thoughts on your ideal AR spacegun for NRA highpower?


30 cal slob
December 11, 2006, 01:21 PM
I must have had a dozen or so AR rifles come and go in my collection. I think the only one left gathering dust in my pile of boomsticks is a KAC M-4. I sometimes fondle it.

Only recently that I've started to rekindle my long-dormant interest in NRA highpower.

Any thoughts on your ideal AR platform for service rifle (obviously have to conform to NRA rules)?

I want to reserve a .223 rifle just for highpower.

I'm sorry if this has been beaten to death, i just haven't been keeping up since the advent of the interblab (fish-hunt-shoot AAAAAAH!).

Would love your input on makes, models, configurations, gunsmiths, sights, slings, etc.

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December 11, 2006, 06:52 PM
if you want a space gun ya can't beat a tubbs 2000.

December 11, 2006, 07:30 PM
If you want to shoot service rifle, the easiest would be the White Oak Armament CMP complete upper with pinned rear sight. Then get a good two-stage trigger (ie: Geissele service rifle trigger).

I've never shot match rifle highpower, but the AR platform is a pretty inexpensive way to get into the match rifle game. If I were to go match with the AR, I'd probably get a White Oak Armament 26" match upper with the Geissele match rifle trigger. But you'll probably end up looking into a different cartridge other than .223 for match rifle. There are some 6mm variants in the works for the AR, which would be the best alternative.

I think the tube style guns like the Tubb 2000 are the best way to go when going bolt because you don't lift your head when operating the bolt.

30 cal slob
December 12, 2006, 07:37 AM
ah yes, i forgot about those tubbs. thanks!

Jon Coppenbarger
December 12, 2006, 01:14 PM
we used to call them the tubb $4K but now you should just call them the tubb $5K as thats what you are going to end up in it by the time you get everything you need to make it work.

I personally know a few guys who bought the tubb to start and gave up on it or just have never gotten around to getting good with it.

It is not a new shooters dream. If you are experienced it will serve you very well in many types of highpower comps.

Have you gotten to Master with a service rifle or gone distinguised? If not you may want to try that first before you switch over. Those service rifles will teach you everything.

I have a custom service rifle but have not shot it much in the 3 years I have owned it as I am still shooting a service rifle.

The space gun platform is a very friendly deal with a whole lot of advantages.
I shot a match on sunday and it was the first time I had picked up the space gun since april and only like the 4 time I have shot it in any competition. With no sighters I shot a 488 out of 500 with it in the match.
The trigger is better, the sight radius is better, the sights are better.
As a example during the slow fire with the sights on it I am able to detect any light changes on the target and adjust the sights for it. My partners had no choice with a post sight and did not see the 3 changes in the 20 shots.
I push my short line ammo between 2950 to 3000 and my 600 yard loads run over 3000 to 3100. With the extra velocity I do not lose much to a better caliber like the 6mm. Plus with like no recoil and cheaper to feed and maintain it works well. When I switch over to long range I may consider the tubb and a few others but it will be a couple of years from now.

December 12, 2006, 08:07 PM
When I get the 10 points I need to finish up with Service Rifle, I'm going to go the spacegun route. It's proven to work and a lot more affordable than the Tubb gun. I'd probably go with .223--I've seen a lot of guys with exotic calibers that have exotic problems. Brass and bullets are easy to find.

If I wasn't shooting an M1A right now, I'd have an AR with a PacNor or Kreiger barrel, 1:7, float tube, 1/4MoA sights and preferably a Geissele trigger. I wouldn't feel under-gunned shooting an RRA or Compass Lake upper.

December 12, 2006, 08:53 PM
An AR in 223 Ackley makes a nice spacegun. Someone around here (Colorado) was shooting one and doing quite well. I had one for a while and it proved to be 100% reliable and could easily get a 200-300 fps over a standard 223. I hit 3100 with the Sierra 77s and an 18 inch barrel using Ramshot TAC.

I will stick to a plain jane service rifle and my Tubb.

Chris Rhines
December 12, 2006, 10:27 PM
If I were going to buy a match rifle, it would be a Tubb.

If I were going to buy a match AR spacegun, I'd probably just send Scott Medesha my credit card and let him get back to me. I'm lazy that way.

