Rock River Tactical Operator 2 - Good Enough?


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Mr.Blue
January 1, 2012, 10:42 PM
I have been thinking of upgrading my M4 to either a Colt 6920 Magpul Sporter or a Daniel Defense V2. To do so, I'd have to trade in 3 guns for one.

I would use my M4 for range practice and possibly my SHTF/Civil unrest rifle.

My RRA has been very durable so far. It is not Mil-Spec, but seems to be built pretty well. The barrel is not chrome lined, but that is probably why it is so accurate. As promised by RRA, it is easily 1MOA or better. The only negative with the rifle is it's a little heavy for a carbine, at 8lbs..

For my purposes, do you think an upgrade is worth it? I like the supposed added durability of a Mil Spec weapon, but know I will lose some accuracy.

BTW, my other SHTF rifle is a Stainless Ruger Gunsite Scout fitted with a quick detach Leupold scout scope. That said, the M4 would be my first choice.

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kfgk14
January 1, 2012, 10:54 PM
I'd say get A DDM4V7 (light, modular, mid-length gas for reliability/easy on parts, etc.). They cost about $1200 shipped through dealers.
Or just rebuild the RRA (scrap everything but the lower/LPK).
Are you in the mid-west? Rockies? or on the east coast? The more important question: what's the longest viable shot you could take on your property?
Either way, you want to end up with a mil-spec rifle.
Colt 6920 is a very good buy as well.
YMMV.

RoboDuck
January 1, 2012, 10:56 PM
I don't see any problems with RRA rifles. They offer a lifetime warranty IIRC. Any rifle can suffer a stoppage due to parts failure. You might be better served in purchasing an armorers manual firing pin & retaining pin. extractor & extractor spring too, ejector & ejector spring, a sear spring and sear and gas ring set.

proven
January 1, 2012, 11:12 PM
if the m4 will be your go to weapon, i'd make sure that you can have absolute confidence in it. the colt and DD provide that for me. it's up to you to decide if that rock river does for you.

ms6852
January 2, 2012, 02:06 AM
If "SHTF" I doubt that you would notice 8lbs with all the adrenaline flowing. I would keep what I already have and am accustomed too. You are already familar with your weapons limitation. Is it really worth giving up for 1.5 lbs.

ugaarguy
January 2, 2012, 03:50 AM
Maybe just get an HPT/MPI bolt, and a lighter handguard for your RRA if you want to somewhat increase reliability, and save weight. Otherwise, use what you have for now, and save up for a BCM, LMT, or other top tier upper to put on your RRA lower.

Sergeant Sabre
January 2, 2012, 05:47 AM
Unless you're taking your rifle into harms way intentionally, your RRA will be just fine.

rskent
January 2, 2012, 07:24 AM
What is the round count on your rock river? They have a reputation for being a solid reliable rifle.
I would stock up on ammo and shoot it till it breaks before I replace anything.

wnycollector
January 2, 2012, 09:14 AM
Unless you're taking your rifle into harms way intentionally, your RRA will be just fine.

+1 on this. My RRA ATH has as many rounds through it as my mil spec BCM middy...and both of them are flawless in thousands of rounds. If SHTF, I would have zero problem grabbing the RRA since it is much more accurate.

mossy424
January 2, 2012, 01:52 PM
I have a rra entry operator 2 and it runs flawless. I have put just over 500 rounds threw it and have never had an issue. I would trust my life with it.

nathan
January 2, 2012, 02:08 PM
If it s not top tier , its not suited for the end of days scenario? Unless you are in combat the likes of Afghanistan then you need something made for that purpose. Themain thing is reliability when every squeeze of the trigger gives a bang. RRA should be fine so long as you use quality ammo and have tested it s reliability.

Waywatcher
January 2, 2012, 02:21 PM
If it is reliable and accurate in your usage, and planned usage, keep the RRA.

I feel great with my DPMS Bull 20; it fits my usage profile perfectly. I shoot from a bench 90% of the time. If something breaks I will replace it; but I have had no malfunctions of any type, and I'm up to 600 rounds. I prefer the tighter .223 chamber for my usage. I have personally had too many bad experiences with other guns malfunctioning to get rid of a perfectly functioning DPMS for something that someone else tells me is better.

What I'm getting at, is you need to decide for yourself if you feel confident in your rifle, for your use. Sites like M4carbine.net are great troves of information but it is easily forgotten there that ARs are perfectly acceptable in non-fighting roles as well.

Mr.Blue
January 3, 2012, 09:27 PM
Thanks. I guess I let AR snobs convince me that my RRA is not good enough.

