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Practically Shooting

Chicks Dig SCARs


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Well maybe not, but I do. One SCAR anyway.

For those who didn't hear me yelling from my rooftop, I got an FNH SCAR 17S .308.

Short version first:

It's lighter than it looks. It's also smaller than it looks in pictures (the thing looks huge in pictures). I've seen weight listed at anywhere from 7.25 to 8 lbs. FNH says 8 lbs. I weighed it at 7 lbs, 10 oz. For comparison, my early 80s Colt SP1 AR-15 weighs 7 lbs, 2 oz.

It's muzzle-light, making it feel more "lively" than it might if the balance was more forward.

Ergonomics are very good. Everything is ambidextrous except the bolt catch. The ambi controls actually work, instead of being adaptations that sorta work if you press really hard on the one side.

Recoil is mild. I have owned at least one each of the M1A, .308 Garand, HK 91, FAL, AR-10, a few different "hunting type" semiautos, and have shot a few more types. The SCAR is lighter than any, but has the least felt recoil (That's my opinion- everyone feels recoil differently). My guess is that it's the muzzle brake. I shot one with a different muzzle device recently and it was not quite as mild.

It's also loud. Really loud. Very, very loud. This is from that efficient brake and the 16.25" barrel (1-12 twist). My club's range has a covered firing line, with a roofed extension running another 18 feet out. I had to use ear plugs and muffs. I have never needed to do that before. I was jumpy within ten rounds before I put the plugs in. Even with the double hearing protection, I could feel the concussion.

The trigger is good. Not excellent, but good. It's pretty AR-like, and better than a lot of semiautos. From what I have seen with the SCARs I've looked at (maybe seven rifles), the trigger pull varies. Maybe it's not the case, but it sure seems like it to me.

There was a magazine shortage. They come with only one mag, and extras were almost nonexistent. People were on backorder lists for months.

That seems to be clearing up. Mags are out there, and priced fair (under $35).

It's very clearly based on an FAL mag.

The stock is adjustable for length, it has a two-position comb for irons or optics, and it folds to the right. There is a no-slip rubber pad.

The length has six positions, from a LOP of 11-7/8" to 14-3/8". I keep my AR stocks at one notch out from fully closed, to use a squared-up stance. With the SCAR, I found I liked it at the second notch out from fully closed.

One button unlatches the stock to fold and it's a fairly stiff

button, which I think is good, to keep from doing it by accident. It is retained in the folded position by a tab in the stock snapping onto the case deflector behind the ejection port. It seems secure. The sock can be at any length to fold.

All controls except the right side (left hander's) selector lever are accessible with the stock folded.

The selector is located about like the AR/M16. It moves in about a 45 degree arc from Safe to Fire instead of the AR's 90. The shape of the selector lever is more of a flat tab than the "hump" of an AR. The right side lever is about 3/4 as big as the left one.

The pistol grip is a standard M16A2 type. I don't like the A2 PG, so it was the first change I made, going with a Magpul MIAD. Not all aftermarket AR PGs will work with the SCAR. Those with a curved filler coming up the rear won't match the SCAR receiver contour. For example, the MIAD has three backstraps but only the flat one will work.

It comes with a few feet of Picatinny rail. The entire top, between the gas block and stock, is continuous, one-level, rail. Each of the forend sides have a section around 4-1/8" in length, and the bottom has just under 7" in it's section. It comes with no rail covers.

The forend feels plenty big without rail covers, but I want some to keep the rails from getting dinged up and hard to use. I also hear the rails get hot on the SCAR, so covers are almost mandatory if shooting much at a time. I haven't been able to test that yet. Tango Down makes with the SCAR in mind that are slimmer than usual. I'm either going to use those or the ladder type.

It comes with iron sights. They are mostly good. Both fold out of the way. The front locks up and down by a spring loaded bar you have to pull from it's slot, but the rear is held by detents.

Both sights can be removed if one really wanted, although the rear will come off a lot easier because it clamps to the rail. The front is dovetailed to the gas block.

The front sight post is protected by a ring completely surrounding it, except for a hole at 12:00 to adjust the post.

