When it comes to AR platform rifles, it can be pretty easy to get lost in the overwhelming tide of scary black systems lubed with liberal tears. In fact, there are so many AR-15 offerings that they are sometimes referred to as “vanilla” — nothing special and a dime a dozen.
Yet while there is certainly an influx of nothing-specials on the market, there are some truly special rigs worthy of highlighting for those who can appreciate AR-15 master craftsmanship. The Brenton USA Ranger Carbon Hunter, chambered in 6.5 Grendel, is just such a rifle.
A direct-impingement gas gun? Yes, all day long and twice on Sundays. The Brenton USA Ranger Carbon Hunter may be described as a typical AR-15 rifle system that is really not so typical. In fact, if you are looking for a more accurate description, describing the Ranger Carbon Hunter as an heirloom hunting rifle is definitely more appropriate.
The Brenton USA Ranger Carbon Hunter screams quality with a jaw-dropping, front-to-back, MarbleKote Camouflage finish that envelopes the Magpul MOE stock, forged receiver set and smooth, free-floating 15-inch, carbon-fiber reinforced RealFeal handguard. It looks and feels like an heirloom hunting rifle, as was Bartt Brenton’s intent, but it is still a semi-auto AR platform rifle to be sure.
For a first trip out, I headed down to my happy place, Triple C Shooting Range, just southwest of DFW. Triple C boasts multi-distance shooting ranges from pistol and carbine bays to 2,000-yard lanes, all nestled in the pristine beauty of a working Texas ranch. It is well worth a visit.
I began on Triple C’s zeroing range. For testing, I installed a Sightmark Pinnacle 5-30x50TMD first-focal-plane riflescope and Accu-Tac SR-5 Gen 2 bipod and slipped a Tactical Tailor squeeze bag under the stock — I prefer to test with real-world equipment. Using Hornady’s 123-grain SST ammo (great for match and hunting use), I settled down on the rifle, pushed the ambidextrous selector switch to “fire” mode and squeezed the trigger.
The adjustable Brenton BT1 single-stage match trigger was incredibly crisp, breaking at roughly three pounds and shooting overall was incredibly comfortable. 100-yard grouping was exceptional at less than a half-inch. At 750 yards, grouping was equally impressive at seven inches. With testing complete, I removed the Sightmark Pinnacle and installed a Pulsar Trail XP38 Thermal Riflescope and prepared for an evening hog hunt.
Good friend and UFC fighter, James Vick, picked me up and we headed out to Three Curl Outfitters in Waxahachie, Texas, to hunt free-ranging feral hogs on 80,000 acres of farmland with friends and owners, Brett Jepsen, Charles Spiegel, and Guide Corey Bradford. At nightfall, the hunt began. We headed down farm roads, scanning across expansive crop fields with a Pulsar Helion XP50 Thermal Monocular capable of detecting heat signatures out to 2,000 yards.
We found four large feral hogs spread across an expansive cut cornfield. Corey led the stalks masterfully, each time getting us within 50 yards. All told, we trekked over two and a half miles in that muddy field but left with the four hogs, each averaging 200 pounds. The Ranger Carbon Hunter performed flawlessly, as did the Hornady SST ammo.
Brenton USA rifles are available in multiple popular hunting calibers. MSRP ranges from $1,870 to $2,200 and each rifle includes a soft-sided rifle bag, magazine, and, more importantly, a Forever Warranty. Learn more at www.BrentonUSA.com.
Kevin Reese is a Marine Corps veteran, Second Amendment advocate, award-winning outdoor writer, and guest columnist for “Down Range with AWR Hawkins.”