Nemo Omen Watchman 2.0: Long-Range
Perfection In A Precision,
By Dave Douglas
I finally found it. This is the one. After years of evaluating guns and writing about them I’ve finally located the long gun of my dreams. It’s in .300 Winchester Magnum and is capable of taking down any North American game as well as most plains game in Africa.
Here’s the thing: I hate recoil and most .300 Win Mags have it in abundance. Not so with the gas-operated NEMO Omen Watchman 2.0. You can practically hold the gun to your chin and touch off a round.
The Omen Watchman 2.0 checks all of my boxes — great hunting caliber, lots of ammo choices, hardly any recoil. Finally, this gun is scary accurate. I can use as much help as I can get when it comes to accuracy, and this rifle takes precision to another level. Oh, did I mention it’s an AR?
New Evolution Military Ordnance — at least that’s what’s on their spec sheet. But, I found another reference to NEMO that sums up the company and this firearm — Nemo me impune lacessit (“No one provokes me with impunity”). It’s the motto adopted by the Scottish 16th or 17th century Order Of The Thistle (depending on which historians you believe). The King of Scotts and Kings of Great Britain served as the Order’s Sovereigns.
A few folks dedicated to producing a firearm second to none founded the company in 2011 up in Kalispell, Montana. It’s always been a wonder to me how Montana gathers so many retired been-there-done-that types. It must be something in the water — or, maybe it’s the way Montana encourages veterans, like the company’s founder, retired US Army Major General Paul Vallely, and firearms companies to locate up there.
The former military folks have many years of experience and knowledge in what is needed from their primary weapon. Additionally, it’s Montana. Almost everyone working at NEMO hunts. And if you’re at all familiar with that part of the country, you know the shot you might get could be at 300 meters or beyond. These are the folks you want building your gun.
The NEMO Omen Watchman 2.0 with its 24″ Proof Research carbon fiber
match barrel and Geissele SSA-E 2-stage trigger will meet and usually
exceed the accuracy of any .300 Win Mag bolt gun available today.
The NEMO Omen Watchman 2.0 is ready for any big game found in
North America and most plains game in Africa. But if you’re doing
an African hunt you’d better check the gun laws for the particular
country in which you plan to hunt. Semi-autos might be a big no-no.
Omen Watchman 2.0
The Omen Watchman 2.0 is an upgraded version of NEMO’s Match 2.0. The gun is equipped with a 24″ barrel to squeeze every bit of velocity out of the .300 Win. Mag. It’s a carbon-fiber match barrel with a 1:8 twist made by Proof Research, another Montana company. It provides a 64 percent reduction in weight over steel and competition-grade accuracy. With this type of barrel you will see no point-of-impact shift, even during high volume shooting. The barrels are durable and prone to little or no harmonic vibration.
During test-firing, after rapidly shooting a 12-round string, we could immediately pick the gun up by the barrel bare-handed without needing to run off to a burn center. This kind of heat dissipation results in a more accurate and a longer-lasting barrel.
The upper receiver, lower receiver and handguard are machined from billet 7075 aluminum for extra strength and rigidity. Both the upper receiver and handguard are topped with a 20-MOA Picatinny rail. There’s plenty of real estate on the handguard for mounting any type of “in front of scope” accessory like night vision or thermal devices. The top rail is the only permanently fixed mounting point. The sides and bottom of the forward handguard are tapped for mounting points of additional shorter M-1913 Picatinny rails. This greatly reduces the diameter of the handguard and makes it much more comfortable to hold. It also negates the need for gloves to protect your hand from the saw-like rails.
Anyone familiar with the AR platform will find the bolt carrier and bolt
assembly breaks down easily for cleaning. The nickel-boron coating makes
cleaning the parts a breeze.
The bolt carrier assembly looks like a piece of jewelry. Put a string
around it and you could wear it on your neck. The recoil device and its
substantial spring at the rear of the carrier significantly reduces the
perceived recoil from the .300 Win Mag cartridge.
The bolt assembly looks like a piece of jewelry. Both carrier and bolt are finely machined and nickel-boron coated. This is also where the unique recoil reduction system resides. The folks at NEMO designed the Watchman 2.0 so a shooter could sit behind the gun and fire off long strings without getting to the point of flinching because their shoulder feels like the slab of beef Sylvester Stallone worked over in the first Rocky.