The rear sight has no shielding such as wings, but the aperture is recessed into the sight body to protect it some. Being free to fold if struck probably helps too.

The rear aperture is a folding L-type with a large and small aperture.

I don't like the sight picture, but most people will. With the protective ring, the front sight looks like a post in a ring and will give an HK-like sight picture. People like to say the HK sights align easily, and they do- Aligning a ring in a circle is automatic to the human eye.

But we are supposed to be aligning the front sight post, not it's protective ring. The HKs have a fixed height post whose tip is in the middle of the ring. Align the sights, and the post is centered. With an adjustable height post, you can automatically center the ring...but the post may not be in the center. It probably won't be. With mine adjusted, the post top is well below the middle of the ring/circle. My eye wants to either align the ring or the post. I bet more people do this than they realize. I know I lose whatever speed is gained by the ring-in-a-ring thing by trying to make sure I'm focused on the sight post instead of the ring. It it were a cheaper rifle, I'd cut the ring open and bend it into a pair of wings.

The front sight adjusts for elevation like the AR, and uses what looks like an A2 sight post. Once elevation is set, range ajustments are made at the rear sight by a rotating drum marked "2" through "6" (although it adjusts farther).

Windage adjustments are made at the rear with a knob on each side giving nice firm clicks.

The front can also be adjusted for windage by turning a screw that slides it in it's dovetail base. However, this is a more coarse adjustment (no clicks) and requires a T25 Torx screwdriver. It appears the intent is to adjust the front for both wind and elev, then make changes at the rear sight to meet later needs. I imagine most people will adjust elev at the front and wind at the rear because it's easier.

Function? I've only shot around 80 rounds, maybe less, all military ball-equivalent handloads or mild loads with 168 match bullets, but it's been 100%. Some of that brass is getting a little fat from being fired in one .308 I have with a generous chamber, and I have two rifles I know would struggle with them, but it ate them all just fine.

Empties are ejected out about 4:00, and travel about 15 feet- enough to give me confidence they'll get out, but not so far it takes a search party to find brass. The brass looks undamaged- no dings in some certain place on each case or anything like that. There is what I presume to be a case deflector, but it's not getting a brass mark.

Accuracy has been excellent, in my judgement. I got the irons zeroed at 50, then 100, then mounted a scope. This is a temporary setup, not what I have planned to stay. It's what I had that would work for this- a Leupold Vari-X III 3.5-10X and Leupold QRW (QD throw lever) rings. The rings are too low, and the scope too big for what I want, but it will work OK for ammo testing.

After zeroing with the scope, I shot two, five-shot groups. First was my usual .308 practice load: 44 grains of Varget, Lithuanian 145 FMJ-BT bullets, mixed brass but mostly military, and usually WLR primers. I think I pulled one, but it went 1-1/4". Without the possible yank, the other four were 1". BTW, I shot them from the magazine, not singly.

Next I tried a randomly chosen load from a box of loads to test. This was a mild to mid load with the Sierra 168 MatchKing, again with Varget. I definitely yanked one a little this time, but five rounds of that went into an inch even. Minus the flyer, the other four made 5/8" (!). I didn't think I pulled the flyer that far, so it probably naturally went out a little. But even if it was half that far out on it's own, it might have been 3/4". I am pretty pleased with that from a battle rifle and the first decent bullets it ever saw.

My plan originally was to trade off a few guns and get a SCAR 17 to replace all of them- specifically a semi-precision .308, a compact rifle for packing for travel use, and a general purpose lightweight carbine. It's way to early to know, but it looks good.

It's hard to say if it's worth the money (exactly what my first car cost) but when I look at what it could replace it might be worth it. It doesn't hurt that it has a few hundred dollars of rails, sights, adjustable stock, and a trigger that won't need a replacement.

I have pictures showing details and comparing it to other rifles. They'll go up later.

