The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Buildsheet: Hacksaw Special

We Make Short Things Shorter

The build for this issue is all about small. And if something wasn’t small enough — we followed the best traditions of the Wile E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing and busted out the hacksaw and Dremel.

The center of this story revolves around an 8.5-inch Rainier Arms Ultramatch Mod2 barrel chambered in .223 Wylde. Most everything about this barrel is built to Rainier specs: Starting with a Melonited 416 stainless barrel with a 1:7.5 twist barrel, a TiN barrel extension is added, and the barrel is atypically contoured and profiled. Instead of a standard 0.750, skinny 0.625, fatty 0.875, or 0.936-inch gas block seat, Rainier Arms determined 0.800 inch was ideal for their purposes. Of course, a Rainier Arms gas block must be used, which they will happily bundle for you. Unfortunately, we didn’t end up with an adjustable block so we need to ensure to use a lower-pressure silencer.

While a stubby barrel might seem contrary to the concept of “Ultramatch,” mostly what you lose with a short barrel is velocity and not accuracy. You do have to be more choosey with ammunition, however.

The trigger follows the same match theme. The Hiperfire X2S Mod-1 is a two-stage trigger with a slightly longer first stage for those who like to pull up some slack before a crisp 3-pound break. If you’ve never installed a Hiperfire before, we suggest you watch one of their videos on the subject because it’s significantly different than a standard trigger.

To keep everything short and tight, we dropped on the spring-loaded Strike Industries PDW stock, and it’s also fun to deploy.

We had a 15-inch Bootleg Inc CamLock M-LOK handguard, which we initially thought we would dock a silencer inside since the rail is quick-disconnect. However, with an internal diameter of under 1.4 inches, virtually no 5.56 suppressor would fit. Plus, it makes everything hot and horrible. A hacksaw gave us a custom size, and a Dremel and Alumablack cleaned up some of our rough work.

The upper receiver is also by Bootleg Inc, and we popped in a complete Ballistic Advantage bolt carrier group. The lower receiver was robbed from an already-registered SBR because the ATF was taking their sweet time as this was being put together. The charging handle is the Battle Arms Development RACK, which is a totally different approach to an ambidextrous handle. Left side, right side, weird angles — it doesn’t matter. The RACK is a smooth operator.

Most all of the small parts and pieces also came from Battle Arms Development. We combined their enhanced magazine release with their enhanced modular magazine button.

For the selector, we rolled with the BAD-ASS PRO ambidextrous safety selector. It doesn’t have any pins or screws to lose, and the angle can be selected for either a 60- or 90-degree throw. This was the second part that got the chop to for reasons very specific to me. Since I use a very high hold on the pistol grip and have what have been described as child’s hands, even short-throw ambi safeties can dig into the trigger finger when moving to the firing position. A little shortening and now all is well.

The G10 grip is a VZ Operator II-Gen 2. Out of the box, these are extremely aggressive, so a little sandpaper was used to soften it a scootch, and once again we stood by with a hacksaw in hand to make it into a stubby Kurz grip.

For a silencer, we initially thought a Dead Air Nomad-Ti (see page 150) would make for a lightweight warrior even though a shorty 5.56 barrel would eat it in short order. But unlike other Dead Air cans, there are barrel restrictions with the Nomad-Ti (no shorter than 12.5 inches with 5.56). We decided instead on a SilencerCo Chimera, which has no such restrictions. We added a Dead Air Saker KeyMo adapter and flash hider to round out the package.

We pondered on the optic configuration for a considerable period. While purportedly this could fill a more precise role in a pinch, we decided on a magnifier setup instead of a low-powered variable optic for this little guy for best use in close quarters. A tan EOtech EXPS3-0 was installed, and the latest flipside 3x EO magnifier, the G43, was placed behind it.

For a weapon light setup, we scoured the box of lights in the shop and chose an older Streamlight ProTac Rail Mount 2 on an Arisaka Defense in-line mount with a Cloud Defensive LCSmk2k mount for easy use on the 12 o’clock rail.

Because we’re talking about a hacked-down handguard complete with a pistol-length system, the forend can get super hot. To negate the thermals, we enlisted the help of Arcane Concerted and their TAR grip rail covers. Available in several colors and lengths, these protect your hands from heat while leaving the top rail open and can be customized for cutouts such as VFGs or other accessories.

Recoil is robust, so we’ll be addressing that in the near future with some form of gas regulation. In the end, we ended up with a relatively lightweight, certainly small, fast, and accurate rifle. And that’s something we can all get behind.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in RECOIL #51]


8.5-inch Rainier Arms Ultramatch Mod2 barrel:

Bootleg Inc upper receiver: $180

Noreen Firearms Billet Lower: $60

Bootleg Inc CamLock Handguard: $160

Strike Industries PDW stock: $275

Hiperfire X2S Mod-1 trigger: $200

Ballistic Advantage BCG: $125

BAD-ASS-PRO selector: $45
BAD mag catch: $9

BAD-EMMR mag release: $22

Battle Arms Bolt Catch: $15

Battle Arms RACK charging handle: $125

VZ Operator II Grip: $85

SilencerCo Chimera: $1,030

Dead Air Saker KeyMo: $249

Dead Air Flash Hider: $89

Arcane Concerted TAR Grip: $90

Streamlight ProTac RM2: $132

Arisaka Defense inline Scout Mount: $40

Cloud Defensive LCSmk2k: $70

EOTech EXPS3-0: $725

EOTech G43 magnifier: $629

My Southern Tactical Crayon PMag: $28

Total: $4,653

Buildsheets: Past and Present

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Free