The Savage Company has been manufacturing firearms since 1894. Their MSR (Modern Savage Rifle) 15 Recon is an upgraded Patrol model and one of ten models in their current AR line-up. The rifle features MIL-SPEC parts and is fitted with many Blackhawk (a sister company) accessories.
At first glance it is obvious that the basic configuration of upper and lower receiver, bolt assembly, charging handle and controls are all pretty much what one should expect of the 1956 Armalite design (first seen in 1959). A plethora of manufacturers have entered this very lucrative market since the expiry of the patent in 1977; Savage started manufacturing ARs in 2017.
Unloaded, the rifle weighs 3.53kg. The upper and lower receiver is forged from 7075-T6 aluminium – lightweight but with high tensile strength. The MSR is manufactured with a forward assist, something that is missing from many modern AR versions.
The MSR features a 16⅛-inch, 4140 Chrome-Moly Vanadium steel barrel, button-cut with Savage’s 1 in 8 inch 5R right-hand twist rifling. The rifling is a departure from the standard 90 degree shoulder between land and groove in that it is slanted – Savage claims this makes cleaning easier and lowers bullet friction. The barrel is coated with Melonite inside and out for durability – it also looks good. The crown is cut to an 11 degree angle and the barrel has a muzzle-brake which further protects the crown.
The barrel has a .223 Wylde chamber which accepts both .223 Rem and 5.56x45 Nato cartridges. It has a mid-length direct impingement gas system. Gas generated by the burning propellant is bled off through a hole in the barrel wall, just past midway, travels down a gas tube to push the bolt-carrier rearward, ejecting the fired case. The gas block is of low profile to permit a small hand-guard, and is adjustable, enabling you to ‘tune’the gas system for optimal cycling performance based on the chosen ammunition. The bolt is precisely aligned with, and its face squared to, the bore-axis for optimum accuracy.
For an AR, the trigger is excellent, featuring a nickel-boron treatment; it breaks crisply at about 6 pounds, with very little take-up and a short reset.
The 12-inch free-floating M-Lok handguard extends to a few inches short of the muzzle, facilitating the attachment of side-mounted bipods, slings, light-switches or sights for added versatility. The guard is slim and sits comfortably in the hand. The M-Lok design has bevelled edges on the cut-outs providing a comfortable grip. Topping the handguard is an 18-inch Picatinny rail for attaching whatever takes your fancy – telescopic or reflex sights, aftermarket “iron”sights or 45 degree backup sights, laser aiming devices, flashlights or slings.
Read the full article in the April 2019 issue of Magnum.