Ares Defense SCR – A California Featureless Rifle

With few exceptions, rifle(s) in California are required to conform to a series of requirements to maintain compliance in addition to the current federal regulations.

See Calguns’ FAQ on California AR/AK “Series” Assault Weapons FAQ.

See Calguns’ California Centerfire, Semi-Auto Rifle Identification Flowchart.

training Special Operations equipment saiga

For a long time, I’ve been running with a Saiga rifle to comply with California law in the form of a featureless rifle.  As opposed to a fixed magazine with a capacity no greater than 10 rounds, pistol grip, forward pistol group, flash suppressor, folding/telescoping/thumbhole stock, or a grenade/flare launcher, the Saiga in its 922(r) compliant form permitted the use of detachable magazines greater than 10 rounds that is also extremely reliable.  Aside from not being entirely satisfied with the length of pull, even after modification, it’s a good rifle.

Revisiting the featureless concept in late 2015, I came across CheeseBurgerFetish’s Reddit thread on his Ares Defense SCR set up.  Though using a standard AR15 upper with a charging handle wasn’t attractive, finding out that a side charging upper receiver like one offered by Gibbz Arms will work was.  Before I knew it, I began to compile a shopping list.

Parts List:

  • Ares Defense SCR w/Monte Carlo Stock
  • Gibbz Arms G4 Side-Charging Upper Receiver w/ Cam Pin
  • Bravo Company Machine Bolt Assembly and Pin
  • Knight’s Armament Company Ambidextrous Magazine Release
  • Ares Defense Bolt Catch Assembly
  • Daniel Defense Cold Hammer Forged 1×7 twist 16″ Barrel for a mid-legnth gas system
  • Daniel Defense Low Profile Gas Block
  • Bravo Company Machine 10″ Key-Mod Rail (KMR) Alpha
  • Primary Weapons Systems’ Todd’s Tiny One (TTO)
  • Aimpoint Micro H2

After shooting several hundred rounds, this set-up has proven quite reliable.

Attached below are some photos:


  • Allen machine screws for the buttstock uses a 1/8″ wrench.
  • Shortening the buttstock requires grinding of the buttstock plate.  I successfully used a 5/32″ drill bit to lengthen the buttstock plate machine screws.  I drilled the holes first, and use the machine screws to re-thread the holes.
  • I removed approximately 1 ” from the buttstock.  I’m 5’6″.  Reduction greater than 1″ increases modification requirements, including buttstock plate, machine screw holes, and blending the Monte Carlo comb into the buttstock plate.
  • The lug nut that caps the tube assembly inside the buttstock is 3/4″.
  • The Allen set screw for the safety uses a 5/54″ wrench.
  • I’m using a Midwest Industries QD sling mount with a Blue Force Gear sling, and a Modified Blue Force Gear A2 Buttstock adapter.
  • The A2 BFG buttstock adapter is modified with an addition D-ring on the right side.
  • I smoothed the recoil spring guide.
  • I experienced an issue with trigger over travel – or lack thereof.  The trigger’s maximum pull is limited by the safety bar, as it is limited to no movement when the safety is engaged.  This caused a perceived delay of the hammer falling after pulling the trigger.  The safety bar’s diameter at the point where the trigger made contact with it on the “off” position, from factory, was .190″.  The issue was resolved after I reduced the diameter to .180″.
  • I applied grease on the bolt catch assembly to prevent it from slipping out.
  • Pin orientation for the trigger group is important.  They will walk out and result in a catastrophic failure.

Attached below are some photos:

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Categories: Firearms, Guns, Misc.


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3 Comments on “Ares Defense SCR – A California Featureless Rifle”

  1. April 9, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    Nice post. Knowing the parts is informative. This Ares Defense SCR looks awesome

  2. Bronson Coles
    March 26, 2018 at 5:08 pm #

    did the upper you instaled have a dust cover on it by chance?

    • March 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm #

      No dust cover – OEM. Their MG4 uppers do, though.

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