LaRue, Colt, KAC Battle Carbines Compared Part 2

Part 1 is located here.

I wanted to do an informal precision and shooting comparison between these three rifles.  From left to right in the picture there is a Larue Ultimate Upper kit, a Colt LE901-16SE, and a KAC SR25-EC.  The Colt and the KAC are used rifles, the Larue kit has only had about 32 rounds thought it at this point.

Last weekend I took the three rifles out and fired them at 100 yards using three different types of ammo.  For the test I used a Leupold MK6 3-18 power, and fired the rifles from a Cadwell rest and rear bag.  I singled loaded each shot and fired a 5 shot group with each ammo type.

My initial intent was to fire 5 rounds from each rifle cycling between the rifles before switching brands of ammo.  Unfortunately the point of impact was different enough between the rifles that I was initially off paper as I moved the scope, so I ended up firing all the groups from one rifle, then moving to another.  I used the same firing position, scope, target frame, etc with each rifle.  Fortunately weather and shooting conditions stayed consistent through the course of fire.

Before starting, I expected the Larue to group the best and the SR25 to be the easiest to shoot due to its weight.

I am glad it was an informal test, as I ran into a bunch of issues, mostly all my fault.  I was using my phone to snap photos and I dropped it and broke it very early on.  It was a good thing I had already planned to single load the shots for the groups, as I left all my .308 magazines at home.  The Larue kit comes with a PRI Gasbuster charging handle which I loved, until I cut my trigger finger good on the corner of it.  Good thing I don’t get paid to do this.

An aside, so as my trigger finger was slowly bleeding, I was looking at the medical supplies in my car.  I had something like 3 tourniquets, 2 chest seals, a nasopharyngeal airway, a decompression needle, lots of large pressure dressings, etc, but no band-aids.  I ended up staunching the trickle of bleeding using a McDonald’s napkin I had in my car.  Note, I need to add boo-boo gear to my car medical supplies.  I’m pretty sure McD napkins aren’t considered high speed-low drag, or even clean & sterile bandages.

Anyways, shooting went ok.  Of all the strings of fire I only felt like I pulled 2 shots.  I will bring them up when I discuss the groups.

The targets side by side.

First, the SR25-EC. The EC has a 16 inch heavy barrel that is chrome moly (not chrome lined).  Twist rate is 1:11.

I was surprised, I found the SR25-EC the hardest to shoot of the rifles off the bench rest.  I had expected the combination of it being the heaviest rifle along with the rifle length gas system would make it the lowest recoiling and smoothest shooting rifle.  Firing it off the bench I felt like it had the most movement out of all the rifles when I was shooting it.  This may be in part due to the KAC rail covers being ribbed and as the rifle recoils that may have caused more visible movement though the scope.

  • Hornady American Gunner 155 gr BTHP
    • I fired a 1.42″ 5 shot group
  • Hornady Match 168 gr BTHP
    • This gave me a tighter 1.25″ group.
  • Federal Gold Metal Match 175 gr
    • The first shot landed rather far away from the rest of the group.  Ignoring the first shot, the rest of the group is .77″  Including that first shot the group is a little over 1.7″

I didn’t feel like I pulled any shots or did anything noticeably wrong during those strings of fire.  I am rather disappointed that I didn’t shoot better groups.  I can’t say at this time if it was the rifle or me that was under performing.

The Colt rifle has a chrome lined 1:12 twist rate.  It appears to be that the intent with the 901 is to have an accurate combat rifle, verses say something like the Larue rifles where are meant to be a reliable precision rifle.

The Colt LE901-16SE standard trigger made it a little harder to shoot groups with than the other two rifles.  I found the VLTOR stock on the rifle didn’t fit in the rear bag as well as the CTR stocks that were on the other rifles for shooting.  In hindsight, it might have been nice to use the same stock on each rifle so that they would fit the rear bag the same.  The slick forarm of the SE rode the front bag nicely.

The 901 was the only rifle where I felt that I had a 2 pulled shots.  When I fired the 4 shot of the Hornady 168gr BTHP match I pulled that shot left.  On the 5th shot of the FGMM I had a bug land on my neck as I was pressing the trigger and I jerked the hell out of the trigger in surprise.  I am sort of surprised that shot was even on paper.  But I suppose that lack of discipline is why I was a rifleman and not a sniper.

  • Hornady American Gunner 155 gr BTHP
    • We had a ~1.69 inch group.
  • Hornady Match 168 gr BTHP
    • Excluding my pulled 4th shot, the group was about 1.5 inches, including that shot 1.9″
  • Federal Gold Metal Match 175 gr
    • Excluding my pulled shot, the group is .95 inches.  Including it it is a 1.62 inch group.

Using FGMM 168gr, I have shot sub 1 inch groups with the Colt LE901-16S, and this rifle in the past.

Between each group, I took a break and and would touch the barrels to make sure they had cooled off.  My no means a reliable test, it seemed to me that the 901 got the hottest.  That just seems weird to me.

The Larue Ultimate Upper kit can be ordered with a variety of different barrel options.  This one has the lightweight PredatAR profile.  It is a 1:10 twist rate.   Rifle rifle having the lightest trigger, a nice smooth long hand guard, and the muzzle break was the easiest and smoothest to shoot by a noticeable margin.

I was surprised and disappointed with how the Hornady ammo shot in this rifle.
  • Hornady American Gunner 155 gr BTHP
    • This 5 shot group was 2.1″  I was pretty surprised and disappointed at this.  3 shots landed in .54 inches, but those were the first, second, and 5th shot.
  • Hornady Match 168 gr BTHP
    • This 5 shot group came in at 1.56 inches.  Best 4 of 5 would be .93 inches.
  • Federal Gold Metal Match 175 gr
    • Now this performed more like what I expected.  The 5 shot group is approximately .93 inches, best 3 of 5 being about .53″.

I’ve never shot the Hornady American Gunner or their 168gr match before.  I don’t think I am ever going to buy it again when I could just buy the FGMM instead.  All three rifles put at least 4 rounds of the 5 round group of FGMM in under an inch.  Normally when I would shoot for groups with factory .308 I’d use the FGMM 168 gr.

I was making sight adjustment between groups, and I found that the FGMM 175 gr ammo was impacting about 1 mil (3.6 inches) low compared to the loads at 100 yards.  This was consistent from rifle to rifle.

So what are my takeaways from this?  No more factory Hornady ammo for me.  I believe each of these rifles could do MOA or better with the Federal Gold Medal Match ammo, but unfortunately one five shot group with that ammo doesn’t really tell the true performance of a rifle.  I’d love to just sit at the bench and do a bunch of groups from each rifle but I not sure if I will get the chance to do so.

I’ll be posting up a part 3 which will compare some the internal parts.  I find it interesting on how the Larue rifle has a much lighter recoil spring than the others and feels like it is cycling in slow motion compared to the others.

2 thoughts on “LaRue, Colt, KAC Battle Carbines Compared Part 2”

  1. I’ve never had a rifle that shot Hornady match bullets worth a darn compared to the Sierras. The ogives just never liked the jump to the rifling when loaded mag length. Single loaded where you can have long rounds, sure. It’s a shame that because they are literally just down the road. I still shoot their other stuff but can never get their match to work very well.

    I’ve always wanted one of those KAC carbines. A little more than I’d dare spend but it seems like it can shoot when it’s fed what it likes.

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