Optic of the week: Leupold MK6 1-6 CMR-W 7.62

This is the most awesome optic that I am not going to recommend.

I’ve been selling off some of the stuff I wasn’t using. I ended up getting this scope in trade for a scope I wasn’t using and wasn’t going to use. I wouldn’t purchased this scope outright, but now that I have it, I really love it.

The MK6 1-6 is kind of an odd duck. It is most often seen with the CMR-W reticles which are most like an ACOG BDC with addition milradian hash marks and wind hold marks. It has a very bright daylight visible illumination, great turrets, an awesome 1x setting, a really nice battery cap, etc. But the list price is insane, and it is build for to be used in a way that I think makes it less preferable for most people.

There are two issues which I think makes the MK6 1-6 the wrong choice.
First is cost. MSRP is $2859.99
I’ve seen them sold used, with a mount for less than half that. Even so, that is pricey. While this scope is great, I wouldn’t pay that much for it. I only have once because I traded a much cheaper scope for it.

Second is the role of the scope.
There is a spectrum between speed and precision. A reflex sight is built for speed, and that 42X bench rest scope is built for precision. As magnification increases, users tend to want something geared more towards precision. This scope has a course BDC reticle and coarse adjustments, it is more like an ACOG+ than a mini-sniper scope. Most people I’ve talked to would rather have a mini-sniper scope these days. Now we have all sorts of new 1-8X and 1-10X that better fit that role over this scope. It is as if this scope is obsolete before it came to the market.

The glass is imported, so it doesn’t say “Made in the USA” I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t agree that foreign glass is better.

The turrets on this scope lock at zero and have a button to release them. If you press the button and turn it away from zero, they are no longer locked and you can turn them normally. Each click is clearly felt and barely audible. I found it really easy to set the zero on these as once I loosen the cap, turning it to zero locked the rotation, allowing me to just re tighten the screws. I would be perfectly happy if all my scopes had turrets like these.

These scopes turrets are .2 milradian adjustments. So about .72MOA per click. This allows the user to dial in up to about a 900m zero in a single turn, but also clearly shows that this is not a scope for precision shooting. I don’t think of this as a downside, but it is certainly an unpopular choice.

This is the best scope at 1X I have ever used. It felt the most like an Aimpoint than any other.

If you are properly aligned with the scope, the illumination is amazing. At 1X it is the flattest, nicest, most Aimpoint like view I have seen out of a magnified scope. But due to the lighting system this scope uses, if you are slightly off axis it dims greatly.

Lined up and the reticle is very bright
Move your head slightly and it dims.

The CMR-W BDC reticle is in meters. The 5.56 version goes to 900m (about 984 yards) and the 7.62 version goes to 1200m.

The center dot is for 200m. To the left and right there are mRad hash marks and a mRad vertical scale on the left. Along side the bullet drop chart there are wind lead marks for 10 and 20 mile per wind hold. Also on the left side of each distance there is a range finding tool.

A side note, I highly recommend when you are zeroing a scope, that is new to you, to start at close distances. This scope is was set 9 inches low at 25 yards. Had I started at 50 or 100 yards I would have been well off the target.

The battery compartment has a recessed button and flips open

The battery compartment makes for easy and fast battery changes and removes the chance of cross threading a cover back on. For the optics with short battery life, they all should have battery compartments like this.

The 20mm objective lens looks tiny in the 34mm tube.

I really enjoy shooting with and using this scope. But I do not recommend anyone buy one. Doubly so at list price. Optics design and tech is rapidly advancing. Now there are cheaper and smaller 1-8X scopes like the Nightforce NX8. When I first used the MK6 I thought it felt heavy and clunky. I was sort of surprised when I read it is the same weight as some much smaller scopes I own. It isn’t really heavy for what it is, but it is large. I think it feels clunky and overkill for an AR15, but less of a long range precision scope than you would want on a .308 Semi Auto.

It is a great scope, but if I was spending fresh cash, I would rather spend far less cash on newer scopes.

Golf tips for the discerning shooter Part 1

I often tell people you can take golf training tips and replace golf with “shooting” and they apply.

Yesterday, at work, one of the vendors I purchase from sent me a calendar that has golf tips.  Let us have some fun and see how well they apply to shooting.

All credits goes to whom ever made that golfing calendar.

Lets look at the advise for December 2018:

Golf is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off.

Chi Chi Rogriguez

Replace “Golf” with “Shooting” in that quote and I would agree.

There are plenty of ways to work on your long and short game in the off season.  Up the difficulty of the shots on your practice may by placing a tee upside down on a coin and try to touch it with out knocking it over.  This will be nearly impossible but will greatly improve your control.  To work on your chipping, place a towel or garbage can about to feet away and practice getting whiffle balls to drop on the towel or in the garbage.  For your drive, head out to the garage and swing a weighted club.  Doing this all winter will make swinging your normal driver feel effortless.

Calendar

So. . .

They are saying you should dry fire when you can not get out to the range.  If you are sick or snowed in, you can still dry fire at home for free.  Other practice alternatives can include air rifles, air soft, etc, to help you get practical trigger time when you are at home.

