Robinson XCR: An Overlooked Great

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With $700 AR15 rifles everywhere, it is hard to sell the American public on more expensive semi-automatic modern sporting rifles no matter how many bells and whistles said rifles may have. As such, the Robinson XCR is a rifle that you do not see too often at the range, and that really is a shame. Our neighbors to the north love them due to their non-restricted status, but shooters here in the USA have never quite warmed up to the rifle. Here at SHOT 2014 is the first time I have been able to play with one for a bit.

The XCR was a competitor in the recent US Military Individual Carbine Competition, and from what I have heard, the soldiers loved the rifle.

Here is the light version, chambered in 5.56 by default but caliber conversions to 6.8 and 7.62×39 are available now:

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The rifle handles well and features a non-reciprocating charging handle, familiar AR style controls, and is piston operated.

The rep from Robinson was able to field strip the gun in about 15 seconds too, and this genuinely impressed me (it was “AK” fast).

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Robinson is also very NFA friendly, and produces factory SBRs for sale which makes me a happy camper.

Here is the 5.56 version:

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Also at the booth was the XCR-M, Robinson’s 7.62×51 rifle. The one on display was an SBR that I imagine throws fireballs into the next county:

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I shouldered and manipulated the rifle quite a bit, and to be honest I found it to be very well balanced, at least more so than a SCAR 17 with a similar barrel length:

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Alas, my impressions of the Robinson rifles:

  • Factory SBRs are a great option
  • Caliber conversions are available now (are you listening, FN and Bushmaster?)
  • All the features of a modern military style semi auto you should expect
  • Cleaning should be painless
  • Switching calibers is incredibly easy
  • I wish I saw more of these around!
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Alex C.

Alex is a writer for The Firearm Blog who was born and raised in Texas with years of experience in hunting, shooting competitions, and general collecting. A degree in History from Baylor University with an emphasis on the Age of Imperialism and a minor in English have contributed to his love of both early and modern firearms technology. Alex is most fond of machine guns and other NFA toys.


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  • Patrick Karmel Shamsuddoha

    whats msrp ??

    • Blastattack

      Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price.

      • Patrick Karmel Shamsuddoha

        i know what MSRP stands but i see your confusion.

    • floppyscience

      I believe the XCR-L starts around $1500, the .308 XCR-M is more. The prices aren’t on RobArm’s site and I can’t find them anywhere else.

      • Little Jack

        Not sure what the latest pricing structure is with the new mods but as of December you could get a 16″ L in black in any caliber offered for around $1700. That went up about $100 from mid year 2013.

      • Little Jack

        As of dec, about $1700 (street price) for a standard L, in any caliber offered , in black. Not sure if the new mods will bump up the price. It went up about $100 recently.

        • floppyscience

          Well it looks like I was a bit off, thanks. :) I could have sworn it was $1500 but that could have been a few years ago.

  • floppyscience

    “An Overlooked Great”

    Alex you’re drunk, go home. The XCR is not overlooked. The community has indeed looked at it with a resounding “nope”, especially after Alex Robinson’s infamous meltdown and egotistical rant where he trashed his critics and customers alike and pretty much said, “Don’t complain about your $2000 paperweight or we’ll ignore you and not fix it”.

    I was in Canada when the XCR and it was very popular up there when it launched… and is not so much anymore. There’s a reason for that. The lure of a cool-looking non-restricted .223 rifle is more than canceled out by the QC and design issues and the company’s batshit insane owner and his treatment of his customers.

    Honestly I was interested when the Gen 1 rifle was released, but I couldn’t afford one at the time. Now I’m glad I didn’t drop all that money on one. Even if all the issues are fixed I can’t spend that much money supporting such an jackass.

    Here’s the link for anyone who wants to laugh/cry/cringe a bit: http://www.xcrforum.com/forum/8-robinson-armament/8624-changes-robinson-armament-co.html

    • Little Jack

      I’ve got a few. It’s a great platform. Robust, easy to work on, great ergos. Truly multi cal (762×39, 6.8, 5.56, 5.45). A very flexible SBR platform.

      As floppy pointed out though the QC can be spotty, support is slow at best, non existent at worst, difficult to get parts (I’ve waited 18+ months for some), not cheap.

      It can’t compete with the AR as far as options or support but if a larger company could take over production I think it would get the price down, QC up, and some rifles to the masses (only about 10k of the L model since 2006).

