First Look: ZEV Technologies AR-15 and AR-10 Rifles

Much consternation could be heard in the gun world when the merger between Mega Arms and ZEV Tech was announced. Mega, known mostly for their high-quality AR components, and ZEV, known primarily for innovative modifications for Glock pistols, were to some folks an odd couple for a merger. What would happen to both product lines? Who would be in charge? Would one or the other cease to exist?

Those answers weren’t exactly answered when the merger was first made public, but Mega Arms’ homepage offers some very simple answers: “Mega Arms is now ZEV Technologies.” According to their earlier press release, Mega’s president, Mike Miller, would take over manufacturing for both brands – that is to say, he would take responsibility over the manufacturing side of the house for the now-expanded ZEV Tech. For fans of Mega Arms who were concerned about what would happen to one of their favorite brands, the fact that the same guy is in charge is sure to be a positive sign.

First Look: ZEV Technologies AR-15 and AR-10 Rifles

One of the first looks we’re getting at their products after the merger is the new ZEV Tech AR-15 and AR-10. While Mega products were mainly available as components for custom builds, ZEV will be producing complete rifles based on receivers and other parts that are solidly Mega in origin, just with a few tweaks here and there.

What’s immediately obvious about the receivers is that they feature a lightened design without being truly “skeletonized” – that is, they have additional machining in many places for both aesthetics and weight reduction, but they don’t have any of the holes or gaps in the receivers that have started to be manufactured by some companies in recent years. Thus, they should satisfy the hardcore tactical crowd with their light weight and full function – the AR15 receivers still have a forward assist assembly – while also pleasing those who prefer to spend more time looking at their rifles than shooting them. The finish is an attractive and smooth hard anodize that Mega was well known for on their receivers in years past.

ZEV's Wedge LockPhoto Credit: The Truth About Guns

These receivers, by the way, are machined to accept  handguards in that they have a provision for the anti-rotation pin of the handguard, which keeps the top rail in alignment. The Wedge Lock was designed by a consortium of Mega Arms and rifle manufacturer Jim Hodge of Hodge Defense Systems. It’s an extremely light and strong attachment method for rails that doesn’t sacrifice either weight or strength to achieve an incredible balance of the two. Apparently, 800 pounds can be hung off the rail before the attachment system is affected. Unlike the NRA, there are no compromises with the Wedge Lock handguard.

The handguards are machined from 6061 aluminum and feature a titanium barrel nut instead of the aluminum nut one normally sees on lightweight handguard designs. Aluminum barrel nuts are somewhat undesirable in the extremes of semi auto rifle usage in that they don’t have ideal thermal expansion properties when sandwiched between an aluminum handguard and aluminum receiver. Mega / ZEV Wedge Lock handguards are available in 9″, 12″, 14″, and 16″ lengths, with a weight in ounces roughly corresponding to the length of the handguard in inches.

ZEV AR15 Rifle Proof BarrelPhoto Credit: The Truth About Guns

Barrels are of two designs: standard steel and Proof Research carbon-fiber wrapped steel. The latter, of course, is meant to save weight and also have altered thermal properties. Barrel lengths are 16″ and 18″ for the AR15 and 16″ for the AR10. These barrels are rated as “sub-MOA” and ZEV has tested them to shoot as such with ammunition from Federal, Hornady, and Prime, although we don’t know how many shots were fired per group.

One of the most interesting features to me was their description of a Superlative Arms gas block designed to prevent the rifle from being overgassed in a situation where the user suddenly needed to attach a sound suppressor without changing ammo types. I’ll be getting my hands on one of these as soon as possible to see exactly how this works and what effect it has on cyclic rate.

flat faced AR Gold model exclusive to ZEVPhoto Credit: The Truth About Guns

The trigger is a flat faced AR Gold model exclusive to ZEV which features a very short reset. While I have limited experience with AR Gold triggers, the one I installed for a friend years ago felt much like clicking a computer mouse in terms of trigger pull and reset. I also know that at least one other very high-end AR manufacturer chooses to use AR Gold triggers, which speaks well for their quality.

The complete rifles will come in an SKB rifle case with foam cut outs. You’ll have the ability to purchase Omaha Outdoors loadout kits featuring these rifles bundled with optics from a well-known optics company, and all of the above can be had with our well-known cerakote camo finishes.

orged / billet ZEV receiver setsPhoto Credit: The Truth About Guns

For those seeking just an upper or components of the rifles described above, have no fear, the merger has had no effect on your ability to buy Mega parts – they just don’t say Mega on them any longer. Here at Omaha Outdoors we have wedge lock handguards and forged / billet ZEV receiver sets in stock. We’ll also be carrying complete upper receivers that will drop right on to your quality lower receiver assembly.

Although some might have been concerned about what would happen to their beloved friends at Mega Arms, the future looks bright for them under the newly expanded ZEV Tech umbrella, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this was just the beginning for the company in terms of new product releases worthy of serious consideration.

For more information on how to purchase a ZEV Tech AR15 or AR10 rifle, please call (832) 699-2666 or use the links below.

AR-15

AR-10

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