November 28, 2012

Arsenal Inc. SLR-106FR 223 Rem.

The SLR-106FR is a U.S.-made AK-74 variant that comes with a magazine, cleaning rod, accessory case, drift pin cleaning jag, bore brush, combination tool, oil bottle, cleaning rod, and a web sling.

The SLR-106FR is 922(r) compliant, meaning it contains 10 or fewer foreign-made parts, according to Arsenal documents. Those parts include the major Bulgarian-made items, such as the barrel, receiver, and bolt. To make the gun U.S.-compliant, Arsenal takes a Bulgarian gun and adds six U.S.-made parts: the hammer, trigger, disconnector, buttstock, pistol grip, and handguards.

Our test SLR-106FR had an overall length of 36.8 inches with the AK74-type compensator installed. Without the compensator, the overall length was 34.5 inches. The folded length with the compensator installed was 27.4 inches. Without the compensator, the folded length measured 25.2 inches. The barrel length with the compensator installed was 18.5 inches; without the compensator, the barrel length was 16.25 inches. The six-groove barrel had a 1:7 right-hand twist. The rifle weighed 7.3 pounds without a magazine.

The front sight base was the SLR-105 type, with 24x1.5 right-hand threads. It also uses a front-sight post that is adjustable for both windage and elevation. The small U-shaped rear notch cut into a wide rear blade, combined with the curving ears on the front sight, was difficult to read, our testers said. We thought it was the worst sight of the test, and it likely contributed to the gun’s indifferent accuracy results.

Also on the front of the gun, the upper and lower handguards, made from high-tech polymers and dyes to resist cracking and fading, looked and fit great. The company said, "Several months of research and development involving great expense, went into the design and manufacture of these heat shields, ensuring that we can provide the enthusiast with the absolute best in cooling performance. Its heat dissipation performance is unmatched!" But after 200 rounds of rapid-fire shooting in our test, the lower forearm grip, which had an aluminum heat shield under it, got too hot for us to handle.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

This is the best AK-style gun we’ve seen. Though it has its flaws—the trigger is too heavy, the button in the buttstock was distracting, and we’d prefer the action lock open—we’d still buy this gun ahead of the others.

The compensator is the SLR-105 unit, but with the mild 223 round, we didn’t see a need for it to shoot the gun accurately and fast. Pushing in a spring-loaded pin under the front trunnion allowed us to remove the compensator easily, after which we could remove the cleaning rod, which was threaded to accept a supplied jag. Also, the bayonet lug will accept a bayonet, provided the compensator is installed.

The pistol grip for the SLR-106FR is designed for use on rifles with the grip-reinforcement plate. According to Arsenal, they are matte black and are shallower in depth than the old-style pistol grips, and they fit flush with the grip reinforcement plate. Our testers said they thought the grip was too thin at 0.9 inches wide. Nice feature: The grip angle allows the rifle to stand straight up when the stock is folded.

The polymer folding stock is made in the U.S., and it is a direct replacement for the skeleton folding stock with the 4.5mm pivot pin. The hinge and rear latch mechanism is the heart of this folding stock, and we think it is a good one. A button on the left side of the receiver releases a catch, allowing the shooter to fold the stock to the left, where it latches to the front of the receiver. We worked the folding mechanism dozens of times, and we agreed that the tolerances were tight and the swing radius was dead on. This feature gave the Arsenal a decided edge over the other guns.

However, when the stock was fully extended, we found we didn’t like the stamped-metal buttplate. Though it was ribbed to keep it from slipping off the shooter’s shoulder, it was still too slick, and the trapdoor spring pushbutton that allows the shooter to unlatch the stock from the forward catch mechanism was irritating, we thought. A plus: The rotating sling swivel on the front of the buttstock allowed the rifle to be slung and carried folded or extended.

Loading the Arsenal magazine required a rocking motion. The Century was faster at this task. The magazines used in these rifles are the 5.56 NATO polymer mags produced by Arsenal, Bulgaria. Distributed by K-Var, they are available in 5- and 10-round black units, as well as in green, featuring the Arsenal logo. They are also available in 30-round black waffles, and 20- and 30-round versions in clear waffle. The two 30-rounders we bought were the clear-waffle units, and they worked flawlessly. In our view, 20-round magazines in both the AK and M16 rifles offer the best combined handling characteristics for bench or field shooting.

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Push the button at the back of the receiver (arrow) and the stock folds over the left side of the receiver.

The bolt carrier, bolt group, and gas piston were manufactured in Bulgaria. The bolt carrier has a slot designed to clear the magazine lips on the caliber 5.56x45mm magazines. A spring-loaded firing pin replaces the inertia firing pins found on most AKs. A mechanical drag installed in the trigger mechanism delays the hammer’s fall until bolt bounce had settled down. AKs are famous for their reliability, and our unit went 265 rounds before we had a single failure to extract. It was much easier to clear than when the C15 Sporter locked up.

Our Arsenal gun did not have a hold-open device, so after the last round was fired, the bolt group traveled forward into battery without chambering a round. On a war-zone gun that must be peasant-simple to operate, this feature makes some sense. However, on a civilian gun marketed in the U.S, we don’t like this feature on a safety basis. We’d prefer that Arsenal machine in a hold-open button.

