The COLT LE901 Part III Shooting and Handling

Since I have already written about the 901’s accuracy and long range precision, I wanted to talk about how the rifle handles, how it feels in recoil and in rapid fire and how it works out while wearing gear.

The first thing is how the gun feels in rapid-fire drills and “running and gunning.”  The 901 is in .308 winchester, a round that does not let you control the gun like a 5.56 will.  The carbine does not come with a muzzle brake, and a lot of people seem to worry it will be hard to control without real effort. The 901s recoil to me, feels very close to a light weight 6.8 carbine or a 7.62×39 AK with a underfolder stock. It is not bad at all.

As you can see in the action shot above. The recoil of the gun is very light for a 308. The gun is still on target while a case is in the air. My stance is not any kind of aggressive combat stance in that picture since I was shooting casually to see how easy the recoil would be.

After a little warm up with the 901 to see how it felt I started out with some triple and double tap drills at 20 yards with the weapon using my T-1 red dot.  During rapid fire I was able to keep the majority of the double and triple tap shots in the  CNS area.  Notice the shots in the face and high chest area of the target above.  All shots fired were full-power M80 ball surplus. The gun was very easy to control.  If I had slowed down, the shots would obviously tighten. I have to say, a vertical fore grip does give even more control and allows for some very rapid handling of the 901 and improves follow-up shots. This is not a real revelation but the VFG has fallen out of favor lately.  The slightly increased recoil of the 901, while not serious, does make a VFG handy.

Fast and easy reloading is accomplished just like any other AR.  Thanks to the ambi controls of the 901, this is sped up nicely. Ambi controls, while not something you have to have, are a nice feature.  Looserounds believes ambi controls are going to eventually be standard on every serious fighting rifle.

The 901 balances very well. A lot of people will complain about the gun weighing 9 pounds and more with gear added but the balance of the gun is so nice you do not notice the weight. I worked with the gun all day while shooting several times and never felt tired or like the gun was dragging me down.

Others who have shot it feel the gun is very controllable and balanced. Most have been surprised by how smooth the recoil of the carbine is.

The Colt is very fast to the shoulder form low ready making fast hits on multiple targets as slick as satan’s lawyer. The vortex flash hider tames the muzzle blast just like you expect the well-respected FH to do.

I tested the Colt while wearing my plate carrier to see how everything felt. I did not expect any surprises or let downs and I was right. The 901 is like any 556.

Firing the slayer while wearing plate carrier in non-standard and standard positions was typically easy and handling was slick.  I swapped out the factory stock for a Magpul CTR to see if a lighter stock made felt recoil more noticeable but I could tell no change.

The lower with 556 uppers used was also something with no surprises. After firing multiple surefire 60 round mags and a variety of other magazines through the upper/lower I found the gun had heated to the point gloves were needed. The T-1 mount was too hot to the touch yet the gun worked just like it was intended.

After high round count shooting and testing the rifle with normal drills, I took the gun  for a little urban use to see how it handled indoors in a more cramped situation. Even while wearing your gear and making way through small rooms and  hall ways, the 901 did great. The 308 round  is not a great choice for home defense if you are worried about over-penetration but it has appeal to a lot of people when it comes to knocking through some types of walls and structures in a more violent urban environment.


As of this writing I have over 2200 rounds through the 901. I did not clean it when I  got it and I did not clean it between shooting for groups.  I did not even put lube on the BCG until it burned away. In all that time not one malfunction appeared. The gun did not run sluggish or gritty. The only thing I noticed was the sludge from carbon and oil ruined my Tshirt. I have taken the gun apart and noticed very little wear on the parts you expect to see wear on. This is not a big deal because most quality ARs will hold up this well, but this is a new system not yet as proven as the M4 or M16 series so I think it is important to take note of how reliable it has been. Even though I have gotten it hot enough to feel through gloves. After leaving the  lower as dirty as it was, the 556 uppers were tested and ran like a swiss watch. Most of the ammo fired through the gun was federal gold medal and M80 ball with other match ammo brands used. The federal and M80 being the most used by far. The only ammo not tried yet was the cheaper Russian brands.

