For Some Strange Reason...



The Franklin Armory produces some amazing products. I was eyeing a Franklin SRB-L for quite some time, but hesitant because the fine gun dealers of my home state knew little about the Franklin Armory.

Web searching for more information Franklin Armory rifles, in particular the one that caught my fancy, the M4-SBR-L, turned up little more than one (yes one as in 1) picture on Franklin's website, and a handful of discussion board posts asking if anyone had experience with the rifles.

Basically a Google search confirms that the Franklin Armory needs some serious help in the marketing department. Even their ads in the AR and black gun magazines were deathly uninspiring. Before shelling out about $2k for another AR, we the consumers need significantly more information to risk 20 of our own Franklins on a radical AR.

I finally bought the gun and after spending much time fondling, shooting and studying the rifle, I felt the need to share pictures and details about the SRB-L to help others on their quest when they hear the Franklin calling.

I find the Franklin Armory M4-SRB-L to be an extremely well built, innovativly designed AR with such wonderful touches of class and function as to be reminiscent of many of the amazing and futuristic high-tech products emerging from the Golden State. Perhaps the excessive attention to machining and finishing details are a result of having to clear a higher bar due to their billing address.

Note to readers:
If you find this website helpful, please leave a comment as further evidence to the Franklin Armory agreeing that they need to better promote their fine rifles.

Professor Prepper Blog

Please check out my blog called Professor Prepper. As noted, the opinions "Take all the fun out of the Apocalypse."

The Business End...

The Business End...
The business end of this SBR-L has matured with a Magpul MBUS Pro front sight, a Surefire x300 Ultra weapons light, and a GG&G Enhanced Angular Quick Detach swivel.

Cockpit upgrades.

Cockpit upgrades.
The left side of a Rainer Arms Raptor Charging Handle sits below a polymer Magpul MBUS rear sight. The ambidextrous charging handle is, in my opinion, the best there is. The Raptor is a complete redesign of the handle and latching mechanism built with oversized stress points.

Charging Handle Flyover.

Charging Handle Flyover.
An aerial view of the Raptor charging handle. It extends just slightly beyond the forward assist which it is exactly what it's supposed to do. It looks big, feels big, but is actually not much larger than a traditional charing handle. However, it's design makes much better use of the grip real estate transferring forces where they need to go. Note the massive roll pins designed to take the stress of life and death charges.

Forward assist/shell deflector

Forward assist/shell deflector
The graceful lines of a machined integrated forward assist/shell deflector. One of the many QD ports below the charging handle is part of the upper. Both the upper and lower receivers are Franklin Armory proprietary billet manufacturing. Like Michalangelo, the boys at Franklin started with a sold block of 7075-T6 aluminum and carved away all the extra metal leaving only the form, function and fluid undulations of the AR goddess.

Index finger rest

Index finger rest
As a show of ultimate respect to the trigger finger, a machined index finger rest is found just forward of the single-piece integrated enhanced trigger housing, below the magazine ejection button, and above the flaired mag well.

QD port, trigger, mag release

QD port, trigger, mag release
The cockpit of this rifle has none of the harsh edges, rough surfaces, or downright ugly machining. This rifle just wants to be held and fired.

Rail options

Rail options
The handguard/rail is the best I've ever held. While still offering all the silliness and tacticool of a quad-rail, it has a three-sided smooth portion absolutely perfect for the human hand. It is hard to isolate just one feature that makes this rifle so much better than others, but the rail system surrounding the free-floating barrel is definitely high on the list.

Ejection port, full rail

Ejection port, full rail
Leaving the upper receiver, the quad rail makes room for a human hand, then continues again in the most likely place to attach an accessory. None of that pointy erector set nonsense that requires rail covers to protect your hands from the hand guards. This is the finest, most useful rail outside a grenade launcher. If you need more rail inches than this rail offers, then spend more time at the range and less time on the internet.

Trigger guard, safety

Trigger guard, safety
If this isn't the world's best trigger guard, I cannot imagine what is. A solid one-piece enhanced guard that passes for yet another a piece of art on this AR. But the best is unseen. The custom-tuned single stage trigger is the best out-of-the-box trigger I've ever pulled. A silky smooth movement followed instantly by a cold, clean snap.

