Gun companies across the board make pushes to bring something different to the market. Some do a great job and others simply add a new color and call it good. Rare is the company that really steps outside the lines and shakes up the status quo. Yet that is exactly what Springfield Armory has done with the release of a new rifle, the Hellion.
The Springfield Armory Hellion Bullpup
Starting in 2022 Springfield will be offering their first bullpup rifle to the market, the Springfield Hellion. I had the opportunity to run the Hellion at the 2022 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous. I have had the opportunity to run a number of various bullpups, but this was a different creature. It had a good feel, and I knew I wanted more time on it.
Bullpup fans will be excited, to say the least. For my fellow gun nerds, you’ll see that the gun has a very familiar French FAMAS rifle vibe to it.
A quick look at the gun and we see the rifle features a bullpup configuration where the action is located behind the trigger. The bullpup modular platform allows us to maintain all the ballistic benefits of a longer barrel in a shorter package without sacrificing overall length, accuracy, and muzzle velocity. The rifle features an overall length of just 28.25 inches while still possessing a 16” barrel.
The Hellion sports ambidextrous controls that work in concert with a reversible case ejection system. As a result, it can be easily fired from either shoulder.
A design feature that Springfield does not say much about is the cheek riser on the butt stock. The front of this riser is raised to act as a spent casing deflector. The result of this design is that you can shoot the gun right or left-handed and not get brass in your face, regardless of which ejection port you have open.
A Closer Look at the Hellion
A closer look under the hood gives us a better look. It starts with the 16-inch barrel. Springfield has included a hammer-forged, high-performance precision barrel to give us solid accuracy. It has a twist rate of 1:7 and has a durable Melonite coating.
Above the barrel, we have an adjustable gas system. The Hellion uses a short-stroke gas piston design which is clean and reliable. The gun features a two-position adjustable gas block with “S” suppressed and “N” normal modes. The result is a firearm that can be easily and quickly adjusted to fit conditions and ammo availability.
Springfield also knows that gun owners will want to add lights and other accessories to their new rifles. With that in mind, the polymer handguard of the Hellion features nine M-Lok slots for mounting accessories. Specifically, three each at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.
The rifle also has a full-size pic rail. An uninterrupted strip of Picatinny rail runs along the top of the Hellion. This ensures you can mount the optics of your choice. Included on the rail are integrated flip-up sights. They are a sturdy spring-loaded metal design with a diopter rear and a fully enclosed blade front sight.
The gun has a 5-position adjustable stock for a more customized length of pull and uses the BCM Gunfighter Mod 3 grip. The Hellion features a reversible ejection system for fired cases that requires no additional parts or tools. The other three primary controls, safety, charging handle, and the magazine and bolt releases are also easily accessed on both sides of the gun.
Running the Springfield Hellion
After my Rendezvous experience, Springfield was kind enough to send a Hellion out for some additional testing. I did take the opportunity to attach a Dead Air Silencers Sierra 5. A gun this sexy needs a suppressor just to finish it out.
The manual of arms for a bullpup will undoubtedly present a few hiccups to the uninitiated, but they are soon overcome. The bolt release is set back behind the magazine well and is operated by a pinching movement.
The charging handle is reminiscent of the H&K G36 and is spring-loaded. It is non-reciprocating and sits parallel to the barrel and can be pulled to the left or right as needed. I found it to work well.
The trigger on a bullpup is a bit of an experience. As with all bullpups, it has a much longer travel than what we are accustomed to on our AR rifles. What I can say, however, is that the press is smooth and consistent. Some guns in this category have simply abandoned any hope for a decent trigger, but Springfield has put some work into it.
Accuracy-wise, the gun shot well. Offhand at 25 yards saw five rounds almost all touching. At 100 yards, I was able to get a nice one and an eighth-inch group with good ammo.
The Springfield Hellion comes with a Magpul Pmag which worked well. One thing I noticed regarding magazines was that they did not immediately drop free as we see in most ARs. This is once again a slight change in our manual of arms and operating procedures.
During mag changes, I had to press the mag release and then pull the empty magazine out before replacing it. With practice, this became easy and fast. I cannot say for certain, but I believe that as rifles get broken in, magazines will begin to fall free when released.
The Hellion Gets the Bullpup Right
The nature of the bullpup is to give us an SBR-sized gun with a full-length barrel. The Hellion serves that role well. I found it very easy to maneuver and fast to run. The ambidextrous nature of the gun made barricade work a breeze.
As I mentioned earlier, the raised end of the cheek plate worked well to deflect brass. I ran the gun with the right-side ejection port open but ran the gun left-handed multiple times and did not experience any brass in my face at all.
I quickly adjusted to the trigger and was able to put the pedal to the metal on all my drills. While the trigger is not as fast as my standard ARs I did not find it to be any real impediment to the gun’s performance.
In short, I would offer the same suggestion I make on all guns. Learn the trigger of your gun and master it. Disassembly of the gun for cleaning and maintenance requires no special tools and is easily accomplished.
My thoughts on the gun are positive. The change in the manual of arms will challenge some but it is easily learned. It is a very soft shooting rifle that works well in both close-quarter applications as well as distance shooting. Springfield has done a good job with this rifle, and it is one that you should definitely test drive yourself.
For more information, please visit Springfield-Armory.com.
Springfield Armory Hellion Specs
Barrel: 16″ Hammer Forged 4150 Steel, Melonite finish
Front Sight: Integrated Flip-Up, Elevation Adjustable
Rear Sight: Integrated Flip-Up w/ 5-Position Aperture, Windage Adjustable
Bolt Carrier: Proprietary, Melonite finish
Gas System: 2-Position Adjustable, Short Stroke Piston
Handguard: Polymer, M-Lok
Stock: 5-Position Adjustable w/ Cheek Riser
Muzzle Device: 4-Prong Flash Hider
Charging Handle: Ambidextrous, Non-Reciprocating
Safety Selector: Ambidextrous
Grip: BCMGUNFIGHTER™ Mod 3
Magazines: (1) 30-Round Magpul PMAG Gen M3
Weight: 8 lbs
Length: 28.25″ – 29.75″