Hands on With the ARES SCR at ASA Shoot (w/ Shooting Video)

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“With this out, why would anyone now want a Mini-14?” quiried the AAC rep.

The only witty response I could think of was. “If someone had a M1 Garand and wanted to practice?”

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Much to my surprise, Ares Defense had a few reps at the ASA shoot co-exhibiting with AAC. Taking advance of the brief time another member of the press corps was not on the rifle, I was able to put about 10-15 rounds through the rifle.

My configuration was the SCR lower with an 9″ 300 BLK upper and SD6 can.

Initial Impressions

The kit looks polished and complete. Nothing is out of place or sorts. That said, it is an awkward rifle compared to the standard AR-15 and perhaps its not fair to compare it to one? Changing the pistol grip complete changes how the rifle feels. With credit to my earlier comment, using the stock makes shoot similar to the Mini-14 or Kel-Tec SU-16. The recoil is no longer completely straight-line into the shoulder. That said, it was easy to double-tap with the suppressor and subsonic ammunition.

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The trigger was sufficient and I am sure the aftermarket will get right on it in short order. Charging and magazine releases felt simultaneously familiar and awkward. Same manual of arms minus your trigger finger does not reach the magazine release. Charging the rifle made me feel like I was going to “slide bite” my hand, but in reality there is plenty of clearance.

I don’t think the SCR is a revolution, but will certainly credit as an evolution in response to changing legal requirements. For those in restricted states, this and other solutions will continue to give shooters semi-automatic options. The shooting population of California alone is more than enough to justify its production.

Until we can get one for a full review, I can sum up my impressions as such: “If its as good as my first impression, its more than good enough for most shooters.”

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Confirmed Features:

  1. Will accept any AR-15 upper receiver.
  2. Uses a proprietary bolt carrier & spring. Standard AR-style bolts accepted.
  3. Standard AR mag releases
  4. Non-standard triggers, looks to be proprietary.
  5. Cross-bolt safety. Very similar to an Remington 870.
  6. Legal in all 50 states.

More to come during the show. The reps said we may be able to get a look inside on the show floor. 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • jimmy

    So if someone buys this rifle(or even a Mini14), what bloody difference would it make, your gonna get shot the same way. Big woop if it has a rifle stock or doesn’t have the “Evil” Features. People are stupid.

    • Steve Truffer

      accuracy and ergonomics, pricepoint, parts compatibility. And what’s with “getting shot”?

      • iksnilol

        He was refering to firearms being banned because of cosmetic features.

    • Emir Parkreiner

      Stupid is an understatement considering the fact that multiple politicians have spent the past 20 years failing to grasp this concept.

    • Rick

      in my state, a law abiding tax paying citizen can be arrested and charged with a felony simply for having an unmodified AR in a case. No criminal activity needed. This one, an arrest will get thrown out.

  • WIll

    WIll someone take one apart already? I really need to see how the new carrier did away with the buffer tube. It’s driving me nuts!

    • spraynpray

      Just like the Remington 1100 system it copies…use a shorter carrier and a ‘carrier link’ to connect it to a plunger in the action spring tube that is hidden under the 1100 stock.
      Too bad it has a shotgun (crappy) trigger

      • TFB Reader

        It’s kind of ironic: I wasn’t familiar with the 1100’s internals and did a search, and the first suggestion that came up was for “tactical stocks” with pistol grips. Instead of making an 1100 handle like an AR, make an AR function like an 1100.

        Not being a shotgun guy, do they have inherently crappy triggers? I’m sure that someone is going to make a third-party fire control group for this thing.

    • MAXIMUS

      Here

      • M

        Pew

    • Cymond

      There was a pretty complete discussing of the system a few weeks ago on TFB, including one person who managed to find the patent with illustrations.

  • An Interested Person

    I think I would rather own this over a generic AR, and save my “evil” features for a premium/proprietary rifle(think LWRCI).

    That said, I will wait until Magpul makes a good stock for it(like what they have for the 870).

