20/20/20/ 1,000


Back  in 2005 I believe it was, I  was at work reading an issue of Guns &Ammo  instead of working.  That month Jeff Cooper was giving his thoughts about the war in Iraq and  dumping on the AR15 and 5.56mm  as he was wont to do. This never did sit well with me. Fast forward to a few months later and Again I was reading Cooper’s column and in it he talked about the  “20/20/20 1K challenge he thought up.  That is, 20 rounds on a 20 inch target and 20 seconds at 1,000 yards.  He opined that  it most likely be done with a 762MM semi auto like the match M14.  That generated a chortle out of me  and got me thinking.    Could it be done?  I wanted to know.  Unlike Cooper I thought using an M14  for the attempt was a dead end as the recoil and movement of the gun  would make it  nigh impossible to keep on target firing that fast.  Not to mention the  gun is a nightmare in my opinion.

In 2006 I started my attempt at making this challenge.  I tried it many times and approached it a lot of different ways.  I never could quite hit the time limit or keep all rounds  on target.  I worked up to it in practice.  I did 500 yards in 20 seconds on a 20 inch target, and got that down pretty good, then I moved up to 700  and so on in increments.  I tried using  heavier and heavier and longer barrels on precision ARs for the extra weight.  I put lead in A2 buttstocks to add more weight and I even considered tying sandbags to the fore arm FF tube.    I stopped short there as it felt like was getting too far from accomplishing the challenge with something a rifleman could and would carry.

The closest I came was 20 rounds on the target but in 21.6 seconds.  Close. But may as well have been  an hour too long.   This went on and on few times a year since 2006.  Then yesterday I did it.

I had no intention or expectation that I was even going to try it again today.  After discussing it with Howard last night, I realized that is why I managed to pull it off.  I was relaxed, I was not putting pressure on myself,I was just having fun after doing some other testing.     My purpose for being at the range was to test the federal gold medal  556mm ammo using the Berger 73 grain VLD  at 500 yards and do the follow up  part 2 of my Colt Accurized Rifle review.   While shooting at a steel gong at 1,000 yards it was  noted how calm conditions were and how dry and hot it was with temps in the high 90s.       I zeroed in on the gong and placed the cardboard target to the left of the steel.    With the idea in mind to get everything right on the steel, note  my data , then shift to the Q target and start the attempts.

With a spotter ready to  shout any misses to me as I was firing, I loaded  thirty round mags with my handloads of the sierra tipped match king 77 grain  bullets and 24.0 grains of Varget.  My idea is I would of course miss a few but If I could shoot more than 20  rounds, I could have extra rounds for the misses and still get  20 on target.

The gun is the Colt CR6724 HBAR Elite.   This is a 24 inch heavy match barrel with freefloat tube.  The gun also has a magpul PRS stock, and Atlas Bipod.  The optic is the Nightforce NXS 5.5x-22x with 56mm objective lens.  For the day’s testing I had took out the colt match trigger and had installed a SSA trigger  and it is a good thing I did.  To help even more I put a sand bag between the bipod and mag well.  This let me push the gun into something to get some weight behind it.

After  two  tries I was getting close  to pulling it off.    I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to pull it off.  So I decided to just see how close I could come.  On the last try I was down to only 25 rounds left after  5 rounds used for sighters because of a  small wind change.

After firing  them   all up it was time to drive down and take a look.   When we  counted them up I couldn’t believe it.    I kept  looking to make sure some holes were not just  holes made by rocks that flew up from near misses.   But I did it, I finally  hit the goal I have been after since 06 when I first seriously started to attempted it.

Below is me with recovered target trying to hide the stupid grin and dumbstruck  face.

After all these years I  finally did it. And its a good thing, at almost 42, I did not have many years left of eyesight that could still be corrected. My only regret is that my friend who is my usual partner in crime for these  pie in the sky attempts wasn’t there to share in the moment with me.   He has always been there to help me with the 1,000 yard iron sight  with AR15A2 hits and the K-31 at 1233 yards and our 1-mile shot.   It just wasn’t the same with him not there to share in the moment with us.

Howard asked me if now that I had done it, could I do it again.  No. I do not think I could pull it off again. I believe the only reason it worked this time as because I was relaxed and not taking it as serious as normal. I had  put no pressure on myself.  Another factor was once again the weather conditions allowed  success that time. The high temp, thin air and almost no wind and what little there was blew in from my 6 oclock.

It’s still strange to think that I have pulled this off after so many years.  It’s that same feeling you had as a kid the day after Christmas. Nothing to look forward to  for a long time almost.

25 rounds fired. 19.8 seconds.  20 inch by 18 inch target, 21 hits, 1,000 yards.  7-10-2018


    • When the 901 came out, and I was shooting it at 1000 yards, I seriously considered trying it with it instead of a 556 gun. The 901 is such a soft recoiling 308 pattern AR and was accurate enough but I really had set my mind on doing it with an AR15 in 556 just so I could say “suck it Cooper” Originally I had hoped I would do it , document it and write to G&A with phots and poof to Cooper to show him is opinion of the 556 and AR as a service rifle was out of touch and to piss off the 30 cal M14 boys club. then he died and that ended that, Though as you can see I never did stop trying to reach it as a personal goal anyways

        • they have never been interested in anything I have sent them in the past so I doubt they would countenance something that contradicts their lord and master of all things of the rifle. especially from a lowly internet write who doesn’t write glowing reviews of all the companies that buy full two page ads in their slick rags

  1. Impressive shooting.
    I’m not surprised it took 12 years, perfect weather conditions and a relaxed attitude.

  2. Dude…..that’s awesome. (And yes I’m using that word just to twerk the good Colonel)

    I agree with Colonel Cooper on a good many things, but his bashing on the AR-15/M-16/M-4 got old quick.

    • yeah I agree man. For some one so innovative and forward looking in his time he sure was short sighted, pig headed and willfully ignorant when it came to the M4/M16 and 556mm wasn’t he?
      thanks for the pat on the back. Nothing feels more like success than affirmation from peers you respect

    • thank you man., it means more to me than you will ever know. I have spent a lot of my life trying to turn myself into the best practical field rifleman that I could. I guess the 1000 iron sight shooting with the rack A2 and M4 and the one mile shot and this challenge is just a way to measure what level of success I have had at it. I honestly can say to you I am 99.999 percent sure I could not do it a second time. When I was shooting it yesterday and the other two failed attempts I really started to realize middle age is starting to take its toll on my eyes and my body. I am grateful hat I pulled this off while I still could.

  3. That is some amazing shooting Shawn. Salute to you on a great accomplishment in achieving a ver tough and challenging goal. Maybe the stars aligned but YOU DID IT!!! Congrats sir!

  4. From an old M-14 guy who switched to the AR platform- Congratulations! There is that saying that we all fight the last war, and I was convinced there would never be a better platform than the M-14/XM-21’s we shot. And then I started shooting the better AR’s. Is an M-14 a better battle rifle? Maybe. But I don’t want to carry 250-300 rounds of 7.62 any more. 5.56’s are much lighter, especially when you don’t walk like you used to:-) That’s remarkable shooting, and something you can be proud of all your days! Awesome!


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