• Wednesday, September 26, 2018

TFB Review: BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO

Discussion in 'Equipment & Gear' started by Zarvan, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    Bravo Company Manufacturing, Inc. (BCM) is a small, but impactful company within the firearms industry hailing from the holy land of cheese; Wisconsin. They produce a substantial portfolio of AR-15 pistols and rifles in varying calibers and configurations. To compete in the AR-15 market is no small task because as you well know it is extremely saturated. Any company will need a unique product, proprietary features, quality, accuracy and it needs to catch your eyes. With literally millions in circulation and production, all manufacturers cannot produce just “another black rifle.” Today, we will take a look at the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO to see if it can check all the appropriate boxes.

    In this TFB Review, I was afforded the opportunity to not only test and evaluate this rifle through a typical range day, but I also boldly took it on a pig hunt. When I state boldly, I do not want to infer danger or negligence. Simply, it is my personal choice to typically use well-seasoned or long-tenured firearms for hunting purposes.

    The BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO I have been told through anecdotal evidence is a great rifle. From those praising words I put it through a trial by fire pig hunt. Before we dive into my hunt and rangeday though, we will take a look at what parts complete a BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO.

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    SPECIFICATIONS: BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56MM NATO
    When it comes to AR-15 rifles that have price-points beyond a threshold of $1,000+ I personally want to know everything that is going into that rifle. That is not a figurative statement; I am being quite literal. A $1,000 investment into a firearm is not chump change for me, and probably not chump change for a lot of other people as well. I often want to know what comprises a given component, what precision went into the parts or how the quality was crafted.

    In this regard, BCM hits a home run when it comes to presenting data about their rifle. The MSRP is benchmarked at $1,500 and you can decide for yourself if that is an appropriate figure, but BCM does a stellar job outlining the complete build-out of the RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO. Their entire specification listing can be read below.

    Standard Specifications

    • Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
    • Barrel Length: 14.5” Plus Permanent Comp, 16.1+”
    • Twist Rate: 1:7”
    • Barrel Material: 11595E Certified Steel
    • Bore and Chamber: Chrome Lined
    • Barrel Profile: USGI Profile
    • Gas System: Mid-Length
    • Approximate Weight: 6.3 Lbs.
    • Approximate Length: 31.5” Collapsed / 34.5” Extended
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    Barrel & Upper Receiver

    • T-Marked, Flat Top Upper Receiver w/ M4 Feed Ramp & Barrel Extension
    • Independently Certified Mil-Spec 11595E Government Profile Steel Barrel
    • Chrome Lined Bore & Chamber
    • Manganese Phosphate Barrel Finish
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    Bolt-Carrier Group

    • Bolt machined from Mil-Spec Carpenter No. 158® Steel
    • HPT Bolt (High Pressure Tested/ Proof)
    • MPI Bolt (Magnetic Particle Inspected)
    • Shot Peened Bolt
    • Chrome Lined Carrier (AUTO)
    • Chrome Lined Gas Key
    • Gas Key Hardened to USGI Specifications
    • Grade 8 Hardened Fasteners Key
    • Staked Per Mil-Spec
    • Tool Steel Extractor
    • Black Extractor Insert
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    Lower Receiver & Buffer Assembly

    • Receivers Machined from Aluminum Forgings 7075-T6
    • Receivers Hardcoat Anodized per MIL-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2
    • Staked M4 Lock Nut
    • USGI H Buffer (1 USGI Tungsten, 2 Steel)
    • Low Shelf for RDIAS Installation
    • Low Shelf for Accuwedge Use
    • Fire Controls marked SAFE & SEMI
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    BCM Upgrades

    • Quad Rail Free Float 12” Handguard
    • BCM Stock Mod 0 SOPMOD
    • BCM GunFighter Charging Handle
    • BCM Mod 1 Compensator
    • BCM Mod 3 Pistol Grip
    • BCM QD End Plate
    • BCM PNT™ Trigger
    • BCM Trigger Guard
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    INSPECTION: BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56MM NATO
    Before heading outdoors to toss a flurry of lead down range it is always good to inspect any firearm before use. Some rudimentary, but basic visual checks are that the castle nut on the buffer tube is staked. For this rifle it was. This ensures proper cycling of the action, a tight lock-up for improved accuracy and its a huge “tell” as to whether or not the manufacturer cares about the small details.

    The next thing inspected was the lock-up or connection of the handguard to the upper receiver. BCMemploys a proprietary Keymod handguard that is fabricated in-house. The timing was true to the upper receiver and it was tight; zero play or slop in the lock-up. Inspection of the gas block and gas tube proved that they were staked and positioned properly as well.

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    A final thing I look for specifically in AR-15s before slinging lead down range is extremely basic, but once again, valuable to look at. Are pins in the lower receiver positioned correctly (not walking out)? Is the pistolgrip tight? Is the stock tight? Is the muzzle device tight? Can the gun be dry-fired? Can you manually cycle the action cleanly? Does the gun look safe and have no abnormalities present?

    In the case of the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO, I could say yes to all of these questions (which is a good thing) so I continued on out to the gun range.

    RANGE DAY: BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56MM NATO
    Getting this rifle out to the range was honestly a delight. I mounted my Vortex StrikeEagle 1-6x24mm scope on the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO and bore-sighted the optic before I got to the range. The results that I would achieve would entirely be on my shoulders and the ability of the rifle because it was a calm 70 degree day in MN.

