The Pelican case ACOG models like the TAO1NSN come in have a variety of uses. Another use is holding five 30 round USGI AR15 magazines, loaded or unloaded.
Part two of my review of the Colt LE901 will be the results of my shooting of the gun, its accuracy, performance and handling. I shot the rifle with all of the more popular match ammo and with handloads. I also took the gun out past what the company reasonably expected it to be fired at. I expected the gun to perform well with its accuracy since it is in essence a larger 6940. The 6940 with its free floated barrel and unique barrel nut has been a very impressive performer. The results still surprised me a little bit and shocked me with what it did at 1000 yards and beyond.
The 1st set up groups were shot using 168 grain federal match, M118LR, Black Hills 175 match. This was the first shooting from the gun after I got it. I placed a Leupold 18x target scope in larue mounts on the upper and got a rough zero then proceeded to shoot for groups. The groups were shot at 100 yards on a calm day using bipods and a small rear sandbag rest. I considered this to be outstanding accuracy from a chrome-lined military 16 inch barrel. The 901 is pretty much a battle rifle, and to expect this accuracy from a battle rifle is not always reasonable. Some battle rifles will give good performance but 2-3 MOA is usually considered fine for such weapons.
Above picture represents the rifle setup used for all accuracy testing.
The next set of testing of accuracy was long range. I started out shooting the rifle with the common Federal Gold Medal 168 grain loading. I used steel gongs at 600 yards the size of a man’s chest and a steel shaped groundhog. With only 16 inches of barrel, velocity did fall off as expected causing me to need more adjustment on the optics compared to my normal 26-inch bolt-action. Some people seem to think shorter barrel means less accuracy but this is simply not true. You lose velocity but not accuracy. A quality barrel will always shoot and the shorter it gets, the stiffer it becomes and usually will gain a slight edge in accuracy with the shorter stiffness.
Posing beside the target for scale,the T-1 was not used for the 600 yards shot and was installed afterwards.
The groundhog target can be seen over the authors left shoulder. Hits were made easily once the scope was adjusted. Military ball ammo could be used to make repeated hits out to 600 yards though not with the reliability of the match ammo.
The next step tried with the 901 was 1000 yards. For this test I used the popular 168 grain load and my own handlaods of Berger 175 grain Berger VLD bullets with Varget. I set up the target at 1000 yards and got to work. Because of no cant on the base or the upper I ran out of elevation on the optic. The optic was the Leupold 18x with a 1 inch tube. It is a target varmint scope and not suited to true long range work unless a canter base is used. Not being able to zero and hold point of aim/point of impact, I had to hold off. This made wind correction difficult. It did not take long to become frustrated trying to determine hits on target with using hold off. So I settled on using the steel gong I used to get the rough zero at the distance by putting it a foot behind the paper target. In doing this, I was able to hear the steel ring when I was enough on paper to record a hit. With the wind blowing 8-12 MPH on the day trying to watch the dust from misses was not going to work. The gong behind the target worked well.
Because of the distance and the length of the barrel, the 168 grain load was a no go. I tried but the rounds just could not make it. The 168 has trouble staying super sonic even in a 26 inch barrel at 1000 yards, and in a 16 inch barrel, it was pointless though I did try. A lot of people seem to think the accurate 168 load is the standard but it simply is not. The 175 grain loadings for long range are better in every way and have been in use for sniping for years now in its M118LR form.
Once I fired at 1000 yards and saw the 901s performance I tried my luck at 1200 yards. So I moved back another 200 yards and tried again. The group at 1,200 may not seem like much, but in a carbine not meant for this work, it is impressive. The groups are marked in the picture circled in different color to indicate which groups was shot at the different distances. Blue for 1000 yards and green for 1,200. The 1000 yard groups does not seem as impressive as it really is at first glance. Wind was catching me and taking the shots off to the left. Since I could not see the hits I used the same hold through the whole string of shots, but if you move the holes over to the right, you will see the most of them would have fallen in the bad guys chest and would have been lethal. The position of the group is my fault , not the fault of the rifle. The 1,200 yard group is better than at first seems as well. It may not be sniping precision but it is enough to make hits at the range or at least provide effective covering fire. It is surely good enough to disable a vehicle form the distance, or any other machine that needs stopped, or even to direct fire for a machine gun team? Who knows, the possibilities are what you make them.
