New Rifle Update


Not long ago, I mentioned having the urge to start a new project.  My observation back in June was that my main rifle, which began life as a KISS iron sight rifle, had grown in weight and capability to become my go-to for most things. Despite that, I still really enjoyed the basic configuration. I started sketching out a new lightweight minimalist project, which I’m designating my “field rifle,” or “walking around rifle.”

This is the original mockup I did on Gunstruction.


At this point, I have the lower assembly completed.

  • Rainier Arms lower receiver
  • Sionics lower parts kit
  • Magpul MOE Rifle Stock
  • Hogue overmold pistol grip without finger grooves
  • ALG ACT trigger
  • Magpul MOE trigger guard


I’ve been playing with this assembled lower on my 20″ upper to see how I like it. So far, so good. The Rainier lower, which I presume is made by Mega Machine based on some of the features, is very nice. The roll pin holes were tight, which is not a bad thing, and took some finesse on my part. I’m not one to mind my lowers looking a little “used,” but I can see some people being concerned about the effort required to drive in certain pins (particularly the trigger guard).

The Hogue pistol grip is quite nice, it has the nice rubberized texture Hogue is famous for, a subtle palm swell, and is shaped more or less like an A1 grip. The Hogue grips have a little lip protrusion that is intended to fill the gap created by the standard AR trigger guard. However, since I’m using a Magpul MOE trigger guard, which is designed to fill the gap itself, I had to cut the “lip” off the top of the grip. No big deal, less than a minute with my Leatherman.

The MOE Rifle stock is awesome. I installed one on an unfinished 308 lower years ago, and have shot them on rifles I’ve built for friends, but never put one on one of my own ARs. It offers a very nice cheek weld and fits my length of pull perfectly.

The ACT trigger has been in my stable for years as a backup to my Geissele triggers. It will be front-and-center now, though. It’s just a good all-round mil spec style trigger. The single stage has a very minor amount of creep, but I don’t really care given the style of shooting this project is intended for.

Going forward, I plan on using a Faxon 18″ Gunner barrel (with a Criterion Ultralight 18″ in close second). Following that, I’ll be finishing the project with a Rainier Arms forged upper receiver (without forward assist), Rainier bolt carrier group, and Magpul MOE rifle handguards mounted behind a standard F-Marked front sight tower. For a rear sight, I will likely use the BCM carry handle I already have on hand, but may go with either an LMT sight or Larue A1 style sight in the long run. I plan completing this project before pre-election panic buying gets into full swing, which will make parts dry up pretty quickly. That is, of course, assuming the parts I want are available in my desired timeframe.



8 thoughts on “New Rifle Update”

  1. Head’s up: the gas block journal is only about an inch long on the Faxon gunner barrel so a standard FSB is a no go. I know because I tried it. That is, unless you don’t mind the front ring on the FSB not grabbing on to anything. The gunner barrel is super skinny out front. Unfortunately, gunstrction doesn’t show you that or else I might’ve gone with a different barrel. I suppose you could have just the rear one pinned but I know some smiths don’t like drilling through a nitrided finish. I ended up switching to a free-float forend and a low profile gas block. Otherwise, it has been a pretty good barrel for me. Very light weight and fairly accurate.

    1. I was aware of that, but Faxon mentioned that they lengthened the gas block journals to 1.9″ last year in order to accommodate fixed FSB. Brownells still puts the shorter journal on their page, but I talked to Nathan at Faxon and he said that it shouldn’t be the case anymore with Brownells inventory.

      1. Ah, I didn’t know that. I just didn’t want you to make the same mistake I did. Should make for a lightweight, comfortable rifle.

    1. Thank you, guys! I already committed the money to the Faxon on this one, but I have kept you in mind for finishing a .308 project that’s been sitting in my safe for a while. Though, I still haven’t settled if it is going to be your 18″ Hybrid with rifle gas (10180-HYR) or the lightweight version sold by Fulton Armory. There only seems to be a 3.2 oz difference between them, and I wonder what that 3.2 means with regards to the handling/accuracy characteristics of each profile.

      1. The difference largely pertains to barrel thickness and length. The Hybrid model is a bit thicker both behind and in front of the gas block journal, but the Fulton model is a bit longer (by about a half inch). The chamber specifications are also slightly different between the two, but you should have good luck with 168 and 175 gr. loads (I generally prefer the 175 gr. Lapua Scenar load from Creedmoor Ammunition).

        It might be worth noting that the Hybrid contour models are available if purchasing factory direct, but the Fulton models will need to be placed through Fulton Armory’s website.


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