Lower Franconia Shows their claws

Unterfranken zeigen die Pranken

Always technologically innovative, HERA Arms from Triefenstein in Lower Franconia, Germany, has recently been particularly active in many fields. We took a closer look at the new 7SIX2 self-loading rifle based on the AR-10 design in .308 Winchester caliber.

A brief retrospective: HERA Arms was founded 12 years ago by Thomas Noeth and we first reported on the then newcomer to the world of weapons in 4/2009, when we presented a pistol carbine chassis for Glock pistols, which eventually became the well-known “Triarii” chassis. The very first product from HERA Arms, however, was an AR-15 compatible light metal grip called “BCK” (Buttstock/Grip Conversion Kit) for the semi-automatic civilian version of the SL8  in .223 Remington of the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle. Because typical AR-15 attachments such as length-adjustable shoulder rests could be mounted on the SL8, the versatility and flexibility of the German self-loading rifle was significantly increased. Since no irrevocable modifications were made to the basic HK SL8 weapon during the assembly of the BCK and all original parts (trigger unit, buffer spring, screws) were taken over, it was possible to return to the original condition at any time. Already at this early stage, a HERA Arms prototype of a magazine adapter existed for the use of common AR-15 magazines. At that time, the company also worked on the USC civilian version in .45 ACP of the Heckler & Koch UMP submachine gun and offered a Folding Stock Conversion (FSC) grip with folding shoulder rest and an adapter for M4 stocks. To match this, HERA also produced its own magazine with an aluminum housing and capacity for 20 cartridges. Following the same pattern, HERA Arms also offered a Franchi Stock Adapter (FSA) conversion kit for the Italian self-loading shotgun Franchi SPAS-15, which allows the smoothbore to be used with an M4 telescopic stock.  Here, too, the details were right. The installation of the adapter was quite simple due to the two-part design with internal stainless steel bolts and even with the M4 shoulder support inserted to reduce size, the legal minimum length of 95 cm was not undercut. The well thought-out program was rounded off by neatly made Picatinny rails made of aluminum for the HK SL8 and the HK USC, whereby, the rail for the USC was rounded at the front to avoid a possible risk of injury when loading through or other manipulations due to sharp edges. Even these early firsts, are proof of HERA Arms’ great innovative spirit and a feeling for the trends of the time and the needs of the market. In addition to new weapons such as the VRB fore-end repeating rifle in .223 Remington or the H7 Rifle System cylinder bolt action rifle in .308 Winchester on a Remington 700 basis, they have invested a lot of time, money and energy in a new corporate image, so that a look at the HERA Arms homepage: www.herarms.de is definitely worthwhile. In addition, HERA Arms Nightmare Steel is its own competition, which offers a lot of action (see page 66). At this point, however, we would like to take a look at the HERA Arms 7SIX2 in .308 Winchester caliber, which was presented for the first time at Enforce Tac/IWA 2019 and is now available. 

From the Brotherhood

As usual, you can either choose one of the four offered models 7SIX2 1020, 2020, 2010, 3040 in different barrel lengths and equipment or assemble your individual dream rifle on the homepage with the help of the configurator. The most compact model 1030 has a 14.5″ barrel and is equipped with a fixed HRS Light shoulder stock.  Weighing in at 3,650 grams, this semi-automatic achieves an overall length of just 89 cm. Price: 2,529 euros. The 2010 and 2020 models are equipped with 16.75″ barrels. The 2010 model with fixed HRS shoulder rest weighs 3,985 grams with an overall length of 101 cm.  The 2020 model is equipped with the length-adjustable CCS shoulder stock and weighs 3,848 grams with a variable overall length of 94.5 cm to 103.5 cm. These rifles feature synthetic attachments from HERA-Arms’ in-house production. The fourth  match rifle has a 20″ bull barrel instead of a heavy barrel contour, like the other three models. and brings it with a weight of 4,907 grams to an overall length of 108.5 cm. All rifles have a twist of 1-11″, are equipped with an effective three-chamber compensator and are supplied with a Hera magazine with a capacity for ten cartridges. Our test weapon is the flagship HERA Arms 7SIX2 Model 3040. 

