Fulton Armory FAR-15 Predator Varmint Precision 223 Rem.
Fulton Armory is one of the top providers of M1, M1a, and M14, competition guns, and Clint McKee (the owner) and Walt Kuleck (sales manager) have also written books on firearms, including The M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide, The M14 Complete Assembly Guide, and The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide.
Their gun arrived in a plain cardboard box, with no gun case, just the gun sandwiched between two sheets of foam, along with a set of tools and directions for the Geissele trigger, and a modified version of their The AR-15 Complete Owners Guide.The FAR-15 inside was a striking gun, complete with a Magpul, PRS Precision adjustable sniper stock, $245, which provides exact cheek-weld and LOP adjustments. Other accoutrements included a target-gray stainless barrel ($35), a tac-latch on the charging handle for easier access when a scope is used ($20), a pre-installed Harris bipod ($80), and a side-cocking module ($125). Rounding out the features were a Krieger heavy 1:13-twist barrel ($390) and a Geissele adjustable two-stage trigger ($200). All of these options bring the gun to a wallet-emptying $1994 retail price.
The side-cocking module deserves a little more explanation. In lieu of the standard charging handle, the side-cocking module replaces the bolt cover and fits into the side of the gun by machining away the brass deflector. The bolt remains open after the last round is fired, but the shooter releases it by hitting the traditional bolt-release lever or tugging backward on the side-cocking module. Even the two lefties in were impressed with this feature.
When we took the gun to the range, it was the first gun the testers reached for when the guns were laid out on a desk. The gun was termed a Sexy Beast by our female tester. In particular, they liked the Magpul stock, side-charging handle, and target handle. The testers preference for the Fulton gun was further enhanced when rounds started being sent downrange.
The Fulton turned in the best overall grouping at 0.89 inch, despite some balky performance by the Remington ammo we used that none of the guns could group under 1 inch. The two lefties in the test felt they might have improved their performance, but for the handle that felt it was installed backwards, or as another tester described it like trying to hold a prickly pear. Southpaws should order any handle but this one if they decide on the FAR15.
We felt the Giessele trigger was the best out of all the guns tested, but was also the hardest name to pronounce. Perhaps the greatest praise was directed toward the side-cocking mechanism. Although it eliminated the brass deflector, we had no problems with the ejection pattern. One tester felt the handle should be black to reduce glare, because his ADD caused him to focus on the neat little handle running back and forth.
You might wonder why we listed the prices of each option at the beginning of this review. The reason is that the base price for the FAR15 is $900, and every gun is bench built, so each shooter can pick and choose the options he can afford. As configured, our testers said the FAR15 was a first-class performer that richly deserved the A grade we gave it. Its balance and weight will suit both the bench blaster and the predator hunter.