      It won’t ever be my only platform but it’s one of my favorites.

      If you do look at the forum, you’ll see the general consensus is a overall enthusiasm for the platform and anger/frustration with the company.

      • floppyscience

        Honestly I do like the design and think it has a lot of potential. If QC was better and Robinson himself wasn’t such a tool I’d have bought one already.

        I agree that it would be great if another more capable company bought the design and started manufacturing it. Do that and ground Alex Robinson to his room with no internet access and you have guaranteed sales.

        • 35Whelan

          If you can accept that for simple firearm maint/repairs you will have to be somewhat self reliant….then you have a winner. Just about every issue I’ve seen can be resolved on your own. Given that inconvenience, you actually learn more about your gun by dealing with it yourself. Parts are not that hard to get. The main thing to remember is to use the forum as your main tool for resources. Parts, advice, mods, creations, all can really circumvent any need to actually deal with Robinson. There are a couple of great dealers on there and you can buy direct from them. The system itself has seen a string of improvements over the last few years and most of the early bugs seem to have vanished with newer part designs. The thing runs any ammo I throw at it, she’s built like a tank, the internals are about as simple as it gets, and it shoots tight groups. It runs clean, has all fire controls where I want them, and has quick change barrels. Forget about the owner and focus on the hardware. That is if you want something that gives you the best options of the AK and AR combined, along with quick caliber changes.

        • GUNxSPECTRE

          Robinson’s a tool?

          Mind explaining what’s he done to achieve such a title?

          • floppyscience

            When I said that I was mostly considering the shitty way he treats customers and his legendary rant on the XCR forum. You know, stuff this entire comments section is talking about.

    • me ohmy

      “First, when you call for service, be polite. If you are not polite to my staff, I guaranty you will have a pleasant experience. Remember the old saying, “You can attract more files with honey that with vinegar.” If you call with an attitude, my staff has been instructed to put you on the back burner. If you are nice and polite, you will get quicker service.”

      • tts

        Complaining about late service and gun issues in a polite manner is still considered impolite by them and by back burner they mean, “maybe we help you in a year or so”.

    • Pal

      You know, people do make mistakes and can change. I don’t know you, but I would bet you’ve made some big ones; you’re just not at such a public profile where the mistakes are exploited.
      We ALL say and do things out of frustration, depression, dissapointment that we regret.
      He has made great strides to improve customer feedback and production times: it’s a small company, unlike these behemoth manufacturers like FN that are based out of this country.
      Let go of the grudge and quit being an ARFCOM talking head.

    • dan

      Strange I actually like some of his response, I agree if you call them up with an attitude I wouldn’t just put you on the back burner I’d hang up on you until you remember to be a polite human being. I see where he comes off as a lunatic, but honestly everyone expects everything to be 100 percent well folks it isn’t like that.

      How do you think you all sound when you jump on the forums whining because you have an opinion about a gun you’ve never handled or have even personally operated? How do you think you sound when you cry around because you called customer service chewing their ass and they didn’t drop everything to come wipe your ass? The customer isn’t always right.

      Now in no way am I suggesting any of you are cry babies or that I’m a fanboy of his product. I am just saying I can see the guys point.

  • Travis

    Sorry bud, if you haven’t shot this rifle yet, you can’t really comment on it’s performance.

    “Here at SHOT 2014 is the first time I have been able to play with one for a bit.”

    “I shouldered and manipulated the rifle quite a bit, and to be honest I found it to be very well balanced, at least more so than a SCAR 17 with a similar barrel length”

    It’s great you got out from behind a computer to attend SHOT and shoulder a few rifles, but until you’ve actually fired it, please just post some pics and keep your conclusions to yourself.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      Sorry Travis, but there is no need to be insulting.

      • Travis

        Alex, you’re posting on a blog where people are looking for validated opinions. Why comment, and write a whole article, on a rifle you’ve never fired before? I wouldn’t go to a car blog and read about what a driver thought about while looking at a car in a showroom. It just shows that the TFB is just trying to generate a bunch of crap content from this event. The XCR has been hugely popular in Canada, and quite a few of us either own one, or have taken one for a test spin.

        Now, you come to the party claiming that it’s “overlooked” and that you’re going to educate us all on this missed wonder without having ever put a round through one?

