In assembling his custom AR-15 rifle, self-taught gunsmith Pedro Ortiz adds the special touch that only a true master can bring to the table.
The Ortiz Custom Rifle starts with a Geissele two-stage trigger, which Ortiz has further honed and set at 3.5 pounds. Ortiz has for years specialized in trigger work, starting in three decades ago when he modified Model 1911 triggers for most of the competitive shooters in Puerto Rico.
“Frankly the most important part of any gun is the trigger assembly,” Ortiz says. “It’s virtually impossible for a firearm to perform at its best in human hands if the trigger pull is not smooth and crisp.”
The second part of the Ortiz Custom Rifle is a Stoner AR-15 stainless barrel with the popular Wylde chamber. Many shooters like the Wylde chamber because it has a longer throat than the .223 SAAMI spec, which allows safe usage of 5.56x45mm NATO approved ammunition.
This match grade barrel features a 1-in-8-inch twist with 5R rifling. The barrel is fluted for greater strength, less weight and accelerated cooling, and is made of 416R stainless. The barrel also features M4 Feed Ramps, a gas port mid-length and is threaded 1⁄2”-28. The customer has the choice of an 18- or 20-inch barrel.
To assist in the cooling and handling of the gun, Ortiz selected the Troy Industries Alpha Battle 15-inch free floating rail. This modular handguard is lightweight and slim enough to feel great in the hands of most shooters. The popular rail is constructed of aircraft aluminum and finished with a mil-spec anodized coat. It can accept modular rail sections and can easily accept a number of tactical accessories.
With the popularity of the AR-platform rifle these days, you can bet that there are a number of stock options available, too. It is the stock configuration that comfortably allows the sighting eye to look through any chosen optic. Ortiz selected the Magpul PRS, which is short for Precision Rifle Sniper. This stock is similar to those used on the finest precision target rifles, but is designed to withstand the elements.
The Magpul PRS is fully adjustable for length of pull and comb height in order to ensure the best fit possible. The length of pull is adjustable from 1⁄4-inch shorter to 3⁄4 of an inch longer than factory dimensions. The comb height can be adjusted a full 3⁄4 of an inch, which allows an easy comb height fit for shooters of all shapes, sizes and genders.
One of the problems AR shooters may one day encounter is a broken or malfunctioning charging handle. Ortiz Custom Guns has addressed this concern by selecting a Vltor BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle for its custom gun. The Vltor BCM Gunfighter handle is machined from 7075 billet aluminum and finished with an anodized hard coat.
One of the features of a custom rifle is that it not only look good, it must also feel good in the hands of the shooter. To help ensure both of these physical attributes, Ortiz added an Ergo Sure Grip Pistol Grip AR-15, which is made for left- and right-hand shooters.
This grip is ergonomically designed to fit the shooter’s hand more comfortably, which provides better recoil control. In many ways the grip is an extension of the trigger pull, since a comfortable grip of the gun greatly reduces mistakes when squeezing the trigger.
To complete the physical gun, Ortiz mounts a JP Enterprise Compensator. which serves to significantly reduce the felt recoil of the gun. Obviously muzzle jump can be a significant factor for second shot accuracy whether hunting predators or competing in 3-Gun, and Ortiz has recognized the need to keep the muzzle calm during operation.
To enhance the performance of the Ortiz Custom Rifle, Ortiz has also added a Harris 6-9 Bipod and a Burris Full Field II 3.5-10x50mm tactical scope to the standard model. The scope is seated in a Burris AR-P.E.P.R. one-piece quick-release scope mount. Burris P.E.P.R. stands for Proper Eye Position Ready, which means that as much as 2 inches of forward scope movement is possible for the shooter to achieve the perfect eye-relief distance.
Putting It All Together
Of course all of the “best of the best” parts are only as good as the sum of those parts once assembled, tweaked and made to be as perfect as possible. The Ortiz Custom Rifle is designed to be accurate at 350 to 400 yards, and Ortiz guarantees ½-inch M.O.A. or less at 100 yards using factory ammunition.
According to Ortiz, the rifle will shoot a 4-inch group or less at 400 yards, again with factory ammo. Shooters are shooters, however, and as with all rifles, the proof has to be seen.
A recent trip to a gun range in late July proved to be a real test for the Ortiz Custom Rifle. It was almost 100 degrees on the range and there was a steady crosswind of more than 10 miles per hour.
Ortiz put the gun through its paces by shooting not on a bench, but from a standing position off of a BogPod with an AR rest. Using factory Winchester Match Grade ammo, the rifle performed as advertised.
The standard Ortiz Custom Rifle comes assembled as described and weighs 6¾ pounds without optics and approximately 8½ pounds with optics. There are also numerous upgrade options available, which may be added upon request. The standard rifle retails for $1,795. That’s about the same cost as some more expensive assembly line models, but with Ortiz, the shooter gets a custom rifle that delivers unbelievably good custom performance.
For more information on the Ortiz Custom Rifle, contact Pedro Ortiz at 912-925-0799 or visit his website at ortizcustomguns.com.
This article is an excerpt from the November 4, 2013 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.