February 18th, 2016

Santiago Builds an AR Service Rifle to 2016 Specs

Santiago Service Rifle

The CMP has made big changes in the Rules for service rifle competition. Now AR-based service rifles can sport optics (up to 4.5X magnification), while restrictions on buttstock and handguard configurations have been liberalized. Our friend Dennis Santiago is a seasoned service rifle shooter. He welcomed the rule changes and went right out and upgraded one of his ARs to the limits of the new rule. That’s his new rifle above. “A 2016 CMP Rule-compliant scoped service rifle takes shape. [Note the optic, the buttstock, and the handguards, and the absence of iron sights.] This is NOT your M-16A2 external dimensions rule machine of yesteryear. Literally, the 2015 rule did not allow the rifle in the photo”, says Dennis.

Santiago Service RifleThese rule changes should increase participation in service rifle matches. Certainly for competitors with aging eyes, the ability to use a 4.5X magnified optic will be a plus. In addition, the other rule changes will let competitors customize their rifles for enhanced comfort and/or ergonomics.

Dennis also upgraded his gas block assembly in front of the handguard: “This works. The clearance between the sling swivel weight bar in the Giessele Mk VII is pretty tight. Not all gas blocks will work. You also need to account for the fact that the barrel will whip during firing. If it touches, bye bye accuracy. This is a Yankee Hill Machine gas block with an optional flat piece bottom in the rear that should provide the necessary clearance. The White Oak front towers will also clear but they will shadow the optic. Their railed gas block should work too but it’s presently an unobtanium back order item.”