- Chris

December 12, 2006, 10:31 PM
For Service Rifle, starting from scratch, I'd go with a WOA upper mated to a RRA lower with a good trigger. And if money isn't a problem, a Dillon 550 to load all the ammo you'll need. The rest is up to you! ;)

FWIW, I don't have the upper, the lower OR the Dillon. What I DO have is an Armalite M-15 National Match model, now wearing a WOA Wilson 1-7" barrel. Shoots great so far, and will be working with it more in the coming months. I have my Master card and am going to jump back in the summer and start seriously pursuing the Distinguished badge.

For a space gun, I'd stick with the .223 to start, and have a custom-job done. Probably a 26" tube, with whatever sights are going to work, mated to a flat-top reciever. I'd be tempted to go with one of those slick-sided uppers just because they are nice looking IMO. And then the buttstock would have to be worked on, but I'm not sure what to do with that.

Jon Coppenbarger
December 13, 2006, 09:13 AM
If you only need 10 more points please stick with it as I am sure you are planning. Trust me its worth it.
The guy shooting the aukley in Colorado is actually from Wyoming and has been a high master for many years. you have the advantages you mentioned plus the option to just shoot normal 223 match ammo at 200 and 300 and then use the aukley at 600.

chris how are you? Good choice on a rifle builder. I ought to send you a photo of mine space gun as it has some custom items hand made on it.
It my RAYS ACME SPACE GUN and says that on the side. LOL

I bought mine from a friend who wanted to buy a grunig so I got a great rifle at a decent price with all the bells and whistles except sights and sling. Check a few of the highpower boards as you may get a very good rifle for a good deal.

Quintin Likely
December 13, 2006, 11:31 PM
An RRA NM model is probably the best deal going for a complete, box stock service rifle AR15 from a big manufacturer.

For something higher up the food chain, Compass Lake and White Oak seem to dominate the line. John Holliger or Frank White will take good care of you. Shouldering a CLE space gun with a White Oak buttstock, I can certainly see the appeal of 'em. The White Oak stock is the cat's ass. John or Frank can rig a space gun up to your heart's desires, right handed bolt release, slot the receiver/carrier for a charging handle, make 'em in all kinds of pretty colors, the sky's (and your credit card's) the limit.

Sights? I'm not a match rifle guy, so I don't know the first thing about 'em except they got too many knobs and adapters and thingies that screw into 'em for a dumb ol' service rifle shooter like me. ;) The one everyone talks about is the Warner. Others include RPA, Centra, PNW, Phoenix Precision, and I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two. I see that David Tubb is building his own rear sight now too. Front sights, 22mm ladder sights - like the RPA - seem to be the most common, with 30mm sights here and there like the Stallings Machine Rightsight and Ross Beer Can.

Calibers? For AR15 space guns, there's something called a 6mmAR that seems to be getting a lot of praise (I think the website is There's only so much you can fit in an AR15 platform. .223 Ackley Improved is an option. I've read of more radical things, like .22 PPC, but they take a lot of work to get right. Of course if you're shooting a service rifle AR15, it's .223, all day, every day. If you're wanting to shoot a bolt rifle, there's all kinds of fun high horsepower cartridges you can use to sling bullets downrange. Tubb guns are a neat alternative, but like Jon said, you'll be out $5K or so to get a Tubb gun and everything you need to make it work. Another option is a Tube gun, which is basically a sleeved, magazine fed receiver that you glue a short action Remington 700 in to. No bedding to worry about, bolt runs in the stock like a Tubb gun so I think you can keep your face in place as you run the bolt during rapids. MAK Enterprises and Gary Eliseo both make tube gun kits; the latter though is biased towards the 6BR cartridge due to it's magazine design to enable feeding those fat stubby little cases. And of course, there's always conventional stocked bolt rifles like Remington 700s, Winchester 70s and (if you can still find them; check with Mac Tilton) Tikka 595s.

There's enough stuff out there to give you a headache if you sit back and look at it for a while.

December 14, 2006, 11:52 AM
If I was to build a tube gun, MAK or Eliseo, I would not use a Remington 700 donor action. I would without a doubt go with a Stiller Predator 700 clone. Not only is it a better action, but it already comes with a bigger bolt handle.

30 cal slob
December 14, 2006, 02:01 PM
Wow. Those WOA uppers look tasty.

I guess for service rifle I could just top off a Stoner M-4 lower with a WOA upper.

Then there's the bolt gun ... argh. So many toys, so little time.

Now where did I put that credit card ....

December 14, 2006, 03:56 PM
JP Rifles, $2500 and you can go out and win.

December 14, 2006, 06:38 PM
J.P. is putting down some awesome stuff........ for the ar platform.
I've got a .223 in the works it carries a dpms lower, and a .308 heavy barrell dpms Lrt308, It is due a trip to J.P. for a tune up.

