Consumers have many choices when it comes to buying an AR-platform rifle. The AR is, hands down, the most popular rifle in America today. It is undoubtedly the most accessorized, with aftermarket parts installed after the initial purchase of a rifle configured by the maker. Rock River Arms (RRA), however, is one of the few large-scale manufacturers that builds rifles from individual customer orders, as well as rifles made to stock specifications and sold to distributors. The result is a rifle that meets a buyer’s unique preferences because buyers can select the features they want from a very broad array of options and substitutions. Options include chrome-plated bolt carriers and triggers, different stocks and barrels, ambidextrous safeties and charging handles, enhanced grips and more. Though custom-made rifles take about 90 days to build, many customers prefer this to buying a stock gun and later upgrading it with aftermarket parts or sending it back for customization. “Built to fit” can also save you money compared to aftermarket add-ons, and you get an OEM-installed part with a factory warranty.
Hunter In Hiding
The Rock River Arms LAR-15 Hunter is a carbine-sized, AR-15-style rifle chambered in 5.56mm NATO, and its most distinctive feature is a new anodized finish called Ehide camouflage, which matches the actual hides from either a coyote (“WYL-Ehide” camo) or a wild boar (“PRK-Ehide” camo). Ehide finishes are exact copies of photos of the hides of these two animals, but the finish is applied using hardcoat anodizing instead of film dip, paint-on appliqué or spray-on technology. Hardcoat anodizing is far more durable than those other finishes. RRA explains that any high-resolution photo can be used to create a custom anodized finish. Ehide finishing is done by an outside firm that uses a proprietary process. Though RRA does not plan to offer this service on customer-supplied photos, I imagine some shooters would pay the additional cost of at least $420 (the approximate upcharge on an RRA rifle for the Ehide finish) to get their pattern applied.
The Ehide finish is applied to all aluminum parts of the LAR-15 Hunter: the upper and lower receivers, the charging handle body, the triggerguard and the handguard. It does look like a low-resolution photo of real coyote fur. On my test sample, the pattern and color on the handguard and upper and lower receivers do not match or blend together. However, the only disruptions in the pattern on a particular part were at the transition point on the handguard between the oval section and the quad-rail. Otherwise, the pattern was neatly applied without smudges or overlapping in the photo. Steel parts, such as the controls, forward assist, receiver pins and barrel, are phosphated.