I am going to make a post with more tech details later. Everything I found online does little more than skim over the details. It's gas piston operated, has a funny stock, and SOCOM bought some. That's the bulk of it. I wanted to know how the details of the gas system (the piston has a peculiarity) how the operating rod/bolt carrier was designed, trigger design, length of bolt travel, etc. The barrel is supposed to be changeable in the field, but how is it attached? How is the receiver shaped internally? What are those funny football-shaped bumps on the side?

Now I know. And I'll share.

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That's a good question. I had to look. Here is what the manual says:

• The SCAR 17S is designed to operate with NATO spec 7.62x51mm

ammunition (308 Win.).

I guess the little difference is inconsequential to them. And truthfully, I don't think it's as big of a deal as 5.56/.223.

The barrel is marked 7.62x51. SAAMI says it's OK to shoot .308 (higher pressure) in 7.62x51, so my GUESS is that FNH would just about have to approve use with .308 to import/sell them here.

(BTW, Strangely, although the SCARs for the US military are made in South Carolina, the commercial ones are made in Belgium then shipped over for some US parts installation- at least, they were doing it that way at first. I guess they still are. Mine just says "FNH Belgium", and doesn't really say "Made In____" anywhere, but the implication is there.)

Just as a FWIW, It will chamber, fire, and extract some of my larger cases. I have some MG-fired brass that needs a trip through a SB die before a couple of my rifles will accept them. I intentionally tried some of these fat ones in the SCAR, and it didn't seem to mind.

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The firing pin is sort of free floating and sort of not. (Huh?).

Right off, when taking the bolt down the first time, I noticed it isn't spring loaded or cammed out of the way or anything, which surprised me because the bolt and carrier are on the heavy side. I would have thought a spring would be there to cushion it from that heavy bolt and carrier slamming around. But it is "braked" in a way.

The firing pin, which is retained a lot like an AR pin, has a somewhat bulbous section toward the rear. This fits snugly in it's channel. When it's cleaner, I need to look at that an see if maybe it has a small ring similar to an AR bolt's gas ring or maybe an O-ring. I honestly didn't bother to look close at the time, and only realized something was different when I put it back in the channel. The retaining pin does have an O-ring, presumably to help hold it in place but perhaps to bear against the firing pin to slow it from bouncing.

At any rate, whatever it has seems to work. Yesterday, I was an idiot and left my magazines at home so spent my time at the range shooting it single shot. I took the "opportunity" to check for primer indentation when single loading. With the muzzle aims at the backstop, I dropped a round into the chamber an let the bolt slam closed from fully open. The firing pin made a tiny mark, but nothing like my Garand,, M1A, or my old AR-10 did when letting the bolt closed from only partially open. I repeated this muzzle down and it looked no worse.

Then after realizing I was doing this with the CCI #34 "military spec" (hard) primer, I did it again with ammo for my bolt guns loaded with Winchester primers*. Same thing.

*One of my bolt actions won't fire the CCI 34s reliably.

I did take pictures because I was going to post something about this when I got into the details.

Mine will probably not see more than a box of factory ammo total in it's lifetime. It will get handloads, like most of my guns. I will still use the ammo loaded for the Garand and others (with CCI military spec primers), so I guess that's a little extra insurance if that firing pin "brake" as I call it wears.

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Cleanliness report:

I have taken it to the range five times now. The first trip was brief, the next two or three was getting some other projects wrapped up (still fighting the Savage .308 tight chamber problems) and tinkering with a couple of .22s for a match the club is doing. So I haven't shot ton of ammo through it. I have 140 rounds documented in handload testing, plus another two or three magazines worth of just goofing around.

Call it 180 minimum, but probably right at 200 rounds.

I had five rounds I had to hand cycle through the action. These were cast bullet loads, and light cast bullet loads at that. They use a 113 grain bullet and 9 grains of Red Dot powder. It's almost like a pistol load, a mild one, in a rifle case. I use it for offhand practice and shooting in the woods behind the house in other guns. I didn't expect them to work and they didn't. They shot OK though.

Another cast load using a much heavier bullet did function it. I didn't expect it to, but it did. It won't operate any other gas operated semiauto rifle (a similar load will function the recoil-operated Johnson). That impressed me.