After all of the harsh firing schedule abuse I could manage, the rifle still shot well enough for “recce” or DMR work and not break a sweat.

The 901 is showing itself to be one of the truly most versatile Ar type rifles we have seen in a long time. It is not a dedicated sniper or CQB gun, but if used in those roles it can be employed effectively.

In the next parts there will be some reports on how it is doing with a wider variety of optics and ammo while in Florida heat and humidity while Loosrerounds testes it further and if we are lucky we will try it out on wild hogs. Fingers crossed we can pull off a successful hog hunt.

The USMC M40 Sniper

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:

1966/700 rifles

1967/62 rifles

1968/87 rifles

1969/137 rifles

1970/8 rifles

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.

The COLT LE901-16S A DETAILED LOOK PART I

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.

Winchester Model 70 Sniper: A Brief History

 

 

 

 

 

Five years before WW2 kicked off , Winchester started production of their masterpiece the Model 70 rifle.  The M70 was known as the rifleman’s rifle and was known as the highest quality factory produced sporting rifle of its time. Little really needs to be said about the quality of the rifle even to this day.  It does not take very long to find some one talking about the “pre 64 model70.”

The start of the model 70 finding its way into sniper use starts Nov 12 1942 when Van Orden and Lloyd  wrote a study on “equipment for the american sniper.”  The testing of the model 70 showed it to be superior to the rifles then in use by the military. Of course the military decided it was unsuitable for combat use because they worried the rifle was not sturdy enough for use by the average infantryman in war.  This, however, set the stage for the Model 70 to be remembered when something else was needed in tough times and US military sniping  was still in its early days.

The model tested by the equipment board was a .30-06 caliber with heavy barrel of 24 inches and sporter stock. The optic was the commercially produced Unertl 8x scope with target blocks and the provision for target iron sights.

In these early days Winchester delivered 373 rifles with unertl optics to the USMC  for testing.  After deciding not to use the M70 or the 1903, the Corps decided to go with the 1903a4 rifle for sniping use.  Though the M70 was not officially adopted for sniping use, it was reported by 1st-hand accounts that a few did see service against the Japanese in the early days of the US fighting in the pacific.

After the war, the rifles remained in the hands of the USMC for target use or to be loaned out for hunting while on leave and even given away as prizes for winning shooting matches.

After the war Winchester continued to refine and upgrade the M70 for highpower shooters. The model 70 was offered in three versions: the national match, the target grade and the heavy weight “bull gun”.  The difference of these models was in the stocks, barrel weight and length.

During the Korean war the model 70 was called up again to be considered for sniper use. One Ord. officer tried very hard to get the military to look closer at the model 70 by showing men in the field what a trained marksman with the M70/Unertl combo could do.  Several 1000-yard kills of chi-com troops were confirmed by Captain Brophy.  The USMC took another look at the Winchester but judged it the same as before, saying it was not durable enough for standard sniping use.

At this point the USMC had around 1000 Model 70s that are currently known of.  Around 1956-1963 the USMC had the existing in-stock Model 70s rebuilt into target rifles . The serial numbers ran from 41,000 to 50,000.  These are the rifles that would later go on to see use in the Vietnam war where the model 70 showed what it could do and went on to help make legendary status in the hands of Carlos Hathcock.

The M70s in stock after rebuild by the corps the have receivers slotted at the top.  The sporter lightweight barrels were removed and either heavy Winchester target barrels were installed or douglas custom barrels were used all in 30/06 caliber.  Existing sporter stocks in good shape were used but relieved to take the heavier target barrels.  If the sporter stock was in too rough of shape, the winchester marksman stock was used. The action and barrel was then glass bedded into the stock and 1 1/4 sling swivels were used along with metal buttplates.

At the end of this period, sadly, Winchester stopped making the version of the model 70 that would go on to be so desired. In 1964 the arms maker went on to change the rifle in many ways to make it cheaper and easier and faster to make.  I will not list all the changes here, but it was enough to damage the company’s reputation for many years and was something many fans never forgave.  It also ended any chance the M70 had of becoming sniper standard in the years to come.

