I recently purchased my first AR, a Core 15 M4 Base. Was it the best money could buy, nope. There are probably better out there, but it was the best MY money could buy. We'll leave it at that. So if you an expert looking for an expert review look elsewhere. It's a little bit about what I was looking for in an AR based on information I gleened, stole, beg, barrowed and read from others much more knowledgeable than I. I searched for about 3 months before making my purchase, and this is what I ended up with.
A word about the Shop from where I made my purchase. I talked with Rich the owner for about 30 minutes the day I called and placed my order. Rich was a great guy who probably could sit and talk guns with you all day long. I'd definately buy from him again.
As he advertised it was $664
TOTAL $711 (before I started buying goodies).
Now I will say this, the product discription didn't mention a case, and only a 30 rnd GI Aluminum Mag. It came with a Core hard plastic case and a 30 round PMag (Gen I). So I can't complain about that at all and is an added plus.
Here's the stats on the Core 15 Base model M4 (Direct Gas Impingement)
-CORE15™ Mil-Spec Forged 7075-T6 Lower Receiver, Type III Class II Hard-coat anodized finish, beveled Magwell for improved reloading speed, machined chevrons in front strap, bullet pictogram safety markings.
-CORE15™ Mil-Spec Forged 7075-T6 M-4 Upper Receiver, Type III Class II Hard-coat anodized finish, M4 Feed Ramps, (1913 Picatinny rail flat top) w/ dry lube internal finish and laser engraved T-markings.
-16” 4150 CMV Chrome Moly M4 Profile Chrome Lined Barrel 1:7 Twist.
-Chambered in .223/5.56 x 45 mm NATO.
-Direct Gas Impingement Gas System.
-Gas Tube made of 304 grade Stainless Steel.
-Chrome lined Stainless Steel Bolt Carrier and Bolt Carrier Key.
-Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI) Bolt Assembly.
-A-2 Flash Hider.
-A Frame Front Sight Base (Forged).
-M-4 Style Thermoset molded Polymer Hand Guards with Dual Heat Shields.
-A-2 Pistol Grip.
-CORE15™ Six Position Retractable Stock.
-CORE15™ Owner’s Manual.
Weight (unloaded): 5.2 lbs.
Manufacturers Lifetime Warranty
I hand checked a few things to be sure it was tight. The castle nut, and A2 flash hider were tight and secure. I gave it a gentle shake and the only rattle noise came from the Core15 stock. This could be a common theme with all retractable stocks. It felt very solid and had good lines. The upper and lower receiver matched up very well and had no play or gaps.
A quick function check and everything worked as it should. I only have one point of contention. The Charging handle felt tiny. It's solid and functional, but my fingers didn't feel very secure. I would be concerned that in an emergency my hand would slip off and I wouldn't be able to charge the rifle. Instead of using my finger pads, I had to hook my fingers around it at the first joint. I still didn't feel very confident. (pics to follow later). Just for reference, I wear a large sized glove, but don't have very wide fingers.
I broke the rifle down for a field strip (my first time in a number of years) and I didn't lose anything. Everything looked good, moved well and again felt tight.
I don't care for the A2 pistol grips and they have already been replaced with a Magpul MOE. A Magpul MBUIS has also been added. It was a bit tricky installing the rear site. I took the upper off, and had to remove the charging handle to get it on. This was the first time I've every installed a rear site on an AR, but I was up to the task. Is this normal for installing items on a rail?
Weather permitting I'm going to the range on Tuesday (don't worry I've already voted-early). I'll be shooting to be sure the weapon functions well, and have 2 different types of ammo. I'll also be trying to get it sighted in, maybe I can get the range master to offer a few opinions. Not ever having shot at 100 yard target with an AR, I can't say you'll see 1" groups or anything close. Although I try to get soe pics of some target after effects. Unless it looks too bad. I'll then reshoot at about 10' and hope for better. lol
I found out I was not the only one there... There were 6 other fellas out there shooting.
