In the last several months, we’ve heard multiple reports of the 20″ V Seven rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor being a tremendously impressive package…and relatively speaking, a great value for what you receive. To learn more about this particular rifle, we reached out to V Seven founder and owner, Joel Allen.
To read ARBuildJunkie’s previous interview with Joel, click here.
Joel Allen – V Seven – The word has been slowly getting out, especially about our barrels. It’s hard to make waves when there’s already so much great stuff out there. It’s a really old technology that we’re all trying to push to the next level…I think we’ve done that though, especially with our 6.5 Creedmoor.
From our very first batch of 6.5 Creedmoor rifles that we built, we had amazing results. A lot of times you’ll create a button and a profile of your rifling, and a concept of what you want to do with the twist, the land and grooves, etc., but when you actually go and shoot it for the first time, you just don’t know quite what is going to happen. With our 6.5 Creedmoor, that was one of the very few times when we were testing, that it was just off the rails…it had top-of-the-line accuracy, and it did everything that we wanted it to do.
We didn’t tweak it (laughs). Every other caliber we’ve tweaked over time, but the 6.5 Creedmoor was where we had hoped it would be right out of the gate. We saw incredible accuracy, and our hope was that the rest of the world could soon see it too.
Our first six prototype guns went to a prominent shooter and his family. We built those guns and sent them out as Christmas gifts before we ever debuted the 6.5 Creedmoor barrels or guns, just as sort of a test to ensure that they would really run.
The feedback we got from those guns is that all of them were shooting half-MOA or better. Hearing those results, I was confident that we were good-to-go. I knew I didn’t want to tweak anything, rather I just wanted to keep the success rolling forward.
Q: The feedback I’ve heard on your 6.5 rifles has been very positive…
Joel Allen – V Seven – We’ve seen, whether it’s rifles we’ve sent out or barrels that we have sold, customers continually come back and say that these 6.5 Creedmoor guns are amazing. They’re hard to beat. There’s not much else on the market that can quite consistently perform like the 20” barrels. The 22” barrels, not as many people are buying those, and the 20” really seems like the superstar. The 22” barrels are getting the same type of accuracy; however, we’re just hearing more about the 20” because we probably sell it 2:1 over the 22.”
Q: Are there some inherent challenges in getting 6.5 Creedmoor running on the AR platform? If so, can you talk about how V Seven overcame those issues?
Joel Allen – V Seven – This is hard to explain, but one part is pretty easy…you have the feeding cone that is just before the chamber. On our earliest, initial 6.5 Creedmoor attempts, we just did it like we would a .308…just putting a typical taper in there. It turned out that this was not ideal. When we went to load the first round into that feeding cone, the round did not want to smoothly skip up into the chamber like it was supposed to. So, right off the bat, we had our first issue (laughs).
What we realized is that the angle and width of the feed ramps were all made to support the .308. Meanwhile, the Creedmoor typically has longer projectiles, and those projectiles stick further out of the case, in regard to the shoulder.
The shoulder of the cartridge would not get up to the feed ramps to bump it up to the next level to get it more aligned to the chamber before the tip of the bullet hit the back of the barrel. That was a challenge that we knew we needed to adjust for.
Q: How did you address that issue?
Joel Allen – V Seven – Our fix was to reduce the angle of the feeding cone so that the back of the chamber was still supported, but we also extended the feeding cone as far as we could. This was done so that the tip of the bullet, when it hit the barrel, would hit the cone at an angle, and then tip up enough so that it could enter the chamber properly.
Once we addressed this issue, we noticed that ejection was another issue. We noticed that there were some very deep grooves on the neck of the brass that were extremely deep…much deeper than you’d see on a .308. We noticed that as the round started to clear the chamber, the extractor was pulling on the case, while the ejector was trying to push it out the port door as it left the chamber.
That spot between the chamber and the port door is the barrel extension area, and we saw that brass was being pushed into that barrel extension, which features grooves that are the opposite of the bolt pattern. Those grooves, which have very sharp edges, want to grab the 6.5 Creedmoor’s neck more than a .308. This is because Creedmoor’s neck is a smaller diameter, and closer to the size of those grooves than the 308. The neck will actually fit down into those grooves, cause extra drag, and really damage the neck of your brass…
The end result of this was that the ejection patterns were weird. Sometimes the last round in the magazine would actually not eject and would just kind of “hover” over the magazine. Everything would lock to the rear, but you’d have a spent round still sitting inside the upper.