7SIX2 in detail

The southern German manufacturer is justifiably proud of the fact that almost all AR components come from its own production, so that it can act autonomously and is hardly dependent on suppliers. For the production of the housing parts from 7075-T6 aluminum  the company uses modern, five-axis DMG CNC milling centers  in order to be able to implement the modern design. Here, too, it comes down to the details. For example, the hole for the front fixing pin (“pivot pin”) on the system housing was not drilled symmetrically but off-center. This is not a manufacturing error! This prevents the upper receiver from hitting the lower receiver with full weight and force when the rear take down pin is removed and the rifle is opened. This eliminates unsightly scratches on the lower and upper receiver during continuous use. These main components are very well finished, both inside and out. In order to realize minimal tolerances, there are a number of holes on the grip section.

On the upper side, there are two stud bolts with which the lower and upper parts can be perfectly matched to each other. This method of tolerance adjustment is common practice in the AR world today, even if manufacturers take different approaches here. Some prefer the rear part of the take down pin, others the front part of the pivot pin. In the end, however, only the results count. On the new 7SIX2 standard models, the operating elements such as the bolt catch lever and magazine release are designed on one side. The safety with voluminous lever is available on both sides.

 The HERA Arms MPSS Gen.2 safety can be mounted in 90/45 degree position. A standard MIL-SPEC trigger unit sits in the grip, with the direct trigger pulling a measured trigger weight of 2,100 grams, which is quite an acceptable value for such a standard trigger. 

Tightly Tapped

The gas system also has distinctive features, with a straight, not curved, gas tube. In the original AR-10 system, the gas tube is pinned in a simple MIL-SPEC gas block unit and is often not tight. This can be easily seen if you look at the dirt around the gas sampling when the hand guard is removed. Here HERA Arms relies on sealing with threaded flanks, obviously with success, because after extensive shooting, only minimal contamination from escaping gas could be detected on the gas extraction unit. As already mentioned, the 20″ long match barrel is made of 42CrMo4 steel with a 1-11″ twist and additionally honed on the inside. Many other manufacturers use a 1-10″ twist in the standard .308 Win. chamber. However, the 1-11″ twist has proven to be more flexible, especially with regard to lighter bullets from 136 to 150 grains, which can also be a significant advantage in the hunting area, depending on the bullet design. In our later field test, we were able to get good results with bullets in the weight range of up to 178 grains. 

On the Shooting Range

We equipped our HERA Arms 7SIX2 3040 model with a Recknagel ERA TAC mount with adjustable front sight, a Schmidt & Bender PM II 5-45×56 PM II High Power and a Fortmeier bipod. The shooting performance was tested with eight types of ammunition  at 100 meters. The best result was 16 mm with the RWS 168 Grains Target Elite Plus factory ammunition.  For the first time we also worked with the brand new RWS 168 grains Scorpion match bullet, with which we were able to achieve good results with our handloads from the semi-automatic. We produced an 18 mm group with a handload consisting of 42.0 grains of IMR 4166 propellant and RWS Scorpion. We were able to achieve a group that was only one millimeter larger with the same load. with only a 2.0 grain increase in the powder charge. But also the Hornady 178 Grains Precision Hunter with the hunting ELD-X bullet was convincing with 19 mm.

Caliber Conclusion

With the new 7SIX2 family, HERA Arms has succeeded in bringing to market a self-loading rifle based on the unmistakable AR-10 pattern in the powerful .308 Winchester caliber, which, with its innovative detail solutions, is characterized by a high level of workmanship, function and reliability. Convincing shooting performance. If you can’t find what you’re looking for among the four standard models on offer, you can still put together your dream weapon according to your individual preferences in the online configurator. This is, of course, is somewhat more expensive and may involve longer waiting times. But the possibilities regarding the equipment in detail are almost inexhaustible.