Captains1911
January 3, 2012, 10:42 PM
The RRA is fine until the trigger craps out. I'd sell it for something better, but that's just me. If its just a range toy then it doesn't matter.

Sergeant Sabre
January 4, 2012, 04:48 AM
Thanks. I guess I let AR snobs convince me that my RRA is not good enough.

Lemme guess: They told you your rifle doesn't have an HPT/MPI bolt, doesn't have the M-16 bolt carrier, and is only a 1:9 twist, so it's no good, right?

Well, no, RRA doesn't individually HPT/MPI test bolts. They are batch tested. Does this result in a generally weaker bolt? There's no way to tell. There is a Department of Defense brief that says most bolts will develop cracks at 3,000 rounds, and all bolts by 6,000 rounds. Bolt failure occurs at an unpredictable time thereafter. Having a bolt that is HPT/MPI tested to make sure it's crack-free at the start would mean said bolt would likely fail at the higher end of that round count rather than the lower. Really, I would think unless you're planning on firing thousands of rounds in training and protracted firefights (like a military application), or taking a number of carbine classes totaling several thousand rounds, you'll be just fine.

RRA doesn't have the M-16, full-auto bolt carrier. It has a semi-auto bolt carrier. What does this mean? The full-auto carrier is slightly heavier, reducing carrier velocity. So? If your rifle functions reliably, this is not a concern.

Nope, your RRA doesn't have the currently in-vogue 1:7 twist. I say "big deal" to this. Your 1:9 twist will stabilize up to and including a 75gr bullet, typically. (Actually stabilization depends on bullet length, but generally bullets of a given weight are about the same length). My 1:9 RRA stabilizes 75gr. Hornady TAP OTM bullets just fine. The only bullets your 1:9 RRA won't stabilize are the 77gr Sierra Match King, 70gr. Barnes TSX, the very few 80gr match bullets, and the experimental 100gr OTM made for the military (that you can't get anyway). So what? The contemporary wisdom is for a barrier-penetrating load, and all of those are in the 50-62gr range anyway.

It's true your RRA doesn't have some of the features, like the ones above, that are ideal in AR-15 carbines. However, as I outlined above, those features won't benefit you very much. Upgrading to a carbine with the above features will cost hundreds of dollars. So, is it worth it? I don't know. Is it worth it to you?

proven
January 4, 2012, 08:11 AM
can you cite a source or provide a link to the DOD brief you mention? i hadn't heard of that.

Tirod
January 4, 2012, 09:33 AM
How many pallets of 5.56 do you have in storage right now?

Is there a guaranteed source of potable water on your property that can supply about 25 gallons daily?

Do you have an alternate power source for long term use for cooking, like a 1000 gallon propane tank on the property?

Have you done a security survey and identified all the avenues of approach, likely entry points, sectors of fire, located firing points, prepared firing aperatures, and covered what to do for the dead zones gunfire can't reach into?

SHTF is an internet fantasy when all anyone discusses is what parts in their gun might fail, shooting ammo they don't have, in an unsecured defensive position that can be easily defeated. Carbine courses are useless when what is really needed is a three year enlistment Infantry. 99% of the SHTF posters will never shoot their gun enough to need to replace their bolt, and certainly won't even have a 30 day supply of defensive munitions in the house.

And don't tell us and the BATF if you do. Need to know, right?

Kingcreek
January 4, 2012, 10:53 AM
SHTF is an internet fantasy when all anyone discusses is what parts in their gun might fail, shooting ammo they don't have, in an unsecured defensive position that can be easily defeated.
Amen, Brother Tirod.

Captains1911
January 4, 2012, 12:18 PM
I think SHTF means different things to different people. To me it means any scenario where I may have to use my firearms to protect the safety of myself and those around me. This could be anything from a home invasion to an alien invasion (that's a joke). In either situation I want the most reliable and dependable equipment I can get my hands on, RRA is not it.

P.S. how the hell do you quote in this forum?

benEzra
January 4, 2012, 06:10 PM
RRA lowers are fine, and the lower of an AR isn't a highly stressed part. It's the upper that matters. If you're concerned about it, in order of increasing cost, you could:


replace the bolt (but not the carrier) with a Bravo Company bolt (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-AR15-Bolt-Assembly-MPI-p/bcm%20bolt%20assemly%20mp.htm) ($70) and have an AR-15 armorer torque and stake your existing gas key screws using the proper fixture.


replace the bolt carrier group with a Bravo Company bolt carrier group (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-Bolt-Carrier-Group-MPI-Auto-M16-p/bcm%20bolt%20carrier%20group%20auto%20mp.htm), $140.


buy a BCM upper receiver (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-BFH-16-Mid-Length-Upper-Receiver-Group-p/bcm-urg-mid-16%20bfh.htm), $490. (Look for a 5.56x45mm chamber, chrome lined, and ideally a 1:7 twist, although unlined barrels are fine from a reliability standpoint.)


