Three Times The Charm

Either you’ve built a precision long range (PLR) rifle, or you have not. Maybe you are considering a build? Maybe you’ve begun the arduous task of research?

Perhaps that’s how you landed here.

A man can dream. And if your dream is leaning in the direction of selecting a Remington 700 for your base rifle—followed by an optic and a trigger and a stock—I’m here to invite you to dream differently. Because it’s a well-worn path that may not carry with it the rewards that you imagine.

Enter the UPR15, a bolt action AR15 upper that will knock your socks off!

I’m amazed at the level of pushback I have gotten from various friends in the know—in the precision, long range, shooting sphere—when I disclosed that I recently purchased a bolt action 14.5 AR15 upper in 6 mm arc. And it’s not the first time that one of my pet projects have been met with, “let-me-talk-some-sense-into-you” speech.

Like the time when I opted for a 7-inch barrel in 300 Blackout as opposed to a 9. Or like the time I knocked 4 inches off my 22’ 6.5 Creedmoor barrel to have an 18. If you know anything about these calibers, you’re probably scratching your head like… 5.5-inch barrels are common in 300 blackout (these days) and 16-inch barrels in 6.5 Creedmoor. And you’d be right. But even the most well-informed people are susceptible to bias based upon established norms.

Everyone is susceptible to this phenomenon. I’ve tested it, by calling upon a number of my precision, long range, shooting aficionado friends and telling them that I got into a 6.5 CM… with a 26-inch barrel. When they begin to balk, I tell them that I get an extra 140 feet-per-second (FPS) at the barrel at 26 inches. Still. They grumble. “That sounds like a real jousting rod. You going to run it suppressed?”

And it would be. The gain of 140 FPS doesn’t sound like a selling point. But the loss of 140 FPS somehow turns into a deal breaker with the equation in reverse. It’s the perception of loss (of what you already have) that is difficult to stomach for most.

So, before 6mm ARC in a 14.5 barrel length becomes the norm, I want to say, I did it. And if you want to do it, you should go for it!

The next hurdle is a narrative of how the round was designed and what any given round is supposed to be about:

  • 6mm ARC was “designed around an 18-inch barrel”.
  • 6mm ARC was “designed around a gas gun system”.
  • 6mm ARC was “designed to get greater penetration than a 5.56”.
  • 6mm ARC was “designed to better engage barricaded targets”.

It is a wish list, fulfilled by an exciting new cartridge. Ultimately, it’s just a projectile like the ones that are projected by any other rifle. Other projectiles before it were better or worse at maintaining stability and velocity and defeating targets behind barricades. But this is new, so we buy into the norms and the narrative.

But what really sets the 6mm ARC apart is that it’s projected from a light weight AR15, identical in form factor and function.

Unless…

You choose for yourself a (14.5) bolt action UPR15 upper from Uintah Precision, like I did.

So. With the penalty flags of norms and losses still in the air, let me articulate for you why, and strike down the objections in turn in the process.

But first, let me make my case from the get-go.

I travel a bunch and when I travel, I bring along an AR15. An AR15 (and corresponding kit) is a checked bag unto itself. If you are going to travel with an AR15 on a regular basis, you might want to consider going with something shy of a 16-inch barrel. How much shorter is up to you. But a barrel shorter than 16 inches requires you to choose one of two options: an AR pistol or filing and paying for the right/privilege to own a short, barreled rifle (SBR).

If you are an SBR guy, that is your prerogative. But in order to travel across State lines with an SBR you need to notify the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) which will issue you a letter of permission to travel with your property. I am not that guy.

In addition to this formality being affront to my principals, I often need to travel on short notice, so asking for permission from the government to travel was out of the question. Therefore, I chose an AR pistol.

For some, I have just answered the question of why I chose a 6mm ARC upper in 14.5 as opposed to 18, as I can legally swap a 14.5 upper onto my AR pistol, and these nay-sayers are still shaking their heads about selling the potential of the cartridge short. Yes, legality could be considered the short answer. But there’s more.

I don’t care about the potential of the cartridge. And neither should you.

Here is why.

I’m not measuring what I get out of 14.5 6mm ARC against 6mm ARC from an 18-inch barrel. I’m measuring the potential of a 14.5 6mm ARC against the potential of 14.5 (or 16) inch 308.

Wait what?

