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Small Frame AR10 vs. Full Size AR10: What’s the difference?

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Small Frame AR10  vs.  Full Size AR10:  What’s the difference?

Is the Small Frame AR10 just a condensed version of the full size AR10.  That’s the question I get quite often and then answer is no, and here’s why.  The Small Frame AR10 shares more characteristics with an AR15, and not because it’s identical in size from the magwell back, but more to the fact that it runs and feeds flawlessly across every AR10 caliber.  The traditional AR10 has at times struggled with certain cartridges outside of .308 and bullets with a shorter overall length (OAL).  There are manufacturers that have gotten some of these calibers to reliably run, but I think that has more to do with the skill and competence of that manufacturer, rather than the DPMS Gen 1 pattern design.

So what makes the Small Frame AR10 more reliable in feeding and function across every caliber you throw at it.  Simple; the geometry is improved in subtle but significant ways, particularly the bore axis, which is lower on the Small Frame AR10, and that makes a substantial difference in feeding reliably.  Why is that important?  It has to do with the travel as the bolt returns and strips off a new round.  In layman terms, the cartridge has an easier path into the chamber.  The higher bore axis on the standard AR10 means the round has to travel at a steeper angle before entering the chamber.  The lower bore axis on the Small Frame AR10 lends itself to creating a more linear path for the bullet to travel as it’s stripped off the magazine.  It does not need to travel as high, before it redirects into the chamber.  Furthermore, damage to the projectile tip is less likely because the travel is smoother.  When discussing true precision shooting and getting everything you can out of a rifle and cartridge, minimizing the damage done to the tip of your projectile certainly warrants a discussion.  Hollow point and ballistic/polymer tipped projectiles are very common with high-end quality match grade ammunition.  Unfortunately, these projectiles are susceptible to damage during feeding.  The more linear and streamlined travel of that projectile in the Small Frame AR10, because of the lower bore axis, results in less damage and more uniformity between shots.

Another example, is the .22 Creedmoor or similar cartridges that don’t quite reach mag capacity.  We have done a significant amount of testing with the .22 Creedmoor and its shorter OAL of 2.64” (75 grain ELD-M) means more travel from magazine to chamber, versus a .308 Win for example.  To put this in perspective, feeding issues are non-existent in the Small Frame AR10.

Now back to the original question, is the Small Frame AR10 just a condensed version of the full size AR10?  Clearly it is not, but let’s say the only difference is in size.  If that was the case, it still offers significant advantages in size and weight, which do matter quite a bit outside of Bench Rest shooters.  To cite an example; we weighed our SF-10 .308 with a NightForce ATACR 1-8, NF mount, Rugged Suppressor (Micro 30), and ATLAS PSR Bi-Pod.  It came in at a few ounces over 10lbs.  That entire setup, just 10lbs.

Next blog post we’ll start deep diving into the .22 Creedmoor and why it’s hell on coyotes and deadly accurate, like sub 1/2 MOA accurate.

Thanks for reading!

SF-10 .22 Creedmoor

From .224 Valkyrie to .22 Creedmoor. A comparison of two hot .22 caliber cartridges!

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SF-10 .22 Creedmoor

There has been a plethora of bad press surrounding the .224 Valkyrie, a cartridge based on a .30 Rem/6.8 SPC case necked down to accommodate a .224 projectile.   And much of it is well deserved; however, that doesn’t mean we should chuck the Valkyrie into the pile of forgotten calibers because most of the issues revolve around poor ammo.  For some that is simply not acceptable, especially to the masses that rely solely on “off the shelf” ammo.  Our extensive testing has certainly been a windy road with extremely accurate shot placements to not so good accuracy using some factory loads.  With hand-loading it’s quite easy to get consistent accuracy and velocity, but that’s simply not good enough.  This would be less of a problem if there wasn’t so much hype surrounding the cartridge, a brilliant marketing campaign by Federal was responsible for much of that hype.

