22 May 22
More on the Hellion Rifle:
Many has asked if my copy of the Hellion Rifle was provided to me at no cost by SA.
The answer is no!
I purchased my copy from SA, just like any other consumer. I have no financial relationship with SA, nor with any other gun company!
1) SA’s timing of this introduction, intentional or not, was astute! As ATF continues to issue confusing directives with regard to arm-braces on rifles, those (like me) desiring compact rifle systems, suitable for low-profile travel, may find choices narrowing. The Hellion is thus becoming increasingly attractive, as is the Israeli Tavor (also a bullpup).
2) The Hellion is ingeniously modular. Like most modern military rifles, it is designed to be used and maintained effectively by 17-year-olds with little training. Maintenance at the “user level,” is quick, and the rifle cannot be re-assembled incorrectly. As with the AUG, the entire fire-control group sits in a removable tray!
3) My comment about the Hellion’s lack of a bolt forward assist generated much comment!
There is an ostensible “lock” at the rear of the charging handle which some have pointed-out is intended to be a “forward assist.”
It is not identified as such in the manual that comes with the rifle, and I’ve seen it even so much as mentioned
in only one of the many Youtube videos describing the Hellion, and then only briefly and contemptuously.
In any event, if it is supposed to be some kind of “bolt forward assist,” it is unusable for that function.
In order to be truly functional, you need to be able to “bump” a rifle’s forward-assist in order to get the bolt all the way into battery, particularly when it has not fallen forward from it’s full retraction, as would be the case during a manual chamber-check, or when you ease the bolt forward in an attempt to silently load/reload.
If this device is intended as a “forward-assist,” there is no way to “bump” it.
I’m still able to do manual chamber-checks with the Hellion, but I have to just let the bolt fall forward after I feel the round, and it surely makes an audible “clack.”
4) Most gas-operated military rifles in 5.56×45 caliber are not gas-adjustable. The Hellion is gas-adjustable, but there are only two settings:
“N” for “Normal,” and “S,” for “Suppressor.”
In the “Normal” setting, some gas is vented immediately, but the majority is channeled into the expansion chamber in order to cycle the action (short-stroke gas piston).
In the “Suppressor” setting, most gas is actually vented since most suppressors generate much gas back-pressure. There is still plenty of gas left-over to run the system.
Unless you’re using suppressors, the “Normal” setting will suffice for any kind of ammunition you’re likely to use.
5) The Hellion’s stock is length-adjustable, but I’ve been using it in its shortest position.
6) The Hellion has a competent spring-loaded dust cover. In fact, there is one on both sides, so the rifle can be converted to left-side ejection. The unused dust cover is pinned out of action.
Converting the rifle to left-hand ejection takes a few minutes, but it is not hard to do. However, many left-handers, will find it unnecessary. Duel brass-deflectors keep ejected brass out of your face in any event!
7) With most Western-style military rifles, the manual safety will not go to the “on” position when the hammer is forward (the rifle has been dry-fired on a empty chamber).
This is by design!
When the manual safety cannot be moved to the “on” position, the Operator knows instantly that there is no live round chambered.
Conversely, when the manual safety can be moved to both “on” and “off” positions, that tells the Operator nothing! There could be a round chambered, or the chamber could be empty.
This “Western System,” is one reason the M4 is currently so popular, and yet another reason why DOD rejected the FAL in favor of the M14 seventy years ago!
The Hellion Rifle’s manual safety does not work on the Western style. That is, it moves “on” and “off” normally, no matter the position of the hammer.
Again, not a deal-buster, as I can get used to it either way, but I’m accustomed to the Western System and appreciate its merits.
8) Mud test! With the dust-cover closed, the Hellion’s receiver is pretty well sealed against ingress of mud and airborne grit. The charging-handle track is open, as are the M-lock slots, but I don’t think mud in those areas will keep the gun from running.
Time will tell!
So, this rifle is not “perfect,” but no rifle is, and what I consider “shortcomings” are mostly minor, and I can work around them in any event.
As a rifle intended for serious purposes, I think the Hellion, compact, rugged, and reliable, represents a sound
I’ll be testing that theory between now and next year!