Another five shots took some fiddling around because I was using a converted FAL mag. It wouldn't stay in the rifle until I gave the mag catch notch a mod. Ater the change, it has worked fine too.

Other than that, no failures.

I wanted to show some pictures of how dirty, or clean, the action is at this point. I know 200 rounds isn't a lot, but it's all I've done, and it would be enough to start getting an AR dirty.

I need to point out that I like the AR. I'm not saying this to put them down. Unlike some who disparage the AR gas system for "pooping where it eats", I think it works fine assuming a properly made rifle and any ammo short of absolute garbage. If used really hard and neglected, an AR might need cleaning three times in it's life where some designs might only need it twice- so what? Abuse is abuse, and they can take their share.

But I was surprised how clean this thing was. I shouldn't have been, because I know how it works and it shouldn't get dirty, but I am used to seeing more crud than this.

Almost forgot: I shot some ammo loaded with surplus WC846 powder. I hate this stuff because it's so filthy. I bought eight pounds of it over 20 years ago, and it took me forever to use it up because it was so nasty, and no rifle shot it well either. I eventually did get one .308 Garand that liked it, right before I ran out of the powder of course, but I didn't miss it because it was so dirty. I thought all that WC846-loaded ammo was gone until I found about 50 rounds last week. So I shot that dirty stuff up in the SCAR. That alone would be enough to make an AR a little sludgy.

The view I see through the ejection port was misleading. Until I get something that fits it better, I carry it in an old Griswold Bag- one of those canvas equipment bags parachute riggers made for airborne. They are nicely padded and rugged to protect my rifles, plus they just seem right for Garands. The lining of one of mine is evidently from an old wool blanket, and it gives off dark fuzz. With my club range's mandatory empty chamber flag in place and therefore an open action, a lot of this fuzz gets inside.

The light colored Flat Dark Earth color shows crud easier too.

But that may be the dirtiest part.

The first component to come off when field stripping is the lower receiver and fire control. Not much got into there.

With that out of the way, I can see into the upper receiver from below. This is the bottom of the bolt carrier.

Carrier and bolt out:

Bolt face, still in the carrier:


By the way...

I don't know if you can see it in the pic below, but my pen is pointing to a notch-like cut on the bolt. While the SCAR bolt lugs look a lot like an AR bolt's, one has a piece missing. It looks like maybe it was chipped. They are all like this- made that way. It's a little notch of sorts for the bolt stop to engage the bolt just a little better.

I bring it up because I guess some people see it and panic over their "broken bolt". It's OK.

I didn't take the bolt out, but unlike an AR, nothing should be getting in there to dirty it up, so there wouldn't be anything to see but oil anyway.

Inside the upper receiver, with the bolt and carrier out of the way. A couple of angles:

View down the lug and chamber area:

Not bad. I honestly think most of the crud that is there came from the approx 50 rounds loaded with WC846.

I don't think "torture tests" prove much beyond the ability to abuse a gun, so I'll clean it now. I really don't think much could be learned, because it looks like it would take a while to build up much filth.

I'll pop the gas piston out when I clean it and look it over, but I don't expect much, if anything, even from the cast bullets.

Scope and mount ordered today! Trijicon TR-24G (1-4X with green triangle reticle) and Larure LT104 QD mount.

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I got the scope I wanted for it.

This scope is not super exotic or anything, but it is a little out of the ordinary and I doubt many people have even looked through one. It's different enough that I will post a review of the scope separately later, after I've used it some.

It's a Trijicon Accupoint 1-4X. The Accupoints look like any other scope, except for having an area on the eyepiece that's a fiber optic grid. This is one of two illumination sources for the reticle, along with tritium. I paid little attention to these scopes until a trainer friend started talking them up. I considered them a cross between a red dot and a regular scope- neither fish nor fowl and not particularly good at anything.

He said I was an idiot.

I took a look through one he was testing, and I agreed that I was indeed an idiot.

I liked it, but didn't really have anything worth buying one for. That was at least two years ago and I don't think I've seen another in use since, although there could be several in 3-gun and I've not noticed.

For the SCAR, I wanted an optic that gave more precision than an Aimpoint...