As far as the lower, just make sure the castle nut that holds the receiver extension in place is properly staked (my RRA's wasn't, but it's an easy job to do with a small punch and some patience).

If you are concerned about trigger group durability, you could pick up a spare basic milspec trigger group and just keep it in reserve, since the RRA's trigger pull is much better than milspec. Or, if you have lots of spare cash, upgrade to a Geissele SSA (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&gbv=2&q=geissele+ssa+trigger&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=6772921958475613534&sa=X&ei=ys8ET9TYAsjn0QHDy_HKCg&ved=0CCcQ8wIwAA).

One accessory that I really like is the BCM "Gunfighter" charging handle (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-GUNFIGHTER-Charging-Handle-GFH-Mod-3-p/bcm%20gfh%20mod%203%20556.htm), which makes it a lot easier to charge the rifle with the left hand. It's not necessary from a durability standpoint, but I have one on my RRA (the "Mod 3" medium version, not the huge one) and it's really handy.

Also, for a defensive rifle, look into a way to mount a light if you don't already have one. I have an inexpensive CAA rail set (http://www.botachtactical.com/caam4frsimod.html)on the front sight tower of mine, and it works fine while being much cheaper than a full rail setup:

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/uploads/1188452912/gallery_260_23_3167.jpg

how the hell do you quote in this forum?
If you have JavaScript turned on, you can insert quote tags by clicking the cartoon "speech balloon" in the message-function icons above the text box (text styles, color, link, picture, quote). If JavaScript is off, you can do it manually by typing "[ quote ] text to be quoted here [ /quote ]" except without the spaces.

chad1043
January 4, 2012, 06:25 PM
Run what you have until it breaks, then replace it with what you think you need. I would say learn the platform as much as possible. Having a "lower tier" weapon doesn't make it perform any different than a so-called "tier 1" weapon. Shoot it, clean it, shoot it some more.

JustinJ
January 4, 2012, 06:35 PM
If having "top of the line" is important to you then sell it and get a Colt. If it isn't make sure everything is properly staked and then buy a mil spec bolt and keep yours as a spare. If it doesn't have one already a heavy buffer may not be a bad investment.

Sergeant Sabre
January 5, 2012, 04:30 AM
can you cite a source or provide a link to the DOD brief you mention? i hadn't heard of that.

Here ya go, on page 44: www.dtic.mil/ndia/2006smallarms/taylor.pdf

I was a touch off with the numbers I cited.

Sergeant Sabre
January 5, 2012, 04:57 AM
SHTF is an internet fantasy when all anyone discusses is what parts in their gun might fail, shooting ammo they don't have, in an unsecured defensive position that can be easily defeated. Carbine courses are useless when what is really needed is a three year enlistment Infantry. 99% of the SHTF posters will never shoot their gun enough to need to replace their bolt, and certainly won't even have a 30 day supply of defensive munitions in the house.

You're dead wrong about the carbine courses. DEAD wrong. Military training is not the cutting-edge of CQB tactics, to say the least. There was a thread about this very issue recently on m4carbine.net. A moderator there summed things up perfectly:


From: http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=96009
The kind of training available on the market today places heavy emphasis on individual proficiency instead of team/squad/plt/company proficiency. They have a much higher degree of precision in individual coaching and performance bench-marks. They are more able and apt to change with newer TTPs. The instructors tend to come from a background with higher than average performance goals at all levels and they maintain contact with people all over the world with a variety of applications and skill requirements. They are not forced to "dumb-down" training to a perceived lowest common demoninator. They have years (if not decades) of experience in getting the highest level of performance in the shortest amount of time. They do not have to adhere to archaic range regulations published in the 385-63. They know what they are talking about and can perform tasks and standards on demand, not junior enlisted that fill in knowledge gaps with myths and fantasy. Their student base covers everyone from high level competitive shooter to SWAT members to Tier 1 operators. They see numerous different platforms and employment methods and therefore have a greater appreciation for what those changes really mean. Many instructors come from a Tier 1 or high performance background, which is rarely found in the training that is bulk-packaged and delivered to conventional units.

