Windham Weaponry R16FSFST-308 Review

For those of you not familiar with Windham Weaponry and would like more history on them, you should visit  The Windham Weaponry Story…

Windham Weaponry R16FSFST-308 Review

Introduction to the .308 AR Style Rifle

I have always preferred the larger .30 caliber round over the 5.56×45. While the military finds the 5.56 round “adequate” it leaves much to be desired for more applications in the civilian market. For everyday plinking the 5.56×45 (.223 Remington) is fine but if I want to take that caliber for other hunting type purposes I might not legally be able.

The AR-15 style rifle is Legos for the adult world. You can customize it to make some really interesting firearms. With thousands of different products designed for this platform, the possibilities are endless. As each year passes, people are inventing better and better products for the AR.

The issue that I have with the AR platform is the caliber. While it is true that you can build an AR in every caliber known to man, the staple calibers are the ones we want more of.

While the AR-10 style rifles have been year for years, The magazines use to be outrageously expensive until the DPMS/SR-25 style mags started getting manufactured by companies who knew how to make great magazines. This was part of what I saw as the awakening of the .308 AR rifles.

Specs   

Windham Weaponry R16FSFST-308
Rifle 16 Shaved Front Site (SIC) w/Telestock (found on the invoice shipped with the rifle) R16SFST-308 L

Caliber: .308 Win. / 7.62x51mm
Action: Semi-Automatic, Gas Impingement System
Capacity:  20 + 1- Ships with one 20 Rd Magpul Magazine (accepts all std. sizes)
Safety:  Manual Lever with Indicator Markings on Both Sides of Receiver
Receiver: Flat Top Type Upper w. Mil Std 1913 Rail / QD Sling Sockets in Lower
Receiver Material: Forged 7075 T6 Aircraft Aluminum with Integral Trigger Guard
Receiver Finish: Hardcoat Black Anodize Finish
Bolt Material:  Carpenter 158 Steel
Barrel: 16.5” Medium Profile, Chrome Lined with A2 Flash Suppressor
Barrel Material: 4150M Chrome Moly Vanadium 11595E Steel
Rifling: 1 in 10” – Right Hand Twist – 6 Lands & Grooves
Stock: 6 Position Telescoping Buttstock with Windham Weaponry Logo
Forend:  Midwest Industries 15” SS Key Mod Free Float Handguard w. Rail Segment
Pistol Grip: Hogue Beavertail Overmolded Grip
Rear Sight:   None – Ready for optics or other type accessory sights
Front Sight: None
Weight / Length:  8.0 lbs. (without magazine) / 38” (34.1875” with Telestock collapsed)

Packaging: Hard Plastic Gun Case with Black Web Sling, Operators Manual. Transferable Lifetime Warranty.

The Quick Detach Points and Keymod

The lower on this rifle comes with two QD sling attachment points located below the charging handle. The Midwest Industries Keymod handguard has 5 QD points located on the left and right hand sides of the handguard as well as one at the muzzle end of the handguard. This gives the user multiple points and configurations for their needed sling setup. I personally only like single point slings so this was right for that setup.

This was the first time using the keymod rail system and overall I really like the design. It is simple and easy to install the rail pieces where you want and need them in a very short amount of time.

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The Trigger

The trigger is built by Windham Weaponry. The say they take great pains to make the trigger as smooth and crisp as possible but if you are unhappy with their trigger they do offer other replacement triggers from companies like CMC, POF and Geissele.

The trigger pull is a bit heavier than I like, but I never found myself jerking the trigger or having any other trigger related accuracy problems with the installed trigger.

The Pistol Grip

At first when I saw the Hogue overmolded grip I wasn’t sure how much I would like it. After getting some heavy range time in all kinds of temperatures, this is now my second favorite grip of all time. With gloves on, this grip wasn’t tacky but when I had sweaty hands in the heat it was.

The Stock

The stock is the standard 6 position stock with the Windham Weaponry logo. The stock is nothing to write home about. But I like the fact that using a stock like this helps keep the rifle at a very consumer friendly price. 

