Flat-tops and in-line stocks: why?


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Fletchette
May 16, 2006, 02:02 AM
Yes, I know flat top receivers on ARs are popular today, and people often cite the parallax issue as the reason. But when the AR already has an inline stock on it it makes it darned near impossible to shoulder properly - the butt floats in the air above your shoulder.

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carebear
May 16, 2006, 02:13 AM
The inline stock is a requirement of the buffer assembly. The flattop allows scopes to be mounted at a normal height versus the old carrying handle mounts.

The butt up high in the shoulder matters little with a weapon that kicks less than a super soaker.

Not the ideal, but the buffer assembly is driving the train.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 16, 2006, 02:55 AM
What is odd is that in both of the example photos you posted, they have adjustable stocks and could solve the toe of the stock barely in the shoulder pocket problem by simply running the stock shorter

I don't know that parallax is really a valid reason for a flattop. Because of the buffer assembly and inline stock, you can't really mount lower than 2" height over bore anyway because you won't be able to get your eye to the scope. Regular iron sights on the AR are only mounted at 2.6"

To me the main advantage of a flattop is flexibility and no additional height over bore...if you start mounting a scope in the carry handle you get into ridiculous height over bore like 3.6" and higher. The Israelis had an ACOG handle mount solution that was pushing 5" in height over bore. That is going to cause issues.

The advantage of the inline stock is of course better recoil recovery and faster time on target; which I think is worth the tradeoff in increased height over bore. With a muzzle brake and a scope, you can literally watch holes appear in your target like a videogame the recoil is so manageable.

cracked butt
May 16, 2006, 03:20 AM
The way that you shoulder it doesn't matter much, the AR doesn't have any significant recoil and isn't going to punish your shoulder if you only have the toe of the stock on the shoulder. FWIW, many high power shooters using ARs with the standard iron sights shoulder the rifle in a similar manner as well, some even cant the rifle somewhat.

Lebben-B
May 16, 2006, 06:30 AM
darned near impossible to shoulder properly - the butt floats in the air above your shoulder.

Back before wide scale introduction of the M4, the technique we used for CQB was to pull the stock over and past the firing shoulder, then cant the rifle inward a bit to bring the sights to the eye. This was done to reduce the "working" length of the rifle in front of you. While awkward at best, it was pretty effective at CQB ranges. The low recoil of the rifle and short distances involved made keeping the butt in the pocket of the shoulder a non-issue.

Mike

444
May 16, 2006, 08:11 AM
I am not sure if this is what you were asking but......
One of the most beneficial things I learned in my first formal shooting class was how to correctly shoulder a long gun. I found out that I was doing it wrong all these years. I also now observe 99% of the people I see shooting long guns are also doing it wrong.
The toe of the stock goes in the shoulder "pocket". The gun then pivots up and down on the stock toe like a hinge. An additional benefit to all this is consistency. You put the toe of the stock in a specific place every time making your cheekweld and sight picture the same every time. But perhaps the biggest benefit is recoil. Recoil seems to be a very common complaint on this, and other internet forums. IMO, one reason this is such a common complaint is because people are not putting the toe of the stock in the "pocket". By correctly shouldering the gun, you are able to shoot hundreds of shotgun slugs and buckshot per day for a week during a formal class. Without the correct position, people complain about the first shot.
This postion is correct for any long gun, not just the AR15.

AK103K
May 16, 2006, 09:46 AM
The toe of the stock goes in the shoulder "pocket".
This is how we were always taught to shoot rifles as kids, and we learned on '03 Springfields, 98K's and M1's/M14's. We always shot them in just a tee shirt in warmer weather too, with no pain. I'm always amazed at how many of the "younger" shooters have troubles and/or complain that the .30 caliber guns kick to hard or are hard to shoot well.

The other problem is the lengthening of the stock over shortening them. It seems that these days, everyone wants them longer and seems to think things like the AK or original M16's, etc are to short for proper shooting. If anything, its just the opposite. Most all combat rifles are (were) always "short stocked". The standard AK has the exact same LOP as an M16/M16A1 or M14/M1 by the way.

I have an Armalite M15A4(T) flat top that has a 1.5x5 Leupold on an ARMS mount. It sits right where the iron sights would be, and with a M16A1 stock on it, shoulders and shoots very naturally, just like I was shooting with iron sights. I also have a M15A4(C), also with a A1 stock, with an Aimpoint on a cantilevered mount that co-witnesses with a set of flip up sights. With both rifles, the cheek weld is identical to the iron sights. The flat tops with a slight or small riser on the optic are really the most versatile way to go with the AR's. That and replacing the A2 stock with an M16/M16A1 stock. Personally, I cant stand the sliding stocks available for the AR's.

