P.O.F. ReVolt straight-pull 308 rifle – Suffolk Rifle
- By Pete Moore
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 26/01/2017
You’ve got to love those damn Yankees and their ‘right to keep and bear arms’. However, these days’ things are changing even across the pond with a number of states banning the ownership of certain types of firearms, with assault/battle rifles seeming to bear the brunt of this prohibition. With this in mind our hybrid straight-pulls, which perhaps seemed so risible to American shooters a few years ago are now looking more interesting. After all if ‘State A’ bans self-loaders then a manually-operated version would be acceptable.
It’s no surprise that AR15-derivitives are very popular in the US and offered by many companies. One such is Patriot Ordnance Factory (P. O.F.) based in Phoenix Arizona who produce self-loading ARs but now offer their aptly named ReVolt straight-pull. We are no strangers to this concept but listening to the P. O.F. President Frank L. Desomma explain it was interesting as in his words the ReVolt is a “bolt-gun” which perhaps to a nation of self-loading AR owners might be confusing.
The ReVolt comes in two versions the Light 223 Rem/5.56x45mm and the Heavy 308 Win/7.62x51; I have the latter on test courtesy of the UK distributors Suffolk Rifle Co (SRC). As we know primary extraction (unsticking the fired case from the chamber wall) is the Achilles heel of any hybrid mann-opp system; one of the reasons why 308 ARs of this nature can present some serious problems. Equally why most of us prefer the 223 option as a combination of the right ammo to produce lower chamber pressures and big side cocking handles does the business.
So when I first heard about the ReVolt Heavy I had flash backs to trying to cycle early hybrid AR10s, which was a bit like wrestling with a pneumatic drill! Obviously the larger calibre does exacerbate primary extraction issues but P. O.F have come up with a solution in the form of their E2 Dual Extraction technology. Plus created a new ambi operating handle!
What they have done is similar but far more subtle to what Heckler Koch did with their recoil/roller lock delay systems on the G3 and G33 7.62 and 5.56 assault rifles as they fluted the chamber. In the case of the ReVolt it’s just the neck as it shows four, slim, equidistant cuts, which allows gas to push on the shoulder and between the case and chamber walls, so literally floating it. HK’s system was very violent and hard on the brass as it offered no primary extraction at all, whereas the rotary AR bolt does. Also the head is sprung and the cam follower pin is a roller, which doubtless helps!
This E2 system is the heart of the concept but P. O.F have built a very high class AR around it that shows some innovative and practical features. The rifle is overengineered, which I like and uses billet upper and lower receivers and a free-float, monolithic forend all being NP3-finished. The forend is really clever as the full-length Picatinny rail at 12 o’clock is integral to the free-float and bolts into position on the upper. Probably the most critical part of any AR is the receiver/barrel junction, which in this case is strong and rigid. Unusual too is the massive, fluted barrel nut which must be at least 2” long. Apart from adding strength it also acts as a heat sink!
The ReVolt also offers a pleasing 2-tone look with a matte silver receiver and black barrel/forend, an all black option is also available. Furniture consists of a Magpul MOE pistol grip and Luth MBA adjustable butt. Feed is from a 10-round PMAG or larger as required. The match grade, fluted barrel is just 18.5” and offers a 1-10” twist rate and is Nitride heat-treated with their triple port muzzle brake. Weighing in at 9.2 lbs (empty and un-scoped) the ReVolt is no lightweight, but at 40” reasonably compact and handy enough.
The build quality really shines through with full ambidextrous controls including butt/ pistol grip, safety, mag catch and the bolt release, KNS anti-walk pins are fitted as standard. The guard is integral, large and bow-shaped. Inside is a drop-in trigger mech with ‘enhanced, finger placement’ blade. As can be seen the lever angles forward and ends in a short curved section, so allowing a totally repeatable first pad position every time. It looks odd but works fine and breaks at a crisp 4 lbs.
There’s a case deflector and the usual ejection port cover, which on this example is engraved with “God Bless America” and the US flag. OK a bit jingoistic but why not be proud? There’s no forward assist as the operating handle doubles up for that job. The cocking handle assembly is interesting as POF have done away with the traditional T and created a new crucifix-shaped design. It features large twin roller handles that are positioned about 1.5” forward into the action, in use it was easy to operate. It is also configured with a ¼” socket drive on one side and a hexagon on the other so you can fit tools for jobs like tightening scope bolts and similar.
The Luth MBA butt is like a skeletonised version of Magpul’s PRS® Precision- Adjustable Stock. It offers length of pull (LOP) and cheek piece/comb height and length adjustments. The forend is 14.5” long and is M-Lok compatible so you can add mounting plates where you want them. Apart from the full-length rail at 12 o’clock there’s a short Picatinny section at 6 o’clock. That is pretty much it for the nuts and bolts; but what you have is a sophisticated and well built AR10-type. At this stage I was liking the ReVolt and expecting good things, though being the cynic I am I was yet to be convinced by its supposed, super-smooth reliability!
I did however take issue with the rifling twist and the shorter 18.5” barrel, I know 308 is most tolerant of shorter tubes but still I would have thought 20” would have been a better minimum with my ideal being 22”. Also I reckoned this tighter twist would preclude the more bread & butter bullets weights like 145/147/150-grains. I opted for four test loads – PPU 145-grain FMJ (near the NATO spec), Hornady 150 grain GMX Superformance and 168-grain A-MAX TAP. Also a reload using Nosler’s 180-grain AccuBond running on 44-grains of Hodgdon H380 with a Federal Match large rifle primer in Nosler custom cases, which gave 100% load density.
But first the all-important reliability test, as if that brass don’t come out slick and sweet we might as well go home! To my surprise and pleasure the ReVolt shot and ejected the lot without the slightest hesitation or hard spot. I’d say it felt like my AR15 A2 Speedmaster with my pet 69-grain SMK BTHP load. Recoil control was excellent too, though (and typically) muzzle blast was serious! Inspection of the case showed minimal gas marking on the neck and it was fully reloadable!
Accuracy however was very much weight/ twist related. For the test SRC supplied a Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 scope with EBR-1 MRAD reticule as they are now one of the UK retailers of this brand. The 145 and 150-grain loads just did not group worth mentioning, however, the 168-grain TAP performed as brilliantly as always punching a decent 0.75” @ 100m off the bench. The 180 Nosler load was disappointing shooting ragged 2-3” clusters, however it could have been the recipe and I reckon further experimentation around that area would pay dividends. But then again with the Hornady 168-grain A-MAX or an equivalent reload why would I bother?
One aspect of the ReVolt came to light when I stripped it down. It’s standard AR – cock the action, push out the rear body pin, open the upper and pull the bolt/handle assemble out. Then push out the front pin; you can’t as it’s permanently fixed. This has been done to make it even more complient in the states that ban self-loaders as short of brute force you cannot remove the barrel/upper meaning you can’t swap it over. No big deal in the UK as it would be easy enough to retro-fit a standard push-out pin.
As a long term AR owner I really liked the ReVolt in 308, though see it more a precision gun as opposed to a Practical or Service Rifle due in the main to its weight. The ambi cocking system works very well and is easy to operate. Two things I think are missing - the option of a 1-12” rifling twist, which would allow the accurate use of lighter ammo like the NATO-spec ball up to probably 155-grains. Not everyone reloads or wants to buy expensive ammo like TAP! Also a longer barrel option would be good.
PRICE: £2995 ReVolt Light £2495
CONTACT: Suffolk Rifle Co, 01473 730035 www.suffolkrifle.co.uk www.pof-usa.com