The Atlas Flush Cup 3.35″ 1913 Rail

For years I had been using a Harris bipod mounted to one of the two factory swivel studs on the free floating handgaurd/tube that is standard on the colt HBAR Elite.   It worked out fine and I really have no complaints.  But  like everyone else these days, all my more higher end rifle accessories are meant to easily  interface with the 1913 rail.    After getting an ATLAS bipod that uses a QD lever mount last year I  kinda wished it was more like the harris,  By that I mean, it came  in a configuration that let it mount to the stud and with an additional part, mount to 1913 rail.

After getting a second ATLAS bipod , my desire to use it on the HBAR Elite just grew stronger.   At the urging of my Dad I started to look for something that would allow it.

I ran across the subject of this post.  The ATLAS bipod mount and ordered it.

The Atlas Flush Cup 3.35″ 1913 Rail will accommodate hole patterns with a center to center spacing of 1.76 – 2.78″ with a relieved base to accommodate curved surfaces. A standard sling stud and sling stud spacer can be used as one fastener or two button head machine screws can be used. NO HARDWARE IS INCLUDED (see P/N 640382) to attach this rail to the forearm of standard rifle stocks. The Atlas Flush Cup 1913 Rail can also be attached to a horizontal surface on the butt section to attach their BT12 or BT13 Precision Rail Monopods. This rail also has a flush cup for that style of sling swivels.

This short section of rail can be ordered curved to fit  the tube, or to fit a more flat traditional forearm.

You simply remove the two factory studs and replace with the longer allen bolts in place.   These two bolts do not come with the part and must be bought separate.  The hole spacing  is pretty common for most factory guns so it shouldn’t be a issue.   You can see that you have some room for adjustment on the part itself.

It also comes  with a flush cup sling swivel hole.  I have come to prefer using the flush cup QD sling swivels  myself.

The part is very well made as you would expect from Atlas.  After installing it and using it I wished I had known about it sooner.  I would have bought and used this part even without the Atlas bipod.  I like the flexibility that comes with a section of rail. This would have let me move my Harris bipods around faster from gun to gun since I already had a picatinny adapter installed on them and had to remove it to use on this rifle.   On top of that It would have allowed me to use my preferred method of sling swivel.   Obviously since it is a 1913 rail, you can use it to mount anything else you may want,  Like a light or laser depending on your needs or position of mounting.

 

Since I ordered it to be able to use one of my Atlas bipods, that’s what I its used for.   The two mate together perfectly  naturally, is a solid high quality piece of  gear and it just looks nice and tidy.

I am really, really happy with this.  In fact the more I have messed around with it, the more I like it.    My only regret is I did not find out about this part and buy one sooner.

I can give this my highest recommendation.  If you have a precision bolt action rifle or anything that you want to upgrade the front or rear mounting point this is a great choice.   Even better  it was only 19.95.

 

 

Review – Craft Holsters LT 21/1 Appendix Carry Holster

Holsters are a very personal thing.  Most people who concealed carry will have a box or bin full of holsters because of the nature of holsters.  Most universal holsters end up being universally lousy.  So we end up getting holsters for individual guns and for various purposes.  That excellent drop leg tactical holster fits a completely different niche than a deep concealment holster for use with a suit.  Then there are all sorts of little things like how a holster may require wearing different size clothing.  Unlike for my normal rig, I had to buy a pair of pants one size larger to accommodate a 1911 in my waistband.  I’ve heard from women that there can be some issue trying to mesh good fashion and conceal carry, fortunately for me, fashion is not something I know.  In any event, it is always good to have multiple options for concealed carry.

We were contacted by Craft Holsters asking if we would like to do a review.  I hadn’t heard of Craft Holster before, so I look into them and learned that they are a distributor of several European brands.  I ended up getting from them a LT 21/1 black leather appendix carry holster for the Colt M45A1.  Craft Holsters also offered a variety of other options for the M45A1.

It took about two weeks for the holster to ship.  I received the Falco branded holster in nice plain easy to open packaging.  Right out of the package the retention was good, no fitting or stretching required.

The belt loop is mounting on a strap allowing you to tuck your shirt in over the holster.  I didn’t try doing this as I prefer to wear my shirts untucked.

Retention is very important.  It could range from awkward to disastrous if your pistol falls out of the holster unintended, yet you need to be able to quickly and easily get the weapon when it is necessary.

