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Thread: The R18 Mk2 Review Pt 2 Live Fire Reliabllity and Accuracy Results

  1. #231
    Super GunNutz Bartok5's Avatar
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    I think that the Billet approach to AR180B Upper Receivers has reached its optimal form in terms of material thickness and consequent weight. Any further thinning out of the Receiver walls would (IMHO) be inadvisable and may introduce unwanted fragility or Receiver flex resulting in cracking. To further reduce the weight you would have to completely redesign the upper to utilize formed sheet-steel construction similar to that of the original AR180. Obviously not a cost-permissive option for SAI having already reached this point with Billet manufacture. Like JR, I happen to own and have extensively fired an original Sterling Ltd AR180. Trust me when I say that the original AR180 and the R18 may share the same operating system, but beyond that they are "apples and oranges" in terms of manufacturing and design refinement. I would personally take an R18 over the OG AR180 all day, every day (and twice on Sunday). They are worlds apart in terms of ergonomics and control suites, with the R18 being the far more refined of the two platforms.


    "OG" Sterling Ltd AR180




    I fired another 410 rounds through one of the test rifles today. Rather than split the session between both test rifles, I elected instead to run one rifle relatively "hard" and certainly hot. The rifle had not been cleaned since its earlier range session (160 rds thru each rifle) and I did not add any lube or otherwise "tweak" the rifle. I just dove right in, using the Swampfox 1-10x LVPO for function testing. Accuracy testing took a back seat to function testing today during the limited range time that I had. Still, looking through my Spotting Scope, 5-round groups @ 100m averaged between 2.5" (Winchester White Box 55gr M193 & IVI 77 gr HPBT) and 2" even (Federal American Eagle 55gr FMJ). I fired a total of 90 x IVI 77 gr, 100 x Federal 55 gr, and 120 x Winchester 55 gr.


    R18 Test Rifle




    There were 2 malfunctions attributable to the same magazine (2nd round nose-up fail to feed), and a total of 11 light primer strikes which are directly attributable to the Trigger Tech after-market Trigger that I have installed in the test R18. Of those 11 failures to fire, all but 3 of the rounds detonated on the 2nd attempt. Once nice feature of the R18 is that you can pull the action far enough rearwards to re-set the Trigger, without ejecting the round in the Chamber. This saves time re-setting for a second attempt on balky primers. There were no failures that I would attribute to the R18 iteself. Recoil was extremely mild, ejection was positive and consistent at 4-5 o'clock and downwards (due to the convex shape of the Brass Deflector).

    In a rare flash of brilliance last weekend I decided to see if the Operating Springs out of my OG AR180 would fit and function in the R18, seeing as how the original Springs shipped with the pre-production Test Rifle were a bit on the soft/weak side. Well, as it turns out the OG Springs fit and function 100%, despite being somewhat "snappier" and 1/2" longer than the upgraded Operating Springs that JR Cox provided to me after my initial Range session. The Upgraded Springs that were provided to me functioned 100% as well, despite being a bit softer/weaker than the OG Operating Springs. My recommendation to JR is that SAI replicate the OG AR180 Operating Springs and adopt those for use in the R18. They fit and function perfectly, so no further modification is required. Simply "plug and play". The difference between the OG Operating Springs and the original Operating Springs provided with both Test Rifles is signficant. With the original springs the R18 had difficulty stripping the top round out of a 5-round PMag, let alone a higher-friction STANAG metal mag. With the OG Operating Springs installed, the R18 action strips the top round out of a 10-round metal pistol magazine with authority. The gas system, although fixed on the Test Rifles rather than the adjustable Gas Block to be featured in the Production R18, appears to be well-balanced with the OG Springs. The Bolt-Carrier throw resulted in full run-out, without excessive recoil, There is no perceptible gas blow-back to the user as is sometimes the case with the DI AR15. This is because all excess gas in the operating system is exhausted at the front of the Gas Piston System, rather than through the Bolt-Carrier near the firer's face.


