Other than the trigger it's probably my favourite .223 semi auto rifle. Unfortunately the trigger is such an important part of a rifle that it spoils the whole affair. It's like a great turntable with a crappy needle, or a great scope with a scratched lens. 90% of the feel of a firearm is based around the trigger. I like everything else on the rifle other than a few little items that are being worked on right now. Biggest issue that stops me from buying more is the trigger.
For example, the ergonomics are great, although the stock needs a cheek piece to lift the eyes to the proper position for using AR sights and it needs a better barrel retention. The switch to an adjustable front sight mounted to the barrel will perfect the caliber change. A few more steps and the rifle will be better than anything else out there. It would be nice to have the option of a longer rail system on the upper but that's just a personal preference. So is a fold down cocking handle like the L1A1, again a personal preference, but it doesn't get in the way of a three point sling. Forget forward assist, in the time it takes to action the forward assist I can rack the action anyway.
As for the reliability, the gas plug nut got lost so I ordered two spares, before you even had a parts list so that was interesting, but Ty got them sorted. The gas block screw came loose, but hasn't since I put it back in, I am surprised it isn't pinned in. Ejector bolts have not been touched by me and have never come loose, at least so far. Even my old issue L85 never fall apart! It's had feed failures a few times and the bolt got stuck closed once, but that was easy enough to clear.
Terra, I appreciate the offer of a trigger fix, but I've got three sets of trigger components already. One is so badly finished that the disconnector won't even fit on the trigger pin. I'll probably do the set screw and a little polishing this weekend to see if I can improve it. If that doesn't work I'll send it to Bill. I stopped shooting the rifle for about six months as I was so pissed off about the whole trigger situation, but I missed it. I might even try an AR set and see how we go, but, I suspect the hammer face angle won't work unless I make a new firing pin or recontour the hammer face, which I won't do. What I can't work out with mine is how the trigger has one feel when open and another when closed. Go figure! Pre-recall it was ok and just needed a polish and it would have been fine. It wasn't even that bad without a polish but after the recall......the trigger pull is never consistent, even with a trigger gauge. Sometimes two stage, sometimes single. The problem is that no matter how much I like the rifle, I can honestly say that if I had tried the rifle as is is now I would not have bought it. I know I bang on about the trigger but compared to the rest of the rifle it's night and day. Ultimately I'm focussing on an AR build right now, just trying to work out a POF or LWRC upper or doing my own with an aftermarket piston kit. I figure it will be easier to get to a top level competition rifle with the AR than fussing with the XCR right now. The AR will probably be too easy so I'll be back with the XCR in a month or two anyway!
Almost two years ago I suggested the spring loaded detent for the gas plug in a long phone call with Alex and I'm glad he went that way. I'll proably upgrade to one next month or so when more parts are available.