The original rifle and history
The Colt AR-15 is closely related to the military M16 and M4 Carbine rifles, which all share the same core design, first patented for use in the AR-10, featuring a gas-operated, rotating bolt (using an internal piston, instead of conventional direct impingement) operating system patented under. The term “AR-15” is now most-commonly used to refer only to the civilian variants of the rifle which lack the fully automatic function.
In 1956, ArmaLite designed a lightweight selective fire rifle for military use and designated it the ArmaLite Rifle, model 15, or AR-15. Due to financial problems and limitations in terms of manpower and production capacity, ArmaLite sold the design and the AR-15 trademark along with the ArmaLite AR-10 to Colt’s Manufacturing Company in 1959. In 1964, Colt began selling its own version with an improved semi-automatic design known as the Colt AR-15.
After Colt’s patents expired in 1977, an active marketplace emerged for other manufacturers to produce and sell their own semi-automatic AR-15 style rifles. Some versions of the AR-15 were classified as “assault weapons” and banned under the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act in 1994 within the United States. This act expired in 2004.
In 2009, the term “modern sporting rifle” was coined by the National Shooting Sports Foundation for its survey that year as a marketing term used by the firearms industry to describe modular semi-automatic rifles including AR-15s. Today, nearly every major firearm manufacturer produces its own generic AR-15 style rifle. As Colt continues to own and use the AR-15 trademark for its line of AR-15 variants, other manufacturers must use their own model numbers and names to market their AR-15 style rifles for commercial sale.
Under US law, when manufactured with a barrel length less than 16 inches (410 mm) and without a shoulder stock, it is legally considered a pistol as opposed to being a short-barreled rifle, and is described as an AR-15 style pistol.
TV and Film
The “AR” style of firearm makes an appearance in so many films and TV series that it would be impossible to list, some of my favourites are RED, Quantum of Solace, Robocop, Patriots Day, Jack Reacher, Whitehouse Down and Jason Bourne.
- Calibre: 5.56x45mm NATO
- Capacity: 30 rounds as standard
- Weight: 2900g to 3600g depending on configuration
- Length: 700 to 850mm depending on configuration
The CO2 replica
The Crosman R1 is a very difficult replica to describe – I even contacted Crosman directly in my search for base model information. The reply was that the R1 is not based on any exact firearm model, it was just modelled closely on the general “AR” platform.
This picture is one of the closest matching firearms I could find in my search, side-by-side I think you will agree a more than passing resemblance exists 🙂
Looking at various images and websites, the R1 is a very faithful replication of so many variants – the closest I have found being the AR15 Short-Barreled Rifle or “SBR”. The SBR variant was more used in close-combat situations, it has a 10.5″ barrel. The attention to detail is amazing on the R1, the ejection chamber has a working flip-open dust cover, the bolt is the common “T” shape with locking lever on he left T branch, pulling it back loads the first BB and flips the port-cover open.
The steel barrel is fitted with the quad-rail system which gives four picatinney style accessory rails for lasers, sights, grenade launchers, torches, front grips, bipods, slings and more. I have fitted my R1 out with an optional sling using a front rail adaptor and butt stock loop, a vertical front grip which also holds a bipod, and a nice Milbro holographic sight which looks very like the military versions.
The metal buffer tube is identical externally to the real item and the R1 will take any AR style butt-stock without modification. There is a load-assist plunger on the right side but it is purely cosmetic on the replica as a jammed bolt is not really possible. The battery load lever on the left is fully functional, when the magazine runs out, the bolt will lock open, snap in a loaded magazine, slap the battery-load lever with the left hand and the bolt flies forward, loading a BB and you’re ready to go into action again.
I would list a good sling as an essential add-on, using it you get a real feel for the original firearm, I have mine adjusted so that it’s tight when the R1 is mounted – it makes it so much more stable and positive.
The large magazine holds two 12g CO2’s, the left one must be loaded first and it will happily run on one CO2 if you only want a short sortie on the battlefield. The pistol grip is also fully compatible with real AR fittings.
By pressing one pin out, which is easy, the action will fold open giving access to all relevant areas inside, the bolt can be removed if wanted. Further strip down is also possible.
BB loading is done at the front of the magazine, the plunger is easy to grip and has a lower lock position, the rifle comes with a very nice speed loader as well.
I also fitted a moderator, not for any noise reduction but just for looks 🙂 It is a quick-release version. When I fitted my holographic sight, I left the original flip-up iron (plastic) sights on as this seems to be the way it’s done – the reason being that if the holo-sight fails then you can flip up the fixed sights and carry on fighting.
With the add-on moderator removed, a metal “flash arrestor” is left behind, the original plastic arrestor is also shown here. The barrel thread is 14mm left-hand.
The R1 is one of my favourite replica rifles, its so realistic they get used for actual tactical training! Power is reasonable at 2.5 to 3ft/lb – average for a replica rifle – good for 10 to 20yd smashing of an invading tin-can army. The fact that you can bolt on an almost endless array of goodies really adds to the fun.
- Calibre: 4.5mm BB
- Capacity: 25 rounds
- Weight: 2900g
- Length: 673mm without an add-on moderator
- CO2 Usage: around 175 shots per pair of CO2 cartridges