15 Feb

>Barrett REC 7 5.56 First Report, Setting Up for Night Vision Texas Pigs

Steven K. Ledin,


Got friend Mark a Barrett REC 7 in 5.56 a couple days ago. Since the choice was up to me and I know Mark’s tastes, I knew he wouldn’t be happy with average, or even a very good product. For various reasons I picked up a REC 7. There isn’t really an upgrade from this piston system of proven quality and robustness. My thanks to my home shop, GAT Guns for always taking care of me.
Got the gun home and played with it. For well over two grand I certainly expected a better trigger, less play between upper and lower, and no scratches. I don’t baby my guns, and I don’t really mind scratches, but I should put them there, not the manufacturer. I have better triggers on AKs and other military guns. It absolutely sucked. Not to say it wasn’t totally reliable, but it was long and scratchy and creepy and had several stages. The upper and lower were sloppy as you have seen, the area directly behind the trigger was scratched, but the real kicker was the recoil buffer. It was faulty and so noisy you couldn’t raise or lower the muzzle of the gun without it sounding like a test tube half full of bbs. Ridiculous for a battle rifle. You couldn’t sneak up on a dead dog with this thing. I may as well tie bells on my laces. A call to Barrett resulted in a few nice people wanting to give me an RMA to send it back so they could sent a replacement. Horse hockey. I even had it in my hand and let them hear it through the phone. It sounded like a freaking maraca. With this kind of proof, and the money I spent, they should have sent out one of these inexpensive parts without question, especially since I explained to them that I’ve sold tens of thousands of guns, and many hundreds of black guns, was not hallucinating, and as this hunt kind of fell in our laps, I needed to shoot the gun ASAP so I could sight in and ship it to Texas. As it was, I needed to get the Barrett rep involved, who happens to be a friend. Thanks, Scott. The new buffer should be overnighted and I’ll get it tomorrow. I don’t expect he or Barrett will particularly like this review, but I call them as I see them.
Disclaimer: I know the gun was not designed with my uses in mind, and I should not try to turn it into something it’s not, but that’s the reason people buy a lot of guns.

I replaced the crappy trigger group with a Chip McCormick. Superb product and worth the price of admission. Easily done. While I was working on the gun, I also replaced the left side sling loop with an ambidextrous QD push button sling mount from TROY. Great products, and I wanted it because Mark is a mutant (Southpaw), and he’ll carry the gun from the other side. I’ll also install push button swivels on port and starboard side for quick transition for normal people. I also cut down an Accuwedge copy by Leapers so it fit cleanly in the lower behind the safety bar, which took care of the sloppy upper and lower halves. Since there’s not a lot of room for fingers on the charging handle when night vision is being used, I installed a cool and functional BCM Gunfighter extended charging handle.
The gun is built extremely well besides the aforementioned exceptions. The Daniel Defense free-float Omega-X rails, the REC 7 piston system, the nickel-teflon coated anti-tilt bolt carrier as well as the rest of the gun seem to be held to critical tolerances. I did notice a few rough and errant pieces of metal while removing the buffer tube, but they were easily cleaned out. Gun comes with a nice soft case, and the instruction manual is well written. The two P-mags are superb. I like the Magpul winter trigger guard that takes up all extra space between the lower and the pistol grip. I really like the Magpul stock on the gun, as well as just about all Magpul products. I even have a Magpul iphone case. I’ll install a standard Hogue rubber pistol grip when I pick it up this week. All AR-type guns should have this tactile and comfortable grip instead of the junk that factory guns normally come with.
I installed an EOTech XPS3-1 at the far end of the receiver. This has front buttons, night vision capability, and the lower base than the QR EXPS with the side buttons. I would have liked the side buttons, but I didn’t have any EXPS3 models on hand, and the front buttons would not cause an issue with the rest of the optics I planned to install. I also like the -1 version that only has a single one minute dot instead of the one minute dot in the middle of the 65 MOA circle. The reason is that we will be using L-3 PVS-14s at night for pigs, and the large circle may bleed a bit too much through the night vision unit. Besides, I think it’s a much cleaner sight picture overall for this application.
I installed an EOTech G-23 3x magnifier behind the XPS3-1, and there’s plenty of room for fingers to manipulate the dials on the HWS (Holographic Weapon Sight). The G23 and FTS (Flip To Side) mount is the very best of its kind. Samson makes the mount for them, and it is superb. You can also zero the red dot internally via external adjustments in the magnifier, similar to boresighting a scope, so the red dot is in the center of your field of view. I don’t know of another magnifier that allows this. Actually, the dot does not have to be centered, but it sure seems more appropriate and usable when it is. The G-23 also comes with a 7mm spacer to be used if the EOTech HWS or other brand of red dot has a higher base, like QR bases often do. It is not widely known, but the magnifier does NOT have to line up at the same height as the optic to still work perfectly.
There’s plenty of room to install the night vision mount after instantly removing the G-23 magnifier by flipping the A.R.M.S. lever. Neither the magnifier nor the PVS-14 has an effect on your zero.
At the short indoor range I was at this morning the gun performed perfectly and was extremely ergonomic. Brass flies smartly forward. The standard flash hider works well, and the Crimson Trace MVF-515G vertical foregrip I installed helped hold the gun steady, plus gave the option of using the green laser and the light independently or separately. I also zeroed the laser.
Keep in mind the optical center when sighting in at short distance. The bore is over two inches lower, and when you go long, your bullet is still rising. Also, the laser comes out a bit on the left side of the gun, and likewise, when you take it long, the laser will still be going right. The solution is to zero the gun and optics and accessories at the distance you think you’ll be shooting it at the most, then shoot it closer and farther and know where they’ll be at those distances.
As it is now, this Barrett REC 7 is about the baddest cat in the land. I hope to get it and a few other guns out to the range this weekend to sight in at a longer distance. These will include my Freedom Arms .454 Casull and my Colt Comp II H-Bar that I will bring for the piggies. I’ll write about them in another blog, along with other minutia and accoutrements for all.

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