Nevertheless, we have seen the Hornady 88 Grain ELD-M hover just below and just over the 1 MOA mark.  While certainly not breathtaking, practical accuracy is solid.  I do think that Federal will work out the kinks and these discussions will be a foot note in the coming years.  We continue to build the .224 Valkyrie and have gotten very positive feedback, much of that is the result of the barrels we use, which are nothing short of great.  We also disclose our opinions on ammo issues and ways to mitigate before we sell to customers.  If we’ve learned anything over the last 18 months, its that the book is still open on this cartridge and we certainly aren’t throwing in the towel.

And now, the .22 Creedmoor, which is a .22 caliber projectile stuffed in a 6.5 Creedmoor case.  Reloading is straight forward, just resize the brass in a full-length sizer die and proceed to load.  Furthermore, .22 Creedmoor brass is available, and Hornady will be releasing brass very soon.  Now let me back up a minute.  We build the .22 Creedmoor and it’s one of our regularly stocked rifles; we only stock rifles that have readily available commercial ammunition.  Well we bucked that policy with the .22 Creed for several reasons; first, Hornady will in fact be offering “off the shelf” .22 Creedmoor ammunition soon, also, there are several smaller custom munitions retailers that sell the .22 Creedmoor.  Copper Creek is one of those companies and we have had fantastic results with their .22 Creedmoor lineup.  And lastly, we released this rifle because it’s just that DAMN GOOD.

I know we’ll have some that scream, why not stick with the 22-250, which is a fine caliber; the answer is that the 22 Creed out performs the 22-250 in almost every major category outside of barrel life and commercial ammo availability.  We plan to run a side by side comparison video very soon.

We wouldn’t have touched the 22 Creedmoor if we manufactured full size AR10’s, but offering this caliber in the Small Frame AR10, it’s almost like running the 22 Creed in an AR15.  Our Small Frame .22 Creedmoor is a bit lighter than our F4-15 EBR chambered in .224 Valkyrie.  We frequently get questions about the application of this cartridge and what it’s primarily used for.  This rifle is an absolute nightmare on Coyotes, Feral Hogs, Prairie Dogs, and Whitetail Deer.  It’s also a fantastic option for those shooters that love shooting .22 caliber projectiles and getting the absolute most performance possible out of that bullet.  The .22 Creedmoor is here to stay, and I have a feeling it’s going to be the very successful once Hornaday really starts pushing this caliber.  We got an early start and I’m glad we did because it’s exceeded expectations and it’s a ton of fun!

Which Caliber Would you Choose?

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Which Caliber Would You Choose?  The F4 Small Frame AR10 gives you a ton of choices!

Do you hunt? How about .243 Remington or 7mm-08.  Do you compete in the Precision Rifle Series?  Then look at .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, or even the badass and little known .22 Creedmoor that is an absolute burner.  Offering multiple calibers in the AR10 platform is nothing new, offering a wide range of calibers in a Small Frame AR10 is.  The F4 SF-10 AR15 sized from the magwell back; utilizing quite a few Mil-Spec AR15 parts.  And we make the lightest AR10 platform in the industry.  It’s not a skeletonized “Tacti-cool” rifle with Titanium parts; it was done by significantly reducing the size of the Receivers, Barrel Extension, and Bolt Carrier Group (BCG).

In just a few weeks we’ll be releasing our SF-10 in the following calibers and configurations:


  • .308 WinchesterF4 Defense F4X Small Frame 308
  • 6mm Creedmoor
  • 6.5 Creedmoor
  • .243 Winchester
  • .260 Remington
  • .22 Creedmoor
  • 7mm-08


  • .308 Winchester
  • 8.6 Creedmoor
  • .45 Raptor

Military and Law Enforcement:

  • .308 Winchester

Hunters, we have every game animal covered in North America.  Size and weight matters, when humping it through the mountains, forest, or desert.  The .243 Winchester and 7mm-08 have been a staple for large game hunting for a very long time.  The 7mm-08 now comes in a semi-automatic lightweight rifle. The 7mm projectile is very versatile and suitable for all of North America’s game animals, good ballistic performance and power enough to deliver knock down velocities over distance.

