Sionics Perimeter Marksman SAR-15 5.56x45mm Semi-Automatic Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

July 11th, 2012




Click pictures for a larger version.





Bolt release.





Ambidextrous safety switch.





ACE skeleton buttstock.





Magazine release (top), forward assist (bottom).



It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to get excited over another AR-15. I don’t even try to count the number of manufacturers of these rifles anymore. It is not that I do not like the AR-15 style of rifle. It is just that there are only so many ways to put one of these together, and most are pretty much alike, varying only in the name stamped into the receiver. Again, I really like the AR-15 design, and I own several. In fact, I recommend the AR-15 often, and believe that it is one rifle which should be owned by every American who is old enough the handle one. I think that public schools should have shooting programs which teach the handling and operation of the weapon, as it is as close to our nation’s battle rifle as most of us can legally own. Still, when a new AR-15 arrives for review, unless it is set up just right, I have a hard time getting myself pumped up over the task of writing a review. Fortunately, the subject of this review is set up just right.

The Perimeter Marksman SAR-15 from Sionics Weapon Systems is built just like I would have an AR built, if I could own only one. I have a few AR-15 rifles. Some are equipped with sixteen inch barrels and telescoping buttstocks for social work. A light, handy AR is a good fighting rifle. They are easy to shoot, reliable, and accurate enough for the purpose. I also have ARs that are purpose-built for hunting. These have longer barrels, either twenty or twenty-four inches, excellent triggers, and solid buttstocks. They are superbly accurate, and make hits on small targets easy at long range. The Perimeter Marksman rifle shown here is set up in such as way that it would easily fill the need of a fighting rifle or a hunting rifle.

For starters, the Perimeter Marksman has an excellent trigger. Most AR-15 rifles on the market today do not. I fully understand that a carbine built for close range fighting can get along just fine with a seven pound trigger pull that is not particularly smooth. Many shooters and AR builders refer to this type of trigger as “mil-spec”, as if that is something really special. It is not. This Perimeter Marksman rifle has a two-stage target trigger that releases with a specified release of 4.5 pounds, but the pull on this test rifle was even better, releasing with just three and one-half pounds of resistance, which makes hitting a target at long range much easier.

No rifle will shoot better than its barrel, no matter how many gadgets are bolted on its accessory rail. The Perimeter Marksman rifle is built around a match grade stainless steel eighteen and one-half inch barrel with a one-in-eight-inches twist. The muzzle wears a Sionics muzzle brake, which seems to be very effective. The barrel length chosen for this rifle is perfect for a do-everything AR. It is short enough to be handy, but long enough for better velocity and reliability. The barrel has a 5.56mm chamber, so it will fire both 5.56 and 223 Remington ammunition without a problem. The Perimeter Marksman rifle wears an ACE Skeleton full-length buttstock. This is my favorite AR buttstock for comfort while shooting, and the stock which I chose to install on my 50 Beowulf AR. To my knowledge, there is no better buttstock available for an AR-15.

The bolt carrier is M-16 spec for durability, and is nickel plated for corrosion resistance with PFTE for lubricity. The bolt wears a heavy duty extractor spring. The pistol grip is a Magpul unit, and the excellent folding backup sights are also from Magpul. The free-floating hand guard is perfect. It measures fifteen inches in length, has a full-length integral top rail, but thankfully, is smooth on the sides and bottom. Sections of rail can be added to the hand guard, if desired. In addition, the Perimeter Marksman has a forward assist and case deflector, spring-loaded dust cover, and a flattop upper receiver to accommodate an optical sight.

Mounted atop this Sionics rifle for testing is a Trijicon 3 to 9 power AccuPoint riflescope. This is a superb scope for such a rifle, having the ability to help the shooter make long range hits, as well as for use at moderate distances quickly. The post reticle wears an illuminated chevron at the top. The reticle is lighted by tritium and fiber optic, is always “on”, and never needs batteries. The fiber optic ring adjusts the brightness of the aiming point according to the lighting conditions, making the scope useful in bright sunlight as well as almost total darkness.

For accuracy testing, I mounted my mule; the Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power target/tactical scope. The Trijicon is a terrific scope, but the higher-powered Leupold scope allows me to get all the accuracy that I possibly can out of a rifle/ammo combo, as it helps me to see the target better. From a solid rest, it eliminates most of my human error, and allows me to see just how well a rifle will shoot. 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-nine degree Fahrenheit mark during all velocity testing. Relative humidity was fifty-seven percent. 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. Accuracy results are listed below in inches, and are the average of five groups with each type of ammunition. Accuracy testing was done with the rifle resting in a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest, to eliminate as much shooter error as possible. The rifle was allowed to cool between each brand of ammo tested.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy
Stryker V-Max 55 2845 0.94"
Lake City M855 62 3093 1.25"
Hand Load TSX 62 2777 1.13"
Winchester USA FMJ 62 2803 1.75"
Buffalo Bore HP 77 2696 0.98"
Buffalo Bore HP 69 2963 0.512"
Black Hills HP 69 2553 0.90"
Wolf Gold HP 75 2583 1.12"
Cor-Bon HP 69 2525 0.78"

As I have come to expect, the Buffalo Bore Sniper ammunition exhibited the best accuracy of all loads tested. I show a picture of one particular three-shot group that measured only one-quarter of an inch using the Buffalo Bore 69 grain Sniper ammo, but that was the best group fired of the day, and probably the best group that I have fired with any rifle this year! The Buffalo Bore 69 grain average group size was outstanding, just over a half an inch at one hundred yards. Some of the other ammunition tested also fired sub-minute-of-angle at one hundred yards. I did no farther shooting at paper with this rifle, but did use it at the Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico last month, firing at small rocks and such out to around 600 yards, using the Trijicon AccuPoint three to nine power scope. As noted above, the reticle in that scope is built for fast target engagement, but still allowed for plenty of precision for long range shooting. The optics are very clear, and the brightness of the chevron aiming point is adjustable. The Sionics rifle functioned one hundred percent reliably during all testing. Every cartridge fed, fired, and ejected without fail.

The Sionics Perimeter Marksman is, in my opinion, one of the best AR-15 rifles on the market for a rifle that will fill many needs, from fighting to hunting to competition. It is assembled using the best components available, then thoroughly tested to make certain that the rifle is as accurate and reliable as is fitting for a rifle of this quality. The rifle balances and handles well, weighing in at seven pounds, six ounces empty. The overall length measures 38.25 inches. You can certainly buy a cheaper AR-15 than the Perimeter Marksman, but at an MSRP of $1499 US as of this writing, this Sionics is a pretty good deal. You can also spend a lot more on an AR-15, but doing so will not guarantee that you will get a better rifle. The Sionics Perimeter Marksman is reliable, accurate, built right, and built in the USA.

Check out the entire line of Sionics firearms and accessories online at

To order high quality 5.56x45mm and 223 Remington ammunition online, go to,, and

For more information on premium quality optics, go to and

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor 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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Click pictures for a larger version.







Trijicon AccuPoint scope.



Magpul folding sights.



Buffalo Bore Sniper ammunition.



Jeff was tempted to have turkey for supper.



Best group of the day.