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Lightweight, Dirty, and Nerdy

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Diving Deep into the Enyo from Master of Arms

In the time since Eugene Stoner first started developing the Armalite Rifle back when Chubby Checker was at the top of the charts, a whole lot has happened to the system. Not even Stoner knew that it would truly become the modular rifle  of the future, rather than his later pet project specifically intended for the purpose, the Stoner 63.

Barrels got shorter, gas systems moved, silencers layered in complications, calibers changed, controls updated and swapped, belt-fed uppers constructed, heavier and lighter bolt carriers shaped, specialty bolts manufactured, extractors revised — there isn’t a single piece of the AR, from the smallest spring to the longest barrel, that hasn’t been changed, modified, and otherwise refined over time.

As a gun owner in 2017 it’s not hard to take a whole helluva lot for granted — every inch of progress gained started out as something design firms like to refer to as “challenges” rather than the more direct and honest word “problems.”

However, not every change could objectively be called an improvement. Many initially promising alterations later became relegated to mere oddities and gimmicks, or worse, hindrances. As the saying goes, you have to break a few eggs to find a diamond (or something like that).

In recent years, lightweight has been the name of the game. Blindly running down that rabbit hole can lead to absurdity and the indiscreet burning of copious amounts of cash. Zero in on a single goal over all others, and you’ll end up with some insane monster. #SkeletonizeEverything

Even so, the most satisfying endeavors are never the easy ones. And looking over the Enyo  from Master of Arms gives an inkling that this rifle was a labor of love, obsession, absolute nerdery, and yes, a dab of insanity. What we have in our hands is a preproduction prototype, so there are bound to be at least some minor changes when it’s in full production. We’ll note these as we go through the rifle.

We’ll state outright that this is the about farthest thing from an “Everyman” AR as one can get. The Enyo is costly, nearly entirely proprietary, requires special tools to work on, and an intimate and nuanced knowledge of the AR operating system is advisable.

master of arms rifle enyo rifle

Nothing New, at Least Not on the Surface
Initially, it looks fairly straightforward. From the minimalist stock and all of the carbon fiber, it’s plainly obvious the Enyo had light weight in mind. There’s also the mandatory skinny barrel. But we’ve seen lightweight before, several of them in fact. Back in Issue 21, we covered the 3-pound, 14.5-ounce (naked) Bentwood Gunsmithing OIP carbine. Further in that same issue we even built up our own from spare parts, coming in right at 4 pounds without sights or optics. At the 2017 SHOT Show, we played with a 3.5-pound Raptor AR from Fostech that we could easily swing from our pinky. So while somewhat rare in a package that weighs under 4 pounds, a lightweight AR in and of itself is nothing new.

Digging In
The upper and lower receivers on the Enyo aren’t your standard fare. Sure, they have the sleek weight-saving designs you see with many a billet receiver set — gone is the cage around the magazine release, port door, forward assist, and brass deflector. Even the top rail has a radius taken out of it. There are other weight saving measures too, such as the lack of a traditional castle nut/endplate system and even a (previously) ambidextrous safety selector with one side taken off.

It’s obvious as soon as you pick it up that you’re not dealing with your typical 7075-T6 aluminum, even a severely skeletonized one. And while Master of Arms does indeed sell a similar set to this one in 7075, dubbed the Esoteric, the Arcane set on the Enyo is something entirely different.

In the past we’ve seen plastic receivers, carbon-fiber forms, and various magnesium alloy sets with various degrees of success. Master of Arms chose something different: 7095 Tennalum.

This alloy has a strength-to-weight ratio approximately 35-percent higher than 7075-T6 and 28-percent higher than Grade 5 titanium. Of course, this means that it’s expensive and thus rarely seen in our market. We do question the wear resistance of 7095 Tennalum, as there’s a steel pin insert to secure the charging handle latch. However, this should be noted purely as speculation at this point.

Crack the rifle open, and it gets even weirder. Instead of pushing both takedown pins out left-to-right, the rear removes in the opposite direction. When we asked Master of Arms about this, we expected some kind of method to their madness. Instead, we got this: California laws, man, California laws. You see, under the current terrible restrictions in the Golden State, reloads with an AR may require the receiver be partially broken down to accomplish, depending on how you have the rifle configured. Having one pin go a different direction makes this slightly easier for their California customers who are lefties.

Thankfully, our Enyo required no such silly process to reload. F*ck California gun laws. There’s also a nice flare built into the magwell to ease reloads.
The inside view of the Arcane receiver shows some expected weight saving measures as well; nothing drastic, just thinner walls than normal and pockets milled out where a traditional receiver would sport solid metal.

ultralight AR rifle

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