Q: Are you able to talk about how V Seven corrected that?
Joel Allen – V Seven – Our first instinct was to start playing with the ejector pressure. Instead of it having to eject as hard and as fast as what a .308 would, we thought we could just delay it a bit so that it was not striking the barrel extension as hard…We started playing with that, and we had some success, but then we ended up working with a new company on a new bolt design that featured dual ejectors. As a result of that, I feel we came out with what is a perfect combination to start getting the 6.5 Creedmoor to eject properly out of a .308-based platform.
The end result of all of those changes is that I feel we really optimized the platform. The gun now acts like it was built for that caliber. We were not going to be satisfied with it working 99 percent of the time. For us, it had to be 100 percent reliable. I think we’ve accomplished that, and the gun, as it now exists, is good-to-go.
Q: Can you talk about the fit and feel of your rifle…you use some unique materials, which we covered in an earlier interview. In case someone did not read that, can you give our readers the basics of why your rifles feel different than most everything else that is out there?
Joel Allen – V Seven – I think a lot of people that know V Seven understand that we were the first in the industry in a lot of ways to use titanium and advanced lithium aluminum in ways that they had never been used before in the AR world. More recently, we’ve added magnesium on the handguards to lighten things up.
It’s not just lithium aluminum…we use other super aluminums that are more advanced than your typical 7075 that people are used to. We also take the time to figure out where to use these materials in a way that is proper.
This allows us to keep that mil-spec type of durability that everybody is used to, as a minimum. In most regards, we can increase on that, whether it’s tougher, stronger, more corrosion-resistant, lighter…all those things in our book are positives.
In the end, you get a gun that is lighter. Titanium, on average is half the weight of your typical alloy steel…so it’s a significant weight reduction. We look at how many pieces we can use in titanium that are appropriate and are going to be on par with or exceed mil-spec, and we then replace the steel parts we can with titanium.
There’s a few places where it is not appropriate…places like the bolt, bolt catch, barrel, barrel extension. With those things, it’s pretty hard to shift from steel. There may be a few types of titanium that are appropriate, but I cannot get my hands on them (laughs). I know they exist, but it’s very expensive stuff.
The result of all those parts is a gun that is lighter, more corrosion-resistant, stronger, rigid, and potentially more accurate. It’s a very neat gun when you get to hold it. You can feel that it’s solid, but it’s lighter than what you’re used to, so it’s a pleasant experience.
Q: Can you talk about the value? For what you’re getting, it seems like a tremendous value.
Joel Allen – V Seven – That is an understatement (laughs). It’s been a tough balancing act…I want to offer up these amazing guns using modern materials. At the same time, when you’re trying to build up a brand name from scratch, you’ve got to give a good value for a good price. Whether or not people can see it, that’s our responsibility to get them educated so that they know what they are looking at, and so they know the reasons why these rifles are better and why they are a good value. It’s a difficult thing, but over time, I’m confident it will work. It’s been working, but it is a process, and it can take years.
Nobody likes to change…and it can be hard to take a chance on something else. As gun enthusiasts, we have these brands that we fall in love with. When you have the money together to buy something that you really like, are you going to take a chance on something else…especially when it’s a little weird and scary. A consumer may be thinking, “Just what is this lithium aluminum stuff? It doesn’t make me feel comfortable.”
So, we’re asking them to take a chance on a company that perhaps they don’t know a lot about. They may think that the materials we are using, or our concepts are a little weird. It may seem like it’s forward-thinking and more advanced, but they may just not want to take a chance.
Thankfully, people are slowly starting to take that chance…and the more people that do, I believe the more people are going to be saying to others that we are offering an excellent product and that we are good company. That then snowballs…and that’s what we’re seeing now. Things are starting to snowball for us. We are getting years under our belt, our name is getting out there, and people are saying that the materials we are using are good and here to stay…and we offer a good value.
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