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Remington CSR: Out of Hiding

This article originally appeared in RECOIL Issue 35

The Remington Concealable Sniper Rifle is a lot like upgrading from a Motorola Razr to the iPhone X — you didn’t know what you were missing until it’s in your life.. Remember when smartphones weren’t readily available? And now, you can’t imagine life without access to such life-changing advancements? In a nutshell, this is how we feel about the CSR.

The CSR impacted us way back in 2014. We’ve been fortunate enough to have been privy to the ins and outs of the CSR and have tried to beat the brakes off it — but to no avail. This rifle quickly became a personal favorite, but it was not available to the public until now with a limited production run.

We were stoked to hear the CSR is finally going to bless others with its advancements in rifle technology. There are a few rifles with similar features, but certainly not all the features. The CSR comes with a hefty price tag, but you get what you pay for.

Similarly so, that paying for the bells-and-whistles smartphone is worth denting your wallet versus the agony of trying to text on a flip phone.

OVERVIEW

The Remington CSR was originally designed for its namesake: to be a concealable sniper rifle. This precision tool was made for the most elite warriors the world has ever seen. It was intended to be used during bold, challenging, and curtained missions across the globe. A captivating aspect of the CSR is its purpose and ability to be broken down and reassembled by the end-user and still make hits without re-zeroing. How many rifles would you be willing to at least bet your lunch money it would still hold zero after taking the barrel off in the field and putting it back on? For us, so far, the answer is one.
remington csr rifle
Genetics of the CSR are based off of Remington’s Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR) and Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR). This family of rifles features the ability to change barrels and calibers within minutes. Not having to tote around a full-length musket, and instead carrying a rifle that fits in a backpack and can be quickly assembled is a unique benefit. While that benefit isn’t necessary for most of us, it undoubtedly has a cool factor.

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT

The heart and soul of the CSR is the barrel design. Being able to easily switch out parts on the AR platform has spoiled us. We didn’t expect such user-friendliness from a bolt gun until getting acquainted with the CSR. After being able to fully disassemble the CSR with one tool, our expectations have been upped.

Chambered in 7.62 NATO, the barrel is 4140 hammer-forged steel and melonite-treated. Fluting of the barrel lessens the weight of the rifle without sacrificing accuracy. Melonite-treating barrels improves the barrel life, but is known to be a difficult treatment to control. During the coating process, imperfections and uneven thickness affects barrel accuracy. In order to have the advantages of melonite without the negative effects, Remington thoroughly tested and adapted its process for a more controllable end result. Those improved processes have tightened up the accuracy standard of the CSR/PSR/MSR family. Initial CSR barrel length offerings from Remington includes either a 14-inch or a 16-inch barrel, with 1:7 or 1:10 twist rate, respectively. The 14-inch 1:7 twist is optimized for subsonic ammunition, while the 16-inch 1:10 twist is ideal for supersonic ammunition.

The CSR can be partially or completely disassembled in under 60 seconds.

The CSR can be partially or completely disassembled in under 60 seconds.

Akin to an AR barrel extension, the CSR barrel extension looks familiar. Remington says it’s conceptually an M16 extension, but for a bolt action. If you’ve ever built an AR, inserting the barrel into the receiver fits together like Legos. You’d have to severely screw up the simple task if you couldn’t get an AR barrel into the upper receiver. That’s assuming the receiver and barrel are spec’d correctly. Point being, the CSR barrel snugly slides into the receiver in the same manner. The alignment pin and stop shoulder locates the barrel extension against the receiver the same way, every time the barrel is removed and reinserted.

Locking lugs of the bolt lock into the barrel extension. Important for maintaining zero after disassembly is the bigger, beefier extension. While the CSR barrel has similar features to an AR barrel, it will not fit on any other rifles other than the CSR/PSR/MSR series.

