Rifle: Fulton Armory Predator FAR-15 Varmint/Perimeter Rifle.
Barrel: 20” Krieger Heavy with 1in13 twist rate.
Trigger: Jewell Two Stage, adjustable.
Purchase: I went up to Camp Perry July 27th to check out Fulton Armory's rifles. I'd been eyeing their Predator FAR-15 Varmint/ Perimeter rifle. Clint gave me a great deal on the upper and all parts to put on a stripped lower. One of their guys helped me put the lower together. He'd just finished 4 years as a Marine Corps armorer and he made the whole assembly make sense. I also purchased a Jewell trigger which Clint was going to install for me, but Walt Kuleck was there and volunteered to do it. Walt was a great guy to talk to while he installed and explained how the Jewell operated. I fully expected to bring a bag of parts home to assemble, not have them offer to help me assemble it. They are great guys who I’m looking forward to seeing at Perry again next year. I can easily recommend them to anyone who wants to purchase their AR’s or supplies from some good people who know what they're doing.
Break-in: I followed the barrel break-in procedure recommended on Krieger’s web site. Process went quickly and only observed much fouling over first 3 rounds. After that it didn’t seem to matter if I fire 5 or 100, it took only a couple of passes to clean. No accuracy testing done. No rings high enough to mount existing crappy BSA scope on and didn’t feel like sighting in the red dot I had on it. I only had one failure to chamber, the last round from one of those “should have known better” mags. Throughout use the rifle functioned flawlessly.
Set-up: I have an old .30-06 with a 6-24 power BSA Mil-Dot scope on it. For lack of a better optic I relocated it to my Predator until I can find a more suitable scope. (I don’t have a particular fondness for BSA, I just buy what I can afford at the time.) Anyway, once I got the BSA out of the Millet SCOPE-CRUSHERtm rings I realized there was a nice dent in the front end. I won’t be buying those Millet rings anymore unless I get a lapping bar or figure out a way to deal with their screwy system. If I already had doubts about this scope, now it had progressed to dread. I removed the Tasco Pro-Point from my Predator and attached my new Tasco high rings and BSA. (No, I don’t have any strange affinity for horrible optics. I swear.) I tried to put actual Weaver rings on my Swan Sleeve but they seemed intent on destroying the finish on the Swan. No thanks. I’m not going to let a $20 set of rings destroy the finish on a $150 rail. I’ll let a $100 set of rings do that. I also used my friend’s Leupold bore sight to get the BSA close. (Some who see the irony in this may laugh now. Go ahead.) The sight line for the bore sight wouldn’t reach the LOS of the scope so we attached it to the gas block and bore-sighted it like that. (laughter)
Sight-in and Accuracy: Aug. 4th was range day. The 3rd and 4th have been some of the hottest, stickiest, most humid days I can remember. I shot from 12:00 to 2:00, that way I could maximize my misery. My regular range was having an all day trap shoot that day, so I shot at a previously unknown place back in the sticks. The shooting bench at this range was the most dilapidated and cobbled together POS I have ever seen. Sitting at it, it came up to my upper chest, was made of warped wobbly boards, and had a rusty bar running where you would put your knees. The closest I can describe it is to picture shooting from old rusty children’s playground equipment. I probably need a tetanus shot now.
The first thing I found out is that the Leupold bore sight would have sighted in my rifle just as well whether attached to the gas block or the refrigerator. (The bore sight does work, just not from the gas block.) Once I got on paper I shot a while with some cheapie Winchester and Ultra-something-or-rather. The groups were decent, for me, but I didn’t even think to measure them. I would say somewhere in the 3-4 inch range, with a few a bit bigger. (I never claimed I was a good shot.) I was looking ahead to the Hornady loaded 55 gr. V-Max and Black Hills blue box 50 gr. V-Max. When I finally decided to break them out I was impressed. Below are pics of the results. There was little difference in the groups between the two. The Black Hills just hit higher (and maybe tighter) than the Hornady. The groups are 5 shots each.
This would have been my best group but I think I had a seizure on the last round.
I’m pleased with the results, knowing how bad I suck and the conditions at the time.
