New Australian firearms-making company Eureka Guns is about to launch a home-grown gas-operated lever-release rifle called the Stockade, initially in .223 at a price estimated at between $2000 and $2500.
A collaboration between former firearms distributor Rick Casagrande and gunsmith Jim Cohen, the Eureka Stockade is designed specifically for the Australian market and will be built in Australia, too.
Sporting Shooter has been told prototypes of the new rifle are about to undergo their testing phase and that the Stockade will be introduced to dealers today ahead of a public announcement next week.
Australian Sporting Agencies will distribute Eureka rifles, and company owner Bastian Green said the Stockade will be sold through an online portal in which buyers could tailor the specifications of their rifles, which would then be built to order.
Once completed, the rifle would be delivered to a firearms dealer for payment and transfer.
Production is estimated to begin in late March 2024, but orders will be taken from as soon as late next week.
The Stockade’s gas-operated cycling system is designed to be reliable as well as easy to use and clean, according to Jim Cohen, who says the overall inspiration for the Stockade came from the Armalite 180 and the Australian-made AAA rifle that was developed from it.
The 180 was a civilian version of the AR-18, itself a much-improved evolution of the AR-15/M16 rifles, which initially had a flawed gas system.
The Stockade has a gas system similar to the 180’s, with the gas piston inside the fore-end and an action rod pushing directly on the bolt carrier.
The trigger group is unique to the Stockade, not interchangeable with AR-platform items, and it has been refined to let off at 1.8kg (4lb), lighter than many similar firearms, with a “nice, smooth let-off” according to the designers.
It is a single-sear design that cannot be converted to work in a semi-automatic fashion.
The lever-release mechanism has two catches to hold back the bolt carrier, rather than one, to improve reliability of operation.
The rifle uses two recoil springs in the receiver, not in the butt.
The reset lever can be switched from one side to the other for either right- or left-handed use, and the cross-trigger safety can be reversed with it.
The two-piece receiver is machined from billet aluminium and contains a bolt and bolt carrier of fairly standard design.
The grip is positioned slightly further away from the trigger than on AR rifles, providing a more comfortable reach to the trigger.
A number of barrel options will be offered, with a choice of 1:8 and 1:12 twist rates to suit different bullet weights. It is likely the barrels will be US-made.
Rick Casagrande say the Stockade has been chambered in .223, not 5.56×45 or WYLDE, because .223 is the commonly available calibre in Australia.
The muzzle is threaded ½-28 for accessories, including an optional Eureka muzzle brake that is shrouded to reduce the muzzle blast that makes brakes hard on the ears.
The Stockade runs AR-type magazines, pistol grips and butts, and is compatible with many other accessories.
There are M-LOK attachment points on the fore-end as well as a full-length Picatinny rail on top of the rifle.
Rick said timber stocks will be available and some versions will have a more commercial look to them.
The Eureka Stockade is intended to be a versatile firearm for Australian use.
“This gun would be very good for competition use — IPSC rifle and that type of thing,” Jim said, “and great for hunting of course — that’s going to be the biggest part of the market.”
Rick foreshadowed additional calibres being offered as long as they fitted within the existing action, but at this early stage he is not sure what they may be.
“It’s the market that’s going to drive it,” he said.
Bastian says the estimated starting price of the base-model Stockade would be less than $2500 and, he hoped, closer to $2000.
We will bring you more information as it comes to hand, including a link for ordering the Stockade.