By Jeff W. Zimba
Big things sometime come in small packages we hear, and the M6 Scout AOW by Athens Arms & Ordnance is no exception.
Once I was formally initiated in to the world of Class III, I started looking at everything differently. I was no longer satisfied with most “Factory” firearms and now every gun I look at has basically become the foundation for a “fine-tuning” project. After the Title II bug bites, it is hopeless. Most every gun now falls into the one of the following categories; barrel should be shorter, gun should be suppressed, gun should fire full auto, gun should be louder, gun should have a flash expander, gun should have a flash hider, or a combination of any 2 or 3. Fortunately for us, Dudley Calfee of Athens Arms & Ordnance seems to look at things the same way.
Dudley is a Title II manufacturer in Athens, Georgia. He is the proprietor of Athens Arms & Ordnance, and The Firing Lane, a full-auto indoor shooting range 60 miles North East of Atlanta. He also runs Auctionguns.com, an NFA friendly firearms sale site on the internet.
The original M6 Scout rifle in its short barrel configuration is always sure to be one of two things; extremely expensive or untaxed, unregistered contraband. Now fans of the popular survival rifle have a third option much more attractive than dealing with the first two. Athens Arms & Ordnance is now offering this desirable rifle with 14” barrels. These rifles can be ordered in .22 hornet, .22 magnum, or .22 long rifle over .410 gauge shotgun. With an overall length of only 28” and a maximum width of 11/8” it is extremely compact, and will fit in many areas other firearms would not stand a chance in. Like the original, the action is a break open, single shot, breech loading design and in the open position is only 15” in length. The pivot pin may be removed to separate the stock group from the barrel group to clean or transport in an even smaller case.
The rear sight is a flip down design, with one position a peep site for the rifle cartridge and the other a notch for firing the .410. Sight radius is 12”. The trigger is unlike most other triggers you have encountered. It is 2 3/4” long and is pulled up toward the receiver. It is my understanding that it is easier to fire with gloves or even with a broken finger or two with this design compared to a standard trigger.
The safety consists of a firing pin block, and is also a barrel selector located on the front of the hammer. When you desire to fire the rifle from the “safe” setting, the selector is rotated clockwise to disengage the lock and raised to upper detent. When firing the shotgun, the selector is lowered to the bottom detent.
The stock incorporates a cartridge box that holds four .410 shells and 15 .22 cartridges. The stored ammo is accessed by depressing a button on the left side of the stock and the top is than lifted, hinging at the rear.
As one who owned a retail gunshop as a Title II manufacturer, I can certainly appreciate the category the Scout Gun falls into. Many times I had Registered Guides, bear hunters, trappers, and such come into the store, and when they would spot a short barreled shotgun on the wall they would be immediately drawn to it. The compact size was their immediate attraction. Being small and light is important to all in those above professions, and being in a package that really “packed a wallop” was a real bonus. Many times the deal was ready to roll when that little, tiny detail of the firearm being a short barreled shotgun would come up and the damnable $200.00 tax would kill the transaction in its tracks. It wasn’t so much the fact that it required a pile of paperwork, or even the extra money for that matter, but the fact that their $200.00 was being thrown away to the government. It was always more of a principal issue.
Athens Arms & Ordnance will certainly make life much easier for those who use these firearms in a line of work, due to their ability to register their M6 Scout configuration as an Any Other Weapon (A.O.W.). That is right ladies and gentlemen, all this with only a $5.00 tax. The definition of an AOW includes “weapons with combination rifle and shotgun barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading”.
These M6 Scout Guns are comfortable and practical. The .22 long rifle and .22 magnum barrels are 6 groove, 1 in 15, right hand twist. The .22 Hornet is a 6 groove, 1 in 13, right hand twist. The test target provided with the rifle I tested proved an impressive 5 shot group at 25 yards. The first four shots were all touching and the 5th was a flyer opening the group to a little less than 1”. I found rather quickly that the rifle was more accurate than the shooter in my case and that the test target was very accurate to the rifles ability. As for the shotgun, .410 is perfect for hunting Ruffed Grouse (Partridge) and Woodcock in my area, and fits the bill just fine. That short barrel also provides me with the excuses I need for watching more birds fly away than those added to my bag limit. Truth is, it is not really the gun making me miss.
I highly recommend the M6 Scout AOW. It is a lot of fun, and a real eye-opener any time it comes out of the case. It is well made, very functional, and in rural areas like Maine extremely useful. It fits great in a backpack as a camp gun for you hikers, and is a great all around firearm for all outdoor activities. I also love the fact that the transfer fee is only $5.00. Suggested retail is $379.00
Athens Arms & Ordnance
115 Mill Center Blvd.
Bogart, GA 30622
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N8 (May 1999)|