A precision sharpshooter on a tactical team is called upon to do one thing...to end the threat. It needs to be done quickly, decisively, and unerringly, and the stakes on the line may be the ultimate...a human life.
So what price can someone put on the ability to deliver that single shot? Department budgets are a harsh reality, but when buying a tactical rifle, the focus needs to be on the ability of the equipment to deliver the performance you need, when you need it. Every time.
Factory Vs. Custom
Some factories offer "Police" rifle packages at attractively affordable prices and performance is often up to par. However, for the consummate professional, the man or woman who takes his or her job to the utmost level, sometimes factory performance isn't enough. And that's when a custom made rifle like the Robar QR-2 may prove its worth.
Founded by Robbie Barrkman 16 years ago, Robar is one of the nation's leading precision rifle customizers. And make no mistake, Barrkman, a former member of the South African military who captained three national, defensive shooting teams, knows a think or two about accuracy and precision.
"At Robar, we build true, custom rifles, either on an officer's own rifle or we can supply a complete package," says Barrkman. "There is no 'standard' rifle from Robar. We build what you need, exactly how you need it and then guarantee it will perform flawlessly."
Robar can build rifles on Ruger, Remington, Sako, or any number of other actions. Each one is treated separately and each one is built to meet the needs of a particular shooter or tactical team.
The Test Rifle
The QR-2 test rifle supplied to us by Robar is a "typical" precision rifle (if typical is a word that can be used here). Based upon a Remington 700 action, it is a classic of understated styling and performance. The muted colors, serious combination of Leupold Vari-X III, 3.5x10 M1 Long Range scope, fluted barrel, and Harris Bi-Pod speaks business.
Some magic, as perpetrated by Robar, is simple but its effect is complex and functional. The stock is a McMillan synthetic. "The bedding is a dual system," explains Barrkman. "We install aluminum pillars between the action and floorplate and then carefully epoxy bed the entire affair." Barrkman says the inherent stability of the synthetic stock, coupled with the ability to adjust its weight up or down as required, makes it virtually de rigueur for a precision rifle.
Calibers for Robar custom rifles can be anything from .223 to .416, but most agencies opt for the .223 or .308. Our test QR-2 was a .308.
It Looks Great
From action work to careful fitting and function testing, the test QR-2 displayed superior workmanship.
The entire outside of the rifle's metalwork is protected with Robar's proprietary "Roguard," a polymer-based finish. Roguard is black, smooth, and almost "soft" to the touch, but it's also rugged and comes with a lifetime guarantee against peeling or corrosion.The interior surfaces and action is plated with Robar's NP3, a surface treatment for steel and metal alloys that combines sub-micron particles of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) with electroless nickel. Say that three times, fast...
Basically, NP3 puts a slick-as-ice, matte, silver-gray finish on metal parts. But more than just good looking, NP3 resists corrosion and adds lubricity to the surfaces. Indeed, as Barrkman says, "After breaking the surface in, the natural ability of NP3 to resist galling or friction means you don't even need lubrication in many applications."
The short barrel (only 20 inches) makes the QR-2 handy to work with around vehicles, stairwells, hallways, or when engaged in strenuous activity. In a drag-bag, the lightweight and short, overall length pays dividends. The test team, being familiar with more conventional 24- to 26-inch barreled designs, liked the overall "handiness" of the QR-2.
But Does It Shoot?
Robar guarantees at least 1/2 minute groups with Black Hills 175-grain match ammo or Federal 168-grain match at 100 yards. After carefully examining the rifle, the test staff had high expectations and loaded plenty of Black Hills, Federal, and PMC ammo in our truck for the testing phase.
Gene Luke, owner of Precision Arms in Escondido, Calif., and Sgt. Dave Douglas of the San Diego Police Department were enlisted to assist in testing.
After a careful break-in period involving many rounds, cleaning routines, etc., we realized the rifle could shoot. Settling down for serious testing, we shot the rifle out to 900 yards.
Robar's careful re-barreling of the Remington showed in the QR-2's performance. Right off the bat, during break-in, the QR-2 shot a tad less than 1/2-inch groups at 100 yards. And the groupings only improved as the break-in process continued. Granted, most urban rifle shots occur at ranges under 100 yards, but the ability to deliver tight groups "way out there" is still a valid test of the rifle and shooter.
The QR-2 made anyone who shot it look good. Sgt. Douglas admitted he was an inexperienced rifleman (indeed, this was the first time he had shot a precision rifle), yet he consistently delivered 1/2-inch groups at 100 yards and hit the five-inch gong at 200 and the 10-inch gongs at 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and even 900 yards with boring predictability. Due to time constraints we were unable to target the QR-2 on paper at 200.
Gene Luke might have summed up the rifle's performance best when after the testing was over, he said, "If you want to sell that gun, I'll buy it, right now." Luke could have any rifle, from any manufacturer (and has many on hand in his shop), yet he remained impressed. "It's rare you see that kind of predictable performance right out of the box without fiddling with it," he explained.
Robar QR-2 Precision Rifle
CALIBER: .308 (as tested).
ACTION: Remington 700 BDL, completely accurized, machined, ground, and lapped. Includes hex head action screws.
BARREL: Fluted stainless steel match grade with Robar's exclusive contour. Match grade chamber and crown with a muzzle diameter of approximately .770 inches at 20 inches.
STOCK: McMillan fiber glass stock, includes Monte Carlo with palm swell, pillar bedding, free floated barrel channel, non-slip texture to pistol grip and fore-end, Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad, sling stud in butt stock and short accessory rail in beavertail style fore-end. Available in black, gray, tan, or green.
TRIGGER: Modified, with a recommended 2.5-pound release.
FINISH: Roguard on receiver and barrel. NP3 on bolt and all internals.
ACCURACY: Guaranteed 1/2 M.O.A. at 100 yards for three shots with appropriate ammo.
OPTIONS: Scope, bipod, case, drag bag, cleaning kit, tool kit, camouflage, folding stock.
WEIGHT: 8.5 pounds, depending on barrel length.
Roy Huntington is a member of POLICE Magazine's Advisory Board and a frequent contributor. He's also been known to shoot a gun now and again...