A Tale of a 20” Colt A2 Barrel

Originally posted by Molon on the AR15.com Forums:

Link to forum post.

A Tale of a 20” Colt A2 Barrel

This Colt 20” A2 barrel started its life on a factory-built Colt 6551. This was a pre-ban rifle, but this barrel did not have one of those evil, havoc-wreaking bayonet lugs; it’s otherwise essentially the same barrel found on the Colt M16A2 and M16A4 as well as “civilian” variants of those rifles. The barrel has a government profile, a chrome-lined NATO chamber and bore and a 1:7” twist.

I fired a couple hundred rounds through the barrel while zeroing, chronographing various loads and doing some informal shooting. I did not conduct a formal accuracy evaluation of the barrel at that point in time. After that, I replaced this barrel with a Colt M16A2 barrel with the attending evil bayonet lug to create my M16A2 clone.

This barrel sat on my parts shelf collecting dust for a while, until I decided to sell it. I ended up selling it over the Internet. Three months after the buyer received this barrel, he sent me a message demanding a full refund for the barrel claiming that the barrel was junk and that it was never going to shoot accurately. While I was under no obligation whatsoever to give the buyer a refund after having it in his possession for three months, I did so anyway, minus a “restocking fee.”

After the barrel was returned to me I decided to conduct a formal accuracy evaluation of the barrel. I installed the barrel on a Colt flat-top upper receiver and free-floated the barrel with a 12” KAC free-float hand-guard. I conducted the accuracy evaluation from a distance of 100 yards from my bench-rest set-up using my hand-loads topped with 55 grain Sierra BlitzKings.

This barrel turned in a 3-shot group at 100 yards with an extreme spread of 0.180”.

This barrel produced a 5-shot group at 100 yards with an extreme spread of 0.516”.

A 10-shot group fired from this barrel at a distance of 100 yards had an extreme spread of 1.085”.

Six 10-shot groups fired in a row from this barrel at a distance of 100 yards had an average 10-shot group extreme spread of 1.35”.

Not too shabby for a “junk” barrel and actually, as good as anyone could expect from a chrome-lined, NATO chambered government profile barrel. In fact, this was one of the most accurate 20” government profile barrels that I’ve ever tested.

…..

The downside to the AR15 ambi-safety.

 

One of the overlooked but great advantages of the AR15 is its easy to actuate safety/selector switch.  Some other guns, actually most other guns have perfectly serviceable safeties but not ones that can so easily be used.  Because of this many teach to place the AR15 on safe often, even when reloading.  Now to debate the merit of that isn’t the point of this article.

Now when manipulating the rifle left handed or left handed only, I would use the thumb of the left hand to flip the safety off and I would leave it off until such time that I knew I was not going to need to immediately shoot.

It is not that awkward for me to flip the left side safety with the thumb of my left hand, but that is a brief moment when you don’t have a good grip on the gun.

So on many of my rifles I run ambi-safeties.  I’m rather fond of the KAC models with scalloped right sides.  I’ve also use or owned Colt, LMT, and DSA ambi safeties.

You would think that an ambi-safety would be a pure upgrade with no downside.  Unfortunate not.  The easy to reach AR15 safety/selector has the downside of moving through the same space that the trigger finger would occupy.

So regardless of if your trigger finger is on the trigger, or off the trigger pointed forward along side the lower, that safety lever can and most likely will hit your finger.

This is the reason why KAC offers a scalloped right side trigger and Colt’s ambi-safety is shorted on the right side, etc.  This helps a the safety clear the trigger finger of the right handed shooter.

So what if your left handed?  Sucks to be you.  Or you could buy one of those rather expensive completely customizable safeties.

Ultimately this is a training issue.  Regardless of the type of safety you run, you need to be able to actuate it one handed with either hand.  I found that it was rather different working the safety if your holding the rifle with both hands, vs working with the right single-handedly.  When your support hand is holding the bulk of the weapons weight, it is no problem to shift your firing hand as you work the safety.  However if your holding up your rifle with just the one hand, trying to move your grip as you toggle as safety is just plain awkward.

