Tavor – Testing and Evaluation

Over the last couple of days, I have been able to do a little T&E work with the Tavor. I was able to borrow a Trijicon TA31F ACOG from a good friend. I’d like to thank Matt for donating the optic and some ammunition for the testing. I also decided to finally do a little modification to the trigger pack. Finally, I ran one of the most visually appealing AR-style magazine — in my opinion — the translucent Lancer Systems L5-AWM.

The Tavor SAR is my go-to platform when it comes to rifles. It has replaced the Kalashnikov that I used to primarily run. Everybody’s platform is different and based on their needs. This also means that they are ever-changing. I like the reliability of the Tavor family of rifles, the barrel-length retention while holding an “SBR’d” overall length and the shared commonality of 5.56mm ammunition and AR-15 magazines.

OPTICS

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There aren’t many people who aren’t running some kind of visual-aid device on their given platform these days. RDSs (red dot sights) seemingly rule the roost, at this point of time, with most of the bigger names in the tactical shooting sports realm sporting EoTechs, Aimpoints or the newer Trijicon MRO. I wear glasses now and a good red dot or magnified sight works wonders over stock irons. Some tritium-accented posts aren’t good enough for me anymore either. The Trijicon ACOG has always been one of my favorite optics, though. The reticle is an illuminated chevron (or horseshoe, on other models) and it also has BDC marks for longer ranges. It might only be a fixed 4x, but I find that to be good enough for the restricted ranges that I am able to shoot at right now — which is, up to 100-yards. Though, I am restricted by distances; the ACOG allows for proper hold-overs if you zero to a specific style and keep your ballistic data in mind or drawn-up and stuck to your optic.

The TA31F-G reticle.

The future inevitably holds an optic for the Tavor platform. The ACOG is the top of the  fixed-power category. I had hopes for the Primary Arms variable power optics (1-6x and 1-8x), but I didn’t hear many good things about usage on the upper ends of the spectrum. Other lower-end variable-power optics came in between $800-$1,200 in cost and the Leupold Mark 6 options push $3,000. I put aside the thought of a lower-end of the magnification spectrum and started considering 4-16x options. I’m still playing with that idea, but the options which have the reticles that I like (similar to the ACOG) and are First Focal Plane (FFP) start pushing $2,000. A Vortex Razor HD G-II 3-18x50mm, with an EBR-2C reticle, was another option, but sits up there with the Mark 6 in price.

Testing was short on rounds, but I am starting to think that the tried and true ACOG will be the ultimate choice.

Magazines

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The local Academy Sports & Outdoors stocked their rifle magazine line with Lancer Systems L5-AWMs nearly six-months ago. Nearly all of them, at the time I purchased the one tester, were translucent. Now, they also sell the black option, as well. I have wanted to get a few of these for a long time, but couldn’t justify paying $30-something for just one from online. I love the aggressive look, texture and outright solid construction of these magazines. I see these Lancer magazines as the 5.56mm equivalent to the US PALM Kalashnikov AK30s. Both of those magazines exhibit reliability, durability and they are downright aggressive.

L5-AWM loaded with 55-grain M193.
L5-AWM loaded with 55-grain M193.

The one thing about the Tavor is that most drum magazines don’t work or aren’t conducive to the handling of the rifle — the Magpul D-60 is included here, even though it doesn’t add any extra height. The only real option for this platform, from my perspective, is the Surefire-60 casket magazine. The Magpul PMAG-40 is just too tall for prone shooting and I’m not mounting some kind of offset sight for their usage. I’m not worried about bench shooting, as I do have a ten-round PMAG for that purpose. I’ll take twenty more rounds with roughly an inch less of height on the Surefire, compared to the PMAG. I will admit, I would like to see Lancer Systems take on a similar casket magazine project.

Trigger Pack Modification

The sear activator spring and roll pin removed from the trigger pack.
The sear activator spring and roll pin removed from the trigger pack.

So, this is where things get interesting. On Day 2, I finally decided to pull a Tim Harmsen (Military Arms Channel) and remove the “redundant” sear activator spring from the housing assembly. I don’t have the ability to check the weight and have only had the ability to put forty M855 down range, but the consistent word is a 11.5-pound to 7-/8-pound drop in required pressure. The difference was clear. The take-up and release-to-reset lengths weren’t changed in distance. However, one might say, if Smoothness was a lass; she would be wearing a red dress, strutting onto the scene and demanding the stage.

Once the Day-1 adjustments were made, Day-2 saw forty-rounds of M855 at 25-yards — both suppressed and unsuppressed. Without the grit, it was easy to squeeze off quick four-round groups, from the bench, into roughly half-inch groups. The smoothness raised my confidence that I would shoot well, assuming I applied equally distributed trigger pressures every shot, which meant that I steadily sped up shots.

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Four-round groups at 25-yards. Unsuppressed and suppressed.

I did shoot ten-rounds or so, at 100-yards. Unfortunately, I did not have a spotter to differentiate the five suppressed and five unsuppressed shot groups.  Only one group was even on paper and high, at that. I need to go back and shoot it again. Based on some quick guesswork of the height-over-bore (HOB), my guess is that the shots on paper at 100-yards were those of the suppressed shot group. After doing a little computing on the Shooters Calculator, the unsuppressed shot group computes to being roughly nine-inches high (two inches over the target paper) with a guesstimated 3.75-inch height-over-bore. Why assume the suppressed shots hit the paper? Four out of the five shots from the shot group, which hit the target paper, was only three- to five-inches high of the bull comparatively. It’s a reasonable assumption, when comparing the 25-yard groups (shown above) versus the data from 100-yards, that it  was suppressed group that hit the paper at that distance.

 

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