Video: LR223 is New British Almost-Semi-Automatic AR15
Russ Chastain 08.13.14
A new gun may allow Brits to own an “almost” AR rifle, and it’s based on such a simple idea that other gun makers who have tried to work around the U.K.’s ban on semi-automatic rifles have got to be asking themselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
In a nutshell, the Southern Gun Company’s “223 Lever Release Rifle,” described in the video below as “the LR223,” is a slightly modified semi-automatic based on a remarkably simple concept. The rifle has a latch that catches the bolt and holds it rearward when opened. A lever on the left side of the receiver, easily manipulated by a right-handed shooter’s thumb, releases the bolt, which slams forward. If a loaded magazine is present, a round will be chambered by the closing of the bolt.
Pulling the trigger allows the rifle to fire, the bolt to move rearward via a gas-operated system, and the empty casing to be ejected. The bolt is caught and held in its rearward position. Pushing the lever allows the bolt to close once again.
In this way, one can fire the rifle fairly rapidly by manipulating first the trigger and then the lever in quick succession.
The LR223 varies from typical ARs in a number of ways. I like how the handguard comes off and on easily, as shown in the video. Because the bolt release lever is on the right side of the receiver for thumb operation, the safety had to be moved; it’s been placed on the right side, just above the pistol grip. AR fans will recognize standard AR features on the LR223, such as the forward assist, ejection port cover, etc.
The bloke in the video says it “fires technically from an open bolt,” but that’s not accurate. (If it did, the gun would fire as soon as the bolt closed.) He also said the gas system “pushes the bolt backwards and forwards,” but of course it only moves the bolt rearward (a spring moves it forward). It does provide a decent demonstration of the concept, and his firing test shows how easy it is to operate.
The manufacturer, Southern Gun Company, describes the action as “Lever Release” and lists it as Product Code SGCV22. Availability is listed as “In Stock,” although the price is given as zero. Under Description we find, “Full Specification to follow – Please enquire for price.”
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Sadly, there will probably be folks with a will to ban this innovation.