding a unicorn for me. The rifle shares all the ergonomic greatness of an SR-25, to include a Magpul PRS stock. The controls are in the same place, with the Omen also sporting an ambi mag release and safety. For the massive round it shoots, the rifle is surprisingly well balanced and light. I tested the Omen Match 3.0, which has a 22-inch barrel. It weighs in at a svelte 11.2 pounds and is perfectly balanced. Small details like a titanium muzzle break and take down pins for example make the difference. Carrying this gun around, it could easily be mistaken for a 308.
The real magic of the NEMO system is the bolt. The Omen was a nexus for the creation of the collapsing bolt system, a patented recoil reducing technology. It sounds like hype, but it really does work. The felt recoil of the Omen was less than most 308 rifles, by a margin. Not only does this give you a longer training day, but it allows you to spot your own impacts at range. That is a massive advantage on the battlefield, where spotters are usually in short supply. To test this, I actually did a mag dump at CQB range. Now granted, I spent 9 dollars. But not only was it fun, I was easily able to keep the gun on target at speed. Not that you would need a double tap with a 300 Win Mag, but you could.
The Omen is a side charger, with a reciprocating bolt handle. That is something I normally dislike in assault rifles, such as the FNH SCAR. But given the role of the Omen, I don’t count it as a negative. The handle is well thought out and secure and stayed put even during the aforementioned stupidity testing.
Reliability wise, the Omen ate everything I threw at it. It features a 4 position gas block, 2 for suppressed, 2 for unsuppressed. Even at the lighter setting of 3, I had no problems with a mountain of Gold Medal Match.
Besides being a side charger, the Omen has an obvious change to the magazine well. Since there is nothing else like it, NEMO had to craft magazines from whole cloth. The outer shell is polymer, with a Nickel Boron coated steel follower. Currently the gun ships with a 14 round magazine, which is P for plenty on most things.
The Omen Match has a barrel cut from a Bartlein blank, though a Proof Carbon Fiber is also offered in the Omen Watchman. Accuracy wise, it performed as you would expect for the price. It easily shot ¾ MOA groups, though, given the single shot that kept it from ½ MOA, it may be capable of more. To be fair, my break in period consisted of eating a sandwich on the way to the range.
The Omen is like nothing else, and it is going to be hard to give back. If our military had any sense, a couple pallets of these would be on the way to our boys in Afghanistan.
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