High Standardís New AR-15 Rifles

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

September 15th, 2005

 

 

 

The AR-15 has become one of the most popular rifles in history, and for good reason. They work, and they are accurate. However, there are many people who love to criticize the AR to no end. Mostly these are folks who have never owned one. It is true that blued steel and walnut makes for a much prettier rifle than does black plastic and anodized aluminum, but the AR is not about pretty. The AR-15 is one of the most user-friendly rifles ever produced. It is reasonably light in weight, easy to shoot, and can be extremely accurate. It also seems that the number of manufacturers producing AR-15s is growing daily. In spite of its critics, somebody is buying a lot of these weapons, as they are more popular than ever.

One of the latest manufacturers to produce the AR-15 is High Standard Manufacturing of Houston, Texas. The name of High Standard has long been associated with high quality target pistols. They still produce those, but have now ventured into the AR-15 market, producing four variations of the rifle. We recently received here two of their rifles, which are the subject of this article. One of the rifles has a flattop with built-in Picatinny rail for easy optics mounting, A2 fixed buttstock, and twenty inch barrel. The other has a carry handle with A2 adjustable rear sight, four-position CAR collapsible buttstock, and a sixteen inch barrel. Both have A2 closed-bottom flash suppressors, bayonet lugs, and standard A2 front sights.  The twenty-inch rifle weighs seven and pounds and thirteen ounces, and the sixteen-inch version weighs six pounds and twelve ounces. Both have sling attachments and come with a thirty-round magazine. The triggers on both rifles are standard AR-15 type, and the trigger pulls are a bit heavy for my tastes, but they are okay for a combat weapon. The trigger pull on the twenty-inch rifle releases at six pounds and ten ounces, and the pull weight on the sixteen-inch gun measures seven and one-half pounds. Both can be improved with a little effort and a good stoning by a knowledgeable gunsmith.

While most AR-15s are pretty reliable, I tried hard to make these new guns jam. I tried several different types of 5.56mm and .223 ammo in the two rifles, firing the weapons from several positions. I rotated the guns, firing them straight up, on their left side, on their right side, and fully upside down. Both weapons functioned perfectly. Both were fired until the became pretty dirty with powder residue, and continued to operate perfectly. They fed, fired, and ejected every round, from both new thirty-round magazines and from forty-year-old twenty-round mags.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Leupold Mark 4 PR, 4.5 to 14 power Mil Dot scope atop the twenty inch rifle using an ArmaLite one-piece mount. I love the ArmaLite mount. It works well, and is very strong.  This Leupold scope has a 40mm objective and side focus. It has superb optical quality. I can see details like holes in target with this scope set at 14 power that I cannot see with other twenty-power scopes.  I believe this Leupold scope to be the best tactical scope that you can buy for the price. I only wish that it came with lens covers. I hate snapping  covers from a twenty dollar Tasco scope on a nice Leupold. Leupold has remedied the problem by introducing some very nice "Alumina" lens caps for their scopes, I just have not got any for this scope yet. I must do that, or order a set of Butler Creek caps for it. Anyway, it is an excellent scope, and I highly recommend it. It is just about the right size for an AR, offering excellent optics, plenty of magnification, and a compact size. Perfect.

The rifle turned in a good performance, with group sizes ranges from a worst of one and three-quarters inches at 110 yards to a best of five-eighths of an inch at that same distance. The Winchester Ballistic Silvertips were the most accurate ammo tested. No handloads were tried for accuracy. I think that the practical accuracy could be improved a bit with a lighter trigger pull, which is my only criticism of this rifle. However, the trigger pull on these High Standards is as good as most AR-15s on the market, and better than some.

These These new High Standards are good, reliable weapons, and should be considered if you are in the market for an AR-15. They are available exclusively through Lipseyís Distributors, so have your dealer contact them  at: 1-800-666-1333 to order. For a list of dealers near you, go to: www.lipseys.com and click on the dealer locator. You can also see all four variations of the High Standard AR-15 online at the same web address.

For more info on the extensive line of Leupold optics, go to:  www.leupold.com.

Jeff Quinn

 

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

High Standard AR-15 rifles: 16-inch carbine with CAR-style collapsible buttstock (left) and 20-inch "Flattop" with A2-style buttstock (right).

 

 

 

 

CAR-style collapsible buttstock on the 16-inch carbine adjusts to four different lengths.

 

 

The High Standard AR-15 is right at home mounted to the hood rack of the author's Yamaha Rhino.

 

 

For accuracy testing, Jeff mounted one of Leupold's excellent Mark 4 PR 4.5-14X Mil-Dot scopes

 

 

The High Standard AR-15s performed very well with a variety of ammunition, favoring Winchester's 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip load.

 

 

Best groups were produced with Winchester's 55-grain Ballistic Silvertips, while the worst groups (a very respectable 1-3/4" at 110 yards) were produced with WW-USA's 62-grain FMJ "White Box" loads.

 

 

A promising new entrant into the AR-15 market, High Standard is producing accurate, reliable rifles at a reasonable price.