For the past few weeks, I have been evaluating (playing with) a new rifle, the .308 Super Sniper, from Wilson Combat. During that same time, I have also been reading Gun Guy, the autobiography of Bill Wilson.
As I read the book, I discovered that I was reading more than just a recounting of Bill’s life. The book actually tells the story of how Wilson Combat transitioned from a simple one-man shop to a major corporation. That alone is a major achievement, and everyone I know would agree that Wilson Combat is currently one of the highest regarded custom manufacturers in the firearm industry. The amazing aspect of this book is that if you read between the lines, there is a road map to Bill Wilson’s success. The simple truth is, all you have to do is to offer a quality product at a fair price and have a good understanding of the market trends in the firearms industry. Of course, that is easier said than done. Over the years, several companies have tried this formula and failed, simply because they lacked one of the three points. However, those that achieved all three aspects have grown and prospered.
Of the three points of the formula, it is having a good understanding of the market trends that many find hard to achieve. A company may start out based around a certain firearm, but then fail to have the foresight to expand when a new trend is started. Some may think Bill has a crystal ball because he is always at the front of the pack on new projects. In reality, I think it can be accredited to the fact that he is a “gun guy” and has the same interest as his customers.
The Wilson Combat .308 Super Sniper is a prime example of how Wilson Combat has always understood the needs of their customers. Bill started by doing custom work on the Gov. Model 1911. As the demand increased in size, so did Wilson Combat. They have also expanded their product line to include new firearms as the trends evolved. The combat shotgun started coming out of Wilson Combat at about the same time as the personal-defense market began to take off, and Wilson Combat hit the AR-15 market dead-on.
“ … the 20-inch precision-button, rifled 416-R stainless-steel barrel can be considered the heart of this rifle.”
For the past couple of years, shooters have taken a renewed interest in both the AR-10 platform and long-range marksmanship. Wilson’s answer was to combine the two trends into one firearm with the .308 Super Sniper.
.308 SUPER SNIPER
It has not been long since Wilson Combat first released their “AR-10” rifles, and I was fortunate enough to do one of the first field tests. When they added the Super Sniper to the product line, I couldn’t resist it. To do this rifle justice, I have to relay more than just the standard specifications, and one should understand that any rifle is more than just a sum of its parts. The individual parts of this rife are machined on top-of-the-line machinery in the Wilson Combat factory. Care and attention is paid to every part produced, and the tightest tolerances are maintained. Then, each part is hand-fitted to achieve a weapon that can rival all others.
The process starts with a set of Wilson’s machined-billet upper and lower receivers. The lower receiver houses the hand-fitted safety, magazine release and bolt catch/release. Standard for the Super Sniper is the Wilson TTU (Tactical Trigger Unit), single-stage trigger with a four-pound pull. This is the same trigger unit I have installed on all of my ARs, and they have performed perfectly for me for several years. The lower receiver is designed to accept standard “SR-25” patterned magazines. The bottom of the magazine well is angled and beveled to aid in the rapid feeding of magazines. I would note that the sample rifle came with a Lancer magazine, and I consider that an excellent choice. Included with the lower receiver is a Wilson/Bravo Company Gunfighter pistol grip.
As Wilson states, the 20-inch precision-button, rifled 416-R stainless-steel barrel can be considered the heart of this rifle. The sample rifle came with a fluted barrel, but the rifle can be ordered with or without fluting. The muzzle lacks a flash hider or threading, but it has a perfectly executed “target-style” crown. The 1-10 twist rate offers the greatest versatility in stabilizing the different-weight .308 diameter bullets. The upper receiver and barrel extension have the “M-4 cuts” to enhance feeding. Mating with the barrel extension is a premium MIL-SPEC bolt and bolt carrier, which has been MP-inspected and NP3-coated.
“Care and attention is paid to every part produced, and the tightest tolerances are maintained.”
