Limited Edition AM-15 5.56x45mm Semi-Auto Rifles from Anderson Manufacturing


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 28th, 2010

UPDATED October 4th, 2010


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Anderson Manufacturing M4-Style Carbine (top) and Counter Sniper Rifle with Digital Camo finish (bottom). logo.



Special Digital Camo finish option.





Trijicon Reflex sight.



The Anderson rifles proved to be very accurate and 100% reliable using a variety of ammunition.







The Limited-Edition Anderson rifles have sold out, and are no longer available.

Ar-15 style semi-automatic rifles are the most popular style of centerfire rifles in the free world right now, and for good reason. It helps that the AR-15 is very close in design and use to our nationís military main fighting rifle, but the AR-15 is also a very good design. Often degraded and despised by armchair commandos who have never put an AR to their shoulder, the fifty year old design seems to work very well for those who use it. The AR family of rifles is easy to shoot, and easy to shoot well. The straight-back stock design and pistol grip makes the rifles handle very well, for comfortable all-day shooting. The AR-15 style rifle is available chambered for many different cartridges, from seventeen to fifty caliber, covering every possible use that one might have for a hand-held rifle or carbine. Primarily chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge, the rifle serves pretty well in the field and in combat. Today, there are more makers of AR-15 style rifles than ever before, and each manufacturer has something that seems to differentiate his rifles from those of other manufacturers.

One of the latest manufacturers to enter the AR market is Anderson Manufacturing of Hebron, Kentucky. Anderson has been making AR-15 receivers and additional parts for other AR builders for several years, but are now selling complete rifles bearing their own brand. Anderson uses high quality components, such as Shaw and Walther barrels, along with Magpul stocks and magazines, to assemble some very high quality, accurate rifles. More on that accuracy later. What intrigued me the most and really piqued my interest is the RF-85 metal conditioning treatment applied to the Anderson rifles, allowing them to run without any liquid lubrication at all. Anyone who has ever tried to keep an AR running smoothly in a dusty or sandy environment knows the problems that can occur when blowing silt and sand enter into the action of a rifle which is coated with oil. Again, I will get more detailed on this metal conditioning later into this review.

These new Anderson rifles featured here bear their brand on one side, and the logo on the other. I want to make it clear at this point that is not selling rifles. We canít do that and retain our objectivity. Selling Gunblast branded rifles, scopes, shotguns, handguns, leather, ammo, and other products would be pretty easy to do, but in my opinion doing so would severely do harm to our credibility, and our integrity is not for sale. Our readers depend upon us for honest, unbiased reviews, and I would rather die penniless than to sell our reputation. However, I was really impressed with the first Anderson rifle that I shot a few weeks ago on a prairie dog shoot out in South Dakota, and we have entered into a licensing agreement with Anderson to produce a limited number of branded rifles, for our readers who would like to have one. This is the first time that we have allowed our name to be branded upon an AR, but we think that the Anderson rifles are that good. The rifles will not be sold by, but our readers can order directly from Anderson Manufacturing to get the branded rifles and carbines. See details on how to order at the end of this review. This logo is available on any AM-15 that Anderson produces, and for purposes of this review, I fired two of my favorites, the Counter Sniper rifle and the M-4 style carbine.

The Counter Sniper is my favorite of the two. It has a free-floated heavy twenty inch barrel with an excellent Micor flash suppressor/muzzle brake.. It also has the superb Magpul Precision Adjustable buttstock and an aluminum railed hand guard. The Counter Sniper weighs in at just a hair under nine pounds without magazine, and came supplied with two thirty-round Magpul P-Mag magazines and a hard plastic case. The M-4 wears a sixteen inch free-floated M-4 style barrel that is contoured to accept a grenade launcher, if you happen to have one handy, and has a wicked-looking flash suppressor/muzzle brake that is a weapon in itself. It wears a shorter version of the aluminum railed hand guard, a Magpul adjustable buttstock, and weighs six and one-quarter pounds without magazine. Like the Counter Sniper, it also came with two thirty-round Magpul P-Mag magazines in a hard case. Both rifles have very good trigger pulls, with pull weights in the five to five and one-half pound range. The hand guards are drilled and tapped to add as many sections of Picatinny rail as anyone would ever need.

For accuracy testing, I mounted my mule, the Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power target scope using an ArmaLite one-piece mount. Accuracy testing was done at 100 yards, with the results shown in the chart below. Group sizes are the average of three-shot groups at that distance. Group sizes are listed in inches. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, approximately. Temperatures hovered around the seventy-five degree Fahrenheit mark during all testing. 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. SRT is a load using specialized bullets as loaded into ammo produced by Extreme Shock Ammunition. 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 (Counter Sniper) Velocity (M-4)
Hand Load TSX 62 2864 2757
Winchester USA FMJ 62 2975 2834
Buffalo Bore HP 77 2777 2628
Extreme Shock SRT 55 2666 2408
Black Hills HP 69 2754 2531
Wolf Gold HP 75 2602 2433

Accuracy Results at 100 Yards

Ammunition Bullet Weight Group Size (Counter Sniper) Group Size (M-4)
Hand Load TSX 62 0.625" 0.750"
Winchester USA FMJ 62 0.750" 0.825"
Buffalo Bore HP 77 0.750" 0.825"
Extreme Shock SRT 55 0.750" 0.375"
Black Hills HP 69 0.188" 0.625"
Wolf Gold HP 75 0.437" 0.625"

As can be seen in the chart, the accuracy of these two Anderson rifles was superb. Everything tested shot well under one inch at 100 yards, and a couple of loads would do less than half that. The Black Hills Match King load would keep shooting into a ragged hole from the Counter Sniper rifle. Both rifles had barrels with one-in-nine inch twists, and both exhibited fine accuracy, even with the long 69 and 77 grain Sierra Match King bullets as loaded by Buffalo Bore and Black Hills. A one-in-eight barrel twist is available as well, for those who prefer that faster twist.

