New CRP-20VR Colt Competition 223 Semi-Automatic Varmint Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

January 10th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.





Adjustable gas block.





100-yard accuracy.










Colt Competition is usually associated with quality rifles built for the sport of Three-Gun shooting, as well as other competitive target sports, but the latest rifle from Colt Competition is their superb Varmint Rifle featured here, the CRP-20VR.

A quality AR-15 is my rifle of choice for varmint or predator hunting, and I have used AR rifles successfully on larger game as well. For high-volume varmint hunting, such as shooting prairie dogs, I want nothing but an AR-15 in my hands. Not just any AR-15, but a match-accurate rifle with an excellent trigger, for making shots out to five hundred yards and beyond. For long range shots, a semi-auto allows the shooter to keep his eye behind the scope, and to correct his aim for repeat shots much better than can be done using any other type of rifle action.  It also allows quick shots at multiple targets without having to work the action by hand. A good AR can be every bit as accurate as a bolt gun. While it is difficult to get an eight ounce trigger to work reliably on an AR, one with a crisp trigger in the three pound range makes an exceptional varmint gun.

Colt starts with forged upper and lower receivers. The upper wears an integral Picatinny spec rail for the easy attachment of an optical sight. The barrel on the CRP-20VR is a matte-finished twenty-inch heavy 416 stainless steel tube, rifled one turn in eight inches, with a 223 Wylde chamber and button rifling. The Colt is listed as using both 223 and 5.56mm NATO spec ammunition. The barrel measures one inch in diameter rearward of the gas block, and .738 inch forward of the gas block. The muzzle is threaded 1/2x28 TPI and fitted with a Bold Ideas triple-chamber muzzle brake.  The trigger on the CRP-20VR is a Geissele model SSA-E two-stage unit, and released crisply at about three pounds average on the test gun, which is about a half-pound lighter than specified, and is a wonderful trigger for an AR. A unique feature of the Colt Competition rifle is its rifle-length direct impingement gas system with adjustable gas block. This allows the gas system to be fine-tuned, without tools, to fit the ammunition and conditions present.

The buttstock is, thankfully a Magpul MOE fixed style with a hinged butt plate for storage. Such a buttstock is much more comfortable for me to use than a telescoping CAR style, which tends to pull the hair from my face. The Magpul fixed stock was a good choice for this rifle. The length-of-pull measures 13.25 inches, and the overall length is forty inches, from butt to the tip of the brake. The empty rifle weighs in at exactly nine pounds on my scale, empty, with no magazine. The pistol grip is a Hogue beavertail style, which is very comfortable to use, providing a non-slip grip, and is more hand filling than a mil-spec pistol grip. The hand guard is an aluminum ventilated free-floated fifteen inch tubular unit, with a full-length Picatinny rail on top, and a five and one-half inch section on the bottom. The rifle is also supplied with one more short section of rail, to attach to the hand guard, if desired. For easy of use with a scope attached, the charging handle has an extended tactical latch.

For accuracy testing, I mounted my mule; the Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power target/tactical scope. This scope allows me to get all the accuracy that I possibly can out of a rifle/ammo combination, and is also a great choice for long-range varminting. Velocity testing was done with the chronograph set out twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level. Temperatures hovered around the twenty-six degree Fahrenheit mark during all velocity testing, with humidity of thirty-two percent and a steady breeze. 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
Black Hills HP 69 2626
Wolf Gold HP 75 2699
Stryker V-Max 55 3031
Lake City M855 62 3256
Hand Load TSX 62 2998
Winchester USA FMJ 62 3133
Buffalo Bore HP 69 3155
Buffalo Bore HP 77 2876

Accuracy results are shown in the pictures, with each picture representing the accuracy exhibited by that particular brand and 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. Three-shot groups were fired at a distance of 100 yards. The heavy barrel never got hot in the cool, breezy conditions, so no cool-down period was needed between groups fired. Colt Competition guarantees this Varmint Rifle to shoot groups of one inch or under at 100 yards, using selected ammunition. This rifle had no trouble at all meeting and exceeding that criteria. Practical accuracy was certainly aided by the excellent Geissele trigger and the Leupold Mark 4 scope. The CRP-20VR was one hundred percent reliable with every type of ammunition tested. There were no failures nor malfunctions of any kind.

The Colt Competition CRP-20VR comes with a cleaning kit in a blue nylon soft case, instructions, one magazine, and a padlock. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price, as of the date of this review, is $1899 US, which offers a lot of high-quality components and features for that price. Versions are available that are California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts compliant, as well as the standard CRP-20VR.  The Colt Competition Varmint Rifle is a superb choice for those who like to take an AR in pursuit of game, vermin, or predators. It is accurate, reliable, built right, and built in the USA.

Check out the Colt Competition Rifle online at

For details on the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to

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

Jeff Quinn

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Top to bottom: mag release, forward assist, case deflector, bolt catch / release.