My familiarity with Rock River Arms (RRA) stretches back nearly a dozen years, beginning with a RRA Varmint A4 taken on a prairie dog expedition. This was before AR rifles were as common as they are now. The exponential growth of AR popularity and Rock River’s involvement in this progression has been amazing to witness. RRA offers several models in the AR genre, in various calibers, including 7.62x51mm NATO, 9mm, 6.8 SPC, .458 SOCOM, and new for 2012, 7.62x39mm. RRA has even introduced a piston-driven AR in the form of the LAR PDS.
Brothers Mark and Chuck Larson founded Rock River Arms in 1996. With RRA, the Larson brothers combined 40 years of experience in the firearm business. Their initial product focus consisted of custom 1911 pistols before turning their attention to AR-style rifles, and their attention to detail carried over to their AR production methods. By tightening tolerances and improving the fit and finish, including a forged receiver, RRA sets itself apart from the majority of AR manufacturers in existence today. RRA’s quality control was quickly rewarded within only a few years of emerging on the AR scene, and since then the company has received several rifle contracts from law enforcement agencies like the DEA and FBI. Let’s take a look at various models to highlight the breadth of the RRA lineup.
The RRA LAR-9 SBR is commonly referred to as Colt-pattern 9mm AR. However, recent RRA design modifications have taken the LAR-9 SBR to another level. Design changes include using an integral 9mm magazine well broached into the LAR lower receiver, instead of using a block conversion. The LAR-9 SBR is also equipped with a 9mm-specific hammer and recoil buffer. These modifications enhance reliability, as there is no chance of a conversion block moving once installed, as some are prone to do. In conjunction with this, the integral 9mm magazine well provides a feed ramp for rounds being fed into the chamber.
RRA offers a full line of 9mm AR pistols with 7- and 10-inch barrels along with 9mm AR rifles featuring 16-inch barrels of various configurations. The 7-inch barrel SBR I tested can be had by special order with all NFA requirements being in place for it to be installed on a registered rifle lower. The RRA LAR-9 SBR weighs just over 5 pounds, measures 23 to 27 inches overall with its six-position collapsible CAR stock, and has a free-floated quad-rail. An A1 flash suppressor is mounted with a 1/2-36 thread pattern. The 7-inch Wilson chrome-moly barrel has a 1-in-10-inch twist rate, which is better suited to take advantage of the full range of 9mm loads from 115 to 147 grains.
The LAR-15 Varmint A4 is my longest-tenured Rock River rifle. It is fitted with a free-floated aluminum handguard, under which resides a 20-inch Wilson Match stainless bull barrel with 1-in-8-inch twist rifling and recessed crown. Barrel lengths of 16, 18, and 24 inches are also available. The aluminum handguard has a sling swivel stud already drilled and tapped into place. This attention to detail eases any complications in attaching a Harris bipod—a must for any serious varmint rifle. The Hogue pistol grip is another nice touch.
The LAR-15 Varmint A4 comes standard with a RRA National Match trigger—as do many other RRA rifles. RRA understands a good trigger is a crucial element in the accuracy equation. In fact, all RRA rifles have accuracy guarantees. The Varmint A4 is guaranteed to shoot 0.75 inches at 100 yards, which is impressive stuff from a semi-auto production rifle, and I have produced tighter groups on the range and on many hunts over the years.
Big Bore Operator
Rock River Arms, as is their custom, offers numerous configurations of the LAR-8 Standard Operator platform in 7.62x51mm NATO. The LAR-8 Standard Operator comes with a 20-inch cryogenically treated barrel backed by RRA’s guarantee of 1-inch at 100 yards. I’ve conducted tests with Black Hills ammo that fully support RRA’s accuracy claims.
The LAR-8 Standard Operator’s free-floated Half Quad forend allows users to configure the rifle for specific missions with lights, lasers and other items. The Standard Operator comes standard with RRA’s folding front sight gas block, Hogue pistol grip and RRA Operator A2 fixed stock. The rifle also accepts FAL magazines, and one 20-rounder comes standard.
The LAR-8 Standard Operator weighs approximately 10.5 pounds and measures 42 inches long. The 20-inch barrel maximizes portability and handling while maintaining 7.62mm ballistics and terminal performance. Potential law enforcement and security-conscience civilians should consider the RRA LAR-8 Standard Operator due to its power, accuracy and multi-mission capability considering likely engagement distances—even in terms of precision shooting.
The LAR-47 Delta Carbine, chambered in 7.62x39mm, is the latest in the RRA lineup. A hybrid design that combines the versatility and ergonomics of the AR platform with the popularity and hard-hitting nature of the AK-47 chambering, the LAR-47 Delta Carbine even uses AK-type magazines.
The LAR-47 uses a forged A4 upper and lower receiver. Two different model configurations of the LAR-47 are available—the CAR A4 and the Delta Carbine. The LAR-47 Delta Carbine comes with a 16-inch, chrome-lined barrel with a 1-in-10-inch twist. It also features a chromed 7.62x39mm bolt carrier group, RRA Delta muzzle brake and RRA two-stage trigger group. The LAR-47 CAR A4 more closely resembles a classic M4 with A2 flash suppressor, AR pistol grip and forend furniture. As higher quality 7.62x39mm ammunition comes on line from Hornady and CorBon, this should become a very popular AR variant.
All of the Rock River Arms I have experienced over the years have impressed and lived up to their reputation for reliability and accuracy. Beyond a doubt, Rock River Arms has any prospective buyers’ needs covered, offering a multitude of styles, models and chamberings.