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Rifles Semi Auto

Bravo Company The Jack Review

by Peter G. Kokalis   |  February 28th, 2013 0


Travis Haley is well known and highly regarded in small arms training circles. He’s a veteran of the Marine Corps’ Force Recon with 15 years’ experience in the USMC, including combat tours in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. After leaving the military, Haley served as a special operations and security contractor before he partnered with Magpul Industries as founder and CEO of their training division, Magpul Dynamics.

He also served as CEO of the parent company before leaving to form Haley Strategic Partners, essentially a small arms training operation. Most recently he has worked with Bravo Company USA to develop The Jack, an M4-type carbine that reflects Haley’s years of experience and his convictions concerning the M4 concept itself. Firearms News was recently sent a specimen of the Jack for test and evaluation.

Operating by means of direct gas impingement, exactly as Stoner’s original AR-15/M16 series, the Jack sent to FAN was equipped with a Green Mountain SBR (Short Barrel Rifle) barrel with a length of 14.5 inches (368.3mm), which would normally mean the rifle was subject to NFA (National Firearms Act of 1934) regulations. However, a BCM Compensator Mod 1—5.56 was permanently installed by pinning and welding to bring the barrel length to more than 16 inches.

Designed for tactical applications to reduce muzzle jump, the flash signature and lateral pressure, it has tuned slots and an interior cone design to affect those parameters. Made of stainless steel, it has a pre-drilled hole at the base for permanent installation. This dual action brake minimizes side pressure, making it ideal for law enforcement CQB teams. The six-groove bore has a 1:7 right-hand twist, and both the chamber and bore are chrome-lined. Green Mountain barrels are made from high-grade 41V50 MilSpec vanadium/molybdenum alloy steel, button rifled and thermo-stress relieved and highly regarded for their accuracy potential.

The Jack is supplied with a selective-fire, full auto-type BCM bolt carrier group. The BATFE has ruled that this is simply a machine gun part that is not regulated and it is not unlawful to utilize an M16 bolt in a semi-automatic-only AR-15-type rifle.

The carrier has a phosphate exterior surface and chrome-lined interior. Machined to MilSpec, this M16/M4 carrier is equipped with a proper MilSpec chrome-lined, heat-treated gas key, which is secured to the carrier body with Grade 8 fasteners and correctly staked in place.

The bolt is machined from MilSpec Carpenter No. 158 steel, shot peened for increased strength with tool steel machined extractor and ejector, BCM extractor spring and is High Pressure Tested (HPT) and Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI).

The weight, empty, is 6.7 pounds (3.04kg). The overall length with the B5 Systems SOPMOD Bravo stock fully extended is 35.5 inches (901.7mm). When completely collapsed, the length drops to 32 inches (812.8mm). The Jack came equipped with a SOPMOD Bravo buttstock by B5 Systems. A longtime defense contractor, in 2009 it was selected as the U.S. Army supplier of the SOPMOD buttstock—originally developed by NSWC-Crane—for the M4A1 carbine. This particular model of the SOPMOD features sloped sides for an improved cheek weld, and a thick synthetic rubber buttpad, but without any battery storage compartments. The B5 SOPMOD buttstock is available in Black, Coyote Brown, Flat Dark Earth, Foliage Green, and MultiCam.

In between the B5 Systems SOPMOD Bravo buttstock and the aft end of the receiver has been installed a Damage Industries Receiver End Plate, QD, which is precision machined from 6061 T6 aluminum alloy with a Mill-A-8625 Type III hardcoat anodized finish.

Complementing this is the BCM Gun Fighter’s Grip (GFG) Mod 1, manufactured from impact-resistant polymer, and which features a reduced angle for improved human engineering and a hinged trapdoor with a water resistant rubber gasket for the storage of small parts, batteries or cleaning gear. Each BCM pistol grip includes both an extended modular insert to close the gap between the trigger guard and grip, and a smooth modular insert for use with rifles with larger built-in trigger guards.

Standard also is a Geissele Black 13-inch Super Modular MKI Rail. This free-float handguard system comes with a full-length 17-inch MIL-STD-1913 rail interface at 12 o’clock, two 2-inch MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail interfaces one at 3 and the other at 6 o’clock, both located forward and a 4-inch MIL-STD-1913 rail at 6 o’clock. We attached the Inforce 125-lumen WML on the 3 o’clock rail interface.

The rifle’s controls are conventional for a semi-automatic-only AR-15. On the lower receiver’s left side are the vertically mounted bolt hold-open release lever and the selector lever, which in the 12 o’clock position is SEMI and when rotated to 9 o’clock provides SAFE. The selector lever can be rotated only when the action is cocked. The magazine catch/release button is on the right side of the lower receiver. These controls are not ambidextrous.

The almost-never-used bolt-assist is located as usual on the right side of the upper receiver to the rear of the ejection port and the M16A2-type empty case deflector. The magazine well is beveled, and the polymer trigger guard can be removed by removing its two retaining roll pins if desired.

The Jack is furnished with a BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle, which was designed to direct the force off of the roll pin and into the body of the charging handle during support-hand-only manipulations. This new design has a built-in backstop engineered into the extended latch and into the charging handle.

As the latch is opened up, its travel is limited by these flat surface backstops. With this travel-limiting feature, the stress is taken off the roll pin and redirected into the entire body of the charging handle.

The BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle provides two significant advantages. First, since the tiny roll pin is no longer the weak point, it’s a much stronger system and the tactical latch will stay intact even under repeated support-side-only manipulation. Secondly, with the force kept inside the body of the handle, when the handle is pulled directly to the rear, it actually moves directly to the rear and doesn’t angle off to the outboard side, resulting in a much smoother operation.

The Jack comes with a distinctive and quite attractive gray Cerakote Finish. Cerakote Ceramic firearms coatings are durable, corrosion-resistant and provide unparalleled levels of hardness and adhesion with substantial resistance to most solvents and chemicals.

The foundation for Cerakote C-Series coatings is a unique ceramic technology that imparts both flexibility and excellent wear resistance to the final coating. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the rifle, complete with BUIS front and rear, Inforce 125-lumen WML, one BCM 30-round magazine, a reprint of the M16/M16A1 Operator’s Manual, trigger lock, a $200 discount certificate at a Haley Strategic class, and Travis Haley Adaptive Carbine DVD, is $2,195.

An ALG Defense ACT trigger is standard on the Jack carbine. ALG Defense is a division of Geissele Automatics LLC.

The pull of the ACT trigger is very similar to a standard MilSpec trigger, however it’s sharper and the grittiness of a stock trigger has been removed, while the traditional reliability of a stock trigger remains.

This is accomplished by polishing the sear surfaces smooth and HardLubing the trigger components. “HardLubing” is ALG’s term for electroless nickel-plating with an integral modifier to the base nickel surface. Boron or Teflon is used to enhance surface hardness, wear resistance and corrosion resistance and also to create favorable tribological properties of the trigger components.

Trigger and hammer are made from true 8620-alloy steel military specification castings, correctly carburized, quenched and tempered for high surface hardness. All of the trigger springs are corrosion resistant and meet MilSpec. A full force hammer spring is used for positive ignition of all ammunition primer types.

Trigger and hammer pins are improved over stock mild steel by using 4140 chrome-moly steel that has been quenched and tempered. The pull weight is usually not lower than the M4/M16 minimum weight specification of 5.5 pounds, although on our test specimen it was only 4.25 pounds. The quality is exactly what you can expect from Bill Geissele, who makes the best AR trigger systems on the planet.

Troy Industries made the Back Up Iron Sights (BUIS) on the Jack for BCM. The rear sight’s dual peep, same plane aperture permits perfect co-witness of both red dot and holographic sights. The fully adjustable windage knob is located on the right side in the same position as those of the M16A2, A3 and A4 rifles. Each click equals .25 mos M16A4 rifle) and .33 moa M4 carbine) shift in impact.

The sight is easily installed and deployed by simply pulling up without any levers, buttons or springs. In the up position, a stainless steel cross-lock provides 1,000 pounds of shear strength. The rear sight works in conjunction with all standard height front sights. The cross-lock guarantees return-to-zero and eliminates all wobble and the possibility of accidental folding.

A spring-loaded release button is depressed to fold the sight rearward and an internal ratcheting wedge retains the sight in the folded position. Its low profile, snag-resistant design protects Level A&B gear from damage and can be decontaminated. The sight is precision machined from both an aircraft-grade T6 aluminum alloy billet and stainless steel components and finished with both MilSpec black hard coat anodizing (Teflon impregnated) and black oxide stainless steel finish. The front sight, made to the same specifications as the rear sight, has an M16A2-type square post, fully adjustable for elevation zero, with protective ears.

Unusual for an AR-15-type rifle, the Jack comes complete with an Inforce WML (Weapon Mounted Light) and the unique Haley Strategic Thorntail Offset Adaptive Light Mount built by Impact Weapons Components. This version of the Inforce WML has a momentary-activation-only feature for those who prefer the single-mode function of a more traditional type switch.

This light produces 125 lumens of white light with a tight beam for close- to mid-range contacts and a balanced peripheral light for discernment of the surrounding area. Its angled activation button is comfortable to operate without interference of wires or tape switches with a virtually indestructible LED.

The flashlight’s body is made of ultra-light and durable fiber composite. Its patented venting system reduces heat for superior LED performance. Waterproof to 66 feet, O-rings seal the light to protect it under extreme conditions. Its integrated patent-pending rail clamping system is compact, convenient and quite secure. The run time is two hours using one lithium 123A battery. There are two lockout systems: a safety lever and twist head. With a length of only 4.1 inches, the weight is just 3 ounces.

The Inforce WML can be attached to the rifle with the Haley Strategic Thorntail Offset Adaptive Light Mount, which provides eight different mounting positions and four additional fore and aft adjustments on a quad rail handguard system. It can be used to position the WML up to several inches beyond the front end of the handguard, permitting the operator to place the support hand farther forward on the rifle in the manner used by those adopting the so-called isosceles shooting grip now so popular.

The Thorntail system features a 45-degree offset that places the bezel of the WML in a position that reduces “barrel shadowing” during critical low light environments. Weighing less than an ounce, this light mount attaches to any MIL-STD-1913 rail interface and can also be used for 45-degree offset mounting of BUIS as well.

The 30-round magazine included with the Jack was made by D&H Industries (formerly known as Labelle) and the bodies have a black Teflon finish on both the interior and exterior. They are equipped with Magpul enhanced polymer followers. The floorplate is stamped with the BCM logo. The right side of the magazine body is stamped with the contractors’ government CAGE code and the left side carries the date of manufacture.

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