What is a Lightweight Modern Sporting Rifle? TPF takes a look!
The origins of the much enjoyed AR-15 platform started back in the mid-1950’s with Eugene Stoner’s 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle design, the Armalite Rifle Model 10, also known as the AR-10. In 1957, Mr. Stoner and two engineers, Jim Sullivan, and Bob Fremont, were tasked to design a scaled down version of the AR-10 to use a .22 calibre cartridge and the result was the Armalite Rifle Model 15. Due to poor marketing of the AR-15 design, Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation, the parent company of Armalite, sold the AR-10 & AR-15 designs to Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company in 1959. Starting in 1962, the AR-15 design was utilized and adopted by the military of the United States in both the original and a fully automatic version, the M-16; and saw the design’s first true widespread usage during the war of Vietnam. There were many issues, which were found during those years of abuse and extreme environmental usage. You may have seen the movies and videos of soldiers of that era equipped with an AR-15/M-16 who religiously cleaned their rifles in every moment outside of actual combat. There is a bit of truth in that, hence why those scenes were so common.
Fast forward, a half a century and the AR-15 platform has become the measuring stick for determining what construes the Modern Sporting Rifle. The widespread definition of a Modern Sporting Rifle, to be called MSR henceforth, came about in 2009, as Mr. Randy Luth, then retiring President and Founder of DPMS firearms, continued to promote the AR-15 platform as a viable firearm to the hunting market in the United States. A MSR is one of which has most, if not all, of the following features:
- Semi-automatic in operation. The redirection of a portion of generated energy to enable self-reloading allows for lower recoil, and thereby faster recovery and follow-up shots.
- Mounts a pistol grip. This allows for more comfortable hold as well as having more ergonomic access to operating controls of the firearm (safety, bolt release, etc…)
- Utilizes a detachable magazine as a means of reloading the firearm both simply and easily.
- Has an adjustable stock which enable the ability to allow for personalized “fit-up” for individual users.
- Incorporates accessory mounts that allow the installation of optics as well as possibly multitude of other accessories that are customized to the individual’s requirements.
With over 50 years of history and production of a wide variety of AR styled rifle platforms, it has become such a popular design that a seemingly endless number of manufacturers offer their own versions. With prices of a few of these ranging up to several thousand dollars before even buying a magazine, the AR runs the gambit for value for the consumer’s ability and desire to purchase quality and performance. The balance point for the individual user is the issue, but stereotypically firearms owners in Canada are somewhat frugal in nature. The old saying of “Knowing is half the battle”, applies to O’Dell Engineering, a Canadian distributor of firearms and accessories has taken that to heart with their recently launched Lightweight Modern Sporting Rifle, or LMSR. It incorporates modern polymers and proven designs to bring a quality AR platform rifle to the firearms community of Canada.
Here at Tactical, Practical & Fantastical; were delighted to acquire one of the original entry level LMSR’s offered by O’Dell Engineering and have brought it to you, our readers.. So without further delay let’s take a look at the intro level LMSR available in Canada.
The LMSR is an AR-15 platform rifle, which incorporates all the features mentioned about for defining a Modern Sporting Rifle, and like a typical AR-15 has three primary components. A lower receiver, an upper receiver and the bolt carrier group. The lower receiver in this case is manufactured by American Tactical and is comprised of injection-molded polymer and is machined to exacting specifications. The standard AR15/M4, six position polymer stock is mounted on the commercial diameter buffer tube and factory trigger comes set between four to five pounds of force. The controls are the standard common versions found on most basic AR platforms.
The upper receiver is an anodized black, A3 flattop profile, that is machined from cast 7075-T6 aluminum which is roughly 50% stronger than 6061-T6 aluminum for superior wear, stress resistance and fatigue levels. The barrel of the reviewed LMSR is hammer forged and 406mm (16.0″) in length. The barrel itself has a surface treatment known as Melonite Nitrocarburizing Process, which not only adds surface hardness, but also improves corrosion and wear resistance as well. Chambered in 5.56x45mm and sporting a 1 in 7″ rate of twist, the barrel also has a protected crown, also known as a recessed crown; and a bolt-on low profile, picatinny railed gas block located at the carbine positioned gas port. The receiver rail and the gas block rail are not co-linear in height however, so prospective users should be aware of this fact.
The furniture is basic and black, with a standard A2 grip and two-piece, carbine length, hand guards. With the rear take down pin movement being extremely snug to insert and remove; the upper and lower fit together so securely that there is absolutely no need for an accu-wedge or shimming to have a solid, rattle-free, assembly.
The Specifications of the LMSR – Intro level (as reviewed)
Classification: Restricted firearm
Action: Semi-automatic, direct impingement gas system
Calibre: 5.56x45mm/.223 Remington
Lower: Black polymer, 6 position M4 style collapsing buttstock, commercial diameter buffer tube, 4-5 lb trigger
Upper: Anodized black 7075-T6, A3 picatinny rail flat-top profile
Barrel: 16″ black melonite finish, carbine length 2-pc hand guard, picatinny gas block, recessed crown, 1:7 twist
Mass: 2.6kg (5.73lbs) w/o magazine & optics
As this specific rifle is to become the test rifle for many future accessories to be reviewed here at TPF, it was only fair for the author to put this rifle through it’s paces and season it. So over the course of the last year this rifle has had several hundred rounds fed through it, both to test accuracy and durability of what is a value priced, entry level AR platform for the Canadian marketplace. For our labour of love the author mounted an Eotech 512.A65 far forward on the upper’s picatinny rail to ensure that there was minimal possible distortion. Once dialed in, the rifle spit 45-55 grain projectiles downrange and consistently was able to shoot 20 cm (8″) diameter steel plates from offhand shooting positions @ 91m (100y) and engage all forms of targets in local 3-Gun scenarios. TPF’s LMSR in the factory configuration has been tried with a variety of magazines, several hundred factory and reloaded rounds of ammunition and has suffered zero failures to fire and eject at the time of this TPF installment.