The Barrel

The 16.5 inch barrel is the perfect length for shooting from the bench, to run and gun, or stalk hunting.

This length is my ideal length for a .308 semi auto rifle. It keeps the weight down so the rifle is more versatile.

The Bolt Catch

This was my only “problem” with the gun. When the bolt was locked to the rear just tapping the barrel against the rifle rest would send the bolt forward.

The Charging Handle

I have trained on the stock charging handles and all I have to say is real estate, real estate, real estate! I like my charging handles to have as much real estate as possible. The more grip I can get on the charging handle the better in my mind. If I have to rack the gun back, I want to go with as little effort as possible. The small stock charging handle is something I would change if I owned this rifle.

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Sights

This rifle does not come with any sights.

Shooting

This gun looks like a tank and is built like one too. It can take a beating and still come back for seconds.

In the 500+ rounds we shot through this gun, we never had a hiccup or anything. It just kept begging to be fed.

We had this rifle on the 25 yard bay out to the 300 yard bay and I always kept 1-3 inch groupings. This is not necessarily an accurate portrayal of what the gun can produce but more of a mark on my shooting abilities.

Cleaning

This rifle is like any other AR style when it comes to cleaning. The 500+ rounds had very little carbon build up. The barrel stayed relatively clean. I would bet we could have shot another 1000+rounds  before it even started slowing down.

Overall Thoughts

For the price I have not seen a better .308 AR. Flat out, Windham Weaponry knows their sh*t. They know how to build quality rifles at a great consumer price point. They don’t focus on the bells and whistles because they know you are going to want your own bells which is where can see your savings. 

Out of the box, the only thing you need to add is a sight. You can buy .308 rifles for the same price and you are going to end up wanting to replace the other companies “quality” parts. Windham Weaponry, from what I have shot and seen are not like that. You might find something you want to change, like the stock or the charging handle. But let’s face it, if you are working on a budget, the Windham Weaponry .308 line, as is, will impress you with their quality.

The firearm industry is made up of a lot of really great people who are just trying to make the best and toughest products in the world. I have met the people at Windham Weaponry a few times at SHOT Show and was impressed by the great people. I believe that they are always trying to make something that is going to stand the test of time. .

Poll: What does your range offer you?

Typically there are three different types of ranges a shoot can go to. A range open to the public, a range that is members only and requires a yearly or monthly fee or land you or a friend owns that you normally shoot on.

Today we are polling about what your range offers you and your shooting experience. If you shoot on your own land or a friends land please only answer that part of the poll.

What does your range offer you polll

The polls have been split between Public and membership ranges. Please select all that apply to your range.

 

Poll: Tech in Shooting

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I have noticed as I go to the range lately, I carry out about 75 pounds of gear. This doesn’t even include my guns and their respective cases.

Range Tech in the Range Bag

While a lot of what I carry to the range is related to reviews and just normal work equipment, I have noticed that over the past few years my distance range tech as increased and yet my range distance hasn’t.

I have observed more people with lasers and lights and camera mounts on their $700 M&P-15. I have asked a few why they have this mounted at all times and they tell me that they just need it. Mind you this is not your SWAT officers or Texas National Guard, I am talking to, but that guy who has been in the semi-auto rifle game for 2 years.

Constant Evolution

Like most every other industry, we are subject to constant evolution with the tech world. I carry out my electronic spotting scope for any shots over 25yds. I wear electronic ear muffs to help me hear and still mute the shooting. I use laser trainers at home to help me with my rifle and pistol skill. Tech is replacing the old school shooting world which is helping us with our shooting skills.

Old School

I look back to my grandfather’s era of hunting and shooting and how the trail cameras were the tracks you saw on the ground, the e-spotting scopes were binoculars and monocular spotting scopes, the laser trainers were tin cans on a fence.

It is interesting to me, to see the distance shooters at my local range who are much older and the worries they have are about the clarity of their glass on their high end scope and the twist rates of their bolt action rifles. Then I see the younger shooters looking for every piece of tech they can get their hands on to make them the next top shot.

