In addition to elevated production by recognized AR15 companies, each and every firearm producer that has a pulse seems to be producing some version of an AR-15 right now. Half of those rifles are direct-impingement types with the same solid design envisioned by Eugene Stoner when it was first introduced more than 40 years ago.
Rock River Arms was founded 11 years ago by two brothers, Mark and Chuck Larson, who worked out of a garage. It has grown continuously ever since as well as now employs over 90 people. Although Rock River produces guns for numerous government agencies, the particular bulk of their sales are to the civilian market. Rock River Arms offers fifty or so versions of rifles, but shoppers can make up their personal configurations, using countless components alternatives – sights, rails, stocks, barrel length and contour, and more. Rock River will also include add-ons like flashlights and red dot sights. Rock River Arms is like an a la carte workshop for firearms. Rock River doesn’t make many parts on site. Rock River designs and specifications parts, then receive them, perform inspections, finish them, assemble them into rifles and ship them out. The Rock River Arms facility is actually complete with a buffing and blasting area, where raw forgings become completed parts. Rock River Arms is definitely a family small business with the brothers Chuck and Mark Larson as well as their father and one of their sons working at the plant. Looking about the warehouse there were many boxes of rifle carrier groups, essentially the bolts of the rifles. Rock River Arms offers an almost countless number of chambering options for the basic AR platform. Once you own a lower half which consists of the stock and receiver, you can purchase upper halves (barrel, carrier group, and gas system) in all kinds of chambering and interchange them freely. There’s even a company that offers a .410 shotgun upper half for the AR15 rifle.
Components are measured and examined as they arrive in to the production facility and at various stages during production. Tested for hardness, testing is done all the way down to the flash hider. All of the little sub assemblies – sights, gas blocks, carrier groups, safeties, and so on — come together at the stations where the upper halves and lower halves are put together. Once at a work station the gunsmith assembles the upper half of what will be a future complete rifle. The gunsmith takes special care to assemble the upper with the silver tube running along the top of the barrel which directs gas from the gas block to run the action. During the upper half assembly, the headspace gauges are used to examine the dimensions of the chamber. The bolt of a gun should close over the green “go” gauge but not close over the red “no go,” which is slightly oversized. Cartridges can rupture, at times dangerously, in an oversized chamber. Rock River offers the choice of a standard trigger or a two-stage National Match trigger for serious target shooting. A two stage trigger is the chosen style for military rifle competitions such as the famous National Match at Camp Perry, Ohio. Pulling a two-stage trigger, you feel slack as the trigger moves a short distance, then a light, clean break. The Rock River Arms gunsmith will check the weight of the trigger pull by dangling a 4 1/ 2 lb weight from the trigger. If the weight doesn’t trip the trigger, he will file the trigger sear to lighten the pull. Lighter trigger pulls are also available from leading Rock River Arms dealers. Lowers also come with options such as an oversized winter trigger guard, originally designed for police officers who needed to keep their hands inside warm gloves but still be ready to shoot in cold weather. Winter trigger guards work perfectly for winter coyote hunters as well. As the final pieces are assembled into a lower half of what will be the final rifle, this lower half could also be matched to an endless combination of barrel lengths, barrel contour, hand-guards and calibers.
All rifles are built to customers specifications and each lower and upper is unique
The shipping area is a flurry of activity. Parts coming in and rifles going out. A literal symphony in action as the Rock River arms factory pushes in raw components destined to become full rifles. Oddly enough, there seems to be no end in sight as the operation continues day after day.
Preparation for the firing test begins with the loading of magazines which is a full time job. The finisher snaps 20-30 rounds into waiting magazines in preparation for the final function test
Several times a day, assemblers and firearm testers load the Rock River van with rifles and take all of them away to the range. Shooting from the back of the vehicle, every firearm with sights is sighted in, and then test-fired for function. Testers shoot at least two magazines through the fully automatic guns. Who says semi automatics aren’t accurate? With barrels provided by Wilson Barrel, the primary allure of Rock River Arms rifles is that they shoot considerably better than marketed.