The 6mm ARC outperforms the .308, it’s that simple. And better yet, it does so in an AR15.

And this is a big deal because—go ahead and hate me—nobody should own/use a .308 if they don’t have to. The .308 is a relic; a damn dinosaur. It’s good at what it does (hits targets hard and accurately within reasonable distance, under ideal conditions) but it’s the “ideal conditions” part that gets .308 blown out of the water by faster cartridges with better ballistic characteristics, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor.

I’ve taken a finely crafted .308 bolt gun to a precision long range course and under a variable 10 MPH cross wind found my projectile landing from one side to the other of the target at 1,100 yards and wanting nothing more than to curse all those who sung the .308s praises after I saddled up behind a 6.5 CM and then struck the same target three times in a row.

So, I swung for the fence and went the other way. I got myself into the most state-of-the-art (and light weight) 6.5 CM bolt gun on the market, and life was good. Save for the fact that I live in Wisconsin and there are no 1,100 yard shots to be had, much less out to 1,600.

The base rifle was 6.5lbs but pushing 12 lbs fully-kitted (including suppressor).

Although I was satisfied, something kept me looking for something else. Maybe it was because 6.5 CM seemed a bit more than I needed in Wisconsin. Maybe it was when 6.5 CM ammo was suddenly going for $57 a box. Maybe it was because  now, part of me wanted to travel with such a rifle in tow as well.

But how could one choose between their AR and PLRR? Was I willing to consistently drop the baggage fees to bring both? If only I didn’t have to bring a whole entirely kitted rifle.

And for a brief moment my head turned to 6.5 Grendel. Advertised as doing “everything a .308 can do in an AR15”. Only the evidence seemed to prove that 6.5 Grendel lived up to .308. somewhere between, at the least “almost” and at best just “barely”.

I then scrolled through my Rolodex of PLR experts and a conversation with one both put me over the top on this “new” 6mm ARC, a caliber that was only vaguely on my radar, but also set into motion my decision to acquire not only the 6mm ARC upper in 14.5 but especially the UPR15 bolt action upper by Uintah Precision.

With only a bolt action UPR15 by Uintah Precision, I could lighten my travel load from 6.5lbs (naked rifle) to 4.15 (naked upper) and in turn lighten my load out if I had to pack out and run with them.

But whyyyyy a bolt action upper on an AR15???

Because why not? I had a .308 bolt gun and nobody asked why. I had a 6.5 CM bolt gun and nobody batted an eye. I didn’t adopt the 6mm ARC so I can pummel a barricaded target. I adopted it because it can actually do what a .308 can do, only better.

So, there is my case.

Now, let me make the case for you.

If you own an AR15, chances are that you have your eyes on a bigger, better rifle that will go the distance in ways that you know the AR15 will not. Chances are that’s a bolt gun in either .308 or 6.5CM. And chances are that you already have more than one AR15.

The best argument “against” my, “simply bring along an upper that converts your AR pistol into a PLR (lite) capable platform” is that its (obviously) not actually two firearms. To which I say, “what’s the problem?”

I might have an occasion for one option and maybe an occasion for the other. Sure, both would be nice. Well, toss your UPR15 on one of your AR15 lowers and (minus bipod, monopod, a few rails and a sling) this thing weighs 9lbs complete with optic and suppressor. So, I can travel with two complete firearms if I want to but don’t have to.

And YOU can check off your bolt gun ambition by simply outfitting one of your existing AR lowers with a UPR15 upper and optic.

The UPR15 is available in 6mm ARC, 223 Wyld, 300 Blakcout, 6.5 Grendel and 224 Valkyrie. So, you are welcome to go your own way in regard to caliber. Or you are welcome to visit the options available in their UPR10 for the AR10 lower. All options are available in any barrel length that suits you. Be daring, go standard, go gas. Uintah Precision has an upper for that too. But they are only the company on the market, offering a true bolt action upper for the AR platform.

My UPR15 upper has held its own against the finest barrels and complete firearms on the market. I parted with a kit in 6.5CM that I had almost $8,000 invested in and I haven’t missed it for a minute. Paired with a Vortex Razor 1-10 atop a PWS lower ,outfitted with a JP trigger and having taken it out to 500 yards, I have yet to feel capable of missing the mark while shooting Hornaday 108gr ELD match.

For more information on this fantastic product, please visit – UPR15 bolt action upper by Uintah Precision.

 

 

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