 

The classic test for retention is to place an unloaded pistol in the holster and shake it above a pillow.  This isn’t always a test that will accurately reflect how well the holster will hold a pistol, but it is considered the standard test.  This holster holds the pistol well and the draw is easy.  It has loosened up a little after the hundred or so draws I have done from it, but it still holds the pistol well.

Some inside the waistband holsters will collapse when the pistol is drawn, making holstering nearly impossible.  Not the case with this holster.  I found reholstering to be easy.

Appendix carry has grown in popularity recently, and there are some good arguments that it is the most superior form of concealed carry for the fighting handgun.  I don’t think I would suggest it for the pure novice as the muzzle stays near and points at parts of body we would rather not harm.  Once someone is competent and confident that they can handle a firearm doing tasks like holstering and unholstering with out shooting them selves, then appendix carry is something to look into.  Appendix carry keep the firearm in a location less likely to be touched by others in casual interaction, and provides a very fast draw even in adverse situations such as when in a grappling fight.

I believe it was Jeff Cooper that said something along the lines of, “Handguns aren’t suppose to be comfortable, they are suppose to be comforting.”  Now days we prefer to have both.  When you first wear a new holster, you are not going to be used it is, and it is likely to be uncomfortable.  This usually changes over time.  I’ve never concealed a 1911 before, so that is a fair sized chuck of steel next to my groin that I was not used to.  I found the LT 21/1 immediately comfortable when standing or laying down.  I even slept with it on.  Sitting was not so comfortable, I found my self slouching to try and get more comfortable.  This will change as I wear it more, and perhaps adjusting how far left or right it is worn.  When wearing a new holster, there is a bit of time when your body has to get used to it.  I hadn’t quite found the sweet spot.  But this is fairly common when trying out a new holster.  You need to take time to get adapted to it.

I usually find it easy to be critical of stuff I work with.  I didn’t find anything that I thought was an issue with the LT21/1 Holster.   I’d prefer for the magazine catch to be covered on a concealment holster, but adding leather there might make it harder to get a high firm grasp on the grip when drawing.  While wearing this I never had the safety swipe off or the mag catch get pressed.  So it is a non-issue.

I like this holster and would recommend it, but for me, I think I will stick to carrying my plastic wonder-nines.  But it is comforting to know that I have a good option for the 1911.

 

First Impressions – Surefire E2D Defender Ultra LED

There is a running joke between myself and a couple of friends of mine about how when you get a new flashlight, in the first few minutes of using it you end up shining it into your eyes to see how bright it is and end up regretting it.  I had this mind when I first got this light out of the package.  So I start turning it on and walking around my home to see how much it can light  up a room.  And, oh boy, it can light up a room.  Then with in the first few minutes of using the light, I manage to sweep it across a mirror right into my eyes.

I’d been looking for a new flash light to replace my old E2D Executive Defender.  I had really wanted a single cell smaller light similar to the Novatac lights I had.  I ended up picking up a new 600 lumen version of the E2D because it was on sale.  My old E2D had a KL4 head that had an output of about 100 lumens.  The first biggest difference between the new light and the older one is a massive difference in brightness.  There is just no comparing the tremendous increase in light output.

The new light on top, and my trusty old E2D on the bottom.  The newer model is a little longer.

When I saw the new pocket clip on the new light, I was pretty excited.  It has a double bend in it so you can use either side of the clip.  Unfortunately I found that this new clip has very little spring tension, and if you use it with the light end up the outside section then catches on your pocket or items in your pocket.  I ended up putting the new head on the old flash light body due to how lousy this new clip is.

Much to my dismay I found Surefire returned to the aggressive crenelations they used to use.  While I do suppose you could use these in a fight, I find they are best at cutting holes in your pockets.  I am probably going to blunt these with a file so I don’t end up having to replace all my pants.

The biggest thing is that the new light has a high 600 lumen mode, and a low 5 lumen mode.  I would really like that, except that it alternates between them.  Using this light for a week, I found that every time I went to use it, it would start on the wrong brightest.  (While it should be a 50% chance to be right, I managed to have be 100% all the time)  Every time I tried to use it in the middle of the night it started on 600 lumens, each time I tried to use it to check out machinery during the day, it would start on 5.  So it becomes an annoyance to have to toggle EVERY time I go to use it to get it into the right brightness mode.

Now if you liked to strobe a flashlight an an attempt to blind and disorientate a target, you will find this light completely useless for that.  Due to the alternating brightness setting, every other flash is far from blinding and then sometimes it will stay on the 5 lumen brightness as you attempt to strobe.

