Rifles - AR15:
Quick question. I am considering putting a floating forarm on my AR-15, purely for accuracys sake, and was wondering if I could just pull the guards off to test this first? Or will the weight of the floating tube effect accuracy too? Are there other problems with floating hand guards I should know about?
BTW, there has been some really great comments lately for newbies like myself. Thanks
MT USA - Tuesday, November 03, 1998 at 23:27:14 (EST)
endwrench- about your AR-15 question. The main benefit from the free floating hand guard is the sling tension put on the barrel. By floating the barrel, this problem is fixed. Put on the tube, it's probably the single most accuracy enhancing product available on the market.
KS USA - Wednesday, November 04, 1998 at 18:24:40 (EST)
Re: "Quick question. ...floating forarm on my AR-15, …snipped. (very longish; mostly for AR-15 enthusiasts. Others skip to the fifth paragraph)
I don't think there IS a "quick question". Every answer leads to about 5 more questions.
I suppose you could………, but if shooting off of a bench you would have to support the entire rifle on buttstock and lower receiver. It was done that way in a Rifle Magazine article way back in the '70s. That was before floating type handguards were commonly available. Not advisable now for accurate testing results.
There are two types of tubes available. Match rifle type and service rifle type. The match rifle types are approximately 2 inches in diameter, and they are available in one piece or two piece. The two piece type allows you to tighten down the barrel nut and then index the handguard to its correct position. This is important if you have a slot cut for a sliding handstop or use a Harris Bipod. A little Locktite ™ will position it semi-permanently. This is a more flexible way to go if you change barrels down the road, etc. With the one piece you tighten down the tube and then drill and tap for the Harris, or mill the slot for the handstop.
The service rifle type tubes are just large enough to encompass the barrel and the modified handguards are still used. This type of tube is a lot more expensive at approx. $150.00 or so. The only reasons to get this kind is if you want to shoot NRA service rifle competition or do not want to change the looks of your rifle. For just general shooting I like the larger tubes as they let the barrel breathe better (more cooling). Older members on this list (forum) know I like all barrels to "breathe" whether they are on bolt or gas guns.
I have made my own match rifle type tube, but that was just an exercise and something that I just had to get out of my system. I guess that I was intrigued by the early pictures from Rodman Laboratories. Many many hours went into cutting the internal threads, shoulders, etc. Now that I've done it,………. I do not want to do it again. I buy the darn things that come off of CNC machines for 60 bucks or so.
Ron N. <email@example.com>
Ohio USA - Thursday, November 05, 1998 at 02:22:53 (EST)
Bill: On your $1000 - $1400 dollar Service rifle for competition. I feel you have but one choice today and that is an AR-15A2. If you build it yourself, which is very easy, you can come in well below this price and have a rifle far more accurate than the traditional M1A. As you are limiting your max range to 600 yards, this is an outstanding choice. Even a custom built Service Rifle will only run you around $1100 if you shop around. Compass Lake sells a version through Bushmaster. If you choose to roll your own, here is a breakdown of what it will take. Lower Receiver: $110. Complete A2 Kit minus barrel and REAR sight: $225. Match grade 1:7/8 or 1:8 twist NON-Chrome lined barrel: $200 to $450 depending on who you go with. Match Rear sight with ¼ or half MOA clicks: $75, Service Rifle Free Float Tube: $125, Match Trigger: $125 to $200 depending on model (JP enterprises is a great single stage for $125). Turner Sling: $45. Taking the least expensive route on the barrel and trigger, your total would be: $915.
Assembly is pretty easy. You will get stuck with the stock internal trigger group if you can not talk the dealer into leaving it out of the kit package. That is worth another $30 bucks off the $915 price tag. You can also add a thinner NM front site for about $10. For your effort you will get a more accurate rifle than jsut buying someones "Match" rifle from a catalog. Also, avoid muzzle breaks. you do not need it and they are PINNED on nowadays which means you can not get to your crown for cleaning. We are talking post-ban here.
