Aaron got a close look at the Rock River LAR-47 at the 2012 SHOT Show. Here are his thoughts on the rifle.
Rock River Arms (RRA) has become one of the hottest AR-15 rifle manufactures in the country. Brothers Mark and Chuck Larson founded the company in 1996, after spending about 15 years as armorers with Springfield Armory, Les Baer Custom, and Eagle Arms – where they worked on AR platforms.
The RRA LAR-15 rifles and 2-stage triggers have become synonymous with quality craftsmanship. It was that quality that led the DEA to award RRA a contract for patrol rifles back in 2003, beating out several of the “majors” rifles for the bid. That bid alone may have propelled RRA into the AR market spotlight at an early age when most weapon manufacturers are still trying to work out the bugs of their brand name. RRA has excelled at making excellent rifles, and the number of agencies and personal owners has increased accordingly.
Though they have experience building 1911 pistols, RRA has for years focused their attention solely on AR-15 rifle platforms.
That is until now!
At the 2012 SHOT SHOW Rock River Arms announced that in 2012 they will begin distribution of the RRA LAR-47 CAR A4 – a sweet combination of the AR-15 and AK-47 platforms that RRA calls “a match made in heaven”. I talked with RRA representative, Steve Mayer about this truly unique innovation in the rifle market.
At first look I thought that just the magazine well had been redesigned, along with a proper bolt, feed ramps and barrel. Mayer explained that this isn’t just an AR-15 that has been designed to take AK-47 magazines. In fact, the entire upper and lower receivers are proprietary components of the new RRA design. In spite of the proprietary design, the LAR-47 will accept all standard steel, and polymer AK-47 magazines.
There will be two initial versions of the LAR-47. The Standard Model AK1263 and the Deluxe Model AK 1291.
Here are the features of the Standard Model LAR-47 AK1263:
- 16-inch, 7.62x39mm chrome-lined heavy barrel
- Chromed 7.62x39mm bolt carrier group
- 1:10 RH twist barrel
- Proprietary billet A4 upper receiver
- Proprietary billet LAR-47 lower receiver
- RRA 2-stage trigger group
- RRA LAR-47 winter trigger guard
- Ambidextrous magazine release
- Standard safety selector
- RRA 6-position Tactical CAR stock
- A2 pistol grip
- Standard CAR handguard
- Picatinny flat top rail
- Standard A2 front sight
- Unloaded weight – approximately 7.1 pounds
- Approximate total length – 36” (extended stock I believe)
- Includes AK-47 magazine (steel), case, manual and RRA limited lifetime warranty
- MSRP $1200.
The Deluxe Model LAR-47 AK1291 has all the same features of the Standard Model plus the following upgrades:
- RRA Delta brake muzzle device
- RRA Star safety selector
- RRA 6-position Delta CAR stock – which accepts push-button single point sling mounts, and has a Picatinny rail on the bottom for more traditional sling mounts
- RRA Delta pistol grip
- RRA 2-piece quad rail handguard
- Approximate total length – 36.5” (extended stock I believe)
- Unloaded weight – approximately 7.75 pounds
- MSRP $1475
A few advantages I see to an AR-15 platform that can fire AK-47 cartridges are:
- Similar AR-15 controls – safety, trigger, charging handle, forward assist
- Ability to shoot 7.62×39 from an AR platform with existing AK-47 hardware
- Less recoil with 7.62×39, than from more common AR upgrades in .308 (7x62x51)
- Lighter weight of carrying ammunition, than the common AR upgrades in .308
- Ammunition and magazines that are similarly priced as AR magazines and ammo
There are a few disadvantages or negatives I’ve found with this design:
- The upper and lower receivers are proprietary, which could keep prices high
- Since the receivers are proprietary, there is no simple receiver/barrel switch out with the shooter’s existing AR-15
- The magazine release is located within the trigger guard – increasing the risk of AD’s (a better location would have been just in front of and extended below the guard)
- A standard AK-47 can be bought for about $450-$500, and “tricked” out with many of the same features for $400-$500. That brings the refit price to around $1000, which is $200 less than the Standard model LAR-47.
Despite the negatives I’m excited to see Rock River Arms venture into the market of fusing the AR-15 and AK-47 platforms into one platform. It’s a unique design with similar features, and the price is reasonable.
Perhaps in years to come we’ll see an AR-15 lower receiver that can accept 5.56mm magazines or 7.62x39mm magazines. Then a fairly simple upper receiver and barrel change out could make a more friendly and modular rifle.
Until then, enjoy the creativity of Rock River Arms LAR-47.