Had I paid full price for this new Surefire light I would have been rather disappointed.  But for a discounted unit, I can make it work for me.  I wouldn’t recommend it for “tactical” use due to the nature of the dual output function, but it will make for a handy every day carry utility light.

My 9mm AR

There are a couple different style of 9mm AR15s out there.  Used to be as simple as having two variations that were not interchangeable, the Colt pattern and the Olympic pattern.  Now there are other variations, but the majority have somewhat interchangeable parts with the Colt pattern.

In the Colt pattern, you are suppose to use a spacer in the buffer tube.  I finally bought a proper spacer, but previously I had been using a stack of quarters.

Proper spacer on the left, $1.25 on the right.(My old “spacer”)  Looks like the spacer is the same height as 4 quarters, and it has a section to slip into the spring.

My first 9mm AR was a Colt upper on a standard lower using a VM Hytech (sp?) Uzi mag block.  It let me used unmodifed Uzi mags, but I couldn’t use the normal AR15 magazine release.

I sold that Colt upper and picked up a 10.5 inch RRA upper.  That RRA upper had a very heavy barrel and ended up being much heavier than the Colt 16″ barreled upper.  I was not too thrilled about that.  Ended up getting rid of that some time ago.

An old picture of a messy desk and the RRA 9mm Upper.

A little while back I saw a guy selling one of the new Colt 9mm uppers that had a flat top for a good price.  I bought it and also purchased a Hahn Precision top loading mag block.

The top loading mag block allows me to use the standard bolt catch, and mag release with Colt pattern mags.  Installing the top loading mag block requires removing the bolt catch, so it isn’t very quick to install or remove.

So my 9mm AR is a Colt 6991 upper on an old SBR lower.  When using a 9mm upper you need to make sure to be using a compatible hammer in your fire control group.  I use a no-notch hammer.  Notched semi auto hammers will cause the action to lock up and make disassembly the firearm a pain in the ass.

One other change I made was to add a gas tube stub to the front sight base.  On a normal AR15, the gas tube prevents the front cap for the hand guards from rotating.  On a 9mm or .22 AR, there is no gas tube.  Some years back I got from Spikes Tactical some sort predrilled rod sections that you install like a gas tube to prevent your hand guard from rotating.  Not necessary, but a nice little little upgrade.

As shown in the picture, I have a KAC RAS quad on it, and I am running an Aimpoint PRO as the optic.  The Aimpoint PRO is an excellent lower cost option for a hard use optic.  If you shop around you can find them in the $350 range.

I don’t shoot the 9mm AR much, but it is a whole lot of fun.  It is excellent for when you are wanting to shoot steel targets at much closer ranges.

In the end, if I were to start from scratch, I would probably either just buy a factory Colt 9mm carbine or perhaps something like the SIG MPX.

“Good Guy With A Gun” 2 Heroes Actions & Possible Lessons Learned From Texas Church Attack

If you will permit me to beat a dead horse (and soon to be rotted and  turned to dust ) for a minute here I want to post a bit about the insanity that erupted in TX.

The fellow above,Stephen Willeford  was able to act and be there decisively when the cops , and the feds or the army or the IRS or even Barrack the Benevolent  could not be.   Hearing the attack, he got to his safe and grabbed his AR15 equipped with a red dot.  Not having a loaded magazine, he single loaded some as he was  moving toward the sound of the slaughter.   No word on if the AR had a shoulder thing that goes up or not in for the who are wondering.   He ran out and engaged the maniac.

Stephen Willeford and the  fellow citizen who helped him chase down and cover the killer should be the pictures and names being pasted all over the internet and news.   Their  actions and image are the ones that should become house hold names,  Not the filth that started this thing.   Of course the media  has to post the killers  dull eyed moronic cowardly  face over and over.  We don’t be doing that here.  I am a firm believer that people like that should be denied the attention they wanted and that giving it to them inspired futures idiots.

The Men acted heroically.  They may not think so and  they will no doubt deny it  as the weeks and months past, but they are.  Crowder has an interview with him below. I doubt many of you have not seen it yet.

If you can’t watch video because you are at work,  truth about guns  writes a recap I am going to skip doing.

Sutherland Springs “Good Guy with a Gun” Stephen Willeford: “I Got My AR-15 Out of My Safe . . .” [Video]

 

There are some lessons to take away from the response of   Mr.Willieford that  any responsible, honest student of self defense should spend some time looking at and thinking of.  It is NOT a criticism of him or his bravery to do an after action analysis.

I know some reading this will think I am being Mr. Obvious and everyone already knows all this and trains and prepares for it, But there is a lot more who don’t.

