One of the perceived faults with the AR-15 platform that has served for four decades in service is its supposed unreliability. Start talking M16s, and it won’t be long until someone brings up jammed guns in Vietnam. While the problems were real and the mistakes were unforgiveable, the AR has evolved and matured over the years to become not only one of the premier weapons on the battlefield but a commercially dominant seller in civilian adaptations. The lessons learned over the past 40+ years have led to a gun that is reliable, accurate, and very much in demand among professional, competitive, and recreational shooters.
Battle Rifle Company of Houston, Texas, recently performed a torture test with one of their BR4 Spartan rifles, one of three models produced and marketed mostly for law enforcement. The BR4 Spartan is chambered in 5.56 NATO and has a 16-inch threaded barrel or a 14.5-inch barrel with a fixed BRC flash suppressor. It has an A2-style front gas block and sight, a forged flat top upper receiver, forged lower receiver, and laser-engraved quad rails. It has an adjustable standard trigger and a collapsible stock.
Using Federal XM193, the test was conducted in two 5,000 round segments separated by a standard maintenance cleaning and a replacement of gas rings. Twenty steel magazines from C-Products were used, ten rounds at a time. Steel magazines were chosen due to the enormous heat build-up generated by firing periods lasting thousands of rounds, a scenario unlikely to be even possible in the real world.
Every 300 rounds, the barrel was cooled with water and every 900 rounds the receiver was also watered for cooling. Frog Lube was applied at the 2,500 round, 5,000 round, and 7,500 round points of the demonstration.
During the first 5,000 rounds, the BR4 Spartan malfunctioned only once, a stovepipe that appears to have been caused by a damaged round. In the second 5,000 round segment, two additional stovepipe failures were encountered, both judged to have been caused by a worn magazine spring. After that magazine was taken out of the rotation, no other failures were encountered. The BR4 Spartan suffered from only three malfunctions in 10,000 rounds. Mil-Spec standards call for no more than four failures per 6,000 rounds, which translates to more than 6.6 per 10,000 rounds.
“The BR4 Spartan is a tough rifle,” says Chris Kurzadkowski, owner of Battle Rifle Company. “We are thankful to our vendors for helping us build quality parts and our staff for putting in the dedication to build the best rifle we can. This test was our second attempt to accomplish this goal. We learned a lot from our first attempt, took that knowledge and went back to the drawing board. This test proves that we make a quality and reliable rifle system. We are dedicated to building nothing but the best.”
Not only does the Battle Rifle Company’s BR4 Spartan emerge from the torture test looking superb, but the AR-style platform is shown once again to be a solid basis that, when well-designed and built-right, can take a lot more punishment than many are willing to admit.