The fit and finish of the Operator 2 rifles are wonderful and definitely a step above the typical, rack-grade, Parkerized mil-spec AR on the market now, although they are barely more expensive than those lesser grade models. The Operators upper and lower receivers fit together so securely I needed a tool to work out the push pins. While the Rock River Arms Operators don’t have pistons or monolithic fore-ends or flip-down rear sights, they have everything you need in an accurate, reliable semiautomatic rifle, at a price that way back when would have been unheard of. The Rock River Arms AR-15 AR15 Model BB2522 Rock River Arms is constructed with a 16 1/2″ Chrome Moly barrel for accuracy, Rock River Arms Tactical Muzzle Break with exceptional signature reduction, Flip forward sight, Rock River Arm Quad-rail hand guard and much more… The Rock River Arms AR-15 Model BB2522 Rock River Arms Operator 2 also incorporates such excellent quality advances as rugged fixed rear sight and flip forward sight to produce additional ruggedness and cosmetic appeal. With the forward flip sight feature, the Rock River Arms Tactical Rifle AR-15 Model BB2522 Rock River Arms is all set for action to further add a scope or red dot.
All Operator 2 rifles feature flat-top receivers and 16-inch chrome moly 1:9″ twist barrels with 5.56 NATO chambers, tipped with the RRA Tactical Muzzle Brake. I purchased the Rock River Arms AR-15 AR15 Model BB2522 Rock River Arms Operator 2. I found the BB2522 Operator was the most unusual-looking member of the group with its gas system and a unique Free Float hand guard.
Listed here are the specific features as shipped through my online dealer.
Manufacturer Rock River Arms
Model: Operator 2 Series
Type: direct-impingement AR semi auto
Capacity: accepts AR-15 magazines of any capacity
Caliber: 5.56 NATO chamber
Barrel length: 16-inches chrome moly, 1:9″ twist
Overall length: 37 inches
Weight: 7.2 pounds (Entry and Tactical), 8.0 pounds ()
Hand guard: Half-Quad aluminum free float (BB2522)
Stock: RRA Operator CAR compartment stock, ERGO Sure Grip pistol grip
Sights: post front; wind age-adjustable rear aperture
Trigger: RRA National Match, 4 pounds pull
Sale Price: $1,000.00 , Retail $1,515.00
Accuracy Results – Rock River Arms Tactical Rifle AR-15 BB2522 Operator 2
Load Muzzle Velocity (fps) Standard Deviation (fps) Group Size (in.)
Black Hills 55-gr. SP 2,910 12 0.99
Black Hills 60-gr. V-Max 2,880 16 0.87
American Eagle 55-gr. FMJ 2,810 24 1.05
Black Hills Match King 69-gr. HP 2,780 21 1.03
Hornady 55-gr. V-Max 2,935 13 1.11
Black Hills 52-gr. HP 3,042 18 1.12
Rock River Arms Tactical Rifle AR-15 BB2522 Operator 2 has a list price of 1515.00. I ended up ordering it over the internet for much less. Most dealers in my vicinity wanted list price … plus which did not set well with my budget plan. I obtained my Rock River Arms Tactical Rifle AR15 BB2522 Operator 2 from Class 3 Weapons in Houston, Texas at a significant cost savings. Rock River Arms is currently selling the Operator rifles as a package deal, with the rifle of your choice equipped with its National Match two-stage trigger, any one of four rear sights, a one-inch or 30mm Hi-Rise scope mount, two 30-round magazines and a case. These packages start at an incredibly economical price of $1,000 according to the RRA factory website. I ended up purchasing it online for much less. Most dealers in my area desired retail plus which did not set well with my budget. I acquired my Operator from Class 3 Weapons in Houston Texas at a considerable savings of only $969.00 which included shipping. Based on where you live your price will deviate based on shipping and taxes if applicable. For the time being, thanks Rock River for a awesome firearm and keep up the good work. I’m off to the neighborhood firing range to see what this power house is capable of doing again.