Q&A on the AR15/M855 at 1,000 yard post.

A  few weeks ago, I posted an article where I fired at 1,000 yards using  as close to an as issued M16A2 as I can get. I used MK262 ammo and M855 to make hits while shooting iron sights only and from prone with just as sling as support.   The  Article has been popular and has had a lot of views, but with it came a lot of questions and the inevitable  uneasy feeling from people who have given advice to others for years about how near useless the 5.56 is.   Almost to the point of being offended.

http://looserounds.com/2013/06/10/ar15-at-1000-yards-can-a-rack-grade-ar15-and-m855-make-1000-yard-hits/

A lot of people who emailed me, or commented on the subject wanting to know how it was done and my procedures etc.  After talking to a friend about it, I re read the article and realized that I should have been more clear in some parts. While the majority of people know what the point I was trying to make, some others seem to think I was trying to say something between the lines. So I am going to answer the question that have popped up from a few people since the article.

First is the assumption that I was making any claims about the terminal performance of the 5.56/M855 round or even the MK 262 at this distance.  I was not.   I simply shot  the drill as a way to demonstrate that the AR15 is capable of  accuracy and accomplishments a lot of people do not bother to imagine or try out.    I never said the 556 would knock a man down at 1K or penetrate X amount of inches.   But, a hit is a hit.   I doubt few would volunteer to be shot at 1K with a 556 to prove how wrong I am.   In the 6os a man was knocked off a bicycle from a stray 22LR shot that escaped over a range berm in Ohio.  It was over a mile from where the shooter was setting.   That does not prove a thing.  But a hit is still indeed a hit.  Even if it feels like a hornet sting, if some one is nailing you at 1,000 yards, that would demoralize me and seriously make me rethink wanting to get closer.  The SS109 was meant to fired at longer ranges in LMG use. So to claim it would not put some kind of hurt on a person is absurd.  How effective that hurt is, is another matter and not the convern of the article.

How did I see the target and what aiming point did I use to be able to hit such a target ?  That is the next common question.   It is simple.  I adjusted the front sight to account for more  elevation. I did not go out with a military 25Meter zero.   Elevation was adjusted using the front sight for the most part and I refined it with the rear since I had plenty left over to play with.   I zeroed the sights at 1,000 yard to the point I used a so called “6 oclock hold”  But actually I adjusted the sight to the point where I held the front site about 5 foot below the target.  That is why I had the steel gong painted neon orange.  I got on the steel. then moved to the paper.   It was not some impossible thing to do or a miracle.  Nor was it “flinging lead down range” ’till I got lucky

You can not get lucky if you don’t do everything right before hand.

Having the hold so far below the point of impact gave me plenty of room to see the target and light. I also could see any impacts into the dust to make windage changes or any other change I needed.  Also a spotter with a 60x spotting scope to help.

How did you do it without 80 grain  bullets with a OAL that required you to single feed?   That was where the gross amount of sight manipulation comes into play and a shooting lane between two hills blocking all but a head wind.   The 80s are great, and if you are trying to hit a X ring at perry, you will need them or the 77 grain HPBT. But with enough adjustment in your sights, you can get just about anything on target. If it is a decent weight.  Careful reading will show I shot the heavier match 77 grain load to get on target initially and had  doubts about the M855. I never said that the M855 was a wonder bullet.

What enemy did you expect to prove the M855 would kill at 1,000 yards?   A cardboard target is all I set out to prove the round would hit. Though few would really let some one shoot them at 1K with the 556 no matter how much the claim other wise.  Also when I said “lethal” hits,  I wrongly assumed people knew that most hits in the “black” of the target are considered solid hits, not anatomically correct. So yeah, my use of lethal was a slang term used in the context of the too large scoring area of military targets. And people have bled to death from groin and lung hits.  So I guess I would consider them lethal depending on the abilities and medical expertise of the enemies you are engaging.  But draw your own conclusions.  My point was to show that the AR15 in stock form will hit at 1,000 yards with good and issue ammo if you know what you are doing. Nothing more.  Furthermore, it was not just luck getting the M855 on target. It is certainly not match accurate ammo. But it is within reason to expect a decent lot of M855 to be able to hit a man.

If the article gave you more confidence in your weapon that was my goal. It does not matter if the average Marine or soldier can or can not do it. It matters what you can do with it when it is in your hands.   It does not matter if you can not imagine needing to take a shot like that. Having the skill builds your confidence and it is there on the off chance you ever need it.  Why does anyone even bother shooting at anything?

