Simple AR accuracy tricks, please advise


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PercyShelley
June 18, 2007, 04:29 AM
I'm trying to wring the most out of my AR. I realize that this is a dangerous thing to do, since before long you have a 24' barreled upper, expensive handloading equipment and nothing to blame for your lousy shooting but yourself. I acknowledge that from the start.

I've got an Olympic Arms k16, a strange little number with a 16 inch bull barrel and a target crown. Twist rate is one in nine, currently looking at new optics.

Here's what I'm thinking so far to improve accuracy:


1) Get more time in shooting, so as to justify anything I do to the gun.

2) I've heard that placing a small o-ring around the rear takedown pin will reduce slop between the upper and lower receivers. There isn't actually that much slop to begin with, but there is some.

3) Start shooting heavier ammo. Am I correct in thinking that the 55 grain XM193 ball I'm shooting is not ideal for that twist rate?


Any other SIMPLE pointers are quiet welcome, as well as critiques of those I have listed.

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helpless
June 18, 2007, 04:55 AM
Also interested...

rbernie
June 18, 2007, 05:14 AM
I have not found movement between the upper and lower to cause an accuracy degredation.

Shooting heavier bullets will not necessarily make the rifle shoot more accurately. Finding a high quality load that the rifle likes will.

Other than learning to shoot better, about the only things that I've found to noticably improve my AR's accuracy was installing a free-float handguard and a decent trigger.

Coronach
June 18, 2007, 05:27 AM
1. My understanding is that movement between upper and lower, unless really excessive and thus indicative of something being out of spec, should not affect accuracy.

2. 55gr ammo is, in general, not hyper accurate.

3. Good trigger. RRA's NM trigger is pretty good, espacially for the money.

4. Get a free float handguard

5. Find a high quality load, or develop a handload, that works well for your gun.

Quintin Likely
June 18, 2007, 07:42 AM
Get a good trigger and free float the barrel. Upper and lower receiver fit don't really mean nothing in regards to accuracy.

NavyLCDR
June 18, 2007, 09:05 AM
If you don't want to handload, try different ammo. Believe it or not, Ultramax factory reloaded ammo 50 rds per box is the most accurate stuff I have found for my Stag 1:9 twist AR. With a cheap 4-12x40 scope from wal mart mounted that stuff would shoot into one hole at 30 yards. But now I handload.

+1 on trigger work. Getting a match grade trigger will probably help a bit.

What are you using for sighting? Scope, red dot, iron sights? Obviously a scope mounted as low as possible on the receiver would be best.

I have read that the upper to lower fit doesn't affect much, but if you are going to tight it up a bit, the way to do it is a wedge around the rear end of the lower receiver so it butts up tight against the upper receiver. Messing with the take down pin probably won't do much.

http://www.fulton-armory.com/AccuWedge.html

wanderinwalker
June 18, 2007, 09:19 AM
To improve your AR-15's accuracy, all you really need to worry about is having a floated barrel, a trigger you can use easily, and some better ammo. Ignore reciever slop unless it is really bad.

Your 1-9" barrel wil shoot lighter bullets as well as heavier ones, in all likelihood. My 1-7" loves those tiny little 52gr match hollowpoints, as well as the heavy 77 and 80gr Highpower bullets. Just improving your ammo to something loaded with a Ballistic Tip, match hollow point or similar good-quality bullet will make a huge improvement.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 18, 2007, 09:49 AM
Well let me just pile on and say "freefloat, better ammo, trigger"

You have to understand that the accuracy standard for Xm193 is around 4MOA (though most 10rd groups I have shot will give around 3MOA at 100yds.). You don't need heavier ammo necessarily - just better ammo. Try some Black Hills 52gr Match for starters.

I personally don't think the trigger is a high priority replacement unless you have tried better ammo and free-floating and aren't getting the results you want; but there is no question that it helps a lot of people. I still use a stock Bushmaster trigger in my rifle with the float tube and stainless match barrel.

Onmilo
June 18, 2007, 09:53 AM
Match shooters will glass bed the area between the upper and lower receivers.
I use ACCU-Wedges in my rifles.
Do either of these dramatically improve accuracy?
Probably not if you are shooting to 300 meters.

Free floating definately helps improve group size.
I prefer Hogue float tubes for plain round,they are smaller in diameter and feature a rubber cushion for your hand, very nice.

For floaters with places to hang things I like Yankee Hill tubes.

