Very few things in the modern sporting rifle world get me excited. Many products are designed by engineers that are very utilitarian with little regard to aesthetics. What manufacturers don’t realize is that the new buyers of AR15s have grown up in a video game generation. They look at guns differently and don’t want the gun that looks like the same old original 1959 Colt. They want a product that looks like it’s ready to kick alien-ass on a far-off world. Thankfully, a few companies have started to realize that their rifle designs are dated – like they were selling a "new" 1990 Ford Taurus with maybe some upgraded rims for 2017. But we’re now in a world where people want the clean lines, attention to detail, and reliability found in pretty much any modern sports car. We’ve grown up and we want something nicer.
Perusing Instagram a couple months back something caught my eye. Although it was just a quick cell phone shot, I could tell it was the most aesthetically gorgeous receiver set that I had ever laid my eyes on and it was from a company I had never heard of before: Ascend Armory. I raced down to Rainier Arms to see it in person.
The picture that I saw did not do it justice. The fit and finish of the finger rest, the flare of the magwell, the lightning cuts on top of the deflector, and the custom take down and trigger pins were second to none. Unfortunately, Rainier Arms would not let me buy it as it was just a demo unit, so I would have to wait.
I am not known for my patience, so I contacted Ascend Armory directly to purchase my own receiver set. About a week later I finally had my very own.
My first thoughts were to make this rifle into a smaller gun with a 14.5" barrel and a pinned flash hider, but that just wouldn’t take full advantage of the extremely tight tolerances. So, I decided to make a Special Purpose Rifle that would take full advantage of the accuracy this rifle is capable of.
Thankfully, Ascend Armory includes most of a lower parts kit as the pieces are proprietary. So to finish off the main set requires a trigger, safety selector, dust cover, forward assist and grip. I knew this wasn’t going to be cheap, but I wanted to build this right.
I must say this is hands down so far my favorite build to date. On the range, it performed flawlessly, with easy ½ moa holes downrange. To top it off, it’s also the most complimented build I have ever assembled.
Photo Credit: TracerX Photography
See them at SHOT 2017 in the NEXT Pavilion, table N209.
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