Tactical World - - Special Section - TEXT BY MIKE SEAR­SON | PHOTOS BY BEN DAVIS

If some­one would have told me 10 or 20 years ago that a gas gun in a cal­iber less than .308 Winch­ester would out­shoot any of my mil­i­tary-grade bolt-ac­tion sniper ri­fles for ac­cu­racy, as well as dis­tance, I would have called them ei­ther in­sane, or a liar, or prob­a­bly both.

Af­ter test-fir­ing the Cobalt Ki­net­ics Over­watch-xl P.R.S. in 6.5 Creed­moor, I am fi­nally will­ing to con­cede that point. Yes, now it can be done!

Hy­per­bole aside, semi-au­to­matic pre­ci­sion ri­fles have been im­prov­ing ev­ery year. No longer are our mil­i­tary and po­lice snipers nec­es­sar­ily slaves to the bolt-ac­tion, or con­ced­ing with ar­chaic semi-auto ri­fles that compromise on ac­cu­racy.

The Build

All of Cobalt Ki­net­ics’ ri­fles are cus­tombuilt, one at a time. These are not mass-pro­duced, cookie-cut­ter ri­fles, but true cus­tom guns from the ground up. The XL des­ig­na­tion means that it is built on Cobalt’s larger-frame, or Ar-10-size ri­fle, and the ri­fle will ac­cept Mag­pul 308-pat­tern dou­ble-stack mag­a­zines. There are Over­watch ri­fles built on the Ar-15-size re­ceivers in the shorter cal­ibers like .223 Rem­ing­ton and .224 Valkyrie as well.

Cobalt Ki­net­ics builds all their re­ceivers and hand­guards out of 7075 alu­minum, mak­ing for the strong­est alu­minum you can use in a ri­fle build. In turn, these are hard an­odized with a Type 3 coat­ing and then Cer­akoted over the an­odiz­ing. This makes for prob­a­bly the most ad­vanced and su­pe­rior coat­ing that we have ever seen on any firearm. The heart of this ri­fle is a match-grade 24-inch full-pro­file bar­rel, crafted from stress-free 416-R stain­less steel. For those not fa­mil­iar with the term, 416-R is for­mu­lated specif­i­cally for gun bar­rels. It has a min­i­mal amount

of chromium (the metal that makes stain­less steel “stain­less”) and it is still sus­cep­ti­ble to cor­ro­sion, but nowhere near that of plain car­bon steel. The free-ma­chin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of the steel make it per­fect for high-def­i­ni­tion ri­fling and crown­ing. It al­lows the gun maker to craft a more ac­cu­rate bar­rel.

Cobalt’s bolt car­rier is made of 8620 steel, which is a case-hard­en­ing steel-con­tain­ing nickel, chromium and molyb­de­num as al­loy­ing el­e­ments. The cam shaft in your ve­hi­cle may be made out of this same steel. The bolt head is made of 9310 steel, which is sim­i­lar to 8620, but is more likely to be used in the con­struc­tion of a trac­tor-trailer crankshaft or land­ing gear of an air­craft. A lithium-iron sur­face con­ver­sion (or Life) is used to treat these com­po­nents and it in­creases the steel’s hard­ness, strength, and re­sis­tance to ero­sion. The bolt is mi­cro-pol­ished and QPQ (Quench Pol­ish Quench) fin­ished; this is a mod­ern and very ad­vanced form of case hard­en­ing through ni­tro car­boniz­ing that cre­ates an iron ox­ide layer to in­hibit rust.

If you are un­fa­mil­iar with Cobalt’s ri­fles, you may think there are two for­ward as­sists, and while I have al­ways

thought that the for­ward as­sist was the most use­less fea­ture at­tached to the AR-15/M16/M4 plat­form, in this case, it is not.

Each one will func­tion like a for­ward as­sist, and if you think it is a good idea to force a high-pres­sure car­tridge into a cham­ber that is not al­low­ing it, then more power to you. In the case of a Cobalt Ki­net­ics ri­fle, there is a bet­ter rea­son for their pres­ence: they al­low the shooter to send the bolt home by us­ing the thumb of the shoot­ing hand with­out re­leas­ing the hold on the ri­fle. The trig­ger fin­ger can re­main in­dexed with­out hav­ing to search for a bolt catch ex­ten­sion.

Speak­ing of the trig­ger, the Over­watch ships with a Tim­ney Targa two-stage trig­ger that breaks like glass. The rail sys­tem is fully M-LOK com­pat­i­ble and the stock in­cor­po­rates a Del­rin bag

When run­ning a ri­fle­scope on any AR, it can be tough to get hold of a stan­dard charg­ing han­dle. The wings of the Ra­dian Rap­tor charg­ing han­dle pro­trude far enough to give you an easy grasp.

The Pro Muz­zle Brake uti­lizes a sym­met­ri­cal lin­ear ar­ray of five in­ter­sect­ing spher­oid cuts that vent the blast to the sides in or­der to re­duce dust sig­na­ture and pre­vent muz­zle rise.

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