When something unique comes around in the AR world I tend to take notice. I mean something truly unique, not just some new rail system or gizmo that promises to be the next big thing. It’s rare that something new comes along with such a heavily accessorized and famous platform. Often times something new is met with suspicion and angst. Too many times have we had empty promises of the best big thing. Happily the Garrow Arms 17 HMR upper isn’t an empty promise. It’s a fully functional roller locked AR upper.
Inside the Garrow Arms 17 HMR Upper.
I covered the why in my first look so make sure you take a look at why a roller locked design is needed. It basically boils to two reasons,
The gun uses the same direct impingement system we all know and love. The Garrow Arms 17 HMR comes equipped with an 18-inch stainless steel barrel. The barrel is threaded for use with a suppressor or muzzle device. The bolt features two rollers which will pop out if you don’t pull the bolt out carefully. How do I know? Because before reading the instructions I had to see that bolt. Make sure you grab the rollers as you remove the bolt. To put the bolt back in you need to push the gas key backward and push the rollers in place before sliding the bcg in.
The system is modified, but is all AR. If you’ve handled an AR 15 in the past you’ll be right at home with this design. The bolt design is fascinating and I’m fascinated by the level of engineering it must have taken to make It’s a work of art.
The barrel is button rifled which offers superior accuracy to traditional rifling. When a gun is button rifled the bore is only hardened in the high stress areas. The result of the bore is ‘soft’ and this results in more natural barrel harmonics and higher accuracy.
Speaking of accuracy, holy crap is this thing accurate. It’s almost boringly accurate. I tossed on the always excellent Nikon ProStaff 5 with a Warne MSR mount and it was the perfect companion to this gun. The Nikon provides a crisp and clear picture and the Warne MSR mount is specifically designed for the modern sporting rifle. We’ll have a review of both soon.
I installed the Garrow Arms 17 HMR upper on my standard AR lower with nothing special in it so I can say the upper was doing most of the work. With the gun in a vise, I could put ten rounds in one ragged hole.
At 100 yards in the prone position, I could produce groups smaller than an inch on average. We are talking anywhere from .75 of an inch to 1 inch on average. It was almost boring. This thing would be a squirrel/rabbit/prairie dog slaying machine. The large round fore end provided an excellent means to support the gun in the hand or on a rest.
Reliability of both the magazines and gun was top notch. The plastic clear magazine holds ten rounds and I knew they could be the gun’s weak point. However, I never had a magazine related issue. The magazines proved to be reliable. One thing to note than there last round bolt hold open will release when the magazine is removed. Not a big deal to me, but it did take me by surprise more than once.
I was really impressed by just how reliable this gun was. Every round that fired extracted and ejected without issue. The only malfunctions I ran into were ammo related. I had a few in both brands of ammo I used, which I’d assume was typical rimfire failure to ignite. Every round that failed to fire the first time fired the second time.
I put three hundred rounds of CCI downrange and one hundred rounds of Winchester with just a few failure to ignite. The Garrow Arms 17 HMR upper gets high marks when it comes to reliability. Enough so I would gladly trust it as a hunting rifle.
So what is the Garrow Arms 17 HMR upper for? It can be used for a wide variety of tasks. The first and foremost would be varmint hunting. It’s perfect for prairie dogs, squirrels, rabbits, gophers and whatever other pests you may feel the need to rid yourself of. This accurate upper makes it easy to pick them off when equipped with the right scope and loaded with the right ammo.
Of course, there is always recreational shooting. This gun is low recoiling, accurate, and easy to handle. It’s cheap and fun to shoot as well. It’s an easy way to teach a new shooter how to handle an AR without the recoil and noise an actual 223 round would have.
One of the biggest uses I see is for the poor souls trapped behind enemy lines in states with so-called “assault weapons bans.” There are often exceptions for rimfire rifles and this is one of the more potent and accurate rimfire guns you could produce with what is basically your standard AR.
Unlike other rimfire ARs this one is extremely reliable, accurate, and more than just a drop in bolt. In my opinion, it’s affordable when you consider the amount or proprietary technology and engineering that’s part of this upper. The Garrow Arms 17 HMR upper proved to be a reliable and accurate addition to my AR. I would certainly suggest it as a welcome addition to any AR family.