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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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So recently we had a couple weeks of -30F weather and I wanted to see how the XCR and AR behave in colder conditions.

Test: Rifles left outside with ammo overnight (-35F) and tested the next day in -30F
Firearm condition: XCR lubed approximately 300 rounds ago. AR lubed approximately 200 rounds ago. Neither cleaned since lube.

First, optics and batteries. Holosun functioned fine (shake-awake), laser and lights all worked (x300s). The CR2032 on my 1-6x failed. The 1-6x couldn't be adjusted because the ring was frozen.

Started with the XCR on gas setting 1. I had to use the forward assist to get the round into the chamber. It would stick right before going into battery (where the bolt lugs locked into the breech). On first round had an FTE, so went to gas 2 for the second round. Similar result. On the 3rd round went to gas 4 and it emptied the magazine and BHO worked on last round. bang bang bang. 62gr Federal OTM.

With the AR meme pistol, I had to feed a round from the magazine, get it in the chamber, pull the magazine and let the bolt slam home to go into battery on the first 8-9 shots. Yeah you might have noticed the round would stick in the chamber allowing me to re-cycle the bolt. The magazine spring would put pressure on the bottom of the bolt, causing it to drag and be unable to feed the next round. FTFs until around 15 rounds into the mag, then it started running like a top. 147gr subsonic 300blk.


The XCR on gas 4 in those conditions felt about the same as running it on gas 2 in warmer conditions. If the Unimags work out I'll be grabbing a 6.5G barrel and upgrading to the new gas blocks. If I had cleaned both rifles and shot them dry, I could probably run the XCR on gas 3 without issue. Really happy with these guns, XCR clearly doesn't care about cold given enough gas. Even with supersonic loads the AR would not have run, the bolt would stick hard after picking up a round.
 

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The Type 3 gas blocks seem to be better sealing around machined surface on the bbl....IME, they seem like after converting from Type 1 block to Type 3, that they will cycle with lower gas settings. None of that is cold weather testing though.

Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I recently acquired a 9.5" 300 blk XCR pistol, mounted a UH-1 gen2 on it. Left it out overnight at -25F. Everything ran great with 147gr subs on gas setting 4 (type 3). It was the first mag through the pistol. Impressed.
 

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I recently acquired a 9.5" 300 blk XCR pistol, mounted a UH-1 gen2 on it. Left it out overnight at -25F. Everything ran great with 147gr subs on gas setting 4 (type 3). It was the first mag through the pistol. Impressed.
Had an Alaskan complain about cold weather operation of semi-autos. I told him to look into the XCR from RobArms since it's got a good reputation in really cold weather. Posted the link to their site....his reply was that "Alaskans aren't made of money" and "No one can afford that type of expensive rifle in AK".

So, you sir....must be super rich. Congratulations! :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I mean, ARs are fairly sensitive to the cold. Which is why you clean all the lube off and run graphite. Zenitco has a titanium adjustable gas block that is very similar to the old XCR block. Less lube, more gas = running AR until it gets wet. Which is why the Canadians still use 303s/Tikka bolt guns in the arctic.

My XCRs have run like tops even with regular oil lube in them. That metal gets cold though.
 

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That's why when I'm in the attic hunting polar bears I always clean my XCR with kerosene and then lube it with freshly harpooned whale oil! Just kidding. By the way, cool test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Did some more testing after watching Mike's video.
Followed his protocol, mostly
Left the rifle and ammo outside over night (-18F). 6.5g wolf
Test fired a single round to check ejection and LRBHO. Only 5ft ejection on setting 3 so upped it to setting 5
It got cooler throughout the day
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Unfortunately this forum doesn't allow webm uploads, so you'll have to deal with no videos for now

After adjusting the gas I loaded a round, placed the rifle on safe. I poured a quart of water on both sides of the gun and left it for a couple hours to freeze. Mostly on the charging handle, controls, and ejection port. It basically flash froze and by the time I performed the test it was - 29. The safety selector, bolt catch and charging handle were frozen solid. I beat them with the handle of a screwdriver until free. I fired 4 rounds, and the LRBHO did not function on the last round, the spring couldn't overcome the ice in the bolt catch. I used ASC 6.5G mags since my unimags don't feed 6.5G reliably. My buddy who filmed the slowmo had my face in the video, so we had to load it for another set of 5rds. I'll have to crop that. To charge the rifle for the second set of 5 I had to mortar the charging handle pretty hard to clear the ice out of the ch track.

So the rifle technically failed, because I had to beat it with tools to manipulate the safety selector, bolt catch and charging handle. But it went bang and loaded all the rounds during the test (1+4 and 5).

When I opened the rifle to inspect it, there was ice in the take down latch, so that had to be beat with the screwdriver handle. Ice formed around the selector shaft, and the trigger. Water poured out of the receiver through the trigger hole. It also went around the bolt carrier and poured into the magazine, looks like most of it ended up on the spring and follower. There was ice in the barrel extension, and after firing most of the ice chunks ended up behind the selector /hammer in the lower pocket.