My home grown AR will shoot the 69 grain MK rapid fire laod into about .75 MOA @100 which is more than sufficiant for High Power. It shoots my 600 yard load (seated long) into about .4 moa. When I added the Free Float Tube the groups dropped significantly. Quite a lot in fact. The 1:7/8 to 1:8 twist barrel will work for the 69 gr MK and the 80 gr MK. I have not played with the 80s yet as the 69 has served me well out to 600 yards. Of course, I seldom see more than 10 mph hour at the range I use because of its tree lined protection. The 80 grain MK will shoot better in wind than the .308 win 168 MK and is ideal for 600 yards. So, by all means Bill, get a mouse gun. With all the new bullets out there, it is starting to reach 1000 yards in competition!
good luck. If you need a source for parts, drop me a line. I can give you some numbers.
USA - Friday, November 06, 1998 at 12:08:54 (EST)
Scott: Do you know if the Bushmaster DCM upper kit is a good choice? Specifically I'm questioning their rear sight and the barrel. I've been considering getting an alternate upper like this for my Bushmaster shorty-AR to use in DCM shoots, and buying the unit from one place sounds awfully convenient for a change. But I'd rather do it right, even if it takes more effort. (Of course, I could go for a Fulton Armory DCM upper set but $1100 that's a bit too brutal for my budget.) I suspect that I'll end up buying parts from all over the map... again. Anyway, thanks for any assist.
San Jose, CA USA - Friday, November 06, 1998 at 14:46:33 (EST)
Dave: I can not honestly say. I know a guy with the Bushmaster NM that was essentially a Compass Lake rifle. Great shooter. What barrel is the Snake using in this DCM upper. I do not have the catalog in front of me. How much? Here is my thoughts. If you do not have the time or inclination, by all means, buy a pre-built upper. But if you have the tools, you can make an excellent upper with the parts you actually want, usually for less than a pre-built unit. My big kick is using a non-chrome lined barrel. Chrome lining is ok for plinkers and duty rifles, but for max accuracy, it is not first choice. Drop me a line at home and I'll try to get you more detail on your options. Eventually I am just going to have to write a short article on NM ARs for this site. It is to long to go into here. I am off so I hope you all have a great weekend! Dave, seriously, drop me a line.
USA - Friday, November 06, 1998 at 16:09:26 (EST)
Have to go along with Scott's weighty recommendation for the AR-15. The rifles are very easy to maintain. You can forget about yearly bedding jobs, water getting pulled into the action on rainy days, etc. Take it apart and reassemble as much as you like without losing zero or fear of scraping bedding compound. Barrel upgrades are cinch. Tightening up the upper/lower fit makes the rifle feel better, but you would be hard pressed to prove anything on paper.
The following piece was originally submitted to another list. It details some to the work that has gone on to TRY to wring the last bit of accuracy out of these tools.
