May 06, 2023
There is a moment in many AR owners’ lives when they wonder how their favorite gas gun would perform if it were a bolt action. The inherent benefits of a bolt action combined with the familiar ergonomics of an AR is now possible thanks to the great folks from Uintah Precision in Duchesne, Utah.
Pronounced “Yoo-In-Ta,” Uintah Precision has a large offering of bolt-action AR-pattern rifles and uppers to include everything from 5.56 to .45-caliber muzzleloaders. Let’s discuss their incredible 6.5 Creedmoor, the UP-10.
A Bolt-Action AR?
Why not? Bolt guns are generally more accurate, run cleaner, and suppress nicely. There is no doubt gas guns are convenient and fast, especially with follow-up shots. But the ammunition goes on a wild ride as it bumps and joggles its way into the chamber. This critical difference is easily seen with precision handloads. Don’t believe me? Shoot 10 precision cartridges loaded into an AR chamber by hand, then 10 auto-loaded from the magazine. You’ll start seeing why a bolt-action AR is a good idea with many applications.
At first glance, the UP-10 may look like an odd duck, but once you work the action and feel the precision machining, you’ll get a smile on your face. Locked forward into battery, the bolt handle is less than 2 inches off the receiver, keeping a low profile but still easily accessible even with gloves. It’s the perfect angle for an AR without upsetting the classic profile. The handle rotates 60 degrees to roughly level when opened and pulled back. I was able to easily clear every optic tested, even those with extra-bulky turrets like the Vortex Razor. Uintah also offers a left-handed version for southpaws.
Operation is smooth and positive thanks partially to a heavily-fortified fit inside the receiver. There is no chance for rotational binding when the bolt is brought back. The bolt gently picks up cartridges from PMAGs, Lancer mags, and SR-25/M-110 pattern steel magazines. In fact, I couldn’t find an AR-10 magazine it didn’t work with.
The upper center of the bolt features a detent that provides positive alignment with a captive spring-loaded ball on the ceiling of the receiver. When the bolt is in battery, you feel a nice sweet spot, locking it in proper alignment. If the bolt handle gets accidentally rotated out of battery, an integral hammer block underneath the bolt body keeps the hammer from dropping. It’s a smart idea and great safety feature.
The beefy three-lug bolt face has a powerful extractor and ejector that tosses spent brass with authority, especially when the bolt is brought back sharply. The bolt body is precision-machined from a single piece of heat-treated 4140 chromium-molybdenum alloy steel. It is overkill, and I like it. Removing the bolt for maintenance is as easy as breaking open the receivers and sliding it to the rear. The simple design makes cleanup a breeze.
Details That Matter
Sure, they figured out the bolt-action part, but what about the rest of the rifle? Uintah put a lot of thought and experience into those decisions as well.
Uintah uses Preferred Barrels in their firearms with good reason. They’re extremely accurate. The rifle reviewed here had a 22-inch, carbon-fiber-wrapped, 1:8-inch twist option. It’s light for a 22-inch barrel and, additionally, the carbon fiber kept the barrel cool over the course of my accuracy testing. A knurled thread protector covers the 5/8x24-threaded muzzle for muzzle devices or sound suppressors. Replacing a barrel is as easy as
swapping an AR-15 barrel. Remove the handguard and barrel nut, and the barrel slides straight out. Uintah offers barrel options pre-fitted with their three-lug extensions. Precise tolerances guarantee your existing bolt will headspace properly with a new barrel. Call them, and they’ll also do custom work for just about any application.
Every accurate rifle has a great trigger. The UP-10 uses a Velocity Precision single-stage trigger with a 3.5-pound pull weight. Velocity uses a finish treatment of ArmorLube DLC to give users consistent trigger pulls over a greater period of time with little or no wet lubricant needed.
The upper and lower receivers are CNC-machined from billet 7075 aluminum. Uintah smartly added reinforced sections around the takedown pins, the magwell rim, and the entire length of the upper receiver. The oversized triggerguard made for easy use even with gloves. I wish all manufacturers did this. Take a peek into the buffer tube, and you’ll discover the buffer and spring are missing. While they’re unnecessary for a bolt action, the captive retainer pin is still there if you wish to run the lower with a conventional gas upper. A fully-functional bolt stop is there as well. They’re nice added bonuses for future tinkering.
The top rail has 20 MOA built in to provide an elevation boost needed at longer ranges. Rail lugs extend all the way to the end of the handguard for use with accessories or clip-on night vision devices. The handguard has M-LOK slots on the sides and bottom for your favorite lights, lasers, and bipods. In short, the chassis of this rifle is a beast.
Uintah chose Magpul for furniture. The stock is the robust yet lightweight PRS Lite. The PRS Lite features a butt pad that can be adjusted for height and cant for a variety of shooting positions. Length of pull can be adjusted with around 1.5 inches of travel. The comb height can be raised .75 inches from its lowest setting. The rubberized, overmolded Magpul K2+ grip proves a great angle to the trigger, translating into better accuracy. All in all, they made great choices for furniture. You’ll find no need to upgrade like you would with a typical factory rifle.
I’ve shot Uintah rifles before, and I’ve always been impressed. This rifle was no different. The designers at Uintah are also avid shooters, and it shows. Shooting at 100 yards off the bench with a bipod, I selected three types of ammunition to test: Norma Match 130-grain HPBT, Federal Gold Medal Berger 130-grain OTM, and Federal 130-grain Terminal Ascent.
The adjustable stock allowed me to get comfortable like an old shoe. The trigger had a very predictable break, allowing me to focus on everything else. The physical act of advancing a cartridge into the chamber is slightly different than a traditional bolt gun when jumping the bolt’s extractor into the cartridge’s extractor groove. The bolt will not rotate into full battery until that happens, but you can definitely feel when it’s all in place, and it becomes intuitive and easy.
Norma Match shot best with a 5-round group of .459 inches (velocity of 2,745 fps). Federal Gold Metal Berger resulted in a .710-inch (2,784 fps) 5-round group, and the Federal Terminal Ascent grouped at .847 inch (2,839 fps). I’m happy with all that.
Overall, it has manageable recoil and feels like a traditional bolt action. It’s a real joy to shoot. So, if you are a fan of ARs, the UP-10 might be something worthy of your collection. I’m definitely a fan!
- Type: Bolt-action AR
- Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor (6mm ARC, .223 Wylde, .300 BLK, 6.5 Grendel, .308 Win., and 6mm Creedmoor available)
- Overall Length: 42 to 43.5 in.
- Length of Pull: 14.25 to 15.75 in.
- Weight: 8.25 lbs.
- Barrel: 22 in., 426R stainless steel, carbon-fiber wrapped
- Receivers: 7075 billet aluminum, Type 3 hard coat anodized
- MSRP: $2,850
- Manufacturer: Uintah Precision, uintahprecision.com