The greatest thing about SOCOMs PSR program is that it has taken the civilian tactical rifle market in a big leap to the next level. There are always little gadgets that move the market forward in little steps, but the idea of having one platform that covers shooting from 300 to 2000 yards can’t be beat.
I have 4 rifles that I compete with; strangely enough they are all made by different manufactures. Naturally each is outfitted with a Nightforce scope and Spuhr mount as I am a huge fan of these. Each has a different feel, trigger, stock, balance, etc . that I have to “get used to” each time I switch rifles. The idea of one rifle that does the work of three of mine, with no change in the “feel” is a concept I wholeheartedly support.
The MC (multi-caliber) concept, I feel is the way of the future. You buy one base rifle. It has a good chassis, you mount all the optic you can afford on it, the best bipod, and have any additional modifications you desire done to this one rifle and now you’re done. Nothing changes but the barrel and caliber. Consistency is the key to accuracy and consistently shooting just one rifle certainly supports that. This system fits the saying “Beware the man that owns only one gun, as he will know how to use it.”
When Mile High Shooting and Vickers Tactical came down to Gunsite to film the AI PSR segment I got my first look at the system. The idea of being able to change barrels and achieve repeatable sight settings was farfetched to me. I was used to seeing zero shift when a screw came loose on my scope mount and you are saying you can take the barrel off and put it back on with no shift? Right. Well Randy Pennington handed me a target they had shot all four calibers (260 Rem, .308 Win, 300 WM and 338 Lapua) on at a 100 yards and told me that this was what they got each time they did it. At that point I started to see the light. The rest of the week all we did as we switched barrels was dial the offset on the scope and the bullets went where we told them to.
I fielded many questions from both staff and students during the filming of the system. The favorite was “Why would anybody want or need this system”? Well as I already said consistency was number one, only having to buy one scope, one suppressor, etc was covered. But the thing that most guys understood was cost of training and range limitations. You could train with the “barrel friendly” cartridges like the .308 and save the costly super calibers for only when needed. Also, many ranges don’t allow the big calibers to shoot there or hit their steel targets. You can tone the power and yet train with the same rifle.
How accurate was the system? Well we shot the .260 Rem and it performed up to and above that caliber's reputation. The .338 Lapua was slaying targets out to that caliber's limit, but the .308 Win was a different matter. The plan was to shoot the .308 out to 700 yards and then take the .338 out from that point. As we zeroed and worked data up for the particular bullets we were using, it showed a degree of accuracy that was….well…unnerving. At 300 yards it clover leafed the 3 round group Larry fired. On the steel from 400 to 700 it packed the bullets on top of each other. People present who understood what both normal and exceptional accuracy was were just as quiet as I was about it. One got the feeling that there was something “unnatural” about it, as though a deal had been cut with Satan to deliver this degree of performance out of an “off the shelf” rifle. It was as if that PSR crate had been pulled out of the secret warehouse on the “Indiana Jones” movie…and that was where it was going back to after the filming.
The AI PSR system is no longer available, but the MC system has changed over to the AX-MC which is available in long action which supports the .338, 300 WM and the .308 Win and short action version that comes in .308 Win and currently gives the shooter the selection of .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor and .260 Rem. When I advise students on what rifle to buy, this is the first I recommend as I feel this is what we will see more of in the future. On a side note, this system may also help with those who have trouble with an “auditor” (AKA Wife) who is constantly checking on the number of guns you have. This system allows that number to go down and extra barrels are much easier to hide than a complete rifle.
Anyone who is looking to have a wide range of calibers and capabilities in their shooting world should look hard at the AX MC selection of rifles. In the end it will improve your shooting and save you money. All for one and one for all really says what I’m trying to get across.
- Walt Wilkinson
Sgt Major, Retired, US Army; World Champion .50 Cal Shooter; Gunsite Academy Instructor