...but would still work up close...

...and had an illuminated reticle (for speed in the daylight as much as for low light use).

Oh, and it was pretty important to keep it on the compact side. Yeah sure, getting all of those things? That's not asking for much.

I went with the Trijicon TR-24G. This is the 1-4X (they make a variety of magnifications in the Accupoints) with the green triangle/post reticle.

It's a little bigger than I'd like, but no bigger than most other 1-4X scope I know of. The Millet DMS is popular with some 3-gun shooters around here, which is a 1-4X lighted reticle scope that runs $225-250, but they look a lot longer than this Trijicon. And I am pretty sure they are heavier. The Trijicon is slightly larger than a Leupold 1-4X I have, and about the same size as an older Redfield 2.75X fixed I used on a Ruger 44 auto carbine. The Triji's 30mm tube makes it look plumper.

A big concern was how the reticle would appear. I have astigmatisms in both eyes that make Aimpoint dots look like splatters. I love them, but it's looking like my days of using them are numbered. Someone said the EoTech was better, so in spite of my dislike for them, I looked through one. It was worse because of the busier reticle, which provided more lighted lines and shapes to distort and look funny.

I really didn't want to throw a few hundred at an Accupoint to find the reticle looked like a blob to me. I had no trouble when I looked through Steve's, but my eyes had changed since then.

I asked around and found two people who used them with astigmatisms. Both said they had no trouble, but they also said the EoTech worked for them so maybe their eyes weren't as bad as mine. By dumb luck, I was in a Gander Mountain store recently looking for a battery powered camp fan and saw an Accupoint on display. It was the 3-9 with a different reticle than I wanted, but I hoped it was close enough to tell- because it worked for me. I ordered one.

The reticle clarity with my eyes seems to be fine. Clear and sharp.

When I first looked through it, the triangle was way too bright and was "blooming", but the fiber optics were set full-open and it was around 11:00 am, so it was getting a lot of light. I turned it down and it sharpened right up. Actually, even though the light was overhead and coming right at the fiber optic, it was pretty overcast. I have little doubt there will be enough light for the reticle.

The fiber optic grid has a ring/cover that you turn to vary how much of it is exposed to light. There is a tiny fiber optic strand that is ran back and forth under this window. It's hard to count, but I think I counted 14 rows of fiber, and measured the grid at 4.75" long from end to end, which adds up to almost six feet of fiber optic in that little "field" drawing light to the reticle.

Full open:

About 2/3 open:

Reticle. I can't get a decent picture. They all make it look like a blob, but trust me, it's a pretty sharp, well-defined triangle:

It's a shade of green that shows up against about anything. I suppose there is some natural shade of green somewhere that it would vanish against, but not around here that I have seen. The same triangle is available in red or amber, but I have seen both of those wash out in Trijicon ACOGs and Reflex sights, usually from harsh light but sometimes just from a background color (clay pigeons for one non-real-life danger example).

The tip of the triangle is pretty sharp and well defined, so it should make a nice aiming point.

Up close, you just slap the triangle on the target.

If you don't get straight behind it, you can still see the triangle. Whether this throws the shot off a mile, or stays close, is something I'll have to find out. I bet it will be just fine up close and fast. I tried to get a pic with it off high and left.

We are having a nice thunderstorm right now, with tornado warnings. So naturally I just went out to test this scope in the dark. Works great. Looking through it set at 1X with both eyes open, it is a lot like using a red dot. The triangle floats on whatever you look at like it was painted on.

One nice thing is that the adjustment knobs are easy to use, but almost normal size. They are large in diameter so they are easy to handle and adjust, but are low and close to the scope body. So many easily adjusted knobs are tall, so they stick up like the bolts in Frankenstein's neck and catch everything from limbs to gun cases. These look like a good compromise.

Quarter minute adjustments. The knobs pull up to turn freely, so after zeroing can be pulled up, set to zero, then snapped back down.

