Head Down XPR15 rifle

Photo by Oleg Volk

The bronze receivers combined with the simple and clean Magpul MOE furniture is a lovely combination.

The XPR15 features Head Down’s billet upper and lower (both hard coat anodized), a 16″ chrome-lined barrel and Magpul MOE gear (grip, stock, hand guard, rear sight). The price is $1300.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Redchrome

    Is there a reason so many AR15s use barrels with the M203 cut? IMHO it’s useless and ugly.

    I’m guessing it’s because the military has a bajillion barrels made with that profile, and the civvie barrels are made on the same tooling and just cut to 16″ instead of 14.5″.

    The gas port is too far back for the same reason. (The guy who runs ar15barrels.com says that .200ms is about the right timing for bullet travel from the gas port to the muzzle. 14.5″ gives the right timing for a carbine-length gas system; 16″ barrels on a carbine-length system try to unlock the bolt too soon).

  • Burst

    Just the thing for bit of high stakes Medusa or Trojan hunting.

  • Komrad

    I love the look of brass Henry rifles, but I’m not sure that it adds anything to this design.

  • Cameron

    Whoa an AR-15! Sweet!

  • SamB

    IDK… I like it. Now that the old lady is gone and I dont have her to support anymore, I can get started on my “Collection” LMAO

  • Lance

    Pretty nice looking out of box AR.

  • jdun1911

    If you want your receiver bronze all you have to do is put in an oven. IIRC 800 degree for about an hour. Make sure it is a striped receiver.


    There are many type of AR15 barrel and gas system. It’s not like the consumers are stuck with one choice like most other platforms. M4 barrel profile isn’t a problem, it’s just whining.

    At the top of my head there are three DI gas system:
    1. Standard Carbine
    2. Rifle
    3. Mid length

    If the consumer does not like the standard carbine DI gas system. He does have two other choices, Rifle or Mid Length.

  • MrSatyre

    “It’s not like the consumers are stuck with one choice like most other platforms.”

    I’m finally going to be delving into AR’s this year, and am overwhelmed with all the choices. Fortunately I have a few extremely well-versed friends who will be my guides. 🙂

  • Chris



  • Hooplah

    Nothing special here. Sundevil Mfg Upper & Lower and off the shelf Magpul parts.

  • AK™

    I like this better than the recent post on the “new” Colt rifles.

  • Redchrome

    I know there are lots of barrel options out there; I’m wondering why the ‘default’ one is such a bad design. Why not give the consumer a better-engineered barrel design by default instead of expecting them to spend hundreds of man-hours researching barrel designs in order to learn what the best options are; and then having to go get a replacement barrel because the default isn’t the best design out there?

    I understand that most people aren’t engineering perfectionists like myself; but when there are two choices available, and one is clearly more appropriately engineered for the application that the tool will be put to, and the cost is similar; why not choose the better option to offer the consumer by default?

    I’m wondering if there’s an economic reason (i.e. M4gery barrels are cheaper), or a popularity reason (consumers like the look), or it’s just bad engineering.

    Fortunately, I am seeing a lot more AR15s being offered with midlength gas systems by default; and I’ve not seen midlength-gas-systemed barrels with the M203 cut, which makes me think there’s an economic reason for the default being the way it is.

  • jdun1911

    Why do you think the default is a bad design?

    If the consumers wants a different barrel than he/she should spend hundred of hours researching for their “perfect barrel” and not let the marketing department tell them what to get. Better yet they should make their own. Anything less is you know tragic or more whining.

    I have a 16″ mid length upper (1:7). I also have two SBR (10.5, 14.5 standard carbine both 1:7), two 16″ (one 1:7 one 1:9 standard Carbine), and two 20″ (one 1:7 one 1:9 standard rifle). Do you know which one I trained with? My 1:9 twist 16″ inch upper. Why? Because I shoot a lot of .22lr and 1:9 twist is better than 1:7 in that regard.

    Mid length AR is very very small market segment. If it makes the consumers happy more power to them. For me i have other things to do.

  • Keith Applegate

    Two big reasons really…

    Because there are those who really want the look of a GI weapon.

    And because there are also those who honestly don’t know the difference.

    **** NOTICE ****
    The following functioning comments apply ONLY to the original Stoner Direct Impingment gas system.
    Piston systems are a whole horse of a different colour.
    —- —- —-

    I fail to understand the marked preference for the shorter 16 inch barrel when the vast majority of owners won’t be jumping in and out of vehicles with theirs anyway.

    Personally I perfer the increased velocity of the 20 inch barrel and the increased sight radius of the rifle length gas system too.

    IF I had a need/desire for the shorter 16 in carbine then I’d surely go with the mid-length system over the CAR length. I simply cannot understand why people will tolerate the reduced sight radius and the more violent bolt forces. I know dozens of people who nit-pick 1911 timing tolerances just are blissfully happy with the erratuc timing of a CAR/16 system

    Redchrome is correct the CAR length is fine for a 14.5 inch barrel but with a civy legal 16.1 the mid-length just makes so much more sense.

    Now don’t get me started about M4 feed ramps…

    • Keith, if you like a 20″ AR-15 all the more power to you. It comes down to personal preference.

      Most people are happy to sacrifice some muzzle energy for a gun that is easier to maneuver, store and carry. Shorter rifles are much easier to handle not just in a vehicle but in just about situation especially home defense. And since most people are using optics, they are not worried about lower accuracy of their backup iron sights.

