In January of 2013 I decided to move forward on my desire to obtain an AR that was capable of a decent level of precision. I suppose that I was envisioning something that would work in the realm between a bolt gun and a carbine- somewhat handy but still capable of hitting small things at an intermediate distance. It would also be very nice to have most of the capabilities of both in one system- something of a go-to general purpose piece.
I was recommended Noveske barrels for a good barrel that would be up to serious use. There weren’t any barrels from anybody to be had at that time. There actually wasn’t anything AR related to be had at that time. I decided to order a complete Noveske upper, as their reputation for build quality seems to be stellar. I found a dealer, Werner Arms, running a group buy on Sniper’s Hide with a better price than I could find anywhere else so I put my order in. The kicker with Noveske is that I had to pay up front.
Months went by. I had expected this, as demand was incredible. I figured it could take up to a year. Mrs. Rifleslinger was skeptical that I would ever receive it. She had good reason to be skeptical, because I lost over $400 on a Redding group buy a few years back when Adam Bauer of Bauer Arms in Colorado (formerly Minnesota) decided to take my money without ever delivering a product. I suppose I’m still a little bitter over that.
In November I was expecting 2 rolls of 1000 Cordura via UPS. The man shows up, brings a roll of Cordura to the door, then brings another box. My wife has to sign for some reason. She brings the box to me with a confused look on her face. “What’s Nov… Nove,?” I look over her shoulder to see, in small print in the return address, the word “Noveske”.
I decided to leave this seal in tact 🙂
The contents of the box.
My Noveske upper has a 16” stainless barrel with a mid-length gas system, Noveske’s NSR rail and an AAC flash suppressor. The upper is built around the Vltor Modular Upper Receiver (MUR), which is supposed to be dimensionally correct and more rigid than other upper receivers. An upper’s an upper as far as I’m concerned as long as it’s true, but this one looks cool.
I’m very impressed with the NSR rail. Rather than a quad rail setup, the only fixed rail on this handguard is the top rail. Everywhere else there are attachment points to put accessories where you want them. This is a lot better from a rifle shooting perspective, in my opinion. I don’t want or need a million accessories on my handguard. Right now I want a forward sling mount and a flashlight. If I were using night vision that would change a little. I may consider a bipod later on. The NSR allows me to mount the things I need directly where I want them instead of having to put rail covers over most of the surface and still end up with an excessively bulky forend.
The Noveske has a low profile gas block that is pinned in place and is entirely covered by the handguard. This gives the forend a very clean look. It also extends the usable length of the handguard, unlike my other mid-length ARs, which both have front sight post gas blocks. The extra length of the handguard on this upper allows a wider range of motion than I am used to with ARs, perhaps with rifles in general. I think this is one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy shooting my ARs as much in the past, especially with carbine length gas systems; they forced me to choke up my support hand so much that it felt contorted. The extra length of the handguard also means that I can cram more accessories on the handguard, such as iPhone mounts, multiple forward grips (vertical and angled, depending on my mood), flashlights (various sizes, colors, lumen ratings), picatinny mounted hair dryer and makeup compact, alligator skin clutch, oh wait, never mind.
The first thing I did after pulling the upper out of the box was to go to the gun room and find the partially completed Mega lower from the shelf it’s been sitting on since about aught nine or so. There was only a quarter inch layer of dust on. I still lack a buttstock, a pistol grip, and a trigger guard for it. It’s been three or four years since I last checked any of that stuff out, and there seems to be a greater variety now. I’ll have to re-educate myself.
The major component that I will need to consider very carefully is the sight. The rifle as it is, even with the somewhat fixed configuration of being a 16” AR, is a relatively blank canvas. The sight I choose will give it the attributes that will make it useful for certain things, and perhaps not so useful for others. I believe that in the age we are in the sight that is put on a rifle is as critical, or perhaps more so, than the rifle itself. In order to make the right choice I’ll need to consider very carefully what my expectations are for the rifle, and what priorities are most important.
I’m excited that this is probably the most precise rifle in my inventory (until my FN gets back from its indefinite stay at the gunsmith’s). It will also be exciting to see what takes longer, getting my bolt gun back or accumulating enough cash to finish the AR. It will probably be the slowest race that has ever been run. This could take months. Talk about anticipation!!!