After this testing I shot the rifle in the usual fashion using tactical drills and IDPA target, Q targets, clay pigeons and steel gongs. Most of this general purpose was done with ball ammo and some match thrown in. After over 1,200 rounds at that point I had not cleaned or lubed the 901. It worked as flawless as it did when I took it out of the box. At times I heated the gun up so much I needed gloves to continue to fire it and even the mount that held the T-1 to the upper was too hot to the touch for bare skin. At no point did the gun have a problem or feel sluggish. After totaling up those rounds fired with no cleaning I decided to test its accuracy again. I would test it dirty and if it did not do well I would clean the barrel and try again, showing the effect of fowling if it was drastic.
I used the same optics and mounts as before but for the next test I used a dedicated Benchrest competition style front rest that weighs about 35 pounds, with a sandbag on the rest and a rear bag. To get all I could from the gun I concentrated and used all my effort to shot the best groups I could. Most groups took longer then 10 minutes for 5 rounds. It is hard work to shoot small groups and total effort when using a milspec trigger and a semi auto. Shooting a semi auto is a different animal then shooting small groups off a bench with a dedicated bolt gun with a target stock and has different needs you have to be aware of.
This set of targets were shot first while the gun was dirty with over 1200 rounds of fouling. I decided there was no need to clean after getting these result. They are slightly better then the original test for accuracy so I felt cleaning would not help or hurt much. If anything the gun shot slightly better, perhaps do to some break in. After years of experience I have come to the conclusion that barrel break-in is a waste of time. I can not think of any good reason why the gun did better and I surely never used the conventional “wisdom” of 1 shot, clean, repeat etc etc.
The 10 rounds group of Black Hills 175 grain was shot last and is very impressive to me. I have seen few factory bolt guns that would shoot this well and I do not recall ever seeing a factory M1A or M14 that would do as well.
Here is a picture of all the groups side by side.
The gun now has close to 2000 rounds though it still with no cleaning. I am able to make head shots out to 300 yards with it and stay within the CNS or “A” zone of the badguy targets if the wind is not too bad and I do my part. If not, head shots are still easy. I have lubed the BCG since it was bone dry, and have created a nice black slurry that has not done anything negative except ruin my t-shirts.
In Part 3 I will talk about shooting the gun in a more “run and gun”manner, how it feels, what the recoil is like and how I set it up for comfort and shooting it wearing gear.
The USMC decided to replace the Winchester model 70/Unertl combination in late 1965 due to the recent changes to the M70 from the pre 64 version and for a lighter rifle scope combo that made quick first round hits easier. The MTU was tasked with coming up with a rifle suitable for the Corps needs for the new sniper program. The MTU conducted tests comparing COTS rifles and scopes currently on the market in December 1965 and January 1966. The testing concluded that the Remington 700- 40x target rifle and the Redfield accu-range 3x-9x rifle scope the best choice for standard sniping issue at the time.
The urgency for the testing resulted in only COTS rifles and optics to be tested by the MTU. Due to the pressure for a fast decision, the MTU worked with the following self imposed assumptions.
The cartridge used would be the the 7.62 NATO.
Most shots would be made at 600 yards or closer.
The scope would be adjustable to 1000 yards
The rifle/scope should be capable of 2 MOA
The combo should be simple and robust and easily trainable.
After the MTU finished the report they recommended that the rifle used be the remington m700-40x. The stock have a dull oil finish. Swivels be military type non removable. The rifle finish to be dull non=glare. The rifle barrel should be 1/10 inch twist, free floating and the action be clip slotted. The USMC wanted a 308 caliber rifle with a medium heavy barrel in a sporter stock and remington company made every effort to give them exactly that,
On April 7th 1966 the remington M700 with redfield scope was adopted for sniping use in south east asia. The USMC stated that nothing about the rifle was unique, just the right combination of parts.