In 1965 the war in Vietnam started to really heat up.  The need for snipers and sniper rifles was remembered after casualties from enemy snipers reminded the US military how effective the sniper can be.  Very early in the war it become apparent the M14 rifle was in no way useful as a true sniper rifle in current form.  In fact the army spent a lot of time and money trying to make the m14 into a sniper system and finally gave up in the 80s before going to a bolt action system.

In the early days of rifles being pressed into service as sniper rifles, the model 70 was the un-official USMC sniper rifle.  The first rifles sent to Asia to be used were from the third marine division rifle team.  These were the rifles rebuilt for use for highpower competition at Camp Perry.  One of the rifles was used by S/SGT Don L Smith to win the 1953 championship.

The rifles were used to great effect by many snipers during the time.  One of these was of course Carlos Hathcock to make most of his 93 confirmed kills in his first tour in Vietnam.  Hits were recorded out to 1000 plus yards with most kills falling into the 500-700 yard range for the more average sniper.

All Ammo used for the Model 70 snipers was the Lake City, NM ammo.  This was a 173-grain boat tailed FMJ match bullet at around 2600 FPS in the 30-06 caliber, the same ammo used at Camp Perry.

Most optics were the original WW2 contract Unertl scopes built for the USMC by John Unertl  in 8x. The power was actually closer to 7.8 but was marked as 8x.  Other powers were used but 8x was the most common. Other brands were used, such as those made by the Lyman sight company and some other optics companies which are now long defunct.  The optics, though of the highest quality for target and sporting use at the time, came up short in the humid jungles of Vietnam.  The scopes sometimes fogged in wet weather and had a small field of view.  The Unertl scope of the time period is still very sturdy and if you can find one today there is no need to worry about it not working.  The elevation and windage adjustment were external and the scope body is one piece steel making it tough.

The scope was a real weak point as far as the USMC was concerned and did not provide enough light-gathering ability and had a small FOV.  These are very important things for combat sniping.

model 70

As the need for more snipers and rifles became more urgent, the USMC needed more rifles.  Parts for the “pre-64 model 70 began to dry up since Winchester had stopped making the older, better rifle in 1963.  Because this version was no longer made and the new Model 70 was of decidedly less quality, another rifle was sought.  The corps ended up with the Remington M40x, a more refined target version of the M700, with a few changes they speced out themselves and type classified the M40.  Also the Unertl was replaced by the Redfield 3x-9x optic with a range finder. Both had their own problems in early use but went on to later become the M40A1. the M40A1 went on to use a more modern Unertl that replaced the problematic Redfield scope and is still in use on some rifles. the M40 is now the M40A5.

The M70 / Unertl was issued again right before the M40 was delivered. Fifty more model 70s with Unertls were ordered and converted to sniper use and sent immediately to vietnam by HQMC.

The model 70 Winchester was never officially issued for sniper use by the USMC or the Army but it saw a lot of service anyway.  The gun has since become legemdary.  The Army even tried the rifle suppressed for special operations use in Vietnam and fired a version of the .458 magnum round.  Many well known snipers during the Vietnam war used the M70 with Hathcock being the most famous by far.  When asked about the rifle he used during the war he stated he loved it.  It is no wonder.  If you have one of these truly fine rifles or get the chance to try one you will see why it was so highly regarded in its time.  Even before WW2 it was the most expensive sporting rifle made in the USA and you can see and feel the quality that made it so.  For years after ’63 it was a shadow of its former glory until Winchester brought the original action back with a few  upgrades to it to make it safer.  The M70 is still made with the Winchester name today by FN and the action is used by FN for their sniping rifles.

Link to   short M40  history

http://looserounds.com/2012/07/11/the-usmc-m40-sniper/

more vietnam USMC  equipment

http://looserounds.com/2012/08/02/usmc-scout-sniper-weapons-of-the-viet-nam-war/

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.