Inland MFG M1911A1 Test Part 2 Accuracy Testing

Friends, it can be said that I like 1911s. I love 1911s.   I love the feel of a M1911, the way it shoots, its ergonomics, its recoil and its over all beautiful looks. I Blue, stainless, nickel, parkerized or duaracote, I love a 1911.  But, almost without fail, my love for the 1911 is reserved for those made by Colt’s MFG.   Today I can say that I really am impressed with the Inland M1911A1.  It is not flashy or fancy, it is just a  USGI clone M1911A1 made to look like the typical WW2 service sidearm. It does a good job at that.

Inland MFG 1911A1 Review Part 1

Generally speaking, the 1911s made to look like USGI guns that we get on the market today leave a lot to be desired.  GI issue style pistols are common by the lesser makers because it is so cheap to make them in that configuration. No after market sights or parts, no extra time and effort fitting custom after market parts or things like forward slide serration etc.  I think of the GI style pistols churning out these days are looked at as pizza by the makers.  Even if its bad its still kinda good. Everyone wants a GI pistol even if its cheap. Especially if its cheap because they assume no one really shoots them much.   Well, that not really true and there are a lot of just pure crap 1911s on the market.  The Inland is made very well

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As I mentioned before, the gun is a but more than just a GI issue clone.  The bushing is a tight fitting match bushing. The same used on the company’s custom carry pistol and trust me, it shows.

I test fired the pistol for accuracy after some serious abuse. A lot of it I did not film due to the weather conditions that would ruin a camera.  I froze it. I buried it in mud and snow, I have fired 1,500 rounds through it without cleaning and with only a little bit of LSA  from the 60s on it. I fired some of the most filthy training ammo you have ever seen through it. I have tried very hard to see what it would take short of putting bad mags in it and faulty ammo which is unfair.  I did however use real GI Issue  original magazines and they worked fine. And as you can see in the link below, I shot up a muddy water hole to break the ice and tossed the gun in it and kicked mud over it, then shot it.

Inland MFG M1 Carbine & M1911 Mud& Frozen Water Torture Test

After all that, and no cleaning, i started my serious accuracy testing by using bags and a bench.  I started out at 15 yards and I used jacketed hollow point ammo for accuracy testing and to once again make sure it fed hollow point bullets.   After I settled in on the bags and dry fired a few times, I fired this first group.  For a gun that is meant to basically meet plain old USGI standards you really can’t ask for much more.

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I then went on to shoot at 20 yards using different types of ammo including ball and PDX1.

I was really  proud of the last group of the day, a full  7 round loaded mag at 20 yards.

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I strung the shots vertical a bit, but I I don’t think anyone would hold that against  the pistol in this case.  I am sorry to say I did not get more groups with the HP ammo because I ran out.  The bulk of that ammo was used up on other reviews but I promise you that all groups shown are all the groups fired.  I did not toss out any that made me or the gun look bad.

Previous off hand plinking and goofing with the gun by shooting steel rifle gongs at 100 yards had already given me a pretty good idea I was not going to be shocked at horrible accuracy and the hunch was right.  One thing to point out is the trigger. On this particular T&E gun, the trigger is a typical milspec trigger, It is a little heavy.  It is not godawful, but if you are expecting a modern custom production 1911 type trigger you better get ready to have that illusion popped.  It is not a terrible trigger, It is what it is and what it is meant to be, a USGI trigger. If you buy a pistol like this expecting something else that is your fault.

 

I have really enjoyed my time with the piece.  Most non-colt 1911s  fail my standards with regularity of a swiss watch but not this one.  I would not hesitate to own one of these.  It is a lot better than most of the others of this type. I would take this over the Springfield Armory USGI model every day of the week.  If you are wanting a USGI pistol but are not worried about paying more than you would by a RIA, and want something more reliable and with really, really good accuracy, give this a serious look.

