by Bryce Towsley - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
During the 2008 SHOT show Remington stepped into the AR-15 arena with its R-15 rifle. The camo-covered, semi-auto was designed for hunters, but its .223 Rem. chambering lacked appeal as a viable cartridge for big game. Big Green's sister company, DPMS, had a larger AR-type rifle called the LR308, which could handle the .308 Winchester family of cartridges. So, the next logical step would be a camo-covered hunting version that Remington introduced at the NRA Annual Meetings in May of 2008. It's called the R-25.
This new Remington rifle is initially offered in .308 Win., 7mm-08 Rem. and .243 Win. The AR-15-style rifle is a semi-auto, gas-operated, direct-impingement design that feeds from a detachable magazine. It features a lower receiver that contains the magazine well and the trigger assembly. The upper receiver mates to the lower receiver and includes the barrel and bolt assembly. This modular design allows a lot of diversity and easy interchangeability of parts.
The R-25, designed with the hunter in mind, is reduced in weight in part by using a relatively light barrel with a .680-inch diameter at the muzzle. This 20-inch barrel is fluted to further cut weight. Combined with the use of aluminum in the receivers and nylon in the stock, the R-25 weighs 8.75 pounds-still not a lightweight by hunting rifle standards, but considerably lighter than many other LR308- or AR-10-style rifles.
The barrel is carbon steel, button-rifled and free-floated, and it has a recessed crown to protect it from damage in hunting conditions. The twist rate for all three current chamberings is 1:10 inches. The gun is shipped without any sights, but the gas block has a short Picatinny rail on top to allow mounting a front sight if iron sights are to be used. Most hunters will use a scope or other optical sight mounted on the full-length receiver rail.
The R-25 uses a floating, round, aluminum hand guard with a single front swivel stud. This tube is slotted to aid in barrel cooling. The lower receiver is milled from a forged block of 6061 T-aluminum. It has an integral trigger guard and an aluminum magazine release button for right-hand use. The R-25 is shipped with a four-round magazine, but any LR308 magazine will fit. Armalite AR-10 magazines, however, are not compatible. The two-position safety is a lever on the left side of the receiver above the pistol grip, designed for right-hand use. The slide release is on the left side. The trigger pull is advertised at 4.5-5 pounds.
I have actually used two different R-25s. The first was a prototype that was shipped with a mil-spec trigger, which broke at just under 7 pounds. DPMS shipped another trigger that brought the pull weight down to 5 pounds, 5 ounces, but with a lot of creep. This was the rifle I used for shooting the range data. I later used a different rifle while hunting whitetails in Texas. This one had a much better trigger pull and broke at 4 pounds, 2 ounces from the factory. However, the rifle failed to fire twice due to a light hammer strike. Both times were on the same whitetail buck. I got a third shot at the same buck later in the day and finally got him. (Not the smartest deer I've ever encountered.) I took three deer with the R-25 while at Live Oak Hunting Lodge (325-853-3086) in Eldorado, Texas. Remington officials told me the light primer strike was because of a too-light hammer spring used to reduce the trigger pull weight. I've been assured that the problem has been corrected.
The lower receiver is fitted with a standard A-2-style buttstock made from Zytel, a hard plastic. The gun has a trap door in the buttplate for storage. The buttplate is plastic while the trap door is aluminum, and they are both checkered. With the stiffer recoil of the .308, I would prefer a softer, rubber buttplate with fewer sharp edges. There is a sling swivel at the rear of the stock. The A-2-style pistol grip is also made of Zytel.
The upper receiver is machined from forged 6066 T-aluminum. The gun is right-hand eject and features a brass deflector that also contains a forward-assist button. The top of the receiver has a Picatinny rail. The rifle is finished in Mossy Oak Treestand camo, except for the barrel, which is matte-finish blue. Also blued are the dust cover, forward-assist knob, trigger, magazine, safety, bolt release, magazine release, assembly pins, sling swivel studs and bolt handle.
I extensively tested the first rifle, and it showed a clear preference for certain ammo and an unwillingness to perform with some others. The stiff trigger pull on the R-25 I shot the groups with no doubt had a negative effect on the accuracy results. But the gun still demonstrated good hunting accuracy with select ammo. Throughout several hundred shots, there was not a single function problem.
I found the R-25 to be a good design for deer hunting. The round receiver and pistol grip worked well when firing from a blind. The removable magazine made unloading and reloading easy, which is important if you are in and out of a vehicle a lot during the day. By removing the magazine and then locking back the bolt, it was simple to verify that the gun was empty and safe. The ability to carry a second charged magazine allows a rapid reload if needed. Time will tell if the AR design will gain mainstream acceptance with American hunters, but this rifle has certainly opened a big door to that possibility.
Type: gas-operated, semi-auto
Caliber: .243 Win.; 7mm-08 Rem.; .308 Win.
Barrel: 20"; free-floated; 1:10" twist
Trigger: single-stage; 4 lbs., 2 ozs. pull
Magazine: 4-round detachable (accepts some other AR-10-style mags.)
Sights: none; Picatinny rail for optics
Stock: Zytel; LOP-14.125"
Overall Length: 39.75"
Weight: 8.75 lbs.
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