January 26, 2009

Rock River Arms LAR-15 223 Rem.

The other name for this gun, as marked on the box, is CAR A4 Rifle ML, and it regularly sells for around $750. But the only designation to appear on the rifle receiver was LAR-15. In fairness, the “Shorty AK” moniker didn’t appear on the Bushmaster. Right off the bat we noticed the Rock River didn’t quite have the nice balance of the Bushmaster.

The Rock felt muzzle heavy, which was understandable looking at the two barrels side by side. The Rock River didn’t have fluting on its 16-inch barrel, and the barrel was an inch-and-a-half longer. The Rock River also had almost two more inches of forend length, which gave a two-inch-longer sight radius.

The muzzle brake of the Rock River was more intricate looking than that of the Bushmaster, though they worked about equally well in reducing felt recoil. Both had about the same blast effect, which was not obnoxious with this cartridge, despite the short barrels.

The Rock River rifle was almost the same overall setup as the Bushmaster. The description of the Bushmaster would closely match that of the Rock River, including fit and finish. Differences include the grip, which on the Rock was by Hogue, finger-grooved and rubber-textured.

Also, the Rock had two swivels at the front, one beneath the front sight mount and a removable one on the left side. Another big difference, the detachable rear sight of the Rock River was carried in a second rail, not a handle. This meant you could attach some accessories, like a scope or night sight, without having to remove the rear aperture sight from the rifle. This, however, made for a poor handle, and most of us would prefer a normal carry handle over this setup.

Rock River Arms

Courtesy Gun Tests

Almost two inches longer than the Bushmaster, our test Rock River was also nearly a pound heavier. All the extra weight was in the barrel, which gave less-than-ideal balance. The fine trigger pull made it a tossup, though, between the two.

The range session began with the first shot hitting dead center on the paper. Clearly, Rock River spent a little more time getting the sights looking where the barrel looked than Bushmaster. Despite the longer sight radius, the Rock River’s front sight was not a whole lot sharper looking than that of the Bushmaster, to a few of our shooters’ eyes anyway.

The Rock’s trigger was a delight, though, breaking cleanly at 4.8 pounds, a big improvement over the Bushmaster setup. Accuracy was about the same with either AR-15, though the Rock didn’t have the gaping flyers with the Malay ball that we got with the Bushmaster. There were again no unhappy surprises with feed or function with the Rock River rifle. These two manufacturers seem to have the AR system fairly well sorted out.

Reader Comments

Issued to and used by, I believe, the D.E.A., the Rock River is one tight and straight shooting AR-15 platform. It also has a chamber that will shoot .556 or .223. You should not shoot I believe .556 in an AR-15 with a ,223 chamber, but an AR-15 with a .556 chamber you can shoot either .556 or .223. I have a Rock River, a Sig 556, and a DPMS.

Comment by: Pointman | January 29, 2009

So the Mini-14 isn't as good because it looks less intimidating. Very objective reasoning?

Comment by: haflshot | January 29, 2009

I think your report has it backwards about the "not so nice carry handle". I think it is more important to have a good sight. When I was in combat I virtually NEVER carried my m-16 by its carry handle. I can't imagine you being ready to return fire immediately by carrying it that way.

Rock River Arms

Courtesy, Gun Tests

That's a Hogue grip. Workmanship of the Rock River rifle was at least as good as that on the Bushmaster. These two makers put out some of today's best-valued AR-15s, in a wide variety of styles.

Comment by: Cava3r4 | January 29, 2009

I have a RRA lar-15 tac entery,the thing is awsome!I'm happy.

Comment by: Marine | January 29, 2009

I have a Colt Delta H-Bar and a Rock River Car-15 with SS barrel in A-2 configuration. I like both rifles but the RRA trigger is exceptional and the accuracy even with iron sights, is as advertised. I am in the market for at least one more AR-15 and Rock River is the best buy in my opinion.

Comment by: richvermil | January 29, 2009

I have had a Colt Govt H bar for about 12 years and thought it was great. Then I got a RRA with midlength fore end. I sent the Colt in for a trigger job.... Spike

Comment by: spike723 | January 30, 2009

You want a handle, buy a suitcase. The features indicate it is a "combat" rifle. .223 cal/5.56; what is the difference? I know many who use gov't ammo (5.56mm) in .223 labeled rifles. Agree with ammo made in s.e. Asia/islands area. Even 7.62 grossly inaccurate at 50 yards I don't miss at that range, unless we're trying to neuter flies.

Comment by: tanker | January 31, 2009

I also have a RRA Entry Tactical that I`m extremely happy with,especially with an EO Tech mounted on it.

Comment by: aland | February 4, 2009

on the RRA so call handle it's a aimpoint mount,not a carry handle.

Comment by: treeman | May 18, 2011