Robar SR 90 .308 Winchester
Easily the most attractive of the bunch, the $5,200 Robar SR 90 rifle (as equipped, including excise tax, hard carrying case, bipod, and a special price on the scope) had a quick-detachable $375 Parker Hale (English) bipod that is a mighty nice piece in itself. The bipod had quick-extendible legs that could be instantly folded. We liked the bipod for resting the rifle on the ground.
The .308-chambered SR 90 also had a detachable front sling block (which also held the bipod attach point) affixed into a channel under the forend. This permitted quick adjustments for the support-hand position when using a target-type rifle sling. We removed the bipod and sling attach point for our accuracy testing, so they wouldnt interfere with our machine rest.
The 13.9-pound Robar (add 1.5 pounds for the bipod) was fitted with a fluted Lilja barrel. The rifle arrived at Gun Tests without the barrel having been broken in. The superb instruction manual that accompanied the rifle (see sidebar) gave detailed instructions how to break-in the barrel, and we followed the text religiously. This required 30 rounds. The manual also required the shooter to clean the barrel after no more than five shots, following the break-in period, and again we did just that. However, we found that placement of the first shot was not the same as the following four shots in our five-shot groups.
The metal of the SR 90 was finished in Robars proprietary dull black RoGuard. The bolt, magazine follower, floorplate release button, and many of the inner parts were finished in Robars Teflon-enhanced NP3 formula, an off-white electroless nickel finish. The bolt was extremely slick in the action, and anything plated in NP3 will never rust. The bolt lugs appeared to have full contact on their rear surfaces, as did the other two rifles.
The stock was painted dull black and nicely complemented the appearance of the metal work. The trigger pull was exceptionally clean, and broke at 2.5 pounds. The barrel was free-floated for its entire length. There was an enormous gap between the barrel and the wide, rounded forend, which gives more room for air to circulate around the flutes to help cool the barrel. The buttplate was adjustable for position, and had a thin black rubber recoil pad. As on the other two rifles, the adjustable cheek rest was locked in place by screws that could be installed from either side, making the rifle a bit easier to use by lefties.
The workmanship throughout the Robar rifle was absolutely first cabin. There were no shortcuts apparent anywhere. Even if this gun shot poorlywhich it didntwed be proud to own it. The rifle performed perfectly in every respect.
Accuracy, of course, is what this rifle intends to deliver, and we found that it did its job well. Any good match ammunition performed admirably in the Robar rifle. We got the best results with Winchester Supreme ammunition, loaded with the Nosler 168-grain boattail match bullet. On one target four shots (after the fouler) went into 0.19 inch. To our disbelief, the Federal match ammunition gave a standard deviation of 5 fps in the Lilja barrel. We tried it again, and it again gave only 5 fps SD, with the average velocity only 2 fps different. It did not shoot that consistently in the Autauga.