It’s sad to say, but today’s generation of shooters knows little about Col. Townsend Whelen’s exploits. He passed away 50 years ago and his writing in the pages of Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, American Rifleman and other magazines has long since yellowed with age, but his phrase “Only accurate rifles are interesting” is timeless.
By my latest tally, approximately 95 companies now build AR-platform rifles, and I’ve had the pleasure to test and evaluate scores of these rifles. Borrowing from the great writer’s phrase: Only accurate ARs are interesting. When I got the chance to punch some paper with the latest offering from Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM), it performed to a level that might have prompted Col. Whelen to request that someone keep the loaded magazines coming.
Bravo Company is a one-stop shop for professional-grade AR-platform weapons and accessories, so company President Paul Buffoni built a pre-production Bravo Company RECCE-16 Precision carbine chock full of new BCM accessories as a showcase for this issue of Black Guns.
The most obvious change to the newest version of the Bravo Company RECCE-16 Precision is Midwest Industries’ SS Series mid-length handguard. The Generation 2 (G2) version is a slim-line rail that measures slightly more than 12 inches. This rail is very sleek, with horizontal vents that that excel at barrel heat dissipation. Its trim tube diameter also provides greater hand control. The handguard features a T-marked Picatinny top rail, and three Picatinny rail sections come with the rifle to give additional accessory mounting options.
Beneath the handguard is a 16-inch 410 stainless steel barrel. “Most of the commercial AR builders use 416 stainless steel in their barrels,” Buffoni said. “It’s much easier to machine than 410 stainless. When barrels are made from 410 stainless steel, it is much harder on tooling. The advantage of 410 is the rigidity of the barrel. They resist heat better and resist wear better. The 410 barrels have a much longer life span. This barrel’s bore is hand-lapped, as well as the chamber. Since they’re button-rifled, we go back in there and hand-lap the barrel. If you run a bore scope down that bore, it will look like jewelry.”
Buffoni shared that he selected a 1-in-8-inch twist rate to offer a wider range of ammunition compatibility. This twist rate works well with bullets weighing 55 to 80 grains. As you might guess, the chamber is reamed to 5.56mm NATO specifications. The barrel extension has an M4 feed ramp, which extends into the M4 feed ramps milled into the upper receiver. Tipping the muzzle is a standard mil-spec A2 flash suppressor.
Normally, the Bravo Company RECCE-16 Precision is shipped with a mil-spec semi-auto fire control group, but Buffoni elected to upgrade to another trigger group sold by Bravo Company. This rifle came with a Geissele Super Single Action (SSA) Enhanced fire control group. As expected, the Geissele trigger was silky smooth on the take-up and broke like a glass rod at precisely 4.5 pounds every time. A Magpul MOE enhanced triggerguard provided a little more trigger finger room, which is a plus when shooting with gloves.