The CSR barrel is held in place by a barrel nut that can be quickly removed and reinstalled with the Remington-supplied torque wrench. The torque wrench head slides into cutout holes on the barrel nut. It’s torqued to 20 ft-lb. After a lot of testing, Remington found that 20 ft-lb of torque provided all the needed rigidity and zero retention, while also making the barrel easier to install and remove.

NOT JUST FOR LOOKS

This is a sexy rifle. We would understand if you liked her just for her looks, but every aspect of the design is justified. It’s a beauty and brains kind of rifle. We’ll give a front-to-back rundown.

Side-by-side CSRs, the production version and the one we’ve been abusing for the past four years

Side-by-side CSRs, the production version and the one we’ve been abusing for the past four years

Seeing as how Advanced Armament Corporation is owned by Remington, it’s not surprising the CSR sports an AAC muzzle device. The AAC BLACKOUT 7.62mm 90T Tapered Flash Hider has Nitride finish and mates to AAC SR7 fast-attach silencers. Since we’ve already covered the barrel, we’ll jump to the bolt.

The titanium-bodied bolt can be disassembled without tools, and you don’t need super-strength to do so. The action is titanium, while the bolt head is 4140 steel. Its three-lug design allows for a 60-degree bolt throw. Less hand movement needed to work the bolt is faster for follow-up shots. As with most parts of the rifle, the fire control is unique to the series. The trigger is essentially a Remington Model 700 trigger, but modified for the safety lever to curve around the receiver. The trigger is adjustable from 3.5 to 5 pounds.
Remington_CSR02
While the CSR is pretty much a shrunken-down short-action version of the PSR/MSR, SR/MSR, it did require redesigning because the MSR/PSR is too long to conceal.. Titanium is a high-end,, costly material, but it’s the secret behind the CSR’s durability. Unlike most other metals, titanium doesn’t wear when removing and reinstalling parts. Thanks to machined-billet titanium, the receiver’s dimension at its nose and overall strength strength are maintained after putting on and taking off the barrel time after time. Seeing as how there is not another rifle exactly like the CSR, the receiver is custom to the action.

Bolt guns are either built on a stock or chassis, with a chassis allowing for more options and modularity. With a standard stock, you’re usually stuck with the configuration unless you perform gunsmith-level modifications. A chassis system allows you to move parts around effortlessly. The machined billet 60 Series aluminum CSR chassis consists of the handguard, center, and buttstock.

Using the Remington Accessory Chassis System (RACS) as a starting point, the CSR team needed to figure out how to make it concealable without degrading the structural integrity. The top rail was cut into two pieces, pieces, allowing for the handguard to be completely removed. A hardened alignment pin, at the 12 o’clock position, keeps the two halves indexed properly when assembled.
Remington_CSR01
For quick disassembly, the adjustable locking lever doesn’t require tools to unlatch. The lever’s engineering is an advancement, but is the Achilles’ heel of the CSR design. The latch has a large footprint so the user can manipulate it without having their hand slip off. But, since there isn’t an additional component to prevent the takedown lever from inadvertently getting pulled open, a piece of gear and a good tug can make it open and send the handguard flying. If you have a laser attached, watching the handguard roll down the road at 30 mph from the back of a truck can be heartbreaking. Duct tape is the solution for so many problems, and a strip of it around the base of the handguard helps prevent an unintentional disassemble.

Three included included rail sections sections allow for more than enough room for a laser, light, and bipod. Two medium and one long rail sections mount directly to the handguard with two and three screws, respectively. Six flush cups on the handguard give multiple choices for attaching a quick-detach sling.

Sandwiching the receiver are the top rail and center body of the chassis. Large diameter, #10-32 screws are used to mount the top rail to the receiver. For scope mounts, #6-48 screws are the industry standard. Most sniper-rifle builds use #8-40 screws. A larger screw than the more commonly used smaller sizes gives more muscle to hold heavy scopes with attachments such as laser range finders and IR illuminators. Having the magazine release in front of the trigger protects it from accidental release; you have to purposefully press it to drop the mag. Two 10-round, double stack Accuracy International pattern magazines ship with the CSR. A folding pistol grip by FAB Defense Defense slims down the overall size of the rifle. But, the chassis accepts most AR-15 pistol grips.