For instance.

Not having loaded magazines ready to go. Even if it was only one to stick in the back pocket.   It’s sobering to think what could have happened had he ran out engaged the killer  and ran out of ammo before making a lethal  hit.

Having to open a safe to access a firearm in a seconds count- life  or death – stop watch is ticking emergency.    I know this may be something some have to deal with depending on state or country.  I can not imagine not having a minimum of a rife ( carbine) and pistol available to me within seconds in my home.   With a way to loaded mags to support it along with it.     When away from home my vehicle may or may not have access to a long gun and ammo, and of course I carry a side arm with minimum of 2 reloads.

Our hero did everything he could and I’m sure he will doubt his actions and what else he could have done for years to come . I don’t want to add to that on him but you   have to think about these things.  It can happen and you have to be ready to act to save yourself  or others.   Think about where you have stuff and how to get to it as fast and safely as possible.

Ammo selection. We don’t know what our good guy used and while it worked there is no reason not to think about it.  Bad guys are using body armor and more sophisticated “gear” more and more.  Walmart bought  value box ammo in your 556 may not be the best choice.   Of course if you have enough of it and can shoot the target enough times anything can work.   If you haven’t been thinking about it, its time you wake up to the fact you may have to contend with body armor  and the accuracy it takes to shoot smaller targets not covered and do the most damage to that exposed part that you can.

Accuracy.  Many, who think they can actually  can’t make an offhand standing  shot on a head sized target with a red dot at even 50 yards.  That isn’t counting having a heart rate of 400 while some one is about to or is shooting at you.    nothing but center mass practice at 20 yards  and less  just doesn’t cut it anymore.   Yep if you shoot some one with body armor in the chest 30 times,  the target will take notice but you may not have the chance or the time or any number of factors.

Good guy body armor?   Many people have it, including all of us here.  If our hero had it and had time, it would have been wise for him to don it.  That is a huge IF though.  Seconds passing meant more victims.   But  would another death have helped thing if plates or armor had stopped a round from the bad guy?   I feel like the time it took to slip on  at least body armor could have been offset by not having to diddle with a safe  combination lock.   On the other  hand, if maybe, you can act fast and decisively enough on the threat…

On the other hand if  the police show up and you are wearing body armor with a carbine  in your hand    etc..    Not easy or possible to think about once  the maniacs start or a terrorist attacks happen.

Anyone who wants to discuss any of this please do so in the comments and  at some point I will add them into the post. Hopefully we will be able to learn from this and help people act even faster and with more safety in case of future events.    Hopefully some great points can be added from our knowledgeable commenters and we can create something here that may help some people.

 

 

 

Colt Accurized Rifle HBAR ELITE CR6724

Today we are going to take a look at an AR15 made by colt that  is one of the best keep secrets in the gun world.   It’s really a shame that it’s not more well know because it is an excellent precision rifle.

If you didn’t know by the image above, this is the Colt Accurized Rifle.  Also known as the the CARA3 HBAR Elite  according to its roll mark and  Model CR6724 for everyone who works at  Colt or those of us who are obsessive enough to refer to Colts by their internal model numbers.

This may very well be the first time a lot of people will have heard of this model but the fact is, Colt has been making it since around 1997 give or take a year.  I first saw it in that years firearms catalog which I had received via the mail same as I did every year.   On it was a 10x mildot Colt brand target/tactical optic. The optic itself was from a partnership with C-more sights and that year several other Colt/C-more branded optical sights  made their debut to many of us.  The 10X colt/C-more is pictured below. The optic did not come with the rifle but the rifle did come with a B-square mount that properly attached to a picatinny rail and had the correct height  for an AR15.

I don’t own one of these optics and never got to try one but all accounts I have heard of the optic have rated it first class.  Now a days a fixed 10x would not find much favor I’m sure.

At the time, the 6724 was pushed as a factory out of the box rifle ready to go for high power.  It longer barrel perfect for attaching some of the front sights used in the national matches, and the flat top upper  to house a rear finely adjustable rear sight.  If you browse picture from back in the day, you will see a lot of rifles that look almost identical to the 6724 being used  with various sighting systems.    Of  course the ad copy also stated the rifle would make a great varminting or target rifle.  That was certainly a fact.

