Over the past few weeks, I have been helping a friend determine what the issues are with a rifle. The subject of this article is one of 8 Larue rifles purchased by a local Police SWAT Sniper team for their use. Upon receiving the 8 rifles, they experienced a lot of issues with those rifles. I was told the unit contacted the maker and explained the issues and was supposedly told something to the effect that they need to use another loading. That is, to use a 175-grain match load as opposed to the 168gr match loads they had been using. I did not make the call, nor was I even in the room to hear it. But a trusted source reports that was the guidance given to them by someone at Larue. Supposedly.
Since the switching to 175gr match ammo did not cure the issue, one of the rifles was handed off to my friend who asked me to join him in seeing if maybe it was the end user’s fault as opposed to the gun itself. Below is a reporting of what we saw for ourselves first hand over a two-week period of testing and evaluating one of the 8 rifles.
Below is a picture of the subject of our testing. The rifle was fired with and without the suppressor and with careful noting of the setting of the gas system.
After shooting the rifle, it quickly became apparent that the issues the guns were having were not user error.
About every 3rd round would get stuck in the chamber. The extractor would rip through the rim in its effort to extract and then pick up a fresh round to chamber causing a double feed.
Once the case was removed with the help of a rod, signs of pressure were obvious. Primers would be blown, or nearly blown out of the primer pocket. Even those that cycled and fired normally had signs of pressure. Brand, type and lot of ammo used made no difference.
The Larue caught in the act.
In the picture above, you can see the primer coming out of the case and the rim sheared off by the extractor.
More examples of cases that had to be cleared by a rod.
There was no predicting when it would happen except to know it would be about every 3rd or 4th round. Sometimes 7th or 9th. There was no apparent pattern or sense to it. Changing ammo brands, type or lot made no difference.
In addition to the stuck cases, the ejection pattern of the OBR was odd. Kicking cases out from 13 to 53-degrees with some going a yard away and other barely clearing the shooters firing arm when right-handed.
On the second week, we then noticed this while getting ready to put the suppressor on for another day of testing.
The staking had come loose. Obviously, this allowed the receiver extension to rotate. Not a good way to start the day.
During the 2nd week, the gun was carefully cleaned again and lubed with Slip2000EWL. Same problems. However, I did like how easy it was to clean the Larue BCG thanks to its coating,
Besides the feeding and extracting issues, the gun was every bit as accurate as I expected it to be. Using 168gr Federal Gold Medal or 175gr Gold Medal, the gun was sub-minute. The two groups below are from 100 yards. The shooting was conducted prone with bipod only while firing very rapidly. Well, as rapid as you can shoot when you must have your friend knock every 3rd or 4th case out of the chamber with a rod.
Otherwise, accuracy is exceptional. Just what I would want and expect from a Larue. I have seen many precision bolt guns that would not sustain the same level of accuracy. You can see why the Larue OBR became a favorite of sniper competitions and tactical precision rifle matches.
Thoughts on the suppressor. It was effective enough that I found it comfortable to stand behind the shooter without ear protection while in the wide open. Without the can, the Larue muzzle device was VERY blasty and loud. It is a muzzle brake after all, so that should be no shock. I found the brake to be very effective with recoil.
We did not have the ability to precisely diagnose the issues with the rifle except to know it is beyond simple user influence to fix. Add to that the 7 other guns are behaving the same way and the only conclusion is that they need to go back. I don’t want to hear any comments about “Why didn’t you call Larue?” etc. I do not work for the police agency who purchased these. I did not order them, nor do I even live in the same state as the PD who bought these sniper rifles. I was only there to take a look and to add my opinion on what could be wrong, so our betters could then determine what they wanted to do after that. The rifle’s working or not is not my problem. My tax dollars were not even used to buy them. I am writing about this only for the general interest of others and to show that even the best can turn out something with a problem every so often. So thoroughly test and check your weapon.
I hope to update on these rifles and their fate for those interested as the story continues.
If you read this and your panties are in a real twist because I dared report something I saw happen to a brand you think should have been mentioned in the Bible and you feel the need to insult me or start any ARFCOM general discussion level bullshit in the comments, I can save you the trouble right now and tell you any personal insults or attacks on my honesty or intentions will not be approved and will be deleted.
If you want to comment like an adult instead of a liberal on Election Night 2016, you are always welcome
I picked up a Larue 5.56 complete upper last fall. They sell some for around $800. I stuck it on a new BCM lower and it would not run Black Hills 77 grain. I would get every few round failure to extract, stove pipe and the ejection pattern was all over the place. I called Larue and they said we don’t recommend using non-Larue parts and we test our rifles with Federal GMM 77 grain. I was like it won’t shoot Black Hills 77 grain or Federal 55 grain ball. It won’t work with a new BCM lower or a Colt lower. Won’t work with pmags lancer mags. I asked the rep to sell me a complete lower and he said they didn’t sell complete lowers only. I even changed the buffer to several different weights and bought a spring co white buffer spring at Larues suggestion. Still would not work consistently. I sold it took a loss and bought a BCM. Guess what no issue. The attitude of the sales rep while trying to help trouble shoot was arrogant. Their stuff was superior and everybody else’s well wasn’t as good. They were willing to send me a shipping label and look it over. But I was done.
they are assholes. Nothing about your story surprises me. They do make fucking great QD mounts thought
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I agree. I have two of the QD scope mounts. Great quality. They could do business a better way.
Interesting read. Keep us posted.
What a shame,you’d think someone at LaRue would be smart enough to take care of this problem promptly and professionally.
Not least to find out where the problem lies so that it can be fixed.
Having a premium rifle (8 of them!) go out the door says that there is something very seriously wrong with QC at LaRue.
It may have been one worker on one shift screwing up or there might be quite a few unreliable rifles shipped by LaRue recently.
These are SWAT rifles, they have to be accurate AND THEY HAVE TO WORK RELIABLY.
Every company puts out a lemon from time to time, some handle problems well and some,like Larue,handle complaints about defective products very badly.
Which costs them Money.
Too bad,I like accurate rifles and adding a company who makes them to my “Don’t do biz with these people list” is a little sad.
Mark Larue himself laughed at me and told me to use different ammo
I’m a dilettante at best on this stuff, but I’m struggling to understand how a rifle could run over-pressure on basically all ammo. Is the chamber tight? Seems like it would also have problems chambering rounds if that were the case. Is the chamber OK, but the bore is too small? That seems like it’s the most probable, but then why would the rifle be so accurate in that case still?
the chambers have some issues, a burr or not cut right or something to that affect
Get a borescope and have a look at the chamber. I had a customer who had an incorrectly cut chamber on a bolt gun which disassembled due to high pressures.
Blowing primers out of their pockets is not to be ignored.
if they were my problem I would have. anyway, the testing was a while ago and they already stopped using them for something else I believe