.308Win Power in an AR-15 Package : The POF-USA Revolution DI Packs a Punch
It is no secret that Eugene Stoner’s AR platform is the bestselling rifle in the U.S. with numerous manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon in recent years by offering their versions. In general terms, ARs come in two patterns—AR-15 and AR-10; the AR-15 is most associated with 5.56mm/.223Rem and AR-10 with 7.62NATO/.308Win. Many would characterize the AR-10 as an AR-15 on steroids, with its larger size, larger caliber and heavier weight. It is assumed that the AR-10 will be of greater proportions due to its need to accommodate the larger .308Win cartridge—challenging this assumption is the purpose of this article.
The AR-10 actually pre-dates the AR-15. Eugene Stoner first introduced the AR-10 in 1956 in a hasty effort to compete against the M14 in the U.S. Army weapon trials. Stoner designed the AR-10 around direct impingement gas operation combined with innovative straight-line barrel/stock design using composite and forged alloy parts. In 1957, the basic AR-10 design was scaled down and substantially modified by Armalite to accommodate the .223 Remington cartridge and was given the designation AR-15 with the rest being history.
Without a doubt the POF-USA Revolution AR rifle will change users’ thoughts on how a .308Win AR rifle can be configured. While we will focus specifically on the POF-USA Revolution DI for this article, POF offers numerous other models—direct impingement and piston-driven—as well as multiple caliber chamberings. From the beginning, POF-USA charted its own path in enhancing the AR platform with innovative features.
So what separates the POF Revolution DI from other .308Win AR-10s? Often the AR-10 is associated with an unwieldy profile weighing substantially over 9 pounds. POF-USA has made a conscience effort with the Revolution to harness .308Win power within an AR-15 frame offering the user superior terminal ballistics while maintaining svelte handling. The Revolution DI is not merely a reduced scale AR-10 rifle. The Revolution DI uses the same length bolt carrier assembly, handguard, barrel extension, charging handle, upper/lower receiver, etc., as an AR-15 while still offering .308Win battle rifle punch.
New Features and Improvements
POF features that have created a cult-like following are present on the Revolution DI along with some new ones: fully ambidextrous billet receivers, a high phosphate, nickel-coated bolt carrier group, 5-position adjustable gas piston and a single-stage match grade trigger. The POF Revolution DI measures 34 inches (Mission First Tactical stock collapsed) and weighs 6.8 pounds. The Revolution rifle tested for this article features a Black finish, with Burnt Bronze also being an option. It features a 16.5-inch, 1:10 twist fluted chrome alloy barrel that is nitride heat-treated for full corrosion resistance. A POF-designed triple port muzzle brake aids in recoil management and flash suppression. Quality magazines are a linchpin for a reliably functioning semiautomatic or select-fire weapon, and in the Revolution DI’s case, Magpul PMAG® 20 LR/SR 7.62 magazines are used. This is a huge plus in my opinion. Magpul’s PMAG LR/SR magazine is quickly becoming the standard .308Win AR magazine.
POF-USA will never be accused of being stagnant or resting on the designs of others. Multiple examples of this exist, with Revolution DI beyond the already impressive weight/frame dimensions. POF-USA’s patented E2 dual-extraction method consists of four small channels cut into the walls of the chamber allowing a small amount of gas pressure to push against the neck of the spent case. This pressure assists in extraction by breaking the seal between the chamber and case as well as pushing the spent case to the rear as the extractor is pulling to the rear. This removes a tremendous amount of work that would otherwise be left up to the extractor.
The POF-patented, oversized, 3-inch-long heat sink barrel nut is another significant improvement. The POF barrel nut is much more efficient at heat dissipation than the standard AR barrel arrangement. Additional benefits are that the operating rod is better supported to bolt carrier, which strengthens the upper receiver, especially when accessories or vertical fore grip are mounted to the forend.
The POF-USA bolt carrier is a one-piece, high phosphate, nickel-coated affair, with the mechanical key built into the body and positioned behind the cam pin. This patented design helps reduce carrier tilt. The POF bolt carrier group features a chrome-plated bolt, extractor and firing pin. The finishes are corrosion-resistant and introduce lubricious characteristics to the action. Innovation does not stop here. No detail is too small if the operating efficiency increases. The patented roller cam pin reduces friction and drag in the action. Standard AR cam pins feature a square steel head that literally grinds and carves away at the inside of the receiver. POF-USA’s NP3-coated roller head actually rolls inside the channel of the upper, thus eliminating friction and prolonging the life of the upper.
POF labels their Modular Railed Receiver (MRR) as their “crown jewel for precision and extreme rigidity,” which are so important for reliable accuracy. This is a two-piece upper assembly with a free-floating monolithic handguard that slides on and interfaces directly to the upper assembly thanks to POF’s reinforced “backbone” flattop upper receiver. The suspended handguard keeps your grip and accessories from interfacing with the barrel, providing six points of attachment and keeping the rail from experiencing any movement under stress. The forend is fully M-Lok-compatibile with the front top and bottom section of the rail for sights and a bipod/other accessories. Four QD sling-mount slots round out the forend.
The POF-USA Revolution DI rifle utilizes an adjustable direct impingement operating system. The Dictator adjustable gas block lets you tune your rifle to the exact operating speed it should be. When your rifle runs too slow, or too fast, it’s more prone to failures. With the Dictator’s nine adjustable settings and straight gas tube, using different ammunition and suppressors are no problem. The POF goal here is more reliability and a smoother shooting rifle.
