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[dcs_fancy_header bgcolor=”#ffffff” color=”#000000″ fweight=”bold”]In this article, Steve Coulston reviews the Provectus Series from Head Down Products.[/dcs_fancy_header]

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t is easy to see why the AR15 and its clones are so popular. If maintained properly, they will provide years of enjoyable and reliable service. They are accurate, easy to shoot and fully customizable. The latter is maybe what really sets the AR apart from other rifles. Known as the Barbie Doll for men (and many ladies) the AR can be dressed up or stripped down by the end user to satisfy any mission profile, sporting event or personal style. It is relatively easy and parts are plentiful. The discerning consumer can buy a complete rifle and tailor it to their liking or start from the ground up and build a truly unique rifle. While it isn’t rocket science, not everyone has the know-how, tools or time to build their own rifle from scratch. Lucky for us manufactures offer a wide variety of guns ranging from basic plain Jane plinkers to high speed low drag blasters. For those looking for an out of the box AR with many of the custom features desired by shooters today, the HD Provectus line of rifles is worth looking at.

The Provectus guns are manufactured in Dallas, Georgia by Head Down Products, LLC. The Provectus series make up their high end rifle offerings and comes in three different models, the PV9, PV13 and PV15. The latter number designates the length of the rail in inches. HD was kind enough to send their PV15 for testing. The PV15 comes very nicely equipped and appears to be very well made.

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The rifle itself is 36.6 inches long and weighs in at 7 lbs. The upper and lowers are CNC machined from billet aluminum and are Type III hard coat anodized. They mate together very well and the lower has a tensioning screw that can be tightened to remove any unwanted play between the two. The lower has clean lines, an integral oversized trigger guard, a generous mag well flare and multi caliber markings. The Head Down Skull logo is tastefully placed on the left side of the mag well. The lower parts kits has been upgraded to include the outstanding Geissele 2-Stage Trigger, KNS anti-walk hammer and trigger pins and the comfortable ambidextrous Ergo Grip. The magazine release, bolt catch and safety lever are all standard milspec parts.

The upper receiver has a chiseled appearance which gives the rifle an aggressive look. These features are accentuated by the sharply angled brass deflector and forward assist. The left side of the gun has faceted ridges that mimic the profile of the handguard which is a nice touch. The area around the bolt catch is recessed about an 1/8 of an inch with an overall length of 1-1/4 of an inch. This will provide ample room for aftermarket oversized bolt catches assuming the bolt catch profile doesn’t extend forward. If it does, it will not work with this upper as the recess stops at the front of the standard bolt catch. The upper houses a Mil-Spec Carpenter 158 bolt carrier group with staked gas key. It should also be noted this is a semi-auto bolt carrier group which means it has the cut out in the rear end of the carrier, reducing the mass of the bolt. The charging handle has been upgraded to the superb Rainier Arms ambidextrous Raptor charging handle which in this authors opinion is a must have for all ARs. The upper receiver top rail blends seamlessly into the 15” Head Down keymod handguard. This is done very well and the seam is almost impossible to see. This provides 21 inches of continuous top rail mounting surface for optics, lights, lasers, etc. These rails are not numbered.

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As the model designator suggests, the PV15 rail is 15 inches long which allows the shooter to get their support hand fully extended if that is their preferred shooting style. As this is a keymod rail system it is devoid of any 1913 picatinny rails at the three, six or nine o’clock position with the exception of short 2 inch rail sections at each fore mentioned positions at the end of the rail. These positions are typically where lights and lasers would be mounted anyway so this makes sense and is actually preferred by this author. The remaining profile of the handguard is marked by keymod points which allow easy installation of additional rail sections or other keymod compatible accessories. The handguard has two integral QD attachment points on each side for easy sling installation. One thing that really sets this keymod handguard apart from others on the market is its mass. It really fills the hand and has an outside diameter of 2-1/8”. This provides a very sold grip on the gun, however adding additional rail sections, panels etc. to the side of the handguard could prove to be a little on the large side for shooters with smaller hands. The top rear portion of the handguard angles up, capturing the top edge of the upper receiver which prevents the handguard from rotating. This is a nice touch that is both handsome and practical.

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Due to the long handguard, the 16 inch barrel protrudes only an inch. The barrel is HDP profiled, is chambered for 5.56 NATO, has a 1:7 RH twist and is coated with melonite inside and out. The muzzle device is a standard A2 flash suppressor and can easily be swapped out for an aftermarket muzzle device. The barrel appears to be set up for a carbine gas system with the gas block fastened in place with set screws.