Quintin Likely
December 14, 2006, 06:57 PM
While I'm sure JP builds an excellent rifle, I think you'd be better off from a builder who caters specifically to the highpower community, like White Oak Precision ( or Compass Lake Engineering (

And if your M-4 lower has something other than an A1 or A2 buttstock and a regular pistol grip on it, there's not an upper in the world that'll make it legal as a service rifle.

December 16, 2006, 07:58 AM
Mike builds some of the best service rifles and space guns around.

December 17, 2006, 10:31 PM
What the heck ever happened to normal, run-of-the-mill, non-free-floated, non-fancy-sight... SERVICE rifles? Nobody in the sandbox has any of that gadgetry! :uhoh:

That said, a bone-stock DPMS A2 20" would be my pick.

Quintin Likely
December 18, 2006, 04:17 PM
What the heck ever happened to normal, run-of-the-mill, non-free-floated, non-fancy-sight... SERVICE rifles? Nobody in the sandbox has any of that gadgetry!
It's called the M16 EIC match at Camp Perry. Shot with rack grade M16A2s and ball ammo. Or a John C. Garand match.

High power is a long way's away from combat shooting (except maybe Rattle Battle) - it's not really a fair comparison to what those guys in the sandbox are using.

December 20, 2006, 08:22 PM
I remember when a good old stock 03-A3 and Garands and the like were the comp guns. I shot in those days and enjoyed it. The biggest worry was finding stripper clips for the o3 and Ding clips for the Garand so I could reload fast enough to play.
Now the games have turned like most The guy with the big bucks gets the advantage.
I feel like something was lost there.
Nothing like good spirited competition, win or loose a good time was had by all.

Chris Rhines
December 20, 2006, 09:33 PM
What the heck ever happened to normal, run-of-the-mill, non-free-floated, non-fancy-sight... SERVICE rifles? Roughly the same thing that happened to the dinosaurs. They were rendered extinct by superior technologies. Good riddance.

Nobody in the sandbox has any of that gadgetry! None? ( Really? ( Are you sure? (

Well, that's okay. Nobody ever said that what they have in the sandbox has any relevance to what we shoot for recreation.

Now the games have turned like most The guy with the big bucks gets the advantage. Oh, give me a break. Money has always played a part in competition and it always will. If nothing else, the guy with the big bucks could always afford to practice more, as opposed to those of us who have to work for a living.

- Chris

Quintin Likely
December 20, 2006, 10:54 PM
Now the games have turned like most The guy with the big bucks gets the advantage.
It's the injun, not the arrow. Always has been, always will be. Especially in service rifle shooting; the hard guns will always be the hard guns, because they practice, train, breath, eat, sleep, and live service rifle.

Ultimately, it's the nut behind the buttplate that shoots the high scores and the big X-counts.

December 20, 2006, 11:00 PM
Nobody in the sandbox has any of that gadgetry!

That's because they use other gadgetry like Acogs, Aimpoints, vertical foregrips, and weapon mounted flashlights. They have no use for the buttstock and handguard lead weights like we do, as we don't have use for the Aimpoint or vertical foregrips as they do.

High Power service rifle is a far cry from actual service rifle. But "service rifle" that actually is in use has also adapted for actual 'service', whereas competition service rifle has adapted for competition. High power is still fundamentally based on the core foundations of marksmanship. The methods used to accurize rifles and the shooter in this level of competition may not be used in actual combat, but that doesn't mean that high power competition does not make for a better marksman or woman.

Historically, the military marksmanship units have been trying to find ways to accurize their rifles for high power competition. It didn't start with the AR15. Look at National Match Garands. 1/2MOA sights, thinner front sight post, selected barrels, bedded actions. Same with the M14, plus the M14 gets the extra lug. The changes to the typical M16 to a competition M16 isn't much different from the changes they made to the M1 and M14 to get it to shoot competitively (and consistently). The free floating handguard is the equivalent to the bedding for the M1 and M14. The NM sights for 1/2 or 1/4 MOA adjustments are the same as the improvements in the sights for the M1 and M14. There isn't really any other changes to the standard M16 configuration to make it NM worthy.

So to ask what happened to the run of the mill service rifles, you need to go back 40 years and talk to the armorers at the Springfield Armory and the various military marksmanship units.

