Gun Review: Colt MARC 901 AR-15

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The Colt MARC 901 rifle is a bit of a different take on the .308 AR concept, but is it really necessary? Given Colt’s track record recently I am a bit skeptical, after all they are the company that brought us the All American 2000, the Colt Z40, and the Colt Double Eagle. Confidence inducing right? Even though Colt has a spotty track record with introducing new platforms I was hopeful.

When the MARC 901 showed up I was a bit taken aback that they would ship a $2000 rifle in a cardboard box instead of spending a few more dollars on a plastic hard case. I guess I should have expected this from Colt since that is what they have been doing for years, but given their current hardships maybe it is time to stray from the “old ways” and start being more customer focused. Last I checked the Cold War was long over and the large majority of buyers are not military or law enforcement that store their rifles in an arms room rifle rack. Does this matter in the long run? No, but I do think that when a plastic case is $10, there is no reason not to ship a several thousand dollar rifle in one.

On to the specs from Colt’s website.

LE901-16SE Special Features

  • User Configurable 1-Piece Upper Receiver with Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS)
  • Full Floated Barrel
  • Bayonet Lug and Flash Hider
  • Ambidextrous Controls
  • Accepts Mil-Spec 5.56 Colt Uppers
MSRP $1,999
CALIBER  .308 Win
BARREL LENGTH (IN.)  16.1″ Heavy
BORE Chromed, 4 Grooves, 1-12″ RH Twist
FRONT SIGHT Flip-Up, Adjustable Post for Elevation
REAR SIGHT Flip-Up, Adjustable for Windage
EXTENDED LENGTH  37.5″
COLLAPSED LENGTH  34.24″
WEIGHT 8.4 lbs
ACTION  Direct Gas System, Locking Bolt
FINISH Matte Black

The rifle looks to be pretty standard fare for a .308 AR at first glance. Many of the accessories that Colt has decided to include with the top of the line LE901-16SE are well proven parts, it is nice to see them included even if they are not my taste. P1030178The flash hider on the MARC 901 resembles a Vortex flash hider. The Vortex has proven itself as effective making it an easy choice, although dated.

Edit: I would have liked to see an A2 flash hider used to bring the cost down a bit or even a brake used. P1030179The front gas block has a nice folding front sight, I did find it a bit difficult to fold back down after it was deployed, you have to slide the stiff lever up while folding the sight down. The sight has a standard A2 front sight post nestled inside. P1030180 P1030181The rear sight looks to be a Troy folding sight with Colt’s logo on it. Again, a nice part that it is easy to see why Colt chose to include it. P1030198The monolithic upper has some nice T markings along the top of the rail so that you can attach your accessories to the M1913 rail in the same spot every time. P1030182Here is where I start to question Colt’s thinking. The sides and underside of the hand guard have threaded holes so that you can attach one of the four supplied rail sections to the upper. Why they didn’t set the rifle up for Keymod or something that doesn’t rely on screws that can come loose as a result of the .308’s recoil is beyond me. I feel this was a rather poor decision given that you can’t change the hand guard for something else.

I have never been a fan of monolithic uppers as I don’t feel they bring enough to the party to justify their weight. I would have much preferred to see a nice free float tube on the high end MARC. P1030183

This is the bag o’ goodies that Colt sends out with the rifle. The lack of care when packaging this rifle is starting to become a theme. I know that if I paid $2000 for a rifle I would be a bit miffed if my rails showed up scuffed. P1030184The contents of the bag include a mess of easily lost small allen screws, 4 rail sections, and a QD sling swivel. i would have appreciated an allen key being included, but there was none. P1030186Mounting the rail sections requires a 1/8″ allen key that Colt decided to not include. As I said earlier, without using some sort of thread locker I feel like thse are going to be loosened over time with the .308’s recoil. With hand guards being something I change around often I do not like the idea of using thread locker for fear of damaging the irreplaceable hand guard’s threads. P1030207The controls on the MARC 901 are probably one of the largest improvements. Here you can see the bolt release on the right side of the rifle, sadly you can use this only for releasing the bolt, not locking it back. Below that you have a pretty standard mag release as well as a standard forward assist on the upper and a dust cover. P1030192There is standard bolt catch on the left side of the rifle like you would find on just about any AR pattern rifle. Below that is the mag release for left handed shooters. As a righty I didn’t find this useful at all. Kudos for thinking about the 10% of the population that is left handed. P1030195The stock that Colt used is a Vltor Imod, another proven part. P1030197One thing I really liked was that Colt marked the buffer with .308. I know I havent talked about it yet, but you can convert this rifle from .308 to 5.56 with a conversion kit and a new upper. I wasn’t able to test this because Colt so wisely didn’t include the conversion kit with the rifle for testing. The conversion kit  has an insane MSRP of $216.49. No thanks. That is about half the cost of a 5.56 rifle all on its own then add the cost of an upper and you are well into the cost of a stand alone 5.56 rifle.  P1030200Edit: I have been corrected here. Colt used this particular lower design in order to allow the rifle to accept 5.56 uppers with the conversion kit that is sold separately. As I mention later in the article Colt did not provide that kit even though it was requested, I was not able to mount a 5.56 upper as a result. P1030202The charging handle was a bit of a let down. Why they decided to use a standard latch in the age of optics is beyond me. The bolt carrier is pretty straight forward offering no new innovation. I am not sure if the bolt interchanges with any other rifle system or if this is a MARC 901 exclusive. P1030203It did have some really cool machining marks on the inside of the carrier though. You can see that Colt did properly stake the gas key. P1030205The rifle has three places to attach the supplied QD sling swivel making attaching a sling an easy task.  P1030208 P1030209 P1030210On to shooting the MARC 901.

