Preview: Core 15 Rifle System’s “CoreXXX”

That’s XXX as in roman numeral 30. If you were hoping for porn, well, Core15’s CoreXXX (say,”Core 30″) is a new billet-machined AR platform .308, utilizing Core15’s unique “Hardcore” lower receiver design (goes well with the XXX, right?); it is “gun porn” at its finest. Or at least it will be once I get pictures – and a promised video – of the completed first mock-up. I received a short video of the freshly machined lower this afternoon, but have agreed to not post it and instead wait for pictures and a video of the completed upper and lower, coming soon. I am told that I am the third person on the planet to lay eyes on the first prototype of the Core 30 lower; serial number 1. That makes me feel pretty special. But, what is the Core 30, and why is it so special? Thought you’d never ask …

Core15 Hardcore Lower Receiver for 5.56x45mm Imagine this, slightly longer and beefier to accommodate the .308. (Photo courtesy of Core15 Rifle Systems)
Core15 Hardcore Lower Receiver for 5.56x45mm Imagine this, slightly longer and beefier to accommodate the .308. (Photo courtesy of Core15 Rifle Systems)

I have always wanted an AR-10. The swollen .308win (7.62x51mm NATO) version of the ubiquitous AR-15 .223rem (5.56x45mm) just seems a good idea. Same platform; same features; same method of operation. These all cut down on auto-pilot retraining when switching between a short-range carbine and a medium to long range high powered rifle. It allows for quick reloads and rapid fire, just as the AR-15, except firing the much more powerful .308, the standard sniper round. However, with every good idea you can typically find at least two bad problems. I’ve always found at least one with AR-10 type rifles: unless you’re handling a prohibitively expensive custom shop rifle, they usually feel junky. It’s kind of like a 15 year old kid who suddenly grew six inches over the summer; nothing fits right and his suddenly larger size makes him seem awkward and clunky. But this issue will hopefully be resolved with the Core 30. They certainly have a good start in concept.

Take a look at the picture of the Hardcore receiver, above. If you’re familiar with the AR platform you’ll notice one thing right away – the over-sized trigger guard is machined as part of the lower receiver. I’ve always wondered why this was never done. It seemed an obvious point of potential strengthening in the standard mil-spec lowers. Now, with the Hardcore line of lowers, Core15 has done it. But that’s not all. They also incorporate Core15’s standard beveled mag well, for quicker and smoother reloads, and every receiver is hard anodized for extra durability. But from the start, each Hardcore receiver is CNC machined out of a single billet of 7075-T6 aluminum that has been heat treated and stress relieved, making it inherently stronger.

The real trick with the Core 30’s potential

is that it will have Hardcore lower and upper, machined simultaneously from the same piece of bar stock and precision fit to strict tolerances. Core15’s attention to detail and quality control should combine nicely with this production concept to eliminate that sloppy fit, junky feel that so many AR-10’s have. In fact, if the Core 30 is as good as I’m expecting, the only similarities between it and “normal” AR-10’s will be in how they look and operate. The precision manufacturing should elevate them to a standard not seen by most AR-10’s.

How are the guys at Core15 able to produce something that no one else is? They’re one of the handful of companies that actually machine all their receivers and the majority of the rest of their parts in house! Bushmaster doesn’t do it. Colt doesn’t do it. Smith and Wesson doesn’t do it. Core15 has a small shop with a handful of guys who machine, fit and assemble, and test fire, every firearm they make. Yet they remain price competitive with the bigger brands. I hope to soon visit the facility in Ocala, Florida, and get a factory tour in addition to perusing the retail sales floor they operate right there at the plant. I’m told you can walk in and order up your rifle like it’s Burger King – your way.

They offer standard versions of “off the rack” AR’s from their catalog, as well as full customs that’ll make you drool on sight. The company slogan? “Where mil-spec is just a starting point…” And it seems they mean it. Indeed, with standard Magpul furniture, varying by model, standard CMMG triggers and optional Cerakote finish to make it virtually bomb-proof (and in any color you want), it seems calling a Core15 rifle “mil-spec” is like calling a Hennessey tuned Viper a “Dodge.”

Model offerings for the CoreXXX will include a Base model, a MOE-dressed mid range, and a TAC model with quad rail and other goodies. Pricing has not been set yet, but considering the reasonable and competitive pricing of the rest of their products, I would expect it to fall in line similarly to the Armalite models, ranging from around $1,400 for a Basic model up to perhaps twice that or more for a fully optioned rendition. Consider also that I’m told the word of mouth of their regular customers already has demand up for the Core 30, and maybe that price range is a little low. While those prices may not be “cheap,” couple them with the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty of a Made in USA product that’s built better than most, and the value equation goes up. Seems lots of people can’t wait to get their hands on one. I know I can’t.

Look for a full-blown review of the CoreXXX here soon. I’ll be taking it to the range, and will have photos and videos posted before it makes its debut at the industry expo Shot Show in January! In the meantime, check out the Core15 Rifle Systems website and their videos on YouTube. Here’s a sample:

Update: So the review prior to SHOT show didn’t happen. In fact, it still hasn’t. Production is just too crazy at the Core15 factory right now. However, I’ve added some info and a video in a new update article.


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