The MI-T556 has been four years in the making for Underwood. Since he built the AXTS AX556 AR lower receiver in 2011, he's planned on adding to his collection of AR parts until he had enough to build his first complete rifle.
Underwood says the rifle is capable of sub-MOA accuracy, perhaps 1/2-MOA with 55-, 62-, and 77-grain ammunition. The Shilen-barreled rifle is chambered in .223 Wylde with a 1:8-inch twist rate, hand-polished crown and polished feed ramps. As we saw the rifle, it had a new two-stage AR Gold trigger with a throw and reset so short and crisp that it will leave three-gunners standing in a pool of their own drool. The lower and upper receiver and handguard are all made from 7075 series aluminum.
The upper features a proprietary handguard interface that mates with AXTS's new handguard. Hung on a coated 7075 aluminum barrel nut, the M-LOK compatible handguard is secured with four vertical bolts. The barrel nut itself is vented to allow heat transfer away from the chamber, Underwood says. The handguard is sized one inch shorter than the barrel on each of the 10.5-inch, 14.5-inch and 16-inch rifles.
The gun has AXTS's signature Raptor charging handle and the new Talon ambidextrous, user-selectable 45- and 90-degree safety selector, Knight's Armament folding sights and Magpul CTR buttstock, and will come in solid Cerakote finishes. The 14.5-inch model Underwood showed us carries a $2,895 MSRP.