The direct-impingement gas system has a rifle-length gas tube and a low-profile gas block to fit underneath the 14.50-inch Wilson T.R.I.M. Rail handguard. The T.R.I.M. rail provides a free-floated condition to the barrel and offers an extension of flattop upper receivers with a Picatinny rail. Additional rail segments may be added to offer a variety of mounting options for additional accessories. A carbine-style receiver extension holds the Rogers Super-Stoc buttstock, which features a protected release lever and a secondary lever to tighten any play between the receiver extension tube and buttstock. QD sling mounts are on both sides of the buttstock, as well as on the rear of the T.R.I.M. handguard. The customer may order from a selection of Armor-Tuff finishes, and the fit of this carbine is exactly what you would expect from Wilson Combat.
ON THE RANGE
When the team at Wilson Combat shipped this rifle, they were kind enough to include their Accu-Rizer AR flattop scope mount and a Vortex Viper 2.5-10x32mm scope. The Accu-Rizer is a one-piece mount/ring combination that positions the scope at the exact height needed for the flattop receiver, and features a quick-detach triangle-locking screw. During the first range session, I removed and reinstalled the mount twice and could not detect any noticeable shift in the point of impact.
Since the crew at Wilson’s had the scope pre-sighted for me, I was able to go straight to the accuracy testing for this rifle. I used two Hornady Match loads, the 178-grain and 155-grain, and one 168-grain match load from HPR. All three were 100-percent reliable, but this rifle did show a slight lean in favor of the Hornady loads. After firing four five-shot groups with each load, the best group belonged to the 155-grain Hornady with the Open-Tip-Match bullet. The five shots had a spacing of 0.75 inches, center to center, but the 175-grain Hornady was right behind it with a 0.87-inch five-shot group. Even though I have had good results with the HPR loading in other rifles, the best group I could obtain in the Super Sniper was 1.18 inches.
A second day at the range gave similar results, but I honestly believe the rifle is capable of shooting better than I could on that day. I foolishly pride myself on my marksmanship with a rifle, but I couldn’t help but believe I was the factor in not hitting the 0.50 MOA mark. If nothing else, that will justify my putting in more range time. It was the second range session in which I was able to fire from my 500-yard bench, and I developed an admiration of the Vortex scope. At 500 yards, the clarity of this scope was apparent, and the hash marks on the reticle were so sharp, I chose to aim by just holding over them and using the MIL-marks. The 12×12-inch plate stayed in constant fear of its life, and even the eight-inch circular plate had cause to worry. Anyone who has tried shooting beyond the 100-yard line can understand why there has been an increasing interest in long-range shooting. The Super Sniper was keeping those plates in constant motion.
Overall, I would rate the .308 Winchester cartridge and the Super Sniper, with its 20-inch barrel, as an ideal 500- to 800-yard rifle. You could extend that distance, but you may be leaving the comfort zone for that combination. The true benefit of this rifle is its balance and comfort. It was easy to handle in any shooting position, and my shoulder showed little wear even after 80 rounds of .308 Winchester.
“The Wilson Combat .308 Super Sniper is a prime example of how Wilson Combat has always understood the needs of their customers.”
To my surprise, there was no exciting plot twist to the end of the book, but it was an enjoyable read. Bill and I are similar in age (OK, I am a bit older) and reading Gun Guy brought back a few memories of my own. There really wasn’t a surprise with the Super Sniper, either. I expect good accuracy and outstanding quality from any weapon produced by Wilson Combat, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Super Sniper in its compact form could transition from a superb deer or hog rifle to the ultimate urban police sniper rifle. In either form, its owner is in for years of pleasure.
Accuracy Testing Results
Hornady 155-grain Match
Hornady 178-grain Match
|HPR 168-grain Match||2,688 fps||
Wilson Combat’s .308 Super Sniper
- Chambering: .308 Winchester
- Magazine: Lancer L7-AWM 20 round
- Overall Length: 40.25 inches (stock extended)
- Weight: 9.20 pounds (empty)
- Sights: None
- Stock: Rogers Super-Stoc
- Muzzle Treatment: Non-threaded Target Crown
- Handguard: Wilson Combat T.R.I.M. Rail
- Pistol Grip: Wilson/Bravo Company Gunfighter
- Barrel: Fluted 20-inch 416-R stainless steel
- Receivers: 7075-T6 billet aluminum
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the August 2016 print issue of World of Firepower.