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

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    Super GunNutz Bartok5's Avatar
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    The R18 Mk2 Review Pt 2 Live Fire Reliabllity and Accuracy Results

    Review Part 1:
    https://www.canadiangunnutz.com/foru...ng-Impressions

    Due to a late start following my family’s annual Remembrance Day observances, I only managed to fire an approximate total of 160 rounds through my two assigned test rifles during my first live-fire outing with the R18 Mk2. The ammunition consisted of a mix of 55, 62 and 77-grain bullet weights, and included both bulk and factory-boxed rounds. All firing was done at the Canadian Historical Arms Society (CHAS) Outdoor Range at Genesse, AB. The ambient temperature reached a daytime high of 3C during Accuracy and Reliability testing. Winds were calm and did not adversely impact accuracy testing.


    CHAS Genessee Range, 100-800m Firing Point:




    For accuracy testing the rifle was fitted with a TriggerTech AR-15 Adjustable 3.5 lb - 5 lb Trigger, a Magpul MLOC Bipod, and a Leupold Mk 5 HD 5-25x 56mm optic with Tremor 3 Reticle. For casual “plinking” out to 400m following 100m accuracy testing, I traded the Leupold for a more compact and low-key Swampfox 1-10x 24mm Low-Power Variable Optic (LPVO) in an American Defense QD Cantilever mount and ditched the Bipod.


    Accuracy Testing:




    Plinking:




    There was one persistent problem noted in relation to the R18 Mk2’s reliability. This occurred whenever I attempted to chamber the 1st round from a full 5-round rifle (or 10-round pistol) magazine using only the Left-side Bolt Catch or the Right-side Bolt Release. The 1st round would typically hang up partially chambered. This problem did not occur if the Charging Handle were instead drawn fully to the rear and then let go to fly forward under maximum Operating Spring tension. The initial hesitancy to chamber the top round in any of the magazine types that I tried was most likely exacerbated by the low (3C) operating temperature, as no such issue had been detected feeding and cycling inert “Practice” rounds in my comfortably heated home prior to the range session. IMHO, the culprit is too soft Operating Springs, which lack the necessary force to strip live rounds from a full magazine in colder temperatures. A set of stiffer springs is already enroute to me for further function testing next week when I will also attempt to obtain further accuracy results. All production rifles will feature an Adjustable Gas Block and the stiffer Operating Springs by the time retail sales commence.

    There was a single failure to fire a round of South Korean PMC X-Tac 62 grain ammo. The suspect round was tested twice more with similar results and was declared a dud round. The Triggertech Trigger performed exactly as expected and provided sufficient energy to ngnite the cartridges even when adjusted to the lightest Trigger-weight setting.

    Magazine types trialled with the R18 included current USGI, former USGI, Magpul PMag, Lancer AWM, Troy, E-Lander, HK Polymer and ASC Blackened Stainless Steel. All magazine types dropped free from the Magazine Well, indicating correct dimensions. There were a handful of stoppages resulting directly from poorly modified 5/30 magazines with too-tight rivets from an importer who shall remain nameless. There were no further malfunctions once those specific magazines were removed from the testing rotation.


    Some of the Magazine types tested:




    As far as the shooting experience is concerned, the long, rifle-length Piston operation results in an extremely mild perceived recoil impulse. Recoil reduction is further enhanced by the SAI combination Flash-Hider/Muzzle Brake, which seems to be effective in both roles. The exception to the rule was the Russian Barnaul ammunition, which produced Basketball-sized fireballs with each press of the trigger. I also trialled a knock-off Epsilon VG-6 Flash-Comp for the sake of direct comparison, which provided even greater recoil mitigation, but at the cost of a larger physical profile and a much more violent side-braking effect.


    Knock-Off VG-6 Flash-Comp:




    Extraction was positive and ejection from the AR-style multi-lugged Bolt was consistent (if seemingly a touch weak) at a downwards and slightly rearwards angle. It is my view that like most other .223/5.56 semi-automatic sporting rifles, the R18 Mk2 would benefit greatly from a Dual Ejector system such as that found on the Tavor X95. This would result in more brisk and forceful ejection of spent casings during the Rearward Bolt Travel process.

    Accuracy varied considerably with the type of ammo being fired, as it always does. The best results hovered just under 2” (2 MOA), 5-round groups at 100 metres using PMC X-Tac 62 grain ammunition. The worst results were approximately 3” (3 MOA), 5-round groups at 100 metres using Russian Barnaul brand, 55 grain ammunition. It is worth noting that even the worst accuracy results were still acceptable at 3 MOA. See sample grouping targets below:


    PMC 62 Grain X-Tac:





    62 Grain Bulk Green-Tip M855 Light Armour Penetrator:





    IVI 77 Gr Ball:





    Federal American Eagle 55 Grain Ball M193:





    Barnaul 55 Grain Steel-Case Ball M193:








    So, all things considered, is the juice worth the squeeze? The street price for the Mk2 with the fixed, AR-style Collapsing Buttstock will be approximately $2,600, with the later Mk3 (Zhukov Folder, Ejection Port Cover, QD Handquard) coming in at a few hundred more. Given the relative dearth of any AR-alternatives in this price-range, I think that the R18 hits a strategic “sweet spot” in terms of pricing. What you get for that extra $1,100 over the cost of an WS-MCR are the vastly improved ergonomics of the heavily revised Lower Receiver with its familiar AR-style control suite and 1913 Buttstock interface, a streamlined and improved (eg. Non-Reciprocating) Charging Handle, Upper Receiver, and a decent Barrel/Bolt combination capable of sub-2 MOA with factory Match ammunifion. On top of that, you receive a rifle with attractive aesthetics and a relatively smooth, streamlined appearance.





    Is the R18 Mk2 worth the asking price? With the promised pre-production improvements, I think so. The only real faults that I could find with the rifle were the weak Operating Springs and the Single Ejector leading to relatively soft ejection. With the forthcoming stiffer Operating Springs and Adjustable Gas Block, I suspect that those issues will be largely resolved. That will leave us with a reasonably (1.5 MOA with 77 gr Federal Gold Medal Match?) accurate and reliable semi-automatic modern sporting rifle with all of the ergonomic advantages of the AR15 combined with the performance enhancements of the AR-180B operating system.





    I like the R18 Mk2 enough so that I tried to buy one of the two trial versions sent to me for evaluation. Unfortunately it turns out that I will have to wait in line with everyone else as JR Cox understandably does not want a "lesser" example of the R18 Mk2 floating around out there to give the brand a bad name. At the end of the day, I will receive my new rifle with all of the latest upgrades and internal refinements at the same time as everyone else and I am good with that! The R18 Mk2 is the most refined AR-180B-style firearm currently available on the Canadian market. As far as I am concerned the ride has been well worth the effort thus far for this novice gun reviewer. I am very much looking forwards to receipt of the enhanced, finished product in a few week's time!

    Please note that I plan to provide one more report detailing further accuracy testing as well as performance testing with the stiffer Operating Spring-set. I should have that report ready at the end of next week, Friday 19 Nov 21. By that time, SAI and TSE ought to be close to commencing retail sales with the final amendments and improvements incorporated into the ever-more refined production design.
    Last edited by Bartok5; 11-24-2021 at 09:43 PM.
    Mark C

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    CGN Regular Sawakita's Avatar
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    Expecting to the final production, but don’t mind buying a demo right now

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    CGN frequent flyer speedjunkiesracing's Avatar
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    CGN frequent flyer wannabe's Avatar
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    Seems like Mark has a future as a high paid firearms reviewer somewhere in the good ol USA....and his own setup at the SHOT shows in Vegas......and oh yeah President of the firearms refugee committee of Canadian gun owners fleeing south from the the draconian repressive gun laws instituted by PM Justin Castro-Trudeau....oops sorry was that my outside voice...so sorry for the ill-advised input, my bad...
    Dear Justin...I'm from BC...a few years ago your Dad gave us the finger, we would like to give it back...

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    CGN Regular TangoKilo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the awesome write up Mark!

    Are you planning to shoot the R18 with some high quality Match ammo?
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
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    CGN Regular davis0944's Avatar
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    Great initial review. Thanks for your efforts!

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    CGN Regular cuto85's Avatar
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    First things first, I'd like to thank the fellas for bringing another MS Semi to the market. We should all be proud of the domestic efforts to bring the scene up to speed again.

    That being said, I don't think the ticket correlates with the accuracy. It may be ugly, but 2 different MCR's I've tested are consistently sub-MOA with 62gr X-TAC and even better with 77gr GMM. With FINELY tuned handloads I was seeing 0.5 at the bench. I'm really hoping you just had an off day or a subpar unit because at the very least i was hoping for a minute from the X-TAC. I'll be looking forward to seeing other range reviews. Thanks for your time and effort Mark.
    You've been in a coma for 6 years. If you can read this, we're trying to get through to you. Please... wake up.

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    I think that you should prepare yourself to be consistently disappointed if you're expecting consistent sub-MOA performance out of ball ammo...

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    CGN Regular vultr's Avatar
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    Great writeup Mark. Do these rifles have adjustable gas blocks? I'm sure that's been covered in the other threads but I didn't see it in cursory review of the other posts.
    "A gun is not a weapon, Marge, it's a tool. Like a butcher's knife or a harpoon, or...or an alligator."

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  10. #10
    CGN Regular cuto85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diemaco View Post
    I think that you should prepare yourself to be consistently disappointed if you're expecting consistent sub-MOA performance out of ball ammo...
    Where did I say that? I stated that I was HOPING to see 1 MOA out of the 62gr X-TAC, which is a very reasonable expectation for a semi costing upwards of 2.6k. I don't think this is a reasonable expectation for the steel case, or even lake city or federal ball varieties.
    You've been in a coma for 6 years. If you can read this, we're trying to get through to you. Please... wake up.

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