I set up to zero the rifle with my friend’s ACOG mounted on top. I really need to buy one of these outstanding optics at some point. I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about really getting tucked into the rifle as a result of past experiences on a LR308. The trigger is a pretty standard Mil-Spec unit with a 8 pound 7 ounce pull. I guess that is about standard for a stock trigger. pull w3eightThe recoil was pretty stout as should be expected with any .308 based AR.  P1030301Next up was shooting my steel target at 200 yards for a bit of fun before moving onto the accuracy test. I didn’t have any trouble with landing shot after shot on a 12″ round steel plate. P1030226Now to take aim at the targets I set up at 100 yards. P1030251My best 5 round group looked pretty good. Ammo used was Winchester white box and some military surplus that I had laying around.Group 1The worst group was much wider, but that is clearly because I pulled one of the shots. No matter, the MARC 901 provided rather good accuracy for a “battle rifle”Group 2Rapid fire at 50 yards was the next thing I wanted to give a try with the MARC 901. I set up some targets and did some quick transitions while double tapping each target. low ready 1rapid 1 rapid 2The rifle transitioned from target to target nicely, but the recoil made follow up shots either slower or a bit of a wide spread. Close quarter shooting isn’t exactly where this rifle might shine, but than again with a 16″ barrel it seems that my time at the 100-200 yard range was where the MARC 901 really seemed at home.

I have to say, I am unimpressed with the MARC. I feel that with a MSRP of $1999 it is a bit overpriced with the SCAR coming in a just a touch more expensive and a far better choice in my opinion. Had Colt included the caliber conversion it might have been an interesting option for those of you that have to jump through hoops to register a rifle, it would make it easier to have several calibers in one registered firearm.

For a shooter in a free state there is little reason for me to choose the MARC. When I can buy both a 5.56 rifle, a .308 AR, and a decent handgun for the price of MARC, it’s caliber conversion kit, and a 5.56 upper I can’t think of a single reason to buy one. If you have decided that you still want to look into the MARC 901 you can learn about the rifle on Colt’s website here.



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and works in the shooting sports industry. He is an avid recreational shooter and a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially handguns and the AR-15 platform. Patrick may be contacted at tfbpatrick@gmail.com.

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


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  • MattDFW

    I have been very satisfied with my Colt 901 LE. Mine shipped with the convertor kit for a little over $1700. Accurate and very mild recoil. Great gun!

    • Patrick R.

      That is more in line with what I feel comfortable paying for the rifle, had they priced it at $1500-$1600 with the conversion kit it could have been a solid option.

  • TechnoTriticale

    re: It will not accept ANY currently available .308 uppers because Colt decided to build a proprietary rifle.

    That’s a bit harsh considering that it is compatible with their conversion parts.

    How interchangeable are .308 AR uppers in general? Is the situation is anything like the .308 AR magazine mess (3 variations from Armalite alone)? As we used to say in the computer industry: standards are nice; there are so many to choose from.

    And by the way, which of the several .308 AR mags does this rifle accept?

    • flyfishr

      The uppers aren’t the issue with ar-10 style rifles. It’s the lower. You have Armalite, DPMS, CMMG, and now colt that have tweaked the lowers. Armalite put a slant at the rear of the lower, while DPMS kept the rounded form of the ar15, cmmg has an overly tall buffer tube extension that blocks the charging handle and colt has flown the standards coop. It’s a mess, but workable.

      • Patrick R.

        Never mind the several variations of uppers out there that make finding a hand guard an act of congress.

    • Patrick R.

      “re: It will not accept ANY currently available .308 uppers because Colt decided to build a proprietary rifle.

      That’s a bit harsh considering that it is compatible with their conversion parts.”

      I guess I should have been more clear. The MARC 901 will only work with the limited number of MARC 901 uppers, not any of the more traditional LR-308/AR-10 uppers on the market.

