Why a bolt action AR-10?
Hey guys, I would like to start my contributions to The Reloaders Network by answering the common questions I get asked regarding the Uintah Precision UPR-10. It is a bolt action AR-10 upper, mine is chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor. The questions I am most often asked are; Why a bolt action AR-10? Why are they so expensive? Why would I buy this when I can buy a Ruger Precision rifle for the same price?
With a bolt action you get to set the violence of the action to whatever level you deem necessary. There will not be another round stuffed into the still smokey chamber just milliseconds after pulling the trigger. You can ease the casing out for inspection before gently placing the brass perfectly back into the plastic case where it made its journey to the range. You can get western and rip the bolt straight back as soon as the locking lugs clear the barrel extension to pull it full speed until the brass goes flying, the bolt hits its rearward stop, you strip the next cartridge waiting in line and force the locking lugs back into place before squeezing the trigger to send another round. It makes each round a bit more personal and really increases the intent with each shot.
Now as fun as all this excitement is, there truly are real benefits to a bolt-action AR-10 system. While some AR-10 barrels can give very impressive performance in precision shooting ultimately the bolt-action is the superior design for precision work with the solid three bolt lockup found in the Uintah Precision bolt. It is a stronger action with fewer moving parts and more bolt lug contact area to hold things in place before the 62,000 PSI lets the 140 grain bullet leave the muzzle at speeds well over 2,800 feet per second. Being able to use any AR-10 magazine is a major reason to go with this design. Being able to utilize the large variety of magazines from 5 rounds to drum mags they will all still work with the UPR-10. When shooting a suppressed bolt-action there are no more over gassing issues, adjusting gas blocks or having hot gasses burn your eyes after each shot. No more extra back pressure issues induced from cans. The great benefit of building a bolt-action upper for an AR-10 is that you are able to keep existing lowers across multiple systems, it opens up all accessories designed to fit DPMS patterned rifles such as grips, stocks and triggers so personalizing is easy and widely available for each person’s taste. Finally the action without a gas system for ease of wildcatting and shooting non-traditional semi-auto cartridges that may not feed well at semi-auto speeds like the 6.5 SAUM, 300 WSM, or even a 22-250 if that is your varmint poison of choice.
A large reason for the cost is for the top-notch machine work that requires highly experienced machinists to accomplish. They are not new to precise machine work. For example, making a one piece 4140 heat-treated bolt with a firing pin hole drilled though the length of the bar stock to begin the process that is done in-house on American soil by the experts at Uintah Precision. The uppers are made with the finest American made materials available like the 7075 series aluminum for the upper itself, the American sourced 4140 heat-treated steel for the bolt and the silver soldered bolt handle. The features of the rifle have been carefully chosen, like the 20 MOA integrated rail which can never come loose or move. The detent to hold the bolt in the locked position so the lugs don’t disengage when they should be locked in place. The American made Shilen match grade hand lapped barrels that are standard with the uppers. (26″ length for 6.5 Creedmoor) A stout barrel profile for longer duration of fire and accuracy with a threaded muzzle that many will use for muzzle devices and suppressors.
Uintah Precision came from Uintah Machine which is a large-scale mining equipment machine shop that has been in business since 1968. Before Uintah Precision manufactured uppers, the owners got their start in gunsmithing by swapping barrels on old hunting rifles and turning them into long-range target destroyers. These highly skilled workers are who make the UPR-10s come to life. Not some dude with a mill in his basement cutting things up in his spare time. The tolerances from the bolt face to the barrel extension are held to such a standard that if you ordered another barrel, regardless of caliber, they can ship you a barrel that will head space correctly right from their shop. With the included barrel nut wrench you can have a multi caliber setup that is ready to take on any task. All these high quality materials, experienced workers and careful choice of features sums up to more than cheaper rifles but this is not a cheaply made upper.
Some have asked the question “Why would I buy this when I can just buy a Ruger precision rifle?” which is a valid question. However lets look into that option further. Now if you already have a lower the UPR-10 upper is a great alternative to purchasing an entire extra precision rifle on a few accounts so lets talk about why. If you do have a complete AR-10 lower this creates an excellent precise platform with a familiar feel. It will have the same trigger, grip and stock. The upper offers a fully free floated barrel as well as offering a full flat top rail on which night vision can be placed for predator hunting. The 15″ free floated rail can also hold all accessories that accept M-lok or picatinny mounts. Many have mentioned they can buy a Ruger RPR for a similar cost and that may be true, but Uintah Precision has never claimed to be the replacement for the RPR they are a simply a bolt-action AR-10 upper to make the AR-10 a precision rifle platform. The point I like to bring up is that by pushing out two pins and swapping uppers you can convert the AR-10 lower back into a semi-auto platform which you most definitely can’t do with a RPR. I would say that is a great benefit to going with the Uintah Precision. Getting back to the question, “why buy this over adding another rifle?” This is another rifle, only better by the fact that it is actually an accessory and can be shipped directly to your door with no FFL transfer fees. There is no reason you can’t expand your collection of long-range cartridges with another upper or if you have a favorite like the 6mm Creedmoor you can keep with your favorite short action cartridge to run through this excellent versatile platform.
Ultimately no one is forcing you to buy this over a Ruger precision rifle or any chassis rifle, all the choices are available to you. But if you like the idea of being in control of the action on your AR-10 and hitting small targets at long-range than swapping back to rapid fire on demand, the Uintah Precision Rifle is for you!