    And how was the weight?

  • Nicks87

    Will this be sold as a complete rifle or just a lower? If the price is right I might pick up the lower just to have something different to go along with my collection of AR junk.

    • TFB Reader

      +1

    • BattleshipGrey

      Or if you’re vacationing in CA?

      I was under the impression it would be sold as a whole rifle AND complete lowers +BCG. But I don’t have any text to back it up right now.

    • Cymond

      I hope they’ll sell it as just a lower (and bolt carrier), but you could just buy the rifle and sell the upper.

  • gunslinger

    nice

  • Nimrod

    I hate to admit it but I kind of like the looks. I have a Mini and an uncoverted Saiga. I kinda like sleeper type guns.

    • jamezb

      good…I’m not the only one…

  • hami

    I would like to see this lower build as a pistol with a very short barrel and whippet grip. Assuming the buffer tube doesnt go too far into the stock.

  • dan citizen

    Wood furniture in the works?

    It’s a lot sleeker package. Sliding this out of a scabbard on a horse or ATV would be much easier than a rifle with a protruding pistol grip, especially with a short magazine.

    In addition to those dealing with restrictions on EBRs this rifle will probably be adopted by folks who like a more traditional rifle configuration.

    • TFB Reader

      Also, add spacers to the stock to adjust LOP. I have really short arms.

      • BattleshipGrey

        Wouldn’t you want a shorter LOP then, instead of adding length to LOP?

        • TFB Reader

          I meant start with a short stock and include spacers for all of you normal-sized guys.

      • The Luth-AR adjustable stocks are pretty clever. Ares should worth with them.

        • TFB Reader

          Thanks for mentioning them. Definitely worth consideration for next build.

  • 101nomad

    I like the conventional stock. Never been real crazy about all the “tactical” pistol grips and whiz bang features. I would buy one of these rifles, no frills, if I had the money. Right now, my one pistol and shotgun will have to do.

    • iksnilol

      I get what you are saying, though I still like pistol grips I would consider one of these (mainly because I am not picky about guns).

      • 101nomad

        Understood. Just has to be affordable and prove reliable. I have three price ranges, cheap, inexpensive, and that which I can not afford. I never buy cheap. I do not shoot for fun, just ever now and then to verify function, sights, and if I need to check out different ammo. Never load for home defense what I have not shot. Choices are wonderful, I hope we can continue to make them.

        • MechMan

          I love the look of the pistol grip and hate not being able to have one. But this rifle will be a nice alternative until I can get out of NY state.

  • Hunter57dor

    Two things:
    one: cost? if it costs 1000 bucks, forget it, ill do the work myself to convert a 100 dollar lower kit into a legal config.

    two: what about other non standard uppers, like the 5.7 upper, or the .338 and .50 bmg bolt uppers?

    could be a neat gun for my state (CA)

    • MechMan

      The problem in states like NY is that there are no officially NY SAFE Act-legal ARs. There are ARs that are “supposedly” legal, but no one knows for sure as the law is very arbitrary and the state hasn’t officially approved anything. This rifle however is most definitely legal.

  • phauxtoe

    since its being compared to a Mini14, i assume it will cost the same as the Ruger!

  • GUNxSPECTRE

    Reminds me of the Benelli MR1 when I saw that it could be fitted with a stock.
    What I did like: the Comfortech stock and it did look cool for looking like an actual new gun and not just a ACR, SCAR or AR clone.
    What I didn’t like: Almost everything else.

  • echelon

    Way to take firearms technology backwards…

    It’s just sad that in the 21st century we’re still letting politicians dictate what we can and cannot own based on looks or features.

    full auto and semi auto technology is already 100+ years old and now we’re going backwards from better ergonomics to worse…

    Let the hating commence, but this is terrible design. You want to help the people of California? Help educate them to stop electing Feinstein’s and take their rights back!

    • MechMan

      It’s not a terrible design if one is stuck in a ban state.

