POF-USA’s P-308: a Powerhouse in a PDF-size Package
Testing was duplicated at 200 yards with the following results; (Since we explained the “cold round” effect in the last paragraph but don’t have enough solid data to know exactly how much difference it makes and how repeatable it is we will just report on the 5-shot group measurement this time). Wolf Performance Ammunition measured 3.4 inches, Wolf Gold grouped at 3.5 inches, Lake City was 3.6 inches, Federal Gold Medal measured 3.7 inches and the Remington Match came in at 4.1 inches.
Once again, it can’t be stressed enough that the above numbers were recorded in less than ideal conditions. Shooting in sub-freezing temperatures, while wearing bulky clothing and walking through thigh-deep snow to tend targets will produce much different results than shooting on a covered range in the summer months. We hope these results may be valuable to those who work in these very cold environments and we also hope they are not directly compared to test results acquired in a controlled climate because they will not be equal.
The same ammunition used in the accuracy testing was also used to measure the muzzle velocity. The barrel of the test gun is a 12-inch barrel, rifled 1 turn in 10 inches and utilized a POF-USA BC-A5 muzzle brake. Since it was getting into a fairly low light situation in the last afternoon we had the opportunity to evaluate the ammo for visible flash. We found that the Wolf Performance Ammunition had the most flash, several times more than the others, and the Remington Match ammunition was a very distant second. We didn’t do any shooting without the muzzle brake but by the absence of any major flash in the other loads we can assume it was effective. The muzzle rise seemed minimal but the noise was quite noticeable. This brake combined with such a short barrel produced a sharp noise noticed by all shooters.
Due to the low lighting, a PACT MK IV XP Championship Timer & Chronograph was used in conjunction with the latest M6 Infrared Skyscreen kit. These screens use infrared lights and reflectors creating an accurate and useful “beam” for use in any lighting condition. At the time we finished the testing this day it was so dark it was difficult to see the impact area through the scope and the data just continued to roll in as though it was done in bright light. All measurements were recorded at 8 feet from the muzzle with an average temperature of 5° F.
The highest average muzzle velocity (MV) was recorded shooting the Wolf Performance Ammunition at 2,335 fps. It was followed by the Lake City M118 Special Ball at 2,239 fps, the Federal Gold Medal at 2,225 fps, the Wolf Gold at 2,221 fps and the Remington Match at 2,202 fps.
Almost all ammo was very consistent with the extreme spread over 5-shot strings recorded as follows: Wolf Gold – 29 fps, Wolf Performance Ammunition – 36 fps, Federal Gold Medal – 50 fps, Remington Match – 54 fps and Lake City M118 Special Ball – 130 fps.
Fit, Finish and Function
From first handling, it is apparent that the P-308 is manufactured with quality in mind. Everything is tight and solid. Frank DeSomma, CEO of POF-USA, has been prioritizing quality over quantity as long as this writer can remember and the P-308 is no exception. The details are in the “extras” that are available with the constantly evolving POF-USA product line. Some of these enhancements would include the machined, enlarged trigger guard over less expensive “snap-in” guards, and the ambidextrous bolt drop, designed and included at a significant additional production cost. The POF-USA “heat-sink” barrel nut is another example of using superior products in the production process rather than using less expensive, less effective parts that are readily available.
The finish on this particular rifle is the Robar NP3 Electroless Nickel on the receiver and the muzzle brake. The finish is extremely hard and resistant to corrosion and used in the Aerospace industry. The rail system is hard-coat anodized and the interior of the upper receiver, the charging handle, the bolt and carrier are all coated using the C.R.O.S. Plus system.
The function of the P-308 will not disappoint. We found no particular ammo it didn’t like and the adjustable gas plug is quickly rotated and positioned for suppressor use or heavy ammo. The short barrel on this particular test rifle provides a little more muzzle blast than one may be accustomed too but if you are a “short barreled rifle person” that is part of the allure. A little heavier than the much smaller P-415, it is also a heavyweight in performance making the additional weight a fair trade.