The rifle was planned to be in service by June of 1966. the rifle had a expected service life of 10 years and was to manufactured entirely by remington which would furnish all support equipment for the rifle including optics, carry case and ammo.
The amount of M40 rifles produced by remington for the USMC by year is as follows:
1971/ 1 rifle
By 1973 according to official documents, there was only 425 total density of M40 rifles still in service by the USMC.
The M40 was issued to be used with the Lake City M118 special ball match ammo. the USMC was the fist to use specialized match ammo dedicated for sniper use and the US Army followed.
The rifle was well liked upon first issue by personnel in the sniping and marksmanship community. Reports of the rifle easily shooting 2 MOA from bags with match ammo were normal. Some problems with the redfield scope had already started to surface however, with complaints that it was not easy to adjust for range, would loose focus if turned to 9x and the range finder in the scope would melt if the sun was directly on the objective. The rifle can be uncomfortable during recoil with its light weight and metal butt plate. Marine sniper school students often used rubber shower shoes under their Tshirts during practice to damped the recoil and cut down on the pain.
The rifle was sent to Vietnam and was issued to scout snipers who loved it early on. A number of famous snipers used the M40 to great affect. Chuck Mawhinney made his record 109 kills using the M40 for most of his time and Carlos Hathcock using a M40 for his 2nd tour.
After being issued and seeing service, the problems with the rifle/scope started to show. The rifle, nor the optic were meant for the tropical climate of asia or combat use but did preform well over all. The problems normal for the rifle was the stock warping and putting pressure on the barrel, rust, the scope fogging and the ranging scale melting in the sun. To help the situation Marine RTE armorers were assigned to take care of the rifles and optics while the sniper were responsible for standard PM. The rifle were soon found that they needed to be glass bedded often. The barrel channel had to be constantly check and rasped to keep the barrel free floated and the stock water proofed. The trigger needed to be checked along with the action. Lube was needed often as it was with everything in asia and special “hot lockers” were made by the RTE personnel to dry out the scopes over night after operations to make sure they did not fog up when needed.
RTE personnel soon traveled to keep a check on the rifles and help keep them working. It was found not all losses were combat related. Sometimes a rifle could be out of action just from a ride in a truck. Most being out of action due to scope failure. Most scopes would be out of focus over 8x so the snipers learned to focus only as high as 7x or 8x. Another problem was the optics would sometimes freeze in place if left at one power setting too long. Eventually the snipers learned to watch the optics and glass bedding was authorized for the M40. The stock would warp so badly with the un bedded actions that armorers would take the gun apart and find the action screws tightened so tight that they would not be making contact to the stock from warping and shrinking in the heat. Once glass bedding was OK to do the barrel was floated with 1/8 inch space between barrel and stock and waterproofed. Much of the problems were controlled with careful PM and use.
After most of the problems were understood the general attitude for the M40 was that accuracy was fine and the gun worked as meant and did well. Most liked it fine and felt the gun was almost the equal of the M70 used by earlier Marines. Few had the time and experience to have used both for sniping during the course of the war but Carlos Hathcock who did have the chance thought the M70 better at the time but liked one as well as the other.
After the war the M40 was retained as sniper standard for the USMC and upgrades were made to the original rifle. Improvements included at SS match barrel, a Mcmillian fiberglass stock with a woodland camo patter and a 10x Unertl scope to name a few. The rifle was renamed the M40a1 and has remained in service now in the M40A5 form.
The gun used in the pictures in the remington 2006 scout sniper association re issue. A limited number were made to the same specs as the original. The gun came with a letter ot authenticity from Iron Brigade Armory who helped make sure it was correct. IBA has long been THE source for USMC sniper history. The rifle came correct with the oil finished walnut stock, metal butt plate, barrel parkerized with matching receiver finish. The action is the remington 40x action that has been clipped slotted for stripper clips and has the left side drilled and tapped for rear peep sights. The serial number begins with the SSA ( scout sniper association ) prefix and has the correct U.S. stamped above it.
