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GUNS Magazine January 2011 - Page 14
• d A V E A N d E R S O N • The 1-piece COP scope rail forever ends the problem of scope mis-alignment. ust when you think there can’t possibly be any more J versions of the AR-style rifle someone comes up with a new idea. We’ve all seen AR uppers with round ARMALItE SPR-1 handguards (comfortable to handle and shoot) and with 4-way accessory rails (handy for hanging accessories on the rifle, but hard on the hands). attached to a separate handguard, the COP system can’t be misaligned. Scope rings are always in alignment to eliminate any possibility of stress on the scope tube. The three other “sides” of the handguard (left, right and bottom) are assembled around the handguard extension of the upper receiver. The barrel is free-floating, as it should be for best accuracy and consistency. The ArmaLite SPR Mod 1 has a top handguard extension integral with the upper receiver. A cleverly designed assembly system lets the shooter tailor the forearm to meet specific needs with either smooth or Picatinny rails. Of course if you don’t mind the cost, you can always have a choice with completely assembled uppers in both styles, as uppers can be interchanged in seconds. ArmaLite’s new idea is an upper, which allows either handguard style on one assembly. The upper receiver and the top of the handguard are 1-piece forged alloy. An integral Picatinny-style sight rail runs from the back of the receiver to the front of the handguard. ArmaLite calls the concept the “Continuous Optics Platform” (COP). Unlike other systems, in which part of the rail is on the receiver and part Versatile Using the components provided, you have the option of either accessory rails or smooth rails on the sides and bottom of the forearm, or any combination of rails desired. You could, for example, have smooth rails on the sides, and an accessory rail on the bottom to attach (for example) a bipod or handgrip. Each rail section is secured by a total of 12 heavy-duty Allen head screws (six on each side). Switching rails takes longer than just interchanging uppers on a lower receiver. Once I tried it a time or two, it took maybe 10 minutes to remove and replace all the rails. All components are very well made to close tolerances, with excellent parts fit. For my own use, I like the smooth rails. They are more comfortable to hold while shooting offhand, and they don’t have sharp edges to tear up my sandbags when shooting from the bench. For those who want or need to hang a variety of accessories on their rifle, the Picatinny rails offer lots of options. SPR MOd 1 kIt The SPR Mod 1 gave excellent accuracy with a variety of bullet weights from 50 to 69 grains. The 16" barrel uses a 1:9" twist and the 2-stage trigger gave a crisp and consistent break, with the second stage breaking at just under 7 pounds. COP upper receiver with forward assist, port door, port door rod, barrel nut, two center inserts, three smooth and three Picatinny rails, two, 1/2-smooth, 1/2-Picatinny rails, 18 screws, Torx wrench. REtAIL: $480 14 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY 2011