The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Preview – 2A Armament Sub 6-Pound AR-10

How to Put Together a Lightweight .308 From South of the Equator

Photos by Straight 8 and Jenn Cady

We’ve all been fortunate enough to be part of the firearms community over the last several years, which has given us the opportunity to bear witness to some pretty cool technological innovations. Not quite at the level of the self-contained metallic cartridge, but significant nonetheless.

Some of these advancements are huge and everyone takes notice, others more subtle, and then some go totally unnoticed. Similar to a new release of a popular smartphone or video game console, the firearms industry seems to release new products every few months that makes the same make and model you just waited months to order feel obsolete.

As an individual this can lead to jealousy, online hate and envy (thanks, Instagram!), and confusion based on which company is making “the best” product you happen to desire, such as an aftermarket Glock barrel. See our feature, “Aftermarket Glock Barrel Testing” elsewhere in this issue to see what I mean.

One noticeable trend in the last few years that continues to appeal to all of us who work on a two-way range is the reduction of weight. This is nothing new. I’m even willing to put my career on the line and state that weight reduction has been an ongoing battle since the adoption of the scutum and pilum by the Romans. Given the option, we humans just don’t like to carry heavy loads (the 0331 MOS is considered superhuman, so they don’t count).

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We obsess over pounds here and ounces there in order to save us pain while hunting, on the range, or on a patrol. No matter what genre of the shooting sports you love, you probably want something lighter and usually you want the same or more performance out of your kit. This could be a search for more lumens from a flashlight that weighs less than last year’s model, or it could be a new release of running shoes that weigh grams less than a model from a few months ago. Either way, we always want and always pursue light weight for our comfort, while still demanding the same performance, accuracy, and dependability from previous generations of the same item.

I recently experienced this demand while my neck, upper back, and bulging biceps were humping a .308 battle rifle across the eastern part of Africa. We all know and love (or hate) certain .308 platforms from all parts of the world to include the FN FAL, the FN SCAR 17, the LaRue OBR, the MK-14, the L1A1, and the HK-417, as well as the AR-10 variants that are out there today, just to name a few. Why the f*ck are they all so heavy?

Why can’t we have a lighter rifle with the same power? Why, why, why … oh wait, it’s 2017, so I know there has to be a rifle out there that is half the weight of the traditional .308 battle rifles, while being more accurate at the same time. I scoured the Internet from camp (which, surprisingly worked rather well given the conditions) and rediscovered 2A Armament out of Boise, Idaho.

The folks there informed me that they had just released their .308 XLR-18 rifle that weighed in at 6.75 pounds and was priced around the $3,000 range. This compared favorably to other, similar AR-10 variants that also happened to be much heavier, but may have had an edge in accuracy. I spoke with their staff via satellite phone and relayed my ideas. I wanted to make an even lighter rifle, but to do so would mean using parts from industry competitors to make it happen. Without any hesitation, they signed up for the project, so the quest was on.

During down time, I contacted the companies I felt would help turn my notebook scribbles into reality, in a process no doubt familiar to anyone who’s ever bolted together an AR. The problem, of course, with an AR-10 is the lack of standardization, so it’s a tribute to the various companies involved that they patiently answered my questions regarding whether their products would work with somebody else’s.

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