      • Patrick, that is because the MARC is designed to accept AR-15 upper receivers, which are dimensionally incompatible with any of the current AR-10/SR-25/etc pattern .308 uppers.

        • Patrick R.

          Fair enough. I still felt it was worthy of pointing out. I didn’t make that connection as I didn’t even try to mate a 5.56 upper to it.

          • Mrninjatoes

            So you didn’t really do a review. You just blasted a few rounds and complained about the cosmetics. I expect more from TFB. This review should have gone to Nathan F.

          • Patrick R.

            Again, I was not supplied the conversion kit needed to install a 5.56 upper.

    • John Bear Ross

      This takes SR-25 pattern mags, like Knights, DPMS, Magpul, Lancer, Larue, and similar.

      Best,
      JBR

  • Jay

    Just payin for name

    • Mrninjatoes

      No your not.

  • Schutze

    “I feel that with a MSRP of $1999 it is a bit overpriced with the SCAR coming in a just a touch more expensive and a far better choice in my opinion.”

    If by a touch more expensive you mean 500 dollars minimum more expensive, I guess you’d be right. The Scar might be a nice rifle, but putting it next to the colt in terms of price is not a fair comparison.

    • Patrick R.

      When we are talking about a $2000 purchase, another $500 isn’t out of the question. Don’t kid yourself, the MARC 901 isn’t for the bargain shopper at all.

      • Twilight sparkle

        Plus the scar has a more proven history with more guns on the market so it’s a lot easier to find them under MSRP.

        • andrey kireev

          Found mine @ $2300

          • Twilight sparkle

            Before tax or out the door?

          • andrey kireev

            before the tax… but also before they gave me a military discount lol

      • Schutze

        Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a large difference between $2000 and $2900, if you’re going strictly by MSRP. Neither of the rifles in question are for bargain shoppers, but 500 dollars would be enough to make me strongly consider going with the colt. For a majority of shooters, the colt would function just fine, but I can understand wanting the SCAR 17 for it’s cool points/proven track record. Thank you for taking the time to respond, though, and thank you for the article.

      • FWIW, Gunbroker prices for the FN SCAR are currently at about $2900 (which is insane to me, but then a few major YouTubers have been pimping the gun recently), while LE901 SE prices are hovering a little over $1900.

        • Patrick R.

          Holy crap! At the time I wrote the review there was about a $400-$500 delta between the two.

          • I can’t believe how expensive the SCAR 17 has become, either, Patrick.

          • The SCAR was at $2600—$2700 last time I checked them out. That was two months ago. For the difference I’d have to go with the Colt. If we’re talking choosing between one or the other.

          • Beju

            FWIW, a dealer just told me that his current wholesale price on the SCAR 17 is $2400 (SCAR 16 is $2100). However, he’s a small time guy, so it’s certainly possible that a bigger volume dealer may get better pricing/incentives that allow them to obtain SCAR 17s for a couple hundred less per unit.

  • DIR911911 .

    “I don’t see any reason why firearm manufactures needed to create several iterations of almost the same rifle” . . . . and suddenly the whole ar industry ground to a halt.

    • Xanderbach

      I think he meant the fact that in .308 ARs, there are multiple versions (such as dpms) that are incompatible with each other. For 5.56 ARs, there is basically one standard- 99% of 5.56 parts fit on other 5.56 ARs.

      • Patrick R.

        That is exactly what I am saying. I just want the gun industry to latch onto one pattern and develop the hell out of it like we did with the AR-15.

  • mosinman

    this may be me, but i have a hard time relating to quite a few of the complaints here, quite a few seem very minor in my opinion

  • 68Whiskey

    Wow, where to begin. First, in the interest of full disclosure, I own the exact same model “reviewed” here, the 16SE, so take that as you will.

    You refer to the Vortex FH as “dated,” though I don’t necessarily understand how that is a legitimate complaint. It’s simple and effective, it’s probably a better alternative than a plain-jane A2 style FH, and in a world where you can purchase dozens if not hundreds of assorted .30 caliber muzzle devices I think it’s a safe choice. Users who plan to mount suppressors will likely be changing it out with any one of the various proprietary mounting systems anyway, and trying to guess which one would be most popular would be a losing game for Colt. Calling it “dated” and not stating why this might be a bad thing or what a better realistic alternative is, politely, just a nitpick.

    Come to think of it, the Troy rear sight isn’t the newest wiz-bang piece of kit on the market. No complaints there I take it? Or the VLTOR IMOD, another “dated” piece?

    The proprietary modular rail thing is something bordering on a legitimate issue, though I’d posit that it’s an improvement on the full-length cheese grater on the original 16S. That said, if they had gone for shelfmod customers would be complaining that they wanted MLOK, and vice versa, and seeing as how it’s a monolithic upper I doubt they’d see the value in producing small runs of only slightly differing uppers. As you point out, since it’s monolithic, you can’t change it out for something else, so it seems to me going for a system that is at least somewhat user configurable was most likely the safest choice. And who doesn’t lock-tite their attachments? Seriously?