    R18 Operating System




    Total round-count through the first Test Rifle is now 470 without cleaning, with no additional lube, and without any stoppages attributable to the rifle. The initial sluggishness chambering the first round of a full STANAG magazine was 100% resolved through use of the stiffer OG AR180 Operating Springs.


    Comparison of Revised R18 Operating Spring (Top) versus longer & stiffer OG AR180 Operating Spring (Bottom)




    Testing will continue ASAP, to include accuracy testing with 3 different brands and loads of 5.56mm Match ammo. Watch and shoot....
    Last edited by Bartok5; 11-25-2021 at 08:52 PM.
    Mark C

  2. #232
    CGN Ultra frequent flyer Paul_T's Avatar
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    Good update, thanks. Very interesting ref the Op Springs
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  3. #233
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    How much does the piston weigh compared to a gas tube? Would a version that used gas to impinge a Stoner-style pseudo piston against the 180 recoil harvesting system offer some weight savings?

  4. #234
    Super GunNutz Bartok5's Avatar
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    Not sure about the comparative system weights, but I can tell you that what you are proposing would require a total rework of the R18's operating system in orer to save a few ounces at best. I am far from convinced that the juice would be worth the squeeze....
    Last edited by Bartok5; 11-25-2021 at 10:48 PM.
    Mark C

  5. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartok5 View Post
    Not sure about the comparative system weights, but I can tell you that what you are proposing would require a total rework of the R18's operating system in orer to save a few ounces at best. I am far from convinced that the juice would be worth the squeeze....
    Agreed it would require some effort, though how much effort would be needed may not be as much as you think. A forum retailer is importing a build kit from the U.S. for a rifle that uses impingement from a gas tube into Stoner style BCG and pseudo-piston bolt with gas rings impinging against the 180 twin rail/spring recoil harvesting system. Another forum sponsoring manufacturing is developing a impingement BCG to work with their 180 upcoming upper, but they have stated it is to use with pre-existing 180 rifles, replacing the piston in those rifles with a gas tube. Not something on the near drawing board, but perhaps something to attempt when the manufacturer begins R18 build kits, as it would allow re-use of the entire for-end (barrel, gas tube, handguard, and gas block) from safe queen rifles. Look on the Black and Green rifle sub-forum for more information.
    Last edited by Ustauk; 11-26-2021 at 02:07 AM.

  6. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartok5 View Post
    Well, I find the R18 to be well-balanced and agile, much more like the forbidden fruit than anything produced domestically thus far. The pencil barrel no doubt plays a large role in that. Unlike, say, the WS-MCR which feels like a front-heavy brick in the hands, the R18 is by comparison quite svelte and quick-to-hand. But that's just me - satisfaction will no doubt vary based on individual expectations/desires.

    I reckon there's no pleasing everybody. At least we're still free to voice our opinions! And so far as I know, JR Cox welcomes all input, both positive and negative so long as it is constructive (and realistically achievable). As for me, I am admittedly enthusiastic about the rifle, which ticks all of the necessary boxes on my checklist. I am very much looking forward to obtaining my own example once I am done wringing out the Test samples that I currrently have on-hand. That is where my interests in the R18 end, and it is over to SAI to manufacture a quality rifle with JR Cox and his team to managing Canadian R18 sales and customer service/satisfaction. I have no financial nor personal stake in the rifle, so my "responsibility" starts and ends with the contents of my review.
    I respect your opinion on this, but the fact that a comparison is being made between a $2600+ Stock rifle and a $1400 stock rifle is absurd. OF COURSE the SAI is going to handle better at the price range. I am however willing to wager that with a little bit of customization (pencil barrel, improved lower mainly) The WS MCR can handle Just as well as the R18 at a significantly lower price even with the upgrades. Nevermind building an upgraded 180 from the ground up with lighter/improved parts. You can build a rifle around 7lbs naked, maybe a little less.