"I once trued up a bolt by recutting the locking lugs, bolt face, and anywhere else that I thought it might help. When through it was a perfect bolt, with everything concentric and true. Then I started to look at the barrel extension. The threads were not concentric with the outside diameter, and the locking abutments were not square with the threads. In the early '80s the only barrel extensions that were available were demilled barrels from Rock Island Arsenal. These locking lug abutments all had a cam to them because they had long suffered without lubricant and probably high mileage. Perhaps the newer extensions are better made. Anyhow, back to the machinists nightmare. I wanted to get all surfaces true to the extension's thread centerline. I put a piece of stock in the lathe and cut a very tight extension thread. It was tight enough so that I was only able to screw the extension on with difficulty. The flange on the extension had plenty of clearance so I could clean up all of it's surfaces. Using a custom ground boring bar I was able to get inside the rear of the extension and recut the locking lug abutments. This was tricky. I used a carbide cutting bit from Brownells Inc. for the job of cutting the locking lug surfaces I. This particular lathe bit is designed for opening up bolt faces, and it's ground with some odd angles for that purpose. It did however, need some additional grinding for clearance as it was too bulky to get into this restricted area. This was the first time that I've faced a blind backside surface like this, but it went quite well with no unpleasant surprises, even with the intermittent cut. Also, I made certain that no stress riser was created. When the dial indicator showed no cam, and each lug was the same as the others, I was through. I also faced the rear of the extension and both sides of the extension flange as they were wobbling around too. What a job. So many hours. Anyhow, I now had a blueprinted bolt/extension assembly. Chambered the Krieger 1:9 barrel and attached the extension. The extension's fit into the upper receiver was a little loose and this is normal. I DO like to tighten up this one aspect of AR-15s (either with shim stock or epoxy; long story). I coated the inside of the extension hole with car wax, and degreased the extension and smeared a little epoxy on. Gently I eased the extension into the receiver and installed the floating tube lightly, and kept the rifle vertical overnight. Next day I pulled the tube and cleaned up all excess epoxy, and was satisfied that I had a tight junction of barrel/receiver fit. Now did all the work on the bolt and extension help? Not that I could see. Before this blueprinting work, the rifle shot 5/8" to ¾" 10-shot groups, and it still shot the same afterwards. I have also machined an adjustable gas block to vary the gas volume, but that didn't help either. I tightened the upper/lower fit with superglued slivers of brass shim stock without any change. All testing was done from a bench at 100 yards using a 24X Leupold scope."
In summary it is mostly bullets and barrels that gives accuracy in this rifle. All the truing up that goes into bolt guns does not mean much that I can see. One time in P. S. magazine there was a picture of Army armorers silver soldering tabs of shim stock to the rear of the bolt carriers. The idea was to keep the rear of the carrier from flopping around. Civilians had already been down this path years before and discarded the idea. I had also made a very thin ring sleeve out of nylon or similar substance and temporarily superglued it to the rear of the carrier. No help. The rifle likes to be loose. Even the bolt is allowed to float around in the carrier to find its own center and alignment. The benefit to this is that ALL pertinent locking lugs bear. Remington has a hard time getting two lugs to bear.
In rereading this piece I know that every sentence could be expanded
to a paragraph.
Ron N. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - Friday, November 06, 1998 at 16:38:11 (EST)
It's been awhile since I last posted. I just finished loading up
loads to try in my new AR15 Match Gun. Bergers, Sierras and even Hornady
75 A Max. Has anyone had ny experience with the 75 A Max. It is very long
for a 75 grain bullet. I shot some BlackHills 75 grain Magazine length
Molly Coated Hornadys and they work great. Well back to the loading bench
for LC Match brass and 175 Sierras for my .308.
Mike M. <DMMDNLN@AOL.COM>
Berkeley, Calif USA - Saturday, November 07, 1998 at 15:51:37 (EST)
Just found this website. I think its great. I'm thinking of buying
a Colt AR-15 . I found one that comes from the Colt custom shop with an
accuracy package, heavy free-floated barrel and guaranteed MOA accuracy
out of the box. All for $1049 less scope. Good offer? Any better suggestions
for the same price? I appreciate any help. Thanks
Dave C. <email@example.com>
central, FL USA - Saturday, November 07, 1998 at 19:50:56 (EST)
Mike M: Hornaday A-Max: With 2 - 223 s One Colt Tactical Elite and another custom 223 Sniper w/Remington action and H/S Precision Stock. 1-8 and 1-9 respectively twisted. The A-Max although provided to be a very good choice in the heavy weight 22. it would consistently group 3/4 to 1 inche groups out of both rifles. But the Sierra 77 gr Long Range bullets are the cat's ass in accuracy. Out the Tactical Elite 1/2' was no problem and the 223 sniper with aDouglas air-gauged barrel was a consisten 1/2 and down to bench rest quality. In the Colt bolt bullets had to be loaded individually because of thier length. You rifle is different and your results may vary (Sound like a commercial.)
