The goal of the D&L inc. custom carbine project has been clear from the start; To create a high performance fast action semi-automatic-only carbine capable of long term field dependability and reliability with simple maintenance requirements. A carbine suitable for duty, defense, hunting, high volume training, and practical competition shooting.
Project input was accepted from shooters with a wide variety of backgrounds. This information was combined with Dave Lauck´s 40+ years of practical carbine experience. The expected use distance focus was 0-200 yards. Only existing and commonly available/affordable intermediate cartridges were considered to assure shooters would be able to train to a high level of skill with the carbine. Carbine project research dated all the way back to the 1940s and the introduction of the StG44, and progressed with hands on experience through the AK, SKS, .30 carbine, AR15, M16, CAR-15, Valmet, Galil, FNC, mini-14, HK33/53/93, and AUG. Objective consideration was given to the good and bad features of all of these firearm designs. The goal was to incorporate the good features into the new carbine project, redesign or drop the bad features altogether, and add performance proven modern features.
A mechanically safe design with a track record of long term field reliability and durability with simple maintenance requirements were top priorities. This led shooters to the AK design. However, shooters who know the AK well know its many drawbacks; such as poor ergonomics, only fair accuracy, loose top cover not suitable for direct mounting optics, non-free floating barrel, poor felt trigger pull, wrong side charging handle for RH shooters, narrow magwell not well suited to speed loading, poor pistol grip angle, angled buttstock not well suited for rapid fire control, non-adjustable buttstock, safety lever not suited for operation from a firing grip, ineffective muzzle brake/flash hider, poor iron sight visibility, no commonly available/practical iron night sights, not easily adaptable to accessory items, and sharp sheet metal corners and construction not well suited to operation without operator injury.
7.62×39 SLR Carbine at 75 yards with 1x Red Dot Sight
Even with all of these issues of concern, experienced shooters recognized the proven reliability, robustness, and simplicity of the AK´s central operating system. The mission was to correct all of the weak points while retaining the AK´s proven central operating system. Consideration was given to a counterbalance system but unanimous opinions favored staying with the simplicity, compactness, and lighter weight of the original operating system. Basically make the NEW carbine handle as easy as an M4, but have the reliability, robustness, simplicity, and ease of maintenance of the AK. This has consumed years of time, pallet loads of test fire ammunition and many investment dollars, none of which were government funded. This project has led to extensive enhancements for the best performance possible.
The D&L Inc custom carbine is now available for pre-order in two intermediate cartridges; 7.62 x39mm and 5.45x39mm. (The 7.62 is comparable in performance to the 30-30 and .300 Blackout. The 5.45 is comparable to the 5.56mm. Ammunition is available and affordable.)
The 7.62 version comes in at a base carbine weight of 7.5 lbs and the 5.45 version comes in at a base carbine weight of 6.5 lbs. These firearms are not mass produced off-the-shelf items. They are crafted one at a time for serious shooters. They are customized to individual shooter requirements for the best performance possible. They feature the same handcrafted attention to detail as other custom firearms from DLS Inc.
This custom carbine can come equipped with a
combination emergency wire cutter, muzzle brake,
compensator, and flash hider.
A left side and or ambidextrous charging handle and flip up fully adjustable and lockable iron night sights are available on the 7.62 version. The 7.62 version is also available with a muzzle brake / compensator / flash hider / and emergency wire cutter. The 7.62 model also features an adjustable gas system that is properly set and permanently locked during construction and final testfire. Properly setting the system allows for reliable and positive operation with all reasonable ammunition powder charges, and takes the aggressive slam cycling out of the system.
The 7.62 version has a buttstock capable of housing a secondary magazine. This is well suited to emergency responders who grab their carbine and want two magazines on board. Carrying a short magazine in the buttstock also allows shooters to put the short magazine in the magwell and assume a low prone shooting position as needed for cover and/or stability. The buttstock is adjustable for length of pull and can come equipped with an aluminum or rubber buttplate.
Both carbines feature rigid picatinny optic mounting rails at the proper 12 o’clock position over the receiver to allow for a variety of optic mounting. No bulky side mounts required. Both optic mount designs on the D&L custom carbines allow the operator to have direct and complete access to the internal components of the receiver, including the rear barrel chamber area. This is accomplished by easy and quick removal of the top cover, or hinging the entire top cover open. Direct and easy access to internal receiver components is very important to allow easy field maintenance. When the rifle gets contaminated with dirt, sand, mud, water etc. it is simple to clean out and stay operational. Shooters experienced with firearms which restrict access to the internal areas, such as the AR15 / M16 and or bullpup designs, know that once they become contaminated under field conditions they are very difficult to clean out. Some companies will modify AR-15s to take AK magazines, and or use clamshell receivers to enclose AK style rifles. Both of these ideas create a carbine which is difficult to clean out once it is contaminated. People who claim a ‘closed system’ carbine does not get dirty or contaminated obviously do not have enough field experience. The DLS custom carbines feature rigid optic mounts and maintain full and easy access to the carbines’ internal workings in order to make field maintenance easy.