Rail, QD, port, flash supressor

Rail, QD, port, flash supressor
The rifle came out of the box with Magpul's MBUS2 polymer backup sights. As great as they are, I will be installing the MBUS Pro sights when available. Until then, I am enjoying the exquisite lines of the unencumbered rail system floating free of the barrel with low-profile gas block.

Franklin Armory lower logo

Franklin Armory lower logo
The upper and lower receivers are not just held close together by the set pins, they are pressed together though an adjustable screw inside the pistol grip. No play means no play. Billet receivers can be machined to much higher tolerances compared to forged ones. At every corner, edge, and surface, it is crystal clear just how much better the receivers are made compared to inexpensive forged pieces.

Upper rail, charging handle

Upper rail, charging handle
The beefy spine of the billet upper adds even more strength and rigidity to the critical areas designed to contain the pressures of a 5.56 round launching 62 grams of full metal jacketed steel at over 2900 feet per second. Further, the oversized castle nut and Mil-spec Magpul CTR stock round out an off-the-shelf Franklin Armory SBR-L.

Bolt and rail

Bolt and rail
Everything on about this gun lines up perfectly. The machining is immaculate and the seams between components are so tight you have to look closely to see that they are actually separate parts.

Mag well grip, index finger rest

Mag well grip, index finger rest
As if the gorgeous flared mag well is not enough, the designers at Franklin Armory spent the effort to texture the region of open space on the front end of the mag well. Providing just the right amount of grip, the texture actually encourages the option of holding the well while shooting without some gaudy add-on.

Flash supressor

Flash supressor
The toothed Yankee Hill Machine Phantom flash hider is icing on the Salt bath nitride chamber and bore of the SBR-L cake capping a 1/7 twist barrel. No ordinary M4 bird cage here. The Phantom is standard equipment meaning this rifle means business without a trip back to the store.

Bolt release, safety

Bolt release, safety
Every control on this SBR-L is a powerful click, snap, or pop. No slop here. Every lever, switch or button does it's job with precision and a firm commitment rare on ARs these days. When you deploy a control, you know it.

Bolt etching

Bolt etching
Peek-a-Boo, I see you Ben. Yet another touch of class, an etched outline of Mr. Franklin confirms that no part has been left out of consideration. The Phosphate Bolt Carrier Group is a costly upgrade to most ARs. But not here. The Franklin Armory SBR-L is only available with the Phosphate Bolt Carrier Group. No risk here with some off-brand BCG. If you want the best, then start with the best, machined for a specific rifle made by the same manufacturer. The lifeblood of the AR is the BCG so even though hidden from view most of the time, the critical components are the ones that deserve the most attention.

Stock and Grip

Stock and Grip
The user-end of this rifle includes quality after-market parts of stock and grip. No cheap plastic knock-offs here. From the start, this rifle was done right.

Forward assist/QD attach point

Forward assist/QD attach point
I still cannot get over how sexy the forward assist/shell deflector looks. Compare this design to the conventional AR and you will discover just how crude the initial design really is. Traditional AR design components were often added to the platform in isolation of the other components as long as they didn't get in the way of each other. This upper demonstrates the awareness of the relationship between each component so instead of a pile of parts making a rifle, this Franklin Armory SBR-L is one rifle.

Upper to rail

Upper to rail
The machining of the upper and the rail are worth every penny. After cradling the Franklin SBR-L in your arms, you realize just how clunky and chunky other ARs are. In fact, this AR make other ARs feel like AKs.

Mag well

Mag well
The business end of the mag well is yet another exceptional detail of the SBR-L. Flared for faster reloads, integrated with the trigger guard for strength, graced with texturing for grip, and burly enough to take the beating of several lifetimes.

Safety, QD, charging handle

Safety, QD, charging handle
Including the Magpul stock, there are no less than eight quick detach ports. Two on the stock, two on the lower and four on the rail. Such attention to detail is rare these days, and knowing that a company takes such pride in their designs makes owning such a fine machine even a greater pleasure.