This medium capacity cartridge is the .308 Winchester necked down to the popular 7mm caliber. The 7mm-08 cartridge has the same powder capacity as the .308 Winchester, but it fires more narrow, higher B.C. projectiles in any given weight category, thus it shoots faster and flatter, drifts less in the wind and retains more energy downrange.

Predators, particularly coyotes, don’t stand a chance with the .22 Creedmoor sending an 80 grain Berger bullet downrange at 3600fps.  Lights out!

PRS, 3-Gun, and the various Sniper competitions; we’ve got your back.  You have a wide range of calibers to choose from; 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, .22 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .260 Remington… a 7.5lb rifle.

And our LE/MIL brothers.  It just makes sense that a 16” .308 Win that weighs 6.49lbs holds a significant advantage in tight spaces and on the move.  The large caliber stopping power, size and weight of an AR15, and versatility of a semi-automatic rifle…..again, it just makes sense!









F4 Defense .224 Valkyrie Release and Small Frame .308 Update!

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Released:  The F4 Enhanced Battle Rifle in .224 Valkyrie


F4 Defense is proud to announce the release of the F4-15 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) chambered in .224 Valkyrie.  Some very bold statements were made last year concerning the performance of the Valkyrie; a cartridge based on a .30 Rem/6.8 SPC case necked down to accommodate a .224 projectile.  We rarely jump on “new fad” calibers, but we had to test and evaluate whether this cartridge could live up to the hype surrounding it.  We can confidently say it’s a damn good cartridge.  The fact that shooters can buy off the shelf ammo is significant as most do not hand load.

After testing various twist rates and barrel lengths, optimized for the 90gr Sierra Match Kings and now with the long anticipated Hornady 88 Grain ELD Match ammunition; F4 Defense settled on a 20” 1×7 twist because it just plain works. The “need” for a tighter twist is simply not correct and we’ve proven it, it’s not surprising that you see manufacturers now jumping off the tight twist and going with a 7. A tighter twist than necessary lessens barrel life and can also restrict you from using a wide range of projectiles. Our F4 EBR consistently shot ½ MOA with pre-production Federal Gold Medal Match. So……that brings us to today and how different the production ammo is from Federal, compared to the fantastic pre-production lots.  To put it bluntly, it’s just not that good and wildly inconsistent.  We have 1/2 MOA rifles that turned very inconsistent with the new production ammo and starting shooting 2 and 3 MOA, which is completely unacceptable.  Shooting handloads brought the accuracy right back down to sub 1 MOA.  Federal needs to get this issue fixed and fixed fast.  The Hornady 88 Grain ELD-Match is fairing much better at this time, even if it’s just a bit underpowered.  We shoot suppressed most of the time and didnt notice it at first, but that is not a show stopper and can be dealt with.  Working with one of the top barrel manufacturers, it was discovered that the production Federal ammo had as much as .020″ difference from tip to ogive in some of the lots we measured.  That is very inconsistent and led us to believe it may also be an issue with the Sierra projectile or combination of the two.  Nevertheless, we’ve seen what Federal and Sierra are capable with the pre-production lots of ammunition and it was top notch all around.  Let’s hope they swallow their pride and tighten up their QA and produce the same level of quality in production runs going forward.  We believe in the caliber and the potential of the 90 Grain Federal Gold Medal Match, but until we see some change, we’ll be loading our magazines with Hornady.


SF-10:  Small Frame .308 / 6.5 Creedmoor Update

We had planned to have the Small Frame .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor ready this past spring but ran into some issues with manufacturing capacity and that forced us to shuffle the schedule, which of course takes time which triggers the inevitable delays in release.  After months of churn, we’re happy to report that production has stated and delivery will begin in full this October and we’ll start filling the long list of pre-orders and Law Enforcement contracts.  While it has taken longer than anticipated to bring this platform to market, it doesnt change the fact that it’s going to transform the AR10 market.  Having an equally performing and accurate AR10 platform in a package that dishes out less recoil and weighs considerably less overall, just makes sense.  What’s not to like about a soft shooting 6.4lb .308 that is every bit as accurate than its big brother, the AR-10.  Sign up on the website to get updates on new product releases and the release of the SF-10.  We are still taking pre-orders via email at

