Review: Rock River Arms RRAGE 5.56mm NATO

Review: Rock River Arms RRAGE 5.56mm NATO

The new RRAGE LAR-15 carbine from Rock River Arms (RRA) is a sleek, lightweight carbine that puts to rest complaints about clunky ARs that are too heavy, have too many sharp edges, and look distressingly similar to dozens of other ARs on the market.

RRA says that it had studied every aspect of AR manufacturing and figured out how to design and make a lightweight carbine at a lower cost. At a recent industry meeting, RRA officials introduced the new rifle as an “entry carbine” with assurances that the company would not release any product unless it met their standards. But this isn’t an epigonic “price point AR,” and even though its MSRP is a very reasonable $759.99, the RRAGE can hold its own with competing rifles.

Before I get into the particulars of the RRAGE, here’s a little something about that unusual name. It’s a combination of the Rock River Arms initials and the fact that the company views the new carbine as being “all the rage.”

The RRAGE carbine has a lightweight, 16-inch, chrome-moly barrel that mikes 0.772 inch at the muzzle. The muzzle is threaded 1/2-28 and comes with an A2 flash-hider installed. The barrel’s twist rate is one turn in nine inches. The chamber is 5.56mm NATO, so it will work fine with .223 Remington ammo, too.

The monolithic receivers and handguard are made of 6061T aluminum. The upper is extruded in an A4 pattern, and while it has an ejection port door, there is no forward-assist feature. The lower is RRA’s forged LAR-15. The rifle comes with one RRA 30-round polymer magazine, and the magazine functioned perfectly during my testing. The free-floated handguard is 7.25 inches long and has a Picatinny top rail and is M-LOK compatible. The surfaces of the handguard are nice and smooth, without a lot of protruding bulges and sharp edges to gouge your hand, but there are still plenty of places to attach aftermarket goodies.

The 5.7-pound RRAGE comes with a lightweight, 16-inch, chrome-moly barrel with 1:9-inch twist; an M-LOK handguard; a 30-round magazine; and a six-position tactical carbine buttstock.

The buttstock is an RRA “tactical carbine” stock and has six positions to adjust the length of pull. With the stock fully extended, the rifle’s length is 36 inches. With the stock completely retracted, the length is 32.25 inches. Length of pull ranges from 10.25 to 14 inches. The pistol grip is an A2.

My sample’s trigger pull was heavy. On my Lyman gauge, five pulls averaged 9 pounds, 8.5 ounces. I must say the trigger break was so crisp that it felt lighter, and the rifle delivered very good accuracy despite the heavy trigger pull.

The RRAGE carbine comes in a sturdy hard plastic case and with a limited lifetime warranty.

I tested 13 different factory loads that represented a cross-section of bullet weights, from flyweight 40-grain speedsters and standard 55- and 60-grain loads to some new ammo with heavier “deer load” bullets designed to wring the most out of the little .223 Remington case. The RRAGE was an absolute delight to shoot, and overall accuracy was very good. The 13 factory loads averaged 1.15 inches. I used a Bresser TrueView König 1-4X 24mm scope with illuminated reticle set at 4X for the shooting.

As I said earlier, the RRAGE has a 1:9-inch twist, so I was delighted to see good accuracy from both light and heavy bullets. SIG SAUER’S Match load with 77-grain OTM averaged 0.91 inch, and Federal’s 62-grain Trophy Bonded Tip averaged 0.94 inch.

The RRAGE shot and handled great during my shooting sessions. In the course of shooting a lot of ammo in it, there was not a single malfunction of any kind. Instead of a heavy, bulky AR with lots of sharp edges and protruding parts, the RRAGE carbine is lightweight, sleek, and smooth.

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