Guns B&T APC 308: More Than a Swiss-Made SCAR Dave Merrill January 24, 2019 Join the Conversation WE GIVE THE RUNDOWN ON THE B&T APC 308 We first got handy with a B&T rifle way back in RECOIL Issue 17. However, lately it’s been their subguns, such as the APC9k and GHM-9, that have gotten most of the attention. Undoubtedly some were hoping we’d be covering the APC223 at length — and perhaps we will — but an über-modern 5.56mm rifle doesn’t necessarily blow our skirts up, as there are endless variations on the market. But a 7.62? If it runs as well as other B&T guns then that’s another story entirely. Join us as we roll through the B&T APC 308, which first looked to us like a Swiss-made SCAR. LAYOUT & CONTROLS The B&T APC 308 is currently available in four different configurations in the United States: a DMR with a 18.9-inch barrel, a carbine with a 14-inch barrel, a brace-ready pistol with a 14-inch barrel, and, curiously, a fever-dream-brace-ready DMR with an 18.9-inch barrel. Our example is the stocked DMR version. As we’ve now come to expect from B&T, all machining is precise, and all coatings are deep. The rifle oozes and exudes quality as soon as you pick it up. The handguard is a mere 1.5 inches wide, with no discernable difference in width from the very-slim Noveske NSR AR-15 rail. The handguard also features Picatinny rails running the entire length of the top and bottom, with four M-LOK-compatible slots and a half-slot in the front for good measure. The 1:12 twist barrel definitely has a “Euro-look” or a throwback to earlier days, as it’s fully fluted along the length A two-position gas regulator is present, with each of the OEM hole sizes listed (1mm and 1.35mm respectively). We’re already thinking about how to mod these to give us at least three positions. The ambi magazine and bolt controls are easy to use. We’ve seen a lot of workarounds for ambidextrous controls in modern rifles over the years, and we’re happy to say that the B&T APC 308 doesn’t use cludgey and bulky add-ons to accomplish this. There are magazine releases, selectors, and bolt locks and releases on both sides of the rifle. Unless one has extraordinarily small hands, reaching controls shouldn’t be an issue. The truncated size and short throw of the selector means the right side doesn’t get in the way of the firing hand, even if you use a very high hold. Just as with other B&T offerings, the APC 308 can be placed on “safe” regardless of the condition of the rifle; no need to reset the hammer. Also just like with other B&T offerings, you’ll lose this feature if an American AR-15 style trigger is installed. The right-side selector paddle is nicely truncated and doesn’t get in the way at all. The one part of the rifle that isn’t instantly ambi is the charging handle, though it can be easily swapped from one side to another without the need of special tools. As to the charging handle itself, there’s bound to be a bit of disappointment here: It reciprocates as the B&T APC 308 is fired. If you’re a magwell grabber — just don’t, lest you get a shiner on your thumb. DISASSEMBLY & MAINTENANCE If you’re at all familiar with modern rifle design, it’s fairly easy to field-strip the B&T APC 308. Two retained pins have to be popped on the trigger module (AR users will inevitably refer to this as the lower receiver), and the assembly pulled out. From there, the buttstock can slide off of the back of the receiver, exposing the captive hydraulic buffer system. Then simply pull off the main recoil spring assembly, and pull the bolt carrier group to the rear in order to remove the charging handle. Now the BCG can be removed. The two-position gas regulator has port sizes listed right on it. This is your basic disassembly, but for a more thorough breakdown or inspection, you’ll need to remove the bolt and gas system. While there are many similarities between the B&T APC 308 and the FN SCAR, nothing is exactly the same. In order for the bolt to be removed, it must be pushed all the way back into the carrier and the cam pin removed. Since the cam pin hole doesn’t run all the way through, the pin can’t be pushed out. Instead, it must be pulled out using your fingernails or small screwdriver to pry on the built-in ledges of the cam pin. If the rifle is excessively dirty, this can be a bit of a chore. Basic field stripping is a snap if you’ve used virtually any modern rifle. Also, check out the dual ejectors on that bolt face! In order to remove and clean the gas regulator, first press down a detent by the regulator itself and then turn the knob clockwise until it pops out. At that point, the regulator can be removed from the front, along with the op-rod and captive spring. But we can go further. The B&T APC 308 also sports a barrel assembly and handguard, which can also be removed or replaced with simple handtools — no vice required. The bolt features dual ejectors. There are four torx screws on either side of the front trunnion that must be removed (they’re installed with a thread-locker, so please use heat and some care to avoid stripping out any screw heads or threads), along with two torx screws on top and two hex screws on the bottom, for a total of 12 fasteners. None of these screws are captive, so take some care that you don’t lose any. When all screws are removed, the handguard will slide off of the front, and the barrel and trunnion can be pulled downward from the upper receiver and removed. Note that the handguards themselves feature locator pins to ensure precise alignment during reinstallation. Alignment