The final touches that set up the POF Revolution DI for success are the triple port muzzle brake and POF drop-in trigger. Each facilitates better user interface with the rifle. The POF muzzle device is nitride heat-treated and designed to control gas dispersion and to reduce muzzle rise, allowing the shooter to have faster follow-up shots and dampen felt recoil. The blunt strike prongs on the end of the brake are a nice touch and help set both aesthetic and martial tones. The trigger is a single-stage, non-adjustable, 4.5-pound pull weight drop-in trigger. KNS Precision, Inc.’s anti-walk trigger pins are used to secure the trigger into the lower receiver.
Putting the Revolution DI to the Test
This author’s guiding thought for the POF Revolution DI evaluation was to treat the DI similarly to an AR-15 in terms of setting up scenarios that would assess its handling and ability to send multiple rounds downrange quickly and effectively. Working in and around vehicles provides this type of realistic feedback. In an effort to maximize the POF Revolution DI’s potential in terms of accuracy and flexibility, a Trijicon AccuPower 1-8x28mm 34mm tube optic was mounted on the railed upper receiver. The 1-8×28 power range offered by the AccuPower solves any conundrum posed by other, more limited optic magnification options. I have come to rely upon the Trijicon 1-8×28 for many of my recent rifle reviews thanks to its magnification range that allows for close-range training evolutions with its 1x illuminated reticle as well as its ability to engage distant targets with greater precision.
Initial accuracy testing involved Champion pedestal rest and bags combined with premium .308Win ammunition in the form of Federal 168-grain Match, SIG SAUER 168-grain Match, Winchester 168-grain Match, Black Hills 168-grain Match and Hornady 168-grain TAP. Winchester 147-grain FMJ was used for high-round count drills. The Revolution DI produced MOA groups with the Federal 168-grain and only slightly larger ones with the SIG SAUER, Hornady and Black Hills.
Concerns related to over-penetration using a .308Win chambered rifle such as Revolution DI could be addressed with ammunition selection. For example, the Winchester PDX1 Defender loads for the .308Win, featuring the Split Core Technology 120gr bullet, comes to mind. The Winchester Split Core .308 has a forward section where the lead core is not bonded to the jacket. This is done to enhance rapid and massive expansion. The lower portion of the core is welded to the jacket to hold the bullet together even though the nose section opens violently upon impact, dumping energy into the target and making sure the round does not over-penetrate a soft target such as a human adversary. This Winchester offering could prove to be a favorite law enforcement, or even civilian personal defense, load for any department wanting the ballistic advantage of the 7.62x51mm/.308Win while minimizing concerns of over-penetration. Ballistic gel demonstrations witnessed in person and also via the internet indicate the Winchester .308 Split Core comes to rest after 12-14 inches of travel in the gel.
While the Revolution DI was more than capable of connecting with various steel targets arrayed along Echo Valley Training Center’s (EVTC) stepped berm out to 330 yards, working with it inside EVTC’s 360-range and Hesco Shoot House would be the true measure of whether the Revolution DI delivered on its promise as a different sort of .308Win AR. Drills started out with working around simulated cover while engaging designated targets in and around EVTC range vehicles to allow evaluators to get a “feel.” Scenarios were then set up to force magazine changes as well as moving to various firing points. Eventually, the POF Revolution DI was moved to within vehicle confines where evaluators fired on targets from the range vehicles as well, quickly exiting the car and maintaining rounds sent downrange. Steel targets are struck with awesome authority when 150+ grains smack into them, especially from close range. It is easy to tell the difference between 5.56mm and .308Win impacts at any distance.
For a rifle to be considered truly considered versatile, it must be able to satisfy multiple roles with equal aplomb. A definite candidate for this title is the POF-USA Revolution DI chambered in .308Win. .308Win potency in terms of ballistics and terminal effect makes it a favorite among our troops and law enforcement personnel in more rural environments. A look at the resurrection of the M14 and most AR manufacturers maintaining an AR-10 in their model lineup support this observation.
The added weight of most AR-10 platforms compared to the smaller AR-15 negates inherent AR qualities of handling in many users’ minds. The combining of the great handling AR-15 platform with the increased power represented in the .308Win cartridge is the key to the Revolution DI’s allure. This is speaking in terms of the Revolution DI’s lethality and effective range, while still allowing for multiple rounds sent quickly downrange if needed in a close-range melee. In training courses involving LE, military and private security contractors, the mantra of “one mag, one kill” is often repeated in relation to the M16/AR-15. While the 5.56mm round is often chided in terms of lethality, the .308Win does not suffer from this reputation.
Years of experience and dozens of training courses have formed strong opinions as to what constitutes an effective fighting rifle. What I mean by this is a return to AR basics such as great handling rifles with potent firepower. The POF Revolution DI’s ability to maintain a functional weight of 6.8 pounds while featuring .308Win firepower is hard to deny as a potential candidate for “all-around” performer.
The POF-USA Revolution DI proved reliable throughout this evaluation with approximately 550 rounds fired; many of them rapidly, without cleaning the rifle during multiple range visits. The Revolution is superior to other AR-10 rifles I have tested in terms of handling and maneuvering. The Revolution DI covers the gamut of likely situations encountered by law enforcement or security conscience civilians with equal confidence. This is a reflection of POF-USA Revolution DI design and use of the .308Win chambering. POF-USA’s thought process was to create a lightweight, simple-to-operate AR rifle similar to Eugene Stoner’s original concept while accessing the .308Win cartridge’s power. POF’s experience and industry leading developmental commitment is shown with the Revolution DI.