Det. Patrick O’Connor
All photos contained in this article were taken by Patrick O’Connor, and are copyrighted. Patrick O’Connor and DefenseReview.com own the copyright on these photos.
September 14, 2010
I finally took delivery of my SRSS BullDog 762 bullpup M14/M1A 7.62mm NATO (7.62x51mm NATO) rifle chassis/stock system. I popped a cold one, brought up my girlfriend, Megyn, on the tele, and unpacked the new stock to admire for a bit before it was time to hit the rack (Gotta be out cold by 1800 in order to get back into the city for 2 x10 coverage.).
Full disclosure: My Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM 16 carbine base gun is NOT a job rifle. By the time my outfit acknowledges such firepower, the bad guys will already have lasers and drones! If such a need for my little beauty arises….(think Mumbai or 1993-Landmarks) I will beg my superiors’ pardon with due deference, and advise them to get the hell out of the way…’cause the “big whore” is going indoors for a little room clearing.
Prior to going to bed, I couldn’t resist. I called the command and asked the Lt. for the following day off. With that secured, I still crashed at 1800, and was wide eyed and sippin’ coffee at 2300. The (real) boss just shook her head as she went to bed, and mumbled something about the deadly consequences of hammering parts while she was trying to sleep. No biggie- I kept up my coffee ritual until 0430, and quietly carried my project out to the front porch for the transformation. By the time I schlepped everything outside and poured a fresh cup, there was enough light to persist in the eeeevil at hand.
It ain’t rocket science. If you’ve stripped enough rifles for a thorough cleaning, you can pretty much look at this system and figure it out. SRSS President Rich Cabral even has some excellent step-by-step videos on his site: shortrifles.com. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to watch them thoroughly before beginning the install.
My SOCOM-16 was in a SAGE INTERNATIONAL EBR M14/M1A rifle chassis/stock system. I ain’t going to lie to you. The Sage stock is heavy duty, no nonsense, kit. But even with the buttstock in the shortest position, there’s still a lot of rifle out in front of you, swinging around out there, and your non-trigger hand is needed to hold the weapon up and down range while moving. Throw the k-pot, the heavy vest, and some stairs into the mix, and you have considerable exertion issues going on. The BullDog 762’s pistol grip placement puts your trigger hand in the center of the platform, making it easier to hold up and ready with the one hand, leaving your other hand free to open doors, change mags, etc. It’s still a heavy weapon, but the ergonomics make it SEEM considerably lighter.
SAFETY NOTE: As mentioned above, your non trigger hand is freed up to open doors, direct bad guys to the ground, etc. If you’re taller than 4’, then there’s a good chance you will be muzzle-sweeping YOUR OWN HAND while the weapon is up. Just imagining the potential damage should be enough to force you employ common sense training techniques.
The 26 and 1/2 inch overall length is just sick! Plain and simple. Movement around corners and up or down stairs was just plain easier. I could turn 180 degrees in most hallways with the rifle shouldered without having to lower the muzzle. (Just don’t sweep your team mates!) The only easier way to move this quickly is with your pistol.
Shooting from a vehicle? You’ve got to try it to believe how much easier it is to maneuver. Not to mention getting in or out of said vehicle.
TRIGGER: Looking at the trigger system in the BullDog762, I never imagined that the shot would be so crisp. There’s no “play” to speak of. The pull is even, from front to rear. I was VERY impressed with this. The rubber trigger boot is a nice touch, as well, as the transfer bar is actually the trigger.
MAGAZINE ISSUES: Anyone who fields an M14, M1A, SOCOM, etc. already knows that your mags don’t just fall out at the push of a button, or slap straight up into battery like the M-16/AR-15 family. Even with a normal rifle stock, changing magazines requires a bit of training / practice. The SRSS BullDog 762 bullpup stock/chassis system is going to require even more, because now you’re working behind your trigger hand. That’s just the price you have to pay for the benefits you gain in other areas of this system.
I’ve had this rifle set up for about 11 weeks now. Every couple of days, I pull it out of the safe, grab a couple of mags, and PRACTICE! You’ll notice that the forward corner of the magazine will often touch the pistol grip when inserting or removing the magazine. I use this as an indexing point while inserting a new magazine. This also helps you change magazines without needing to look at the mag well. It would also help a great deal if you use whichever pouch/vest system you plan on wearing when you actually carry your rifle. Practice right hand, left hand, weapon up, and include MALFUNCTION DRILLS.
TRANSITIONING: Having mentioned malfunction drills, you might also incorporate your “transition to pistol” drills. This is when you’ll enjoy some sort of body armor or vest covering your chest. Dropping the rifle outright is going to land the sharp corner of the magazine right into your sternum. This is remedied by “tilting” the rifle inward while engaging the safety before letting it go.