The LSMR (Intro Level) comes with a 16″ barrel length, which has an MSRP of $899.99 CDN and is assembled and distributed throughout Canada by O’Dell Engineering Limited. To find a retailer near you access their Dealer page. There is a premium version available that is outfitted with a High Standard, chrome lined barrel in 16″, 14.5″ or 10.5″ length options; all of which have a 1/2″-28 threaded A2 flash-hider “birdcage” mounted and sport an bayonet lugged A2 gas block with a fixed front sight for true co-witness ability. The question is whether you the reader feel that the LMSR is Practical, Tactical, or Fantastical.
P.S.: The LMSR has, as of mid-2014, been upgraded with a second generation lower with added features and manufacturing advancements. The new rifle designation is the LMSR2. If you want to ask the Distributor questions you can reach them on facebook HERE.
SHOT Show 2013
January 15-18, 2013. These were the days that the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. With this being the 35th anniversary of the event, one would have expected the event to be a little more upbeat and celebratory in nature. However with the looming issues of multiple executive orders by President Obama and the idiotic “gun control” laws being tabled by the State of New York, the mood was slightly more somber at the largest trade show of its kind in the world.
That was not to say that the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers whom attended as exhibitors and consumers were not busy hammering our deals and displaying new products for 2013… If anything the business side of the industry has been at its highest levels in years with order delivery dates being a year for some instead of a couple of months due to commercial demand. In the few days following the Sandy Hill tragedy, consumer fears resulted in unheard of demand for products, such as Brownell’s selling of 36 months of typical inventory of P-Mags in under 72 hours. Three years of standard sales compressed into under 3 days. Firearms are in such high demand that orders prior to the SHOT Show had already exceeded 800,000 units above currently produced items. That was a SINGLE firearms manufacturer who has orders for over three-quarters of a million firearms and the trade show had not even started yet. From a business perspective 2012 and 2013 are banner years for the industry due to worry about bans and confiscations by the current government administration.
Enough depressing thoughts however. With over 62,000 attendees, plus exhibitors, the 2013 SHOT Show had a record level of attendance. Over 2,000 media representatives scoured the 5.85 hectares (630,000 square feet) of booth space and got the news on what products are new, and what products are hot from over 1,600 exhibiting companies. With over 1,600 companies and the officially open time of the show being a total of 34.5 hours; it equates to only 77 seconds of visiting time per booth. Now that does not seem that bad, except it does not include the 28km (17.4 miles) of aisles of walking between exhibitor booths. So in reality attendees who want to travel the entire show spend roughly 5.5 hours walking the show which drops that down to roughly a minute per booth. Go search on YouTube or google and you will see that most stops are several minutes long. So IF you are going to SHOT Shows in the future, please remember a couple of things.
- Plan out who you need to see versus want to see
- Bring a very comfortable pair of shoes (or two)
- For those who are looking to sign purchase agreements – Bring a cheque-book and a pen
- For Media who have to lug around their equipment? One word – Cardio
- Have fun
Now amidst the hustle and bustle of the SHOT Show there are attendees from all over the world. In fact over 100 countries have people at SHOT Show in various capacities, and Canada is no exception. Similarly to the past half-dozen or more years, the author was there representing the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) and as well, TPF in a more recent capacity. One of the evening events that became an informal tradition was a CSSA/Canadian Meet and Greet during the show. While last years was not held due to a lack of foresight, this year was special. With the help of a couple Canadian supporters, the event was a fully fledged social gathering.
Special thanks to the following organizations and companies:
- The Canadian Shooting Sports Association: For encouraging TPF to exist and continue this fine tradition of holding a SHOT Show gathering for Canadians who attend.
- O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group: These three companies made it possible to bring in the food and drink to keep the attendees from having parched throats and empty bellies. It was their support that made the event such a great success.
With the President of the CSSA and the executive director of CILA present as well as a multitude of individuals the evening lasted from 7:00pm until just before midnight, the gathering was well attended and a good time was had by all. Discussions ranged from the current state of Canadian and US affairs regarding firearms to the top Canadian firearms that people should own. Newly found Calibre Magazine was there with several copies of their first publication, which was well received by all attendees.
Nearly twenty people partook of the gathering and while slightly more manoeuvering room would have been appreciated, it was a very enjoyable time and deemed a success, especially due to the last-minute preparations. As the first such event hosted by the CSSA at SHOT Show that was sponsored by members of the Canadian shooting industry, talks are already in the works for expanding and improving the venue for the next year’s SHOT Show. On behalf of the CSSA and it’s members, TPF-Online would like to thank O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group for their contributions, a damned good time, and we look forwards to next year. Please be sure to visit these wonderful companies and find out who their dealers are in your area and have a look!
Also many thanks to Mr. Ly @ Transgressive Media for his images of the event.