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