By Jeff Kirkham
The Robinson Arms XCR-M .308
I first heard about Robinson Armament a couple of years ago through a work associate of my brothers. He mentioned that a local Salt Lake City company had a rifle that was a mix between an AK and M4. Since I had heard this same claim several times in the gun industry, I was skeptical to say the least, but, any time that I can talk to a firearms manufacturer is a good day; no matter the gun.
As any one that knows me will attest, I do not like the AR platform. I think that it's horribly engineered and only held together by years of band-aids and political influence. Ask anyone and they will tell you that I am an AK guy. I love the simplicity of the AK rifle and will defend it to even the biggest AR enthusiasts becasue it is the single best rifle on the battlefield. All the hype about how the AR’s gas rods have somehow made them reliable is, in my opinion, a gross over simplification of the genius of the AK platform.
So when I did some research on the Robinson Arms rifle I was intrigued to say the least. It was genuinely (at least from the pictures on the internet) the first AR looking rifle I had found that actually had been inspired by the AK.
It was actually the bolt face that did it for me. There it was! Three big locking lugs on the face of the bolt. Wow! Here was a guy who had thought outside the box (an increasingly rare trait in the gun world). You see, I detest the star-chamber…It is THE worst design for a battle rifle ever conceived. Ask anyone- “What is the hardest part of an AR to clean and arguably the most important?” They will tell you the star-chamber ... where is the sense in that?
I met Alex Robinson not long after looking at the pictures of his XCR (X-change caliber rifle) on-line. In my excitement to get to the bottom of this unique design, I immediately began peppering him with questions about his rifle. How had he thought of the designs? What was the angle of the hammer? Why a two piece carrier design? How did he use three locking lugs? Looking back now he must have thought I was trying to ambush him, and he was giving me this kind of funny suspicious look like “who the hell is this guy asking me a bunch of questions about the internals of my rifle?”
At some point I realized I was bordering on suspect and I stopped, looked at him and said, “Alex I think the AR is a tragedy of engineering and why we ignore the genius of the AK is a complete failure of the logical thought process.”
Alex blinked a couple of times and then he said, “let me show you something,” and he took me to his gun vault where his library of AKs is kept. I quickly realized that I had met a kindred spirit and learned more about the first and only truly well thought out rifle of our modern times; the Robinson Arms XCR. It truly is an AR outside and AK inside.
I tested and shot his 5.56 XCR (X-change caliber rifle) with impressive results. So, when Alex approached me a couple of years later and asked me to evaluate his new 7.62x51 XCR-M, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.
One word to describe the XCR-M – Impressive. The super narrow profile of the rifle combined with its highly adjustable stock make it easy to manipulate and shoot. It had the 17” barrel and I right out of the box was hitting steel at 300 meters with iron sights. The rifle has the same adjustable gas system that ensures reliable function no matter the quality of ammo or use of suppressors.
The main thing that I noticed with the XCR-M was the recoil, or more specifically the lack of recoil. The rifle only kicked just more than an old M-16 A2, which for a 7.62x51 blew me away. Watch the video we made. The lack of muzzle rise and light kick made the XCR a blast to shoot and everyone that tested it voiced the same thing. They loved it.
Overall we give the XCR-M 7.62x51 a “two thumbs up.” It worked without malfunction, kicked like a baby, and was a tack driver right out of the box. If you are looking for the ease of use of an AR platform with the guts of an AK, then the Robinson Arms is the rifle for you.