Ares SCR Review

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Andrew Wyatt

Dec 25, 2002
Bakersfield, California
First, a bit of backstory. I've owned 2 mini-14s, one 180 series and one 185 series. The 180 series shot itself apart after about 200 rounds, and both rifles were 4" guns with good ammo on a good day.

Seeing as i live in california, mini-14s were pretty much it for .223 rifles that were semi and had detachable magazines untill pretty recently, when the ARES SCR came out.

TFB and several other places put out some good reviews on them, and the second gen guns have fixed the issue with 10 pound triggers, so i decided to get one of their monte carlo lowers to build a mini-14 replacement.

This post is about the lower, so i'll keep my comments limited to the performance of the lower and the ares bolt carrier.


1. The quality of the manufacturing is very good. The lower is finely machined, and all of the lower parts fit and function just fine.

2. Low reciprocating mass. There's no buffer, and the bolt carrier is approximately half as long as a normal ar bolt carrier. This helps with felt recoil.

3. the mag well is shallower than a regular AR. this means 10 rounders stick out enough to grab easily. To quote a famous kazakh journalist, "Verra Nice."


1.It doesn't come with a bolt hold open. The BHO/Bolt Release is sold separately for 40 dollars, and drops into a slot in the lower.
2.The BHO is only retained by a tab that interfaces with the upper. If you take the rifle apart for transport, the BHO WILL fall out of the gun. there is no positive retaining system, like a screw, or a pin, or making the BHO a permanent part of the gun. It's 2016. if we can land privately funded reuseable rocket parts on barges in the pacific, i'm sure someone can figure out how to make a BHO stay put.
3. Low reciprocating mass. Since there's no buffer and the bolt carrier is short, chambering the first round on a 10 round magazine is a bit hit and miss, especially after you've lost the BHO because its fallen out of the gun.

3A. The hammer is thin and light, because it has to travel through the recoil spring interface strut on the way to the firing pin. this is great for locktime, but may be an issue with hard primers.

3B. The cam pin track is a little tight, and this coupled with the low reciprocating mass means that in certain situations (mostly after chambering the first round on a magazine), the bolt doesn't go all the way into battery. like all guns, there's a gap between the disconnector activation and the bolt being fully in battery, and since the hammer is very light, it doesn't have enough mass to fully close the bolt AND fire off a round. This means you need to keep the gun greased and also be diligent about making sure the bolt is in battery on the first round.

4. Not left hand friendly. the complete gun lacks a brass deflector, and according to ares, you cannot flip the safety around to work the proper way.
I have no idea why they didn't just use the SKS safety. It's perfectly fine and some of them were ambi.

5. The bolt carrier is short, so you should probably consider getting an upper with a dustcover, because the carrier leaves an 1/8" open gap in the ejection port.

6. The mag well is tight, ESPECIALLY with new magazines, and there's not a lot of flare at the bottom of the mag well. It's not too much of a problem with 10 round mags, but 30s might be harder to put in.

7. Parts support for the gun is what you can get out of ares. I have no idea how good or bad that is, but it's probably not as good as the parts support for a regular AR.

Things to be aware of:

1. Due to the buttstock configuration and trigger location, an ACR is about an inch and a half longer than an AR with the same upper

2. AR scope mounts are like the rent, they're too damn high. Leupold medium rings are about perfect. (stock comb is approx. .75 inches below top of receiver)

3. There's nowhere to put a cleaning kit.

4. re-assembly is not like a regular AR. You have to pull both pins, slide the upper on about 1/8" forward of where the pins line up, then slide the upper back against the lower. replace pins. this is so the strut lines up with the recoil spring tube. if you screw up, you have a single shot.

I'll take some pics and attach them to the next post.
Honestly, even without a bolt hold open, they are an amazing alternative to the Mini-14. Lets folks in ban states use AR uppers. Want a heavy varmint rifle today, no prob. Want a light hiking rifle tomorrow, done.

Nice post.

I have a Saiga Sporter Carbine that I have left in stock condition as my "sleeper" in the event of "Assault Weapon" ban. Other than a detachable magazine it doesn't have any other "evil" parts.

Consider sending your write-up to ARES and post their response if they answer you. The gun may still be a work in progress.
Aware of some of the problems with the design as well as the company making it. Still have requested and been trying to get one in my hands for over a year. I want to see if I can fix the issues and improve the gun to the point of being a good shooter. Only reason is I shoot better with a more traditional style stock. We can own " Assault rifles" in my state.
I've contacted ARES about the issues i have described, so i'll keep you informed.

scramsax: That's weird. i made a couple calls locally and got one in my hands in 14 days.

here's a nice picture of the empty BHO slot:


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Hmm, I cant seem to find a SCR for under 1000 dollars online. If that is the true price then I see no point in getting one. I mine as well pick up a Mini 14 from my local wal-mart for 700 dollars.
Hmm, I cant seem to find a SCR for under 1000 dollars online. If that is the true price then I see no point in getting one. I mine as well pick up a Mini 14 from my local wal-mart for 700 dollars.
There's several on Gunbroker $850-$900 ... Complete lowers only are $469-$499, looks like any AR upper will fit.

I have their MCR belt fed and as described above excellent fit and finish, they got additional parts out quickly I was having a reliability issue I talked to a tech on the phone, his suggestions didn't solve my issue the CS guy had me fill out a form on their site ... After 4 days I still hadn't heard anything back. To make a short story shorter I bought an assortment of springs & borrowed buffers from other AR's and finally came up with a combination that was reliable ... and I never did hear back from the tech dept.
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