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Partnerships. Like any relationship, they can run the spectrum from downright awful to great. The best ones create something known as synergy, when the final outcome results in something that, when taken as a whole, produces an enhanced effect that is greater than what the sum total of the individuals would be.

Synergy was the operative factor that contributed to a recently built AR-15, a one-of-a-kind gun with a standout visual appearance, as well as second-to-none componentry. What makes this gun unique is how it went from inception to completion. The idea was to build the rifle using parts made by Idaho manufacturers, many known internationally for their fine craftsmanship. Idaho is nicknamed “The Gem State” because of its natural resources and scenic areas. Its mountains contain veins of gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper and more; its quarries produce precious stones such as jasper, opal and topaz. Among all this wealth of gems and minerals, one gem stands alone as a rare thing of beauty and strength: the star garnet, Idaho’s state gem. Like the star garnet, the star of this spotlight is truly a rare and unique creation.

In today’s gun market, there are many variations of the AR-15, but they often look very similar. So, when the team at MCM Firearms in Nampa, Idaho, came up with the idea of a unique build, they decided to engage and showcase other Idaho-based companies—companies that share the same pride in quality craftsmanship that is a hallmark of every product MCM puts out. Professional relationships having already been forged with these companies, so obtaining their buy-in on a project like this was an easy sell. Work soon began towards the build of what the editors of Tactical Weapons magazine affectionately call the “Idaho Liberty Belle Rifle.”

Crystallizing

Because weight is a perennial concern when building a rifle like the AR-15, on this build the team at MCM Firearms started with the 2A Armament BALIOS-Lite billet upper and lower receivers. Features include a flared magazine well and an integrated and lightened triggerguard. They also used the T3 titanium compensator and titanium gas block from 2A Armament. The titanium gas block is 40-percent lighter than standard steel gas blocks. The 16.1-inch-long ODIN Works Ultra-lite barrel is chambered in .223 Wylde with 1-in-8-inch-twist button rifling. The barrel is made from 416R stainless steel, and it’s slim and lightweight at 1.41 pounds. Covering the mid-length gas system is a 12.5-inch KMod free-floating forend. ODIN Works also provided the XMR (extended magazine release) and CMC flat, 3.5-pound trigger.

To be able to showcase this project—with everything it stands for and everyone involved—was a rare honor for the team at Mcm Firearms.

The rifle features an enhanced buffer tube from Primary Weapons Systems (PWS). This tube has quick-detach (QD) attachments machined directly into the aluminum, which maximizes durability and minimizes weight. The rifle also features an enhanced bolt catch from Seekins Precision, which makes it easier to manipulate the bolt.  For smoother operation, the Bravo Company Manufacturing (a Wisconsin company, but we had to go with the best in the business for that part) Gunfighter Mod 4 charging handle was used for this build. The ambidextrous safety selector comes from CMMG (a top-notch company out of Missouri). To keep a clean look, the team at MCM Firearms chose a Magpul MOE carbine stock and as well as an MOE grip.

When the time came to select optics, Gemtech supplied the 1.25-4x20mm VX-R Patrol scope from Leupold. The scope features the FireDot special-purpose reticle. A 30mm cantilever mount with a 2-inch offset from Vortex allows for correct eye relief and head placement on the AR-15 platform. To quiet things down, the rifle can be equipped with the TREK-T suppressor, again from Gemtech. The TREK-T is made of titanium, weighs in at 10.3 ounces and has a sound reduction of 29 decibels.

At this point the rifle was clearly an exclusive build. The last step was to design and apply a custom Cerakote job. To give the rifle the appearance of a timeworn document, Kryptek’s Nomad pattern was the obvious choice for the buttstock and suppressor. The goal was twofold: to pay tribute to some key historical figures who had established the freedoms of this country, and to feature some lasting patriotic images. Thus, the receivers feature Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die,” an image of the Liberty Bell, Paul Revere on horseback and the Culpeper Minutemen banner. The forend bears the insignias “1776” and “Liberty or Death,” and the Magpul PMAG showcases the signatures of John Hancock, Ben Franklin and John Adams from the Declaration of Independence. Finally, as a memorial to the gun’s home state, the year Idaho was admitted to the Union as the 43rd state—1890—is Cerakoted onto the back of the charging handle.

To The STATE Capitol

Job done. Well, not quite. Team MCM wanted to capture, through the camera lens, the spirit of this exclusive gun. It was the consensus that Idaho’s State Capitol Building in Boise offered the best backdrop, in keeping with the themes of patriotism and where the rifle was built. But, in order to accomplish this, the team soon realized that they would have to gain the cooperation of several layers of law enforcement. Their first contact proved to be the lynchpin; the Idaho State Police (ISP) came through to coordinate capitol grounds security personnel and Boise Police Department officers in obtaining approval and security to schedule a photo shoot on the steps of Idaho’s State Capitol Building. The “all clear” assured there would be no SWAT teams dropping out of the sky into the middle of the photo shoot! To the contrary, literally everyone involved in making the photo shoot safe and legal had the same reaction to the project: “What an awesome idea!”

From the steps of the capitol, the MCM team had double the fun: posing the gun for the photo shoot and acknowledging passing motorists who honked and waved their approval in the capital city of this open-carry state.

Now it was time to test the rifle. It was a typical winter’s day in Idaho with rain and snow, 30-degree temperatures and a 10-mph breeze. Team MCM tested the rifle with Black Hills’ 77-grain Open-Tip Match ammunition, and the results exceeded all expectations.

The Idaho Rifle has been well received by the firearms community. Recently, ODIN Works displayed it as a featured gun in its booth at a 2015 gun show in Las Vegas, where it garnered a fair amount of attention. Now privately owned by MCM Firearms, it’s on display at the company’s headquarters in Nampa, Idaho. All companies involved with the build have access to the rifle for social media and marketing purposes.

This project reinforces why living in Idaho is such a privilege. To be able to showcase this project—with everything it stands for and everyone involved—was a rare honor for the team at MCM Firearms. We stand proudly beside our other Idaho-based partners as we present the AR-platform Idaho Rifle.

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