According to The Complete Book of US Sniping by Peter Senich,  confirmed kills were made in Vietnam with the M16A1 and 55 grain M193 at 800 meters.  That does not make the combo a sniper rifle or the last word on the subject, but it does show what the right combination of marksman, weapon and skill, can achieve.  Crazy long shots have been made with weapons people never dreamed  of since before  Billy Dixon  knocked and Indian Chief off his horse at the battle of Adobe Walls.   The test was done to show that no matter what you are using, you should always be confident in your skill being able to make hits that are beyond what so called experts say. And, to the limit of what the system is capable of and beyond if possible.Improved marksmanship is something to always strive for, no matter what the weapon and ammo is.  It hurts nothing to have the ability to shoot this far. Oddly enough some people are just out right offended that I did this.  As if hitting your target at such a long range is offensive to them.  It is never a waste of time to be able to hit as far as you can on a realistic sized target.

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Any further  questions can be sent to the looserounds  Q&A email address or posted on the facebook page and I will try to answer them.

7 thoughts on “Q&A on the AR15/M855 at 1,000 yard post.”

  1. Great article and the timing is perfect and I truly enjoyed the read and have read it several times. I joined the U Army in 1986 and was recently at a Combat Lifesaver Course at McGregor Range, New Mexico when an Army Reserve Sergeant (E5) who apparently “teaches” counter-sniper for the US Air Force, (I know bare with me) and ran on and on about how ‘awesome’ he was with weapons. The Army Times dated 30 September, 2013 ran an article on Page 20 title “Every Soldier a sniper?”
    It was interesting to read and I approached the Sergeant (I am a Sergeant First Class with a good many years as a door kicker) and stated that “I bet with this new scope (XactSystem precision guided firearm) a person could hit a target with an M4 or M16 at 1000 meters.” The Sergeant was skeptical telling me that the round itself loses velocity after 400 meters (I know hold your laughter) and by the time it made it to 1000 meters which it “couldn’t” according to the young man it wouldn’t kill anything.
    I had not mentioned shooting anything living but when he went and grabbed his buddies one wearing a Special Forces Combat patch (He might have seen one on a FOB or something but was just enjoying be a guy with a patch) all tuned in to tell me I was wrong I enlisted an 18B buddy via phone and this is how it went. As I was dialing the Sergeant who trains counter-sniper to the “Air Force added he specializes in the M110 which was his “weapon of choice” so here we go.

    To 18B: (From here on identified as “to”) what do you think of the M110?
    From 18B: (From here on identified as “from”) It’s a piece of shit SR-25 that knights armament threw a heavy barrel on and painted coyote…same piece of crap two stage trigger, 3 Moa accuracy, and a nasty tendency to double feed at inopportune times…the only people who like it are either mentally retarded or sucking off those ass clowns at knights armament.
    To: Cool thanks
    From: Did you buy one?
    To: Nope arguing with a USAF counter-sniper ‘instructor’ who loves it and is diverting my argument that an M4 could hit a target on a range at 1000 meters with this new scope the Army Times. Now I know that is a stretch but I want to try it and am sure somebody must have tried it.
    From: M4 is a 4 Moa weapon system..that means that at 100 meters, even with a scope, it will still wander 4 inches from center. At 1000 meter variance will be 40 inches of center…. Punch him in the face for being stupid.
    To: The instructor is an E5 Army Reservist. He has a former SF E7 in his office also a Reservist.
    From: Even if you have an awesome scope, the barrel tolerances won’t allow you to make precision shots with it….
    From: You could hit it, don’t get me wrong , but it would be chance, not skill.
    To: I only want to hit a 1000 meter once to show it can be done.
    From: I would still punch him in the face, though… is he a sfsc grad?
    To: I know have 3 NCOs telling me I am high, I am going to go put together my argument
    To: That is all I am saying
    To: Nope.
    From: Benning Grad?
    To: Medic
    From: Then why is he teaching sniper training?
    To: Dude it is the goofiest shit I have ever heard of I left.
    From: Lol
    To: Army Reservist it is his civilian job as a contracted instructor his E6 and E7 confirmed.
    From: Tell those ass clowns that sheer ballistics says that a 5.56 bullet will travel that distance. So chance could determine a hit at that range.
    To: Understood thanks.

    Then I made it back to my unit and read your article and about fell over. I am still going to try it; I am looking for a 1000 meter range near the Oro Grande and your article helped me to better understand how to accomplish the task. Thanks again loved the read.