Al Ostapowicz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Prepping myself to locate Sarge's lair in the High Country in the Foggy Republic of , Ohio USA - Sunday, November 08, 1998 at 10:27:22 (EST)
Dave C: I do not want to bust on Colt's here. But they do tend to be a little overpriced. Before you buy, look into some of the shops that built match and service rifles. You might find a better deal for around the same money that is a lot more accurate. Or you might not. I know a guy with a Bushmaster (Compass Lake tuned) DCM rifle that is very accurate and he paid about $1100. Bascially, I would tell you not to pay for the Colt name alone as there are better aftermarket brands out there. And of course you can always roll your own.
USA - Monday, November 09, 1998 at 10:56:31 (EST)
I got a steal on a pre-ban AR-15 and am looking into converting it from it's current A-2 configuration to an M-4(11.5" barrelled upper) and also a match grade upper. Any suggestions on manufacturers that won't require a below the knee amputation to purchase these? I've been looking at the Bushmaster line.Anyone with pros/cons or suggestions?
SSG Clanton <email@example.com>
Mobile, AL USA - Thursday, November 12, 1998 at 23:18:40 (EST)
SSG Clanton. I would not suggest going with the 11.5" upper unless you do the paper work to reclassify the lower as a pistol. Otherwise you run the risk of a serious spanking by the less than humorous fellows in the ATF. Better would be to use the 16" inch barrel. This is completely legal and will give you better performance anyway. I am writing an article on doing what you are thinking but if you can not wait for it, here is the short of it; Call M&A parts. 847-550-8246
Order a complete Flat Top Carbine Upper for about $280. This comes
with a 1:9 twist heavy barrel which balances out the rifle nicely. If you
do not need the cut in the barrel for the M203, there is little reason
to pay the ridiculous price they ask for the real M4 upper. It does not
give you any better performance and if memory serves, it has thin barrel
anyway. Now, tell M&A you do NOT want the carbine handguard. You will
purchase the M4 handguard separate. They run about $40 and are WAY nicer
than the thin carbine guard. You can get factory seconds for about $25
if you look around. Small chip. No big deal. Also, you will need to order
the buttstock unless you do not mind using the full length A2 butt. This
costs $40 for the plastic one OR $75 for the aluminum one. I recommend
the aluminum stock! M&A will tailor the parts for you. Their uppers
are pre-assembled so all you need do is drop in the bolt carrier group
and go. Buy the way, I recommend you also get a separate BOLT (not bolt
carrier)for each and every upper you build or buy. This will assure you
maintain the correct head spacing for each as the bolts wear in.
Bushmaster and Armalite also have kits but you will pay a lot more. All are good, but I have found M&A to sell very good quality for the money. For all I know, all of these places use the same subcontractors!
USA - Friday, November 13, 1998 at 10:40:25 (EST)
SSG Clanton, as Scott said, the 11.5 upper is illegal on a semi. You CAN'T re-classify a rifle reciever as a pistol, ATF doesn't allow it. What you can do is paper the rifle as a short barreled rifle, post if you want to know how to do this. As always Scott gives good advice, stick with the 16" or a 14" with a welded flash hider. Barrels shorter than 14" have varying degrees of function problems as the distance between the gas port and the muzzle is too short. The problem has to do with gas dwell time, the bolt needs X pressure for X time to cycle correctly. Colt fixed this problem with a moderator but they are now classified as sound supressors (note, the long XM style flash hiders you see in the catalogs do not have the internal parts in them, they are just the housing.) BTW- I have had some real bad luck with bushmaster, I would recomend M&A if you're on a budget, and Armalite if you want some of the best.
WA USA - Friday, November 13, 1998 at 14:06:22 (EST)
To SSG Clanton:
Take the advice of Scott and Rich when they say go with the 16" barrell.It is a more versatile piece than the the M4 set up.
