Jody Lewis takes a look at AR upgrades from JL Billet, a Veteran-Owned manufacturer of high-quality AR-15/10 parts and accessories.
This month we continue the series dubbed “AR UPGRADES”, where we feature new AR products we discover. In this article, we introduce you to an up and coming company who makes some very unique products for AR’s.
In my pursuit to finish a Cross Machine & Tool (CMT) .308 build, I stumbled on JL Billet, a veteran owned and operated manufacturer based in San Diego, CA. They make some pretty killer looking stuff. Looks aside, I am always concerned with durability and quality, so I set out to put it to the test and share my first hand experience.
- Free Float Design
- Material: 6061-T6 Hard Coat Anodized Aluminum Handguard
- 7075-T6 Barrel Nut
- Stainless Steel Key Seat
- Precision Bore
- 1913 Picatinny Continuous Top Rail
- Accepts M-Lok Rail Sections & Accessories (2 – 5 slot sections included)
- Requires 1-5/16" Crowfoot Wrench (not included)
- Weight is 10.9oz. with barrel nut
- ID: 1.525"
- Rails will ship in raw aluminum if Hard Black option is not selected
- Rail length is measured along the top
Among many things JL Billet manufacturers is a complete line of AR-10/AR-15 handguards in several lengths and configurations. I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of options for DPMS compatible receivers with High and Low profiles available. JL also manufactures a flat nose version for a more traditional look.
The M-Lok handguard is constructed of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum and finished with a Mil-Spec type III hard coat black anodizing. The barrel nut is 7075-T6 and precision made for precise center bore alignment. The overall weight with the barrel nut is at a mere 10.9oz. The internal diameter is 1.525", which will accommodate many suppressors on the market.
JL does something I have never seen any other manufacturer do. They sell their products raw or in the white with no finish which allows the purchaser who wants a custom coating to save a little money.
Installation requires a 1-5/16" crows foot wrench (not included) for the barrel nut; standard AR-10 barrel nut wrenches will not work with this handguard system.
Installation was a breeze since the barrel nut does not require timing for the gas tube. I torqued it to 30 ft. lbs., loosened and retightened to 60 ft. lbs. Two screws and a stainless steel key keep things nice and tight. There is no anti-rotation tabs built into this rail and I don’t think any are needed. I mounted the entire rifle to a vice block and gave it some rotational force with no deflection noticed. This is a well-built handguard indeed. I will be sending it off to my favorite cerakoter HillBilly 223 soon for a makeover, but until then I spent some time at the range testing the feel, lock-up and sturdiness.
The rail felt very solid in my hand and provided a solid platform for extending my arm to stabilize recoil. The rifle balanced very well which I attribute to the 10.9-ounce handguard. Overall, the rail is a lightweight package and felt very solid. Plus, I like the design.
The JL Billet handguard is a solid win for 308 owners who want a lightweight M-Lok handguard.
Retail is $244.95 raw and only costs $10 more for anodize.
The V.P.R. (variable port reduction) muzzle brake is designed with varying degree port angles to redirect the gases out and up to reduce felt recoil as well as reduce the flash signature.
The V.P.R. is cut from 303-stainless steel on a 5-axis CNC machine. The port angles start with a 15-degree back angle and decrease as the gases dissipate moving forward. This provides the shooter with a smooth feeling recoil reduction. Standard 308 5/8-24 threads are utilized and it comes in stainless or black oxide coating.
I was surprised at the amount of recoil reduction the V.P.R. exhibited. At times, it felt like too much reduction because the muzzle was actually pushed down with repeated high-speed dumps. My POI was on target so this may just be my perception.
Retail is $109.95.
Handguards and muzzle brakes have come a long way in the last decade and continue to evolve. I would rank these up there with some of the best in terms of price and performance.
JL Billet is a winner in my book and I hope to explore their AR-15 product line soon.
For more information, check out www.jlbillet.com
JL also offers 10% off site wide for Military, LEO and 1st responders.
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