444
May 16, 2006, 10:07 AM
One of the keys is to bring the gun to your eye and not the eye to the gun. If you are bending your neck sideways to view the sights, odds are, the gun isn't in the pocket. If you head is erect and you didn't move your head when you brought the gun up into the firing postion, odds are, the gun is in the pocket.

Fletchette
May 16, 2006, 02:26 PM
One of the keys is to bring the gun to your eye and not the eye to the gun.

I agree. I have also thought that this would make a good agruement for off-axis sights. Some larger anti tank rifles and machineguns have off axis sights, so that the gunner does not have to lean his head over the gun to view the sights. Also, some guns with top loading magazines have off-axis sights for obvious reasons. These guns are accurate. Why not off-axis sights for assault rifles?

444
May 16, 2006, 05:41 PM
If you are in a proper shooting stance and you have the gun mounted properly, you don't need them.

redranger1
May 16, 2006, 06:15 PM
where exactly is the "pocket" of the shoulder? if its where im thinkin it is then the butt of a rifle would partially sit against my colar bone. but hey, that may also be because im not a beefy fella to.

AK103K
May 16, 2006, 07:10 PM
Its just below where the collarbone meets the shoulder bone between the shoulder socket and the upper edge of your "peck" muscle (at least thats what muscle I think it is)

When properly shouldered, the toe of the stock is in the pocket, with about the upper half the butt above it.

We were always taught to shoot with the elbow "high" which tends to bring more meat up onto the bones and accentuate the pocket. If you look at the old .30 caliber offhand shooters, you'll know right away what I mean.

I'm not real beefy either, and I can(and have) easily shoot 100 rounds of 30-06 or .308, in a tee shirt yet, and not get beat up. For a long time, I used to shoot just that much each Saturday morning in practice for the HP shoots.

cracked butt
May 16, 2006, 07:41 PM
I might be doing something right then, because I shoot the M1 and 1903 really high on my shoulder bringing the sights up to my eyes without any problems.:cool:

Fletchette
May 16, 2006, 07:53 PM
If you are in a proper shooting stance and you have the gun mounted properly, you don't need them.

You are not insinuating no sights at all, right?

colt.45
May 16, 2006, 08:05 PM
hes not placing his head correctly. instead of just tilting his head to the side like a kid, he should put the whole buttstock (or most of it) in his shoulder and move his head forward and down.

444
May 16, 2006, 08:14 PM
"You are not insinuating no sights at all, right?"

This isn't a rifle story, but a related handgun story.
When I took Gunsite's basic handgun class, we were four days into the class when we had the night shoot. We did some flashlight work and then the instructors had us do something bizarre. We did a drill where we drew our handguns into a good solid Weaver stance. The same stance we had been shooting out of all day for the last four days. We were then instructed to fire a five shot group on the target in the pitch dark (we might have shut our eyes, I don't remember). When everyone was done, the rangemaster said, "Before anyone turns on their light, I am going to tell you that these groups will be the best group you shot all week". And, of course, he was right. The groups were right in the COM and were basically one ragged hole. The alignment was achieved completely from our stance and body index.


Back to rifles.
Let me first say that I am certainly no expert on anything. I am only repeating what I have been told in various classes. I have never been in combat or worked in law enforcement. This all may be BS, but when I was told this stuff, I tried it and it works for me and it makes sense. Ok, when most people shoot a rifle, then stand almost 90 degrees to the target in an extremly sharply bladed stance. This is the classic off-hand position. This is not how I was taught to shoot these types of rifles. The stance is basically facing the target stright on, with about a 30 degree blade. Picture youself walking straight toward the target with the toe of the weapon in the pocket and pointed down at the ground at about a 45 degree angle to the target. When you engage the target, you simply pivot the weapon up on it's hinge until the sights are in front of your eyes and fire. Your eyes remain looking at the target and your head doesn't move at all. If you play around with this pocket and your orientation to the target, you will see that it is easier to keep the toe of the stock in the pocket when you are standing more square to the target than if you are bladed off at almost 90 degrees. When you are bladed way off, this is why you will need to "chicken wing" or raise your arm way up to make the pocket. Another example would be to imagine you were in a fist fight with your opponent. You arn't facing 90 degrees away from him. You are in a good steady stance. If he hits you, you arn't going to lose your balance and fall down. You stance is solid to absorb that recoil. Contrast that to the severely bladed stance where the butt of the rifle is almost ready to slide across your shoulder into space.
When stationary you are squared to the target in this fighting stance. You arn't standing bolt upright. Your knees are not locked. You are bent forward slightly at the waist. Just like you are ready to box. Note that with a 30 degree blade the sights now come right up to your eye.
Leave that arm out there and someone will shoot it off.