FORWARD GRIP: ShortRifles sends a forward pistol grip with their stock. I was never a big fan of these on my other rifles, but for my BullDog, having this in place is a MUST. Since the rifle is now so short, I was inadvertently grabbing the muzzle/gas plug to get the rifle up quickly. I’m going to keep the grip on to make sure my hand goes to it every time, all the time, to keep me from blowing my fingers off, or burning them with gasses.
MAINTENANCE: Another home run with the BullDog 762 is that fact that the upper and lower separate by simply removing the cheek piece, then removing the trigger assembly. With my SAGE, there were 6 cup head screws that you had to remove to separate the upper and lower receivers and get at the gas system. If you’re installing and removing machine screws into aluminum repeatedly, it’s only a matter of time before you strip the aluminum threads. And these screws are positioned where I would consider them to be critical to the safe operation of this system. On the BullDog, the cheek piece has 4 screws that you really only need to “snug” into place. These are non-critical, and can be worked often with less chance of stripping the threads in the stock. You still have to stow an allen wrench with your cleaning kit if you want to completely disassemble the rifle. Once you slide off the cheek piece, just remove the trigger assembly and the upper and lower will separate.
The only drawback of having the M1A trigger assembly as the sole mounting point, is that it creates a little bit of “play” between the upper and lower at the muzzle end. This is due to a hard, tension-mount at the rear, leaving the upper and lower to parallel each other out to the muzzle. (Think tuning fork) Since the span is only about 20 inches, the movement is minimal, but, it is there (Maybe I’m just a picky, pain in the ass.). The barrel is attached to the upper, which is fine, but if you try to twist the upper away from the lower, it will move a little. Also, if you smack the rifle down into your hand, the bottom of the gas plug will hit the lower receiver (on my rifle at least ). This is remedied simply by making and installing a bumper on the inside of the lower receiver, beneath the forward, barrel mount. You can do it or not. It doesn’t affect the function or accuracy either way. I never noticed ANY movement during live fire.
There are also NEOPRENE INSERTS that come with the stock, which you can use to bed the rear of the receiver. If you’re setting up a dedicated sniper/spotter rifle, this makes sense. For someone like me, who, will most likely be banging the rifle around and (hopefully not) engaging targets from arms length out to a couple hundred meters, it’s just one more thing that I’ll forget to reinstall after a good cleaning.
– The customer service. Rich kept me up-to-date with upgrades and advances in design, and my order status. You can’t put a price on that these days.
– The length
– The weight
– Cheek weld (going to put a thin, neoprene pad on for winter shooting)
– The Trigger pull
– The safety ( I REALLY like the safety.)
– The no-slip butt pad
– Easy take down
I DIDN’T LIKE: That little bit of play between the upper and lower at the muzzle end. It’s remedied now, so it’s not an issue.
Also, the O.E.M. operating rod assembly is going to be a sticky-wicket. In order to chamber a round, (charge the weapon) you either have to use your (right) trigger hand to pull the bolt back while holding the rifle away from your body , or push the rifle out slightly with your trigger hand, and pull the bolt back with the fingers of your left hand as the hand is cupped over the cheek piece. (This is my preferred method as it is a simpler movement to execute under extreme stress.) To make this easier, and move the charging handle portion of the operating rod forward, (or even ambidextrous) someone’s going to have to design a whole new operating rod (This, I’m sure will retail in the $250 range).
I had the op-rod sitting on my kitchen table and stared at it for at least 4 beers, and couldn’t figure out a suitable modification without compromising the structural integrity. So, I ain’t gonna monkey with it. I’ll concentrate on training with it, as is.
The future of my rifle: I’m going to stick with my EOTech HWS (Holographic Weapon Sight) sight. I like the big sight picture. Face it. Sometimes your target(s) bounce around like Daffy Duck. One of them new-fangled Vickers adjustable slings [Vickers Combat Applications Sling a.k.a. VCAS] will replace my 3 point. The Springfield Armory SOCOM-16 mounted in the Sage stock actually required (for me) a padded S.A.W. sling. I’ll also add some low profile backup iron sights (BUIS). The I.R. laser and flashlight will make their way back as well I’m sure. But I didn’t mount them for the testing.
Do I entrust my life to this system? YES. I’ve spent a long time in harm’s way with much, much less. I can now put the SAGE EBR Stock on EBAY with no regret whatsoever. It’s a nice stock, but the BullDog has so much more going for it.
Photo Credit: Patrick O’Connor
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Author’s Bio: Patrick O’Conner is a detective with a major metropolitan police department. He can be contacted through DefenseReview (DR) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com.
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