Also, to reload the gun, the shooter must hit the magazine-release catch in front of the trigger guard and pull the magazine forward to get it out of the gun, then tilt the fresh magazine forward into the well and rock it backward to get fresh rounds loaded. In this area, the other two guns were clearly faster.

The fire control system has a two-stage trigger; after an initial take-up of 3 pounds, the final pull weight was 8.1 pounds. We would prefer less let-off weight.

Comments (16)

Thanks, njcountyofficer. I've been searching all of the gun shows for one, and while everybody knows about them, nobody has them. I checked the link, you provided, and I'll have to give it some thought. The $999 price seems pretty good, so I'll have to check with one of my local FFL guys to see if it can be worked out.

Posted by: canovack | December 3, 2012 11:05 AM    Report this comment

Does anybody have any updated information about the availability of the Beryl Archer, made in Radom, Poland?

Posted by: canovack | December 2, 2012 7:20 PM    Report this comment

Comment by: richardp3785
"Need price on this weapon please"

They're selling close to MSRP. I've seen them selling for around $1000

Posted by: njcountyofficer | December 1, 2012 7:36 PM    Report this comment

Need price on this weopen please

Posted by: richardp3785 | December 1, 2012 4:41 PM    Report this comment

Have a Norinco with plastic furniture and put red dot on because of old always fires and don't have to be a fussy cleaner...great zombie weapon....

Posted by: mariano | November 29, 2012 4:19 PM    Report this comment

Wish I could buy this rifle, but I have too many now!

Posted by: donaldo42 | November 29, 2012 4:08 PM    Report this comment

Traded for an Arsenal SLR milled receiver rifle in 7.62x39 several years ago. Did not know much about AK rifles at the time but was told this was "the best". The used rifle traded for @$900 and I was concerned that it was over-priced.
I've only used inexpensive Wolf ammo.
The accuracy of this rifle has blown me away. The basic iron sights work just fine. I've controlled my impulses to modify the rifle by adding accessories and a red dot optic. This rifle needs no modification where I am concerned.
It handles very well with the standard fixed stock. It is lightweight. It is simple to operate. It is foolproof.
The trigger is better than most of my 7 AR's (most are M4 carbines by RRA, Colt, Yankee Hill, DPMS, Spikes Tactical). The accuracy is better than most of my AR's. My pre-ban Colt 20" H-Bar Competition and old Bushmaster 20" with free float barrel are the only AR's with better triggers and accuracy (if I use competition ammo). I really enjoy my FAL in 7.62 NATO but the Arsenal is more reliable in my estimation.
My Arsenal is becoming my all around "go-to" rifle in case their is an emergency requiring a rifle/carbine. I thought I had no need for another AK but I will consider an Arsenal in .223 if it has a decent trigger.

Posted by: drbigdaddy | November 29, 2012 2:30 PM    Report this comment

Wish I could buy this rifle, but I have too many now!

Posted by: donaldo42 | November 29, 2012 10:28 AM    Report this comment

I have a couple of Arsenal milled receiver AK's, and a Vepr AK, and some Saiga AK's...All great rifles, the Vepr is my favorite,,,but you can get into a Russian made Saiga AK for less than half the price of the Vepr or Arsenal. Little file work on the magazine catch and you are good to go with 30 round magazines.

Posted by: Pointman | November 29, 2012 9:29 AM    Report this comment

Mary G. It doesn't happen to me often, but I am envious of you & your husband! I'd be pleased with one!

Posted by: steek65 | March 5, 2009 1:10 PM    Report this comment

My husband and I both are AK fans. At the moment 12 of them are in our gun safe. Our preferance is the Bulgarian SA93. It is a milled receiver rifle and based on our personal experience we expect to NEVER have a problem of any kind. This is after many thousand rounds through our two "pets" YOU CAN'T BEAT THEM !!

Posted by: Mary G | February 27, 2009 3:55 AM    Report this comment

I have a milled reciever Arsenal SLR-101SG in 7.62x39 and it is a first class battle rifle. I have had two other AK's and none compare with the Arsenal. I like the spring loaded Firing Pin as it prevents slamfires with softer Primered US ammo like Federal.

Posted by: 97th Signalman | January 8, 2009 10:53 AM    Report this comment

Does anyone have any info on the performance characteristics of 7.62x39 bi-metal hollowpoints compared to the fmj version. Do these steel-jacketed hollowpoints expand reliably or perhaps tumble on impact?

Posted by: Bujo | December 24, 2008 8:33 PM    Report this comment

Yes they are...If you can find one....Check ....AK USA...They are getting hard to find. Also check the Arsenal website.

Posted by: greg | December 18, 2008 1:54 PM    Report this comment

Are these in 762X39 still available?

Posted by: Scouse | December 18, 2008 12:40 PM    Report this comment

I have the 7.62x39 model. Very accurate,dependable ,handy. No malfunctions in 1200rds. It does get hot on handguards after 60rds fast/semi. The best in the AK type rifle....I would give it a 9 out of 10...It's a keeper

Posted by: greg | December 18, 2008 11:04 AM    Report this comment

Add your comments ...

New to Gun Tests? Register for Free!

Already Registered? Log In