Anderson AM15-VS24 5.56mm AR-15 Varmint/Target Semi-Auto Rifle

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 5th, 2010

 

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Anderson AM15-VS24 5.56mm AR-15 Varmint/Target Semi-Auto Rifle.

 

 

Excellent folding bipod with telescoping legs.

 

 

 

 

Magpul buttstock.

 

 

 

 

Anderson Manufacturing, while still relatively new to the AR-15 market, has expanded their line of top-tier AR-15 style rifles to include their new dedicated varmint gun, the VS24. Anderson has been making AR-15 components for other rifle manufacturers for a long time, but just got into complete rifle production a few months ago. Instead of entering the market with a rifle to compete for the lowest price point, Anderson went for top quality instead, using upgraded components and a proprietary coating called RF-85. For details on that special coating that eliminates the need for liquid lubrication, I refer you to my review of the Anderson rifles from October of this year. The previous rifles in Andersonís stable consist of the M-4 flattop, the H-BAR flattop, and the dedicated Counter Sniper. The new VS24 is built more for the long-range target shooter and the varmint hunter.

The VS24 wears a heavy twenty-four inch 416 stainless barrel with a one in eight and one-half inch twist (1/8.5). This twist rate is a very good choice, enabling the rifle to handle bullets in the sixty-nine grain class, while not over-stabilizing the lighter weight bullets often used by varmint hunters. The VS24 comes with the necessary components to be ideal for long-range varmint shooting, right out of the box. The trigger/hammer assembly is a drop-in Timney unit, the buttstock is a Magpul PRS, and it wears an Anderson free-float hand guard. It also comes complete with an excellent adjustable bipod. The VS24 is a heavy rifle, weighing in at eleven and one-third pounds without scope and rings. Add the scope and rings of your choice, and the VS24 is ready go, making for a reliable, sturdy, and steady varmint rig. Well, almost ready. This would be a good place to emphasize the need for quality ammunition in such a fine rifle. It amazes me the number of shooters who will spend the money necessary to put together a superb target rifle with a high-quality scope, and then feed it substandard eastern European or Chinese ammunition, expecting it to perform perfectly. It does not work that way. Accuracy is dependant upon every variable in the system. The rifle will only shoot as well as the ammunition fed it, and if the scope is not up to par, the best of rifles will not group up to its potential. The Anderson VS24 has a 5.56x45mm chamber. Most makers of a dedicated varmint/target rifle go with 223 Remington specifications for the chamber, but I have found that a 5.56mm chamber can be just as accurate, if everything is put together properly. From my previous experience with Anderson rifles, I know that they know how to build a proper AR. I like my rifles to be exceptionally accurate, especially my rifles that are set up for long-range shooting. If I miss a prairie dog at 450 yards (and I do), I want it to be my fault. I expect a lot out of a varmint rifle, because I have some really good ones, and for a rifle to qualify as a long-range varmint gun for me, it has to be accurate.

With that goal in mind, I mounted my mule, the Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 8.5 to 25 power scope. This scope has been on and off so many rifles that I finally wore out the excellent ArmaLite one-piece flattop mount, but rebuilt it with new bolts a couple of months ago. I depend upon this scope to wring out all the potential accuracy of a rifle, and it has never yet let me down. Usually, I will try every brand and type of ammunition available to me when testing a new rifle, but not in the case of one such as this. The VS24 received a limited quantity of standard 223 and 5.56mm ammo for function testing, but for accuracy, I depended upon some of my favorite commercially available top quality ammunition, such as that available from Buffalo Bore and Black Hills, along with the Wolf Gold ammo. This is not to be confused with the steel-cased Wolf blasting ammo. I would not put that dirty stuff through one of my varmint rifles, and will not put it through this Anderson test gun. Again, only top quality ammunition will yield top quality performance. The best accuracy was turned in by the excellent Black Hills 69 grain match ammunition. Every one-hundred-yard group was well under one inch, with most less than half that. The best group fired is the one shown, which measured only three-eighths of an inch, center-to-center for three shots. Long strings which heated the barrel of the Anderson made no change in the point of impact, and the heavy barrel and free-floated aluminum hand guard handled the heat very well.

The superb Timney trigger released crisply with just two and three-quarters pounds of pressure. A varmint rifle of this type is ideal for prairie dog shooting. A bolt action rifle is much more tiring, when shooting all day and firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition. With a good semi-auto such as this VS24, the shooter never has to raise his head from the stock. Just aim and press the trigger, stopping every twenty rounds or so to insert another magazine. The Anderson VS24 is a top-tier rifle, and fetches a premium price. However, for the quality and accuracy delivered by such a rifle, the price is not out of line at all, especially when considering the cost of building a rifle of this quality on a bolt action or even on an AR platform. The Anderson is ready right out of the box, with the addition of a quality scope. It is reliable, easy to shoot, and easy to shoot well. It is a superbly accurate varmint gun, and I highly recommend it.

For more information on the Anderson rifles, CLICK HERE.

Jeff Quinn

 

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ArmaLite one-piece scope mount.

 

 

Leupold Mark 4 scope.

 

 

Black Hills 69-grain Match ammo turned in stellar performance.

 

 

Timney hammer/trigger unit.

 

 

Free-floating Anderson handguard.

 

 

Heavy stainless fluted barrel.