I was tempted by the TR-21, which is a 1.5-6X. That sounded like it would be about as useful at the low end but even better at the high end. Thankfully, I talked to someone who knew the deal. The TR-21 is older, and it shows. I think it may be a 1" instead of a 30mm like the TR-24. I know it weighs more, has a smaller field of view (a lot- like 1/3 smaller), and it has an objective bell instead of a straight tube out front. That bell sounds like a plus, but it limits mounting options because it doesn't leave a lot of tube space to locate the rings.

By the way, I got this scope from a place I had not heard of until a month ago, called Liberty Optics. www.libertyoptics.com

They were getting high praise, so I took a look. I ended up buying from them.

Anything Trijicon is ridiculously expensive. Trijicon controls their pricing pretty tight, so the prices you see online are usually msrp. Most places make you call for the actual price, or it's shown when you put it in your cart. This makes shopping around a pain- like the old days pre-internet! Sometimes, the price isn't that far off retail either. I checked a couple of places whose prices were only around 5-6% below retail.

Liberty Optics shows the price when you select a reticle, and they beat all but one place (who had none in stock and were kinda vague about whether they ever did have any). They were roughly 1/3 off retail, which put the Accupoints in the ballpark of other good quality lighted reticle 30mm scopes, and better than some.

I ordered it late Friday before Labor Day (great planning) and got it today- one week later. Considering I probably lost four shipping days by when I ordered it, that was pretty decent.

Shipping was included in the price.

Liberty's other prices are pretty good, and they beat other places from what I saw when looking around their site. I'll almost certainly buy from them again.

The biggest negative I saw to them was a limited selection. They only carry a few models from any maker's line. How many dozens of models does Leupold have? They probably have 10 or 12 different series of scopes, but Liberty only carries five series and only a few from each. They are the same way with other makers. That works fine if they have the one you are after, but don't go there expecting to see anything you might want.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The scope mount arrived Friday, so I could finally assemble it like I want. So here it is in the more or less final configuration:

Scar 17S; Trijicon TR-24G scope; Larue LT-104 mount; Magpul MIAD grip, MSA front sling attachment, MS2 sling (which will likely go away for a VTAC), and VFG-2 angled foregrip; Tango Down and Surefire rail covers.

I am still working on a good way to mount a light. Getting one on there is not a problem. Getting one on there where I want it, and so I can work the switch without shifting my hand is another thing.

The charging handle to scope base clearance may call for another change if it's a knuckle buster (down angled charging handle).

Otherwise, this is it.

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Tomorrow marks four weeks since getting it. I hate to keep yapping about it like a little kid getting his first BB gun (Look what I got! Look what I got!), but it's been long enough for the newness to wear off and blinders to come off so I can form some real opinions. Also, I realized something the other day.

One of the range regulars was happy to see mine at the range Friday, because he has been looking at them and had some questions. He was asking me about it, shot a few rounds, etc, and as he asked me what I thought, I realized:

I've had a lot of guns, mostly rifles, and I don't think I've been more pleased with any of them. I keep thinking about that, because it's no small thing.

It's not perfect, but nothing is. I have a couple of things I'd like changed, but so it is with any gun.

Btw, I think that guy will get one. If he does, I'm batting a thousand. The only other range regular who has shot mine bought one within a couple of days, but he already had a SCAR 16S. I guess I did about the same thing, because after I got to look over that one a friend got, I was hooked. It just took me longer to scrounge up the money.

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  • 1 month later...

I got to stretch it's legs a little today. A buddy took me to his family property where we could shoot 200-500 yards.

I don't like the SCAR any less after that.

Opinion time:

On half the SCAR threads I find online, people are talking optics. The general opinion is you have to have at least a 10x scope, and preferably 15X or more, otherwise you're "wasting the SCAR's potential".


To me, the big thing that sets the SCAR apart is weight. It's a battle-tested, accurate, semiauto rifle that weighs less than 15 pounds. Nearly half that. Hanging nearly three pounds of scope and mount on it sort of counteracts that, IMO.

I had to crank my scope allllll the way up to 4x today.

Once I had the elevation settings, the 4x did just fine. Steel was clanging out to 500 yards. I had another .308 with a 10x scope, and my buddy had one with a 12X.

Was it easier with my 10x or his 12X? Yes.