A Rock River two stage trigger is a nice addition to any general use AR.
Some say they shouldn't be used on a combat rifle but I wouldn't hesitate.
The ones I have in my rifles have sent several thousand rounds downrange without issue.

These combat schools where people break their guns are like Motorcycle repair shops with owners who like to go out for "sunday rides" with uninitiated riders who promptly dump their bikes in the twisties.
These shop owners are then more than happy to repair the guys bike just like these "Combat schools" are more than happy to sell you a version of your broken rifle only with "Improvements" to make the weapon more durable.

But I digress.

Good trigger, good barrel, quality ammunition and practice, practice, practice.

funfaler
June 18, 2007, 11:50 AM
Until you can shoot under 4 moa, without a bench or sling, you are really not doing yourself favors by putting $$ into your rifle.

As your rifle sits, it is more than capable of 4 moa with most any ammo, so if you are not achieving that, you have more work to do, as the shooter.

All the things mentioned to improve accuracy, will not result in a net improvement of over an MOA, so, if your skills are not up to the task, you can not 'trick out' our rifle enough to cover it up.

If you think that you would like/need to gain these valuable, and easily aquired, skills, I highly suggest that you get some basic marksmanship training. One of the best deals I know of is an Appleseed shoot, though there are other courses out there, Appleseed shoots are a great bargain, at $70 for the weekend of training. You will come away with the skills to run your rifle to it's max accuracy/range.

Feel free to PM me if you would like additional information on the Appleseed shoots, there is more than likely one coming to a range near you.

Coronach
June 18, 2007, 02:00 PM
I'll disagree with that, slightly, though I admit you have a point. I would not pile huge amounts of money into a rifle until I could utilize the added accuracy. However, a decent ammo, a decent trigger, and a free float tube (probably in that order) are not too expensive and can really help you decide whether a large group size is due to you or due to the gun/ammo.

That said, training is a definite must. You can't buy skill.

Mike

Don't Tread On Me
June 18, 2007, 02:33 PM
Free floating is the single biggest improvement you can make. That will shrink the groups of all ammo, even XM193 and Wolf has been my experience. Don't expect miracles from milsurp ammo though.


After that, use quality ammo. Heavier is usually better since they are all match-grade. With a 1-9 go up to 69gr SMK. Either the Federal Gold Medal Match or the Black Hills to test the rifle's capability. Most rifles will shoot the 69 well. It's a good standard. Much like the 168 is in .308. There are also many match-grade bullets in lighter weights. From 53-60gr. Experiment.


Next, a good trigger. You can go high end with a fancy 1lb or less trigger. They are expensive and they are unreliable. Many folks experience breakage. I recommend the RRA 2-stage. Robust, tough and gives a good pull.


Finally, a decent optic. You can't expect to produce nice groups with lame optics. A blurry scope or something with parallax can ruin a good group.

Quintin Likely
June 18, 2007, 02:34 PM
Free floating the barrel will help, but unless you're shooting from position with a sling I think a good trigger is a better investment especially if you're shooting from a bench. If you had to choose between a float tube and a trigger first, go for the trigger.

taliv
June 18, 2007, 04:00 PM
Match shooters will glass bed the area between the upper and lower receivers.

any match shooters whose names i'd recognize? anyone on the AMU do this? anyone who came in, say, the top 25 at perry do this?

DMK
June 18, 2007, 04:37 PM
I know some companies sell NM upper and lower receivers fitted as a set. However, since the front and rear sights are rigidly attached to the same plane on the upper, it shouldn't make a huge difference unless there is a ton of play.

I agree with the suggestion that a good trigger is the place to start. I put the RRA NM trigger in all my ARs. It makes a huge difference.

Regardless of the other things you do, it's hard to get any kind of consistency with a heavy, gritty trigger.

As far as cheap tips:

I find that painting the front sight post flat black helps. The A2 sight post has a sharp edge and the finish gets worn off easily leaving shiny spots. (If you have an SP1 or an M16A1 upper, get an A2 front sight post, it's much better).

Put nose to charging handle so that you get a consistent cheek weld.

Use the small aperture for better precision.

If you don't free float the barrel and don't use a sling, you can hold the rifle by the mag well to keep pressure off the barrel.

30Cal
June 18, 2007, 05:49 PM
any match shooters whose names i'd recognize? anyone on the AMU do this? anyone who came in, say, the top 25 at perry do this?

