Up close review of new NZDF rifle

Guest post

I know Cam reads the Firearm Blog but since he is on sabbatical you might have missed this review of the new NZDF rifle.

It’s quite interesting as it gets right into the technical aspects of the new rifle.

We reported previously on the New Zealand Defence Force’s purchase of new LMT-made infantry rifles, but beyond a brief promo video released after the selection was announced, we haven’t yet seen an in-depth look at the rifles, which are based on the recently released LMT MARS family. Chris Bartocci, a gunwriter and author of The Black Rifle II, has taken a look at the elusive Kiwi LMT in a recent video:


What I found most interesting was the improved bolt carrier design used in the MARS-LSO, the special forces variant. LMT’s improved bolt carrier includes a number of features designed to improve the function and lifespan of the bolt carrier group versus the standard AR-15. These include hemispherical stress-relieving cuts on the locking lugs, an improved forked gas channel design in the carrier, added underslide to the cam track, and a third exhaust vent on the carrier body. Beyond that, the BCG features sand grooves cut in the carrier body, a different bolt finish, and “lobster-tail” extractor with dual springs and more engagement surface. More pedestrian features of the LSO versus the L include a Magpul CTR buttstock, longer rail system, different muzzle device, and no provision for a bayonet.

Bartocci mentions in the video something I had heard rumored but not confirmed: The NZDF is using, instead of a NATO standard cartridge or any of the more recent improved 5.56 loads like M855A1, the Mk. 262 Mod. 1 round designed for the US SOCOM. Mk. 262 is a very effective load with additional range versus other 5.56mm loads, although it also comes with higher peak pressure and more limited hard target penetration.

A far better rifle than the Steyr AUG, that I am sure many troops will be glad to see the back of.

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