Attached at the rear of the bolt carrier sits a collapsible device with a very substantial spring. During the firing cycle the bolt and carrier move to the rear after the bolt unlocks from the chamber lugs. With a regular AR, the rear of the carrier impacts the buffer spring located in the buffer tube, thus reducing recoil. With the Omen Watchman 2.0 the recoil device attached to the carrier makes first contact with the buffer spring, and as the buffer spring compresses, the recoil device also compresses. The result is far less perceived recoil. I’d say it feels like something between a .223 and a .308 — less than many 7.62 AR’s available today. The recoil device is one of the reasons NEMO can use a standard 7.62-size lower receiver and the main reason for such mild recoil out of the more powerful .300 Win Mag.
The combination of the Omen Watchman 2.0 and NEMO’s 220-grain
Win Mag ammo delivers unbelievable accuracy with crushing power.
The lower receiver (top) reveals a “nothing new here” look for a
7.62 lower, except for the size of the .300 Win Mag ammo in the
magazine. The IonBond finished charging handle on the right side
of the gun (bottom) makes charging the gun with a scope attached
much easier than with a conventional top-mounted charging handle.
Not Grandpa’s AR
Is this just another “gas gun?” Absolutely not. Every part of the Omen Watchman 2.0 is unique and purposely designed for the task of launching a .300 Win Mag. projectile to great range with stunning accuracy. The bolt and carrier are, of course, beefier than usual, and that complicates the design of the gas system.
More weight and mass of the bolt and carrier requires more energy to move the mechanism to the rear. This required the use of a longer gas tube so they could still utilize the energy, but at a slower speed to assure less bolt velocity, increased reliability for extraction and decreased wear on the extractor, bolt lugs and magazine feed lips. It has a four-position adjustable gas block allowing the use of practically any .300 Win Mag ammunition and even a suppressor in case you want to take advantage of the B1 Tri-Lug Suppressor-Ready Muzzle Brake that comes on the gun.
The bolt also has an external charging handle on the right side in place of the top-mounted charging handle seen on most AR platforms. If you ever tried to use the charging handle on a standard scoped AR, you know it can become problematic at best. Having the charging handle on the right side of the receiver makes charging the gun infinitely easier. It also negates any need for a forward assist.
The rifle’s standard equipment includes many items considered to be extras on other guns. It has an ambidextrous safety selector and a Geissele SSA-E 2-stage trigger that breaks like a glass tube snapping. It has a black Hogue overmolded pistol grip and a Magpul PRS Stock capable of more adjustments than a chiropractor can provide. The package comes from NEMO with a custom drag bag and two 14-round magazines.
The B1 Tri-lug muzzlebrake is another factor in reducing recoil,
plus it’s suppressor-ready.
A good description of the accuracy of the Omen Watchman 2.0 is “stunning.” I’m a pretty average shooter and I was able to wring out a 0.5-MOA, 5-shot groups with the gun. But, I have a friend who did precision shooting for a living. He’s a retired US Army SF Major and he was shooting the same hole at 100 meters during an early spring snowstorm in Colorado. During a couple mid-summer outings he was dusting prairie dogs at 500 meters with the rifle. Yes, a .300 Win Mag would be considered overkill on a prairie dog, but overkill works every time. And, during the late summer when he was using NEMO’s Tactical 220-grain ammo coupled with a Leupold 3X18X44 Mark 6 with the CMR-W Grid, 1,000 meter shots into a pie plate was easy work.
A Great Investment
If you could have only one gun for tactical-type use or hunting in North America, you should consider the NEMO Omen Watchman 2.0. Couple that gun with good glass like the Leupold Mark 6 and you’ll have an unbeatable combination. You don’t need to go to a bolt gun for top-level accuracy anymore. NEMO has proven a “gas gun” built to proper specifications can give you as good as — or better — than the accuracy of any turnbolt. And you’ll have the additional benefit of reduced recoil, making follow-up shots easier and faster. That is, of course, if you need a follow-up. Chances are you won’t with this rifle.
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