A few weeks back I was introduced to Special Projects Unlimited and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing one of their rifles. Before accepting the weapon in question I made it clear that although I am sniper-qualified I am NOT currently sniper-active. In other words, I don't do precision rifle work every day. I know and understand the mechanics, but I'm not on par with a great many such shooters today. That understood, I accepted the weapon for test and evaluation and began seeking range time. When I finally got down behind the weapon I was quite pleased with what I experienced. Let's take a look at the rifle, its component parts, and performance.
Special Projects Unlimited LLC is located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Quite honestly, I had never heard of the company before we were introduced by a common friend. Once I had talked to them I found out that they were interested in having me review a precision rifle--otherwise known as a "sniper rifle." Well, of course, I'm always happy to get down behind a good rifle, so we made arrangements to meet and I picked up the rifle pictured at right. The rifle was delivered in a hard case with the Special Projects Unlimited logo on it, and that is how it's been predominantly transported. But on the day I picked it up, I was on my way to BlackHawk in Norfolk, VA, and I just had to select a "drag bag" for the rifle.
As I accepted the rifle, the first thing that struck me was how heavy it was. Of course, that was as compared to the ARs and shotguns I'm more used to handling. On my digital scale, the rifle, as delivered, weighs 16.5 pounds. The most obvious features are the 18-inch barrel, adjustable stock and five-round box magazine. Basic stats are nice, but they come nowhere near telling the true story. In addition to the rifle itself, other equipment was included in the hard case, and I'll review that farther down.
Those of you into precision rifle work may recognize the US Optics Scope, Harris Bipod and McMillan fully adjustable stock. Note also the oversized bolt handle (shown right). The weapon is built on a Remington 700 action and uses a heavy/bull 18-inch barrel which has a threaded muzzle capped by a threat protector. I tried to talk the SPU rep into letting me keep the silencer, but it just wasn't going to happen. I think he saw that evil glint in my eye and thought better of it. I was also provided 30 rounds of Black Hills 175 g .308 ammo. The rep told me that the gun seems to prefer that ammo but allowed me to shoot any factory .308 ammo I wanted. On hand on range day, I had some Federal Match 168 g ammo and some American Eagle 150 g ammo. After my time at the range, although I did get everything to feed and fire (the rep thought the Federal stuff might not work), it was obvious that the weapon preferred the heavier rounds from Black Hills.
One of the things I knew I'd enjoy about the rifle was the fully adjustable and bedded McMillan A5 stock. When I went through sniper school a few years back I had to build up the stock quite a bit so that I could achieve a solid cheek weld AND proper eye relief. With the McMillan stock it's far easier to adjust it to fit a particular shooter. The length of the shoulder stock is also adjustable, so trigger reach can be made as comfortable as possible. One "special" feature of the McMillan stock that I particularly liked was the stippling on the curve of the stock and on the fore end. The photo right shows what I'm talking about on the stock. While smooth may feel nice sometimes, a little bit of texture goes a long way toward securing a firm yet comfortable grip.
For all that "neat" stuff about the rifle, the bottom line is, "How well does it shoot?"