The only malfunction I experienced on this day was when I tried using that crappy mag again. I give it the benefit of the doubt and it stabs me in the back. Back to the 20 rnd. USGI.
Other Odds and Ends:
-The Jewell trigger on this rifle is amazing. Those who want an easily adjustable trigger it is for you. Moving a spring arm and turning 3 Allen screws is all it takes to adjust the trigger. The spring arm adjusts 1st stage pull weight, and then the screws adjust 1st stage pull length, 2nd stage pull weight, and over travel. My only caution is that they take METRIC Allen wrenches, one of which is 1.27. I don’t believe this comes in a standard set, but are found easily individually.
-The Krieger barrel on the rifle is .75 inch in front, but expands to an inch under the hand guard. It is heavy. It is also the easiest to clean out of any barrel I have used. With as little time cleaning the barrel, I can devote much more time to cleaning the guts of the rifle. Joy. And it’s heavy.
-Other extras I like are the Badger float tube. It’s nice and solid. It also makes an excellent platform for the Harris bipod to attach too. It should also serve as an excellent bridge should I find the need to cross a small canyon.
-The adjustable butt stock is nice as well. I have it on an A1 stock, so it doesn’t stick out quite as far as it would with an A2.
-I like the QD side swivel set up. It makes it easy to remove a troublesome sling and you can carry the rifle flat against your back or “tactical” without having to buy any kind of expensive sling or gear that keeps it upright in front of you.
-I added the ambidextrous goodies to it because I shoot lefty. The Ambi-Mag release is great. Same profile as all the normal mag release parts, it just drops the mag no matter which side you press on. The Ambi-Safety is nice too.
-I also got the Ambidextrous charging handle latch. With a scope on it becomes awkward to use the portion designed for lefties so you just end up reaching over the scope and yanking on the beak-like hook that sticks out the left side, which will eventually start to hurt bony fingers like mine.. I would recommend getting the normal Tactical Latch. It’s a big square thing and will save wear and tear on your hand.. Us left handed shooters are still being held down by the man.
-Did I mention this rifle is heavy? If you needed a good tornado season varmint rifle then this is it. This is its only drawback. You won’t shoot while standing very much unless you’ve got biceps like a couple of hams. This is a bipod gun.
-Reloaders take note! I don’t have much experience with other ARs, but this rifle has the most consistent ejection I have ever seen. I shot from the same position during the 2 hours of playtime and ALL brass was within a one foot circle. I’m not sure if this is because of the D-fender Extraction Enhancer or not, but I t sure saves from having to hunt for brass.
-The dry fire device I got from Fulton is also nice. It lets you practice trigger pull without wear on the titanium firing pin or the $200 trigger. It also makes a nice added safety feature. And it makes you hopping mad when you forget to take it out and your first shot of the day goes “click” and makes you feel stupid.
Overall I am more than pleased with the performance of this rifle. If I had the money to spend all over again, I’d get the same thing. If you are still reading this, thanks for sticking with me. I can get a bit windy sometimes.
excellent report lawndart.
Excellent review Lawndart,Thanks.
I think I've read pretty much everything on the Fulton Armory sight about this model.I believe they mentioned that they do tune the extraction/ejection too fall in a consistent,small area exactly for the reloader so as not to have you hunting brass.
Sounds like that Badger forearm is pretty stout,eh?I wonder if a carbon fiber model(like PRI used on the SPR)would save any pounds?Did they send you any desent info with your rifle.
My theory is that the Badger tubes are just deck braces from decommissioned aircraft carriers. The carbon fiber might make it lighter, but I think most of the weight still comes from the barrel, steel four rail gas block, and bipod. I held one of the Badger tubes for a shorty AR and while just as stout, I was surprised at how little it actually weighed. Some day I'll remove mine and see what it weighs. One thing the pictures don't show well is the true shape of the tube. The picture makes it look rectangular, like |_|, but it's actually more like /_\, with a narrow top and wide bottom. The PRI tubes look neat and I'd like to check one out some time. For $350 it may have to wait quite a while, though. I still need to put a non-crap scope on my gun, then for my next project I want to assemble a 16" M4ish type from total scratch. I just wanna learn how to put it all together from a pile of parts.