Colt Competition CSR-1516 5.56mm/223 Semi-Automatic Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

July 10th, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.





Six-position buttstock.







Colt Match Target trigger.







Free-floating aluminum handguard is drilled for accessory rails, and comes with one three-inch rail installed on top.







A few months ago I did a review of the Colt Competition CRP-18 rifle that is purpose-built for competition, particularly the fast-growing sport of 3-Gun Shooting. Bold Ideas of Texas is the company that builds the Colt Competition rifles. They are, to my way of thinking, the equivalent of what the Colt Custom Shop does for handguns, but with rifles. Bold Ideas focuses on building precision rifles for competition. However, the excellent features that make a rifle ideal for 3-Gun competition also makes it very useful as a fighting rifle or a hunting rifle, and they have greatly expanded their line of Colt Competition rifles since I hammered out that last review.

The latest addition to the growing line of Colt Competition rifles is the CSR-1516 shown here. The CSR-1516 is part of their Sporting Rifle line, which offers a lot of nice features at a relatively low price. While still filling the role of a competitive rifle very well, it is a bit lighter and handier than the CRP-18 previously reviewed, weighing in at only six pounds, seven ounces on my scale, and while it also sells at a lower price by eliminating some of the features of the CRP-18, such as the adjustable gas port and stainless, fluted barrel, it is still a fine, hand-built weapon. The overall length of the CSR-1516 measures between thirty-two and one-half to thirty-five and three-quarters inches, depending upon the position of the buttstock. The CSR-1516 wears a sixteen-inch 4140 chrome-molybdenum air-gauged barrel with a one-in-eight-inch rifling twist. The hand guard is an aluminum free-floating unit that measures twelve inches in length, with a diameter of 1.974 inches. The hand guard wears a three-inch section of Picatinny rail at the top, forward end. The hand guard is drilled to accept additional sections of rail, if desired. The gas block is a Bold Ideas low-profile machined steel unit, and is set at the carbine-length position of the barrel on this direct-impingement gas system rifle. The muzzle is fitted with a closed-bottom flash suppressor. The forged receiver has no forward assist mechanism, nor does it have an ejection port dust cover.

The buttstock is a Colt six-position telescoping unit. The rifle is fitted with a Hogue finger-groove over-molded pistol grip. The one shown bears the Hogue logo, but on future production rifles the pistol grip will be branded with the Colt logo. The trigger on this rifle has a very crisp release. It is the Colt Match Target trigger, which is specified to release at six pounds. Mine measured slightly under that at five pounds, thirteen ounces, which is close enough. The trigger guard is rounded at the bottom, allowing a bit more room for a gloved finger than a standard guard.

For accuracy testing, I mounted a Colt Competition/Leupold VX-R 4 to 12 power scope using the superb Warne scope mount shown. This mount has angled Picatinny rail sections attached, for the mounting of close-quarters mechanical or optical sights. There is also a matching angled sight base that I attached to the section of rail atop the free-floating hand guard. This scope is a good choice for a rifle such as this, that might be used at distances from very close, out to several hundred yards. 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 eighty-five degree Fahrenheit mark during all velocity testing, with humidity in the seventy 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. Accuracy results are listed below in inches, and list the smallest and largest groups fired 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. Three-shot groups were fired at a distance of 100 yards. The rifle was allowed to cool between each brand of ammo tested.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy
Stryker V-Max 55 2763 0.312" to 0.575"
Lake City M855 62 2991 0.9" to 1.25"
Hand Load TSX 62 2727 0.75" to 1.1"
Buffalo Bore HP 69 2869 0.438" to 1.25"
Black Hills HP 69 2672 0.438" to 0.875"

As is obvious from the chart above, this is a very accurate rifle. Building this rifle, Colt Competition did not sacrifice quality nor accuracy, they just eliminated a few features of their more-expensive weapons to produce this very affordable version of their excellent rifle. I was really pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of the 55 grain Stryker ammunition from this rifle. It uses the excellent Hornady V-Max bullet, but the ammo sells for a lot less than most match-grade ammo, yet it yielded match-grade performance. The Colt Competition/Leupold scope performed very well, enabling me to achieve fine accuracy from this rifle. The VX-R scope has a push-button for the illuminated dot in the center of the reticle for use in low-light situations.

The Colt CSR-1516 ships with a detailed instruction manual, cable lock, chamber flag, and one thirty-round P-MAG magazine. The Colt CSR-1516 is a match-grade, easy-handling AR that is as at home beside the bed or in a patrol car as it is on line at a competition. Like all Colt firearms, the CSR-1516 is built right, and built in the USA. As of the date of this review, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is only $990 US. You can pay a lot more money, and not get a better rifle than the Colt CSR-1516.

Check out the extensive line of Colt Competition and Sporting rifles, as well as Colt Competition accessories 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

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.





These are the best groups fired. The largest group of the day slightly exceeded one inch at 100 yards.



Leupold / Colt Competition VX-R illuminated scope.



Excellent Warne scope base with forward-mount sight base.