This article first appeared on AllOutdoor.com
Black Rain Ordnance needs no introduction to regular AllOutdoor.com readers. The company is renowned in the black rifle world for making some of the finest ARs available, and unlike most AR makers, who assemble their ARs mainly from OEM parts, Black Rain machines most of their parts in-house. But I’m not here to talk about their ARs. I’m here to talk about their brand spanking new bolt-action sniper rifle platform.
Black Rain has been working in secret on this project for quite a while, and they gave AllOutdoor.com an exclusive, first-ever look at this beauty. From the muzzle brake all the way back to the Manner composite buttstock, BRO has engineered and machined this rifle to compete with the highest-end military sniper rifles available. If you’re in the market for a high-end .308, then in order to get a Remington 700-based rifle up to the level of finish and number of features available on BRO’s new rifle, you’d have to spend way more than the roughly $2,900 that this rifle is likely to retail for when it hits the shelves sometime in May.
The rifle’s 1:11 twist, 24″ fluted barrel is made from a Shilen blank, and it is free-floated and bedded at the .250 recoil lug. BRO flutes the blanks themselves in-house and will be offering a threaded version so that you can mount a compensator or suppressor.
The detachable box mag makes for fast re-loading, and it comes in a few different capacities, depending on the caliber. Speaking of which, at launch there will be a .223 version of this gun, as well as versions in .308, and .338 Lapua.
The rifle’s ejector is a free-floated design that uses the force of the bolt to eject the round — there’s no spring here. The Sako-style extractor works in conjunction with the ejector to ensure that the gun cycles under even extremely adverse conditions.
The rifle has plenty of other features, like picatinny scope mount bases, which you’ll be able to find out about on the product page once it goes up on BRO’s site, but the star of the show here is probably the exceptionally stiff hex milled receiver and locking lug bolt.
The bolt features a short, 60 degree lift, and it incorporates a three-rib design that runs the full length of the bolt. When unlocked, the three lugs allow the bolt to slide smoothly; when locked, they provide massive bolt strength. Look for more details on the bolt after we get our hands on the product and can investigate more thoroughly.
Scuttlebutt has said that this rifle’s design has a pretty interesting pedigree, and I’m still working on trying to find out more. BRO won’t name the lead designer on this project. He’s apparently a legend in the bolt-action rifle world, and he collaborated with them on this gun from start to finish. I’m going to try to score one of these guns for review, and then the guys at TFB and I are going to put our heads together and see if we can untangle more about the roots of this design and who’s behind it. So watch this space for more info.
Part of the reason that BRO decided to produce a bolt-action was that the opportunity to work with this particular gun designer just fell in their lap, and they took it. Another reason is just old-fashioned diversification.
“We wanted to diversify out of the AR-15 market. That’s our bread and butter and the backbone of our company, but we needed to diversify as a company and get into other fields and other marketplaces,” Justin Harvel, president of BRO told me. “We felt that we could build a precision rifle and compete in the bolt action world, using the same methodical technique that we’re known for.”
In all, this new rifle platform looks like a top-notch effort from one of the most well-regarded, up-and-coming shops in the AR scene. We can’t wait to get it out to the range and put it through its paces, and we’re certain that long-range shooters are going to be pleased to have yet another option for their arsenals.