Was it 2.5 to 3 times easier? No.

Not the SCAR but you get the idea:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, I can sit here and crunch numbers and list the extras it comes with (folding iron sights, rails, folding adjustable stock, etc) and justify most of the cost because of it, but it's still an insane amount of money.

FN had a ton of money sunk into developing the SCAR. They got no gov't funding along the way and had to put down their own cash and do it. All they had was the hope the US DoD couldn't live without them and would buy a few hundred thousand.

What they got was approval, but a bunch of little orders instead of a couple of big orders- 600 here, a couple hundred there, an "intention to buy" elsewhere.

That's doing really well to bust in like that, but isn't much return on their investment. It doesn't amortize their development costs much. If the Army had got a hundred thousand SCARs, I bet they would sell for more like $1800 than $2800. And be years behind.

But it didn't happen that way. And knowing why they cost what they cost doesn't make them more affordable.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm really liking the Trijicon scope. I wish I had a few more for other rifles. All sizes.

I liked the green triangle reticle from the first time I looked through one a couple years back. I later had an idea, and when I got mine I kept wanting to try it out. but couldn;t get to it for a while.

You know how the sight height above the bore on ARs requires you to hold high when shooting real close? It's the same with the SCAR, and is actually slightly worse due to an even greater bore-to-sight differential. I had the idea that maybe the triangle would help if I could zero the scope using the triangle's tip, but hold the base of the triangle on my intended POI up close. I knew it wouldn't be exact, but with 16.7 MOA height at 1X, it had to raise the POI some, and be better than making split second decisions of "Ummm, let's see...here I think I hold on the edge of the hairline...a couple of steps closer and it's at the top edge of the head...".

Over Christmas I got to test this plan out. I started by using it normally, by aiming with the triangle's tip and no holdover. Here are the results:

3 yards: -3-1/4"

5 yards: -3-1/8"

7 yards: -2-7/8"

10 yards: -2"

15 yards: -1-1/2"

20 yards: -1-3/8"

25 yards: -1-1/4"

Using the base of the triangle as my aiming point, here's what I got:

3 yards: -2-5/8"

5 yards: -1-5/8"

7 yards: -1/2"

10 yards: +7/8"

I didn't see any point in going farther out for obvious reasons.

It worked to a degree. On close targets, like 5 yards and in, I'd still need to hold over some, but it's close to what I hold over with an AR. If it saves me having to learn a new set of up close holdovers, it's worth doing.

Past 7 yards until about 25, I'll hold the triangle on target like a red dot and go.

I made that sound more complicated than it is, but it really does simplify things. For coarse shots plant the triangle's base on the desired POI; if more precision is needed, use the tip; anything else gets the whole thing slapped on. If I screw that up, the worst I could be off would be around 2.5".

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  • 6 months later...

That Trijicon 1-4X scope that I'm nuts over? Well, it crapped out today.

I thought it was going in and put of focus during one stage of a 3-gun match yesterday, and thought the zero wandered at one point, but decided I was just shooting poorly. Today at the range, I was getting groups of two shots here, three shot there. Then focus went all goofy. I'd have to refocus after every three shots, then every shot, then sometimes it wouldn't focus at all. For a while there, I'm still thinking its me shooting poorly, or I have crud in my eye.

Then I fired a shot and the top quarter of the field of view went dark. Uh-oh, I've seen this before.

Shaky shake. Half of it is occluded. Shaky shake, and its clear again. Yep, familiar ground. I look through the front and see parts floating around loose.

It made it nearly a year, and 2,778 rounds. That's over 300 times as long as the last new scope I bought. Scopes hate me.

Email sent to Trijicon. I'll keep you posted.

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  • 5 weeks later...

The first one I looked at disappointed me because it felt somewhat clumsy to me. The next one I saw (nearly a year later) felt great. I guess the stock was adjusted all goofy on the first one. I may not have known enough about them to notice that.

Shooting one is what makes people like them. The lack of recoil makes people laugh out loud.