    For me, the R18 will live and die by its reliability. If it is an absolute workhorse than can chew through anything and go 2000-3000 rounds without maintenance, it will rule the market, if it is similar to the MCR in term of reliability it will flop (for me).

    All I want is a rifle that can even come close to competing with my $650 AR15 in terms of reliability, without costing $2000+. Damn our government.
    Last edited by Bman12456; 11-26-2021 at 01:39 PM.
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  7. #237
    Super GunNutz Bartok5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bman12456 View Post
    I respect your opinion on this, but the fact that a comparison is being made between a $2600+ Stock rifle and a $1400 stock rifle is absurd. OF COURSE the SAI is going to handle better at the price range. I am however willing to wager that with a little bit of customization (pencil barrel, improved lower mainly) The WS MCR can handle Just as well as the R18 at a significantly lower prices even with the upgrades. Nevermind building an upgraded 180 from the ground up with lighter/improved parts. You can build a rifle around 7lbs naked, maybe a little less.

    For me, the R18 will live and die by its reliability. If it is an absolute workhorse than can chew through anything and go 2000-3000 rounds without maintenance, it will will rule the market, if it is similar to the MCR in term of reliability it will flop (for me).

    All I want is a rifle that can even come close to competing with my $650 AR15 in terms of reliability, without costing $2000+. Damn our government.
    You may or may not be correct in your hypothesis regarding an upgraded WS-MCR verus ther R18 cost-wise. However, at the end of the day you still end up with lipstick on a pig, versus a rifle designed from the ground-up to provide a turn-key soution with high-end features and components to those who may not be interested or comfortable upgrading everything on an otherwise brand-new rifle. The R18 is not just marketed at you, the (apparently) savvy AR owner with personal customization as a priority. It is also intended to give as close to the AR15 experience as possible to those who through no fault of their own, missed the original ownership boat. Not everyone is a parts-swapper with a drawer full of left-over AR15 bits and pieces...

    We will see if the R18 meets your expectations for reliability, although I think that your desired round-count may be unrealistic. I for one have NEVER seen a bone-stock $650 AR15 approach 2-3000 rounds without significant maintenance at regular intervals, including the addition of lubricant. My Test R18 is now at a mere 570 rounds, however it is running strong with zero maintenance or additional lubricant. I am confident that it will go 1000 rounds total without issue, however that remains to be seen (and will be).

    You are never going to see another $650 AR so long as the Lieberal Party forms goverment. Manufacturing in Canada is expensive and machinists don't work for free. Expect $2K+ for anything worth having that is manufactured here in Canada. If you can find a cheaper work-force, then by all means commence manufacture and under-cut everyone else. I don't see that happening however, unless you can arrange for off-shore manufacture with pre-approved import. Personally, you can keep your Norinco offerrings - I am not the least bit interested in what they have to offer. Apples to Apples, show me another rifle that is available for Canadian sale that offers more features than the R18 does at a lower price-point. I don't think that you can.

    The R18 may not meet your specific expectations for performance, features or price-point, and that is fine. The new rifle is evidently not for everyone. Unfortunately, this is the point in history where notoriously cheap-arsed Canadian firearms owners run up against first-world manufacturing costs. You can either pony up to the new economic reality, or content yourself with lipstick on a pig. Your call, no pressure.
    Mark C

  8. #238
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    I don't consider basic and cleaning to be maintenance I guess. Im talking parts breakages. My AR was $900 but I got it for $650 on sale, I shot more than 2000 rounds without a single part breaking. Other than basic cleaning and lubrication, it kept running regardless. Thats all Im after (Obviously not expecting a $900 canadian made rifle to perform that well)
    Last edited by Bman12456; 11-26-2021 at 02:40 PM.
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  9. #239
    Super GunNutz Bartok5's Avatar
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    Any cleaning or lubrication = maintenance. Parts breakage = failure.
    Mark C

  10. #240
    CGN Regular Ceiferiro's Avatar
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    Wait, you guys clean your guns ?

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