Students in most of these classes will shoot more in a 2-day class than most do in a year, with each and every round serving a purpose and with a lesson attached.
Above all, the instructors have to earn their pay, and the students expect to get their money's worth.

I say this being a professional instructor, former military instructor, multiple tour combat veteran, and former junior enlisted dude with more opinions than knowledge. After spending time with me (while I was still in), and seeing what lies on the other side of the coin and a little urging, many of my good friends invested their own money to attend training, and I have not yet heard any of them say that their time or money was wasted.

Now, there are some very good military schools out there, but there are very few outside Tier 1 units that get the level of individual training that a good class will provide.


The young Marine quoted below can attest perfectly to the above, and in fact does in an article he wrote for SWAT Magazine, and subsequently posted for all to read on m4carbine.net.

The full article: http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=38540
I just got back into shooting again a little more than a year ago now, and several months ago I attended a Trident Concepts Combative Carbine 1 course instructed by Jeff Gonzales. Prior to attending Jeff’s class I thought I was already extremely competent and deadly with the carbine, but I was very wrong. After completing that 3-day course I can now say with complete confidence that had I somehow been able to attend a Trident Concepts, EAG Tactical, Gunsite, or MagPul Dynamics carbine course (or similar training offered by a quality instructor) before I deployed to war back in 2003, and had been able to learn and put into practice all of the things taught in the carbine courses they offer, I would NOT have been shot in the manner in which I was on that Sunday afternoon in Iraq.

So, in short: If you want to learn how to use a carbine in a CQB environment, whether you are military, police, or civilian, go to a good carbine class

helotaxi
January 5, 2012, 06:14 AM
Saying anything with regard to combat with "complete confidence" is nothing but overconfidence.

Sergeant Sabre
January 5, 2012, 06:57 AM
You must not have read his article. It is easier, though, to come up with a pseudo-wise one-liner like that. He's exactly right that he wouldn't have been wounded in the manner he was.

helotaxi
January 5, 2012, 07:35 AM
I agree that it would have been much less likely to have occurred and might have gone down slightly differently and I understand the sentiment of his word, but I stand by initial statement. There are no certainties. Even with the best training and constant practice, stuff happens. Even if you do everything "right" it still goes wrong. Not discounting training or practice at all. Stack the odds in your favor, by all means available; but don't believe that being well trained and well practiced is worthy of "complete confidence". A very high level of confidence, yes.

Brian Williams
January 5, 2012, 07:38 AM
Here is mine, Franken rifle, it works.http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii24/perfessr/ar/_DSC8314.jpg


Will I change anything, Maybe when something breaks or wears out.
Is it what I really want, NO, the lower is fine but I would like a 16" mid-length with a free float front end and a flat top slick side upper for a red dot.

Sergeant Sabre
January 5, 2012, 07:40 AM
I see what you are saying. The author does go on to say that although he is sure he wouldn't have been wounded in the instance he was, that does not mean he would not have been wounded or killed later in the deployment.

Tirod
January 5, 2012, 10:41 AM
I'm not saying carbine courses aren't productive. But they are narrowly focused and completely lack MOST of the instruction on field tactics, defensive position layout, security operations, overwatch, route recon, and about 100 other important topics you better know if you want to employ a weapon in self defense.

Name the carbine course that teaches you how to survey a defensive position and improve it, including the dead zones.

There's been a recent discussion of Combat Training vs. Carbine Course Commandos and that general consensus was we'd take almost any recent grad from AIT over a Commando for field operations because they've been exposed to ALL the primary skills - not just two days of shooting a lot of ammo.

If all it took was a two day Carbine Commando course to qualify for combat, why do we train soldier for a minimum of three MONTHS at Ft Benning? You need more than fun weekend to make it for months on a TWO way range.

And, I didn't get issued a Colt, we used FN's. There's more than one supplier, and the M4 ain't all that.

kwelz
January 5, 2012, 11:25 AM
Lots wrong with this post Tirod.


I'm not saying carbine courses aren't productive. But they are narrowly focused and completely lack MOST of the instruction on field tactics, defensive position layout, security operations, overwatch, route recon, and about 100 other important topics you better know if you want to employ a weapon in self defense.

The things you are talking about are more for Combat than self defense

Name the carbine course that teaches you how to survey a defensive position and improve it, including the dead zones.

Most advance classes by reputable instructors will cover topics of how to use cover clear an area, etc

There's been a recent discussion of Combat Training vs. Carbine Course Commandos and that general consensus was we'd take almost any recent grad from AIT over a Commando for field operations because they've been exposed to ALL the primary skills - not just two days of shooting a lot of ammo.