The stock is by Head Down called the HDF stock. This stock substantial, yet very comfortable. The comb of the stock is sloped at a generous angle to provide an ergonomic cheek weld and the rear rubber butt pad prevents any slipping during the course of fire. The stock adjustment lever is very large and is easily manipulated. It also has two storage compartments in the front of the stock. This necessitates the stock be removed in order to access the compartments. The compartments are sealed with locking caps that are sealed with clear O-Rings. There is also an integral QD attachment point for QD stud slings as well as a slot for traditional sling installation. Upon removing the stock, it was revealed the extension tube is of the 6-position Commercial variety and not Mil-Spec. The end user should keep this in mind should they ever decide to replace the stock. The stock does fit nice and snug on the extension tube and the castle nut has been also been properly staked to prevent it loosening over time.

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My overall impressions of the PV15 are favorable. They incorporate high end parts I would personally install such as the Geissele trigger and Raptor charging handle. It is a lightweight, good looking rifle that feels and points very well. I really like the handguard length and width. It also offers a ton of flexibility as to what accessories can be added to it.

These rifles are supposed to come treated with Froglube, however my PV15 came bone dry. I am talking chalk board, make the hair on the back of your neck stand up dry. Fortunately, I am a big proponent of Froglube and happened to have some on hand. I generously bathed the PV15 in the CLP then heated up the gun with a hair dryer. The PV15 vigorously sucked up the Froglube and now, she purrs like a kitten, smells amazing and looks dead sexy! Make sure you always clean and lube any firearm prior to shooting it. The PV15 is a solid shooter and while only tested at 25 yards and in proves to hit where pointed. It was shot at various times with both an Aimpoint H1 and a Trijicon RMR mounted to the top rail. These are both a nice light weight addition to an already light weight rifle.

If I could change a few things, I would definitely change to a mid-length gas system. In my opinion, a 16 inch barrel doesn’t need a carbine length gas system or the additional dwell time. This means the system is gassed longer which results in snappier recoil and more wear and tear on the parts. Personally, I prefer a full auto bolt carrier group. While not everyone shots full auto, I prefer the extra mass and do enjoy a little fun switch action from time to time. I would also use a Mil-Spec extension tube. This is my preference because I only own Mil-Spec compatible stocks and Mil-Spec stocks are more easily obtained from manufactures. While not a deal killer, I would also upgrade the safety lever to an ambidextrous B.A.D. A.S.S. product. An ambidextrous charging handle and grip deserves an ambidextrous safety. Lastly, HD should lose the A2 flash suppressor and include their PVX brake standard.

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The Head Down Products PV15 isn’t cheap with a price point of $1,999.00, however you do get a lot of bang for your buck. Each rifle will come complete with a padded hard case, detailed instruction manual, lock and small sample of Froglube CLP. Head Down also includes their “Rifle for Life Warranty” This means if you ever have an issue with your rifle they will repair or replace it at no cost to you. Now that’s what I call customer service!

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Q&A Session with David Hunsucker

Can you tell us a little about the company history/profile/experience?

Myself and my partner Lee Queen started this business as a hobby over 5 years ago in a 10’x 20’ metal room with no AC or heat. We started this business primarily to make rifles he and I liked that no one in the market made. After our test runs at the rang local people started to notice what we were doing and they became interested not only because of our products but because we were local. About a year later we got involved with a large distributor who wanted us to manufacture rifles for them, the rest is firearms history.

Is the Billet Aluminum upper and lower manufactured from 6061-T6 or 7075-T6?

6061-T6 for uppers and lowers, rails are all 7075.

Please clarify details about the gas system, which appears to be carbine length…

We primarily use a carbine length gas system unless we do a special run of rifles with mid-length gas. Our MK12 DMR rifle comes standard with a match grade 18” barrel from lothar walther that has rifle length gas.

Is there anything else you would want potential customers to know?

Yes, we just introduced our “Rifle For Life” tm warranty program at shot show. Our warranty follows the rifle and does not require it to be registered to an individual. This warranty covers everything from manufacturer defect, to a tank driving over it. We will either repair or replace it at no charge to the customer, PERIOD!

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Check out Head Down Products, LLC at http://www.hdrifles.co and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/headdownproducts. You can also follow them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ar15site/.

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Steve has been a firearms enthusiast for over 20 years and is currently an NRA lifetime member. In 1996 he joined the United States Navy and served as a Special Warfare Combat Crewman (SWCC) at Special Boat Unit 12 (Now renamed Special Boat Team 12). He made two tours during his time of service and spent most of his time in southeast Asia and the Middle Eastern theaters. Upon his Honorable Discharge in 2000, Steve spent the next 10 years earning his Masters Degree and state license as an Architect. Steve brings a unique perspective from both his tactical and design background and is a reviewer and contributor for Guns & Tactics Magazine, Defense Marketing Group and other media outlets.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Me and my wife both own HD rifles, could not be happier. I treat my rifles as tools and not toys the finish holds up well and very reliable we have run our rifles quite a bit since purchase no failures and extremely accurate from point of bad guy to 400yards. We have both met the guys at HD as it is close to our home very professional and definitely gun people who know the business.

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