      • echelon

        You seemed to have missed my point. This gun is a reaction to the ban laws…ok, I get it. But the question is why do we let these bans go through? It looks like the people in CT finally get it. Mass non-compliance. The state wants to make you a felon? Good. And hundreds of thousands of other gun owners too.

        Our problem is that when these “laws” come down the pipe we just act like good little robot sheep and say BAAAA…we obey.

        There would be no need for this awkward, ridiculous looking frankengun if we would just learn to not abide by criminals that we call “representatives”.

    • Tinkerer

      Yeah, how dare they try to offer a different choice to the market that might interest people with different tastes in firearms?! Shame on them!

      • echelon

        Yes, shame on them for making something that legitimizes the ban states statutes.

        If someone wants this bastardized frankengun atrocity, then they can have it. And since it’s a “free country” they can use whatever means of justification they want for owning it too!

        I just think it’s funny that we have companies who are spending money on making and marketing something like this rather than putting the time, effort and money into the real issue which is getting rid of anyone who would want to ban a firearm just because it’s scary looking.

        But just like concealed carry laws, rather than confront people with true 2nd amendment rights out in the open we’ll just tread lightly so as not to frighten the sheep with scary guns…

        • Cymond

          Legitimizes? I’ve never seen such a perfect example of the pointlessness of such bans.

          And there ARE organizations struggling against the anti-gunners, but everyone contributes in their own way. I’m glad we can undermine their efforts with ban-compliant guns while we push back in the courts.

          But enough politics, this is TFB.

          • echelon

            Ah, yes, how I forget that this is the TFB…

            All I’m saying is that if this is someone’s idea of undermining the law, it sure is silly. It complies with the law and it shows people like Feinstein that when they craft this legislation that companies and gun owners will capitulate to their will. This shows me that the anti gunners have been successful at deeming a 50 year old gun design evil and forcing it to be shoehorned into a 100 year old gun design and the gun owners think it’s a middle finger to them. If I were the lawmakers in this case I would consider it a big win…

            But, yes, let us get back to more important matters…piston guns are way better than direct impingement and Glocks are superior to 1911s in every way. /sarc

          • Cymond

            I moved to CA a few years ago and it’s been a real education on legislative stupidity and firearm ingenuity. First, they banned detachable mags on rifles with “evil” features. Then, someone invented the “bullet button”. After that came devices like the RadLock, MagMagnet, and UBBT. We just keep pushing the limit, proving how ineffective their laws are. You’re right that it is not full defiance, but the anti-gunners seem to disagree. They keep screaming about “loopholes”. (Go look at California SB-47 to get an idea of what I mean.) The end result is that there are at least 20x more AR-15 style firearms in California now than when the ban was passed, and there is NOTHING the legislators can do about it because we are always one step ahead. Even if they do ban the “bullet button” and similar, we will just convert to featureless rifles or use the ARMagLock.

            Yes, some do defy the law by building illegal firearms but there are risks involved. Aside from the personal risks, it is easy for the mainstream culture to marginalize those few who defy. The end result is that firearm owners are marginalized even further, paving the way for more restrictions in the future

            It’s also dang-near impossible to find an shop willing to defy unconstitutional bans by openly selling noncompliant firearms. If you disagree, then please show me a store that openly sells unregistered SBRs, suppressors, and machineguns. If everyone took your approach, there wouldn’t be any civilian suppressors at all, except for whatever piece of junk Bubba built in the garage.

            So in summary, I guess that I’m trying to say that staying legal helps firearm design and firearm ownership progress in the mainstream while “defiance” only serves to push them into the shadows.

          • echelon

            I think you are making some grave assumptions.

            First you are assuming that they won’t ban semi autos and that the 9th would strike it down. I don’t think anyone can safely assume that. I bet the people of NY didn’t think the SAFE act would get passed overnight too…

            Secondly, you are just assuming that their strategy will just be a linear ban this feature, ban that feature game, when it surely will not. In California they are already confiscating “legal” guns from people who are arbitrarily deemed “mentally defective” because they went into a clinic one time 10 years ago and got some counseling for depression. They will use any and every trick in the book to get what they want and that’s CONTROL.