The barrel is a 24 inch  match stainless steel HBAR ( heavy barrel) that is a larger diameter  under the free float aluminum handgaurd tube. Along with the standard milspec testing colt does, the barrel has a 1/9 twist.  Now, this seems unfortunate now, but at the time all the mfgs making commercial ARs  really wanted to push the 1/9 twist. Bushmaster,stated in their literature selling their junk, that the 1/9 twist was superior and the 1/7 wore barrels out too fast and that it wasn’t as accurate. .. Yea…  we see how that turned out.    But that claim did take some kinda of hold obviously as we all still see cheaper guns usually almost always using the 1/9 twist.  The topic is a long  post on it’s own so i will move on.    As the 1/9 was popular among many at the time and used in high power, colt  opted to make the barrels in 1/9.  The extremely long bullets we have no didn’t really exist as well known options back then or I am sure the gun would have come with a 1/7 twist.

Now, if you are thinking that you would like to have one of these guns but would change the barrel out, hold on a second.  Over the years, ,many people have bought one of these rifles and tried 77 grain bullets in it just to see what would happen and found that it shot the 77s perfectly.  What they had no real way of knowing, and what I only found out about 10 years ago myself  from Colt employee is that the barrels are actually closer to 1/8.5 inch twist with the exact twist being a little on the  faster side.  That kind of barrel marking would have been gibberish to most buyers at the time.  Probably even now.  And it would be a lot easier and less of a headache to just stamp it 1/9.   Why they decided to split the difference between a true 1/9 and a 1/7 I have no idea, and its likely lost to time.   Point is, the gun’s barrel says 1/9 but you can shoot 77 gr bullets in it and even some of the bullets as long as the 75gr A-max .  A fellow memeber of Arfcom once told me he one his local range’s 1000 yard F-class match using the Colt CR6724 and the Hornady  75gr A-max bullets.

The muzzle of the HBAR Elite has a nice recessed target crown to help protect it from damage.  The gas block is a milpsec front sight’gas block shaved down to be low profile and it taper pinned in place.  Not screwed on or some other lousy method that is not as tough and durable.

The FF tube is smooth with grooves running some of  the length.  Not likely to get as many cool gun prom points as M-lok or keymod, but completely usable and comfortable for shooting off bags or prone with a sling.   The tube came fitted with two sling swivel studs for various styles.  The front can be used for a bipod and the read the sling.  Or you can use them to adjust how your sling fits to you when going from different formal shooting positions at a match.

The buffer is a standard rifle buffer and colt sends an “accu wedge” with each rifle.  Luckily we all now know ( I hope) that the accu wedge is worthless except for people who can’t stand things like brass marks on their brass deflector or movement of the upper/lower for cosmetic reasons.  The play of the fit of the upper and lower has 0 effect on accuracy.   The lower in this case has been fitted with the newer colt  safety selector that is capable of being switched to the opposite side for lefties.

What is a target/match gun without  a better trigger?  Well, colt has you covered there.  In a time before drop in match triggers like the SSA existed for AR15s, Colt  had the low mass match trigger that came standard in these rifles.

The trigger and pins are all stainless and while It isn’t really comparable to something like the SSA or the MBT or KAC match triggers, at the time it was like a miracle.  It was safe, tough had a faster lock time and it did reduce the trigger pull weight quite a bit.  It’s a single stage trigger and it doesn’t break like a glass rod, but it is far and away better than a milspec trigger.   At one time it was possible to buy it from colt like an accessory, but  that didn’t last long sad to say.   Before triggers like the SSA came along I would have loved to been able to use the low mass colt part in my various carbines and rifles,   Of course now you have your pick of a dozen match triggers.   Colt still sells the gun with this trigger but I think it has more to do with knowing most buyers are going to replace the trigger with a more expensive model anyway and nothing they picked would satisfy everyone.  Better for the gun to be 200 bucks cheaper than try to please everyone with whatever brand they chose.

As a side note colt did for a small run make a custom shop target rifle that was even higher quality than the 6724. It has  a full  1 inch diameter match barrel with a Jewel trigger and choate A2 stock with butt hook, hogue  firing grip.  The barrel was made by one of the big match barrel makers  at the time, either hart or douglas I forget which.  The roll mark on the lower was not the usual style but the  Sam Colt family crest “Armsmear” . Picture of the rare gun below .  Sorry to say I  not only do not own one,  but I have never seen on in person.

 

Back to the point. The  CAR-A3 comes with standard M16  bolt carrier group. Fully MPC tested and milspec.

Unlike the vast majority of it’s  “peers” at the time and even a lot now still, the key is properly staked like all colt rifles and carbines.  Being a target rifle is no excuse to cut corners.