Scope non-update: No word yet. Four weeks Tuesday.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on the broken Trijicon scope:

Trijicon gave an estimate of 2-4 weeks after I sent it in. Last Tuesday was 4 weeks, and it came back Thursday, so it was probably sent on the very day it hit 4 weeks. I wasn't there to sign for it so didn't get it until today.

They didn't repair my scope.

They replaced it with a new one.

New scope, different serial number, in the sealed box.

Of course I'd rather it had never broken, but it's sure hard to complain about the fix.

I have poked around and still haven't found anyone saying they know of another one failing.

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  • 10 months later...

Two year assessment:

Yesterday was the SCAR's second birthday. I slacked off this past year and shot it about half as much as the previous year (I haven't made any 3-gun or carbine matches) so the total round count stands at 3,966. Yes, it bugs me I didn't get another 34 rounds off when shooting this week.

I still like it. It is my favorite rifle, and I have a few. For me at least, it's the ideal universal rifle. It's light and handy, accurate, has had zero malfunctions, and hasn't bent or broken anything except the scope. Except for one .308 Garand, I can count on one hand how many times I've taken my other .308 semiautos out in the past two years.

The only change I've made in the last year was to swap out the Magpul MS2 sling I installed "temporarily" when I got it for a Blue Force Gear Vickers sling.

The only change I might make in the future would be to get a VLTOR stock section (replaces only the sliding section). That would mostly be to get the larger storage compartment.

I've been planning to get another QD mount to mount a larger scope to this and other rifles for certain uses, but haven't done it yet.

It seems like the first thing people do when they get a SCAR is to start making changes. That's OK, but most of these changes seem counterproductive to me. One of it's best features is the light weight, and people start hanging heavy stuff all over it like 22X scopes. My guess is the most common change is an aftermarket trigger, but the trigger seems to be similar to a good factory AR trigger. I think some are trying to make the SCAR something it isn't. What it is is a .308 battle carbine that works, and does so while weighing only a few ounces more than a 16" AR. That is quite a feat.


I remember now. I did have some malfunctions. However...

A friend gave me one of the MLI polymer 25-rd magazines. I used it one time. At the end of those 25 rounds, eight gouged and bent cartridges lay on the ground after clearing them.

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  • 1 year later...

Saturday was the 3-year mark.  I don't think I used it in any 3-gun or carbine matches over the past year, and made very few range trips in cold weather this time.  That cut my round count roughly in half, so I only put around a thousand rounds through it this year, putting the total count at a little over 5,000 rounds.  

Still happy.  

Still my favorite of any .308 semiauto I've owned or shot, and my favorite rifle overall.   

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  • 3 months later...

Mine just got its first significant mod.   I swapped out the factory stock for a VLTOR stock.   Black Friday sales lured me in. 



It's not really an entire new stock; just the sliding portion.

This gives it:

-A flat buttplate instead of the curved one that digs in at the points sometimes,

-More storage space, and,

-Enough surface on the bottom to allow it to sit on a bag when shooting prone.

It also fits tighter, which keeps it from making any noise, but makes it harder to slide.

it also adds yet another shade of FDE to my rifle.  Yay.


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  • 6 years later...

Nine year update:

Still going strong.  Still my favorite .308 semiauto, and probably my favorite rifle.  


I thought pretty seriously about getting it a present recently. There were some tempting Black Friday scope sales, and I was looking hard at 1-8X and 1-10X scopes.  I was ready to pop for a Vortex Razor Gen III 1-10X, but was reminded of something.  I was at dinner with my classmates in my annual night shooting class, and the year we worked with rifles came up.  The instructors remembered the SCAR/Trijicon doing well, which in turn got me wondering why I wanted the replace it.  I couldn't think of anything that 1-4X couldn't do that I'd asked of it.  More magnification would be nice sometimes, but definitely is not necessary.  I chose to save the money and the seven ounces the bigger scope would add.


Instead, I treated the SCAR to a thorough bore cleaning with copper fouling removal.  And is it ever fouled!  I don't think I've ever given it a real copper removal type cleaning, and it's had (mumble) thousand rounds through it.   I'm making lots of blue-stained patches!


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  • 8 months later...

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