Colt LE901 1st Impressions

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

Dead batteries, LaRue, and M4 zeroing.

I went on a trip to Michigan recently.  During this trip I ended up using my hand held light for 40 minutes one night.  It still boggles my mind that some people feel it is not necessary to carry a flash light, however that is beside the point.  This use drained the battery in my light, so in the morning I went to replace the battery.  Turns out both Panasonic brand batteries I bought with me as backups were dead.

So from now on I am going to check my spare batteries before I pack them.

LaRue has announced an upcoming price increase.  At the 1st of next month prices will jump 7.5 to 12.5%.  While I understand that prices will change, and that change is normally upwards, it saddens me to hear of this.  I already know to many people who have bought far inferior gear just to save a few dollars.  I hope that this increase in price won’t discourage new buyers from buying LaRue products.  If you were planning a purchase from LaRue, might as well try and get it in before the price increase.

Yards vs. Meters.  Turns out there really is a difference.  In the USMC we often used the two terms interchangeably.  However yards are not the same as meters.  Currently the Army uses a 300 meter zero on their M4 carbines. This is accomplished by firing point of aim (POA) point of impact (POI) at 25 meters with M855 ammunition.   This puts the round about 7 inches over POA at 175 meters, and 7 inches low at 350 meters.

Zeroing at 300 yards with the same ammo gives you a max hight of 5 inches over the point of aim (at around 175 yards), then the round drops to 5 inches below point of aim at 350 yards.  However at 350 meters the round is about 9 inches below point of aim.  I have not double checked the numbers yet, but it looks to me that the distance numbers on the detachable 6/3 carry handle for the M4 are a better match if you are shooting in yards instead of meters.

For many civilians, the 300 yard zero may be more practical then the 300 meter zero due to the flatter flight path under 300 yards.  Most ranges are measured out in yards, so a reduced 300 yard zero could be had by having your impacts 1/2 inch low at 25 yards or 1 inch high at 50 yards using your 300 yard sight setting.  As always, when possible confirm your zero at distance.

One last thing, please don’t try to get a 300 METER zero by shooting at 25 YARDs.  This is closer to a 350 meter zero, and puts your rounds about 10 inches high at 200 meters.  If you want a 300 meter zero on the M4, shoot at 25 meters.

Home made Rifle Tripod. cheap precision

Bipods are great.  I love them. Years ago  I when I was under the wings of two older gentlemen who had become accomplished highpower and benchrest  shooters, I was told that there was no need for them. That  if I laid prone the weeds or grass would obscure the shot and if I was in any other positions I could find something to rest on  anyway. Like a fence post, tree limb, mother in laws back etc.  And I was told rifleman used a sling to shoot with.  I found this odd coming from a BR shooter that used a rest  when not in the field but thats another story.

Of course years later and a lot of rounds later  after college I had enough money to buy a harris bipod. Once i had it, I could not see how I ever lived without it.  I believe firmly that rifleman should know how to use a sling. but, I also think to not used ever method of making yourself as steady as possible to make a precision shot is simply foolish.   To me a sniper, no matter how accomplished, that has a chance to use a bipod and a rear bag or even a front and rear bag and does not is not the kinda guy I want taking a shot  a inch past my head. It is not cheating.  Cheating wins fights, not honor and fair play.

With this in mind I had seen camera tripods modified for years to be used in a myriad of sniping situations and instantly saw the brilliance of this simple rig.  Lately after seeing more and more of the expensive camera tripods being used for the Larue OBR and the adapters to make them  work together I got thinking about it again.  Where we shoot it is often covered in knee high grasses during the warmer months.  This makes it hard to get a shot at a coyote laying down and there is no  handy tree branches or fence posts to use while standing up as I had been told years ago there would be.

I lusted for the   more elaborate setups for a while  but of course the price is pretty daunting. So I decided to use the my usual method of making something I want.  And that is to get my Dad to help. He is of the generation that can do anything when almost nothing to work with.  I am an idea man where my Dad is the one I go to that can actually make something of my crazy ideas. So together we  were able to come up with a  simple but highly effective  tripod.

A trip to the local flea market and  8 bucks later, I had a very nice used camera/video tripod  that was completely adjustable in every way and very high quality.  It can be adjusted to be very short and tall enough to use standing  with plenty of room left over  for more vertical adjustment. The top will swivel and rotate and can be locked. The arm or moving the top fixture can also be swapped for a lefty or righty.

After getting the tripod, A half of a PVC pipe was  secured with screws and epoxy. Then to make sure the forearm would be snug I glued on foam padding. This made a nice little rest without adding any weight.  After it was dry I used krylon to  subdue it with tan and OD green so it would not be shiny black and silver.

After everything was done I had to test it a few days later to make sure it was stable enough.  I was not worried about stability when low to the ground, but when it is high up in the air thats when wobble starts.   After taking it to the usual place and shooting it from a variety of heights and angles  i have to pronounce it a success.  I was able to hit skeet out to 300 yards using it and my rifle.  It may not sound like a big deal but to do this while standing straight up is pretty nice.  It is not as steady as bipods in prone and I don’t think I could make hits every time on a man sized target  past 700 yards when fully extended but thats OK.   No one takes shots at people shooting back at them from a full exposed standing position unless you are in a hollywoood action movie.   As steady as it is even when at its lowest setting i would not use it for zeroing.  The more the gun weighs  of course the more it helps steady things but it has no way to support the firing and alternate killing hand when shooting.  These are pretty big factors for precision and its a drawback with a tripod this high.  When  used to a tripod locked down with a rifle in it, the thing can pull off some amazing hits  and give some serious versatility  but nothing will beat sandbags and all the traditional stuff for zeroing and pure accuracy work.

But if you can find a good used tripod I say give making one of these a try. They are not hard to make and the components are not expensive. Why not add something that can fill a need like the tripod can. At least if you want something more specialized or better quality you can make one to try out if you really want/need this tool before you spend huge amounts of jack on the higher end  models.

Check and recheck your gear.

When ever you buy new gear, or change the setup of your gear, you need to test it out.  It is good to make sure there are no unexpected issues.

For example, today I found that the LaRue POD stock attachment I have interferes with my plate carrier.  Shooting with out the body armor was a non-issue, however with the body armor, getting the stock where I wanted it was not working out.  I also installed an ITW Fast Mag M16 magazine holder on my belt.  While I loved the pouch, I found that its’ rigid body got in the way when I got into the kneeling position.

As always, it is better to find out issues in practice then then find them in the fight.