    To begin, I shot some simple Federal XM193 55 Grain Ball ammo to get the rifle on paper at 100 yards. I easily hit the roughly 8 1/2″ x 11″ Shoot-N-C target I was aiming at and walked it into the bulls-eye from there. Once I believe I had the rifle zeroed, the XM193 ammo was grouping anywhere from 1 1/2″ – 2″ in size. Considering that the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO is a 1 in 7″ twist rate rifle (and would likely prefer heavier grain weights), I thought this was fine for now.

    With the rifle now zeroed, I moved onto heavier grain weight ammo; the ammunition I would be using for my pig hunt. This ammo was Hornady Superformance Match 5.56 NATO 75 Grain Boat-Tail Hollow-Point (BTHP). At the same distance of 100 yards, this ammo printed on paper anywhere from 7/8″ – 1 1/8″ groups. I shot three 3-shot groups to see if there was consistency in essentially 3 different areas: my shooting ability, the ammo’s consistency and the rifle’s consistency.

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    I did not try to stretch this rifle out any further than 100 yards because my impending hunt would likely have me shooting 50 yards or less, and in my personal use of AR-15s they are kept to 100 yards or less as well. If I want to tag something beyond 100 yards I am going to be reaching for a bolt-action rifle. This is not an insult to BCM, any AR-15 manufacturer or even the platform. I believe it is just important to understand that there is always a right tool for every job.

    Overall, while shooting at the range the rifle cycled as expected. No problems of ejecting, extracting, feeding or poor performance occurred whatsoever. Getting moderate sized groups of 2″ with some XM193ammo I almost expected to occur. Once I switched over to something heavier it immediately shrunk the groups. With all due respect to Hornady, there are definitely higher grades of match grade ammo on the market that I understand could have shrunk my group sizes even more. I chose the Hornady for its factory FT – Lbs of energy because I did not have time to reload for Part 2 of this review: the pig hunt. I am more than confident that with some Varget and some testing that 7/8″ group could be improved even more.

    THE HUNT: BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56MM NATO
    From a hunting stand-point, the Hornady Superformance Match 5.56 NATO 75 Grain BTHP is obviously a heavier grain weight which would be important in a smaller cartridge like 5.56mm NATO while hunting, but Hornady also achieves some impressive FT – Lbs of energy with this load as well.

    The BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO comes with a metal 30-round magazine, but for this hunt I opted for a 20-round Magpul PMAG. I definitely would not need 30 rounds of ammo for this hunt (or 20 for that matter), but the smaller profile of the 20-round PMAG would be more wieldy in the woods.

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    After about an hour of still hunting at Big Oak Elk Ranch in northeastern Iowa I came across a lone pig laying in a dirt hollow on a hill top with only the crest of his back and head visible. With the pig on the top of a ravine and myself near the bottom I stalked closer in dense, lush foliage. Understanding I was literally fighting an uphill battle bringing a smaller cartridge like 5.56mm NATO to hunt a pig I would be aiming for the brain of the pig; not a traditional heart/lung shot. At approximately 20 yards, significantly under my 100 yard sight-in, I held my crosshairs where I believed they would need to be for such a close shot.

    BANG!

    The rifle and my aim were true and I hit exactly where I intended to, but 200+ Lbs pigs do not go down easily. The pig exploded to his feet now barreling down the ravine towards me. The pig was not charging, but essentially heading for thicker cover. The dense canopy of trees and leaves had me ears ringing tremendously from the 1st shot, but I needed to take another one.

    BANG!

    The 2nd shot struck the pig a mere inch from the first. This dropped the pig on the hillside nearly parallel to me. The large pig was now down for the count, but was not dead yet. With adrenaline high, ears ringing like church bells and myself pretty impressed with the close-quarters handling of the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO, I walked over to the pig for a final 3rd shot. I love to hunt and I love to eat wild game, but I also have a tremendous amount of respect for wild game and never want them to suffer.

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    All in all, my hunt was successful! The rifle performed great, I laid it on muddy terrain for photo ops, bumped into trees, rubbed it on an ATV and essentially did not baby the rifle, but I did not try to abuse it either.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56MM NATO
    To summarily describe the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO, it is a winner! The rifle has components that are meticulously hand-chosen and BCM goes into significant detail to tell you what is in the rifle. I personally appreciate it when companies tell you everything. I do not think other companies are necessarily hiding anything, but I love the transparency in their build. Another piece I always bring up in my reviews and some people think does not matter is the appearance. I always say nobody wants an accurate gun that is ugly. No one would like muscle cars if they looked like a Pinto, right? Well, the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO is an attractive rifle in my eyes so that is always a bonus.

    Other small things I appreciate are the QD sling mounts, the mid-length gas system, chrome lining and Accuwedge built into the lower. The proprietary BCM components not only compliment the look of the rifle, but they are also rigid, solid and textured well.

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    As far as accuracy, I was satisfied with the results. Your basic range, ball ammo grouped well enough at 2″ where you could shoot 3-gun matches or plink around for days with your buddies with no issues. If you are looking to do a hunt like myself or something requiring more precision, I think the BCM RECCE-14 KMR-A 5.56mm NATO being able to shoot 7/8″ groups with boxed ammo more than proves that. Much higher end ammo or reloads could yield even better results.

    This rifle once again has an MSRP of $1,500 which I believe is fair for the quality of the firearm. In closing, I want to thank BCM for allowing TFB to play around with one of their products. Also, for Big Oak Elk Ranch being great hosts on what was my 3rd time hunting on their property.

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    https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/07/09/tfb-review-bcm-recce-14/