    Ok, not including an Allen key was silly. That said, I probably have 100 of them between actually purchasing kits and having them included with dang near every firearm accessory I’ve purchased ever. I think the bigger issue is why the only include one QD sling swivel.

    Here we come to the one true issue that you were able to scrape up, which is the lack of the conversion kit with the gun. This is a pretty chintzy move by Colt. My understanding is that some rifles shipped with them included, but that the prices of these rifles reflected that. And pricing it at $200 is silly. Congratulations, you homed in on a real problem. Then, though, you turn around and state that “$216.49… is about half the cost of a 5.56 rifle all on its own.” Well I guess that’s news to us here on Earth, because I can’t think of a reasonable-quality AR that comes in any lower than the ~$550 mark.

    Then you make the following breathtakingly tone-deaf statement: “Again, Colt decided to do something questionable with the lower. It will not accept ANY currently available .308 uppers because Colt decided to build a proprietary rifle.” That may be due to the fact that this proprietary build was designed to accept aftermarket AR15 uppers, which are standardized, vs “AR10″/LR308 uppers, which you so sagely point out are not. I don’t understand this complaint in the least. I mean, with the conversion kit you get one lower that handles anything from .22LR up to .308. That means one set of user interfaces – one of your favorite match triggers, pistol grips, buttstocks, control interfaces, etc – rather than purchasing these for multiple lowers. In my setup, at least, the price savings of buying only one Geissele trigger, one BAD safety switch, and so on more than outweighs the cost of the conversion kit.

    “The recoil was pretty stout”? Compared to other 308 ARs I’ve shot, I’d say no more than some and less than most. It’s noticeably less than the piston 308s I’ve fired.

    You need to expound on your accuracy testing. “5 shots at 100 yards” isn’t particularly informative, especially with the groups you’re showing. I mean, 5 touching shots at 100 yards using a creepy mil-spec trigger and a comparatively low-powered optic like that ACOG is good accuracy with match ammo and phenomenal with anything else. I don’t understand how you refer to this as “reasonably good accuracy for a ‘battle rifle.'” Maybe you just hold yourself to a higher standard, and if so, good on you, but methinks it’s simply a byproduct of your by-now obvious personal dislike for the rifle.

    In the comments you tout the SCAR as a somehow superior and similarly priced firearm. The superiority is kind of subjective, but for you to characterize the price difference as being $500 is dishonest. I picked up the 16SE for $1700 and a $27 FFL fee; the cheapest I’ve seen a SCAR 17S go for regularly online is $2400-$2500. That’s at least a 40% markup on an already not inexpensive gun. The SCAR is simply not in the same class in terms of price point.

    All in all I think you’re being fundamentally dishonest with either yourself or the audience with your complaints. As I stated earlier, you’re getting a lower that’s capable of handling any AR15 cartridge/upper as well as the included .308, which your own limited testing seems to indicate has very good accuracy potential.

    Anyone looking for a more in-depth review of the LE901 series rifles would be advised to check out the blog “Loose Rounds.”

    • Patrick R.

      Obviously we are both opinionated on the rifle; while I have no reason to dislike this rifle you have not only found it to be exactly what you need, but you are emotionally invested.

      I am not going to be able to defend my opinions about the rifle to someone so heavily invested to your satisfaction, but I will address a couple of points for the sake of conversation.

      The Vortex flash hider – Had Colt went with a brake I would have seen that as paying attention to the current market trends. You mentioned that many users will replace the flash hider with a suppressor mount, so if you insist on a flash hider why not use a A2 style and save some money? That savings could have gone towards making the rifle a bit cheaper or even provided a nice case to package the rifle in.

      The monolithic hand guard – I would have loved to see this as not even an option. My opinion is that monolithic hand guards do not add enough to warrant the additional cost. This is my opinion on all monolithic hand guards, not just the one on the MARC. Loctiting rail sections does not strike me as a great idea with my own hand guards being a very fluid situation depending on what I might be using that rifle for. A stripped out mounting screw is the last thing I need on a irreplaceable hand guard.

      Non compatible uppers – That is more me bringing that to the attention of the readers. I would love the industry to come together and produce one pattern of .308 AR in order to allow consumers to have a larger selection of accessories like the AR-15 market enjoys.

      Accuracy – Accuracy tests are almost always never informative unless the reviewer uses a Lead Sled. Not only does shooting abilities come into play, but the ammo is also just as much a factor. I even praised the rifle here, not really sure what the issue is.

