The Ranger Carbine Concept: A Review

Today I’m going to be talking about a rifle concept that is pretty new to me, the Ranger Carbine.  This was floated to me and the other members of the Marksman’s Quarter earlier this week, and we had a little chat about it.  it took me a few days to get through the source material (I’m a slow reader) but I feel that I am now ready to comment on it.

So what is the “Ranger Carbine”, exactly? Well, it’s more of an idea than a specific rifle. At first glance, it appears to be just another re-skin of the Cooper Scout Rifle. Though the two share a lot in common, they differ in some significant ways. Think ‘convergent evolution’, not plagarism.

The Ranger Carbine is explained in amazing detail over on guntweaks.com. There has been an impressive amount of work put into the ideas presented, and everyone would be better off having read it themselves. For those sitting in the back of the class, it is a fighting rifle that emphasizes mobility, accuracy, and discretion over overt firepower. A gun that you can use hit & run tactics with, but won’t get you immediately labeled as a hostile threat if you happen to be spotted while walking around. If you’ve got really big ice sculptures in your future, there are some concepts that are worth remembering.

One of the more interesting things to me is how similar the final product ends up being to at least two other rifle concepts I can think of. The first and most obvious being Cooper’s Scout rifle, and the other being the Practical Rifle from Luckygunner (which I’ve previously written about). All three ideas feature lightweight, agile, accurate guns that have a realistic-for-civilians level of firepower. All three end up being a bolt action with scope, that ends up looking a lot like a normal Fudd’s deer rifle. I’ll let you guys draw your own conclusions as to what that means.

Once again, go read the post on Guntweaks about the Ranger Carbine. The concept gets fully fleshed out in the 35 page PDF linked on that page, but I can understand why someone wouldn’t want to dive that deep into it. Now, here are my thoughts on it.

Things I Disagree With

I think the main downside of the Ranger Carbine is that it was created with the idea that an AR is a flawed option. The three things I believe it can be boiled down to are that an AR is too conspicuous to be useful, .223 is too small to be terminally effective on game animals, and that getting replacement parts for ARs will be too difficult if fighting breaks out.

1. A Bolt Action Will Let You Blend In

I really don’t think so.  Firstly, because in the event of some sort of big Hawaiian-themed event, everybody with any sort of gun is going to be scrutinized, if not immediately minigunned by a helicopter. I’ve heard reports that in Iraq/Afghanistan US troops were chain gunning dudes who were carrying pieces of pipe. If they can make out that it’s a gun at all, consider yourself toast. AK, AR, over/under shotgun, I really don’t think it’ll matter at that point.

2. Replacement Parts for an AR Will Be Hard to Source

The AR-15 is America’s rifle. It’s the most popular single model of gun in this country. The estimated number of ARs in civilian hands is between 15 and 20 Million. That is more than the entire US military, and it’s not even close. If spare parts production ended today (Feb 21st, 2020) there would be ARs “behind every blade of grass” for over a century. Finding spare parts for an AR would be easier than any other rifle in the world within the US, and that’s before you start talking about scavenging the, uh, dudes who went home early.

3. The .223 Cartridge is too Small to be Terminally Effective on Game

The Big Luau won’t have snack breaks, so once you’re out innawoods and your supplies run low, you’re going to have to figure something out. That means hunting game for food. It doesn’t mean only hunting food, but your rifle won’t have a noticeable affect on your ability to forage.

There is some truth to the idea. While there are better game getters than .223, I believe that the round has much more potential than people give it credit for. We’ve all seen what .223 does to people and its performance in gel, there’s no reason to believe that it will somehow completely fail if the skin is of a deer, but will continue to dominate when it hits human flesh. We’re talking about white tail and mule deer here, not elk. I see the lack of animal downing potential as a reason to look into other options, like 6.5 Grendel, or 7.62×39, but not as enough reason to completely deselect the 5.56 round.

This assumes that deer are going to be the only thing you hunt for food. Anything smaller than white tail will be no problem for the .223 cartridge. This also assumes that the only gun you’ll own that you can hunt with is the Ranger Carbine.

Things I Agree With

Pretty much everything else. There is a lot of stuff I agree with, and a lot of critical thinking went into writing of the e-book detailing the Ranger Carbine.

The ideas about what a civilian brings to a situation compared to what a member of a military brings is very valuable and thought provoking. The ideas about what kind of bag to look for, the theory about how to put together a tactical belt, even the discussion on how accurate the carbine should be and how often you should be practicing are all very good.

When I look at the entirety of the document, and the concept itself, what I disagree with amounts to little more than nitpicking. 80% of the info and ideas laid out are solid and I don’t have any argument with. The remaining 20% I disagree with is because of presuppositions, and not the logic that followed.

Conclusion

If you are serious about riflery for social purposes, which hopefully never happens, then you should give the Ranger Carbine document a reading. Keep a bit of an open mind, and you will come away with some valuable tidbits that can be implemented into your existing plans and strategies.

Stay objective, and I’ll see you on Friday. -S_S