Q&A 4

This is a LooseRounds.com Q&A session.  If you have a firearms related question please email it to QA@LooseRounds.com. We will post the your questions anonymously and give you our answers.


1.  colt le901-16s release date?

Howard:  The Colt 901 has already been released and can be purchased.  However currently supplies are limited.

2.  what finish does the colt rail gun have 

Shawn:  Stainless steel or Stainless with a black ceracoat coating.

3.  winchester model 70 pre 64 iron sights?

Shawn:  The target or National Match version came with Lyman or Redfield Olympic iron sights.  Sporters came with a simple leaf sight.

4.  Just out of curiosity, what’s the average accuracy you’re getting out of ‘regular’ .308 ball ammo out of the Colt?  I saw the one line in your write up about German DAG (approx 2.5 inch groups).  Is that about what you average with M80/Portuguese/S. African?

Shawn:  NMH ball also gave about 2.5 MOA.  150 grain soft point hunting ammo from Federal gave about a 1.5 inch group at 100 yards.

Howard:  Surplus can vary greatly, don’t expect match results with surplus, often 2-5 MOA is to be expected with good surplus.  Stuff like Wolf will perform worse.

5.  What is the coolest MOLLE vest?

Shawn:  What do you mean, to wear to the gun prom, or what is the least hot.  The coolest (temperature) is probably the SDS MOLLE 2 Fighting Load Carrier (FLC) as issued by the military.  Coolest for showing off would maybe be the Eagle Maritime CIRAS or the Marine Corps Scaleable Plate Carrier.

Howard:  The FLC is good, but maybe not the coolest in temperature.  Something like a basic chest carrier with H harnes like backing might be coolest.  As for cool factor, perhaps the CRYE Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC).  *For coolest just look Titleist1, an active poster on AR15.com.

6.  How do you make homemade body armor

Shawn:  Under no circumstances depend on homemade body armor to save your life.  There is no way you can replicate the quality of a properly manufacturer plates of soft armor.

7.  is the fn pbr 24inch fluted barrel a heavy barrel

Shawn:  I could call it a medium heavy, it tapers down.

8.  Do Glocks shoot loose with age?

Howard:  Yes, all things wear.  Glock triggers will generally get smoother.  Some people claim that replacing the Slide Lock in a old Glock that is shooting poorly will tighten up barrel lockup and improve grouping.  Some parts like the plastic tubular insert in the striker channel can erode and come loose from wear.

9.  do you have to break in a gun with national match barrel

Shawn:  Well its a little complicated, but to start off it is important to note that a quality national match barrel will come polished and hand lapped from the maker.  So you should not have to break one in.

LooseRounds over years have found that breaking in barrels is a waste of time, regardless if its custom match or factory.  Usually you will do more cleaning rod damage to the barrel then any amount of improvement you could have helped.

Thoughts on the M16A4

To preface this, let me state that I served in the Marine Corps as a rifleman and that I carried a FN M16A4 in Iraq.  The above picture is of the rifle I carried in Iraq.

I see online that some people have a hardcore love for the M16A4.  In reality, it is not that good.  Please don’t get me wrong it isn’t a bad rifle, but it is not a great one.

When considering the M16A4 uses as a combat rifle it is ok, but not as flexible as a M4.  If you employ the M16A4 as a battle rifle, like the M1Garand, M14, and M16A2 that preceded it, it is great.  However a battle rifle is not suited for all combat.  The longer length of the M16A2 & M16A4 along with the fixed stock, makes for a less then ideal rifle for close quarters battle or for use with body armor.  Its’ 40 inches of length makes the rifle more awkward when egressing vehicles.

The main benefits of the M16A4 over the M4 are higher muzzle velocity and longer sight radius.  The benefits of increased sight radius are negated if we use optics.  While more velocity is always nice, it is shot placement and bullet selection that is very important.  Outside the military, we are not limited to M855 ball ammunition, and there are plenty of alternative that will function excellently in shorter barrels.

For a civilian, I can see why someone would want to reproduce a military rifle.  However from a cost effectiveness standpoint, building a M16A4 clone is silly.  Few companies make M16A4 style uppers, and there is good reason for that; they just don’t sell well.  The Knights M5 RAS quad rail used on the rifle runs about $320 dollars new.  For far less then that you can get a lighter, cheaper, free float rail.  The Government profile of the M16A4 combined with a heavy non-freefloat rail does not make for the best accuracy or consistency.  A proper M16A4 clone is neither accuracy enough for precision competition, nor as handy as a M4 style carbine.