Also they say it is good to vary it up with harder to shoot, heavier, or greater recoiling guns.  If you practice a little shooting double action only with your revolver your Glock or 1911 trigger is going to seem even easier to shoot.  If you practice shooting a heavier guns, your standard guns are going to feel lighter.  I like doing the occasional practice with a .40 or my Glock 30 as it makes shooting the 9mm seem like nothing.  Just the same with rifles.  If you can run a 308 rifle well in rapid fire, the 5.56 will seem trivially easy.  Make practice harder than what you expect to need to do.

Standby for the next installment of golf advice for shooters.

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.

LaRue, Colt, KAC Battle Carbines Compared Part 1

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Today I am thankful that I got to try a few different rifles this morning.  I did side by side shooting of a Larue 7.62 Ultimate Upper rifle, Colt LE901-16SE, and a KAC SR25-EC.

It isn’t really fair to directly compare these as there are some major differences between them.  Sort of like comparing apples to apples to oranges.  But that never stopped me from being critical about things before.

This first comparison will be short.  I had these three rifles available to me so I decided I would start with 20 rounds each rapid fire with an Aimpoint T-1.  I would do some rapid engagements of a target at 10 yards, and do some double taps at 10 yards.  I ended up firing 32 rounds from the Larue due to functioning issues, and only 20 from the others.  Not exactly a comprehensive test, but a start.

From top to bottom, KAC, Larue, Colt.  20 round groups rapid fire off hand at 10 yards.  Mostly rapid pairs.

I shot the Colt LE901-16SE first.  When Colt release the 901, they first released the LE901-16S, which was a full railed model.  I believe they sold a few -18S with an 18 inch barrel.
After that, they release the -16SE.  They shaved a pound off the rifle by replacing the quad rail on the monolithic hand guard with a proprietary modular rail.  This model appears to have been discontinued and the newest model, the CM762 adds an ambi safety, longer MLOK hand guard, and an ambi charging handle.  The new model is also available in 6.5 Creedmoor with a 18 inch barrel.

The rifle is is stock configuration with a Aimpoint T-1 added to it for the comparison.  With the exemption of the lack of an ambi safety, I found the controls on this rifle to be the best.  The right side bolt release is easier to hit, the larger and lower left side mag release gives more leverage and is easier to use.

The list weight on the -16SE is 8.4 pounds.  When I shot it I found it tended to recoil straight up.  I felt that it was fast and easy to shoot, but my performance on paper was the worst with it.  Back when I the 901-16S side by side with the 901-16SE, I found that that 1 additional pound of weight made the fully railed 901-16S have much less felt recoil.

The Ultimate Upper is an economy large frame rifle kit from Larue Tactical.  You can purchase the upper kit in SR25 or DPMS pattern.  If you buy a kit you can buy a Larue lower for it.  This isn’t really a fair comparison to the others as I added a Surefire Warcomp to this rifle.  The Warcomp can drastically reduce recoil.  I think this gave the Larue the major advantage in shooting.  But I had multiple short strokes when shooting the Larue.  I fired an additional 12 rounds at another target trying to diagnose the issue and trying out the offset sights.

The Larue lower is the only one of the bunch that isn’t ambidextrous.  I find the bolt catch on it harder to use than the one on the 901.  Not hard on its own, but less easy than the 901.  The receiver extension on the Larue is AR10 pattern, but doesn’t have the hole locations to collapse the stock completely.  The photo above shows the stock as closed as it will go.  This made the UU kit rifle longer than the others.

The Safety Level that Larue includes in their parts kit is horrible.  I have two of these Larue safeties and they don’t move positively.  Several times when I was bringing the rifle up for a fast aimed shot, attempting to flick the safety off it would only move half way.  I did not have any issues with the safeties on the other rifles.

The recoil spring on the Larue is much lighter and easier to work the action than the other two .308 rifles.  Felt more like racking a standard AR15.  When firing the action felt like it moved much slower than the other rifles.  I think this also made it feel more controllable and easier to shoot well it – when it worked.  Compared to the others, shooting the Larue Ultimate Upper kit felt like shooting one of the other rifles in slow motion.  I’m going to start calling this the LTUU762 for Larue Tactical Ultimate Upper.

Unlike the others, the KAC SR25-EC uses a rifle length gas system on the 16 inch barrel.  I had always heard that the KAC SR25 were so extremely smooth shooting.  Much to my disappointment it didn’t seem any better than the others.

The SR25s for a long time not have come with ambi controls.  The right side safety is scalloped and the rifle has a right side bolt release.  The rifle weighs about 2 pounds heavier than the other rifles.  This was noticeable in the handling and recoil characteristics.

When shooting the SR25-EC it recoiled straight up.  Settles right back down on target.  To me it seemed like it had similar recoil to the 901, but the 901 is about 2 pounds lighter.

I think it was the lighter two stage trigger on the KAC that helped me shoot it rapidly better than the standard AR15 trigger on the 901.

So?

Right now, if I had to pick one for a fight it would be the 901.  Even thought I shot it worst in this side by side comparison, it is far lighter than the KAC, and the LTUU7.62 is currently unreliable.  I previously had a Warcomp and match trigger in the 901, and it drastically reduced recoil and made it easier to shoot.  I returned it to stock before this comparison.

I’ll be talking more about these rifles in the future.