Primary failures :
Selector inhibited firing because water froze around the shaft and the trigger bar
Charging handle and LRBHO inhibited by water ingress and freezing

I want to add that other than a slightly stiff selector, I've never had an issue firing the rifle in the cold /camping etc. I think if I had applied fresh G96 to all the moving parts, since it displaces water, things may have been different. I haven't lubed the rifle in about 400rds across several range trips. I thawed the rifle out, blew the water out with compressed air, and put g96 on all metal components to push the water out and inhibit corrosion.

Tldr to take from this is don't pour a quart of water on your gun at - 29
 

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Unfortunately this forum doesn't allow webm uploads, so you'll have to deal with no videos for now

After adjusting the gas I loaded a round, placed the rifle on safe. I poured a quart of water on both sides of the gun and left it for a couple hours to freeze. Mostly on the charging handle, controls, and ejection port. It basically flash froze and by the time I performed the test it was - 29. The safety selector, bolt catch and charging handle were frozen solid. I beat them with the handle of a screwdriver until free. I fired 4 rounds, and the LRBHO did not function on the last round, the spring couldn't overcome the ice in the bolt catch. I used ASC 6.5G mags since my unimags don't feed 6.5G reliably. My buddy who filmed the slowmo had my face in the video, so we had to load it for another set of 5rds. I'll have to crop that. To charge the rifle for the second set of 5 I had to mortar the charging handle pretty hard to clear the ice out of the ch track.

So the rifle technically failed, because I had to beat it with tools to manipulate the safety selector, bolt catch and charging handle. But it went bang and loaded all the rounds during the test (1+4 and 5).

When I opened the rifle to inspect it, there was ice in the take down latch, so that had to be beat with the screwdriver handle. Ice formed around the selector shaft, and the trigger. Water poured out of the receiver through the trigger hole. It also went around the bolt carrier and poured into the magazine, looks like most of it ended up on the spring and follower. There was ice in the barrel extension, and after firing most of the ice chunks ended up behind the selector /hammer in the lower pocket.

Primary failures :
Selector inhibited firing because water froze around the shaft and the trigger bar
Charging handle and LRBHO inhibited by water ingress and freezing

I want to add that other than a slightly stiff selector, I've never had an issue firing the rifle in the cold /camping etc. I think if I had applied fresh G96 to all the moving parts, since it displaces water, things may have been different. I haven't lubed the rifle in about 400rds across several range trips. I thawed the rifle out, blew the water out with compressed air, and put g96 on all metal components to push the water out and inhibit corrosion.

Tldr to take from this is don't pour a quart of water on your gun at - 29
To be fair, have you tested this method on anything else? I can't see any gun with water poured over it at that temp working without first clearing the charging system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
No
I just wanted to see how it would do with the meme test

XCR works fine in extreme cold if your not dropping it in a lake. I think it would perform even better at 20F with the same test - the difference between -29 and 20F is pretty dramatic from a "everything slows to molasses" perspective. If you did fall in a lake, your first priority will be starting a fire with a road flare, most of the water would drain from the system as your moving about to find a spot to start said fire. Even in these conditions you'd have about 2m to clear the larger amounts of water from the system before it "flash freezes" inside the gun.

It's still cold af here so I could literally dump it in the lake, open and flip it to drain everything in the gun, and it would probably work fine. Or if you shot it when wet to push all the water out of the system.

In the case of dunking the gun, my primary concerns would be the trigger getting immersed and something being unhappy there, ice forming in the barrel causing an obstruction, or the magazine not draining enough and water sticking to rounds, causing an FTF when cycled if the ice isn't shed from the case when fed into the chamber. Ice formation could also create head space or pressure issues, when you force things something has to fail, either the ice is going or the metal will bend.

This test hasn't changed my confidence in the rifle, it's kind of unrealistic. A more realistic test would be to cold soak the rifle, then take it in and out of warm conditions to simulate being in a warm vehicle, then outside again. This causes condensation to form everywhere, which if not dried will freeze very quickly when exposed to the cold. If the gun could function after 5-10 cycles I'd be impressed. You'd need to check for ice formation/barrel obstructions to avoid pressure or head space issues. Stuck case could also be a factor if your leaving one in the chamber.
 

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Amazing. This test inspires confidence because it’s so far beyond anything that would likely occur. Thanks for taking the time to share it.
 

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Yes, thanks for taking the time to do this.....
 

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The cold weather conditions that I routinely face are nowhere near as extreme, but I do have the concern about condensation from going in and out of warm spaces/car. Totally agree that -29 and 20 are very different, after a week around zero, even 20 feels like “sweater, no jacket” weather.
 

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Haven't watched it yet:

 
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