This rifle has been fitted with the magpul PRS rifle stock and the rear monopod that fits to a 1913 rail.   The  masterpiece from magpul is a perfect  pairing with the gun and one of the few after market parts a person can get for an AR15 that actually improved its performance in some meaningful way beyond just looking cool.   The other addition is a rubber ergo grip which is preferred by my Dad.  The gun in it’s box stock form  comes with an A2 buttsock and A2 grip which are perfectly usable.  The A2 stock is lighter so I wouldn’t advise  changing it unless you have to.  Or really  really want to.

Normally this gun has an 18x Leupold target/varmint scope in a larue mount, but for testing out the optic for review and some other points, it is wearing a Night Force  5.5x-22x in a ADM mount. More on those in another post.

 

So.   It’s a match target gun that Colt also no advertises as a LE sniper solution currently so the  question is, how does it shoot?

To show the accuracy of the rifle I followed my usual habits.   I fired the gun off the bench with a rest and bags using my handloads and some  factory match ammo.   This time I am posting the  groups from 100 and 200 yards.   This is going to be a two parter and the extended range testing will be in part 2.  I have fired this gun  for years at very long range and I am saving that for a post on its own in the next week or two.

To start with, I fired the bullet the gun is mostly used to shoot since the majority of owners   think it can not handle the heavier stuff.  The 69 gr bullet is the one conventional wisdom says is the heaviest you can go in a  true 1/9 twist barrel and it be stable in all temps  and at all  reasonable velocities.    In this case it is the old reliable 69 gr Sierra match king.   The gun fires it as well as you can ask.  If it was a 9 inch of 7 inch twist either one, I can’t imagine any complaints.

Now we have the 75gr TAP round above.  Ten rounds of a bullet weight that  often works pretty well in even true 1/9 twist rifles.  The black box stuff isnt marked as match ammo per se, but it is accurate enough to nearly be match often enough.  If you do have a true 1/9 twist and wish you could use heavier bullets, give this stuff a try as the  bullet itself as a length and profile that makes it more forgiving of the slower twist.  It is good stuff and and by all accounts the bullet has good terminal performance even on wild hogs in the hundreds of pounds.

No surprise here. The tried and true  bullet and load to get the most accuracy out of an AR15.  The Sierra 53 gr flat base HP.   Match or milspec barrel and chamber.  At ranges  from 0 to 300 you can see what your gun’s barrel is made of with this load.

This is a fairly new load and bullet.  It is the new ELD bullet that has replaced the older A-max from hornady.  The 73gr bullet is still a bit long and I have my doubts about it working in a true 1/9 twist even if the weight makes it seem like it would.  it is after all the length not the weight.  I have to say I think its a lot easier to load this bullet. I always found the 75 gr A-max bullets really finicky about seating depth.

I did shoot some sierra 77gr HPBT matchkings and they shot as well as the 69s but I apparently forgot to take a picture of them.  Like an idiot .

Last we have the  twenty round group at 200 yards.   I used the 69s only because I had 20 of those left with me.  And some out there thinking of buying the gun may still have  reservations about trusting the gun to shoot the 77gr stuff.  So I wanted to show what it can do with the bullet weight that the 1/9 shooters  stick to mostly.

That is  20 rounds, with one “flyer” that the case neck had split when it fired.   I apparently let a case I had reloaded  one too many times  get into the  ammo I took with me for testing, I  make effort to stick with virgin cases or close when i shoot for groups for review but unlike obama, I am not perfect.    That is a pretty good group if I do have to say so myself.    That should make you feel not too bad about the  1/9 twist even if you won’t take my word that the colt twist is actually faster or some  gun counter expert tells you some half backed story.    I wouldn’t feel a bit shorted if this was the bullet I was actually stuck with using.

On another side note,  all the thinking about 1/9 twists got me thinking about  what bullets a person could use if denied the ability to use the 75-80gr stuff that 1/7 twist excels with.   I have started using the sierra 63 gr flat base and Berger 60gr FB HP  and some others for a future article.

 

The Colt CAR-A3 HBAR Elite   CR6724 is  an EXCELLENT precision AR15 that you can buy straight ready to go. It doesn’t have a rail or some of the other new fad  hand guard but for a gun like this, it’s not needed.  Not everything has to have a keymod or rail on it contrary to popular opinion. I like the sleek  smooth looks on this gun.  If you have to have a tactical HG and or you want to use it for LE sniping or zombies or commies or what have you, colt does make a version with a modular HG that will accept mission necessary accessories. They even make  a version with a 20 inch barrel instead of a 24 inch, which I have long though would make an excellent starting base gun for 3 gun use.