            So playing this “Well we’ll just stay 20 steps ahead of them and play with the gun design loopholes” seems like a very shortsighted strategy at best and completely foolish at worst.

            But you are absolutely correct on shops and people not banding together. If one or a small few people defy then it’s easy to marginalize and criminalize those few. But as recent events in Connecticut and Nevada show, when large groups of like minded individuals defy en masse then things can change.

            A “system” can only be built when everyone goes along with the rules. That legitimizes the rules and the system. That’s why I decry things like this when companies seek to gain from the system. If the gun shops and suppressor makers and everyone else like minded did Not capitulate then things could be very different.

            There are laws on the books in Montana and Wyoming that state that all Federal gun laws are null and void if the raw materials and everything are sourced and produced in those states. Because the federal laws are based on “interstate commerce” and in this case nothing would be “interstate”. The feds have said they would challenge those laws in court if and when the time comes. To date no company in either of those states has tried to actually follow through with it. So in this case you would even have State Law to back you up and you could then make suppressors, machine guns, etc. But nobody is willing to put their money where their mouth is because they fear the threats of the Federal Empire.

            If Texas really wanted to be an independent Republic it could be tomorrow. They can produce all of their own energy and they don’t need any “federal assistance” to keep their infrastructure and economy going. But it doesn’t happen because the leadership of that State are on the federal dole. They are profiting from the extant system. That’s the problem.

            Obviously today it wouldn’t be wise or prudent for any one shop or
            company to defy the will of the Empire on a whim. I’m lamenting that we
            and our ancestors let it get this far.

            Oh man, the politics again. 😉

    • Rick

      I can only vote once. the millions on welfare and the hundreds of thousands of imported college kids are impossible to beat legally.

      Senator Leland Yee would love it if we all stayed disarmed until the day we could fix the gerrymandering, the welfare state, and the corruption. So would the gangs.

      I’d rather not wait that long.

      • echelon

        It’s simple mathematics. One armed man can easily subdue one unarmed man. If both men are armed then they must both weigh the consequences of their actions very carefully before acting.

        Likewise, one armed man, owning something the state says he should not, will be easily subdued by many men more heavily armed than he.

        If the will was there and everyone like minded was courageous enough to do so the means to be at least as heavily armed as the state is available. Sure you might not have machine guns and MRAPs but once again we would have two groups of armed people and then the consequences of actions would need to be more carefully thought out. The situation in Nevada proved this…

        In short, voting at the ballot box is worthless. We live in a country where “law” has become lawlessness. Where lawlessness thrives order and peace do not. Therefore it is then morally right to do things that are “illegal” in order to restore lawfulness. Until we understand this as a nation, as a people we are doomed to be ruled by those who think themselves better than us.

    • Steven

      This is something I’ve wanted for a while. I prefer, just as many other out there, the feel of a traditional stock over the pistol grip and even then you can get thumbhole stocks that look better and function the same as the standard ar stock/grip. in addition to the design being more appealing visually, its serves better for horseback, will fit in a normal sleeve, and be quicker to shoulder when hunting. This in not a step backwards but a marriage that serves a purpose and function the normal ar failed at.

  • OFPismySOP

    I’m curious about how regular iron sights would work on this thing. Seems to me that having standard sights would raise the cheek off the stock quite a bit. Maybe they’ll come out with a proprietary set of “low-pro” sights for the rifle?

    I’d love that and would make me want one even more than I do now.

    • Cymond

      Troy (I think) makes a set of lower-profile folding sights for non-AR-15 rifles. Or maybe Ares will create a cheek riser.

  • Fred Johnson

    Speaking of ergos, AR ergos just don’t fit me like I wish they did. Probably due to growing up shooting “old school” type rifles. I bet the ergos of this ARES rifle would fit me pretty nicely.

    The downside would be no AR style co-witnessing of sights. Oh well.

