Rock River Arms LAR-15 Fred Eichler Predator Series

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Most of our readers are familiar with Fred Eichler. For those not familiar with him he is a hunter of some note. He appears on many hunting shows as well as being a big game hunter, varmint hunter and possessed of a real passion for bow hunting. For those wishing to read more about him use this link. Fred Eichler Website

What does he have to with this article? Well Mr. Eichler worked with Rock River Arms in developing an AR varmint rifle made to his specifications based on his extensive experience in the hunting fields. These are the Fred Eichler Predator Series of LAR-15 rifles.

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These rifles are in high demand with a current wait time of some fourteen weeks. I’ll vouch for that since it took about that long to receive my sample rifle from RRA. After receiving my review rifle I determined the scope I felt would give the best performance at distance.

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I contacted Leupold who was kind enough to send a VX3 6.5-20X50LR Target/Varmint Hunter scope in 30MM matte finish. This scope has the longer turrets with a focus turret on the left side. The glass is super clear with a ranging reticle. Screw on turret covers are included.

Stats:

Caliber—–.223 Wylde Chamber for 5.56 & .223 Cal
Lower Reciever—–Forged RRA-LAR15
Upper——Forged A4
Barrel—-16 inch stainless steel, 1:8 twist, Cryo Treated
Muzzle—–RRA Tuned and Ported Brake / 1/2-28 Thread
Gas Block—–Low Profile
Trigger—-RRA Chrome Two Stage/Winter Trigger Guard
Safety Selector—-Star Safety
Handguard—-RRA Fred Eichler Series Free Float
Pistol Grip—-Hogue Rubber Tan
With Operator A2 Stock: Weight/Length 7.6 /36″
With CAR A2 Stock: Weight/Length 7.6 /34″
Accuracy—–3/4 MOA at 100 Yards
Included—-One Mag,RRA Case, Manual, Warranty
MSRP: $1395.00

The stats indicate a case is included but this is a black heavy gauge plastic case with egg crate lining top and bottom. The case contains not only the rifle but an in depth owners manual as well as rail covers. A separate booklet is enclosed explaining the use of the mil-dot system. There’s plenty of room in the case for a large mounted scope. The Leupold scope I used is a large scope so even with it mounted on the RRA there was plenty of room for extra mags etc.

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Working front to back this rifle has an RRA directionally tuned and ported muzzle brake. This brake works well but man is it loud! It’s much louder than my AR with a Smith Vortex muzzle brake. I had some not so great ear plugs in when I fired that first round and my ears rang for thirty minutes. Not something I’m used to in an AR. Make sure you have that quality hearing protection on when firing this rifle!

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The barrel is a 16 inch cryogenically treated barrel with a bead blast finish and heavy profile. The rate of twist is 1:8 that I found works well with 71 and 77 grain bullets but not so much with standard 55 grain ammo. The barrel is free floated with a mid length gas system. The handguard has a full-length rail on top with short rails at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock position. You’ll note the handguard also has cooling vents shaped like the paws of a varmint. Some like the paw prints some not so much.

The lower receiver has a standard thumb safety, Hogue tan rubber grip and twenty round aluminum magazine with anti-tilt follower. The upper receiver is a standard configuration. The bolt is an RRA design with a slightly different shape having a flat side at the two o’clock position.

The shooter has an option, when ordering, of equipping the rifle with a tan CAR collapsible stock or a rifle length fixed tan stock.

Range Time:

I started this session at 100 yards to sight the scope in and get a feel for the rifle and it’s two stage polished match trigger.

I’ll take a short departure from the range review to pass along some information on a fine set of gloves I used off and on during this very cool day. Several weeks ago I got a pair of ICRS gloves from The Spec Ops Shop. I’d been looking for a set of gloves with hard knuckles (comfortable), reasonably warm with index finger and thumb, which detach at the first joint of both fingers. After much searching I found these gloves, which not only allow using your trigger finger uncovered but the thumb, uncovered to manipulate the safety. Each finger cover folds over and back attaching the tips to the back of the glove with Velcro. Both gloves are made the same way for right or left handed shooters. I recommend these gloves to any shooter for handgun or rifle use. The price is $69.00 direct from Spec Ops.
They are currently sold out unfortunately.

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Back to the range:

After sighting in the scope I setup to fire several five shot groups. The claim of ¾ inch groups at 100 yards is no exaggeration. Out of ten five shop groups I only had two groups that were barely under one inch. Most groups were right at the advertised ¾ inch with two groups less than ¾ inch. I was using a Grip Pod military version as my bi-pod. It worked very well especially later on uneven ground.