With all the gear that highpower shooters have, it looks like an equipment race, but it really isn't. An out of the box NM configured RRA rifle runs for about $800 or so, right? After that, add a sling and shooting coat and you're pretty much in the game. Spotting scope? You can get away with a Konus or other generic scope to read mirage for awhile until you get to be better. You don't need one to keep score. That's what your scorer is for. Mat? Nice to have, but the coat is more important. If you need to keep the dirt off you, just get a towel or rolled up carpet. Most of the other stuff is just extra topping on the cake.

If you want to talk equipment race, then talk about benchrest.

The only issue where money truly comes into play is in time for practice. More money = more ammo + range time = more practice = better shooter. More money = more/better equipment does not equal a better shooter.

December 20, 2006, 11:08 PM
Not to mention that Highpower has always been a major root for development towards improving accuracy on standard GI weapons.

Jon Coppenbarger
December 21, 2006, 07:55 AM
I find highpower to be a sport that you get out of it what you put into it.

you can shoot any old type rifle in many events as no body is going to stop you if you want to show up at a local cmp match or local nra match.

you also can use the the items mentioned before like a piece of carpet and heavy jacket or work glove. No body is going to stop you.

I really do not know a single person who has started highpower that went out and spent big bucks on all the fancy equipment when they got started.

now does the high $ stuff work better? Well some of it does and some of it does not matter depending on how you use it and what you need it for.

you can go on and on and as some of you know I can rant on for a long time. LOL about why this is that and that is this but I always look at it this way.

Some of you shoot in competitions and I know many of you do it in many different shooting sports. To each their own I say as if you like ispc or ipda or trap and skeet or bench rest. Thats your sport and man thats great.
One sport is no better than another as I see it and I found highpower to be mine thats all.
And I truely feel that anybody that cuts down on anothers sport ( yeah we can joke sometimes) does it like anything else in this world and that is because they can not do it very well. It is just easier to make excuses than put in the effort to gain the skill to get better.

Makes me wonder why the army is paying civilian highpower shooters to travel around the US to teach the soldiers to learn marksmanship. Can they qualify the ones that make excuses? I wonder how many of the excuse makers are either Distinguised or a Persidents 100 member as you need one or the other to qualify for the program. A good marksman can pick up any weapon and do well with it.

December 29, 2006, 11:04 AM
I'm in agreement that one can't beat either White Oak or Compass Lake for a first rate AR for competition. They both make first rate products that have a well earned reputation for reliability and accuracy.
If one is in the hunt for leg points, do yourself a favor and don't mess with any match rifles until you are legged out. For most people it will make it much more difficult to achieve that goal as a good friend of mine found out. He insisted shooting a match rifle for competition and the service rifle just in leg matches. Even though he was a Master class shooter he never legged out before old age and health problems caught up with him.
Like Jon said, you don't have to spend the big bucks to have fun shooting. I decided I wanted a DCM Garand and shot my first matches with a Rem.788 in 22-250. (I must have been fun to watch since I had to do 2 mag changes in the RF stages.) I too used a welding glove and an old blanket for a mat. Boy was I hooked! Even though I am a HM, I have been known to drag out some pretty weird stuff out to shoot 100yd matches just for fun, such as a single shot Ruger#3 or stock 96 Mauser. No one complains about it either and most match directors just want everyone to have a good safe time and don't get uptight about rules unless safety is involved.
My present rifle is a LH spacegun in .223 Ackley that I built myself that has about all the bells and whistles available. In my search for better 600yd performance have thought of building one in another caliber such as the 6.5 Grendel, 6mmAR or 6/6.68mm; but I don't believe the advantage is that great if any over my present choice. Oh well I like to tinker and mess with wildcats too, so who knows.

December 31, 2006, 10:41 AM
6.5 Grendel makes major PF with the heavier loads 130gr+

Les Baer Custom has announced that they will be producing a 6.5 Grendel at their web site. They are to have it for show at the upcoming shot show and a review is supposed to be published in an upcoming major gun rag.

Additionally, Black Hills is announcing production of 6.5 Grendel ammo at the shot show. Their ammo will also be in the Les Baer 6.5 Grendel magazine article.

December 31, 2006, 04:13 PM
The Army is extremely utilitarian when it comes to teaching soldiers to shoot.
"Here is your weapon! Here are some magazines! Now go shoot! Good, you qualified! Now get back on the trucks!"

In the civilian world you can take the time to learn all the theory, nuance, and delve into the almost cryptic world of reloading your own custom ammo.
Plus you can have YOUR rifle custom tailored to YOU.

January 21, 2007, 04:07 PM
An AR with a Alexander Arms 6.5 Grendel upper. Ideal in my opinion.

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