The Modern Outfitters MC7 is the latest evolution in the manufacturer’s high-performance brood of AR-platform rifles, and the company’s first AR-10-style build.
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Lightweight and accurate right out of the box, the MC7 will impress long-range shooters and big-game hunters used to heavier, more-finicky rifles. It may even convert die-hard AR-15 fans who want higher-caliber capabilities in a light and reliable package.
If you’ve doubted that the American Dream was still alive and well, you need look no further than Modern Outfitters. Eric Stubbs and his wife, Laine, were newlyweds when they started their custom firearms and apparel business on the same plot of land along Meridian, Mississippi’s Highway 39 that Stubbs’ parents—and grandparents—built their own businesses and forged their living.
Since its humble beginnings, Modern Outfitters has expanded its operations to include a much larger retail showroom as well as a manufacturing facility in Dallas, an expansive outdoor-range facility near San Antonio, and a network of retailers across the country who serve law enforcement, government and civilian customers in practically every state.
Always a “family affair,” Stubbs enlisted trusted friend and big-game hunter Andrew Houser as his head of sales and marketing. His other partners included Matt Brace, a shooting and hunting enthusiast with an extensive background in metals and manufacturing, and world-class hunters and shooting enthusiasts Leo and Conner Quintanilla. Sharing a relentless work ethic and passion for firearms, Stubbs relied on his tight-knit group as Modern Outfitters began to expand, shifting from customizing and selling other manufacturers’ guns to designing and building its own.
The MC7 is the third generation in the Modern Carbine (MC) family of ARs. Following the MC5 and MC6—both AR-15s, with the latter being a higher-end billet-aluminum version of the former—the MC7 is the big brother of the group.
According to Stubbs, “The MC6 has been our flagship gun—everybody loves it—but we had guys that wanted to shoot farther, shoot bigger animals, so they were always asking, ‘When are you going to make one in .308 or in 6.5 Creedmoor?’ We had so many people asking for it, we decided we’d better do it.”
They decided their goal would be to build an AR-10-style rifle with all of the range and power benefits of the larger platform with none of the weight or functionality drawbacks—sort of the “have your cake and eat it too” approach.
Enter the MC7.
Stubbs was determined to maintain the “light and accurate” qualities that have become the MC series’ signature. He knew that moving to the larger platform would present a new set of challenges. Hunters, law enforcement personnel and fans of big-bore ARs generally have accepted that there are trade-offs for the improved capabilities and seem willing to forgive common problems like feeding issues, broken bolt catches, guns that are over-gassed and barrel-nut-to-rail-interface issues.
Having originally found their niche in the custom market, however, Stubbs and his team were used to playing the role of problem-solver. Their experience customizing and working with other guns through the years shaped their approach to the MC7’s design.
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Modern Outfitters Production Manager Jon Debord gave me a rundown on the specific features of the MC7 that are designed to address common problems and improve the rifle’s overall performance.
First up is the MC7’s magazine well. According to Debord, “Most AR-10-style rifles use forged lowers, which allows for variances in tolerances within the mag well across a production run. By using wire EDM on our billet lowers, we are able to tightly control the tolerances to ensure that the magazine fitment locks up tight.”
The bolt release is also specific to the gun. “We isolated the bolt catch issue by increasing the spring tension. We made a bolt catch for the MC7 out of QPQ-coated tool steel,” Debord said. “While this is four times as expensive, it solves the broken-bolt-catch issue.”
Another standout feature is the gas system. “Enhanced reliability is achieved by allowing the right amount of gas to flow into the system with the correct spring weight/buffer assigned to the recoil return system. Adjustable gas blocks help, but a proper gas port size is even better. Over-gassed barrels are far too common and lead to serious cycling issues when the rifle is run suppressed.”
Finally, Modern Outfitters has solved the barrel nut issue. “On traditional forged ARs, the barrel nut is used as an anchor point for the rail system. This might be great for combat rifles, but it’s not so great for precision rifles,” Debord said. “The MC7 uses a shielded barrel-nut system wherein the barrel nut does not come in contact with the rail system. This allows shooters to push/pull on the rail to their heart’s content without having any effect on harmonics.”
A Hands-On Look
Arriving in a high-quality padded Cordura rifle case, the MC7 not only sported a factory Cerakote finish, but it also came zeroed and tuned personally by Stubbs. I was going to chalk this up as special treatment by the owner. However, I soon learned that every MC7 is tested, zeroed and tuned by Stubbs before it goes out.
In addition to being tuned and ready to go, the MC7—like every gun from Modern Outfitters—is backed by warranty against any manufacturer’s defects to 20,000 rounds. “That’s something that gives our customers a lot of trust and faith in us,” Stubbs said. “It’s saying, ‘Look, we build this thing by hand to not give you any problems. But in the event that you do have an issue, we’ll handle it for you that day. We want every customer to be happy and stand by our guns unconditionally.”
The test MC7 was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, though Modern Outfitters also offers .308 Winchester and .260 Remington versions. It also sported a 22-inch, carbon-fiber-wrapped Proof Research barrel with a Griffin Armament muzzle device.
Surrounding the barrel and gas system is an M-LOK handguard CNC-machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. The upper and lower receivers are both made from a billet of 7075-T6 aluminum. Meanwhile, the bolt carrier group has a black nitride coating and a properly staked gas key.
Finally, the gun features an ALG Defense ACT trigger unit, but other options are available.
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Buck’s Range Test
While any gun writer can go to his or her local gun range and gather specs and groupings on a rifle at 100 yards from the comfort of a benchrest, when I really want to push the limits of a weapon—see how it functions from prone, on the run, in high wind or even from behind a rock—I head to Teasdale, Utah, where Follow Through Consulting’s Buck Doyle will put it through its paces at one of the most rugged (and scenic) ranges in the country.
A former Recon Marine, Buck spends his time these days teaching specialized Scoped Carbine courses specifically geared toward maximizing the capabilities of AR-platform rifles. Understandably, Buck has become the go-to guy when manufacturers, military and law enforcement personnel, and civilians want to see what their rifles can really do.
When Buck runs a gun through his course or for test purposes, his preferred setup is one that allows him to optimally engage targets at unknown distances ranging from 10 meters to more than 1,000 meters across tough, windy terrain. So he added a Leupold 3.6-18x44mm Mark 5 scope with a Horus Tremor3 reticle, an Accuracy 1st scope level and Dueck Defense RTS sights. Out front he attached an NG2 MAXFLO 3D suppressor and a Harris bipod. He also used a Vickers two-point sling from Blue Force Gear and a 25-round Magpul PMAG.
To start, Buck zeroed the rifle at 100 meters by shooting multiple three-round groups that all came in at less than 1 MOA. Then Buck entered the gun’s data (caliber, twist rate and bullet weight) into his Kestrel with Applied Ballistics, which was automatically collecting atmospherics like wind and density altitude. He then “trued” the gun at 1,100 meters, shooting at a 16-inch steel plate to establish the trajectory; getting his “dope.”
Buck then confirmed the dope by shooting at various 12-inch targets within that distance. He matched his holds to the range card on the Kestrel.
For more information, please visit Modern-Outfitters.com.
Modern Outfitters MC7 Specifications
- Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Barrel: 22 inches
- OA Length: 38 inches
- Weight: 7.25 pounds (empty)
- Stock: Magpul MOE
- Sights: None
- Action: Direct impingement semi-auto
- Finish: Cerakote
- Capacity: 20+1
- MSRP: N/A
This article is from the summer 2018 issue of Ballistic Magazine. To subscribe or purchase individual copies, please visit OutdoorGroupStore.com.