My second session was at a much greater distance. I measured the distance with my laser range finder at 316 yards. The picture below shows the distance. It’s difficult to see but the target is just left of center in the photo. My best group out of ten five shot groups was 3 1/4 inches. Pretty impressive performance with the Leupold scope set at 20 power on the RRA. The humidity was low at 44 %, with sunny skies and a slight breeze from behind me. The temp was 44 degrees.

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I mentioned loads earlier. The best performance and the rounds I used for these groups was Hornady match ammo with a 71 grain bullet. These are excellent rounds for longer distances. This particular rifle really liked this load.

Conclusion:

Some may look at this rifle and say what’s so special it doesn’t look much different than others. Well the proof is in the performance. Obviously care was taken in matching parts as well as assembly. QC was very good with no defects I could find. The trigger came in right at 3 ½ pounds on this example. The trigger was also crisp with a nice let off. It also has a short reset.

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The Predator isn’t a super fancy rifle with all sorts of unneeded bells and whistles just what you need to get the job done. I can without reservation recommend this rifle for varmint hunting or for that matter casual target shooting.

Lastly buy a good quality scope. If you buy a cheap scope you’ll cheat yourself out of the accuracy this rifle and many others are capable of.

Rock River Arms

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Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • 7.62x25FTW

    I want those gloves…

    • Phil White

      7.62x25FTW,

      They are the best I’ve run across:-) Give the Spec Op Shop a call at the link I placed in the review. They’ll have more coming in I’m sure.

  • JoeBob

    That hand guard just looks retarded…

    • Nicks87

      My wife thinks it looks cool. ;)

      • Phil White

        Nicks87,

        From showing it to people at the range it’s running about 60-40 like not like. It doesn’t bother me on a varmint rifle.

      • Nicks87

        Her exact words were: “I like the cute paws on the hand guard”.

        I think if it works and it’s not too heavy it’s good to go.

        • Phil White

          Nicks87,

          Pretty much what I thought.

    • Phil White

      JoeBob,

      Like I said some like the Paws some not so much:-) I have to say it does work well and small enough to fit the hand well.

    • Esh325

      I agree, and I don’t really care too much when guns have people’s names on them. It’s most likely a good rifle though. 1395 MSRP is a very reasonable price.

      • Phil White

        Esh325,

        I tend to just look at the rifle on it’s own merits and discount the name. I’m sure a lot of people place some value on the name which is fine. We all have our preferences.

        It’s a good solid performer which is what counts.

  • Nicks87

    Is that a mini keg in that last photo?

    C’mon Phil, you know you shouldnt be shooting under the influence. :)

    • Phil White

      Nicks87,

      Oh man all I drink is Diet Pepsi! Besides that’s an insulated “Bubba” cup from Wal-Mart:-) No I’m not kidding they really call them Bubba cups.

  • bbmg

    Handguard pattern looks like a tramp stamp :D

    • Phil White

      bbmg,

      What kind of critter is a tramp? And how do they stamp? —–:-)

      • bbmg

        A quick google image search will reveal all ;)

        • Phil White

          bbmg,

          I know I was just kidding with you:-)

  • gunslinger

    wow. great review. and awesome “sidebar” on the gloves.

    another niche ar, but at least i think they know what it is. good for them.

    • Phil White

      gunslinger,

      Thank you sir!

  • Noodles

    Meh RRA… A little research is enough to steer clear of that mess.

    Also Five ten shot group > ten five shot groups…. Far superior. I won’t consider any five shot group as legitimate.

    • Phil White

      Noodles,

      If I shoot that many rounds and the results are consistent why would firing another 200 or so rounds matter. That wouldn’t change the group size.

      In other words it shoots very well and those numbers should be enough to prove it. You shoot from a bit over 300 yards and get those results I’m convinced.

      Just curious if it’s possible for me to buy that many match rounds but what’s a legitimate number in your view?

      Noodles man how about a positive comment every now and then:-)

  • Mike Knox

    Are those paw print holes a useful feature?

    • Phil White

      Mike,

      Just a way to let the heat out. Nicks87’s wife thought they were cute:-)

  • GreenCountryCoyoteHunter

    I ordered this rifle the first week of August and still not here. I sure hope it is worth the wait.

  • Deputy3718

    Great Review. I would love to own one of these but not sure how easily (or cheap) I would be able to aquire one now. Contacted a couple dealers who laughed and one who said :It’s going to cost ya!”

  • antonakaki optics

    lens is power for the eye