5.56x45mm SCR Semi-Automatic Sporting Carbine from Ares Defense Systems

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 9th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.







Magazine release.





Charging handle.







Ares SCR can use any 223/5.56 AR-compatible magazine.



The basic semi-automatic AR-15 and its many variations make up a group of rifles that are the most popular style of rifle in the US. I have no idea, and won't even attempt to assemble a list of the many manufacturers of the AR style of rifle in this country, as any list that I might put together would be obsolete and incomplete by the time this review is posted. An AR-15 is one of those weapons with which every person in the US should be familiar, as there may come a day when every citizen will be called upon to use one. I think that every citizen, no matter the country in which he or she lives, should know how to run the basic fighting rifle of their nation, and in the US, the AR is as close to the M16 and M4 as we can legally and affordably own. However, in some jurisdictions of our nation, the privileged few who make the laws, and the idiots who keep electing them, seek to forbid the common citizenry from owning such weapons, and have banned the ownership of one of the best fighting rifles ever designed. In such jurisdictions, those who intend to stay and abide by the law must seek out alternatives, and for those, the Ares SCR (Sport Configurable Rifle) is a weapon which complies with the laws of many of those jurisdictions, and I believe is also fifty-state compliant.

Besides complying with laws which ban certain features of the AR-15 such as vertical pistol grips and telescoping buttstocks, the SCR is also a handy sporting rifle on its own merits. Using many components of the AR system, the SCR is an accurate, reliable, and handy weapon. The buttstock on the carbine shown here is of the Monte Carlo style, made of black synthetic, and is very comfortable to use with a scope. The upper receiver wears a flattop 1913 Picatinny rail, for the mounting of optical sights. The sixteen and one-quarter inch barrel has a slim profile, measuring .603 inch diameter forward of the gas block. The handguard is a black synthetic Magpul MOE carbine-length unit. The hard-anodized aluminum upper receiver has no case deflector, forward assist, nor bolt latch, but the lower will accept AR uppers in various configurations, if desired. The lower receiver is also built of hard-anodized aluminum.

The bolt carrier group accepts AR-style bolts, but the carrier itself is different from a standard AR bolt carrier. The stock has no AR-style buffer tube, but the tailpiece on the bolt carrier compresses a spring within the buttstock upon firing, with the spring returning the carrier, stripping a cartridge from the magazine and pushing it into the chamber. After opening the rifle and pulling the carrier for barrel cleaning, I found it easier to also pull the front pin, fully separating the upper and lower receivers to reassemble the carbine, and inserting the rear pin first, to assure that the tail piece of the carrier was placed properly ahead of the spring. When firing the SCR, the bolt does not remain open on an empty magazine. The SCR ships with one five-round magazine, but will accept any 223/5.56mm AR magazines. The SCR is also offered in and is configurable to the 7.62x39 cartridge. The SCR also ships in a hard plastic storage case.

The carbine version of the SCR shown here weighs in at 5.7 pounds empty, and has an overall length of 16.375 inches. The length of pull measures 13 inches from the center of the butt plate to the center of the trigger. The SCR has a crossbolt safety at the rear of the trigger guard. The trigger pull was a bit on the heavy side, with 10.4 pounds of resistance. The charging handle is of the AR type, pulling rearward and releasing to chamber a round from the magazine.

This test SCR rifle came to me with a Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 1.5 to 5 power scope already mounted, so I left that scope mounted for accuracy testing at 100 yards. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph set out twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, approximately. Temperatures hovered around the eighty-four degree Fahrenheit mark during all velocity testing. Relative humidity was in the sixty-five percent range. Velocity readings are the average of several shots fired, and the results are listed in the chart below. Velocity readings are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. FMJ is a full metal jacket bullet. HP is hollowpoint. V-Max is a polymer-tipped varmint bullet. TSX is a Barnes Triple Shock homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. The handload listed uses the TSX bullet with 24.5 grains of Ramshot TAC powder, a Remington small rifle primer, and Winchester commercial .223 Remington cases.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
American Tactical FMJ 62 2965
Hand Load TSX 62 2790
Winchester USA FMJ 55 2932
Winchester USA FMJ 62 2902
Buffalo Bore HP 69 2878
Samson FMJ 63 2810
Black Hills HP 69 2715
Wolf Gold HP 75 2560
Lake City SS109 AP 62 3082

The Ares SCR functioned perfectly with each type of ammo listed in the chart above. Every cartridge fed, fired, and ejected perfectly, using the supplied five-round magazine, as well as military twenty and thirty-round magazines. The ejection pattern had an empty cartridge to graze the side of my head occasionally, as I fire from the left shoulder, but no blood was drawn nor pain inflicted, as most would glance off the side of my right ear muff. The Monte Carlo buttstock proved very comfortable to handle and fire the weapon. 

Accuracy was very good from the bench. I placed the SCR into my Target Shooting Model 500 rifle rest, and after getting on paper at twenty-five yards, then fifty, I worked on the one hundred yard target for accuracy testing, firing three-shot groups.  Between groups, I allowed the barrel to cool slightly, but not fully, before firing another group. Accuracy varied from superb to better-than-average, with group sizes running from just under half an inch, up to just over two inches, depending upon the ammunition used. Buffalo Bore, Black Hills, and Cor-Bon 69 grain ammo turned in the best accuracy performance, as expected. Also no surprise was that 55 grain surplus stuff produced the largest groups. No rifle can shoot any better than the ammunition fed to it, and many rifles will not shoot up to the standards of the ammunition, but this SCR proved to have the inherent accuracy to take advantage of the accuracy built into quality ammunition.

The Ares SCR performed very well, proving to be one hundred percent reliable, with plenty of accuracy for serving very well for both hunting and social work. My only gripe at all was the heavy pull weight of the trigger, but that is easily corrected after the purchase, if desired. The rifle is light, handy, accurate, and built in the USA. As configured (minus the scope), this rifle carries an MSRP of $865.00 US as of September 2014.

For more information and a list of stocking dealers for the Ares SCR, go to www.aresdefense.com.

For a look at the extensive line of Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.

To order quality 5.56x45 and 223 ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.midsouthshooterssupply.com, www.doubletapammo.com,  and www.luckygunner.com.

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

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Leupold Mark 4 scope.