Grip Storage Port

Grip Storage Port
The rubber-tacky Ergo grip gives positive traction to any hand lucky enough to wrap it's fingers around the grip. Hollow but with rubber cap, the grip doubles as a storage area whether 123 batteries for the EOTech, spare parts, or an extra shell or two. Not pictured is the rubber end cap that seals off the grip from the outside world.

EOTech holographic sight

EOTech holographic sight
Certainly not a stock item on the SBR-L, the EOTech is the ultimate in performance, response, and situational awareness. Some folks buy a sight because it is small, or light, or they can leave it on for years. I buy a sight in order to aim my rifle. Never forget that the last person to see Osama bin Laden alive viewed the terrorist though lens of an EOTech holographic weapons sight. If it's good enough for Seal Team Six, then it's good enough for everyone else.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Please comment if you vist this website.

It would be very helpful to me to know if you visited this blog. I put it up to share about the SBR-L since it appears to fall in the shadows of other more interesting, but less practical firearms built by the Franklin Armory.

Thanks.

9 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this review, professor! I was Googling like crazy to find a serious review of this specific rifle when I finally found this. I was pretty sure I wanted one, but wanted to hear someone's remarks before I took the plunge. Your descriptions are well written and not-so-subtly tantalizing.

    I held the M4 SBR-L yesterday and was blown away by the quality, the light weight and the beauty. I originally went in to look at a POF model, but once I handled the Franklin, it was over for me. Your review has cinched the deal, so if they still have the gun tomorrow, I will be a fellow owner.

    I also totally agree that the dearth of information or promotion online from Franklin is maddening. At a minimum they should link to your review.

    Thanks again, and Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks RC.

    I went out shooting again over the holidays and I had both my bolt action hunting rifle and my Franklin. When I compared triggers head to head, I was again impressed with the off-the-shelf quality and action of the trigger even though my Browning A-bolt has a silky smooth pull with firm snap.

    I was shooting 2 inch groups at 75 yards. Not good on the surface, but consider I was using a non-magnified EOTech, it was raining and a little windy.

    Through it all, the SBR-L was a pleasure to hold. And for reference, I have two other 5.56 ARs.

    By the way, if you read this, let me know how you found this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the review I've heard of franklin before but never have I been able to see the quality. I build plenty of my own firearms and that is truly a masterful piece. I found your blog through your post on the survival cache.
    CavIntry9mm
    http://thesurvivalkit.org/

    ReplyDelete
  4. I saw one today at Cabellas. I wasn't looking for a rifle, just some of Winchesters PDX1. 223 60gr home defense ammo. I recently finished a rifle so I'm restricted(so my wife says) but I saw a guy looking at one and noticed how nice it looks. He told me he was trying to decide if he should buy the Franklin or a Ruger 5.56(first time AR buyer) He asked my opinion and I explained to him what I look for in a rifle and from what I saw the Franklin was superior to the Ruger 5.56. It was $200 more and I explained where the extra money goes in a gun like that, he didn't understand. It looks like a great rifle. I'm really jonesing to go buy it.i found this just searching for info on the Franklin rifle. I'm very impressed with it and would love to shoot one and see how it runs.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. Is it possible to invert the front rail so that the flat rail is on the bottom?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi PH,
      No, the rail would not work upside-down.

      The actual internal shape more of a keyhole than round. There is a channel running through the upper part where the gas tube fits.

      There is no room in the hand guard for the gas tube if rotated 180 degrees.

      Delete
  6. Thank you Doc for the great review!

    I too have been searching high and low for any information on this rifle before ordering one. I'll admit that what first attracted me to this rifle were the looks. I have other AR's but those are just "tools" there is just something about this one that makes makes it a must have.

    The lack of reviews or any significant presence in the sea of AR's is what has kept me from spending the 2k.

    Thanks again,
    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the review and pics! Thinking of this lower for my first 300 blk build.

    ReplyDelete
  8. bought mine 2 days ago and love it! nice review

    ReplyDelete