Rifles chambered in .308/7.62mm NATO remain favorites for operators and enthusiast alike. Devastating at close range and offering plenty of long-distance performance, the 7.62mm is also readily available. Its popularity as a hunting round makes it available anywhere in the country. Specialty 7.62mm rounds designed to expand quickly or penetrate deeply allow its use in just about any tactical environment. Rural agencies have been using the 7.62mm in var2us platforms for years.
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Pretty well proven in AR-platform rifles with longer barrels, many agencies and military operators have wanted a short-barreled version that truly works for decades. The industry has truly risen to this need, producing reliable 7.62mm AR rifles in various barrel lengths, and Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF-USA) has always been at the forefront in this arena. POF-USA built one of the first piston-driven AR rifles. While many avoided short-barreled rifles (SBRs), the company decided to focus on them. Its early 5.56mm uppers and rifles were incredibly popular. They worked and did not require a second mortgage to buy. One of my first SBR uppers for SWAT team use was made by POF-USA, and I recently got my hands on the company’s 12.5-inch-barreled P308 for some serious testing.
The company uses a tappet-style piston system in its rifles. Gas operates a piston that strikes a rod moving the bolt carrier group. Similar systems populate much of the piston AR market. With this setup, no gas travels back into the action, making for a clean-running, suppressor-ready rifle capable of high round counts without requiring much, if any, maintenance.
The P308 features upper and lower receivers machined from a billet of 7075-T6 aluminum for superior strength and light weight. The 12.5-inch, heavy-contour barrel is hand-lapped and button rifled. Made of heat-treated, hardened 4150 chrome-moly-vanadium steel, the barrel features 5R polygonal rifling with a 1-in-10-inch twist rate. This barrel is topped off with a three-port muzzle brake designed in-house to control recoil whçe providing solid accuracy.
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Surrounding the barrel and gas system is POF-USA’s monolithic, free-floating MRR (Modular Railed Receiver) handguard, also machined from a billet of aluminum. The MRR’s long top rail provides plenty of space for sights and optics, and users can add rails to the sides and bottom as needed.
The upper receiver also houses a nickel-plated steel bolt carrier with an integral gas key that is heat-treated per military specifications. The bolt is chrome plated and heat-treated.
The lower receiver includes a 4.5-pound, single-stage trigger held in place with KNS anti-walk pins as well as an ambidextrous bolt release and safety selector. The integral triggerguard is enlarged for glove use, and Magpul’s MOE pistol grip provides solid control. The anti-tilt buffer tube retains a Magul STR buttstock that can be adjusted to seven different length-of-pull positions.
The 12.5-inch-barreled P308 rifles are available with black hardcoat anodizing or an NP3 coating on the upper and lower receivers. My test rifle featured the latter. Robar introduced NP3 years ago, and it remains one of the toughest you can get. It looks great, it’s as tough as nails, and it’s self-lubricating. Finally, the P308 comes with one 20-round Magpul PMAG in a hard case.
Given the 7.62mm’s versatility, a mid-range, variable-power scope seemed the perfect fit. To test the P308, I added a rock-solid U.S. Optics SR-8C 1-8x scope with a 30mm tube. Its low-profile turrets adjust in 0.10-mil increments, and U.S. Optics’ illuminated “BC MIL” reticle is easy to use in CQB environments in 1x. The first-focal-plane reticle is accurate at any power setting, and it also has 1-mil stadia lines for easy ranging and holds.
I mounted the SR-8C in a Warne RAMP mount, which made it easy to add my Trijicon RMR for fast target acquisitions at very close range. This mount provides the perfect place for a miniature reflex sight—it’s close to the eye and works well on ARs.
My experience with short-barreled 7.62mm rifles has been spotty. A few have been flawless; others were a bit more problematic. Getting these to work with all types of ammunition is not always simple, but this kind of reliability is an absolute requirement for both police or military use. This rifle definitely fit into the flawless category. Only one other AR rifle in this caliber with a 12- to 13-inch barrel that I’ve tested in this chambering was as reliable.
I tried every type of 7.62mm round in my inventory, ranging from 125- to 175-grain, polymer-tipped, open-tipped match, FMJ and even some bonded tactical projectiles. They all ran without issue. Empty brass cases ejected with authority, and I didn’t experience a single failure to extract or eject. All of my standard magazines fit and worked, except for my X Products X-25 drum magazine. Given time to wear away a bit of the coating, it may fit just fine. Every magazine fit a bit snugly, with few of them dropping free. This is common with coated firearms, just about all of them, so time or just a ton of dry-fire magazine changes will loosen things up.
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The recoil was minimal but noticeable—something common with piston-driven rifles, especially in this chambering. Muzzle brakes help, and the one provided is excellent, but it’s a tad too loud. More critically, you feel every single shot; the concussive effect was substantial. If I were to use this rifle for duty operations, I would replace the brake with a flash suppressor. As a registered SBR, the brake is not pinned in place, allowing me to swap it out. I installed Primary Weapons Systems’ Triad flash suppressor for testing, and it worked well. Even without the brake, the rifle is loud—all 7.62mm SBRs are—but it was considerably more pleasant to shoot and would be less likely to take your partner out of the fight.
On The Move
Moving into my range’s shoothouse, I used the P308 to enter rooms and work corners. It was incredibly handy and light-weight. Even with the scope, it was well balanced. I used the U.S. Optics scope at 1x, which was pretty fast. The reticle’s glowing red dot was easy to find. For really fast target acquisitions, the RMR, with its chevron-shaped reticle, was perfect. At CQB distances, you just put it on the target and press the trigger. Moving in and out of light, the reticle is always easy to see.
Moving around the square range, my truck and other obstacles, the P308 SBR was very handy. This is probably the most useful barrel length in this chambering. The rifle worked well while I wore my vest, in and around cars, and moving around various obstacles. Any loss in velocity is meaningless at realistic distances. The P308 is easy to fit in a trunk or bag, and it can easily be concealed for covert operations.
The P308’s accuracy was pretty solid, with my best group measuring 0.9 inches using Hornady’s 155-grain TAP ammunition. Most everything seemed to group around an inch, and nothing was larger than 1.5 inches. The group testing was all done with the brake; moving to a flash or sound suppressor would probably yield slightly better accuracy. The single-stage trigger is excellent. It breaks very cleanly and is more in line with a precision rifle trigger than most. Yet it was very controllable under rapid fire and measures 4.5 pounds.
Moving to steel at longer ranges, the U.S Optics scope really shined. Its 8x magnification was more than adequate, but I kept it on 6x most of the time. The reticle’s lines are easy to see, read and subtended accurately. Using holdovers garnered from my handy smartphone, it was easy to make hits regularly out to 400 yards. The rifle didn’t kick up much dust while firing in prone, and it remained accurate. With my Atlas bipod attached, the P308 was really stable and versatile.
Patriot Ordnance Factory has added another truly reliable 7.62mm SBR to a rather small list. It worked no matter what was thrown at it. Its build quality is excellent—along the lines of many custom rifles. Its ambidextrous controls make it versatile, the forend is solid, and the trigger is excellent.The P308’s very accurate, and its overall length made it incredibly handy. If you are looking for an SBR, Patriot Ordnance Factory is a solid choice. If you are in need of a .308/7.62mm, make sure you check out the P308.
- Caliber: 7.62mm NATO
- Barrel: 12.5 inches
- OA Length: 31.5-34.75 inches
- Weight: 8.3 pounds (empty)
- Stock: Magpul STR
- Sights: None
- Action: Piston-operated semi-auto
- Finish: NP3
- Capacity: 20+1
- MSRP: $3,219
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