Standing in for the original redfield accur-range USMC contract scope is a modern redfeild painted green to resemble the original which is very hard to find. The original M40 came with the original redfield JR bases and rings along with the scope. Badger arms made a limited run of these bases and rings for the M40 limited re issue and Leupold has a small run of green finished 3x-9x scopes for the same rifle. Neither was completely correct in make or type but was close enough for most wanting a clone or the original and a considerable amount cheaper.
Above is a picture of the original SHOT SHOW remington flyer for the M40 signed by 3 famous Vietnam USMC snipers and members of the SSA, one being the president at the time, for the author. To the left is the gold scout sniper challenge coin that came with the rifle depicting a USMC sniper in the setting position with a winchester M70/Unertl.
The remington M40 re issue is a nice rifle and a piece of history. They made a very small run but if you are interested in sniping history or the history of the M40 in USMC service it is worth your time to track one down. In 2006 the rifle was around 1100 dollars but would be higher today as everything is. But its a fast way to get started on a sniper rifle collection.
LooseRounds has some pictures of a few new guns that are not easy to find.
First the Colt 6920 with FDE anodizing.
The carbine comes with Magpul MOE furniture in FDE, mags and the MBUS. The finish color looks better not under high-powered digital camera flash.
Next a few shots of the Daniel Defense new rail and Front Sight Base and the DD “MK18” Clone.
No bayonet lug on the DD. I am sure this will rankle some nerves, but we need to move on from worrying about a useless feature for a 16 inch barrel. Worry about marksmanship, not bayonet lugs and you will live longer.
The new DD flash hider. Not sure what it does different then a standard A2 hider.
The new rail profile.
The DD MK18 clone.
Also got a look at the colt competition rifle.
The colt competition has a FF smooth tubular rail with cooling vents, and a different barrel fluting and gas block.
The colt rifle pictured came with a surefire brake.
For those who live in the Huntington ,Wv area or within easy driving distance I always like to recommend our good friend at Herd Tactical.
Herd Tactical is unlike most gun stores in the tri-state area. For one thing, you can buy high quality AR15s and other EBRs. To me, it is nice to walk into a shop and not have my choice of anything I want as long as its a hipoint 45 or 9mm with the odd lorcin added. HT also has ther best deal on ammo I have run across. Need a light for your rifle? They have it. Need some magpul coolness? Got it. Anything you want, Herd Tactical has it or will get it for you. If you have always wanted a suppressor for your evil black rifle you can get it at Herd Tactical too. Of course you have to wait, but you can stop in and play with it until paperwork comes through.
HT has a nice selection of some of the most popular and high quality Ar15s out now and everything you need to keep them running. The owner of Herd Tactical is not the typical gun shop slob that sets behind the counter acting like he knows everything. The owner loves what he does and often attends training classes by the best instructors in the country. Big names like Pat Rogers and LAV. If you do not know those names, then any other 3rd rate gunstore will probably do fine for you.
Herd Tactical also sports a wide range of targets for you to shoot at with your widowmaker. Some of the nicest steel targets I have ever seen can be purchased there along with huge selection of the typical IDPA and Q targets.
Looserounds can not say enough good things about Herd Tactical and its owner. He knows what he is doing and loves the culture. Always ready to help some one out and will not try to lead you into buying some cheap el hefe special just to make a sell. If you live in the area or go to college at Marshall University , I have no idea why you are not there already!!
Check out the Herd Tactical website if you are too far to drive and get whatever you need sent to the house. Follow Herd tactical on facebook to see weekly specials. Real specials not the poor excuse of sales most places have.
For Rifles, Handguns, ammo, Class III and training check them out!! I promise you will not regret it.
Everyone knows Colt. Colt started a little over 175 years ago and is now one of our country’s oldest gun makers. In the 1960s, Colt secured the rights to the Stoner/Armalite AR15 and AR10. Back in ’09 Colt introduced the LE6940 to the market as the first major change to the family since the intro to the wildy successful and popular M4 carbine we see everywhere today. The 6940 had a lot of parts in common with the M4 (known as the 6920 in semi-auto dress). The major difference was the new upper. The 6940 upper is monolithic and free floats the barrel. The receiver and the rail of the ’40 are all machined from a one-piece forging and offers the ability to set optics anywhere on the rail and have total stability. This helps to keeps your zero, well, zeroed. Another addition was the folding front sight that replaced the fixed military legacy front sight base that dates back to the originals.
