At the 2013 Shot Show ArmaLite introduced the new AR-30A1. This bolt action rifle bears some resemblance to its predecessor the AR-30, however it has been completely redesigned piece by piece. The team at ArmaLite went through the gun and assessed each piece based on a series of factors. The result of this assessment left only the pistol grip, buttpad, trigger, and a few small components from the AR-30 unmodified.
Some of the modifications include switching from atypical muzzle brake threads to muzzle brake threads that are standard in the sound suppressor industry, and the bolt mounted safety mechanism now locks the firing pin in the rear. The safety mechanism is safer because instead of blocking the sear or the trigger, the mechanism blocks the safety itself.
The AR-30A1 comes in two calibers, .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua, and a standard and target version. The standard version employs buttstock that ArmaLite spent considerable time designing to be ergonomically correct with a checkpiece that is at the right height for most shooters, although they are not adjustable. The standard version also comes with a 20 minute angled top rail on the receiver.
The Target version has a 20 MOA Picatinny top rail that is 18 inches long, as well as picatinny side rails. On the Target version both the cheekpiece and the buttstock are adjustable.
At the 2013 Media Day, I had the opportunity to shoot the AR-30A1 .338 Lapua. Given how cold it was, I lacked my usual enthusiasm for shooting such a large round. However, I was astonished at the soft recoil and smoothness of the rifle. While I couldn’t properly assess the accuracy of the rifle with three shots, I hit what I was aiming at while shivering in the wind.
As far as the redesign, I did find the standard version fit me body type well. The cheekpiece was at the right height, and the stock fit very well. That being said, I do have an “off the rack” body style. So more often than not the guns I pick up fit me pretty well.
All in all, I was impressed with what I saw of the AR-30A1.