Three were country fellas grouped together sighting in some rifles, which is odd, we can't rifle hunt for anything other than rodents here in IL. I chatted with them for a minute. What are they sighting in? .300 WinMag, .257 Roberts, and a bolt action turkey gun (3" 12 gauge).
At the very opposite end of the range was a little old man in a hunter orange jacket with one of those black veteran baseball hats on. He ignored everyone and only put 5 rounds through his rifle, packed his stuff up and left. He probably had better sense than the rest of us. It started to rain again.
That left the other two fellas. I say fellas and I really mean Viking War God with a Mohawk and his sidekick. Now I'm 6'2", there are not many people I have to look up too. Thor was probably 6'7 (not including mohawk). Thor's rifle of choice AK's. AMD-65, Egyptian made AK74, and a Romainian AK Varient of some kind. Thor is proud of his AKs, but he's not a hater. Thor had a Slidefire stock on his Romainian. Thor's sidekick was having problems. He has is own AMD-65, and why not! Apparently he hadn't put his back together very well. His first shot, blue top receiver cover off and almost knocked his hat off. Thor was very kindly to his minion "What The F*(%, are you doing?!" Needless to say both were great guys.
Ok, back to the Core 15. I brought two diferent .223/5.56 ammo with me. Both I got a good deal on locally, and both were also due to my limited options of availablity. There was a 3rd I could have bought, PMC Bronze 55gr, but the place that was selling it wanted $11.50/box of 20. I passed on it. I have ammo ordered online that has yet to arrive.
1. Fiocchi 50gr w/V-max tips. I know what some of you are saying already 50 gr? 1in7 twist? Yeah too light/small and the accuracy showed it. I was happy to hit the 2'x2' plywood board my target was taped to at 50 yards.
2.) Remington UMC 55gr. Better, cycled fine. I think I like the 55gr for plinking and this stuff was fairly cheap. Better, I managed to keep most shots on the 20"x20" target sheet at 50 yards.
I brought 100 rounds of each to shoot at the range today. Not sure if anyone else noticed it, but the local shops (except for Wallyworld) had raised the prices of ammo a bit in the last week. I could have bought cases of Tul, but I'm not sure of it.
I admit! I was giddy, nervous, excited and only had one failure. The first magazine, worked the bolt, and it failed to bring a round into battery. I quicky found the problem. Me. I failed to seat the magazine all of the way in. I need more practice this is the first time in a long time, and I've gotten sloppy. Maybe I can find someone to put a foot in my arse and help me tighten up my groups to smaller than a dinner plate at 50 yards. It would probably help if I used different ammo. All of my shooting was done from a standing position.
I was also using the magpul rear flip-up sight. I found it functionable, and everything worked well. I just think there is a reason why its called a backup. I'm interested in getting a red dot without breaking the bank, so if anyone has any suggestions please feel free to let me know. I'm looking at keeping it under $100 for now. I know, I know, you get what you pay for.
The Magpul MOE grip was great, tacky enough to provide some grip, yet not too much to be destraction when trying to operate other controls. It felt comfortable and fit my hand well, although it was a bear to install.
I couldn't get the stock set at a comfortable length. I adjusted it several times, this also might have something to do with my lack of accuracy. I wonder if this is a common problem for adjustable stocks, just this one, or just me?
I don't care at all for the M4 Carbine Handguard. It felt too big and I couldn't get my hand comfortable holding it. I kept moving my hand down to the magwell for grip. Could this also have been a factor in my lack of hitting anything worthwhile?
I noted earlier the lack of feel on the charging handle, or that it felt too small. When I got out to the range and began shooting the rifle..either I didn't notice it being an issue or I was too focused on operating the rifle properly (and not looking like an ass in front of my new friend Thor).
So.. I liked the rifle, and had a blast shooting it. I'm dissappointed in my accuracy, and need plenty of work there. The ammo I used might not have been ideal, but it functioned flawlessly in the rifle. I have to say I'm pleased with my purchase, and look forward to more trips to the range with it. If I can find one offered locally a carbine class is in order.
Also Like A dumbarse. I forgot to take any pictures while at the range.