A lesson that I learned a long time ago is that quality parts help make reliable weapons, but the care in fit, finish and hand craftsmanship really make the difference between a good rifle and a great rifle.
This is the second Loki Weapons Systems AR-style rifle I have tested over the past few months. One of the benefits of smaller semi-custom AR builders is their flexibility to anticipate the wants and needs of law enforcement, special operations military or the general shooting public, and Loki Weapon Systems, from Atoka, Oklahoma, is no exception. Shortly after Advanced Armament Corporation announced the release of the 300 AAC Blackout, Loki was one of the first manufacturers to bring a new 300 Blackout AR to the market. That rifle was Loki’s top-of-the-line, billet-receiver LWSF M4 Patrol Rifle. The introduction of their M4 MOE adds a forged-receiver AR-style rifle to their lineup at a price point that should please shooters.
“The typical purchaser of our M4 MOE rifles are guys who are buying their second AR-15-style rifle,” said Loki Weapon Systems. “They bought a cheap base model and started taking training classes for the carbine and realized it is time to upgrade to a more reliable rifle. They are looking for benefits and durability, for a little more. You get a lot of benefits with an M4 MOE, including accuracy, longer life and easier maintenance. Most police officers who buy Loki rifles will purchase their MOE-style rifle with a free-float modular handguard.”
The most prevalent aspect of Loki’s M4 MOE rifle is the Magpul Original Equipment (MOE) furniture and accessories. The model I tested included a Flat Dark Earth Magpul MOE collapsible stock, pistol grip, polymer handguard, MBUS rear flip sight and one PMag. Magpul’s MOE handguard is a mid-length design that accepts rail sections. You can also accessorize the Magpul MOE pistol grip to accept MIAD storage cores. This rifle’s other furniture color options include black or OD green. “We chose Magpul furniture over the standard mil-spec furniture due to the higher quality, fit, ergonomics and improved features,” Loki said. “The stock comes with a recoil pad and is much better fitting. The winter triggerguard is a nice feature over the standard mil-spec flat guard. The Magpul pistol grip offers a more ergonomic feel and better grip surface. The handguard has a more ergonomic shape better suited to today’s shooting stance.”
An A2 front sight post and mid-length gas system are standard, but the rifle I tested was upgraded with a Yankee Hill Machine (YHM) flip-up front sight. “The A2 is the standard sight, which can be upgraded to an YHM flip-up or a Picatinny rail gas block,” Loki added.
Starting at the muzzle, a 1/2-28 thread-per-inch A2 flash suppressor does its job, but that’s where the barrel starts to differ from a run-of-the-mill M4-contour style. The barrel is cut with a 1-in-8-inch twist. “We chose the 1-in-8-inch twist because it stabilizes the most common grain weight of bullets used in AR-15 platform, 55 to 75 grains,” they said.
The 16-inch barrel is nitride-treated for accuracy and longevity. “Salt bath nitriding is the process of nitrogen-bearing salts producing, through catalytic reaction, a tough, ductile compound layer with exceptional properties,” Loki said. “This compound layer has wear properties that are 200 percent to 1,000 percent greater than the original material, and greatly enhances resistance to corrosion and galling. The nitrided barrels maintain their intended accuracy while increasing the lifespan of the barrel greatly. Chrome-lined barrels have a similar lifespan as nitride-treated barrels, but they give up some accuracy with acid-etching and then adding a chrome layer that is not uniform.”
The Loki M4’s barrel is heavier than an M4 contour. “The barrel profile is designed to offer benefits over the typical M4 barrel,” they said. “The taper after the chamber is longer to provide more steel to help dissipate heat quicker while offering less whip. The profile is designed to promote less muzzle rise.”
Powering this gas impingement system is a gas block located at the mid-length position. When asked why Loki picked this setup, they said, “The mid-length gas system exerts less pressure on the bolt and gives it a longer lock-up time than a carbine gas system.”