View Full Version : LaRue OBR/Predator Review

Sean M
07-17-2011, 09:27 PM

I was recently invited out with a small group of accomplished long range shooters, door kickers, and generally all around good guys to spend an afternoon shooting the LaRue OBR and PredatAR 7.62 and 5.56 rifles.

Freddie Blish, of LaRue Tactical was on hand to give a detailed overview of the rifles, including the history, development, and many of the why’s behind the rifle designs, as well as some insight as to the way ahead with this family from LaRue. The OBR, is intended to be an “Optimized” Battle Rifle, hence the acronym that is the name. The PredatAR on the other hand, is designed to be a lightweight version of the same rifle, coming in at up to 2 lbs lighter than its OBR counterpart.
At first glance, both the 5.56 and 7.62 versions appear to be like every other AR15/AR10 type rifle on the market, with some funky hand guards and unique rail systems. Of course, what you don’t see is where these rifles distance themselves from the rest.

The top rail of the OBR has a built in 20MOA slope to ensure maximum adjustment from whatever optic you choose to mount. The LaRue PredatAR rail/hand guard diameter is noticeable smaller than any other makers out there, and very streamlined. It has threaded holes to which you configure your rail lengths, or covers, or even a sling mount if you desire, but also serves to keep the front end clutter free, smooth, and clean. It mounts directly to the upper receiver, and at no time does the fore-end touch the barrel or barrel nut, providing a 100% true free-floating barrel. Very nice for those interested in long range accuracy.

The bolt and BCG for both rifles are polished chrome plated, and make for a very slick action. The grip is from Magpul, and the stock we tested was the CTR with the ingenious LaRue RISR cheek piece, which allows the shooter to use a higher cheek weld, with the stock extended to any length, yet still be able to run the charging handle as designed. A nice touch for rifles outfitted with high power optics.

While we shot and played with 5.56 versions, it was the 7.62 variants that brought us out, so that is where we spent the majority of our time shooting, and testing. Initial groups from the OBR were right at the advertised 1/2MOA using both M118LR and Mk316LR ammunition. Three leaf clover groups were the norm, with a couple of impressive .40-.45 single ragged holes @ 100 yards, from a bench.

The PredatAR was no slouch in the accuracy department either, with every group fired well under the advertised 1 MOA accuracy standard using the same match grade ammunition as the OBR. Some groups opened up a wee larger than 1 MOA, but that was easily attributed to overzealous shooters going into rapid fire mode for entire magazines and ignoring the 3-5 shot groups.

Moving out to 10” plates at 200 and 300 yards, both rifles banged away at the gong’s with boring consistency from all positions. Every shooter on the line wished the range was 700 yards longer to truly get out and see what each rifle could do at extended ranges.

Finally when the ammunition supply was dry, and the barrels were cooling off, it was pretty obvious to all the shooters that LaRue had developed a very ergonomic, user friendly, reliable, and accurate battle rifle based on a platform that anyone who has served in the military in the last 40 years will be familiar with. There are no drastic changes to the basic Stoner design, just high quality parts, built to the tightest tolerances that allow reliable operation, put together by knowledgeable folks with an eye for detail, and quality assurance.

In this particular group, the PredatAR was the hands down favorite, mostly due to the light weight of the package. Weighing in at 7.75lbs without optics, the 16” barrel version is lighter than a 20” M16. Despite the light weight, recoil is quite manageable, even with the hard hitting 7.62 caliber. While the OBR was more accurate from the bench by ½”, even the seasoned snipers of the group were willing to sacrifice the ½ MOA advantage of the OBR for the lighter PredatAR. Of course, this group was also not looking for a precision rifle either, but a General Purpose Battle Rifle. Talking to others in the group, if a precision rifle was what was desired, the OBR becomes the choice.

Either way, both the OBR and PredatAR rifles proved to be great rifles, and the order for the PredatAR’s is going out once the entire package, final spec’s, and accessories can be agreed upon. My guess is that it will be a cross between the OBR and the PredatAR, taking the desired features from each to get them what they consider to be their own version of an “Optimized Battle Rifle”.

07-17-2011, 09:41 PM
Thanks:rolleyes: Ya just costed me LOTS of Money.... I've been thinking about a PredatAR and now IVe got to get one... :cool:

07-27-2011, 08:54 AM
Sean, can you talk a bit about the recoil characteristics of the 7.62 guns?
I have heard that the OBR has notably good recoil reduction compared to other 7.62 ARs, and I would be interested in your/the group's take on both the OBR and Predator in that regard.

07-27-2011, 01:19 PM
Either way, both the OBR and PredatAR rifles proved to be great rifles, and the order for the PredatAR’s is going out once the entire package, final spec’s, and accessories can be agreed upon. My guess is that it will be a cross between the OBR and the PredatAR, taking the desired features from each to get them what they consider to be their own version of an “Optimized Battle Rifle”.

