Taking a stroll down the streets of London or Milan to find a bespoke tailor isn’t something many of us are inclined, or can afford, to do. Most of us in the U.S. are perfectly content to buy off the rack when it comes to clothes, especially the male portion of our audience. But anyone who dares tread the waters of bespoke clothing is making a unique statement.
That’s what the word “bespoke” is all about. It means to “speak for” something or someone. It’s a display of personality and individuality. Now, when it comes to firearms, more of us would be tempted to spend money on a custom weapon that is uniquely our own. That’s what Patriot Weaponry offers as it strives to meet each customer’s needs, desires and preferences when outfitting them with a custom AR rifle stamped with their own brand.
Kody Karch, the owner of Patriot Weaponry, acts much like a bespoke tailor by finding out what the customer wants, taking measurements and crafting a unique firearm for each of his customers. This boutique approach is not one that is seen very often in the industry, but Karch has found this niche appeals to his own interests in both taking care of the customer and building exemplary products. While the bespoke lifestyle isn’t inexpensive, it does offer the individual customer a way to make their own personal statement in a way that coincides with their lifestyle.
Such is the case with the Patriot Weaponry B-17 rifle, which is essentially a beefed-up AR that is currently offered in 6.5mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester and .260 Remington. This is noteworthy considering that U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) recently announced that it was looking at either the 6.5 Creedmoor or .260 Remington for use in its semi-automatic sniper rifles.
Meet The Patriot Weaponry B-17
The Patriot Weaponry B-17 rifle offers a full suite of high-end components that you won’t find on just any AR rifle. For instance, on the sample 6.5 Creedmoor rifle I received, the barrel is made of 416R steel and is wrapped in carbon fiber for increased stiffness, accuracy, lighter weight and better heat dissipation. There is not a trade-off in performance for weight, but a win-win on both sides of the equation.
To assist with additional weight savings, many parts on the B-17 are made of titanium, which is generally both stronger and lighter than steel. These parts include the buffer retainer, grip screw, magazine release, ambidextrous safety selector and takedown pivot pins. Additionally, B-17s in .260 Remington and 6.5 Creedmoor use JP Enterprises’ Variable Mass bolt carrier group while .308 rifles use JP’s titanium carriers. A lightweight bolt catch is also used to shave off more weight.
Speaking of the bolt, Patriot Weaponry utilizes JP Enterprises’ High Pressure Bolt and pin package. This particular component was designed to overcome some issues with over-pressured loads in a semi-automatic delivery system. This solution remedies problems with bad primers, ignition and extraction.
Both the upper and lower are constructed of 7075-T6 billet aluminum, and to help improve accuracy and reduce play between the two parts, custom-timed shims are employed. Other external features include a 15-inch, free-floating Midwest Industries handguard with M-LOK attachment points as well as a Griffin Armament SN-ACH charging handle and a SilencerCo Saker muzzle brake.
The rifle’s furniture includes a Luth-AR stock with adjustable length-of-pull and comb-height settings as well as an Ergo Deluxe grip with a shelf. To round out the custom package and make the most of its 1-MOA accuracy guarantee, my sample B-17 was fitted with an ATC AR Gold trigger with a trigger pull of just 2 pounds.
The B-17 has a black and gray MultiCam Cerakote finish thanks to Kodiak Koating in Shelbyville, Kentucky. This company is owned by a veteran, and Karch mentioned that he tries to work with veteran-owned companies. It’s a source of pride for him and a way to give back to the service community.
One final enhancement worth noting is the JP Silent Captured Springs system used within the buffer tube. Eliminating the metallic groan from normal buffer spring systems while the rifle is in use, this JP system has a highly polished outside finish with a centerless ground. This results in an action that is smooth and incredibly quiet.
The high-end components and the 1-MOA guarantee are all well and good in theory, but betting close to $4,200 on a firearm that is sold as a custom solution requires a bit more than theory to satisfy an aficionado. It requires proof that can only be found downrange.