        Enjoy the SHOT experience, but I’d recommend you limit your postings to topics you actually have some authority on. I wouldn’t base my decision on going to Thailand on someone who read a book about it once.

        • Patrick

          Dude, chill out. He is posting his observations about the rifle. Stop being a condescending a**.

        • drav

          Wow dude youre a fuckin dick for zero reason

        • JB

          DOUCHE BAG..

        • ColaBox

          Travis, your condescending attitude to Alex is oddly similar to that of a certain RA head honcho on an XCR forum…

          • Travis

            I have no idea what that means.

        • RocketScientist

          He’s got a lot more experience with this rifle than 90% of us on here, namely having seen one in person, handled it, and spoken to the manufacturing reps about it. I was very interested to read what information he had to share, no matter the fact that it was limited by not having fired one. I know the internet is home to dickishness, and I am guilty of it myself from time to time. But seriously, relax.

      • Travis

        Hey Andy,

        I’m sorry about these posts. My bad, perhaps I’m a little resentful because I was supposed to attend SHOT as well, but that’s not your concern. My apologies. Enjoy the show, I’m sorry .

    • dan

      99% of the people commenting on this haven’t shot the rifle or have experienced first hand any of the issues they bring up. To be fair Travis and not sound like an ass please go through and quote them all and then give a rude reply.

      I wonder why the CEO of any company would treat customers like shit? Maybe because his customers are like all of you.

      If you dont ‘like something, and think you have the solution, do it yourself, make a better rifle with better customer service, Don’t like the review write a better one. I’m guessing that you’ll just keep posting crap on the internet though.

  • Alex M

    They’ve also got a 5.45×39 conversion as well if the website is right. Also Robinson Armament also takes a lot of input from the users on their forums.

    • Little Jack

      RA has nothing to do with the XCR forum (assuming that’s the one you’re talking about). Alex took part for a short while but it resulted in the link in floppys post.

    • floppyscience

      “Also Robinson Armament also takes a lot of input from the users on their forums.”

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Spacedredd

    I have owned a RobArm XCR-L (5.56) since Feb 2009. It is one of the most versatile platforms out there. I just picked up my second one today. When I came back from Afghanistan I wanted something that was more reiable then the A2 I was using for vehicle operations. I knew if I was going to spend my own $$$$ it was going to have a folding stock. My XCR shoots all manufactures of ammo including Wolf and Tula. On hot days the Tula casing will expand in the bore, cleaning rod resolves that real quickly. As far as brass goes no failures… The price is comparable to the SCAR and less then the ACR with the same quad rail and folding stock. The XCR is my go to platform.,

  • T dog

    14810

    Im not sure who you talked to, however 2 years ago at Shot I talked to Alex and he said the XCR was never entered into the IC because the XCR was only a left side charging system (the solicitation required ambidextrous charging handle). I am a dan of the XCR, and in all retrospect it was the first modular rifle!

  • Anderson Keim

    I was excited about this rifle at one point, then i emailed them to ask some fairly innocuous questions regarding their product. I received a rather rude and condescending reply that has lead me to decide I will not be purchasing an XCR at any point in the foreseeable future. If that reply is how they treat a prospective buyer, I dread to imagine the way they would treat someone who has to rely on them for parts and maintenance.

    • floppyscience

      “I dread to imagine the way they would treat someone who has to rely on them for parts and maintenance.”

      You don’t have to imagine. The company’s owner and designer of the rifle said himself that customers who dared complain, either to the company or on the internet, would have their issues put on the backburner. It seems the idea is you should be grateful for the opportunity to own Robinson’s revolutionary XCR…even if it’s broken out of the box.

  • ColaBox

    I like the new stock design, shame this never got popular. Its like the SCAR and AR got together and had a kid, and that kid sadly got overlooked due to the ACR.

  • me ohmy

    Robinsons politics suck and he’s not a good guy person.. I wont buy guns off a FUDD, and even then his stuff COSTS too much.. I just saw a kit for a build your own ar-15 m4orgery.. 420 bones.. robinson can suck it.

    • floppyscience

      Please stop misusing the term “fudd”. Say what you want about Robinson but a “fudd” he is not.

      • Bob Barker

        Well I learned something new, I thought he just typo’d FUD since it was capitalized.

    • Hank 0331

      What politics would those be, exactly? Have you met the man to determine whether he’s a “good guy person” or not? With all due respect to you, why don’t you do us all a favor and shut your mouth?