      You need to understand something, I have every right to think a particular rifle is over rated as you are to think it is the bees knees. I personally have a very hard time in seeing any reason that a rifle that I can change from .308 to 5.56 is useful at all. I would much rather pay $1000 for a reasonably good .308 AR and the rest on a second rifle in 5.56 with enough left over for a .22 conversion kit and some spare mags.

      • Carl

        Gotta agree with Whiskey on this one. I don’t own this rifle (I do have the SCAR though) and this review felt more like a laundry list of minor things that don’t really merit complaints.

        A muzzle brake though the preference of a lot, I venture to assume that there’s an equal amount of people out there that prefer not to have a ton of muzzle blast (I’m one of those people who prefer a flash hider).

        Monolithic Handguard: You said that the SCAR is a much better rifle (It is) and technically, that has a monolithic handguard and people don’t bash the SCAR. Not to mention other 308 ARs on the Market that have monolithic handguards (LMT MWS, Larue OBR kinda) and they dont really get bashed on. Besides, why do people really need a 46in rail so they can put there hand so far out there? I feel like that trend is slowly dying because people are starting to realize a ton of rail = a ton of weight

        Non-compatible uppers: Agreed the industry to come together but this is still a market driven economy. To ask a bunch of manufacturers to give up trade secrets, techniques, etc and have everyone churn out the same gun, personally doesn’t sound like something a company would do. 308 barely made a resurgence lately, so who knows. Besides every joe schmoe has an AR15, If I could just stick my upper on this lower like he said, I would be okay. Also, 308 uppers in general are expensive and I bet a lot of people would have a hard time dropping $800 for another upper.

        Besides, this is something somewhat unique, and maybe that isn’t one of your interests, but Im tired seeing the same AR over and over with this list of features
        -16in barrel
        -15in KeyLok rail
        -Magpul furniture

        I do enjoy your reviews, But I feel like this one really didn’t do it justice.

        • Patrick R.

          Eh, they can’t all be winners.

          • Mrninjatoes

            That is a losers attitude. Every article your write should be better then the last. As I said in a previous comment, be a professional, or don’t even bother. You had a neat rifle to review and you did a terrible job.

      • 68Whiskey

        For starters, I appreciate the response. I realize I may have came off a bit harsh, but please don’t assume (again) that simply because I own something doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that “something’s” limitations. Nearly everything is some sort of a compromise, and an item that tries to “do it all,” as the 901 series as a whole does, will include a whole mess of compromises. Trying to invalidate my (informed) opinion by implying that I’m somehow slavishly devoted to a product that I can sell, trade, or swallow is a cheap and rather tactless move that I previously believed would be beneath a writer for TFB. That said…

        With regards to the FH: I feel like your statement “Had Colt went with a brake I would have seen that as paying attention to the current market trends” is not really on the mark. Off the bat, this isn’t exactly a brand-new rifle; the primogenitor of the model you reviewed has been on the market for 4+ years. I don’t think citing “current market trends” in the firearms industry is sufficient criteria to condemn a piece of kit that has, quite literally, soldiered on for some time. Honestly it almost smacks of fanboy-ism. Now, as I mentioned, and as you reference, “many” users will choose to replace that FH with the suppressor-compatible muzzle device of their choice. Note that I didn’t say “all,” or “most,” or “a majority.” I said “many.” For those of us who are not the “many,” the inclusion of an effective (indisupted by you) FH is a nice touch on a rifle that you have repeatedly noted to be comparatively expensive, both in your review and comments.

        In regards to the monolithic handguard, well, I’m having a tough time being polite. As I said,in it’s current configuration it may be a concern. And, of course, as you bring up, no one likes stripping out screws. It’s something that’s destructive, but avoidable. With that said, it seems that if you had done even a minimal amount of research, you’d know that one of the variants of the LE901 series (which I want to call the AR901 but don’t quote me) is in fact available in a non-monolithic configuration. I share your concerns with monolithic platforms, but saying that not having one is “not even an option” is patently false.

        Claiming that your assertion that the 901 series has “Non compatible uppers” is simply “bringing that to the attention of readers” is a bit of a cop-out. You literally state in your initial review “I know I havent [sic] talked about it yet, but you can convert this rifle from .308 to 5.56 with a conversion kit and a new upper” and then you never mention this ability again aside from one throwaway sentence in the conclusion.

        Speaking of cop-outs: you say that accuracy tests are “almost always never informative unless the reviewer uses a Lead Sled.” To an extent, this is a defensible statment: as an outside observer, I have no idea of what your marksmanship capabilities are, or whether or not you even really tried. That said, there are some extremely basic problems with this assertion. First of all, what (and I’m quoting your bio here) “professional gun ‘expert'” does not own or have access to a lead sled or similar device? Ridiculous. And what would prevent you from publishing data regarding the ammunition you used, lead sled/rifle rest notwithstanding? What type of ammo was it? How many rounds did you fire? What was your average grouping, and what was your average grouping with each ammo type? Etc. I’m not necessarily implying any outright dishonesty here, I’m just thirsty for more info.

