Author and Photographer; PJE
I wanted to build a defensive weapon, that would be a heavy hitter with a dual configuration. It would have the ability to go from short range target acquisition, to acquiring a long range target with the throw a few levers in a minimal amount of time. In a crisis or emergency, time can be a critical factor.
Before making my decision, I had done a lot of research on my options. I had read several articles on the .233 and found it lacked the knock down and penetrating power I required, though it is a good CQB and medium range round. The 6.5 and 6.8 both looked impressive, but I wanted the availability of ammunition, in a defensive or emergency situation that can make all the difference, don’t you think? So I decided to go with the 7.62x51mm or .308 cal., a proven round for both hunting and defense, as well as short range and distance, a definite heavy hitter.
Picking out the rifle to go with in the vast market of AR manufacturers, and companies who just build them, wasn’t easy, it took some researching to decide on the company.
As you can see, I went with ArmaLite. Their reputation and history, and the fact that they are a complete manufacturer, all of these together, put them at the top of the list.I decided on the AR-10 A4 CB as the base platform for creating the P.A.S.S. A 16” barrel, flat top receiver, and a railed gas-block, 6 position car stock, 7.62 x 51mm (.308 cal.), perfect. Why the AR-10, well being one of the original AR rifles designed by ArmaLite, plus it’s reputation and the fact that it has been proven as a superb distance and defensive weapon, it was exactly what I was looking for. The AR-10 has the same features as ArmaLite’s M-15 and M-16, being the bolt release, safety selector and mag release are in the usual places, so you have every thing where it needs to be for easy operation and handling. The new versions have a forward assist like the M-16, though I’ve been told it is unnecessary, but it is a prerequisite for a mil-spec weapon for military use. Lets not forget the new generation 2 magazines, extremely smooth feeding and very solid and quite reliable, they come in 5 to 25 round. I have to say that from the day I ordered it, my expectations were high and upon receiving it, and shooting it, my AR-10 has surpassed them altogether with its durability and performance. This is an exquisite weapon.
Although there are other .308 black rifles out there, fashioned after the AR-10 (or Eugene Stoner’s design), ArmaLite being the forerunner, just made more sense to me. Some may think they have improved on it, and one or two may have, but for me, when you can have the original why settle for anything else. As they say “those who know, shoot an ArmaLite”.
Mainly, I’ve dealt with two companies building my AR-10, MidWest Industries and LaRue Tactical. Both are excellent companies, and have outstanding products.
I’ve got all my bolt-on equipment from MidWest Industries, my front and rear sights, front and rear sling adapters, and the most impressive (to me) is their Drop-in Railed Fore Arm, specifically designed for the ArmaLite AR-10 Carbine. Some of the other equipment is also for the AR-10, it’s nice to know that some one is thinking about this old war horse. Their products are superb and extremely well built and their customer service is outstanding, a family owned company that stands behind their products 100%, and made in the U.S.A. If you are building an AR, give them a look-see, you won’t be disappointed.
The PASS is equipped with MI’s MCTAR-ERS (Emergency Rear Sight), as well as a flip up front sight, MCTAR-10-AFFG (for the AR-10 railed gas block). Both are very durable and easy to install and adjust. The ERS can be adjusted for windage, and you can use a standard A2 sight tool to adjust the front sight for elevation. MI has their own sight tool available as well
It is also equipped with MI’s MCTAR-08 Heavy Duty QD Front Sling Adapter with limited travel, and the MCTAR-10 QD Rear Sling Adapter for 6-Position CAR/M4 Stock (the factory collapsible stock for the AR-10) both have the 114 HD swivel. The swivels have a push button release for quick detach. MI also carries standard QD swivels and mounts, see their web-site for the full line of sling and mount accessories.
And the Crème De La Crème from MI (for this AR-10 owner) is their Drop In Railed Fore Arm (MI-AR-10CH), as I said, specifically for the ArmaLite AR-10 Carbin
A two piece Railed Fore Arm that will replace your factory hand guard, and give you the option of mounting a vast array of mounts, grips and accessories, only limited by your imagination and your budget. Notice the four pins, they lock into your barrel nut inside the slip ring and there’s nomovement what so ever, “it‘s rock solid
Note; If your ba
rrel nut is not centered, you’ll need a barrel nut wrench to adjust it. Brownell’s
carries the Smith Enterprise AR15/M16/AR style .308 armorer’s wrench (part# 851-115001 AA 30), the same one ArmaLite uses. I got mine through Operation Parts.
