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American Spirit Arms 308 Side Charger

  This rifle is a rifle I have had for a few years now. I keep seeing quite a few people asking about these rifles and the side charging system. I think it is time for me to post a review of the rifle.

The Rifle:

  Since you do not have a standard charging handle you do not need the AR10 Magpul PRS stock with the shorter cheek rest, or any other stock designed with the clearance needed for the longer 308 charging handle. This is an advantage since there are more stock options available for AR15 rifles that can be used with this system.

   I am not going to go into to much detail about the extras on this rifle since these can be replaced to fit your own personal preferences. The stocks, grips, scopes, bipods and even the triggers are all what I refer to as “Plug and Play” on the AR rifle system. If you can operate a screw driver and/or a allen wrench, you can change these out.

  The best thing I love about this rifle is the Side Charge capability. It is extremely smooth and easy to operate without having to come off of your cheek weld. The handle reminds me of the handle off of a FAL rifle, but a lot easier to pull back then the FAL. I enjoy this system so much I have rebuilt me 9mm suppressed SBR with a Side Charger. I also have 2 AR15 rifles I have built, and rebuilt all based around the 2 ASA AR15 side charger upper receivers. I’ll sell the parts, but always keep the upper receivers.

  I finally got around to working up some loads for this rifle to see what it likes. I am using SSA once fired brass, Winchester Large Rifle Primers, H4895 Powder, and Sierra 168grn HPBT bullets.

Since the scope was only recently added to this rifle, I had to sight it in. I used SSA 168 Factory New ammo for this……I made a scope adjust after a single shot and then fired a 3 shot group to check were I was…I think I am going to buy more of this ammo.

.35” 3-shot group at 100 yard is acceptable in my book……..

  I started my loads at 41 grns and went up to 43.5 grains of H4895. I could definitely feel the load difference. I was shooting all these groups at 100 yards this time. Next time I want to move it out a bit and test at 200, 300 and 500 yards. I was also doing 5 shot groups instead of a 3 shot group I see a lot of people doing. I feel a 5 shot group will give you a better read on whet the load and rifle are doing.

41.5 grns of H4895 Powder: .875” Group.

43.5 grns of H4895 powder: .76”

42.5 grns of H4895 powder. Buzzer went off right as I was lighting off the 4th round. Yes I jumped, can’t you tell…..did not get a 5th round in…..but a .45” 3 shot group is still good.

  When I first went to start reloading for this rifle, I still had a few CCI 200 primers left from the day before. So I went ahead and loaded these 10 rounds and shot them as a single rapid fire group. I jerked it 2 times and new I had when I made the shots. You can see those distinctly off by themselves. The 10 rnds measured 1.75”…not that great….but take those 2 shots out, since those were my fault, and you have a 8 shot group measuring .995”. not bad considering I was not going slow. The RSO had just called 1 minute when I started firing that group….and I finished, removed the magazine and stood up before he called cease fire.

  I shot about 200 rnds through the rifle on this outing without a single issue. I never could get comfy on the bench, so fortunately I had my shooting mat with me. I was shooting prone using the bipod for most of my shooting. I can’t wait to reload some more and try these loads in my other Semi Auto 308 rifles….with a little luck maybe I can find a load that works great in all of them.

   I think this rifle will shoot better and look forward to getting it dialed in more. I really think I will be able to get it in the ½ and sub ½ MOA range with load tweaking and with practice on my part.

   The fit and function of this rifle is great. The machine work on the upper, lower and barrel are excellent. I have no regrets purchasing this rifle and planing on keeping it in my collection for many years.

  I look forward to loading other powders for this rifle, including Varget and a couple others. Ideally I would like to have a single load/powder that would work well will multiple rifles and still have individual loads that are the best for each rifle. I am hoping to soon get out with new loads and the new Chrono for more tests.


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