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Best & Worst of 2015

Every year I try to do a list of the stuff we were sent for T&E  or anything else we evaluated and talked about.  This year is a little late but as they say better late than something or other.  Everything listed will have a review or at the least the 1st part of a 2 part review that you can read in addition to the list.

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Fist up is the Colt 6940 Piston carbine.   The ( obviously) piston operated version of the 6940 DI monolithic carbine.  It was more accurate than we thought it would be fore a piston gun and held up to some of the most serious abuse I have ever doled out on a AR15 including multiple 60 round mag full auto mag dumps and has yet to be cleaned or oiled.  In my opinion colt never fails and is always the right answer to any question.

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Next up is the newly made Inland MFG M1 carbine.  The M1 carbine is much maligned in some places for various and dubious reasons.  Regardless this is a very faithful remake and is a real beauty. It shot great and was as about as accurate as you would want  with decent ammo.  And it just looks great. Part 1 is up and part 2 of the review will be posted shortly.

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Up next is another Inland gun.  Inlands rep was a little worried  about how I would like this gun knowing I am solid devotee of Colt 1911s as THE M1911 maker.  But it proved to be very reliable and very faithful to the M1911A1 it is a clone of. It looks great and is tough. Another gun I have been merciless with. It is not a 100 percent 1911A1 since it does use the “series 80 “type safety but only  the pedantic and the people who repeat nonesense about that type of safety  would care. It is not a real WW2 relic and is meant to give you the look and feel without the price and it does it job very well.  You are not going to win a bulls eye match or IPSC , but it is plays its role perfectly even if its not a Colt.

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the compTac  pistol and M16 mag pouches.  No they are not flashy or tacos, or made by crye. But I love them.  They snap on over a belt easy and really stay secure. You can adjust the tension and they are lo profile.  I use the pistol pouch every day and the rifle mag almost as often . I really , really like these. Since they clip over instead of needing the belt threaded though, they go one fast and come off fast but they do not fit as snug against your body. I can live with that as they fill my need perfectly most of the time and fit over a larger amount of belts with different widths  than the other type of loop.

 

Some More quick mentions that I have not got the chance to write a  review or may not be withing the umbrella of what we do here int he case of my Father’s cross bow.

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The Mathews cross bow my Dad took two deer with this past year, One at 40 yards and one at 55 yards.  Not being a bow guy and not liking anything bow and arrow related  I will not nor ever will be reviewing them but felt this was worth mentioning for those of you who do like them. I was impressed with the distance  enough to mention it here regardless.

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The Leupold  Mark 6.  It is hands down, with no exaggeration or joking , in my opinion the best optic I have used so far. It is everything I would want or need in and optic of this type. I can not expressed how much I love this scope.

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Tug Valley Armament’s ammo is safe and reliable and accurate.  I can get some of the more odd ball stuff I use affordable and have  choice in bullets weights. And it saves me from making 7.7 Jap brass myself.  It is good stuff and all the massive full auto testing done over the summer used this company’s 556 and 308 ammo exclusively.  Having the trust to use a certain ammo brand in machine guns is not something to take lightly.  Give them a call if you need something or just want some 556.

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The Barrett  bors scope system. I had thought it was kind of a gimmick since it came out.  What can I say? Even I am wrong sometimes.  I have had many years of experience with the M82A1 but never with the BORS till this year.  Its very nice with the 50. IF you can afford it..

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The Century ( I know, I know) HK 33 pistol.  This one was converted into a SBR and was purchased with that in mind.  It works great and  no arguing it looks cool.  Its accuracy is about like you would get from a middle of the price range 556 AK. And its ergo is about as meh, as every other HK rifle/carbine. But is just  has a quality you can only say in french.   For a century it worked well and surprised me.   This is more of an honorable mention since a lot of people seem to have hit or miss luck with these and their reliability.   but this one works for the nonce . So keep that in mind.

 

 

WORST!

ATI stg 44

 

Pure garbage.   Then again it might be on the best of list for tomato stake or boat anchor.  So bad I would rather have an M14. Stay away I would not even dream of suggesting some one try to waste precious, precious 22Lr in one of these obamas.