  • Keith Applegate

    I fully realize that more folks purchase 16inch AR than purchase 20inchers. But I wonder how much of that is due to what they read in gun mags. Even gun folks are often sheepish in their desire to own what their favorite gunwriter is testing this month. Before the AR Craze swept over the world the vast majority of people, military and law enforcement types included, considered the 20 inch barrel of the 94 Winchester and/or the 18inch barrel of the M1 Carbine to be both fast handling and short enough for close in work. When the M16 debuted it was touted as possessing a handy, short length. Now all of a sudden we have folks moaning and groaning that 16 is too long.

    However I do understand the real need some folks have for a shorter rifle. Heck fire, if I was still wearing a badge I’d probably have a 16incher too.
    And there are SEVERAL 16inch ARs (and AR types) out there that I’d like to own and would own in a heartneat if my wallet would allow them. But what I really question is the PERCEPTION that one must have the shortest rifle allowed by law to get the job done.

    If I (and I stress the I part since this is purely personal) could only have ONE AR, I’d choose a 20incher as it better serves MY needs. YMMV.

    In fact, since I currently live in a rather urban area and have very valid concerns regarding over penetration, I don’t consider a rifle to be MY best choice for home defense. If I hear a bump in the night I’ll either grab a handgun or a short shotgun. If I were to need better mid-range (50 yard) precision I have several pistol caliber carbines that I would choose. Now, if I was living back where I grew up I’d want nothing less than a .308 for home defense. Way back then it was a .30-30 minimum.

  • Keith Applegate

    As for sights…

    Steve said, “And since most people are using optics, they are not worried about lower accuracy of their backup iron sights.”

    If I thought the entire world was a reflection of what I read in gun mags perhaps I’d agree with your statement.
    But up here in the Great Pacific NorthWet, I see more people at the ranges where I shoot (public ranges, the Seattle Police range, and various gravel pits) I see more civilian ARs with IRON sights than I do with optical sights. Yeah I’m constantly surprised too.
    And of those with optics, I see more telescopic sights than I do reflex/dot sights. Another surprise.
    But here’s the real eye opener… the ratio is probably somewhere close to two-to-one scopes vs dots! From what I read everywhere, you’d think everybody and his cousin had reflex sights (sometimes two) on every gun.
    Now notice I said civilian ARs. That means guns owned by folks who are NOT active/reserve Military or Law Enforcement. With guys on the job it’s about 55/45 dots vs nots on their PERSONAL guns. However most (but not all – I’d guess 90-95%) department issued guns have an optical sight. And it’s probably four-to-one reflex/dot vs scope depending on where they patrol. But then we have a lot of really small departments and their budgets vary from rich to poor. There are a lot of surplus Army M16A2s riding in patrol cars up here.

    But my real point in advocating the mid-length gas system is not so much sight radius, even though I consider back-up sights to be a MUST and as such they should be the best that can he had, but the reliability issue. The Stomer AR direct impingment system depends on the gas port being a certain distance back from the muzzle for proper cyclic timing. That’s why the original 1964 CAR-16 was a failure. When originally designed Colt’s simply moved the flash hider back against the front sight base. That put the gas port right near the muzzle like the M1 Garand. And the darn gun just wouldn’t run. When they decided to try it again with a 14.5 inch barrel they positioned the front sight/gasblock/bayonet lug the same distance from the muzzle as it was on the full sized M16 rifle. This was actually chosen to allow the use of the bayonet.
    SInce the military doesn’t have any sixteen inch guns the Colt’s just used the 14.5inch handguards on the 16 inch barrels. Other makers came along and did the same because most were small outfits that couldn’t afford the tooling to produce a proper mid length handguard.
    You can bet your sweet bippy that IF the US Military had ordered any 16 inch guns they would have once again positioned the front sight base bayonet distance away from the flash hider too.

    The M203 cuts appeared on Colt’s LEO Carbines because back in the mid 1970s several companies started offering 37mm teargas guns that could be mounted just like the M203 40mm grenade launcher. Many police departments already had large stocks of 37mm CN and CS Tear Gas ammo and bean bag and rubber baton rounds were becoming more and more popular. So instead of replacing their aging gas guns with new ones from S&W they could buy a simplier, cheaper unit and mount it on their Colt’s Carbines. Also that way they had that menacing military look that was designed to strike fear into the most unruly militant mob. You have to remeber that the WATTS riots and Kent State Shootings were fresh in their minds just as the Miami FBI Shootout and LAPD Bank Shootout are today

  • Keith Applegate

    Of course IF you’re going to use the standard M203 grenade launcher you need the 203 cut right where it is since it’s the distance from the magwell that determines its position. And that’s right where the midlength gas block goes. So you need to either stay with the CAR length system or go with the full length rifle system.
    But since durn few folks outside the military use the M203 and even they are getting away from it (the trend seems to be favoring newer multishot grenade launchers and ones that can handle the newer longer 40mm rounds) I say let’s just do away with the 203 cuts entirely. Those who need them can special order them.

    With todays longer free floating handguards, with or without rails, becoming more and more common, the gas block seems to be more often not used for the front sight anymore. So really the whole sight radius point seedms to be moot. Until you look at the gun that started this thread. The Head Down shown used the standard triangle gas block/front sight/bayonet lug. So I guess some folks still consider iron sights important.

    Ahhh the AR15… It’s a vicious circle of wonderful anomilies.
    Like the Colt 1911 and the IBM PC, it’s been called on to become so many things it was never designed to be, do so many more things that it was never intended to do, and yet, somehow, it seems to keep right on working, in spite of our best efforts to “improve” it.

    Once again I’m Sorry Steve, I didn’t mean to write a book here.