Controversy

Personally, I love the tech. Even with how tech is changing and making some interesting splashes in the gun industry. Some tech is even controversial such as the Barrett Optical Ranging System (BORS) or the Tracking point systems giving shooter an easier time making the right calculations to hit their target out at 1000+ yards.

Shooting World has Room for All

Change can be scary to some people. All I know is that you can adapt to the new tech in shooting or not. Old school and new school, both have their amazing shooters who defy what we think is possible.

New Magpul Black Book data precision rifle data books.

A short look at the Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book & Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book 2.0

 

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book 2.0 (Open)

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Data Book & Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards

Magpul Dynamics™ Precision Rifle Quick Reference Cards (Open)

Mossberg ATR™ NIGHT TRAIN™ 27204 .308 Bolt Action Review

I have been provided the materials needed for this review. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Normally I don’t put the model number in the title but with the number of different options Mossberg offers  for the rifle I want to be specific on which rifle I reviewed.

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Specs

Caliber: .308 WIN
Capacity: 5
Barrel: 22” Fluted
Rail: 6” Picatinny Rail
Scope: UTG 6-24x50MM w/ Illuminated Reticle, Sun Shade and Lens Protectors
Twist: 1:10
Length Of Pull: 13.25″
Finish: Matte Blue
Stock: Synthetic (Multi-Cam Camo)
Weight: 9.5 lb
Overall Length: 42″
MSRP: $891

Features:

LBA Lightning Bolt Action Adjustable Trigger
Free-Floating Button-Rifled Fluted Barrel
Scope and Bipod Included
4+1 Capacity, Top Load Magazine
Free Gun Lock/2-Year Limited Warranty

First Impressions

Growing up in the Boy Scouts, I knew Mossberg for two reasons. They made the Mossberg .22 bolt action rifles my troop owned for shooting sports and we had a Mossberg 500 12 Gauge shotgun we would use. When I was in the market for a new 12 Gauge I contacted Mossberg because they make the Mossberg 500 Flex which lets you customize your shotgun for your shooting needs.

You can pick up a wide range of different parts to make your gun more tactical or more home defense. If you want to keep it a normal bird gun, you can change the length of pull with different recoil/length of pull pads that snap in and out of the buttstock.  After a year of shooting the Mossberg 500 Flex 12 gauge, I wanted to do more work with Mossberg.

I requested the Mossberg ATR™ NIGHT TRAIN™ 27204 .308 Bolt Action Rifle for review. The gun, out of the box, makes you feel like you were just handed a sniper rifle and you are going to be able to take down all the bad guys from 4 miles* away. The scope is over a foot and a half long (w/ sun shade) and it has a the multi-cam stock fluted barrel and bipod.

Man, this Mossberg ATR looks like it can hit a dime from miles away*. (* The GEARs Crew understands that the max effective range of a .308 Win is 800-1000 meters. The distances named are for this writers dramatic impact only and should not be the expected results.)

Shooting and Feel

After getting the Mossberg ATR sighted and realigned I started out shooting 20 rounds at the 100 yard range getting the rounds to go through the same hole. When I felt comfortable, I moved on to the 300 yard range and noticed that the optic was fuzzy in the beginning. I had expected this, since it is not a very high end scope.

I had the steel gong as my target which I figured I would hand load each round and do a rapid engagement of 10 (3-5 seconds per shot to reload) back to the 300 yard target, even with my speed the rifle maintained about a 6 inch grouping. After about 80 rounds my shoulder was not fatigued. The rifle had the right length of pull for my size, making this rifle rather enjoyable to shoot with all day.

The barrel is threaded into the action and not one solid piece. This is normal, however the chamber is not as forgiving to someone who is hand loading each round vs. using the magazine to load the rounds. I would have liked to have seen a feed ramp on this, but for the price of the Mossberg ATR, it still feeds like it should.

The bolt does have good play and good flow when manipulating the bolt to load rounds.

The recoil as mentioned above is not overwhelming so if you shot more than 100 rounds you shouldn’t be running for the ice pack.