A smart mechanic once observed and commented that the fine inner workings of a AR-15 style carbine are as close fit and complicated as a Swiss watch, while the inner workings of an AK are as simple as a farm tool. One needs much less maintenance and is much easier to clean when it comes time to do so.
Both D&L SLR carbines allow cleaning supplies to be carried inside the stock tube, as well as in the pistol grip and vertical forearm grip. The buttstock has been redesigned to extend straight back from the receiver for better rapid fire control. The handguard design allows for free floating the barrel, (with the exception of the gas tube connection), for improved accuracy. Accessory items can now be easily mounted on the handguard via detachable picatinny rails. The pistol grip angle and size has now been redesigned to allow for better handling and control. A combination trigger guard/magazine well has been rigidly integrated into the bottom of the receiver for fast and positive rock and lock magazine changes. The trigger units have been upgraded to a level of excellence. A single side or ambidextrous safety unit can be installed. The new safety design allows for operation by the firing hand while in position on the pistol grip. The magazine catch is ambidextrous, and can be operated by the thumb, or by the trigger finger while the hand is in position on the pistol grip. All possible surfaces have been dehorned for fast operation without being cut. Chrome lined barrels are standard for durability. The color of overcoating and accessory items/optics can be chosen by the client.
Success has been achieved in creating this ultra-reliable carbine package that shooters can truly depend on for the long term, and do so with little and easy to perform maintenance. However, it is only with extensive and detailed hand craftsmanship that individual custom carbine projects can be turned into sleek, snag free and easy to handle fast action carbines. These carbine projects have surpassed the time requirements that it takes to construct a premium 1911 pistol. In the end the performance is worth the cost and effort.
Bipod support can be handy in some situations. Installing and removing the bipod is possible without interfering with other handguard mounted accessories when the DLS Inc. custom receiver bipod mount is used. Mount is under one ounce, and the Neopod is only 2.9 oz. Bipod can be snapped on and off in less than one second.
Warning: firearm and chamber should be unloaded, and action locked open before installing or removing bipod from the mount
Depending on manufacturer, magazines designed for the AK’s central operating system can vary widely in dimensions. DLS custom SLR firearms are tested with both Circle 10 and Magpul magazines. The smartest way to assure you will have proper magazine fit and function with your DLS carbine is to order all the magazines you expect to need at the time you make your initial carbine order. This way all mags can be tested for fit and function with YOUR carbine.
( Note; High capacity magazines will not be shipped to any locations where they are not allowed. )
Initial carbine impressions from a high performance firearms instructor
I read everything about these carbines and had seen a couple photos of mine prior to its arrival. Even with that, I was unprepared for what I saw when I opened the case. Every part of the carbine looked as if it had a distinct purpose and that it was exactly where it belonged. Then I picked it up… I have employed most all of the platforms used in the research for the Custom SLR / Carbine project as part of my equipment in a prior profession, in training (both receiving and providing, past and present), competition, and for recreation. None compare with the balance, feel, weight, and ergonomics of this carbine.
While shouldering the carbine from the low ready/guard position, the safety is easily disengaged with the trigger finger while maintaining a firing grip. Likewise, when returning to the guard, the safety is just as easily engaged with the trigger finger.
The magazine release is simple to manipulate with the trigger finger as well as with another magazine. After several iterations of rock-and-lock, I found this to be faster and a more positive reloading technique than on other carbine platforms. The charging handle on the left side of the receiver further facilitates this.
The trigger is like nothing I’ve ever experienced on this type of carbine. It is extremely crisp, zero creep, and light. Incredible! I was easily able to consistently put multiple rounds, rapidly, on target at 25 yards from standing, braced kneeling, and rice-paddy prone.
Mine has the 1.5-4x variable scope with selective illumination and circular / reticle crosshair. The circle is a good tool to estimate distance, eg. a 6 ft target from the waist to the head on 1.5x magnification fills the circle at 25 yards. The crosshair is easily picked up with and without the green dot illumination.
I have only been able to fit in a few sessions and a few hundred rounds on the range at this time, but this carbine is truly everything it is billed to be. The more I work with it, the more I realize the extent to which every issue identified in the research for this project was effectively addressed. This is truly a high performance carbine of the utmost quality. This is my second piece from Dave Lauck and I plan on many more!
