Review: POF ReVolt Rifle
May 02, 2016
Good rifles are always designed to meet specific needs. Cartridge selection, action type, size and weight specifications are all created to help the rifle meet its ultimate goal. The POF ReVolt from Patriot Ordnance Factory serves to fill a unique void created by the onslaught of ill-advised firearms regulation that came in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting.
In early 2013, the current administration had itself worked into a lather over passing any and all types of gun restrictions. Many states had enough anti-gun types in their leadership that they fell prey to the latest wave of hysteria, so they targeted a limit on magazine capacities and specific models or banned certain features entirely. Perhaps more telling than the wave of new laws was the level of civil disobedience it engendered.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) does comprehensive analysis of the firearms industry and ownership. It conservatively estimates that there were more than 350,000 rifles specifically banned in Connecticut's latest anti-gun spree. Of those 350,000, there were only 41,000 permit applications filed. That's about 12 percent compliance.
New York's gun landscape is even more depressing. The NSSF estimates that at least 1 million gun owners had firearms affected by the SAFE Act, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's late-night end run around citizen rights. If we assume that New York firearms owners are as sick of state bullying as those in Connecticut and refused to comply, there are hundreds of thousands of formerly law-abiding Americans who have instantly been made into criminals.
Why the POF ReVolt?
Frank DeSomma, owner of POF, decided he wanted to develop a rifle that AR owners in states such as New York and Connecticut could possess. He also wanted to create an option that took the owner's existing AR-pattern lower receiver assembly and turned it into something the law couldn't touch. Why give away, register or sell at a loss something you rightfully and legally purchased, perhaps as an investment? Enter the POF ReVolt.
Interestingly, a late-night texting exchange between Frank and this magazine's editor, Eric Poole, produced the name for this straight-pull bolt action. After going back and forth with several patriotic-sounding names, Eric came up with "ReVolt," which visually made him think of the word "bolt" and conjured thoughts about America's independence through revolution.
Frank replied, "We patriots revolted against tyranny. We are ReVolting the concept of traditional bolt guns. I like the sound, the name, the theme, the meaning ... . It's rebellious that it is a speed action requiring only a straight pull and the feed assist chambers the next cartridge."
There are several versions of the POF ReVolt. Complete rifles are available in either 5.56 NATO or .308 Winchester. Each rifle has an 18½-inch barrel that is fluted to reduce weight.
For those who already have a lower, the POF ReVolt is also available separately as a complete upper receiver assembly. Provided you have a regular AR-15-pattern rifle or an AR-10 that is compatible with POF uppers (AR-10s aren't as standardized as AR-15s), the ReVolt complete upper will drop right on without any problems.
In order to possess a rifle legal in all of the "ban" states, the company did have to design a front pivot pin that is captive on the POF ReVolt. The normal pivot pin that pushes out of the way, allowing the upper receiver to be separated from the lower, is replaced with a captive pin that doesn't move out of the way. It still allows the POF ReVolt to be rotated open for maintenance, but it is a permanent change to the lower that was necessary to make everything compliant.
The piston system present on other POF rifles is absent on the POF ReVolt, but the package is otherwise unchanged. The barrel is the same button-rifled chrome alloy steel that has given POF its reputation for excellent accuracy. Each POF ReVolt barrel is finished with Melonite, an extremely durable finish that is vastly superior to the usual phosphate/chrome lining we find on a lot of other AR barrels.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department adopted POF's rifles a couple of years back and has been hammering away on one just to see how long it would last before accuracy became so poor that the rifle needed to be rebarreled. It hasn't found that point yet. I saw test targets where three-shot groups were sitting right at three-quarters of an inch at 100 yards.
That level of accuracy is good for a new AR, but that particular .308 rifle had more than 66,000 rounds through it prior to accuracy testing. Very few rifles will ever see that many rounds in a couple of owners' lifetimes. There was also a negligible velocity loss when compared with the testing the department did at 20,000 rounds.
The implication is that the steel POF uses, when combined with the Meloniting process, resists the effects of throat erosion well. Velocity loss is one sign of throat erosion, meaning the barrel is about to be shot out. The accuracy is a combination of good materials, manufacture and rifle design. The massive barrel nut POF uses is 4 inches long, fluted and made of aluminum. A barrel nut of that size does an excellent job of supporting the chamber, a key component to rifle accuracy. The more support a chamber gets, the less movement we see in this crucial area of the barrel and the better a rifle shoots.
Aluminum also has excellent heat-conduction properties. Aluminum conducts heat seven times faster than steel, so an aluminum barrel nut literally sucks the heat out of the steel barrel. If the nut were small, we'd have a problem with the heat migrating quickly to the forend, necessitating gloves if we were really shooting fast.
The company has also spent a lot of time on the extraction and cycling in its rifles, much to the POF ReVolt's benefit. POF's E2 extraction system has four small grooves cut in the chamber area where the case neck rests up against the chamber wall. The grooves are shallow and run parallel to the bore. When the POF ReVolt fires, the grooves become pressurized and push the case back toward the bolt face. The positive pressure in this area helps ensure that the brass case doesn't stick to the chamber wall and greatly facilitates extraction.
On a normal AR, the cycling action pulls the cartridge case out of the chamber and kicks it out the ejection port. The POF ReVolt is all manual, so I wanted to see how smooth the extraction process was with a fired case in the chamber. After several iterations of firing the POF ReVolt and cycling the action and then just cycling the action without any ammunition, I couldn't tell the difference between an empty chamber and one with a fired case in it. I attribute this to the E2 and its ability to prep the case for extraction by unsticking it from the chamber wall. With extraction made so stress-free, I imagine extractor life is significantly longer with the E2 system.
The other contributing factor with which the POF ReVolt cycles is the roller cam pin that attaches the bolt to the bolt carrier. Most ARs have a square pin that has to carve out a small recess inside the upper receiver before the bolt group can move unmolested. The POF ReVolt has a patented roller pin that requires much less effort to cycle and doesn't damage the upper receiver.
Between the symmetric bolt handle and the lower receiver controls, there isn't a more ambidextrous bolt-
action rifle made than the POF ReVolt. POF's lower receiver has identical controls for the safety, magazine release and bolt catch, all in their traditional locations. Unlike just about any other "ambidextrous" AR out there, the POF ReVolt also has a system that allows both left- and right-handed shooters to lock the bolt to the rear without removing their hands from the usual firing positions.
The bolt catch operates by way of an oblong paddle that protrudes slightly from the receiver into the trigger housing. The shooter operates the catch by pushing up with his trigger finger while pulling back on the charging handle. The release is on both sides of the receiver just above the trigger. Whether firing from the right or left shoulder, the operation of the bolt catch on the POF ReVolt remains the same.
When I settled behind the POF ReVolt at the range, I wanted to see if it would fire without the buffer and buffer spring in place. The absence of the buffer spring would make it much easier to work the action quickly, provided the bolt remained securely locked in the barrel extension. I saw immediately upon disassembly that this method would not work because the bolt is under spring tension in the bolt carrier and it won't stay locked in place without the buffer spring. Even so, it is easy to work the action by pulling the bolt handle to the rear, much as we pull the charging handle on any AR to the rear.
Accuracy of the test rifle was exceptional. I credit this to POF's single-stage trigger that ships in the complete POF ReVolt rifle. The trigger has a uniquely shaped trigger shoe that has a small curved portion for our finger's pad. It makes for consistent placement and can be purchased separately.
The trigger on this particular POF ReVolt is very crisp and breaks at 4 pounds. POF put significant time into choosing the spring weights and made an excellent choice for the hammer spring in particular. Often, manufacturers will default to the standard Mil-Spec hammer spring that is heavy and meant to work with the harder military primers. The POF trigger worked fine with all of the military primers I tried it on, but it wasn't so excessive that it disturbed the reticle during dry fire. It's a tough combination to find, but when a trigger achieves this balance, AR-pattern rifles shoot more accurately than their Mil-Spec counterparts.
The best group out of the POF ReVolt was achieved using Federal's 168-grain Gold Medal Match. The five-shot group measured .56 inch center-to-center on the extreme spread. I also tested Lapua 185-grain Scenar and had four of the five rounds go into a .3-inch group with the fifth opening things up to .73 inch. Had I not pulled that one round, I would have had my personal best with this rifle. Black Hills 175-grain Match had a best group of .92 inch.
While the POF ReVolt was designed for our brothers trapped behind enemy lines within America's borders, it is an excellent bolt-action rifle for those wanting or needing the most ambidextrous model out there. It would also be a good choice for those who hunt and shoot suppressed. With the closed bolt and threaded barrel, a suppressor would make this rifle as quiet as any other bolt gun but much faster to reload, thanks to the spring-loaded straight-pull action.