Wilson Combat UT-15

From tactical to whitetail! With simple furniture changes, an AR…

From tactical to whitetail! With simple furniture changes, an AR like the Wilson Combat UT-15 can be the all-around big-game rifle. Remember to check local hunting regulations in the state you’ll be hunting before you step foot in the woods!

You scrimped, saved and even dug down under the couch cushions for a few extra coins, but now that top-of-the-line AR15 is sitting in your gun safe. It looks good there doesn’t it? Being an avid shooter, you have even gone out and practiced regularly with it. If you’re really into the game, you may have taken a few defensive rifle courses to improve your skills. But now that it’s early July, when the days are long and hot, your mind starts to wander. Don’t worry, that is a condition that affects hundreds of thousands about the same time of year.

In an effort to put aside the summer’s heat, we start to dream of fall and the next hunting season. You place your new AR back in the safe and polish up that old Marlin 30-30. But wait a minute! You can still hear that AR calling out to you and the concept of setting it aside just doesn’t seem right. Take heart, the same trait that propelled the AR15 into greatness will save it once again.

The Model 1911 has been the century’s premier handgun or that the Ruger 10-22 dominates the rimfire world of shooting. These two share a common trait with the AR15. All three are the “tinker toys” of the American shooter. Like the erector set we played with as kids, these firearms can be taken apart and, with the help of additional pieces, reassembled into about any combination we desire. Scan the pages of any shooting magazine and you will see an untold number of sources for these new and improved parts and pieces. All of this is leading to one major point. Expert after expert has told us that no one rifle will do it all, but if there is one that will push that axiom, the AR 15 is it. Instead of setting it aside for part of the year, put that old .30-30 back in the safe and spend your time converting your AR for use in the field.

Tactical Roots
wilson-combat-ut-15-bThe AR platform is designed to allow you to separate the upper and lower receivers by just pulling out two pins. You can convert your rifle to several different calibers in just minutes for half the price of buying a new rifle.

The AR15 sitting next to me in the studio has to be one of the premier defensive rifles of its time—Wilson Combat’s UT-15 Urban Tactical model. Wilson Combat of Berryville, Arkansas earned their reputation building top-line Model 1911 handguns and has used those same skills to create a line of AR15 rifles second to none. The UT-15 starts life as a matched set of upper and lower receivers machined from 7075 T6 aluminum forgings. The flat-top upper is mated with a 16.25-inch, free-floated, match-grade barrel surrounded by a ventilated quad-railed hand guard. This combination is ended with Wilson Combat’s tactical muzzle brake. The JP trigger and hammer group delivers a crisp trigger pull of 3 to 3.5 pounds. Most would say that the six-position, collapsible butt stock and the NP3-coated bolt and bolt carrier would finish up the package.

But it is the quality of assembly by skilled master riflesmiths that make this a tactical rifle you can bet your life on. Each UT-15 rifle is chambered in 5.56×45 NATO matched with a 1:9-inch twist and is guaranteed to have a 1-MOA accuracy at 100 yards. The rifle sitting here has been fitted with Wilson’s folding front and rear sights, a vertical grip, removable sling swivels and a Pelican light with a Daniel Defense mount. In every sense of the word, it is a hard-use tactical rifle. But can I hunt with it?

wilson-combat-ut-15-cThe AR-15 is as much fun as the erector sets we played with as kids. Pull two pins and switch upper receivers to match your firearm to your need.

The 5.56×45 and its civilian counterpart, the .223 Remington, have proven their accuracy potential and are noted to be deadly on varmints of all sizes. Add a good scope to the mix and I would take this rifle out to the fields after any target from groundhogs to coyotes. In fact its light weight would feel easier to carry than my heavy-barreled bolt actions. A good bipod can be added to the Picatinny rails in just seconds. This may add a little more use to your tactical carbine and varmint hunting can be entertaining. In some areas it can be considered a necessity.

However, I’m a Southern boy and when I go hunting, my aim (pun intended) is to put a whitetail deer in my sights. Some would quickly point out the size and limitations of the 5.56 cartridge and tell me to put up the AR and reach for the Marlin. I have used the .223 on a couple of deer hunts while testing a new brand of ammunition. It did the job, but the phrase we always hear when someone is trying to justify the use of this or that ammunition is, “with proper bullet placement.” Unfortunately, proper bullet placement is not always guaranteed even with a rifle capable of 1 MOA. Rather than switching rifles, I would prefer to start playing with my erector set and use an AR year round. After all, the more practice you can get with your tactical rifle the better off you will be.

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