While I was in the Corps, there was a big mentality that the M4 was just such an inferior weapon system.  I believed this for a long time, till finally I started to realized that if the entire Army was fielding M4s, it can’t be junk.  However our Army does make mistakes, but other groups like the SEALs, some of the British, German, Irish, and Australian special forces, etc.  Many elite forces around the world choose the M4 or variants(like the C8SFW) for their mission over their own countries standard issue rifle, or full length M16s.  Clearly the M4 has the reliability and capability for those end users mission.

The M16A4 is a battle rifle, however the M4 carbine is a versatile jack of all trades that is better choice for most individuals.

Picture of my last M16A4 clone rifle before I finally decided to move away from the M16A4 platform completely.

Brass over Bolt malfunctions.

Last Sunday I helped a shooter at the range with a brass over bolt malfunction.  Brass over Bolt is a rare malfunction where a casing(live or spent) gets stuck over the bolt and between it and the charging handle.  I’ve learned that the quickest way to clear one of these jams is to reach up in the mag well with your middle finger and put that finger on the bolt face holding it back.  When that bolt carrier group is held back, you can run the charging handle forward, and knock the stuck casing/round free.

Shawn and I both agree that while the brass over bolt malfunction can be cleared quickly, in a faster paced or close range fight you may be better off transition to a sidearm if you have one available to you.

While I was in the Marines with all these used and abused M16A2 & M16A4s and old worn out mags and we never saw or heard of a brass over bolt malfunction.  Now the funny thing is, every time I have helped someone with a brass over bolt malfunction I noticed they they were not using cheap or worn mags, they were using Magpul PMags.  I have discussed with Shawn and he too noted that brass over bolt malfunctions seem to be rather new, and seem to mainly have happened in AR15s using PMags.

So, have any of you had the brass over bolt malfunction and what mags were you using when you had it?

FN USA PBR A Good First Light Sniper/Tactical Rifle

A lot of people over the last 10 years or so have become interested in long range precision shooting. One of the simple facts of life when it comes to precision shooting at ranges past 700 yards is that the rifles often cost a lot of money. There is a huge mind boggling selection of rifles to pick from these days. You can have your choice of full custom, semi custom factory rifles, plain factory rifles meant to fill the need and factory rifles worked over to provide the desired results. A lot of people do not understand there is a big difference between a target rifle for LR shooting and true tactical or sniper rifles.  I submit to you that they are all three different levels all together.  One type is meant to shoot accurately while being treated gently. The other is to be treated like you wish you could treat your sister in law  over years and still deliver an acceptable level of accuracy. It would surprise a lot of people to know  military sniper rifles often do not shoot to the same level as a Camp perry target rifle. But thats OK. it does not need to. It just needs to shoot that good all the time no matter what you do to it.  In a later article I will go into more depth on precision rifles and long range since this is a topic a lot of people want to know about but assume it is way more difficult then it really is.  Do not let it fool you. Making hits at 1,000 yards is not as hard as it may seem. And often you can get it done with a semi auto A type rifle faster and cheaper then what you can with a worked up bolt gun. Again, I will make the case later.

Now I would like to take  a look at what I believe to be  a great starter rifle for those wanting to start the craft and a even more useful  general purpose  heavy recce to use a phrase borrowed from Howard.

The rifle I am going to talk about is the FN USA  Patrol Bolt Rifle.  Everyone who knows anything about me, knows I love and prefer the Winchester pre 64 controlled round feed action and the FN  uses this action. Winchester and FN are pretty much the same thing these days and have been working close even before the New Haven plant went tango uniform. The result of this was the FBI bought a few  heavy snipers from FN  using the Model 70.  A side project resulted in a neat little gun  that everyone should take a look at.  The PBR  is no longer made and called the PBR but FN still makes it with a few slight changes. I will refer to it as the PBR because that is what I have but it can be bought still, just under another name.

The PBR came and the current model comes with a Hogue over molded stock, same as the M700 ACC model. The difference is the PBR has a full length bedding block. If you do not know about this  feature, it is meant to take the place of glass or devcon or marineTex ing the action in the stock. To keep the action from moving in the stock and increasing the rigidity. Along with free floating the barrel this helps keep the gun more consistant and so more accurate.  Bedding blocks are poo pooed by some but for what the PBR is meant to do, it is acceptable.  The stock is not the most comfy but  for a gun meant to be issued out to a wide variety of  LEO or whatever, it is not bad at all. Some even really like it. I find the rubber coating wants to catch on everything on my body and make it slow to handle some times. thats OK because it is not meant for 3 gun slinging.