Throughout all testing, functioning was one-hundred percent in both rifles. There were no failures or malfunctions of any kind. Every cartridge fed, fired, and ejected perfectly. No lubrication was used at all on the rifles. They started out dry, and were left dry throughout the firing of both rifles. Both rifles also concluded the tests with very little residue in the chamber and bolt area. With no lube in the rifle, there is nothing to collect and retain the firing residue, leaving the weapon much cleaner than had there been oil present. This metal treatment should be a great benefit to reliability in a harsh environment, such as the deserts in which we are now at war. If there was no oil in the rifle, it would not be nearly as prone to collecting the fine-powder-like silt that blows around and gets into every crevice in the deserts of the Middle East. I think that the US Military should look very closely at the RF-85 metal treatment, and I have heard unofficial reports that they are doing just that, but the information is classified at this time. I have seen a report from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in which they tested Anderson Manufacturing weapons that were treated with RF-85 against identical weapons that were untreated, but lubed with standard CLP lubricant. The RF-85 weapons ran cooler, faster, and slicker, indicating a lower coefficient of friction in the non-lubricated RF-85 treated weapons as compared to the normally-lubricated weapons. The RF-85 seems to be some very good stuff, and has applications for other mechanical devices as well in the performance automotive and medical fields, but as far as I can determine, Anderson is the only manufacturer using the RF-85 in any weapons that are available for civilian sales, and it seems to be very good stuff. It is not a coating, but a treatment that changes the structure of the surface of the metal, greatly reducing friction, heat, and wear.

Until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of Anderson manufacturing, but after firing these two AR-15 rifles, and examining a few others, I am impressed. Anderson has been building AR-15 receivers and other parts for AR-15 manufacturers for a while now, but are just entering the complete rifle market at this time, and they seem to be jumping in with both feet, offering high quality rifles that can shoot along side rifles costing over twice as much, and none others have the RF-85 treatment at this time. We are pretty guarded with our name, and Anderson is the only rifle maker to which we have ever licensed our logo.

To view the complete line of Anderson rifles online, go to

For our readers who want to order an Anderson AM-15 with the logo and at a deeply discounted price for readers, we have formed an exclusive relationship with Anderson Manufacturing to provide the brand new Anderson 10th Anniversary Models. Again, these are exclusive to readers, and are available directly from Anderson Manufacturing.

Anderson features three models in the 10th Anniversary editions. Their HBAR carbine, their M4, and their top-line tack-driver Counter Sniper.

Their HBAR carbine features a 16Ē barrel, forged receiver, and many other extras. Like all 10th Anniversary models, it features the logo on the receiver. MSRP on the HBAR is $1699. The HBAR (Model number AM15AOR16GB) is sold directly by Anderson to readers for an introductory price of $1062, a discount of $637. PLEASE NOTE: this discount applies only to the first fifty rifles sold; after the first fifty, pricing will be at full MSRP.

The M4 Gunblast edition (model number AM15M416GB) features a 16Ē barrel, forged receiver, and many other extras as previously mentioned. A great little carbine at a great price, MSRP is $1799. The Gunblast 10th Anniversary M4 sells direct from Anderson to Gunblast readers at a discounted price of $1186, a savings of $613. PLEASE NOTE: this discount applies only to the first fifty rifles sold; after the first fifty, pricing will be at full MSRP.

The Counter Sniper model (number AM15HBOR16GB) features top line components as previously indicated, and like all Gunblast models, features forged receiver, excellent trigger, Gunblast logo, and a 20Ē barrel. MSRP is $2899. readers get a huge discount of $1041 for a limited time, making this gun available to Gunblast readers direct from Anderson for a cost of only $1858. PLEASE NOTE: this discount applies only to the first fifty rifles sold; after the first fifty, pricing will be at full MSRP.

Each Anderson Gunblast edition is available in a black/gray digital camo version for an additional $150.

To order, contact Anderson Manufacturing directly via email. Tom Steffner will take your order and get back to you to coordinate delivery to your approved FFL-holding dealer. Tom can be contacted at You must tell him you are ordering the Gunblast edition, and provide the model numbers indicated herein.

Prices do not include shipping and handling and your dealerís processing fees.

Also, we are going to be giving away a brand new Anderson AM-15 H-BAR rifle December 15th, 2010, just in time for Christmas! This rifle has an oval hand guard, flattop receiver with integral Picatinny rail, sixteen inch heavy one-in-nine twist barrel, telescopic buttstock, and wears the logo. Best of all, some lucky Gunblast member will receive it free! The rifle will be shipped directly to the winnerís licensed gun dealer of choice; it will only be shipped to where it can be legally owned, and the winner must be able to legally own a firearm. All local, state, and federal laws will be followed in the transfer of this fine rifle. Click HERE for details on how get signed up to win.

Jeff Quinn

H-BAR rifle to be given away on December 15th, 2010.

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Anderson Manufacturing M4-Style Carbine (top) and Counter Sniper Rifle with Digital Camo finish (bottom).



Anderson Manufacturing's product line includes (left to right): H-BAR, Black Counter Sniper, Digital Camo Counter Sniper, M-4 Carbine.





Micor 1/9 twist muzzle brake / flash suppressor.



Very versatile railed handguard.



Magazine release.



Bolt release.



Empty case deflector.



Forward assist.



Counter Sniper model features Magpul Precision adjustable buttstock.



M-4 Carbine.





Pistol grip on Counter Sniper has interchangeable front and backstraps.