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The Kel-Tec RFB proves an excellent carbine in .308.






A few years ago, at the annual SHOT Show, I watched as design genius George Kellgren demonstrated a prototype of his new .308 bullpup. When he cycled the action, the dummy rounds did not come out the side, nor the bottom.

They came out an opening at the front! Well, I wanted to try one out right then, but he said it was still in the development stages.

The RFB is finally in production, and it was worth waiting for. The model letters, by the way, stand for "Rifle, Forward-Ejecting, Bullpup." The .308 chambering will be welcomed by those who have always felt the .223 is a little too light. As many gun people well know, there are slight differences between commercial .308 and 7.62x51mm NATO rounds. The RFB will handle both.

The detachable 20-round magazine is of metric FAL style, and yes, some regular FAL magazines will work. Some won't, so you'll just have to try them. For the poor souls who live in areas of government oppression, 10and 5-round magazines are available. In those same benighted areas, the RFB is supplied without the A2style compensator at the muzzle.

The controls are all conveniently located. The cocking handle is on the left side at the front but can be switched to the right side. The other controls are all ambidextrous. The magazine release and the bolt latch are both at the rear of the magazine housing. The safety lever is perfectly placed, at the top of the handgrip. The trigger pull on my gun is a crisp 6 pounds, with no take-up and minimal over-travel.

There is a 10" Picatinny rail on top, so you can decide what you want in the sight department. I attached my trusty ADCO red-dot sight, and it worked well, as usual. I will note this unit costs a lot less than others of its type, and I have used it on several different guns, always with perfect results. Other features of the RFB include a rubber recoil pad, and comfortable handgrip.

The barrel is offered in two lengths, 18" and 24". The one shown here is the 18" version. The barrel is made of 4140 Chrome Molybdenum steel, and is chrome-lined. The firing system has a tilt-locking bolt and a short-stroke gas piston to actuate the bolt carrier. The RFB comes with possibly the best instruction manual I have ever seen, with excellent clear illustrations.


Now, I know you are wondering (as I did!) just how that forward-ejection system works. It's not complicated. When the RFB is fired, the twin extractors pull the case out of the chamber and pivot upward, to align the empty case with the ejection tube. As the bolt closes on a loaded round, the empty case is inserted in the tube, and the extractors pivot down to engage the rim of the chambered round.


After the last shot, when the bolt locks open, the last empty case is still held by the extractors. Trip the bolt latch, and that case will be ejected. At the front, the ejection tube opening is right beside the adjustment for the gas piston. If you are using sub-sonic rounds, the system can be adjusted accordingly.

At the range, I tried the RFB standing, no rest, at 25 yards and 50 yards. Groups averaged 3" to 5", and all shots stayed within the 8" black of a Champion VisiColor 100-yard sight-in target. Some groups were 3 or 4-shot rather than five, as I found my supply of some ammo happened to be limited.

I had a few rounds of NATO military, 147-grain, dated 1984 and made by Winchester. After 27 years of storage, it worked perfectly. The commercial .308 loads were 125-grain "PSP" (pointed soft point) by Winchester, and a 168-grain boat-tail hollowpoint by Black Hills. The last one named was used on the 50yard target. All of these functioned flawlessly in the RFB. The felt recoil is moderate.



ACTION TYPE: Semi-auto, CALIBER: .308, CAPACITY: 20, BARREL LENGTH: 18" [tested), 24", OVERALL LENGTH: 27.5", WEIGHT: 8.6 pounds, FINISH: Matte black, SIGHTS: None, Picatinny rait provided, STOCK: Collapsible, PRICE: $1,880
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Author:Wood, J.B.
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Apr 13, 2012
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