If all it took was a two day Carbine Commando course to qualify for combat, why do we train soldier for a minimum of three MONTHS at Ft Benning? You need more than fun weekend to make it for months on a TWO way range.


Once again we are not talking about field operations we are talking about Self defense.

And, I didn't get issued a Colt, we used FN's. There's more than one supplier, and the M4 ain't all that.

Colt is the ONLY supplier for the M4. FN supplies M16s. And please show me any weapon that is demonstrably better than the M4 to the extent that it warrants taking it's place




ETA: I will say this. A lot of the guys I train with are military or ex military. And they will tell you that the standards currently in the service are terrible compared to private classes. Yes they learn team tactics and the like. But as far as accuracy, shooting on the move, or house clearing, the instructions you get from someone like Larry Vickers or Ken Hackathorn are far superior. And that comes strait from people who are currently in uniform.

Sergeant Sabre
January 5, 2012, 12:50 PM
There's been a recent discussion of Combat Training vs. Carbine Course Commandos and that general consensus was we'd take almost any recent grad from AIT over a Commando for field operations because they've been exposed to ALL the primary skills - not just two days of shooting a lot of ammo.

If all it took was a two day Carbine Commando course to qualify for combat, why do we train soldier for a minimum of three MONTHS at Ft Benning? You need more than fun weekend to make it for months on a TWO way range.

What "field operations" are you expecting? Outside of a military deployment, why are you expecting to spend months on a two-way range?

This conversation is about individual civilian self-defense, not military operations as part of a rifle platoon. Besides, the Marine who wrote the article I linked to got all kinds of training on the different squad formations, construction of defensive positions, how to put up his two-man tent, how to dig a hole to crap in, and all kinds of other military team-oriented field craft. He's paralyzed now, and that's directly related to his lack of training in proper tactics with regard to reloading his M-16 and how to take advantage of his body armor.

Don't get me wrong here, I think everybody should enlist. It's a valuable experience, and I received a lot of very valuable training in the Marine Corps. I'm not deluded into thinking that the weapons-handling training I received included any of the cutting-edge, combat-proven tactics taught by reputable carbine courses.

Heck, when we had our day of CQB training they taught us to always keep your rifle on the side away from any wall you are next to (meaning if you are right-handed, but are going along a wall that is on your right side, you switch the rifle to your left side to keep the wall / body / weapon concept) and then, if a threat emerged in front of you, quickly switch back to your right side to engage because you can shoot better with your dominant side (WHAT?!?!). We were still taught to retain empty magazines on every reload. Seriously? The Marine who authored the article I linked to before mentions the retention-reload, and estimated his reloads, including the one he was performing when he was shot and paralyzed, took about eight seconds. Eight seconds to reload your rifle under fire?

What kind of training is that? It's the kind of training you get when you have to push 100 guys through the course, teach so that the dumbest one among them can understand, and you have you finish your training in a big hurry so they can move on to the next training topic. It's inferior to the training you will get when you spend your money to attend a course taught by a very highly-trained and well-respected instructor who only has 30 pupils, all of whom have a dedicated interest in being there and absorbing as much as they can, and already have at least some background in the subject matter. In terms of squad formations, defensive positions, and team-tactics in a war zone, yes the military guy will be better. In terms of individual weapons-handling skills, CQB tactics, and combat marksmanship, the "carbine-course commando" is light years ahead of the basic infantryman.

chad1043
January 5, 2012, 12:52 PM
Hey guys, don't thread jack the OP's Post. Lets move it back to the main question.

Sergeant Sabre
January 5, 2012, 01:08 PM
Sorry. Your RRA rifle will do just fine.

JustinJ
January 5, 2012, 01:29 PM
Quote:
can you cite a source or provide a link to the DOD brief you mention? i hadn't heard of that.

Here ya go, on page 44: www.dtic.mil/ndia/2006smallarms/taylor.pdf

I was a touch off with the numbers I cited.

The link indicates a "harsh firing schedules" will show initial cracking at 3,000 to 6,000. I would say that for semi auto rifles it woudl be almost impossible to provide what is considered "harsh" for a true M4. For milder shooting schedules it says cracks will initially show at 6,000 to 10,000 rounds which may propagate and result in failure or the bolt may remain operational for thousands of additional rounds.

None of this is very relevant though in deciding if one should enusre their bolt is HPT/MPI tested. Said testing simply ensures the bolt you have did not arrive from the factory defective. If defective the bolt could fail at any time or it could run for thousands of rounds.

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