F4 Defense Small Frame 308 - 6.5 Creedmoor

F4 Defense Releases New Small-Frame 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 with Proof Research® Carbon Fiber Barrels

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Leonardtown, Maryland – Veteran-owned F4 Defense, manufacturers of innovative small arms and accessories, announced the release of their small frame .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor (F4X) today in advance of the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. F4 Defense has been working alongside Remington® over the past year establishing a licensing agreement, utilizing the DPMS® Gen II patents, and incorporating them into a high-quality precision rifle. Furthermore, F4 has partnered with Proof Research® in the manufacturing of carbon fiber barrels, specific to the new F4X platform.

The F4X 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win will be on display at this year’s SHOT Show, Booth #N315, 3rd Floor on the NEXT Pavilion.

F4 Defense will initially release three variants of the F4X: 6.5 Creedmoor featuring a 22” Proof Research® carbon fiber barrel with CAMGAS system; .308 with 16” 1×8 Proof Research carbon fiber barrel; and .308 18” 1×10 Proof Research Stainless Steel Barrel. The F4X weighs in at roughly 7.5lbs.

The F4X was designed to fill a void in the hunting, competition, and LE/military markets. It’s the next step in the advancement of large caliber gas guns that vastly improves upon large frame AR-10s. The F4X is smaller, lighter, and just as accurate as any of the leading AR-10s currently on the market.

Each F4X comes standard with the Trigger Tech® Adaptable AR Primary Trigger and patent pending F4 Adaptive Rail System (ARS). The F4X features a flat-wire buffer spring, hydraulic buffer, and APA® Little Bastard™ Muzzle Brake. This combination results in a smooth and soft shooting rifle. Consistent with all F4 rifles, the F4X comes with a sub-moa guarantee.

You can see F4 Defense’s F4X and other innovative products at Booth #N315 on the NEXT Pavilion, 3rd Floor on the NEXT Pavilion at this month’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For Dealer inquiries, please visit our website at

Interested in purchasing the F4X?  Please sign up for our newsletter to be informed of availability in late March.

About F4 Defense

F4 Defense is a Veteran-owned small arms manufacturer with decades of military, engineering, design and competitive shooting experience. We set out to build tactical firearms that perform at the highest level while maintaining unequaled aesthetics. Driven by innovation, F4 is pushing the envelope in tactical firearms technology and design, while sustaining a commitment to customer service and helping those who defend freedom. For more information, visit:

How to Start an Ar15 Rifle Company

How This AR15 Rifle Company Got To The Starting Line

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What’s up guys, Dave here from F4 Defense.

The F4 Defense blog will have one purpose: share our stories, knowledge, tips, tricks, pitfalls, successes and setbacks about what it’s like to start a company in the gun manufacturing world. We are in the same position as so many companies before us and feel blessed to be given the opportunity to enter a market that is so important to us personally. I hope you’ll enjoy, ask questions, make comments, and follow along as we write about what we’ve been up to and experienced in the past year, and follow along as we design, prototype, test, market, and release new products leading into SHOT 2018 and beyond.

Where to start?

When researching and exploring entry into this market we did all the textbook business plans, market and competitor analysis, etc. But what we really wanted and needed—was an inside look at the manufacturing of firearms. We researched online, got into SHOT show, started building crucial relationships, and asked a lot of questions. During our research we found that there was very little information on the inside operation in the industry; even something as simple as how they build their rifles. Jon Patton of The Gun Collective fame produced and released the first video that I’ve seen, which details the assembly line at Daniel Defense. We have been building, testing, and shooting the AR platform for years but were still very curious to see how successful companies operate.

We realized that in order to succeed we needed to take a look at how many other manufacturers fabricate firearms in-house. Surprisingly, there were a ton of successful companies that outsource the fabrication of parts. We looked at multiple machine shops that manufacture firearms and took bits and pieces from each one to figure out the best way for us to provide our customers the best rifles possible. From a design and test perspective we have an extremely talented team of engineers; however, we also needed to aggressively attack the machining side of the equation.