pins recessed into the handguard mean it will always only install one way. Of course all this isn’t part of a normal maintenance routine, but if you want to swap barrels (perhaps for something shorter, like we’re going to do) then it’s relatively painless. Reassembly is much of the same, and all you really need is an adjustable torque wrench. B&T tells us that the torque spec for all of these screws is 62 in-lb — higher than we expected, but the exact same specification as the FN SCAR in order to ensure repeatability. OUTFITTING Despite the fact this is the DMR version of the B&T APC 308, we really found it more of a general-purpose 7.62N carbine capable of precision, than a dedicated precision rifle such as the SCAR Mk20 (see page 144) or a Knights Armament SR-25. With that in mind, we went with the Atibal X, a 1-10x first focal plane variable optic, in a Bobro mount. 10x magnification is more than enough for our purposes and still allows us to easily engage targets out to 1,000 yards. The buttstock certainly wasn’t designed with precision in mind, but it was still suitable for our purposes. The factory muzzle device (intended for the not-yet-available-in-the-U.S. B&T Rotex-IIA silencer) came off with a great amount of heat and the assistance of a vice. As an aside, the square, slim receiver means you don’t need any specialty blocks, just some wood on either side to prevent marring. We tried out a number of silencers, but ultimately chose the Enfield Rifle Co Novus silencer configured in .30 caliber as featured on page 126 of this issue. For a mounted light, we chose a Cloud Defensive OWL, giving us 1,250 lumens and 50,000 Candela — more than enough to see targets a couple hundred yards away if we’re solely using the white light outside. Since the B&T APC 308 accepts any SR-25 pattern magazines, we went with a random jumble of Lancer and Magpul magazines, with a Brownells BRN-10 waffle magazine tossed in for grins. The hydraulic buffer integrated into the stock is part of the story of this low-recoiling rifle. AT THE RANGE Despite the fact there are two different gas settings on the B&T APC 308, it became plainly obvious that these settings were far from universal. When we used a lower-pressure silencer, we experienced failures-to-feed on the suppressed setting; when we used a higher-pressure silencer we experienced feeding issues in the non-suppressed setting from overgassing. Check your rifle/silencer/ammo combination and gas settings before relying on this rifle to save your ass. For ammunition, we went with 168-gr Sierra Matchking loaded by Black Hills. The recoil is far less than one would expect from a 7.62N gas gun, likely due to the combination recoil spring assembly and the integral hydraulic buffer. We shouldn’t have been surprised, given how great other B&T offerings such as the APC9k and GHM9 shoot with a similar combination. We hit the range to get a hard zero first — then that bipod came right off! Groups shot at 100 yards printed just over 1 MOA, but the rifle itself is capable of greater accuracy, as we successfully engaged many sub-MOA plates on the first attempt. The B&T APC 308 trigger is a limitation when it comes to a consistent break. There’s quite a bit of slack, giving the impression of a false two-stage, with a pull weight of 4.5 pounds when utilizing the hook on the bottom of the trigger for precision, increasing by just over a pound when using the center of the bow. This is A-OK for a general-purpose fighting gun, which is how we outfitted it, but for a truly precision gas gun, it’d be beneficial to replace it with something lighter and crisper. Of course, since you can drop in an AR-trigger — easy day. LOOSE ROUNDS From the outset, we initially just looked at this rifle as a Swiss-made SCAR. And it kind of is, but only in the way that most modern designs tend to share features with it. The B&T APC 308 is absolutely its own rifle with its own quirks. What we’d like to see from B&T in the future is an upgraded stock and trigger system for the DMR version, while keeping everything as-is for the shorter carbine configuration. Until that time, we’ll be more than satisfied using this as a combat rifle that’s capable of greater precision than most. B&T APC 308 Caliber: 7.62N Barrel Length: 18.9 inches Overall Length: 28.5 to 39.5 inches Weight: 10.5 pounds (unloaded) Capacity: 10, 20, 25 Atibal X $799 Brobro 35mm Mount $250 ERC Novus Silencer $1,000 Cloud Defense OWL $414 MSRP $3,700 Price as featured $6,163 URL bt-arms.com MORE FROM BRÜGGER AND THOMET For the first time in 50 years, the Army awarded a new new Submachine Gun contract, choosing the Brügger & Thomet APC9k. Not long later, the Miami Beach Police chose the APC9K as well. Way back in RECOIL 17, we got our hands on an APC223/556, an APC9/45, and a TP9. Here's the full article. In Recoil 45, we took a look at the B&T APC9K and compared it to the old-guard H&K MP5K in this Review. To see the the B&T APC9K in action, check it out on this Full Auto Friday on RECOILtv. For a more in-depth look at the APC9 Pistol, here's the RECOILtv Gun Room. Adaptable and Covert, the B&T Universal Service Weapon turns common pistols into tight-quarters CQB tools. B&T Brought back the Veterinary Pistol: the VP9. Explore RECOILweb:Vista: WashingtonSHOT16: Badger Ordnance M134 CPRSynopsis of This Week's Firearms Politics by Duane LiptakWeekly Deals From Around the Firearms Industry NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. 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