    1. hey thanks man. The M4 barrel “tolerance” and its quality is something most users do not know shit about. A Colt milspec barrel is will often shoot sub MOA with match ammo. Users ability will usually not allow this. but mechanically, most new ones are at least 1 -2 MOA with good ammo. Of ocurse M855 rarely helps out the guns accuracy. Had I been you in that debate, I would have made the comment that if the 556 would not accomplish 1,000 yard hits, why has it dominated the National Matches for years and the AMTU used to it to win long range after long range championships with it since the early 90s.. If you need any help getting on at 1,000 with an M4 later on, feel free to email me

    2. also, I did test and write about me shooting at 1,000 yards using a issue M4 with iron sights and hitting t 1000 with a MK 18 . you can search and find them on this website. so you may be interested in reading about my 1000 yards hits with the 14.5 inch barrel M4A1

  2. Shawn, I know it can be done with 55gn at 1K meters, I’ve seen it done, more than once. Myself, nah, not even with the best scope on a railed gun. Spent 20.5 years in the military, so I’ve heard all this Army vs. Air Force vs. got this patch or that crap I ever needed to hear, and still do to this day.

    My point is, only a fool would argue with you that because you can sling a 55gn or 62gn bullet and put it on the target, it makes the M16/AR/M4 a 1k yard killing machine. Still, I would not, as you pointed out, stand at 1K yards or meters and let you shoot at me. Me, I could never see that far,
    and now in my mid 50’s, am quite sure I never will, either.

    Now, aside from you having to point out the obvious to the hard heads, about how you were not claiming that a M4 spitting out a 55gn. pill will do in place of a sniper shooting a .50 cal, from a damage standpoint, your story was very interesting. In my prime, any “enemy” target could probably rest pretty comfortably 1000 yards away from me.

    Very interesting how you did it. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that, and visualize that shot. This might solicit some hate mail, but I’d say you’re in a fairly small group that could make that shot, using iron sights, the same weapon and same ammo. Impressive!
    .

    1. thanks for the kind words. I do have to say, I dont know anyone else who has made those shots. a thing to keep in mind is that the target and length I shot was set between tow small ridge lines that kept the wind down to maybe around 5mph. And to add to that I have been practicing and shooting with rack guns and military ammo at extended ranges since 2006. its not like I woke up that morning and decided to give it a whirl! haha. thank you for the comments and your thoughts

  3. I know this is about three years late but I just stumbled on your article. I was in the Corps for 10 years, first seven in the 90s, last three 04-07. EVERY Marine fires and qualifies at the 500yd or meter line depending on where you’re at. ….even our Fobbits, wingers, and assistant automatic type writer mates 9th class. I was a rifleman, DM, and weapons instructor and a few other MOSs pertaining to trigger pulling. I also fired on the Marine Corps rifle/pistol team at ranges up to 600m. Point being, an M16a2 will most definitely hold a group inside the width of a mans skull at those ranges USING those POS M855s. Myself, and some other guys in my unit engaged targets out to around 800 with no real problem other than trying to see them without optics. Ironically, in my opinion, the round actually has a little bit of a sweet spot at the longer ranges where it actually seems to do a little more damage because upon impact it doesn’t have enough ass to just blow straight through. I’m not saying I like the round, because I don’t. It’s a POS. The Mk262or Mk318 are WAY better bullets for. …any and everything. I’m off point. I have no doubt that a stock A2/A4 will shoot and hit 1000m. I don’t know how lethal an 855 round will be at that range but I do know that I won’t be the volunteer that finds out. To kinda ad to your story, Marines in WW1 accurately engaged German forces initially at around 1100yds. The interesting part is they were using M1903 Springfield rifles chambered in .30cal (30-06) with no scopes, barrels that couldn’t possibly violate the rules of modern sniper rifles free float shit any more if they tried, early 1900s steel and manufacturing techniques, early 1900 bullets and gun powder technology, and very accurate but hard to see iron sights. I know an ’03 has a barrel that’s about a mile long, but still impressive. In today’s world the experts wouldn’t possibly consider a rifle with out a free floating, thick ass, ton weighing, barrel and a Hubble scope on top capable of accuracy past 500. But that’s the experts, and their opinion. It’s right there with the NEED for a 2 stage .00001lb trigger. The biggest limitation to our rifles, and rifleman today, is lack of training, and manuals written by college grads that couldn’t possibly have less of a clue as to what the fuck they are taking about. That’s my opinion, there’s a lot more detail and qualifiers to it but I’m not gonna write all that shit. I like your article and the point you made.

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