Only Accurate Rifles are Interesting
We see it everyday, someone becomes interested in a Semi Auto Precision Rifle and the debate starts. Which high end Semi Auto is better ? Well the market is pretty saturated with high dollar semi autos and trust me when I say they are not all created equal. In my mind only the accurate ones are interesting. Today's CNC machines make it easy to build an upper and lower for an AR type rifles. We have a huge variety in furniture to make them look really good, but the real secret is the accuracy of these rifles.
It's mostly about the barrels, and that is where a lot of people building AR10 type rifles fall down. How you mate that barrel to the system matters just as much as the quality of the barrel to begin with. So here we have the Wilson Combat 18" Recon. We know the Wilson Name, it's synonymous with quality, as well as accuracy when it comes to their handguns. There is no questioning the purchase of Wilson Combat Handgun. But how are their Semi Auto Rifles ? Read on...
The Listed Specs
There are a lot of different options for this rifle, from barrel length to color options. I highly recommend you visit the Wilson Combat Website to see all the details as it's a page worth. That said here are the details of this rifle used in the Review:
- BILLet-AR 7075 T-6 Aluminum Flat-Top Upper and Lower Receiver
Lo-Profile Gas System
- Accu-Tac Flash Hider
- T.R.I.M. Rail
- Bravo Company Pistol Grip
- Wilson/Rogers Super-Stoc®
- TTU (Tactical Trigger Unit) Single Stage, 4#
- Premium Bolt and Bolt Carrier NP3 Plated
- Mil-Spec Hard Anodize Finish on Upper / Lower Receivers
- Armor-Tuff® Finish
- 18" Fluted Barrel with Accu-Tac Flash Hider
- 14" T.R.I.M. Rail
- Empty Weight 8.2LBS
- Loaded Weight 9.7LBS
The Fit and finish on this rifle is excellent. It's what you'd expect from a Wilson Combat Product.
Function and Reliability
This is the next area of importance with a Semi Auto Rifle. Does it function reliably ? My goal with any review it to push the system to the point of almost failure. I am not out to break anything, but I do want to put it through it's paces. As with scopes, I am not gonna receive the rifle on Friday and have a review started on Monday. I want at least 1000 rounds through the rifle or under the scope before I report on my findings. I don't want to get bit if reports start to roll in that something is going wrong after 300 shots fired. It's happened before, so in order to make sure I am giving you the most information possible, I shoot this stuff, alot.
With 1000 rounds down the tube I can tell you, at what point I start to see issues. And if there are issues, what the cause is. In this case it took just over 600 rounds of shooting to see a few failure to ejects. Understand I did not clean this rifle until about 800 rounds, but around 600 we had a few pieces of brass not eject. The issue was really only with 175 gr ammo, as I shot a combination of Lapua 167gr ammo and various 175gr ammo. With the 175s we saw varying accuracy and a few hiccups, but with the Lapua 167gr function and reliabilty was flawless.
With 167gr Factory Lapua Ammo this rifle performed better than most. Easily 1/2 MOA or better !
On my last outing with the rifle before the review, I cleaned and wiped down the system and we had no issues moving forward. You'd expect any Semi Auto to get dirty rather quickly and start to effect function. Reporting that it was about 600 rounds , I am pretty secure in saying the average owner of this rifle will never go that far. I go that far so you dont' have too.
Accuracy Stands Out
To demonstrate accuracy we shot this rifle from 100 to 1125 yards.
At 100 yards we shot multiple 5 shot groups, using both the 167gr ammo and the 175gr. We averaged between .5 MOA down as low as 3/8s using the 167gr Lapua. With the 175gr ammo the accuracy opened up a bit to about 5/8s an inch. I blame this on the conditions of the day. As earily in the Eval we did average about .5 MOA under much better conditions.
At 300 yards we used the Oakwood Controls Electronic System and here is a screen shot showing a 1.4" group at 300. We shot 5 rounds.
At 1125 yards we fired 10 shots at an 18x30 inch target. These are under normal field conditions and we did not cherry pick the day. Out of 10 shots at 1125 yards, we managed 4 hits. A 40% hit rate is outstanding for an 18" 308 Semi Auto> The rifle is not designed for that and I do not suggest you buy this rifle to shoot past 1000 yards, but we did because we can. We were not disappointed.
My Overall Impression is, if you want an Accurate, Reliable, Semi Auto Rifle that is available now and not a matter of waiting on a custom house to build you something comparible, look no further than Wilson Combat and the 18" Recon.
In the box you get a test target, here are several from the Wilson Combat Website
I will also note that locally, Mile High Shooting Accessories in Colorado has these rifles available today. They are on the shelf right now.