All of my quick detach mounts are from LaRue Tactical. These mounts are superior in every way, they are extremely user friendly, and about as sturdy as they get. They have excellent customer service as well, Mark LaRue’s guarantee is “If you ain’t happy, then we ain’t happy” I think that says it all. They’re made in the U.S.A. Dead center of Texas. Visit their web-site for a look at all their mounts and accessories.
Mycloserange optic, is a Bushnell Trophy Red Dot Sight, multireticle, 11 brightness settings, with ButlerCreek flip up covers (before you laugh), this is quite a tough little sight, and it works for the application intended. It’s mounted in a LaRue Tactical QD LT-150 (meant for an Aimpoint), it is 1.7 to center of optic off the rail and gives a lower 1/3 co-witness. It has a spare battery compartment (for your Aimpoint battery) and a locking lever that secures it to the rail. The sight is not the top of the line (yet… I‘m working on it), or battle proven, but it is durable and serves its purpose in this configuration for sport and home defense.
The tactical light is a Sure Fire (a name you know and trust) 6P LED Defender, 80 lumens with a 11 hour run time on two 123A lithium batteries. It has the push button tail cap switch, press for momentary-on, and click for constant-on. It has the Strike Bezel and a light that’s powerful enough to momentarily blind an opponent. A tough little item. The light is mounted in the NEW LaRue Tactical QD LT-707-1 (-1 refers to the ring size) in-line tactical light mount. It has the same feature as the LT-606, only rather than offset, it puts the light on the rail, inline with the grip, so activation of the light can be done with the index finger knuckle (for me anyway). I’ve waited a long time for this mount from LaRue, all I can say is OUTSTANDING! The PASS has the LaRue LT-FUG (Forward Universal Grip). A very sturdy piece of hardware, it gives you a forward control for your weapon that you can trust. Unfortunately, (in my case) an AR-10 bolt won’t fit inside the handle, (to big), oh well, but I still can store some essentials in it, like two 123 batteries.
My main optic for distance is a Leupold Mark-2, 6x18x40 Adjustable Objective, it is mounted in a LaRue QD LT-135, which is 1.93 to center of optic off the rail, designed to clear a PEQ, in my case, it clears the ERS, but I also like to be up off the gun a bit. The bipod mount is a QD LT-130, (my first LaRue mount) this mount is rock solid and designed to make equipping the bipod a breeze. Once secured to the mount, it’s a matter of throwing the lever to attach or remove it. It doesn’t get any better than that. The bipod is a Shooter’s Ridge, a nice little bipod for the money. I can honestly say that switching between optics has had no problems. They both have returned to zero each time, these are some seriously durable and well designed mounts.
Ammunition;ArmaLite recommends the 168 gr. for optimum performance.
Although, I have been told by ArmaLite that 150 to 175 gr. will work, it depends on the particular rifle and your needs. When I first got the rifle, I bought some, shall we say over the counter ammo, the standard Federal 150 gr. and some Winchester Super X 150 gr. They worked, but I wasn’t happy with the performance, and they were extremely dirty, as far as I was concerned. I’m Picky when it comes to that. So after doing some research I came up with the two brands or four types of ammo that I found work extremely well in mine.
For plinking; The UltraMax 168 gr. BTHP. It’s quality ammunition, shoots great and is fairly easy on the wear and tear, and is reasonably clean. It is also in-expensive to shoot.
For the more serious targets, I use Hornady 168 gr. BTHP or the 168 gr. A-Max. They are very precise, clean and affordable, and their Hornady.
Now, for superior target shooting, as well as for defensive purposes, I use 168 gr. TAP. Superb ballistics and the performance you expect from Hornady. A little more pricey, but only the best will do for this AR-10 owner.
