AR alternatives: Spectre Ballistics, Maple Ridge Armoury options

Despite court battles challenging last spring’s Order In Council ban, the AR-15 and other tactical-style rifles are still locked up in legal limbo. So, what’s a Canadian to do, if you want to shoot a black rifle these days? What AR alternatives are on the market?

One option: You can go with a bolt-action. Currently, Maple Ridge Armoury and Spectre Ballistics offer new Canadian-made bolt-action receivers that accept AR-pattern parts. Both companies say they’ve moved past pre-orders, with products in stock on their websites for customers.

Ontario-based Maple Ridge Armoury debuted the MRA Renegade in early summer. It’s a spring-assist, straight-pull bolt-action design. When we first told you about it, Maple Ridge Armoury was selling only selling receivers. Customers could purchase the receiver, and bolt on an AR-pattern barrel, buttstock, handguard, pistol grip and magazines. The bare-bones receiver initially sold for $799.95.

After clearing initial pre-orders, Maple Ridge Armoury also released fully-assembled rifles built around the Renegade receiver. Some are currently available, and some are available for delivery in 2021.

Unlike semi-automatic AR-15-pattern rifles, these straight-pull bolt-actions are non-restricted in Canada. They’re adaptable to a wide range of calibres, including .223 Remington, 7.62×39 and .223 Wylde. Maple Ridge Armoury also offers specialty finishes, including this Canadian edition, with Cerakote flag design from Red Tower Armoury. The Canadian model sells for $1,749.95 – $1,899.95, depending which options you select.

The website says this model is a special limited run available to order now through to the end of December, with estimated delivery in January 2021. Maple Ridge Armoury also has a more plain-Jane, pre-assembled Renegade for $1,499.95-$1,699.95, available right now, in .223 Wylde. If you just want to build your own Renegade, you can see the receiver options available here. See a video explaining the MRA Renegade below:

As for the Spectre Ballistics Light Practical Carbine (LPC): This rifle first broke cover in late 2019, intended to hit the market in 2020. Now, Alberta-based Spectre Ballistics International says pre-orders are all met, and it’s got the LPC listed on its website for general purchase. MSRP is $799.

The Light Practical Carbine uses an aluminum receiver, and that’s all Spectre sells, just the receiver kit, and other parts. At this point, Spectre’s website doesn’t list any pre-assembled rifles. Buyers must add their own barrel, handguard, trigger, stock, magazine, magazine release and other parts (all listed at the Spectre website). The LPC is ambidextrous, like the Renegade. The bolt handle can be installed on either side of the receiver. Also like the Renegade, the Spectre is non-restricted, and is compatible with a wide range of intermediate-power cartridges and barrel lengths. See it in action below:

Other options

Of course, there are semi-auto AR alternatives on the new and used markets right now as well. Wolverine’s MCR series is out there, as well as the Benelli MR1 and of course the trusty SKS. Still, these Canadian-made straight-pulls are a chance to support our national shooting industry, and put your AR-15 parts to good use over the coming months.