Sometimes visceral reactions are surprisingly on-target.
About a month ago, I stopped by my FFL to pick up an LWRC R.E.P.R. A couple of other folks were there finishing up a gun purchase, so I opened the R.E.P.R. box while I was waiting. The contents immediately became the center of attention. The other customer asked to check out my new loaner toy and, manipulating the bolt, he remarked, “It’s like butter cream!” I’m not exactly sure what butter cream is, but I would have to agree. When someone works the action on the LWRC R.E.P.R., they immediately smile. It’s as smooth as silk, or maybe as smooth as butter cream.
The R.E.P.R. (pronounced “reaper” as in the grim type) is called the Rapid Engagement Precision Rifle. You have to admit that R.E.P.R. sounds much more badass, right? R.E.P.R.’s are all about .308 / 7.62x51mm, so they’re as serious as the name implies. You can get them with either 16” or longer 20” barrels more suitable for longer range duty. The uppers are swappable, so you can easily move between configurations. As they’re sold separately, I requested the 20-inch barrel version, because, well, faster bullets!
We’ll take a detailed tour, but for now, just know that the LWRC R.E.P.R. is a gas piston gun, with some custom tweaks. From a design goal perspective, the apparent overriding imperative is to make this a reliability boss. Yes, it’s accurate enough and feels like “butter cream”, but I suspect the LWRC team is only truly satisfied when it will run in any environment.
I spent some time at the Cambridge, MD factory and learned more about LWRC’s design goals for the R.E.P.R. product line. They’re after the top of the market and make guns for folks who want the very best in terms of attention to detail and overall product quality. It shows, both in the attitudes of the people and finicky inspection processes at all stages of manufacture, assembly, and finish.
At the risk of making a poor analogy, consider different market segments for cars. Some customers simply want a vehicle that will get them to work and back, and don’t value anything beyond that. That group would be perfectly happy with a $15,000 or $20,000 car that gets them from point A to point B. Others value, and will pay for, the total luxury experience. Whether they buy a BMW, Mercedes, or Aston Martin, they’re paying top dollar for all the subtle quality features. There’s something satisfying about that sweet and soft “click” when closing a door on one of these vehicles. If you’re the type that values quality engineering both seen and unseen, then LWRC rifles might be for you.
The Quick Tour
From the front, you’ll first see an A-2 style birdcage flash hider. Nothing fancy here, so I assume the LWRC folks know buyers are going to instantly customize the muzzle with their brake, flash hider, or suppressor of choice.
The 20-inch barrel is spiral fluted, and gorgeous. While it looks exceptionally cool, the real purpose is to create more surface area for faster cooling during rapid fire. It’s cold hammer forged with a 1:10 twist rate.
The front hand guard is 12.5 inches long and is modular, allowing you to add rail segments anywhere along its length at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The top of the hand guard rail is a seamless continuation of the receiver’s Picatinny section.
The upper and lower receiver of my sample rifle were both Cerakoted in a flat dark earth color. The quality of the finishing job is stellar.
Bolt catch and release controls are on both sides of the receiver. As the bolt handle is on the left, I found it easier to operate the bolt catch to hold open using the right side control. I still found myself using the bolt release on the left side using my support hand.