Having determined that a Direct Gas Impingement system is acceptable, and determining a caliber for the Broadsword it was time for the research. What exactly do I need to specify for the rifle? What can I specify? What do I really need vs. really want.
I sat down with pen and paper and started the process. What did I really want in the weapon? The list was relatively short:
- A caliber that could reliably reach out to 800 yards with enough impact energy to do the job (detonate Boomers, pop a water balloon, ring steel, drop an animal, etc.) — Just for clarity and perspective I am describing an impact area of about 7″ or less from nearly 1 kilometer at the extreme end. To put that in US distance terms 800 yds is just short of 1/2 mile.
- The weapon should have the ability to be able to dampen recoil enough to determine the impact point of the round without a having a separate spotter if one was not available
- Enough quality optics to support these aging eyes (I don’t want to short change the rifle but, I don’t want to spend thousands on a scope either).
- Portable, shoulder fired, air cooled, magazine fed, semi-automatic, and any color but black.
Then I made a list of… what can I specify to customize this weapon to meet my needs, without getting into the deep mechanicals of the tool? I had this feeling that as soon as I started to get too deep, I would wind up screwing things up. If I specified a spring loading for the buffer spring, or a funky trigger mechanism, or a specific diameter gas tube I would wind up with incompatibilities that would be frustrating and would be expensive to fix, assuming that the specs did not make the weapon borderline dangerous. I mean, I know my way around the inside of a computer, or the inside of a radar system, even the inside of an engine or a furnace to some degree… but hand me a rifle, and all I am is an operator not a gunsmith.
I built a list:
- Trigger (limited to type)
- Charging handle
- Handguards / Rail
- Iron Sights
- Barrel length
- Flash hider / Compensator
I could have expanded the list (Upper Receiver, Lower Receiver, Gas Tube, Gas Block, Trigger, Magazine Release, Safety, bolt carrier group, slings, etc.) but at that point I felt that I would be getting to the point where I was not getting the benefit of the experience of the Gundoc and the rest of the Crusader team.
With the list in hand, I tackled my research. Now, I can do research. I have been doing research of one kind or another ever since I discovered the dewy decimal system, and I dug in. My google-fu was strong, and I soon had enough information to pose the questions to the experts. Opening my trusty email client I soon had a query burning the fiber between here and Utah.
….I know that there are a ton of options to choose from for the rest of the furniture and features of the weapon, and would look to your expertise to challenge me where you think that I might going a bit off the edge.
- Stock: Magpul PRS. My Neck is not as flexible as it once was and having that cheek riser is important to me.
- Grip: My M16A1 and A2 grips were fine for me on my issue weapon but there are many choices now. I think just a simple Magpul grip is satisfactory.
- Barrel: I am leaning toward a heavy 20″ barrel. Perhaps fluted to dissipate heat better and lighten the rifle a tad. “Free floated”.
- Rail: I would like to see a continuous rail on top, and a partial bottom rail on the handguards. I am only looking to mount a scope, buis, and a bipod on this. Happy to hear suggestions.
- Trigger: As long as the rifle has a single stage, moderate pull I am happy with it. I will have to measure the pull on my CZ 550 and give you that as a target. I do like that trigger.
- Flashider: I like the idea of a brake or compensator of some sort. Even though this is primarily a prone position shooter, I like the concept of being able to stay on the scope and view the impact. Perhaps something from Battlecomp would be appropriate here.
- Irons: There are a lot of them out there. What have you seen work well?
- Duracoat: I am thinking that I would like to see this as something other than black. I have some thoughts but again you are the expert in this so I would like to benefit from that expertise.
Soon, Gundoc and I had a healthy exchange going and within a couple of weeks we nailed this down to:
- Stock: Magpul PRS
- Grip: Magpul MIAD
- Barrel: 20” SASS
- Handguard: Apex Handguard with top rail
- Compensator: Battle Comp
- Duracoat: Modified Multicam
- Optics: Vortex 6.5 x 20 Viper
There were several items that we had a great discussion on. The iron sights we settled on were a set of Diamond Head sights but, I got to thinking about my use for the weapon and decided to not put a set of irons on it for now. All of the mechanicals I left up to Gundoc, he is the one that has to put it all together and make it work. I trust his experience and reputation to make it as darn close to perfect as is reasonable for a precision mechanical device that is subject to extreme conditions.
So there you have it. About 4 weeks of work boiled down to less than 1000 words. We could have gotten into a lot more details of the discussions that Gundoc and I had. I could have gotten into specialized barrels, or triggers, or materials but for the work that I will do with this rifle, I think we probably still “overkilled” it, and I will probably have spoiled myself so much that buying any off the shelf weapon is going to suck now. I see custom work in my future, maybe not whole builds but definitely some improvements to things I do acquire.
So, there you have it. What is the next chapter in this build process? I don’t know. Crusader has my order, and the payment has cleared. Hopefully, I will know soon where I sit on the build schedule. If Gundoc is kind enough, and has enough to time, to get some in process build photos I will be happy to share them.
Stay tuned for more.