      *Edited for spelling/grammar

  • Esh325

    There are AR15′s even that are 700 dollars out there or even less, but they aren’t very common.

  • Esh325

    It’s much harder to sell semi automatic assault rifles when their select fire cousins aren’t being used by any military. Plus importation laws effectively weed out any competition. That’s why non AR15 rifles have difficult time gaining traction.

    • José Pulido

      Non-AR-15 rifles have a hard time gaining traction because it’s hard to produce a rifle of competitive price(in the USA at least), ergonomics, and function, even if you can disregard the market support for the AR-15(which means that eventually ambidextrous lowers will be standard, and eventually polymer lowers will become reliable, as well as other advancements that will bring/are bringing the platform ahead while still being cheap.)

      It’s also hard to sell “semi automatic assault rifles” since assault rifles(having semiautomatic function or not,) are only legally available to the military/government.

      There are fantastic options starting to arise, the SCAR, and Tavor being very competitive(still lacking ergonomics/pricing though), both being used by either our own, or other militaries. The AUG would also be something used as standard for several militaries, but it’s not that practical for Americans, besides the nice nostalgia it has.

      The Tavor is almost as cheap as a high-middle ground AR-15. Once the X95 version(normal trigger guard/AR-15 style button mag release) comes out, you can expect it to gain much more popularity.

      • Esh325

        I loved the way the Tavor felt personally picking it up. It felt like it was made for the body.

        • José Pulido

          I’ve heard that often, I’m pretty sure it’s just me that’s bothered by it. It’s really just the bulk and controls that bother me most, the heft I can ignore. I’m really hoping IWI follows through with their promise of “sometime in 2015 hopefully” on an x95.

      • Joe

        I agree on the price issue. Nearly all of the new design rifles that have come out in the past 5 years are 3x the price of a decent Ar-15, but they’re not anywhere near 3x the performance. In many cases, you are paying and additional 2K for an 2% increase in reliability. The price/performance curve is steep indeed.

        Plus, the Ar-15 has some many parts and accessories that you can make it a totally new rifle,caliber, etc, cheaply and easily.

        I feel that the only reason to get one of the newer rifles is to get a configuration that you can’t customize an ar-15 into such as bullpup.

        • José Pulido

          The cost of newer rifles seemingly just becomes harder to justify as the never-ending capitalist PIP closes the gap between the AR-15 and “modern” rifles. I think LWRC’s IC lower receiver, or something like it, will become standard in the next few years, at least in the commercial market. Right now they’re insanely expensive because they’re new, but that won’t last forever. Ambidextrous AR-15s are at hand.
          They only require a different forging and slightly more machine time, and LWRC has a history of expanding their versatile and practical products to more markets(UCIW stocks, beefy charging handle, etc.)
          Innovative Arms’ WAR upper receiver looks most promising to build an AR-15 that retains modularity/balance/lightweight, while adding an adjustable gas system. Someone needs to just rip off their design already, since their production time is horrible, price is horrible, and have been “patent pending” as well as “coming back soon” for what feels like the better part of a decade now.

          I think I can agree on different rifle setups for the most part, I’m still waiting with my hands folded for IWI to make headway with producing an X95 variant in the States, even if it is with an 18.7″ barrel or whatever. A 13″ barreled bullpup, with a full size can being roughly the same size as as a 10″ carbine is pretty attractive.

  • Guest

    XCR… for AK douches who want a rifle that handles a little more like an AR… and don’t mind being on the bleeding edge of yesterday’s firearms technology.

    • Jack

      What would be “today’s” technology? Brass cased ammo fired out of a steel barrel attached to an metal/polymer upper/lower combination?

      This stuff isn’t rocket science. How many “new” platforms are really original? Rifles are getting better but I would argue that this is due more to material and manufacturing than any new designs in firearms.

  • Guest

    Too heavy, too much recoil. The 5.56 version I imagine would be very handy in an SBR platform with that compact stock.

  • José Pulido

    Ew.

  • José Pulido

    The designer/owner of this 2nd rate rifle is insecure because he knows he’ll never be revered like Stoner, Garand, Mauser, Luger, Kalashnikov, Browning, etc. because he’s a giant douche without an ounce of humility.

    • DW

      Who’s more of a douche:
      A who made a “2nd rate rifle” and has some ego issues.