cracked butt
May 16, 2006, 08:29 PM
When you engage the target, you simply pivot the weapon up on it's hinge until the sights are in front of your eyes and fire. If you play around with this pocket and your orientation to the target, you will see that it is easier to keep the toe of the stock in the pocket when you are standing more square to the target than if you are bladed off at almost 90 degrees

You might be talking about tactical shooting or some other apples to oranges analogy to what I'm thinking. Your analogy with the pistol in the weaver stance while blind is very good though. I've been taught that if you shoulder the rifle with your eyes closed and your sights aren't on target, you need to shuffle your stance until you can bring the rifle up in alignment with the target (natural point of aim) and not adjust the rifle to the stance. I might just be playing an entirely different shooting game than you are though.:confused:

444
May 16, 2006, 08:34 PM
Right, we are talking about two different things. I was talking about the type of shooting the two gentlemen in the pictures are doing.

cracked butt
May 16, 2006, 08:43 PM
thought so;)

Dacoda
May 16, 2006, 10:10 PM
ya know, I might be wrong about this, (that's nothing new). I think alot of it could be the more you shoot, the more tolerant of the pain you become, maybe it has something to do with building up the muscle of the pocket? I dunno, but here's my example.

The first gun I ever bought was a mossberg 12 ga a few years back. the DAY I bought it, I went to the range to fire some bird shot. the first shot hurt, I mean... HURT! my shoulder was literally black and blue for a week. now, a few years later, I can fire 3 inch magnum 1 1/8 oz slugs through it all day long. (actually, after about 15 I'm in pain again).

I fire my .300 Mag like it's nothing.
haha, Mosin with a steel butt plate? Nothing!

444
May 16, 2006, 10:13 PM
It's all about technique.
Technique comes in two flavors: experience or training/education. One takes longer than the other but with work they both take you to the same place.

Zak Smith
May 17, 2006, 12:52 AM
In short: No, it doesn't.

The AR-15 series with either A2 iron sights, flat-top mounted BUIS or optics (rail to axis height ot approx 1.5") puts the eye exact at the right height with regard to the stock. The AR-15 is well known for its excellent ergonomics.

Fletchette
May 17, 2006, 02:12 PM
The AR-15 series with either A2 iron sights, flat-top mounted BUIS or optics (rail to axis height ot approx 1.5") puts the eye exact at the right height with regard to the stock. The AR-15 is well known for its excellent ergonomics.

If it were the exact right height, then why are soldiers holding their carbines in such a position as to have the butt of the stock floating in the air?

Also, aside from sight height above the barrel, why not use off-axis sights so one does not have to tilt his head over the gun?

Zak Smith
May 17, 2006, 02:15 PM
In both of those pictures, the soldiers are choking up on the rifles to decrease the overall forward extent to utilize cover and/or increase maneuverability.

648E
May 17, 2006, 09:29 PM
then why are soldiers holding their carbines in such a position as to have the butt of the stock floating in the air?


They aren't. Apparently you've never fired an M4/variant. Firing still works quite well with only the bottom of the stock to your shoulder.

mmike87
May 17, 2006, 09:52 PM
This isn't a rifle story, but a related handgun story.
When I took Gunsite's basic handgun class, we were four days into the class when we had the night shoot. We did some flashlight work and then the instructors had us do something bizarre. We did a drill where we drew our handguns into a good solid Weaver stance. The same stance we had been shooting out of all day for the last four days. We were then instructed to fire a five shot group on the target in the pitch dark (we might have shut our eyes, I don't remember). When everyone was done, the rangemaster said, "Before anyone turns on their light, I am going to tell you that these groups will be the best group you shot all week". And, of course, he was right. The groups were right in the COM and were basically one ragged hole. The alignment was achieved completely from our stance and body index.

I totally concur ...

I took a class from Steve Silverman a couple of months ago and we did two similar exercises. One with our eyes closed, and another set in near total darkness.

I'm a believer - the "dark" shots WERE the best of the night. And hitting the target with your eyes closed, when you employ proper body indexing and stance, is easier than one would think.

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