Shooting; Shooting my AR-10 A4 ( The PASS) is well, A LOT OF FUN! So far to date I’ve put a few hundred rounds through it (500 approx.) and it just keeps sending them down range. As for the performance, I can honestly say this rifle has worked flawlessly, the action is smooth and solid and with the double lapped chrome lined barrel and the 1:11.25 twist, the accuracy is right on target, (ArmaLite says 2 MOA out of the box, personally I think it’s more like 1 MOA.). Where I live, it’s windy mos t of the time, and the last time out shooting was no different. I was dealing with some fairly persistent winds, 10 to 25 mph cross winds and I managed to pull off these shots. All 100 yard shots were made with my bi-pod.
100 yards, 168 gr. Hornady TAP High cross wind 100 yards,168 gr. Hornady TAP. This one took a lot of patience and concentration.
100 yards, Hornady 168 gr. BTHP. UltraMax 168 gr. BTHP 100 feet
(makes me wonder how good I could do with no wind) free handed, with a red dot sight.
Considering the size of these targets and the conditions, if I was fishing, I’ld call them all keepers.
Mechanical Hygiene; I would like to share a couple of cleaning tips with you.I have friends and customers that say “ I clean it once in a while”, Tsk, Tsk. “A clean weapon will save your butt“. Personally, when it comes to keeping my weapons clean, I‘m extremely serious. Over the years I’ve used several products to clean my guns, including WD 40. Since buying my AR-10, I had to give some thought to using some other types of products, more suited to the task, and to use with the rest of my weapons. I found that the Break Free works quite well for my cleaning agent, for soaking and scrubbing, and the Hoppe’s Elite is perfect for the bore cleaner, Hoppe’s is also recommended by ArmaLite. I use the Mil-Comm TW25B for lubrication of the whole bolt assembly, and the MC 2500 before shooting (a tiny squirt). If you’ve never have tried Mil-Comm products, Do! They have to be some of the best products on the market, I think.
Now this is a must for any AR owner, MI’s AR Series Gas Tube Brush, (MCTAR-GTB). This versatile and durable brush makes cleaning the gas tube much easier, and fits in most cleaning kits. It works with 16” or 20” barrels. I highly recommend getting one.
As so many of us shooters have cases for our goodies, this nice little aluminum hard case is for a day at the range. As you can see, it holds all the essentials. Now for something a little on the custom side.
I have been all over the Internet looking for a portable scope case or tactical pouch that would hold everything, not one to be found,
Check this out………
I used a Glock single pistol range bag and a little closed cell foam, some thread, a dab of cement, Velcro straps, nylon fabric and the determination to make what I was looking for, if you can‘t find it, make it. It will hold my scope and bipod, or all my tactical accessories. If it came down to grab-n-go, who wants to carry a bulky case?
In addition to the accessories, we have a Galati 6 mag bag, and a BlackHawk But Stock Mag Pouch.Note the replacement of the slip straps to Velcro straps on the BSMP.
It also has a SOG but pad, and a Falcon Industries Grip Plug, for storage in the A2 Pistol Griop.
It is in the future to add an Aimpoint, probably a comp 2 or ML2, when recourses allow for it. My scope, the Mark-2 is a very sturdy and well designed optic, it gives both clarity and range, sufficient for my needs. If I were to up grade more to Mil-Spec, it would be a Mark-4 LR/T. I eventually plan to add a suppresser and all the trimmings, being I live in a suppresser legal state, I think it would be fun to own one (I hear they make shooting a lot more enjoyable), but that will have to wait for more prosperous times. Building these things gets spendy, as I’m sure you all know.
The dual configuration makes for an enjoyable day at the range. Being able to switch from short range to distance shooting in just a few seconds with out having to zero in again (I have the rail positions scribed on the bottom of the mounts), which gives more time for shooting than adjusting and if it where in a more critical situation, that time could mean all the difference.
In a law enforcement or military application, for specific individuals, being able to switch from short range support to long range neutralization of a target in seconds, could be a vital attribute, not to mention being able to blend in with their team even more, being the guy with the black rifle with a big scope. If it where to be for those applications, it could be built on the platform of the Pass’s (the AR-10 A4 CB) counter part (or sibling if you prefer) the Super SASS, hence, enter the A-SASS (Assault-Semi Automatic Sniper System). Outfitted with LaRue’s quick detach mounts and grip and MI’s (or other) back up sights and a tactical light, plus a proper tactical pouch for the equipment, it definitely would be a package for any law enforcement or military sharpshooter. Being this is for civilian use, for recreation and such or home defense, I’ll leave that idea in the hands of the experts and professional where it belongs.