The 11.5" barrell is more specialized and not as versatile as the longer lengths are.For example,have you ever heard of anyone using an 11.5" barrell for varminting or target shooting ?
Use of the 11.5" barrell is obviously better suited for situations where concealment is an issue.That's why the spec-ops guys probably prefer this variation with the retractable stock (CAR-15 version).
The CAR-15 is no doubt a lot of firepower in a small package.Especially when mated to an M203 grenade launcher !
I own a Bushmaster upper receiver with the 11.5" tube.It is extremely noisy,with dirty gasses flying everywhere,and pwder flash that would rival any Hollyweird drug-gang flick on t.v. .
It isn't very practical or very accurate,but oh what fun it is to shoot !
I'm not personnally concerned with BATF rules because I don't live in your country,so I really can't comment on that.I will say though that breaking any firearms related law only hurts the honest folks out there that comply with all the B.S. regulations they must go through to leagally own short barrelled weapons.
Jeff Babineau <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Truro, N.S. Canada - Friday, November 13, 1998 at 18:21:42 (EST)
The need for a "match upper reciever" negates itself with an 11.5 inch barrel. Go with the 16 inch barrel. Besides, "match uppers" are fictional anyways.
KS USA - Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 13:01:29 (EST)
To whoever posted the info on not torquing the Flash Hider on Service Rifle AR's, THANKs it helped mine to just glue it on, much better groups.
Mike M. <DMMDNLN@AOL.COM>
Calif USA - Monday, November 23, 1998 at 01:53:59 (EST)
Mike M. I believe I wrote you off line about the flash hider on the
AR-15 Colts being on too tight. Maybe I should post this for others who
haven't heard about it. Some of the Colts were torqued to over 200 inch
pounds at the Flash hider Muzzle break what ever it's called anyway it
crunched the accuracy along with the muzzle. The best remedy if you want
to retain the device is to unscrew it or better have a gunsmith do it and
screw it back on with epoxy in the thread.
It seems to help the accuracy about as much as anything you can do to one of the mouse guns.
Muzzle breaks have been covered but I have a KDF on my .308. Now I didn't put it on there it just came that way. My thinking was that I'll cut that thing off and recrown it when I got the gun. But the groups were so good I was afraid to mess with it. I had had a bout with one of those Brownings with the BOSS on it. Recoil was reduced dramatically as well as the chance you would be able to hear it thunder after shooting it for 10 shots. I put one of those BOSS units with no holes in it (available from Browning) to get rid of the ear splitting and later sold the gun but Shortly after getting the .308. I was shooting at some Antelope silouettes at 500 yards the other day and to my surprise after I touched off the first round I could see the bullet strike the target. I'm not used to that with a .308 and I don't put a bit premium on it but it's worth mentioning maybe. The points about the signature the dust kicks up from prone are well presented and bonafide but I'm still shooting the darn thing at present.
B. Rogers <email@example.com>
USA - Monday, November 23, 1998 at 22:46:11 (EST)
I'd have to second the comment about using a regular AR upper for a sniper rifle is troublesome. Best to get a flat top and find a riser that will put your eye in line with the scope. The normal upper create a series of problems that can be overcome but the solutions are not ideal. Topic: .223 for a sniper round? It would seem to fit the bill in LE depending on the situation. Glass would be a real issue, but the .308 can fail here too. There are certainly times when it needed.
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 13:31:05 (EST)
So many Bushmaster's have to go back to the factory for rebarreling because of zeroing problems. The rear sight has to be cranked just about all the way left or right just to zero up at 100 yds. People have sent them back (waited months) and they come back with the same problem. Sad. This has been going on for years. One person just reported that he looked at 4 Bushmasters in a gunshop and he could tell that the front sights were not vertical. I have nothing against Bushmaster's parts, but it is in the execution of assembly is where they are lacking. This zeroing does not afflict all Bushmasters, just some. But of all the zeroing problems, Bushmaster has about 95% all to themselves.