        And then, in your response, you say “I even praised the rifle here.” I don’t know about that. The most glowing statement was RE accuracy (or really anything about the rifle) read as follows: “My best 5 round group looked pretty good.” Wow. Such praise for a 5-round touching group at 100 yards from a 16″ barreled carbine with a low-powered optic and a mil-spec trigger. Again, this lacks a fair amount of context given your refusal to publish ammunition-related data, but even with match rounds that’s nothing to sneeze at.

        At this point, you feel the need to tell ME that I “need to understand something.” Yeah, I get it; people have personal opinions. Those personal opinions may, and very likely will, conflict with the personal opinions of others. SURPRISE! That said, I feel like you made an exceptionally weak case for your assertion that “For a shooter in a free state, there is little reason to choose the MARC,” for all of the reasons that I initially stated, including all of those that you declined to address (which, I might add, are most of them).

        Finally, you ignore my arguments RE the price points of creating and/or maintaining various AR lowers vs. building “one lower to rule them all,” and close your sojourn by making some wild assertion that you could purchase assorted individual firearms at the same cost, despite the fact that you’ve been called out on your false costing by your fellow TFB writers.

        • Patrick R.

          Shooters connect with their firearms all the time. I see it at work and even more often online. No matter what the gun is, many times the owners will defend the firearm regardless of fact or opinion.

          As I said, you have your mind made up. There is no amount of discussion that is going to change your mind.

          Regarding the “cop-outs”, how exactly am I to review a feature of a rifle that I can’t test? The conversion kit was requested from Colt several times and never showed up. If I cant try it, how exactly do you expect me to review (give my opinion on) it?

          Did it ever occur to you that I was being facetious with the line “professional gun expert”? No, I don’t have a lead sled, nor access to one. Seeing as these reviews are paid for by the writer (me) I grab whatever ammo I have laying around and go shoot as much as I can afford to. In many cases it happens to be a mix of several types. I am am man of meager means that makes do with what I have, buying match ammo and an expensive lead sled isn’t in the cards.

          As far as you claim that I couldn’t buy several firearms for the same cost as the MARC – Right now I can buy a solid 16″ AR-10 from Windham for under $1000, pair that with any number of solid AR-15’s for around $600 and you have two guns for the price of one MARC 901 (not including the cost of an added upper for 5.56)

          Bottom line is my opinion is that the rifle is overpriced and I was disappointed in what $2000 spent on a Colt got you. I wouldn’t say it is a bad rifle, just that there are better rifles for most shooters. As I said before, you are entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine. Glad you enjoyed the article.

          • 68Whiskey

            I repeat, I appreciate the response, I truly do; I know I’m being rather combative. It would be pretty easy for you to delete my commentary and move along (which I suspect will happen if I keep this up). With that out of the way (though I did mean it), I want to again, and again, and again state that merely because I own something doesn’t mean that there are not problems with it. I’ll get to those. I own some Colt products but I am not really a “fanboy” by any means; frankly, the 901 rifles are seemingly the last gasp of a stagnant corporation that got all too comfortable with the perpetual military contracts they assumed they’d be getting, and have been startled into attempts at recovery and innovation by the recent and recurring threats of bankruptcy.

            I don’t know how TFB writers test the products they do. I don’t know if they receive the products for free, or the ammo for free, or the support gear for free, or what have you. If it’s entirely on your own dime, I understand if you’re not running every existing flavor of ammo through the rifle, or using every possible combination of trigger/optic/rest. Nonetheless these are things you really need to disclose if you mean to be taken seriously.

            I assume you’re getting paid or compensated with something, aside from getting a firearm to play with, that dampens your costs. If not, I truly and sincerely apologize. As I stated directly, I have a pretty obvious investment in the Colt LE901 16SE; also, as I’ve stated directly, this doesn’t mean I’m somehow blind to the flaws inherent in this particular rifle, or the LE901 rifles as a whole. Rather, as someone who owns and uses this particular rifle with some frequency, I’d like to believe that I’m somewhat more attuned to its strengths and weaknesses than someone who performed with what I think we can all agree is a half-hearted (at best) review.

            I will admit that you’re clearly right in pointing out that your self-characterization as a “gun expert” is obviously facetious. In fact, it becomes increasingly clear as I re-read your article. Seeing as how this isn’t TTAG, I had previously assumed that the writers here would be able to demonstrate some measure of proficiency and professionalism. If that was a short-sighted, ignorant, and foolish belief on my part, I accept that. I’m not the sort to believe everything I read, but I had faith in TFB to stock the pond, as it were, with big fish.

