Recently APO’s ordnance department finished up a technology demonstrator rifle that has really caught the attention of a number of our customers. We’ve had on-going discussions with Jim Gilliland of Shadow 6 Consulting for some time about the merits of a short barreled .308 caliber rifle for tactical law enforcement, urban wildlife control and hog hunting.
Jim has a considerable professional background on the use and application of .308 sniper rifles and feels strongly that barrels longer than 20” (except in long range shooting applications) are more cumbersome and heavier than need be for a given use. In fact, he’s a serious advocate for a 16.5" precision rifle fed with the “appropriate” ammunition. Jim suggests such a rifle can fulfill a number of special needs at short to intermediate ranges which would be ideal for law enforcement tactical marksmen among other applications.
So with a bit of R&D time invested, APO’s product development team and gunsmiths got together with Jim to create technical specifications and then built a rifle. Over the past two weeks we invited some law enforcement, military snipers, a couple of wildlife control specialists and recreational rifle shooters to come over and get some trigger time in on our little .308K1 Tactical Rifle.
The APO .308K1 Tactical Rifle in the slideshow above is built on a X-Treme titanium short action receiver, Pinnacle Series 16.5" 1-in-8 twist 5R 416RQ fluted stainless steel barrel, AAC Blackout 51T muzzle brake, and 762SD suppressor. The primary day optic is a Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44, Insight MRDS close combat optic on a return to zero GDI PROM-L scope mount. The base rifle weight is a tick over 11lbs. This is all built on Ashbury’s latest SABER RSA-A3 MOD-1 “K” model modular rifle chassis.
Now you might be wondering about what Jim meant by “appropriate” ammunition? So we gathered up some likely suspects and below you’ll see the data sets. By far the best performing ammunition in terms of “precision” in this rifle is the RUAG Swiss-P at sub ½ MOA. However, with that being said, the Hornady and Lapua supersonic ammunitions provided solid sub ¾ MOA accuracy. Subsonic ammo from both brands shot consistently sub 1 MOA, yet we did see a preference for the 200gr projectiles.
We shot various specialty ammunition from RUAG that provides “matched ballistics” at 100 yards and it shot awesome. That includes Styx Action (rapid expansion), Tactical (glass penetration), and Armor Piercing (AP). Here is a link to the various types of RUAG Swiss-P in different calibers other than .308. By the way Styx Action projo’s “crush” varmints and big game!
The .308K1 with its short stubby barrel has great potential in light of the fact that it’s losing only about 140 fps of velocity over a longer 20" tube which is still shorter than the normal 24" to 26" standard length .308 barrels - with no loss of precision we might add! If you plug the velocity data into any popular ballistic software package like FDAC or Field Firing Solutions note how far the Swiss-P 175gr, Hornady 168gr TAP, or 167gr Scenar remains supersonic.