You roll the dice and take your chances (even with brand names). Personally, I'll roll with Colt® or ArmaLite® thank you. My money and time is precious.
I have no experience the DPMS outside of their fine handguard tubes.
One minute of angle is certainly attainable with a quality barrel.
Suggest you subscribe to the AR-15 list at: http://www.ar15.com/
These are just MY opinions, others have equally valid opinions.
Ron N. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
USA - Sunday, December 27, 1998 at 09:45:50 (EST)
I just bought a DPMS panther bull 24 with the optional single stage match trigger& cryo'd barrel w/ 1-8 twist. After proper break-in, I'm getting .35 avg. with 52g match kings and .6 avg. with 69g match kings. I was told they mfg. the barrels & other parts in-house. I'm satisfied with the quality and performance so far. Hope this helps.
Jerry B. <email@example.com>
west, MT USA - Sunday, December 27, 1998 at 21:27:04 (EST)
USA - Wednesday, December 30, 1998 at 20:27:18 (EST)
USA - Thursday, December 31, 1998 at 16:25:15 (EST)
I have no previous experience with thse rifles, any useful information would be helpful. I use Remington Bore Cleaner on my 700VS, can it be used on the AR or will it clog the gas port?
Thanks for the help.
College Station, Tx, USA - Sunday, January 24, 1999 at 06:03:58 (ZULU)
If anyone is contemplating putting a new rifle system together buy the best scope you can find buy it and then see what you have left over for the rifle. If you do it any other way you will regret it as much as I do.
The Shooter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
College Station, Tx, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 01:24:53 (ZULU)
I have owned the Tasco SS10X42M. Great scope for the money. You can't go wrong with it. I also own a Leupold MK4 M1. I prefer the Leupold. Part of the reason is the type of reticle you have. The Tasco has circular reticles which is the Army version. My Leupold, from Premier Riticle, has Marine Corp reticle. Big difference between the two. The Army are round so calculating mils are different then the oval by the Marine Corp. Also, the Tasco is not a precise or positive when you click up or down, left or right. However, for the price, you can not be it. If you get Tactical Shooter, there was an aritcle about 4 to 5 months ago reviewing the Tasco scope. It had good reviews. I hope this helps.
You also mentioned that you have a AR15. You did not mention if it was a flat top, or did it have a floating barrel etc... I can only but presume. If you have a standard AR15, like myself, who wants a nice little scope I can recommend one to you. It is by Combat Military Optics. They have a good range sighting system built in with luminated reticles. It has a standard colt mount which fastens to the carrying handle of the AR15. I have been happy with this scope also.
SC did do a review of the Tasco scope. Check out the review section.
San Francisco, CA, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 03:19:53 (ZULU)
I use a Leupold 4.5-14x50 Mil-dot on my 700VS .308. Would I be better off putting a M3LR on the .308 and putting the 4.5-14x50 on the AR? For those with experience with army and marine mil-dots, will having two scopes different affect my ranging abilities from an application standpoint?
The Shooter <email@example.com>
College Station, TX, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 04:22:57 (ZULU)
Using a scope is subjective like anything else. What do you plan to do with it and What are your objective with this rifle! I can't really imagine a 50M lens on a AR15 but it does happen. However, On a bolt action I could see it happening. In fact, alot of individuals have it that way. I started that way with a B&L Elite 3000 5X15 50M scope. You really need to figure out your objective before anything else. I went through two scopes before I settled on my Leupold. Now I am a happy camper.
As for MIL Dots, yes it can have an affect. The dots them selves are measured differently. You can read about it in some publications. I would ask for - I think - September or October of Tactical Shooter. They explain it well, actually, very well. Their web site is www.tacticalshooter.com.
Here is one other sites that I would recommend you checking out;
My favorite AR15 site - www.ar15.com. Go to review, then to scopes. They review the Tasco scope there.
San Francisco, CA, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 05:06:26 (ZULU)
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