At the rear, the buttstock is a skeletonized powerhouse of options. Applying rearward pressure to the release, folds the buttstock to the right, locking it closed, while also securing the bolt. When folded, the width of the rifle is just over 4 inches. A button on the other side of the release mechanism unlocks the buttstock that swivels on a takedown pin. Like the handguard, four flush cups provide multiple locations for a quick-detach sling. Two small rail sections are at the 6 and 3 o’clock positions, providing more mounting options. Adjusting the comb height, length of pull, and height of the recoil pad takes mere seconds. Comb height and length of pull are adjusted with a locking throw lever and turn knob.

For a consistent cheek weld, the comb height can be raised up to 1.88 inches higher than the lowest setting. For optimal eye relief and overall comfort while shooting the CSR, the length of pull can be extended an additional 1.65 inches. With a press of a button, the recoil pad can be moved between 16 different vertical positions. From center, the highest adjustment moves the recoil pad up 1.75 inches and the lowest position moves it down 1.06 inches. Those 16 slots provide 2.81 inches of vertical movement of the recoil pad. Tucked away, under the cheek piece is a 1 ⁄8-inch Allen wrench, which fits most of the screws on the CSR.

GOING ALL THE WAY

Shooting an accurate rifle is always entertaining. Its performance is predictable and being able to consistently shoot at further distances an uncommon feat. Having our hands on the CSR for the past few years has enabled us to shoot it in many different scenarios. Targets varying in size, all the way down to 0.5 MOA, have been consistently hit out to 1,200 yards. With the 16-inch barrel, and a longer 18-inch taken from a PSR, 168-grain and 175-grain projectiles have been the most accurate out of the CSR.
Remington_CSR
Of the several barrels we’ve used on the CSR, all have shot well under one MOA at 500 yards for 10-shot groups. At 100 yards, the production model shot 0.723 MOA with 175-grain Federal Gold Medal Match ammunition. After shooting 10 fiveshot groups to confirm accuracy, we removed the barrel while at the range. Once the barrel had completely cooled off, we reassembled the rifle and shot another group to determine how much zero shift had occurred. That five-shot group at 100 yards showed a 0.418 MOA shift after reassembly. Less than half an inch shift at 100 yards after taking the barrel completely off is extraordinary.

Too often the accuracy of a rifle is discussed, but the actual shootability it overlooked. Fast adjustments like the push-button recoil pad height makes the CSR uncomplicated to shoot from prone to barricades to using a tripod for support to shooting the rifle offhand. With so many adjustments, shooters of different body types can customize the fit of the gun. Every aspect of the CSR’s design has a purpose. Each purpose either improves how easy it is to shoot and transport or how it maintains optimal accuracy. As far as felt-recoil is concerned, it feels like a .308 — there’s no getting around it. Repeatedly shooting groups served as a quick reminder that a .308 will make your teeth tingle.

Disassembly of the CSR is possible in under a minute and only requires the rifle-specific torque wrench. Breakdown options give more or less concealment. If running a suppressor, disassembly begins with its removal. Then release the handguard lever and remove the handguard to access the barrel nut. Because the bolt’s locking lugs lock into the extension, you have to open or remove the bolt before proceeding. Next, loosen the barrel nut with the torque wrench, once loose, unscrew it by hand and slide it off the barrel. Pull out the barrel, collapse the pistol grip, and fold the buttstock. To go a step further, and for a thinner profile, the buttstock can be removed by pressing the takedown pin up. To see the options for and how simple the disassembly is, check out the video on RECOILweb.com.

Owning a CSR will likely put you on some weird watch list, but it’s worth it thanks to the unparalleled features and exclusivity status the rifle brings with it.
CSR_Specs

See more from RECOIL Issue 35

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