In these days of outsourcing for cheap parts and/or labor, you have to be cautious about the wording of manufacturing claims. “Assembled in the USA” usually has underlying meanings, as do several other tricky slogans. When we asked Frank DeSomma about his “Made in the USA” claim, he couldn’t have been clearer and he proudly reiterates the following to anyone who will ask and on his website:
All raw materials are manufactured from US Steel Mills.
All heat treats, plating/coatings, are completed by U.S.A. owned and operated manufacturers.
All accessory and component parts on our weapons systems are from U.S.A. owned and operated manufacturers.
All POF-USA weapon systems are 100% pure American made.
The POF-USA P-308 disassembles exactly like the P-415 and P-416 5.56x45mm variants. The lower receiver is no different than the AR-15/M16/M4 family of firearms with the exception of the addition of the ambidextrous bolt release on the right side of the lower receiver. No tools are necessary to perform this procedure. Remove the magazine and make sure the firearm is unloaded by visually checking the chamber. Close the bolt carrier by depressing the bolt release. From the left side of the gun push both receiver pins to the right, through the receiver and pull them to the right until they stop. Remove the upper receiver from the lower receiver by lifting strait off. Gently pull the charging handle rearward and remove the bolt carrier from the rear. When the charging handle is all the way to the rear lower it inside the upper receiver to disengage it from the slot it rides in and remove from the rear. Depress the spring-loaded push pin on the gas plug and rotate the gas plug clockwise 45 degrees. (If the gas plug turns hard you can use the base of a .308 cartridge to assist it by inserting the rim into the gas plug groove.) Remove the gas plug by pulling to the front. Lower the muzzle and the gas piston, followed by the op-rod will slide out the hole opened by removing the gas plug. The rifle is field stripped and most cleaning and maintenance can be performed at this point. Reassemble the rifle in the reverse order.
While doing research for the P-308 article an item came to our attention that allows the weapon system to be even a little more universal. Cold War Shooters sells a pin sleeve that makes the POF-USA P-308 lower receiver compatible with the DPMS and Fulton .308 upper receivers. The sleeve is $19.50 and the model is simply: “POF.308Sleeve”. Their website is: www.coldwarshoters.net.
The small package of a PDW with the knockdown power and distance capabilities of a much larger rifle is a homerun. Redesigning the lower receiver to accept all standard AR-15 trigger parts is a great leap forward due to the number of extremely high-quality aftermarket accessories available. Even though we didn’t get the opportunity as of this writing to spend any meaningful time with this system as a suppressed platform, we have plans for it in the near future. Longer barrels are not always a good combination with subsonic ammunition due to increased friction over a longer surface area. We are thinking that this 12-inch barrel combined with a sound suppressor and a quality subsonic load may have some serious applications, especially when combined with the adjustable gas plug and a scope designed for multiple aiming points. Even though we have several ideas for future testing that we have not had time to complete yet, on our initial evaluation the POF-USA P-308 has all the earmarks of a winner.
The P-308 is available with a 14.5-inch barrel and permanently attached brake (bringing the legal barrel length to over 16 inches), a 16.5-inch barrel and even a 20-inch barrel if you would rather stay with a regular Title I firearm. Regardless of your preferred barrel length, if you decide you would like to make the transition to a .308 in the familiar Black Rifle platform, you will not be disappointed with a P-308. To be completely fair, you may have just stumbled onto a new obsession.
Specifications (as tested)
Caliber: .308 Win. (7.62x51mm NATO)
Weight: 8 lbs, 11 oz
Overall length: 30.5 inches
Barrel length: 12 inches
Barrel Material: 4150 Mil-B-1159F Vanadium Alloy
Rifling: 6-grove, 1 in 10 inches
Lower receiver: Billet machined 7075 T-6 aluminum
Upper receiver: Modular railed receiver 7075 T-6 aluminum
Trigger: 4-pound single-stage Timney drop-in group
Stock: Vltor 6-position collapsible
Finish: Robar NP3 electroless nickel