Luckily, I had several brands of highly regarded 6.5 Creedmoor ammo to test the Patriot Weaponry B-17, including Federal Premium’s 130-grain Gold Medal Berger rounds as well as Hornady’s 143-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter and 140-grain ELD Match loads.
Given that the Patriot Weaponry B-17 was also outfitted with a Nightforce 5-25x56mm ATACR scope and an Atlas bipod, the weight of the entire system was just 11.4 pounds. Not bad at all. No, it’s not a svelte 7.5 pounds like an M4, but bear in mind the caliber and intended use of this rifle. Karch prides himself in producing some of the lightest AR rifles on the market.
All of the controls were ambidextrous, including the bolt catch/release, safety selector and magazine release, and the Ergo grip was extremely comfortable, making the system very ergonomic. Charging the weapon was almost effortless, and the action felt silky smooth. All of this promised excellent results even before the first shot was fired.
But now for the fun part. Without question, the B-17 is the most consistently accurate rifle I have tried thus far. With some rifles, I’ll get a great group once out of three groups, but with this rifle, I got sub-MOA groups each time. Whether it’s the barrel, the top-quality ammunition or the build quality that lets you settle in, forget about everything else and focus on shooting, it just doesn’t matter. The B-17 is a true tack driver.
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The best group of the day—just 0.33 inches—came with Hornady’s 140-grain ELD Match rounds. That load also produced the best average group size of 0.53 inches. Even so, the other loads weren’t slouches either, with average group sizes coming in at 0.8 and 0.68 inches for the Federal and Hornady ELD-X Precision Hunter rounds, respectively.
The best part of the shooting experience with the B-17 is that everything came together on the rifle so harmoniously. You can tell that the parts have been tuned and painstakingly put together to build the ultimate AR. Between the silent recoil system to the 2-pound trigger that breaks like glass, the B-17 actually feels like an extension of the shooter with its custom fit and attention paid to every detail.
The Perfect Fit
Karch mentioned that some parts like the gas system and the titanium fittings are always used to produce the best results. However, the customer still has the ability to swap out barrel lengths, sights and stocks—whatever they want to make the rifle their own.
The list of standard features on the company’s website is just a starting point for each rifle. As Karch walks the customer through the process, he goes over every component on the rifle to make sure that each one meets the customer’s needs.
When speaking to Karch, I asked him about the parts list he has on his website, and what he provides over someone just taking the list and making their own rifle from it. His immediate response: “My attention to detail.”
Karch takes the time to match the right mounts to optics, laps the rings and goes to the trouble of breaking each rifle in. Between every 20 shots, he runs bore solvent and a nylon brush through the barrel to get the best accuracy possible out of his rifles.
He said, “I don’t cut corners anywhere. I approach the process with the mind that the weakest point of any rifle can let down everything else you’ve done to it.” So, he goes the extra mile as he focuses on properly tuning the rifle and hand polishing the parts to get a perfect fit. He mentions that some people can take the same parts and put together a rifle of their own, but very few will hone in on every critical detail that affects the fit and function of the rifle as he does with each custom build.
The B-17 rifle is certainly an impressive system, and I personally have paid the extra money in the past for things that I considered the very best—whether it was a pistol or what I considered to be the best battle rifle available. Others funnel their money toward cars or different pursuits. Karch is simply providing a service that produces the ultimate shooting experience for the discriminating few.
If having your own bespoke AR is on your bucket list, then the Patriot Weaponry B-17 can accommodate your needs quite nicely, and in the end, you will have made your own statement about who you are and what you love to do.
Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Barrel: 24 inches
OA Length: 43.75 inches
Weight: 11.4 pounds (w/scope and bipod)
Stock: Luth-AR MBA-1
Sights: Nightforce ATACR
Action: Direct impingement semi-auto
Finish: MultiCam Cerakote
For more information, visit patriotweaponry.us.
This article was originally published in “Black Guns” 2018. To order a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.