One or the other reader will certainly be able to remember that we have already presented the innovative Cross rifle from the U.S. giant on the East Coast in detail. However, the "The Fix" model made in small series by U.S. manufacturer Live Q or Die, LLC from Dover, New Hampshire, established in 2017, goes one step further in terms of technical detail innovation, lightweight and minimalism. The unusual company name could be a combination of a reminiscence of the character named "Q", head of the fictional research and development division in the James Bond movies, and the motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, "Live Free or Die".
By the way behind "Q", as the company is also very succinctly called, there is company founder Kevin Brittingham, no stranger to the international guns world. He is a proven silencer expert and founded the Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) in 1994, having previously sold Gemtech silencers. AAC is also known, for example, for the compact, silenced AR-15 "Honey Badger" PDW in .300 AAC Blackout for U.S. special forces, which replaced the veteran HK MP5 in 9x19. Under his leadership, AAC became one of the largest U.S. silencer manufacturers, and in 2009 he sold the company to Remington Arms. Brittingham then served as head of SIG Sauer's silencer division. In addition to the rifle presented here, "The Fix" in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester and 8.6 BLK, available as "Mini Fix" in .223 Remington and .300 BLK, Q also manufactures AR-15 rifles that go by sonorous names such as "Honey Badger" (as a further development of the AAC concept) or "Sugar Weasel". The company also offers silencers with humorous names such as "Porq Chop", "Jumbo Shrimp", "Trash Panda", "Thunder Chicken" and "Erector".
Live Q or Die "The Fix" bolt-action rifle in detail
Despite the similarity in appearance to the AR platform, the extremely powerful bolt-action rifle does not have a two-piece receiver system with a separate lower and upper receivers connected by pins. Instead, the heart is a one-piece, monolithic "Short Action" receiver made of surface-treated aluminum, to which all other essential components (barrel, stock, handguard) are connected.
The Fix" is unique, however, primarily due to the 45-degree bolt lift and the case primary extraction mechanism. Normally, the bolt of a bolt action designed as a cocking device is opened manually, with the bolt handle pointing upwards after the shot has been fired. As a result, the firing pin is cocked again using a control cam. But before the bolt handle reaches its upper end position, it is usually pushed back by 2 to 3 mm through the use of a ramp or cam type feature (this is the so-called “primary extraction”). This prevents the shooter from having to use a great deal of force to pull out the fire-formed case that is firmly stuck in the chamber. In principle, the cam is an opening aid. The Fix" lacks this feature: when the bolt handle is rotated, only the firing pin is re-cocked by a complex mechanism. The bolt handle, which is movably mounted on the bolt, is pulled back between 15 and 20 degrees in its upper end position, causing the bolt to start its backward travel. Thanks to these now completely different lever transmission ratios, cycling and case extraction is as smooth as butter. Another beneficial side effect is that there is no need for a large unlocking slope on the locking lugs, thus providing more locking surface area. However, this unusual design requires the firing pin to be released by a release device in the bolt after cocking. The simple trigger mechanism only does the job of moving the release upward in the bottom of the bolt. The shooter perceives the trigger travel to contact the release in the bolt as a slack. And as soon as the release is pushed upward, the shooter feels it as a wall. This process can be seen from the outside because the bolt moves a little when the trigger is pulled. We measured the trigger weight at 1,760 grams.
Live Q or Die The Fix: extended handguard, interchangeable Barrel
Since the receiver is very compact and short, the rear section of the neatly manufactured aluminum handguard was extended so that it is connected to the top of the receiver and serves as a base for the optics mount. The barrel is centered in the receiver with an index pin, and a barrel groove is located on the barrel extension, a system known from AR semi-auto rifles. A corresponding mounting key for barrel change is optionally offered by "Q". The skeletonized stock, which is also available in a folding version, can be continuously adjusted with tools (Torx wrench) with regard to the height of the cheek rest and length of pull. In addition, the butt pad height can be adjusted without tools by actuating two pushbuttons. The controls, with a two-position lever safety on both sides and a magazine release button on the right side of the receiver, are again reminiscent of the AR platform. "The Fix" is fed from Magpul SR-25 synthetic box magazines with a capacity of 10 cartridges.
Test: with "The Fix" bolt-action rifle from Live Q or Die and the Leupold VX-6 HD 4-24x52 scope at the shooting range
Equipped with a Leupold VX-6 HD 4-24x52 scope and a Fortmeier bipod, we moved "The Fix" to the 100-m indoor range to check it for accuracy with nine different .308 Winchester factory loads with bullet weights ranging from 150 to 180 grains. Incidentally, the handguard is not KeyMod or M-LOK compatible, but has an in-house interface system with very neatly recessed steel threaded bushings, for which "Q" offers appropriate mounting rails/adapters for attaching additional equipment in the accessories catalog. Despite the bolt design peculiarities and two-stage trigger explained above, we were able to produce quite decent groups. In practice, the buttery-smooth bolt action with a short throw of just 45 degrees was a real experience. The rifle is very light, which makes achieving tight groups a bit more difficult compared to super-heavy match rifles. You must have good control of the rifle's recoil path to be able to achieve cleanly placed hits in follow-up shots. Due to the short 406 mm barrel, the measured bullet velocity values were rather low. However, shooting performance was impressive: 8 mm (Sako 168-grain HPBT), 10 mm (RWS 168-grain Scorion) and 13 mm (GECO 165-grain Express) were the best three group sizes.
Live Q or Die "The Fix” specs and price
|Model:||Live Q or Die "The Fix"|
|Action:||Bolt action, 45° short throw, with five locking lugs
locking into the barrel|
|Barrel:||16”/406 mm stainless steel with forward tapered contour,
1-10" twist, ⅝"x24 UNEF muzzle thread and muzzle brake|
|Stock:||Adjustable, free-standing pistol grip, aluminum handguard
with in-house "Q" interface system|
|Magazine:||10-round Magpul PMAG SR-25 box magazine|
|Trigger:||Two-stage trigger with a pull weight of 1,760 grams|
|Safety:||AR-style on both sides of the receiver, acting on the
|Overall Length:||35.8”/91 cm|
|Weight:||6.3 lb/2,860 g|
|Price (MSRP in the U.S.):||$3,299.00|
Test conclusion on the Live Q or Die "The Fix" in .308 Winchester
"The Fix" from Live Q or Die, LLC is a lightweight bolt-action rifle that is unusual in many respects and has minimal dimensions. Design highlights certainly include the 45-degree short throw bolt handle and very smooth action. The modern rifle is excellently finished inside and out, which is to be expected at a price of $3,299. If you are looking for something special, you have found it here: visually quite striking, technically mature and accurate, and certainly an eye-catcher with rarity value on the home shooting range.