In 2011, Wilson Combat sent out a press release announcing a new cartridge and a rifle to go along with it. Dubbed the 7.62×40 WT (Wilson Tactical), I saw that they had taken a 5.56mm NATO round and necked it up to take a .30-caliber projectile. The obvious advantage of this cartridge is that it can be fired from a standard AR-15-style platform without increasing its weight or size. More horsepower in the same-sized package has obvious advantages for hunters and tactically minded folks that need greater penetration and power than the 5.56mm NATO offers. Because the only real difference between the 7.62×40 WT cartridge and the 5.56mm NATO round is the size of the projectile, shooters have little to change on their rifle other than the barrel. Everything else remains the same, from the gas system to the bolt carrier to the buffer spring assembly.
Rounds can easily be formed from empty 5.56mm NATO brass. The case is shortened to 1.56 inches and then resized using a sizing die that brings the overall case length to 1.565 inches. One of the great things about this new cartridge is the tremendous availability of good quality bullets to select from. Bullets from 110 to 150 grains can be used with the 7.62×40 WT. Just for comparison, the new 7.62×40 WT offers about 10 percent more energy than the AK’s 7.62x39mm cartridge and 20 percent more than a 5.56mm round, and it feeds flawlessly through any magazine designed for an AR-15. In short, I couldn’t wait to test a Wilson Combat Recon Tactical in the new caliber.
To call the new Wilson Combat Recon Tactical rifle an AR would be accurate, but it would also be a disservice. While the Wilson Combat Recon Tactical follows the standard AR pattern and uses a gas impingement system, the gun is so well constructed, finished and assembled that it is not what most shooters, including myself, are used to in an AR-15.
Wilson Combat is a true manufacturer in every sense of the word. At their Berryville, Arkansas, plant, they actually CNC machine their own receivers from forgings. After anodizing, Wilson technicians expertly coat the receivers, as well as the barrel, handguard and flash suppressor with their black Armor-Tuff finish. The weapon possesses a sleek satin matte finish and the left side of the upper receiver is laser engraved with the 7.62×40 WT caliber designation and the Wilson Combat logo.
One of the few rifle parts that Wilson does not manufacture is the rifle’s bolt carrier assembly, which is procured from a military contractor. The bolt assembly is particle inspected and then coated with Robar’s excellent NP3 finish. The nickel/Teflon finish is self-lubricating, so cleaning is a snap and the part is corrosion resistant.
The Wilson Combat Recon Tactical uses a standard gas impingement system with a carbine-length gas tube and a low-profile gas block that the free-floating handguard covers for sleek, uncluttered lines. Wilson Combat’s TRIM (Tactical Rail Interface, Modular) handguard is worthy of mention. Machined from an aluminum extrusion, the part is hardcoat anodized and coated with Armor-Tuff. The slim handguard allows the user to put rails where they need it. The TRIM handguard’s provides a continuous Picatinny rail on top, giving the shooter plenty of room for reflex sights, optics, magnifiers, night vision, etc. There are dual, integral push-button sling-attachment points for a variety of sling options.
My test sample’s trigger breaks right at 4.25 pounds but is so crisp that it feels much lighter and there is virtually no overtravel. Wilson Combat sells the Tactical Trigger Unit (TTU), a self-contained unit, as an aftermarket accessory that drops right into most ARs. It is a non-adjustable trigger and shooters won’t need to worry about an engagement or overtravel screw backing out and presenting a potentially dangerous situation. My test sample had a single-stage trigger, but customers can also buy a two-stage trigger. Its crispness makes precision shooting with the Wilson Combat Recon Tactical a simple matter.
I chose a Trijicon 3-9X scope for my accuracy testing. I have long been a fan of the AccuPoint and normally test any evaluation rifle with one for accuracy.
After a couple sighting groups at 50 yards, I got serious and pushed three rounds through the same hole that measured less than 0.55 inches from edge to edge. Moving the target stand out to 100 yards, the 7.62×40 WT proved to be a phenomenally accurate gun. At the time of testing, Wilson only had two different rounds to send me with the Recon: the 125-grain TNT Match grade FMJ and a 125-grain PH exposed lead round designed for hunting. Combined with the top-notch components of the rifle and the Lancer magazines I was provided, it is no surprise that the Recon was 100 percent reliable.
Like all of Wilson’s firearms, the Wilson Combat Recon Tactical chambered in 7.62×40 WT is constructed with the finest components, expertly assembled and flawlessly finished. The true beauty of this weapon is its laser-like accuracy and flawless function. If you have the need for more power than the 5.56mm NATO provides but don’t want the weight and bulk of a .308 autoloader, the new cartridge and rifle from Wilson Combat are great options.
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by Dave Spaulding / May 15, 2013