Initial Impressions of a D&L Custom Carbine Client: Lauck SLR Custom Hybrid Carbine 7.62 x 39
Opening the gun case the first visual is this is a carbine that has a definite military all business appearance, especially in FDE. The biggest initial surprise is how light the rifle is when you pick it up the first time – a tad over 7 pounds. Lots of quality gunsmithing and features added to make this an quick handling, close quarters firearm.
All controls on my custom version are ambidextrous so both right and left hand shooters will quickly adapt to this carbine. Charging handles on both sides of the receiver as well as safety levers. The mag release is positioned at the front of the trigger guard and can be operated without moving your firing hand. Mag well is smoothly machined and there is no need for wearing gloves when quickly operating this carbine for speed loads, etc. Handguard, picatiney rails top and bottom for optics and lights and a custom muzzle brake finish off the package.
I topped mine with a low mounted Leupold prismatic 1X optic and decided against the iron sights option. To keep the weight down I used a small white light, green laser combination. It came with a stubby forward grip,but I substituted an advanced hand guard stop as I tend not to use a forward grip.
Have put a couple hundred rounds thru it so far and the two impressions that stick with me are this carbine is extremely quick to handle and lots of fun to shoot. The 1X optic allowed me to easily shoot 2 MOA groups at 100 yards as well as quickly pop 9” plates at 20-65 yards randomly. The trigger is one of the smoothest I have experienced in this type of weapons platform. Since this is not a platform I am familiar with reloads are a bit slow, but I should be able to get down to a couple seconds with practice.
Looking forward to the arrival of a couple thousand rounds of 7.62 x 39 to get more familiar with this carbine.
Information update on the D&L Custom SLR/Carbine Project.
Variable Magnification Optic.
For shooters who want a variable magnification optic on their D&L Custom SLR/Carbine, this is one option we have after much consideration;
1-4x variable scope with selective illumination, visible black reticle with or without battery power, under 10 inches long, and under 10 oz in weight. This scope has capped low profile turrets to assure exposed turrets are not accidentally turned. The eyepiece can be focused for individual shooters, then locked in place.
The overall dimensions of this scope allow for practical back up iron sights to remain in place on the D&L Custom SLR/Carbine. Proper mounting of the scope allows it to be rigid and secure, yet quick detachable under field conditions in the event that it become unserviceable. The shooter can then transition to the pre-zeroed iron sights, or quick attach a back up optic.
The circle / crosshair reticle has proven to work well up close at speed; just put the circle over the target mass, and shoot. Much faster than trying to hold a precise reticle point on a small target point.
When more precision is needed, a center crosshair works better than a dot, especially when shooting without illumination, because a dot can get lost in multi color targets. A crosshair leads your eye to the exact center point of the circle. A precise center crosshair makes exact zeroing easier as well. The thicker outer duplex crosshairs bring the shooter focus into the central area of the scope, especially in low light conditions.
The center aiming point of this scope can be illuminated as needed. Illumination color is green, which provides excellent day and or night visibility.
Hash marks on the primary crosshairs of the reticle are hardly noticeable during fast action shooting. However, during more distant precision shooting they provide excellent reference hold points when factoring in wind deflection and bullet trajectory. This reticle is simple and uncluttered enough for close speed shooting, and detailed enough for distance shooting.
This scope reticle was chosen to provide high performance in a wide range of carbine shooting situations. It is not the best choice for ultra close CQB only situations, and it is not the best for precision shooting at 500 yards. It is a well thought out choice for those using a carbine at typical carbine distances, in unpredictable environments.
This D&L Custom SLR branded carbine scope will be available as an optic option when ordering D&L Custom SLR/Carbines.
( A wide range of other shooter preferred optics will also be compatible with the D&L Custom SLR/Carbine as well. )
Above photos depict high scope mounting on two popular carbines. These are not D&L custom carbines. Trajectory study and testing will bring shooters to the conclusion that a more efficient mount design is required for best field performance.
Poor optic mounting designs for carbines often mount rifle scopes far too high for a proper cheek weld, resulting in incorrect eye relief for quick usage, and do not provide for a reasonable trajectory pattern for commonly encountered carbine use distances. For example, a scope mounted on a 5.56mm carbine, only 4.5 inches above the boreline, and zeroed at 50 yards, will cause the bullets flight path to be 7.5 inches off the point of aim by the time the bullet gets to 200 yards. Scope mounts with even more distance between the boreline and scopeline are common these days and create even more bullet impact error.
In contrast, properly mounting a scope on a 5.56mm carbine, and zeroing it at 50, will allow for the trajectory pattern to be on at 50 yards, 1.1 inch high at 100 yards, and only 0.1 inch low at 200 yards. A properly designed optic mount will keep a 7.62×39 bullet’s trajectory in a 5 inch variance from 0 – 200 yards. In others words, with a proper optic mount design, the trajectory pattern can allow for centermass holding at most commonly encountered carbine distances.
