AR-15s have been described as the “barbie dolls for men”. I prefer to look at them as Legos with which we can build any rifle, pistol, or Short-Barreled Rifle style we want from a $400 plinker, to $3,000 safe queens. The available mix of after-market and factory parts is bewildering and offers more choice than a Las Vegas buffet. But like a Las Vegas buffet there are some things that only look good and leave you wondering, “why” after consumption. Have you ever wondered what the plate of a 30+ year Special Operations veteran would look like? Or better yet if it was his restaurant? Ranger Proof Arms is that restaurant with every ingredient chosen for a purpose, and many of them “grown” to his own specifications. Unlike other flashy cool-guy-looking ARs Ranger Proof Arms are 100% American-made and sourced, purpose-built freedom dispensers.
Ranger Proof Arms has four models listed on their site, but we got the honor of checking out a fifth model that blends the strength and affordability of the coyly tittled, “Ranger Proof Entry Level Carbine” with the extra-premium features of the Ranger Proof Carbine Mod 2. This special blend of bold and smooth flavors will be titled, “Enhanced ELC” and available soon. We here at The Arms Guide take our responsibilities to you seriously and so our field review will be a “full-spectrum operation” combining the technical and practical application of ex-spooky-guy Graham Baates of the Intelligence community, his unassuming-badass partner Erika, and some Ranger-Proofing from former Ranger Rex Nanorum.
There is a lot to this rifle, and since it’s not yet listed on the Ranger Proof Arms website, we’ve got the build description from the builder himself:
“The stock is a Bravo from B5 Systems.
Buffer tube: We spec the most amazing PWS Mod2 Enhanced Buffer Tube. Why? Well, it’s the best out there in our opinion. The ratcheting castle nut is perfect, not needing to be staked. The ID of the tube is consistent, and promotes very quiet spring movement.
Buffer Spring: We use a high quality Sprinco Chrome Silicone carbine buffer spring. These give excellent consistency, and last a lot longer per spring life.
Buffer: We use the PWS H2 buffer, more expensive than a normal MILSPEC buffer, but it is very high quality.
Receiver Set: We buy high quality Anchor Harvey 7075 forgings, heat treated to T6. These receivers are meticulously machined and blended by hand. We put tensioning grub screws under the pistol grip, that gives a nice Delran contact point from the lower receiver to the take down pin boss of the upper receiver. This gives us a slight tuning point to take away all slop that is normally associated in forged receiver sets. We also thread and tap the bolt catch pin boss, so we don’t use a roll pin there. In the rear of the receiver, we also drill and tap where the safety detent and spring go, so it is captured by a grub screw. This allows the detent and spring to be held captive. Just a nice touch that most don’t do. The receivers are hand blended, to remove any forging lines, then tumbled before going off to anodizing. The Milspec hard coat anodizing is very even, and very tough.
Safety: The Enhanced ELC uses the Short Throw (45 degree) safety from Battle Arms Development. Our receiver is notched to accept the short throw safety. That way, you don’t have to “modify” the safety selector by grinding down the little pin. We are on Battle Arms Development’s approved list of lower receivers.
Trigger: Being a custom shop, we will put any trigger the customer wants, but the CMC 3.5 pound flat bow trigger is standard in the RPC and Enhanced ELC. The standard ELC comes with a ALG Combat trigger, a much improved version of the old gritty MILSPEC trigger. We spec the flat bow CMC, simply for the leverage it provides over a curved bow, and the index ramp at the base of the bow gives the shooter a very repeatable index point to place their finger. We all know that the trigger is the mechanical interface between the shooter and the rifle. By taking away as many variables as we can, we end up with a more repeatable / accurate weapon system. The trigger is the key.
Lower Parts Kit: We do not purchase bulk LPK’s of the value variety. We buy individual parts, spec’d separately. We use SPRINCO springs and us made detents. The bolt catch is MILSPEC, but made of superior metal. Every part that goes into our rifles are US Made.
Barrel: The RPC / Enhanced ELC uses a 416R match grade stainless steel barrel, chambered in .223 Wylde, with a 1:8 twist. We like the Wylde chamber because we get a more consistent standard of accuracy than a 5.56 Nato chambered barrel. The 1:8 twist stabilizes the full spectrum of projectiles with a very high degree of accuracy. We use the Intermediate Gas System on our 16″ barrels, Mid length on our 14.5″ barrels, rifle length on the 18-20″ barrels. The standard ELC comes with a Black Nitride treated, 4150 CMV barrel, .223 Wylde Chamber, 1:8 twist.
Rail: The handguard (Rail) is 15.5″ long, giving enough room to “stretch out” on the rifle, like some shooters prefer. It also protects the barrel, gives a ton of real estate to affix accessories, and we are using Key Mod at the moment. Newer rails will include the M-Lok pattern. The handguard gives a continuous dorsal rail (M-1913) for accessories. The standard ELC comes with the same rail, only 12.5″ long.
Gas Block: Low Profile, .750 gas block, isonite treated, adjustable gas block upon request. Usually on suppressed guns.
Bolt Carrier: I sat with Azimuth Technologies and helped profile the Enhanced BCG that comes with the RPC and Enhanced ELC. Full specs are as follows: (taken from their website, with regards to Ranger Proof Arms)
This carrier is made to the highest standards, and Darren had a little bit to do with the design. This is just another reason that we love doing business with Azimuth Technology. They really listen to the input of actual shooters, people who have time behind the product, and can give them input in what is truly needed.
Carrier Assembly: The enhanced bolt carrier is designed to reduce carrier tilt/cant during recoil and increasing reliability by strategically relocating key bearing surfaces. The enhanced carrier has fewer points of contact resulting in less friction area and the slight increase in carrier mass extends dwell time and ensures proper gas pressures for reliable extraction.
Material: Case-hardened 8620 steel (complete care is taken during the heat treat process, so as to not harm the metal)
Finish: Black Nitride. This advanced low friction coating minimizes the need for lubricants, as well as being very resistant to wear. Most recognize Nitride as “Melonite” or “Isonite”. This is a salt bath nitrocarbonite coating, that has proven to be very good for hard use parts.
Gas Key: 4130 Steel, attached with Grade 8 hardware, torqued and properly staked into a milled “valley” around a fully encased ejection port area, for added strength and rigidity.
Cam Pin: Hardened 4340 cam pin.
Firing Pin: Mil Spec firing pin made of 8740 steel, center-less ground and Hard Chrome coated.
Bolt Assembly: The Bolt is “true” Mil Spec dimension and external surfaces are CNC ground after heat treat for a precision fit. These bolts are held to the highest possible tolerance possible. The “trumpet” area behind the gas rings, where carbon normally collects, is precision CNC Ground after heat treatment, to ensure as smooth of an area as possible, easing clean up, and longevity.
Material: 9310 Case Hardened Steel
Finish: All Bolt components Shot Peened & Manganese Phosphate
Extractor: 4340 Steel, Manganese Phosphate coated
Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI) and High Pressure Tested (HPT)
Mil Spec Extractor Spring & O-Ring
Muzzle device: We spec the PWS FSC556 on the end of our rifles, simply because they work. They perform very well in all situations. A little “loud” and have some side gassing, if shooting in confined spaces, but they work very well.
Hand Grip: Pistol Grip – We use the Ergo grip, simply because it works well, very comfy and the company is good to deal with.
Magazine: we ship a PMag with each rifle.”