Sean, by the above are you referring to a work or a personal order?

Sean M
07-28-2011, 12:05 PM

unfortunately, the OBR was equipped with a SF Brake, and I can't know what was brake and what was standard nominal recoil on it.

For the Pred though, the recoil was much less snappy than most of the other 7.62's in the shop. It had a very slow push, almost like the unlocking was retarded somehow. Probably was not, but seemed like a slow shove, vs. the crisp snap you get from an Mk14 EBR or the Mk17.

Intersting note is that the center of balance is right over the the center of the receiver, so whereas some of the other 7.62 guns are very front heavy, this one is not. The balance being more towards the rear allowed me to really get out on the gun and shoot the way I prefer with my support hand high thumbs/slightly over the top. With the gun being less than a standard M16 in terms of slick weight, settling into this position provided a good platform for recoil management, and while I noted it is not 5.56, it did not take nearly the same time to re-acquire the target vs say a Mk11, Mk14, or Mk17.

I really liked the barrel profile on the Pred too. You would think that with the light weight, and pencil barrel the recoil would be more substantial, but I think most of it can be attributed to proper bolt mass, proper spring weights, and over all balance of the rifle, thus eliminating a good majority of impact force being imparted on the receiver. You know how that Mk17 recoil impulse is, and it just beats that receiver like it's cool to do it. Not at all on the Pred.

The 5.56 gun equipped with the brake barely moved. But I am just not a fan of brakes at all. If the is a suppressor going over it, fine. But other than that, they are tactically stupid, and if one needs a brake to handle the recoil of a 5.56, I have a single word of advice........Gym.

Lil Lebo....The group making the purchase is paying out of pocket, but the rifles are being put to use as brush/jungle guns for work.

07-28-2011, 12:39 PM
Sean, what are your thoughts on the MK14 for work? Do you prefer it or the SCAR 17?

Sean M
07-28-2011, 01:14 PM
If it's between the two, then the SCAR wins.

The EBR just did not materialize into a platform that made sense me. Way too heavy for what it does, the initial batch of suppressors was terrible to the point where you got a 6" POI shift at 25 yards, not to mention that it is tough to keep good accuracy with it. Of course, choosing the NF 2.5-10 was a good call, but the reticle they chose for it sucked. With a 5 MOA dot covering every target known to man except maybe an elephant, you could not get good hits at extended ranges.

The SCAR, in it's current configuration and limited accessories being authorized is not all that great either, but it seems that the people in the decision making chairs as finally starting to listen. A new suppressor is on the way, as is a new optic. If we can get them to make a few more minor ergonomic and manual of arms changes, along with some parts swaps, the SCAR will be a good gun for serious work. It is a decent gun now, but it takes a lot of time and energy to make sure everyone understands the little nuances, and there are some compatibility issues with other items in the inventory. I personally don't have any issues with the SCAR beyond the suppressor, but institutionally, there are some things to be worked out still.

I still reach for 5.56 for most things. It does the job just fine, and it works well for me. But it will be nice to have an intermediate caliber gun at some point.

07-28-2011, 01:19 PM
Sean, are these M14 EBRs Smith rifles or Crane?

I take it that your group bought 7.62 PredatARs?

07-28-2011, 04:40 PM
Sean, are these M14 EBRs Smith rifles or Crane?

*cough* M1 Fanboi *cough*

Sean M
07-28-2011, 04:43 PM
L Lebo,

they are Crane. I had re-built one on my own, using the Troy battle chassis, but still didn't care enough for it to keep it. I sold the stock, scope mount, and optics and gave the gun back to work, then returned to 5.56 until the pre-production SCARs came out. Carried it for awhile, and back to 5.56. Then the OTP SCARs hit the shelves, then back to 5.56. Now we are at the second OTP and we will see what happens. I am sticking with 5.56 and the LaRue until they address some of the issues with the SCAR.

The rifle selected was the 16" PredatAR with some features of the OBR and accesories not normally included with the base rifle, such as the LaRue RISR, Troy Ind BUIS, Rail Covers, Sling adapters, and A2 Birdcage flash hider. Chose that flash hider so guys can run whatever they choose instead of having to pick from what LaRue offers. For me, I have a direct thread on Ti .30 cal suppressor, so keeping it with the standard *no additional cost* FH made sense.

08-02-2011, 01:56 PM
God stuff Sean, thanks for your time.

I think I want a 7.62 semi-auto rifle and I am constantly cycling between the SR25 EMC, Mk17, and the OBR/PredatAR.
I have enough time behind a Mk17 to have developed an appreciation for it, but the lack of support keeps driving me away, as does the cost of the EMC.