 

Part 2  will be coming and it will be about the rifle being shot for group and performance out to 300-800-1000yds  as soon as I can depending on weather or unforeseen events.

 

 

The Ultimate AR15

I’ve been sorting though old photos of mine and I came across a later picture of the first AR15 I built.  Back when I decided to build it, I had decided that I would build the  ultimate AR15  One that would do everything I could possibly need it to do.

Oh boy was I naive.  Mainly about AR addiction.

Around the end of 2004, when the silly Assault Weapons Ban ended started a vast rise in the popularity and customization of the AR15.  I had been reading the AR15.com forums for a little while and decided it was time I build one.

I started with an RRA lower.  At the time they were pretty highly regarded, and it is was pretty much all I could get.  RRA tightened up the openings where the take down pins went so it was rather hard to attach or remove an upper for quite some time.  Eventually the lower wore in and is as loose as an GI gun now.

Standard GI style trigger.  We didn’t have Geissele triggers then, so there was no want for anything better.  Like most people today I didn’t care for the bump on an A2 pistol grip.  Unlike many  who were using Magpul or Tango Down grips at the time, I used an A1 grip for its slightly larger diameter combined with a Magpul winter trigger guard.  Really wanted to be ready if I had to use large gloves in Florida’s harsh winters.

This was before push button quick detach sling swivels were popular.  I don’t know if they even existed back then.  HK sling snaps were often considered the way to go.  I used CQD front and rear sling mounts.  I’m still fond of those, but I tend not to use them any more due to the much greater convenience of QD sling swivels.

I used a CAR stock on the gun.  Started with a reproduction aluminum CAR stock as I thought a metal stock would be better than plastic.  Later switched to a surplus CAR stock.  Not quite sure why, but I am still rather fond of the old CAR stock and I still use them.

Now the upper is really the heart of an AR.  At the time I decided I would go with the best, no expense spared.

So I bought a CMMG 16″ M4 upper.

CMMG was pretty highly regarded at the time.  They were being innovative, offering options many other companies didn’t, and they truly had awesome customer service.  They didn’t keep that reputation long.  A 16 inch barrel was chosen due to our laws and it still is an good compromise length for handling and velocity.  I stuck with the standard A2 flash hider.  Later AR uppers I had had Vortex, Phantom, and all many of other muzzle devices.  I tend to find unless you are mounting a muzzle break or a silencer that it isn’t worth the cost of these specialty muzzle devices.

Back then I wouldn’t have considered trying to bench rest an AR15 and shoot sub-MOA.  Wouldn’t have expected to run high power scopes, match ammo, or anything else of that sort.  I was solely familiar with the M16A2 style configuration so the whole carbine config was new to me.

I paid a little more for a chrome bolt carrier.  Chrome bolts weren’t available at the time from CMMG.  (Probably out of stock)  It can be nice to have a chromed or some other fancy finished BCG, but now days I don’t bother with the extra cost.

A Samson quad rail was chosen to free float the barrel.  One with a removable bottom rail was used so that I could easily access the barrel for cleaning, and retained the ability to mount a M203.  (Yea, I wanted a M203 back then)  The Samson rail was well made, but discontinued shortly after I got mine due to some sort of legal issues between Troy and Samson.  Their rail was good and heavy duty, and generally heavy in weight.  While it was a good product, there are so very many better choices now.

A ran a couple different rear sights.  Often I used an A1 detachable carry handle.  Sometimes a standard detachable carry handle.  Later I switched to a Troy rear sight.  The Troy is still an excellent choice.

Used my first Eotech with this rifle, a 512.  Had issues with that one draining batteries when off, and the battery contacts broke.

Wasn’t a bad configuration, but certainly far from the ultimate AR.  I still have the lower, I SBR’d it some time ago.  The upper was sold or traded off for something that would have also been sold or traded off by now.  I don’t miss it.

Accuracy Testing Vintage Colt SP-1 AR15 Rifle

Back in June I shot a vintage original Colt AR15 SP-1 carbine  to see  what kind of accuracy could be expected from one in good condition.  The results  got me thinking about the  M16A1 and  the accuracy it could deliver.   Of  course the internet and  gun magazine experts always like to remind us how the original M16s  didn’t impress when it comes to accuracy and you should totally feel good about paying 400 dollars  for modern barrels.  After all  they do have everything man can devise to make them more accurate.  You got gold coloring,  chamber dimensions that are a hybrid of the NATO spec chamber and civilian competition variations,  different materials  and methods and every contour and length you can think of.  Aren’t we lucky that we aren’t stuck with those old crummy barrels from the 60s?

