This post is a short follow up to my recent project/ article to shooting the AR15 at 1,000 yards. The point of the long range shoot was to show that the system is not the short range gun that a lot of people who know every little, claim it to be. I talked about making effective hits on a man sized target more then accuracy the last time, so this time I am going to talk a bit about accuracy of a carbine that does not have a match barrel or trigger in it
Above is a picture you can click on to make larger. It is several groups shot from a M4 carbine at 200 yards. The aiming points are the orange dots that are 1 inch in diameter. While I did not use a match barrel or trigger, I did use a Leupold 18x target scope to be able to see well enough. I also shot from a bench using a rest adn sand bags and all the proper technique used during a BR match. OF course, I also used match ammo for the testing. The typical carbine of good quality, even with a milspec chromed lined barrel with NATO chamber will deliver accuracy at a level not really needed from a military or defensive carbine. I used a few different types of match ammo during testing. All of it heavy. All of my carbines use the 1/7 twist so I can take advantage of the better ammo.
From time to time you will read some guy on a gun board telling you how his carbine or rifle will shoot M193 or M855 into sub MOA groups. This means they shot 5 or 10 or whatever, rounds, into a group smaller then 1 inch at 100 yards, or 2 inches at 200 yards etc. This is so close to impossible, you can safely call them a liar. The gun may be very accurate, the barrel may even be the finest match barrel money can buy with a jewel trigger . But the quality of the gun, can not over come, the quality of the ammo. The fact is, loaded rounds have to be made under very strict and demanding quality control processes to be consistent. That is how the bullets group so close. Having a good gun, and good ammo as well as proper skill all go together. But, you can not have a great gun, and perfect skill and shoot sub minute of angle with ammo the factory that made it only needed it to be 4 MOA. Nothing you or the gun can do, will over come this. It is a universal fact. Now, some fluke ammo lots can shoot good. It is not that military ammo can not be made to shoot well, it can, but it needs a level of care that the factoriues making it do not intend to give, or the gov even needs. It takes more time, and components made to very high standard. Why would lake city make M855 that would shoot 1/4 inch at 10 yards? So it can be fired form a SAW at a window in a mud hut 567 yards away ? No. Just no. If you want to shoot tight groups ( 1 MOA or less) with your gun, you have to have good ammo along with everything else.
The above picture has been shown before on this blog. It is 18 shots fired into one group, from a milspec barrel Colt 6940, I used the same methods as when I fired the groups above. I fired this group to bust the very common myth that a 1/7 twist has to shoot bullets that weigh more then 62 grains.
Those 18 rounds are 40 grain Hornaday ballistic tip bullets. That orange dot is once again, A 1 inch dot. The 1/7 twist barrel will shoot lighter bullets just fine. That is, if it is a well made barrel to begin with, not a match barrel. Not some noveske match barrel, but a milspec chrome lined barrel. How much more accuracy do you need? Is it worth the extra cost? I am always amused to see some of the barrels people buy, and the privce of these barrels. just to blas M193 or wolf ammo into a target 25 to 50 yards away, or even 100 yards. Ask yourself how much you gained from that highly expensive barrel with some new gee wiz coating, and was it really worth it. Really test you current barrel with good ammo before you start buying some of the hyped “match barrel” USe a good scope and ammo and BR technique, or get some who knows how, and test what you already got. You may be very surprised.
Above is another example. This was using a popular and common load used during high power for the AR15. It is the Seirra 77 grain bullet that I loaded myself with the utmost care. It is 20 rounds. This is not a special barrel. I have seen many plain milspec barrels that would do at the worst 1 to 2 MOA with decent ammo, and usually it is closer to 1.5 MOA with match ammo. AR15 pattern carbines and their accuracy is like a diamond in the rough. You have to learn to work around the things that hold you back. The trigger on a milspec rack grade gun is not pleasant or easy to use when shooting for small groups, but you can get used to it and learn it. The barrels are not always free floated, but you can shoot in ways to not stress the barrel and get it to hot. Optics can be changed around easily and the butt stocks can be worked around. It is almost a mental block, or conditioning that has people thinking that their rack grade guns have to be upgraded to shoot well. Of course there are some crap guns out there made by more then a few crap factories, but even the most unreliable will often have pretty decent barrels. It is hard to mess up a AR15 when it comes to accuracy, there is very little that can effect it once the barrel is floated , and even if its not, it is already very close to being free floated. The thing to remember though, is that accuracy is not everything.. You must have a carbine or rifle that is 100 percent reliable and combat hardened if you want it for defense use. If you are a dirt blaster or can shooter, then it does not matter I guess. If you want tight groups, the most import thing to remember after your own skill, and quality of the barrel is that you have to have quality ammo. Never use M193 or M855 or any ammo that is not meant to be match accurate, as a way to judge your rifles potential accuracy.