Scope

The UTG scope is good if you are not planning to shoot past 100 yards. The scope that Mossberg mounted on this rifle was fuzzy until we shot about 20+ rounds. The scope prisms must have moved to the correct spot and cleared up enough to shoot the 200 yard range. It was still fuzzy and hazy at 300 to the point you could not see your hits on high visible targets.

When we first took the rifle to the range the scope had not been zeroed and it took about 20 rounds to zero in. I never used the Illuminated Reticle since it was a bright sunny day every day we went to shoot.

With this being said, if I am able to continue reviewing this rifle, I would look at a relatively inexpensive scope upgrade to a Redfield Revenge 6-18x44mm scope with an MSRP of $314.  This upgrade keeps the look of the rifle and scope package with a better optic.

Bipod and Rail

The Caldwell bipod is “adjustable” however, when I tried adjusting the height, the legs never matched up enough to give a stable shooting platform. Thankfully, I did most of my shooting off the bench and not from prone, so the short legs were at the correct height.   I personally feel that Mossberg would have been better suited to have the bipod attached by picatinny rail verses the “permanently” mounted Caldwell. In keeping with how I would upgrade this rifle, I would unmount the bipod and have a gunsmith mount a 3” picatinny rail on the flat bottom of the stock allowing for a bipod and other types of sling mounts.

The scope rail is a 5” picatinny rail. This is nice, but in terms of upgrading this rifle I would change to Leupold dovetail scope rings and so I would have to change the rail. Mossberg does make this possible as the rail is not wielded to the action.

Modularity

Mossberg introduced the Mossberg flex line of shotguns and MVP rifles. Although this rifle doesn’t need to be changed into a pistol grip rifle, I would have liked to have seen the buttstock length of pull modularity added into the design of the of the ATR™ NIGHT TRAIN line of centerfire rifles.

I think Mossberg is really onto the next gen of designs by adding features like the modularity they have already introduced. It would be great if companies like MAGPUL who already make stocks for Mossberg shotguns started adding new stocks and parts to Mossberg Flex line of modular rifles and shotguns.

Trigger

For those of us who are trigger snobs, you should like the Mossberg’s no gunsmith needed adjustable trigger. I didn’t mess with this trigger adjustment as I was having issues with the scope and my review focus changed.

Final Thoughts

The Mossberg ATR was designed for someone getting into the art of distance shooting. This gun is for someone who doesn’t want to spend $800 on a bolt action rifle that won’t have a long life and then drop another $400 or $500 on scopes and rings and bipods just to get your first shot down range. This gun has it all for $891 MSRP.

Out of the box, this rifle is ready to be sighted in and taken on a hunting trip or just to the distance range. The upgrades I have talked about are not something you will have to get if you are starting out and learning how to shoot. As a shooter gets more proficient at shooting longer and longer ranges that is the time to start thinking about upgrading.

I have loved shooting the Mossberg ATR. As a proficient distance shooter, I would love to be able to report back with my findings after some simple upgrades to an already extremely well built bolt action.

MAC talking about the new Targetvision Camera System [CORRECTION]

For those of you who have been long time readers of the Gearsofguns.com Blog know we have reviewed in the past, the Bullseye camera system which is very similar to this. I would love to get my hands on the Targetvision system  to test out and compare to the the Bullseye camera system.

The one thing I would like to know is if the camera is high definition. When I spoke with Bullseye out at SHOT 2014 they assured me they were upgrading their camera to full HD resolution. I haven’t been in contact with them since to see if that has happened yet but I know that is one of the upgrades I wanted when first testing Bullseyes system out.

The whole Targetvision system is contained in the box and in the tube.  MAC brings up the point a few times that you do not have antennas up in the air and that the whole camera package is very small.

The price points are [CORRECTION]

500 yard Bullseye camera system: $449

1 mile Bulleyes Camera System: $549 for the 1000 yard + $199 for the Antenna Upgrade  (Total: $749)

The Bullseye camera works great and has a lower price tag.

 

The Targetvision camera system sells only one camera which they claim can reach well over a mile. Price for that system is $1295

 

The two systems truly are the next gen in bench shooting spotting scopes.