The SP-1, otherwise known as the Colt AR15 is essentially an M16 in all but the fire control group.  The barrel is the same as was used on the M16 series.  Like the SP1 carbine, the  barrel is the 1/12 twist chrome plated ( bore and chamber)  milspec barrel.   The twist rate means you won’t be using any pet 69 or 77 grain bullets, but they didn’t really exist in its original day so your choices were simple.

I put the gun up on bags and use the original Colt 3X scope I have mounted on the gun for shooting the groups.  I wanted to stay within what some one would have used at the time but wanted to be able to squeeze more out of the gun than irons sights would allow me.

Most of the ammo I used were hand loads I have developed over the years that  have always given me great accuracy from bolt guns and semi autos.  I did shoot one group using M93 just to see, but since I wanted to test what the gun could do, I gave it the best ammo I had.

The first group shot ( above) is also the newest load I have developed.  This is one I came up with about 6 years ago with the exact purpose of using the SP1 for hunting  by my Dad. He wanted to shoot a deer with the same gun he carried in Vietnam. I selected the excellent Barness TSX solid copper hollow point for a deer load and it performs.  The TSXs are long for weight since they are solid copper. So you even with a 55 grain bullet you may end up with a bullet a little too long for the 1/12 twist to stabilize.  The 55 TSX will work  fine as it turns out but I wasn’t sure at the time and the bullets are very pricey so i went the safe route.  You can see the 5 round group above, fired from 100 yards.

The next group is an old fav.  The Nolser ballistic tip boat tail  55 gr bullet is a great bullet that seems to be impossible to shoot bad.   It lived up to what I hoped in the AR15.  As I labelled the picture, its 5 rounds at 100 yards.

This group was a little  bit of a surprise to me.  Sierra blitzkings   have always been interchangeable with the Nosler  for me.  It is still nothing to complain about  but i actually thought they would out do the Noslers  for some reason.  Maybe I didn’t let the barrel cool between shots like I had the other groups or  who knows what. That was the last 5 rounds I had with the blitz kings loaded though so I couldn’t shoot a second group.

The Hornady V-max is a great bullet. A short stubby basllistic tip boat tail that you can get going pretty fast in a 556 because of the weight.  Like the Sierra 53 grain flat base HP its short length seems to made for use in an AR15.  It is another load I have been using over 20 years and it always performs.  It really was exceptional in the old SP1.

M193.   No shock here.  Maybe that it even did that good.  But its only 100 yards and that is a 2 inch dot.

The final group.   A full 20 round magazine  of the most accurate lighter weight bullet load I have ever come up with. It’s the load I use in my heavy barrel  223 bolt guns for  crow hunting and varmints. The 50 gr V-max is a great bullet and there is not a .224 round made that won’t shoot it well in my opinion.   I should mention it took me about 35 minutes to shoot those 20 rounds.  I had taken a long break before i started this group and gave it my complete effort and I think it paid off.

Now keep in mind, I did some warm up shooting with the gun and most of those loads before I got down to the “record” strings.   Since the barrel on the original guns are much thinner than what people are used to using now it has to be taken into account when you are trying to  get everything out of it you can.  It took most of the day to shoot those 6 groups.   Letting the barrel cool and slowly firing. Even using that 3x scope took a lot of effort, It is still clear and find but the crosshairs are not what you would call fine,  this being the reason i adjusted the rounds to impact below  my aiming point It was hard enough to see the dots from 100 through it as it was.    The trigger on the gun also was a great help since it is not the factory trigger.  The lower and the FCG  used to belong to a now long retired AMTU armorer and he  had worked the parts over in the 80s  before mass produced match triggers for an AR didn’t exist and not many people ever thought they would exist.   It is a single stage trigger that breaks so light and clean  that you would wonder if its even safe.   I have no idea how he did it  but I have not felt a modern match trigger for semi autos that feels better.  I can honestly say its the best feeling trigger I have.

So, those old barrels and guns aren’t so bad after all, assuming its in good shape and not worn out, shot out or pitted out.  Ammo selection as usual was the limiting factor.  I kinda like the idea of a  varmint precision AR with a 1/12 twist barrel now that i think about it.  Even if it existed though there would not be much point to it, as the 1/7 or 1/8 will shoot these lighter bullets just as well or so close  it isn’t worth debating but the 1/12 will not shoot the heavier more useful  bullets.