I don't think it's all that common. The one or two guys I've run into with bedded AR's weren't especially hard guns. Having shot the loosest AR in the world, I'm here to say that it doesn't matter.

+1 for:
Match trigger
match ammo
float tube (and in that order)

10MMGary
June 18, 2007, 08:09 PM
Next, a good trigger. You can go high end with a fancy 1lb or less trigger. They are expensive and they are unreliable. Many folks experience breakage.

I will agree on the free floated hand guard quality ammo and marksmenship training, but disagree with the above. I have both a Chip McCormick Corp single stage match trigger and a Geissele Automatics HiSpeed DMR two stage trigger in my Stags and neither are unreliable and worth every penny I paid for them.

I do have to add that I have only put approx 2500-3000 rounds through each Stag since adding the triggers, but have had zero issues of any kind with either. The CMC runs about $180.00 but can be found on sale cheaper at times. The Geissele will run you about $290.00 and IMHO it is the finest AR trigger ever made. The only problem with Geissele is they can't or won't keep up with demand and the next batch is not due to be ready until July/Aug. Cheap will cost or hurt you forever, quality does cost more but only hurts once.

Checkout the Geissele here,
http://www.geissele.com/detail.aspx?ID=4

and the CMP here,
https://www.chipmccormickcorp.com/

And no I am not connected with either company in any way other than being a paying customer.

PercyShelley
June 18, 2007, 08:28 PM
Thanks all.

I'm frankly surprised that the consensus is that upper-lower fit has little to do with accuracy. I suppose I'll have to believe it provisionally, as I don't have any way to test it.

I'm also glad to hear that a free-floated hand guard is a large positive improvement, since the K16 comes stock with one.

I've heard that at longer lengths of bull barrels it is a good idea to bed the barrel to take stress off the receiver, but I can't imagine it will make much difference at 16 inches.

Trigger pull has thus far been satisfactory, but if after a while it seems to be an issue, I'll look into a new unit.

More shooting it is, and experimenting with different ammo!

Coronach
June 19, 2007, 12:21 AM
I'm frankly surprised that the consensus is that upper-lower fit has little to do with accuracy. I suppose I'll have to believe it provisionally, as I don't have any way to test it.OK, look at it this way: why would it?I've heard that at longer lengths of bull barrels it is a good idea to bed the barrel to take stress off the receiver, but I can't imagine it will make much difference at 16 inches.It sure cannot hurt. Isolating the barrel, be it 12" or 24", will only help accuracy.

Mike

Onmilo
June 19, 2007, 10:28 AM
30Cal
I have had no associations with the AMU since 1984 when I left the Army and they were still up at Ft.Bragg at that time.
I will not post those names on the world wide web, some of them are still active and some of them are in harms way as I type these words.

M16A2 rifles were still brand new back then and upper/lower bedding and working out ways to free float the barrel were still the new and novel rages of the time.

M14s still took the medals at Match time back in those good old pre-war days.

My MOS was 45B2 and I was working Depot level out of 18th Airborne Corps at the time.

I have no idea what goes on at Perry anymore, I haven't had the time to attend a "Real" Match in several years though I still long to go.

PercyShelley
June 20, 2007, 03:57 AM
I suppose I was under the mis-impression that upper/lower slop would allow the barrel to slide back and forth with respect to the lower. During firing, it might wobble.

If this is not the case, where is the gun moving when it rattles?

Coronach
June 20, 2007, 04:44 AM
I suppose I was under the mis-impression that upper/lower slop would allow the barrel to slide back and forth with respect to the lower. During firing, it might wobble.

If this is not the case, where is the gun moving when it rattles?It might very well allow the barrel to move around, vis a vis the lower. But, all of the stuff important for accuracy (the barrel, the receiver half to which the barrel attaches, the sights) are all on the same side...they'll all wobble together. Sure, if the movement is excessive, you won't be able to hold the sights on target, but that's a massive ammount of play. The small wobble caused by upper/lower play is overcome by just holding the rifle in a good hold and looking throught the sights. You're essentially holding the upper on target- the lower is irrelevant. As long as your sights are on target, your barrel is on target.

Where upper/lower play is more of an issue is one rifles where one of the sights (usually the rear) is on one reciever and the other important parts (front sight, barrel) are on the other, like the FAL. Then any wobble between halves results in a wobble between the two sights or a wobble between sights and barrel. Any slop there can spell doom for accuracy.

Mike

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