            If you’re not willing or able to swing the costs for hundreds of assorted rounds of match ammo, then, hey, I feel you. I’m in the same boat myself. I generally find what “decent” ammo works for me and then roll with it. That said, I’m not a writer/reviewer for a big-time gun blog. If you couldn’t or wouldn’t afford the ammunition to give a more comprehensive review, why did you accept the rifle in the first place?

            Here’s where your condescending attitude gets to me. Oh, you don’t have access to a lead sled (or similar)? They tend to run around $100, and most of the ranges around where I live will lend them out for free. I truly and fully understand what you mean when you say that you’re a “man of meager means,” but nonetheless I can manage to get my rat paws on something as simple as a rifle rest with minimal effort. And STILL you won’t tell us what ammo you tested the rifle with. At this point I’m not sure I’d even believe you, regardless of what you said, but that seems to be a pretty basic and continuing omission.

            Finally, you say that you can purchase a “solid 16″ AR-10 [sic] from Windham for under $1000″ and an AR15 and what have you for the same price. Apples and oranges. Sure, the cheapest Windham .308 AR might retail for a bit under $1000, but the features included on that model aren’t anywhere close. A more legitimate comparison would be to the Windham R16SFST-308, which has the same barrel length, same caliber, same operating system, also free floated, also takes PMags, has your beloved shelfmod, etc., all for the Gunbroker-enabled price of $1479, all of $250 less than what I paid. That $250 got me quality flip-up front and rear irons, an aftermarket FH (vs the A2 style on the Windham), a vastly superior buttstock, ambi controls, a heavy barrel, and AR15 upper compatibility. But, of course, you could just get the Windham and spend that savings on a pair of Hi Points, 300 pounds of JuJubes, a lead sled, a 1990 Geo Metro with 200,000 miles on it, or in your world half of a quality AR15. Plus, the Windham comes with a cheap plastic gun case! Such win!

            Look, if you wanted to write a negative review of this rifle (which you clearly do), it would have been fairly easy: complain about the heavy and impractical barrel profile (it’s a 16″ carbine, why the 1” thick barrel?), question the decision to use non-AR standard rail height, complain more (if possible) about the lack of an included conversion kit, complain (more) about the lack of different .308 or .308-derivative chambered uppers available from Colt, talk about how the Vortex has a mildly annoying tuning fork effect after firing, and so on and so on. I still don’t think these issues are enough to totally write off the platform, but they’re a great deal more substantial than the nitpicks you highlighted.

          • Just to clarify things a bit. When patrick works with Alex on TFBTV they have an ammo sponsor. For non TFBTV articles writers provide ammo themselves including myself. Equipment is also writer supplied. Some of the guys work at a gunshop and have access to more supplies. Some don’t have access to extra equipment. I’ve just built mine up over the years. Nobody ever gets a free gun in exchange for a review. If they want the gun tested they purchase it from the company after the article is written.
            I think each person has made their points so lets not take it any further. Disagreement is fine as long as we are all civil in our response.

          • Mrninjatoes

            Thank you for the clarification. Merry Christmas to TFB!

          • Sure always glad to help clarify how things work.

            A Merry Christmas to you as well!

          • Pugnose

            The TFB’s profit from advertising doesn’t go toward Ammo or testing equipment for its writers?

          • That would be cool, but no. We get a flat rate for reviews that usually covers ammo and expenses.
            Most writers do this because they like to, not to make a living.

          • Mrninjatoes

            Cotl vs Windham? Are you serious? Not even close in regards to quality. An Ar-10 is something I would not go cheap on.

        • Mrninjatoes

          I agree with you 100% Why would a professional gun expert not have a lead sled and at least a 10x scope?

    • Cymond

      “Then, though, you turn around and state that “$216.49… is about half the cost of a 5.56 rifle all on its own.” Well I guess that’s news to us here on Earth, because I can’t think of a reasonable-quality AR that comes in any lower than the ~$550 mark”
      Well, I would say that $216.49 is “about” $275. Even so, that $216 could easily buy a complete, basic lower during non-panic times.

      I do agree on the rest of your points, especially the cost of upgrades. Taking in to account the cost of multiple sets of high-end upragde parts definitely shifts the overall cost in value of a single do-all rifle.

  • ShootCommEverywhere

    The inability of the industry to come to one standard on .308 ARs as compared to universal 5.56/standard receiver length ARs led me to go with a different .308 rifle, because that is the primary major virtue to the AR15.

    If you can’t find compatible aftermarket parts then why not get something that probably has a very similar or greater amount of aftermarket support, like the SCAR, or one that already has most of the things you want by default (PMAG compatibility, 45 deg ambi selector, two stage very nice trigger) like the XCR?

