Vector Arms V-53 .223 Rem Rifle Review
Manufacturer:Vector Arms, Inc.
Model Number:.223 Rem.
GunReports.com – -(AmmoLand.com)- This roller-locked HK variant was Vector’s V-53, chambered for the .223 cartridge. This well-made rifle had a composite trigger-assembly housing, incorporating the pistol grip as well as holding all the parts normally contained in a sheet-metal housing.
Takedown was much the same as for the .308 version, except the V-53 had only one pin holding the all-composite buttstock to the receiver. The recoil spring was not captive within the butt cover, as it was on the JLD rifle. Instead it floated, and came out the back freely once the butt was taken off. The buttstock incorporated the rear action cover, made of poly instead of steel, and that meant the gun had fewer parts.
As with the other rifles, the trigger assembly could be disassembled by withdrawing the safety lever. Like the full-size .308 version, this one had a curved hammer within the trigger housing. The bolt was substantially smaller and lighter than the .308 version, and this resulted in a lighter rifle. The weight of the Vector with empty mag was 7.8 pounds, on the heavy side for the cartridge, but not unreasonable.
Except that the rifle was slightly smaller in all dimensions, and had black furniture, the overall appearance of the Vector was much like that of the JLD PTR-91. Workmanship was pretty darned good, we thought. The metal finish was dull black, and highly scratch resistant. The 16.3-inch barrel had a false muzzle brake, which we thought looked better than a bare tube. Rifling twist was one turn in seven inches.
The trigger of the Vector was two-stage, with significant creep, and a break at 11 pounds. It was workable, but again we would have liked a better trigger. The bolt handle folded just like the .308 version. The sights were similar to those of the .308, with the exception that the unmarked 100-yard sight was not an aperture, but an open V sight. We used the 200-yard aperture for our test shooting. The forend, a small, sloped assembly of black poly, was loose on the gun. It was held to the piece by a single hand-removable pin, and by a clip at the back. It might be easy to tighten the guard, but we left it alone. One more item we liked was the secondary magazine release. You could use either a button on the right side of thegun or a lever just behind the magazine well. It was easy to get the magazine out with right or left hand. Two curved magazines were provided. One held 25 rounds. The other, 40.
Our test fodder included Russian surplus Wolf 55-grain FMJ ammunition, 62-grain FMJ fodder by Black Hills, and a box of low-priced, commercially reloaded ammunition with 75-grain plastic-tipped bullets. We chose to shoot at 50 yards, because the rifle was sighted to print 9 inches high at that range with the 200-yard aperture, way too high. As noted, we couldn’t adjust the rear sight without the required tool. The sight appeared to be adjusted about as low as it could go. If that was indeed the case, a taller front blade would have to be fitted to get the rifle centered.
Our best results were with the fine Black Hills ammunition, which gave consistent groups of just over an inch, which translates to 2-plus-inch groups at 100 yards. The junk ammo gave us our worst group, nearly three inches at 50 yards. The Russian Wolf ammo went around 1.4 inches on average, or less than 3 inches at 100 yards. Clearly this rifle would pay dividends to a “best-ammo” search.
We inspected the inside of the Vector following our shooting tests, and we found the innards were much blackened with powder residue from our firing. This was in startling contrast to the inside of the .308 version, which was not very dirty. The blowback blackened everything inside of the rifle to an alarming extent, we thought. Would extended shooting sessions tend to clog the rifle? We would have liked to shoot this rifle extensively without cleaning to see what, if any, effect this would have on reliability. However, we’re sure the maker has done just this, and we doubt we’d have problems, other than a major cleaning job, if we did such a test. And we suspect the choice of ammunition would make a big difference on how much dirt was put into the action. With one exception, we had perfect reliability with this rifle and ammo. The exception was one of the commercially reloaded cartridges, which failed to feed because the bullet collapsed into the case. On inspection, several other rounds of that low-priced ammunition had loose bullets, so we don’t hold the Vector responsible for not feeding junk ammo.
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