Right or wrong, a desire for more power than the 5.56 arose over the last decade because of the GWOT and because our soldiers are sometimes involved in long range contacts. The tired old M14 was pressed into service in hopes of extending the range of SDMs and to give a little more confidence to those who felt the 5.56 was not quite enough. In the years since, a lot of companies have started to ramp up and offer their own versions of the AR-series in 30 caliber and anything else they can squeeze into the magazine well of the rifle pattern. The Armalite AR10 has been around for a while, the KAC was adopted as a sniper weapon by both the US Army and the USMC, and the LMT MWS has seen limited success as a DM rifle for the British military.
It is in the midst of this 30 caliber revolution that people noticed one name oddly absent from the 7.62 AR market game–Colt. The company had not forgotten or ignored the trend, but it had to make sure to fill contracts worth millions for the US Gov, including the M4 and recent awards for M240 machine guns. Now that the war seems to be winding down and Colt has more breathing room, they’re expanding and are stating to fire up their impressive R&D again. Remember that this is a company that has brought out some of the most legendary firearms of the past 175 years. After the release of the 6940, rumors started about a version chambered in 308 all over the internet with some links to patents to support the rumors. Then over a year ago at the SHOT show we saw the 901 for the first time. It was shown in several different barrel lengths and finishes. Now over a year later the 901 is ready to hit the market.
What makes the Colt LE901 special is not only is it a 308 rifle, but it can be very easily converted to take any milspec 5.56 upper available and made to quality. Colt considers this their “Modular carbine” and it most certainly is.
With a adapter block (which is installed very easily), the modular ambi lower will take any upper you can find. One extra part and a swap of the buffer spring and buffer give you unlimited combos with the 901. The rifle takes the SR25 pattern magazines so it will take the Pmag, (and therefore the KAC and LaRue mags as well). The barrel is 16 inches long and the button-rifled barrel and chamber are chrome-lined. As with all Colts, the barrel is MPC and proofed–not just in batches, but every single one of them. The twist rate of the gun is 1/12 which gives you a pretty wide range of bullet weights to use.
Like the 6940 the 901 has a monolithic upper. It also has a few upgrades the 6940 does not have. The rail of the 901 has QD sockets not just in the front of the rail, but also in the rear of the rail. Most people want this and it is great to see this added to the rifle. The front sight is like the 6940’s in that it folds, but the difference is that the 901’s front folding sight is not lockable in the up position for those who worry it might fold down in harsh use right when you do not want it to.
As written above, the lower of the rifle is also ambi. This is another trend that has started in the last decade and one that will be sticking with us in my opinion. The controls are well placed and easy to use. None of them are stiff or require so much force as to make them useless. The gun comes standard with a Colt marked troy BUIS.
A nice feature in the lower is the absence of a web blocking the installation of a RDIAS. So if you have one, full auto fire in a colt 308 can be a reality. The FCG parts are all standard Milspec with all the typical colt quality and testing that goes with that. The 308 marked buffer in the gun can be seen in the picture above.
The 16 inch barrel is described by colt as a HBAR but I would call it more of a medium heavy with a straight taper unlike the taper of older colt HBAR carbines of the past. The rail comes off like the 6940 by depressing the lock on the bottom rear with a round or punch. The rifle sent to me by colt defense also needs a screw on each side of the rail taken out for further stripping. This helps keep the rail from moving at all for reliability when using IR lasers or other force multipliers.
The bolt carrier group comes apart just like any other AR but with a few slight upgrades. The firing pin has the addition of a firing pin spring that colt advises not to remove. The gas rings on the bolt are also one-piece instead of three rings like the 5.56 bolt.
The rest of the BCG is no surprise. It is made to the same standards as any colt rifle meant for hard combat use with everything tested to milspec and Colt’s TDP that has served millions of military, LEO and civilian personnel for years.