The 7.62x51mm (.308 cal.) is a superb round, it has the necessary power for distance (for targets or hunting) or to penetrate obstacles to achieve the shot (ideal for use in law enforcement or for military personnel). Some people talk about over penetration with a large caliber, this may be true, you need to know the capabilities of your weapon. Depending on the distance, a .223 will over penetrate, and if their that close, I’ll use a .45. Personally, in a civil emergency, or for self defense, or in a tactical situation, if I had a group of “bad guys” coming at me, I think I would like a little over penetration, you know what I mean, “one shot“, you know the rest.
As with everything, it all comes down to personal preference, and this is mine.
ArmaLite’s AR-10 A4 CB is a reliable weapon, accurate and durable as well. Combined with MI railed forearm and other bolt on accessories, and LaRue Tactical’s quick detach mounts, it truly makes it a versatile one too. ArmaLite makes a superb weapon and I’m proud to own one. With proper maintenance and care this weapon can last a lifetime.
If your in the market for a large, and common caliber, I would highly recommend checking out ArmaLite’s web-site and their AR-10 line.
SPECS; out of the box.
Model: AR-10 A4 Carbine with Black Furniture
Caliber: .308/7.62mm NATO
Barrel: 16″ Double Lapped,
Chrome Lined, Threaded 5/8×24
Rifling Twist: RH 1:11.25″
Muzzle Device: Flash Suppressor
Front Sight Base: Picatinny Rail Gas Block
Upper Receiver: Flattop with Picatinny Rail
Trigger: Tactical Two Stage
Overall Length: 37.1″
Weight: 9 lbs……….as configured in this article with two magazines (loaded) 12 to 13.5 lbs
Finish: Aluminum, Manganese Phosphated Steel
Accuracy: 2 – 2 1/2″ MOA
ArmaLite Galati International Operation Parts
www.armalite.com www.galatiinternational.com www.operationparts.com
BlackHawk Hornady SureFire
www.blackhawk.com www.hornady.com www.surefire.com
Brownell’s LaRue Tactical UltraMax
www.brownells.com www.laruetactical.com www.ultramaxammunition.com
For the cleaning products Midwest Industries
www.cabelas.com or www.midwestindustriesinc.com
Or your local gun shop. www.mil-comm.com
My ammo I get from Midway and Cabela’s. The Glock range bag and the grip plug and I got through Midway.
A Special Thanks;
To all those that helped me with this endeavor, with their knowledge and expertise;
ArmaLite; Mark Westrom-President, Tim-sales/tech, Dave-the armory.
MidWest Industries; Troy-sales/tech.
LaRue Tactical; Cody-sales/tech and Blake-sales/tech.
Operation Parts; Charlie-sales/tech. (I think)
As well as the people at Mid Way, and Cabela’s, Leupold, Bushnell…and a anonymous photographer for his advise.
AR-10T.com; Martin-(mlotziii)–Founder and Administer.
Thank you all…………..
Always remember, Be Safe, Send It Down Range
To My Wife; Coming up with the title was the hardest part of this endeavor. In all actuality, as I was toiling with it, my wife came up with the idea, who knew, she was actually listening to me (chuckle). Thanks honey.
The Author; PJE;
The way I have this rifle configured it works beautifully for sport (target shooting and such), hunting (when in season), and varmint control, being I live in a rural type area where there are lots of four legged nasties that occasionally wreak havoc with pets and livestock and pose a threat to human safety.
For a defensive weapon, in the event of an emergency situation, such as the aftermath of a natural disaster or in a civil crisis or for home defense, this weapon is well equipped for the task and that’s why I call it my “Personal Assault Survival System“. God forbid, I would ever have to use it to defend myself and my family and or those in my community unable to do so under those circumstances.
It is better to have and not need, than need and not have.
Personal Note; I hope “you” the readers have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed building the PASS, and writing this article. If your buying an AR or own one, I hope I have given you some ideas on how to build yours.
It all comes down to Personal Preference.
Plesae direct any reviews or comments to POST #1466—ARTICLE…………It’s Done Thank You.