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Preview – Bentwood Gunsmithing OIP Carbine – Pound for Pound

Lightweight (Carbine) at Any and All Costs

Floyd Mayweather Jr. burst onto the national scene as a featherweight, winning a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics and never looking back. Putting aside all the controversy in his personal life, Mayweather is undefeated in his professional career and his technical brilliance cannot be questioned. He’s widely considered to be one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time.

Bentwood Gunsmithing aims to do the same with their featherweight OIP (“Ounces Is Pounds”) carbine — delivering just what you need at the lightest possible weight with the greatest possible performance. Have they succeeded? Let’s take a look.

How Low Can You Go

The OIP had its genesis as a simple idea to build a lightweight gun that just plain worked. Dave Lake and Matt Babb of Bentwood Gunsmithing spent years perfecting the concept, incorporating the latest components where they existed and working with companies to customize parts that didn’t. They wanted a well-balanced gun with an optimized operating system and literally no excess — to be as light as humanly possible.

OIP-02 OIP-03

Bentwood didn’t want to utilize polymer receivers and worked with Battle Arms Development to develop a super lightweight receiver set with intricate machining to shave as much weight as they could. They investigated some more exotic material choices, but found them to be prohibitively expensive. The top rail is abbreviated, making it clear that Bentwood intended this rifle to be run with a red dot optic without backup iron sights — Bentwood’s Dave Lake explained that the OIP was designed for domestic professionals and consumers, not military end users. “Better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them” was not a refrain in Bentwood’s keep-it-lean design philosophy for the OIP. The upper and lower weigh in at just 12.3 ounces, amazingly light for billet aluminum. You can purchase similar receivers from Battle Arms, though they aren’t as aggressively lightened.

The barrel is the heaviest part of a rifle. There are unavoidable functional compromises in designing a barrel, as lighter barrels will give up accuracy more quickly as they heat up than heavier ones — but heavy profiles can be cumbersome boat anchors. Bentwood makes no bones about this and made great efforts to strike a good balance — they were willing to really invest in the barrel. It’s manufactured by Faxon, from 4150 steel with a Wylde chamber and nitride treatment. Bentwood went so far as to license Knight’s Armament Company’s patented dimpling to reduce weight, while maintaining as much stiffness as possible. There’s also more metal on the breech end, and the gas journal is sized perfectly for the gas block. Pinned and welded to the barrel is a customized, suppressor-compatible, titanium muzzle brake based on a Hawkins Precision design (a flash hider is optional). The barrel is machined to time the muzzle brake and just long enough to reach 16 inches in overall length. The extra investment in machining maximizes the barrel length and obviates the need for washers and an unnecessarily long muzzle device to avoid SBR status. The barrel alone is about 17 ounces; Bentwood experimented with even lighter profiles, but decided against it.

For the rest of this article, subscribe here: RECOIL Issue 21

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