This blog is designed and intended to bring some of the burning questions I wanted to be answered when starting a new company to the surface so that you can learn from our failures and successes. Whether you are contemplating a new business venture, or want a look behind the curtain that is the firearms industry or just curious about the industry in general, then follow along to see our growth and perspective in this industry as a new business.

We’ve put this list together on what we feel are some of the most important steps in the process, but it’s certainly not the only way to build a new company, its just a list of what all companies deal with entering the market.

  • Market analysis, product assessment, and entry barriers
  • The advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing
  • Finding and evaluating a machine shop
  • Finding and evaluating an extruder
  • Rifle building process, testing, and standards
  • Choosing companies to align with and what parts to use that we don’t currently design (i.e. barrels, stocks, grips, etc.)
  • 3D Printing in metal and plastics
  • Finding a mentor
  • Patents
  • Prototyping
  • Marketing budget and balancing money spent on traditional marketing versus social media
  • Research and Development
  • Lessons Learned
  • Customer Service
  • Transparency

As we get going…

As we get going, if there’s something we’ve experienced and can speak to—we certainly will. We would also love to hear your thoughts on the whole idea behind this blog, of sharing our experiences with all of you that either want to enter the market or are just curious of what goes into the startup of a small business manufacturing small arms.

None of this would be remotely possible without living in the greatest country to ever exist. America and its capitalistic backbone allow the little guy to take a shot at success and that’s something we’ve never taken for granted and never will.

Thanks for checking out our Blog and please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and opinions on any of these topics or any topics not listed.

Dave Fairfax, COO

F4 Defense Triggercon

New Small Arms Manufacturer, F4 Defense Launches at Triggrcon 2017

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Leonardtown, Maryland. Veteran-owned F4 Defense, manufacturers of innovative small arms and accessories, will launch their new line of products at Triggrcon 2017 in Tacoma, Washington (July 27-30, 2017).

After two years of design, development and strenuous testing, F4 Defense will enter the firearms industry with their F4-15 rifle and Patent Pending Adaptive Rail System Handguard (ARS). “As veterans, competitive shooters and fierce patriots, we saw room for innovation in the small arms market and started this company out of a passion for firearms and our desire to help those who defend the laws of freedom,” says COO, Dave Fairfax.

New F4 Product Features

F4-15 Rifle

The F4-15 is second to none aesthetically while maintaining the strength and structural integrity to endure the harshest of environments. The F4-15’s radical lines and recesses are strategically placed to cut weight and provide a streamlined design; making it lighter than a forged mil-spec receiver set. Features include: trigger creep adjustment, short throw safety, flared magwell, bolt catch and forward assist set screws, upper takedown tension adjustment and an oversized beveled trigger guard to accommodate shooters who wear gloves.


F4 Defense F4-15 AR15 Rifle


ARS Handguard

The F4 Adaptive Rail System (ARS) is a purpose-built rail combining the functionality of the M1913 Picatinny rail and the adaptability of Magpul’s® MLOK® system. The Patent Pending MLOK® and Picatinny hybrid system is directly integrated into the extruded profile of the rail—versus the bulky quad rail configuration. Accessories can be attached directly to the rail—eliminating the need for adapter rails.


F4 Defense F4-15 ARS Handguard


F4 Defense is developing several additional products that include a Small Frame .308 (F4-10) and a 9mm Pistol Carbine (F4-P PCC) planned for release in the coming months. You can sign up for updates at or follow them on Facebook at

 You can see F4 Defense’s new line at Booth #810 at Triggrcon 2017.

About F4 Defense

F4 Defense is a Veteran-owned small arms manufacturer with decades of military, engineering, design and competitive shooting experience. We set out to build tactical firearms that perform at the highest level while maintaining unequaled aesthetics. Driven by innovation, F4 is pushing the envelope in tactical firearms technology and design, while sustaining a commitment to customer service and helping those who defend freedom. For more information, visit: