Photos by Yamil Sued
It used to be only dedicated custom shops like J.P. Rifles who offered tricked-out ARs suited for the 3-Gun game, but that is no longer the case. Now it’s hard to find a company which makes AR-style rifles that doesn’t offer either a “competition” rifle or at least markets one of their models as being suitable for competition.
Having a rifle that would work at a 3-Gun match, however, is a far cry from building a dedicated, top-of-the-line 3-Gun competition rifle. After brainstorming with some of the best shooters in the business, Savage built the dedicated MSR 15 Competition rifle. It’s clear from the features on this rifle that Savage spared nothing.
Proof is in the Barrel
The heart of the rifle is an 18-inch Proof Research carbon-fiber-wrapped stainless steel barrel. The barrel has 5R rifling with a 1:8-inch twist and is tipped with a two-port brake of Savage’s own design.
The barrel is marked 223W, meaning .223 Wylde, the preferred chambering of competition shooters. It’s a little larger than a .223 Rem. for more reliability when dirty, but it is tighter than a 5.56 NATO chamber. It comes with a big muzzlebrake that is tunable by drilling out the small holes on the top and right side.
The gas system on the Competition is not just a custom length but is fully adjustable. So, you can tune the recoil to exactly how you want it to match your preferred ammo.
The barrel floats inside an aluminum handguard with M-LOK attachment slots. The upper receiver is a custom design and mates with the handguard forward of the lower receiver.
The bolt carrier group has a nickel boron coating for corrosion resistance and increased lubricity. In addition to sporting a traditional charging handle, this rifle has a nonreciprocating side-charging handle, which makes the action much easier to work when you’re in the prone position.
From their interaction with serious 3-Gun competitors, including their own sponsored shooter Patrick Kelley, the company’s engineers loaded up the rifle with every feature you might possibly want. These include a bilateral safety (anodized red), an ambidextrous magazine release, an oversized and replaceable anodized (red) aluminum magwell and a two-stage match trigger that measured a crisp 3¼-pounds on my sample.
There’s a red anodized quick-detach sling-swivel socket mounted on the handguard and at the rear of the receiver. The pistol grip is a rubber Hogue model, and the adjustable stock is a Magpul CTR.
The MSR 15 Competition rifle that I tested tips the scales at 7 pounds, 11 ounces, but because of the carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel, that extra weight is not near the muzzle. This rifle is nicely balanced and swings quickly between targets.
The Savage MSR 15 Competition rifle is not inexpensive, but you get a heck of a lot of rifle for your money and a gun specifically designed for the 3-Gun game.