Issue 27 Preview – LWRCI CSASS Tom Marshall Photos by Straight 8 LWRCI’s Army-Inspired, Piston-Driven Precision Gun Way back in 2012, the U.S. Army put forth a “sources sought” notice for a Compact, Semi-Automatic Sniper System — CSASS, to save on word count. At the time, the M110 — a 7.62 gas gun produced by Knight’s Armament and based on its SR-25 — was doing all kinds of good work in bad places. But it was still a little long, heavy, and generally ungainly. So the military broadcasted a request for a rifle with the same (or better) capabilities in a shorter, lighter package. A number of companies submitted samples for the eventual CSASS competition. LWRCI was one of them. This rifle is now available to civilian shooters, and we were lucky enough to get our grubby mitts on one. Admittedly, this is not LWRCI’s first foray into the AR-10-style platform. The previously released REPR also touts 7.62 knockdown power and match-grade reach. The CSASS, having been designed specifically for a military contract, has some differences. The most obvious is that the REPR has a side-charging receiver, as opposed to the CSASS’s charging handle, which is traditionally T-shaped and top mounted. Original REPRs were equipped with a four-position gas block. The CSASS is equipped with a 20-position gas block. For us knuckle-draggers, that sounds like too many positions. But this allows precision tuning for specific loads and (more importantly) specific load/suppressor combinations. Both rifles utilize LWRCI’s trademark short-stroke piston system. Both feed from SR-25/LR-25 pattern magazines. But the CSASS incorporates some product improvements over the REPR to increase accuracy potential. These include a mono-forged one-piece upper receiver, a hammer-forged chamber that (according to factory reps) allows the barrel to sit tighter against the upper receiver, and no need for a rail base. The barrel in the CSASS is the same as the one in the REPR — a hammer-forged tube treated with LWRCI’s NiCorr finish. This barrel produces good results in the REPR, but is further optimized in the CSASS by the aforementioned upgrades. The CSASS package is touted by LWRCI to be 1 MOA out of the box with match-grade ammo. Now that we’ve dangled the carrot, here comes the stick: The MSRP is approximately $4,000. That’s more than three times the price of our first car … and almost twice the price of our second car … and only a couple hundred less than our third. True story. If you choose to stop reading now, we won’t hold it against you. But try taking a peek at Going Hot to get your blood pressure down, and then come back. Not many of us have that kind of cash on hand. Even fewer want to take out a mortgage on a long gun. However, when you look at rifles in this class — that is, semi-auto precision rifles in 7.62 that are rated worthy of no-sh*t combat service — you won’t find anything for much less. Building these guns is resource intensive, and the handful of companies who produce them on any kind of scale have to get their return-on-investment somehow. This is especially true for those brands that have chosen piston-driven designs. Conventional wisdom says piston guns face several additional hurdles to honing accuracy, such as an increase in reciprocating mass and the inability to truly free float the barrel. What about your return-on-investment? What are you getting for four G’s that you can’t get for two? That’s what we wanted to find out. But before we get into the nitty gritty of this particular rifle, here’s a nugget of hard-earned wisdom: it takes a dedicated, knowledgeable shooter (or die-hard connoisseur) to truly quantify thousands of dollars’ worth of value in a firearm. We find this to be true regardless of the type of weapon — whether high-end tack drivers, machine guns, guns with historical provenance, or even 1911s made from a crashed meteorite. (Yes, that’s a real thing. Look it up.) We know such people are out there, and we’re pretty sure most of them read RECOIL, but this article isn’t just for them. Whether you like to nerd out over the coolest military rifle competitions, you demand only the finest of fine-tuned lead projectors, or you’re just a sucker for awesome photography, the LWRC1 CSASS is an impressive feat of human engineering that’s also easy on the eyes. Now, let’s take a look at what it can do. For the rest of this article, subscribe here: RECOIL Issue 27 Explore RECOILweb:Going Hot - Jessica HarbourGoing Hot - Erica NagashimaATF's Perplexing Interpretation of Stabilizing BracesWilson Combat Beretta Custom Series - Good news for 92/96 Owners 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. 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). Click here to get IMMEDIATE ACCESS to a digital PDF of this target pack!