A really nice touch that FN provides is the one piece picatinny Near MFG scope base with cant for aiding zeroing to longer ranges. A lot of people who start out in long range shooting  do not know just how important the base and rings are to the system. I prefer bases made by Badger Ord but again, it is more then enough for what this is meant for and you can always change it as you want. I recommend using it for a long time until yuou are good enough to know exactly what  you need.

To mount the scope to the base I used Leupold MK4 rings and a ancient tactical Leupold MRT  10x with mildot reticule that was meant for paring with the M700 PSS rifles back in the late 90s. It is still a fine optic and if you can get one i suggest trying it out. The specs are 3.5x-10x with  1/4 inch target turrets and a 40mm objective lens.  I also added a synthetic  Military sling and harris  BR model Bipods.

The barrel on the PBR is 24 inch chrome moly with fluting and a recessed crown to protect it from morons who do not pay attention. Unlike the FBI model, the barrel is not chrome lined.  The taper on the barrel is pretty steep so it is not as heavy as a straight taper  HBAR used on Winchester sharpshooter IIs or the FN SPR A3G.

The PBR also has the nice feature of a detachable box magazine. The mag holds 4 in it and is made of SS and ejects cleanly and sharp from the rifle. It is well made but hard to load rounds into it. Not a big deal once you get used to it but a pain anyway. Spare mags can be had from brownells fro about 44 bucks a pop.

As I said above, the action is the pre 64 model 70 so it has the huge external extractor. A lot of people like the M700 more and say that  the extractor on a M700 will not break. I am here to tell you that is pure BS. I have had four M700 extractors break on me over the years.  They will and can break off.  The M70 holds the case as it picks it up and strips it off the mag and feeds it. It will extract it out of the chamber or rip the head off  and because of the solid metal ejector, you can eject the empty as hard or soft as you want/need. One benefit of this is you can work the bolt in any position and not worry about feeding problems. As much as I love the M70 I can not see this as a real advantage as I have never been able to induce at malfunction  in a m700  in any position as long as I worked the bolt.  with purpose.   On a gun meant for very hard use in ways that may get you killed, I like the controlled round feed ( CRF ) and so do the vast majority of dangerous game hunters in Africa.

The action of the PBR is as smooth as most of its type and is very unlikely to bind. The rifle is very handy and I see it as a perfect scouting rifle or  light sniper that would be good for riding in the trunk until you need it. The new versions come with  barrels as short as 16 inches so adding a can would make for a very handy suppressed sniping rifle for urban use. In fact, I feel this is very close to being a perfect urban sniper  as far as bolt guns go. The barrel has a 1/12 twist so it will handle up to a 175 match round. Some always want a 1/10 and of course if you can a 1/10 get it, but the USMC has done alright with a 1/12 for years if that settles your nerves over it.

I have shot several PBRs out to  as far as 800 yards over the years and found them to preform my demands. It is not perfect for this role or the most comfortable. Nor is it put together with the right parts or intended to really be a long range head shooter. If you imagine the PBR as having the same role as a MK12  or a recce but as a bolt gun I think you will be close to what this gun best fits as.

The rifle is very accurate though and with proper ammo, hits out to 800 yards or easy. 1,000 yard hits are not out of the question but do not get all twisted out of shape if its not as easy as you would hope. There is a little more to it then a 308 rifle with a heavy barre. But not as much more as you may think!! More on this later as I said.

After putting it together and shooting it some and checking out ammo selection etc. I set up at 100 yards to get a cold bore group to see how solid the system would be. I think 3 rounds  is a good test of this gun since it is not truly a target or sniper rifle, but something in between.

This is a three round group from 10 yards using Black Hills match 175 grain HPBT.  Point of impact is exactly point of aim. I am very happy with this as I am sure you can imagine.  I intend to use the PBR as a light mid range sniper and sort of a small to deer size  hunting rifle. It is easy to move with, lighter then my Sharpshooter II and shorter. Its not as comfortable in prone, but that is just fine I gave up the gravel belly days a while ago and need something a little better for more common field shooting or from the harris bipods. One day I will get a McMillan HTG stock like used on the M40A1 rifle, but maybe I won’t if the hogue proves solid enough.

If you want to start out in the Long range shooting hobby but also want something you could hunt with easier  or carry easily across the suburb while being out of sight after the end of the world. The PBR or its current incarnation is a great place to start. If you want to move on to more custom, you can save the action to build from. I always  advise using the Model 70 for a sniper rifle and this is a good way to start and give  you more then the M700 AAC model which is very close to being the same.