    Yet, I like slim rifle cases and this gun would slide right into one, so there’s another plus for me.

    So far, I like what I see with the ARES SCR.

    • Fred Johnson

      After more thought, the charging handle and mag release with that stock won’t sell it for me. I’d want a side charging handle and an Mini14/AK type mag release.

      Oh well, again.

      • There are a variety of side-charge AR uppers. I can see your point about the magazine release though. An ambidextrous magazine release, by Troy or Norgon, would give you more reloading options though.

        • Fred Johnson

          Yes, a side-charge AR upper would work nicely.

          • Cymond

            And an Odin Works mag release button might help a little with the mag changes.

        • Oh, I forgot that the side-charge uppers have proprietary bolt carriers, and probably won’t work with the Ares SCR, but at least the GFG drop-in side-charge handle, previously featured on TFB should work.

          http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/07/18/gfg-drop-in-side-charger-ar-15/

        • Rick

          Any side charger with the return spring in the piston would work. 🙂

  • 101nomad

    (I am going to catch hell for this). Want it in 7.62 NATO. We used to shoot such things.

    • MechMan

      My understanding is that it is going to be offered in both 5.56 and 7.62.

      • Steven

        I thought it was being offered in 7.62×39 not 7.62×51. 39= ak/sks while 51 is nato/.308

  • MechMan

    All this talk about how without the pistol grip the gun feels odd only feeds into the anti’s narrative that a pistol grip DOES in fact give a shooter a significant shooting advantage.

    • Ergonomics have no affect on external ballistics. Flash suppressors only have a significant effect when it’s dark. By the time a barrel heat shield (shoulder thing that goes up) would have an advantage, there’d probably already be more than a half dozen dead bodies and many many liters of spilled blood.

      If the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration mandated that all vehicle doors be welded shut for safety purposes, there would be a push back on that too.

  • MechMan

    I want to know the price for it. I am saving up for my first rifle and since I am in New York, I am really looking to this. Was going to go for a Kel-Tec SU-16, because those take AR magazines, but this I will get instead if it is priced decently.

    • BattleshipGrey

      I think they gave a rough estimate of $800-900.

  • We have one of these coming for a complete review.

  • Jesse Groves

    Picture it with a m1 grand style wood stock and guard

  • you should crop the shoes out of that last photo

    • Fred Johnson

      Don’t ya wish more people would crop their feet out of gun photos? It can sometimes get a closer view of the gun and definitely saves vertical space on a blog or forum.

      Although, I admit to trying to figure out more about the photo taker by looking at their shoes or the furniture in their home. 😀

  • clinton notestine

    i’ll take a lower her in california

  • Sable

    I’d take the mini-14, as it tends not to s*** where it eats. But I do love the look of this one.

  • Dumb-as-a-rock-and-dumber

    What’s the MSRP? Would like this a side-folder kit for this.

  • Rick

    I have a SU-16 and live in California, where politicians are arrested for gun running yet pass laws saying the law abiding cannot use AR type receivers without all sorts of weird attachments and handicaps. You think this handles weird, try the strange configurations of grips mandatory here.

    Question? where does the buffer tube go? is it angled into the stock?

    if these are reasonably priced, I’m all over at least one.

  • Matt

    I’d really like to see this offered with more traditional-looking wooden furniture. That would make it a true alternative to the Mini-14. Something like this would be great to slide under the seat of a pickup. I’ll stick to my AR when I want something with plastic furniture and rails on the fore grip.

  • Blake

    Interesting alternative to Kel-Tec SU-16…

  • Nicholas C

    Nathan, I gotta get you to try my #TacticalPirate GoPro setup. That way we dont constantly see the side of your face LOL.

  • Nathan Means

    I feel like this is going to bring the AR platform to alot of old school hunters that cant stand the tactical phase. I mean it makes alot of sense to use ar15 or ar10 mags and uppers… Since the 300blk is such a popular hog round

  • John Hollister was the first to receive a commercial SCR. They are available and ready to ship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!