The optic mounting platform on the D&L Custom SLR/Carbine is designed to achieve the best trajectory pattern for 0 – 200 yard carbine distances, and the scope’s reticle will provide for hold over points for longer distance shooting. The D&L Custom SLR/Carbine’s scope mounting platform will also allow for durable zero retention, proper eye relief positioning of the optic, quick detach capability, and proper cheek weld for both optic and iron sights. ( D&L Custom SLR/Carbine photos coming soon )
Folding and locking back up iron sights are available on the 7.62x39mm SLR carbine. The iron sights will accept night sight inserts, the rear sight folds flat for low magnified optic mounting, and lock in the up position to co-witness with red dot optics.
High magnification optics are not the preferred choice for the SLR carbine. This SLR had been mounted with a 22x precision scope in order to test carbine and ammunition combinations for accuracy.
Shooters with a primary interest in shooting tight groups on paper targets can achieve better results with a precision AR or bolt action rifle. This custom carbine is for those in need of the most reliable, durable, and long term field maintainable fast action carbine available.
Accuracy testing results;
The DLS custom 7.62×39 SLR has been accuracy enhanced with a variety of features, including a special free floating handguard system. Other than the connecting point of the gas system to the barrel, there is nothing else bolted to the barrel to add stress, disrupt harmonics, and adversely affect accuracy. Accuracy results from standard ak carbines can commonly be 4-5 inch groupings at 100 yards. The DLS custom carbine was accuracy tested at 100 yards by firing 5 round groups from the supported prone position with a properly mounted 22x rifle scope. Different brands of ammunition produced different results. Following are the best groups fired in single shooting session;
Lapua 123 grain FMJ .91”
Sellier & Bellot 123 Grain FMJ 1.5”
Hornady 123 grain SST 1.7”
WSP 125 grain 1.9”
WFMJ 123 grain 2.4”
This information is simply provided as a reference to paper target accuracy potential. Your choice in ammunition should be made on safety and reliability as top priorities, as well as impact performance. Even better accuracy results have been reported when using the Hornady SST load.
5.45×39 accuracy results
SLR accuracy developments have continued to a level that many thought would be impossible with a long stroke piston carbine. This group was fired at 50 yards with Hornady factory ammunition loaded with SST bullets.
Field practical cleaning kits are also available for these carbines.
These kits are lightweight and can be stowed in the buttstock.
Tired of being told that your carbine’s muzzle device is supposed to be a sloppy fit? This can lead to inaccuracy, damaged equipment, and dangerous conditions for all in the area. Having a baffle strike can destroy your suppressor, cause a missed shot, injury and/or death. The solution comes from DLS designs and precision workmanship. A precision barrel sleeve which is properly indicated off the bore keeps muzzle devices properly in-line with the bore. Upsizing the supporting thread area of the sleeve eliminates cracked and fractured undersized muzzle threads. A fractured muzzle thread can not only be dangerous, it can leave you with a barrel length under the legal limit for rifles. The DLS sleeve not only upsizes the attachment threads, it also extends along the surface of the barrel to spread the weight of the muzzle device over a substantial section of the barrel length. To confirm that proper alignment has been achieved, all barrel sleeves are checked with a bore gage through an overly long muzzle attachment. For an added safety margin, short/lightweight muzzle devices with an oversized through hole are recommended. Superheating any muzzle device is not recommended.
When choosing ammunition for your SLR or other firearm, be sure to compare the overall length of the cartridge with the overall internal length of your magazines. If the cartridge is too long, the bullet tips can drag on the front inside wall of your magazine and cause drag and failure of cartridges to feed properly. Be sure to seat your cartridges all the way to the rear of the magazine.
Dave Lauck is the owner of D&L Sports, Inc., custom builder of several of the finest weapons found anywhere in the world and is recognized as the foremost expert on the 1911 platform. He has built custom 1911s for a long list of celebrities as well as President Donald Trump and was awarded “Pistolsmith of the Year” by American Pistolsmiths Guild in 2012. His AR-15 carbines have frequently been used among top-tier competitors and his sniper weapon system, the MR-30, was featured as the Black King Rifle in the TV Series Shooter.
NC Scout is the nom de guerre of a former Infantry Scout and Sergeant in one of the Army’s best Reconnaissance Units. He has combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He teaches a series of courses focusing on small unit skills rarely if ever taught anywhere else in the prepping and survival field, including his RTO Course which focuses on small unit communications. In his free time he is an avid hunter, bushcrafter, writer, long range shooter, prepper, amateur radio operator and Libertarian activist.
He can be contacted at [email protected] or via his blog at brushbeater.wordpress.com .
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