      Or,

      B who post mocks to A, but did not achieve anything other than being a keyboard commando.

      • José Pulido

        Well, you may have a point there, Chief, but there’s always C who has literally no idea what he’s talking about, and has no point but to disprove with the hopes of insulting along the way.

      • John

        Alex Robinson, is that you? ;)

        • DW

          Nope. If he saw this post I guess he won’t comment so mildly.

  • Joshua

    Don’t forget they sue everyone who even tries to put a bolt release similar to theirs.

    • GUNxSPECTRE

      I doubt even Robinson’s stupid enough to throw a lawsuit at Freedom Group’s face for something like a bolt release.

      • Joshua

        They sued Magpul back when it was still the Massoud.

  • JT

    Echoing what others have said, it’s no surprise RobArms products are overlooked. The owner is?/was a dick. I e-mailed him back when they were getting press for their Russian import rifles. No reply. Ever. No interest in his customers. No wonder why his business is overlooked

    • JT

      probably would also explain why they rejected his design in trials. You have to deal with people and be personable to interact if you want the “gatekeepers” of these programs to look at your design

  • MZupcak

    My first thought when I saw the title of this article was “Man, I can’t wait to see the comments.”

    I’ve always loved the idea of this rifle but I started doing research and immediately heard all the HORROR STORIES about bad customer service, an arrogant and rude owner, etc. What a shame.

  • Zog117

    Yeah… its too bad their customer service blows. ultimtely that was the main reason why i got rid of mine.

  • Edward Franklin

    Overall the XCR is a pretty good design hampered by a company that is known for spotty customer service and horrible wait times. Not to mention they pretty much leave older products in the dust almost instantly, the M96 Expedition Rifle got left out in the cold so quick it’s unbelievable.

  • H.C.

    With all the comments on here about “don’t say you like it until you shoot it”. I just purchased an xcr-m in .308, 16 inch barrel variant for around 2500 bucks. I can do a review and send it to firearms blog if you all are interested

  • Mjorin

    I’m a multiple Robinson rifle owner, in several calibers including the M. I have been through all of the crap Robinson has dished out, but let me be clear. This is my go to gun, when I go out to shoot, which is often, it is always with a XCR. I’ve been to Thunder Ranch twice with my XCR and it ran without a hiccup. I have looked and looked and I can’t find anything that fits the bill better. Alex appears to be smoothing out a little and we have a few suppliers that seem to be able to get parts easily. In all fairness, I didn’t like Alex’s rant, but I do have a small business and understand the difficulties in being everything to everyone, especially to a very demanding and sometimes spoiled market. I want it now! seems to be our nation motto. I can’t imagine how hard it is to provide everything that the monster companies like FN can put out. And FN still managed to put out a $2600 gun with a reciprocating bolt handle! I really like this platform. It is very reliable, has excellent ergos, a three lug bolt with a massive extractor and I can change calibers in about two minutes and that is not hurrying. Accuracy is reported to be fairly good. I have a 7.62×39 that shoots sub MOA and I have shot a 5/8 inch group with a 4x scope and that was with witnesses and did I mention Norinco Steel cased ammo from the 1980′s. That is my two cents and I have spent a great deal of time behind XCR’s, AK’s and AR’s.

  • Patrick

    I own an XCR in an SBR configuration and will tell you everything said here about the owner is spot on. Run like hell when you see an XCR. Don’t get tangled up with that guy. He will treat you like crap.

    Run.

  • SD

    The parts for the caliber conversions are NOT easy to find or purchase.

  • BA47

    Eh, get a SR 556 and have a better rifle and better service.

  • Sterling Hess

    I bought a brand new XCR, and intially was very happy with the rifle. The longer I owned it the less I liked it. I did not care for the short hand guard, and even with the gas setting on one, with 223 ammo, the bolt would always jerk the rifle at its rearward travel. ARs seem a lot smoother. The big reasons I sold it was accuracy sucked… about 3moa with match ammo (same ammo shot 1/2 moa in a few different semi autos…this on a gun approaching 2k. Tried many different loads. Look how the barrel is secured… not well thought out it seems. Second was qc issues. At about 2k rounds the bolt worn down to where it would severly jam the gun. You could not shoot the rifle with out disassembly and tools after this would happen. Sold the rifle and never looked back.