    • Agitator

      The PMAG use and 45 degree safety you reference, as well as most other AR15-pattern lower parts, are compatible with the LE 901 series rifles. The trigger and hammer retention pins are longer than AR15 spec, but you can just retain the ones that come with the rifle. Admittedly the included mil-spec trigger is, well, mil-spec, but it’s not particularly worse than the SCAR trigger, and I’m not sure it’s worth it to a fair number of people to gamble on RobArms’ self-admittedly less than stellar customer service.

    • One solution which is actually what I did was pick a rifle I liked the way it was but did allow some changes. That was the DPMS G2 Recon. Having shot it a lot I found I just enjoyed shooting it and found it to be accurate and reliable.
      I wish the industry had standardized the 308.

  • Patrick R.

    I didn’t have the wrench needed to tighten them down at the range. Yes, I do use loctite on my optics mounts, I don’t like the idea of using it on something that I change often like rails.

  • I did request the conversion kit several times but we didn’t get one within the time constraints we work with.

    • Mrninjatoes

      I think the writer could have highlighted what this gun was designed for. I imagine a Chris Kyle type shifting from over watch to CQB. Going from a Mk18 upper to his 7.62 upper depending on the mission. That should have been stressed in this article. Take care.

  • Dan

    I agree and disagree with you, had he been testing a gun that was advertised as match grade or maybe a target rifle then yes use match ammo, nice optices and a rest. The rifle he is testing isn’t that kind of rifle. So run it like it’s most likely going to be used.

    • Mrninjatoes

      I think the writer could have highlighted what this gun was designed
      for. I imagine a Chris Kyle type shifting from over watch to CQB. Going from a Mk18 upper to his 7.62 upper depending on the mission. An Aimpoint/white light/IR light/IR illuminator on the MK18, high powered optics on the 7.62 upper.

  • elconquistidor

    This author seemed to have took a side in this article right from the beginning.

  • turbo38gn – JC

    Wow… this has to be, without a doubt, the worst review of any product I have ever seen !!! The writer should be fired, tarred and feathered, and run out of town… I knew from the very 1st line where this review was going. And yes, I own one of the 1st gen 901’s.. it didn’t cost $1900. and it came with the conversion to 556 kit. The only negative I had was like 68W noted… it’s a cheese grating, skin ripping handguard.. I simply put some covers over the rails until such time as I can purchase a different handguard.. Overall…. my impression of this gun, having owned several different brands of AR10’s.. it’s as good as anything in it’s class on the market, in fact, it has an advantage over anything on the market, it can be converted!! Too bad the writer can’t be…

  • whamprod

    When the MARC 901 showed up I was a bit taken aback that they would ship a $2000 rifle in a cardboard box instead of spending a few more dollars on a plastic hard case.

    You haven’t purchased a SCAR 17S yet, have you? I got one about a year ago, and it came in a cardboard box………all nearly $3,000 of it. I too was surprised and a little dismayed that it shipped in cardboard. But I can’t say that cardboard has diminished my impression of the rifle, which is favorable. In the end, I transport it in a soft case anyway, so……..

  • mbrd

    i’m not sure i fully scanned all of the comments (i got interrupted a couple of times), but i did not notice anyone question the statement, “…i do not like the idea of using threadlocker for fear of damaging the irreplaceable handguard’s threads.”

    i have almost exclusively used the many varieties of “loctite” brand threadlocker for three decades or more, and have never had any threadbore damage problem on hardware removal. the individual products are designed to address all of the application variables i have experienced, and even the “permanent” thread lockers can be overcome for disassembly under most conditions in most materials.

    for firearms, a good rule of thumb is, stay away from the red stuff. a better rule is, read and interpret the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding application.

    not to ruffle any feathers, i just don’t think anybody should be afraid to apply a properly chosen threadlocker.

  • maodeedee

    I thought Colt was going out of business?

  • tenmillimeter

    Meh, DPMS FTW all day long, for half the money.

  • CavScout

    Who picked this guy for the review? He doesn’t like Colt, quality vs economy grade, or monolithic upper AR’s. So… why do the review? Did you not realize you hated it before you started? I don’t own any Colts or AR10’s. I don’t sell either, etc.
    I know BCM is a master at marketing, but Keymod isn’t that great.
    A final point… I picked up on all of it in the intro alone, but you had a complaint about the front sight being a little difficult to fold back down. Did you start messing with the rifle with pen and paper ready for any ‘cons’ you found? A front sight with a tight release button, at least on a brand new gun, seems like a good thing.
    Honestly I think all the SCAR, ACR, and other type gun people are a little lost in fads. I won’t say the pricepoint is great, but you can actually change calibers on an LMT MRP, etween DI and piston, and barrel lengths very easily. and each barrel assembly isn’t $800 for the same caliber, just in a different length; it’s $350. Yet still amazing quality that I’d pitch against FN any day.

  • 68Whiskey

    I suppose the inclusion of numerous stealth edits a week later validates my litany of complaints.