The conversion kit that lets you use the 5.56 upper of your choice comes in three parts. The adapter magazine well block, the 556 buffer spring and the standard Milspec M4 “H” buffer. It takes less than a minute to convert the rifle over to 556 and having it operate just like your favorite 556 slayer. Some people are already saying to use the 308 buffer for a softer shooting carbine but this is a bad idea and I will go out on a limb and say if something goes wrong with your rifle in this configuration of 556 with 30 buffer parts, Colt may not warranty it. That is PURE SPECULATION on my part, but we all know how companies view such things.
The 901 receiver extension or “buffer tube” as it is commonly called, is standard M4 all the way with the normal colt 4 position. In the picture above is the 308 buffer inside its spring on the left with the 556 buffer to the far right. The 5.56 spring is far left next to the block.
The upper can be tilted down for removal of the BCG and cleaning without taking the entire gun apart. If you’re in a hurry, it’s the way to go although it’s easy to remove the upper completely with the block still on the upper. The pin is captured so there is no fear of losing it.
Picture shows 556 upper opened as far as it will go with block installed and attached to the lower.
A few people have voiced concerns over what mags the lower with adapter block may or may not take. I found every mag tested will work, including uncommon mags.
Above is a pre-ban colt upper in 7.62×39 with a ’39 mag in the well. The gun runs flawlessly with the commie caliber upper and magazine fit.
Here is a 6940 upper with the surefire 60 round magazine showing off its stuff and working perfectly.
The world standard 6920 ( M4) upper and the beloved 5.56 Pmag in the 901 lower and working 100 percent.
Finally the Colt HBAR ELITE CR6724 24 inch barreled precision upper takes a turn on the lower. All uppers ran as expected with no trouble.
In part two I will write about shooting the 901, its recoil, accuracy and how it does out to 1000 yards along with pictures of targets in testing.
Right now if you go to Tacticalgear.com and use the promo code 1776 on their cart ppage you can get$ 17.76 off orders over 100 bucks.
Its a great company with great customer service. Check them out and see if they got something you need ( want). www.tacticalgear.com
Stay here for updates for holiday discounts.
Truprep is having a sale this holiday as well. Some nice stuff and good deal.
I got a few pictures of the BCG stripped to show the differences in the parts and the size compared to a 5.56 and other 308 pattern rifles.
The BCG stripped for cleaning. The firing pin retaining pin slot has a very nice recessed slot to protect it.
Firing pin and firing pin spring. Colt says DO NOT remove firing pin spring from the firing pin.
901 bolt with firing pin. You can not tell from this picture but the gas ring on the bolt is one piece.
Front view of the bolt face. Notice how thick and strong the lugs are. This is a heavy duty part and shouts QUALITY. Just like all Colt rifles, the bolt is MP inspected, proof fired and hardened. Not in batches, but every one.
The inside of the carrier still looks clean even after 500 rounds fired with no cleaning or lube.
Massive cam pin.
Here is the charging handle. Notice the ridge, or lip on the bottom rear.
A look up into the upper receiver. If you look close you can see the part added for piston conversion on later models.
Check back for more testing of the 901’s accuracy out to 1000 yards coming up.
We are going to be adding a Q&A to looserounds soon. If you have any questions you want answered about anything gun related, or military related just ask. We have noticed a lot of people searching for info close to what we are writing about and realized we could answer those questions uf you just asked.
Also You can ask about the Colt 901. As far as I know we are the first to have any thing interesting about it up so feel free to ask whatever you want about it. We will have a lot more to say about it in the coming days, but if you can not wait or we didnt cover what you wanted. Just ask. Sorry but we can not tell you where babies come from. Try to keep it gun related.
Loose rounds was sent the new modular 308 rifle from our friends over at Colt Defense today. This is the new gun that has a 308 upper and a lower that can take a 5.56 upper to with a slight addition of an adapter block. I got the gun and did a few groups with it and took some pics to get them up for everyone to see. Much much more to follow in the weeks to come!!
I set it up for the groups using a Leupold in Larue mounts. Shot at 100 yards with match ammo.
A lot more to come. I will be running it pretty hard and shooting it out to 1000 yards. More if I can pull it off. But this is a hint of things to come.
and yes, the 901 will take a bayonet