As the economy continues to flounder, money available for guns and other things is tight. The overall cost these days of a quality rifle certainly does not help. For many, purchasing a quality rifle is a one-time event, with possible upgrades over time. This means that versatility is key. Having the ability to purchase one rifle that suits many needs is a big bonus. And this is one of the reasons the AR platform has become popular among hunters. Several upper receivers can be fitted to one lower to meet various needs. You can adapt one 5.56mm lower with a number of uppers to tackle most small- to medium-sized game. The 5.56mm platform can be adapted for longer and more precise barrels, optics and other needs for practical hunting. For an officer or tactical operator, you can simply remove your “working” upper, install the hunting upper and enjoy the wild outdoors.
The same is certainly true for the .308 or larger-caliber weapons, but to a far lesser extent. There is certainly a variety of barrel lengths in .308, and even a few different caliber choices, but they pale in comparison to the 5.56mm options. Part of it is the simple task of making the larger calibers work. It has just proven a bit more difficult with all but a few calibers on the bigger rifles. Even barrel changes can create issues, so you are generally limited to a few choices.
What would be really nice is the ability to have at least part of both worlds. The ability to mount a 5.56mm upper on a .308 lower would be huge. It means one lower for pretty much all your needs. This is not a new concept, as the military has been clamoring for something like this for years. Several are in the works, but few have proven to operate reliably outside the lab, and even fewer have seen the light of day for a civilian. Many are restricted to military contracts and or testing. Things seem to have changed, however, with the new Colt LE901-16S.
Big Game Colt LE901
The LE designation is a bit deceiving. It simply means it is built to the law enforcement standards, but the rifle is in no way restricted to the LE community. In fact, there is a camo version in the works. The rifle is really marketed and geared towards the hunting market. It is most certainly capable of fulfilling any LE need for a big-caliber patrol rifle, but it is just as well suited in the backcountry on a hunt. Its use of the .308 caliber means it is capable of a much wider range of game, and its ability to accept 5.56mm uppers means all the smaller game is covered as well. It’s a solid choice for someone looking to start using an AR-platform rifle for hunting.