A Non-AR Shooter's Views On The AR-15


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Cosmoline
June 12, 2011, 04:17 PM
Thanks to all who weighed in on this thread: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=595827, I recently picked up this fine rifle:

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b52/Gussick/AR3.jpg

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b52/Gussick/ar15-1.jpg

It's a Colt AR-15A2 "Government Carbine" model which I believe was made for law enforcement during the bad old days of the ban, but which is now being surplussed out to non-leo's. It's very lightweight.

Apart from SKS's and AK semi clones, I'm not terribly familiar with modern military firerarms. In the past decade I'd say 90% of my rifle shooting has been with bolt action surplus rifles, leverguns and flintlocks. I'd heard a lot about AR's and was familiar with them in general but had never shot one.

I've now done a teardown of the beast and taken it for a 200 round sighting in and testing spin and for what it's worth I have a few observations.

--The myth of the AR being a very sophisticated space-age machine far too complex for the average user has been completely busted as far as I'm concerned. It's as easy to tear down to the basic cleaning level as an AK-47, and easier than an SKS. It's very intuitive.

--The second level of tearing down is slightly more complicated. This basically includes everything starting with the gas tube removal. But if you follow the easily-obtained manuals it works well. If you try to jam things in there or rip them out you'll be in trouble. But even so I would class it as less complex at this level than, for example, a Winchester 94.

--One issue I have is the somewhat anachronistic rear sight elevator which is calibrated to start at 300 meters. Seriously? They stopped doing that with much more potent war rifles in WW2, so it's odd to see such a distant zero on this much more modern rifle. But as with everything else about the AR-15, there was an easily found fix. I followed the instructions for the Lt. Col. Chuck Santose and presto with some turns of an allen wrench I had it set up for a 200 meter zero with a crossover at 50 yards.

--After that sighting in was a breeze. I've sighted in a lot of very cranky military rifles but this one offered nary a protest. I selected a heavier weight bullet to favor the twist and fired groups of 3 at 25 yards to get windage set up. Then per the Santose method I moved out to 50 yards to finish adjusting the front sight. Adjustment was a little tricky without the tool, but it was intuitive. The "up" arrow threw me until I realized that they were describing bullet point of impact.

--Ammo weight is nothing short of astonishing. I go to the range by bicycle so I have to hump every round I want to shoot 15 miles down there. With a Mosin a few hours of shooting means a serious chunk of weight. But with the wee tiny 5.56 rounds, I found I had enough for hours of shooting with room left over in the backpack.

--Why didn't anyone ever point out that every AR-15 is a breakdown model? That's a major selling point on expensive hunting rifles but here with the simple pushing of two flintlock-style pins you have two halves that can easily be stowed. I found the upper on this with the 16" barrel fits perfectly in the Alaska Sportsman carbine scabbard and the lower fits in the main day pack easily. I honestly had no idea breakdown was so simple. It carries like it isn't even there, esp. compared with a big bolt action warhorse.

--Shooting is easy, of course. The flaws I could see from the first session are a pretty poor trigger, a lot of rattling in recoil and difficulty in steadying it given the very light barrel. I know the trigger is a very easy one to upgrade. To steady it in the stances I'm looking for a good hasty sling. I've got a single point sling but that appears to be useless as a shooting aid. The rattling around is another matter. That's a function of the light weight I think. I feel almost no recoil, but the thing bounces around a lot. Maybe that's what those forward handles are for?

--Accessorizing seems to be a major industry. The guy who sold it to me tried to get me to buy an ACOG that cost nearly as much as the rifle. But it doesn't appear much of it is really necessary. I'm mainly looking for a shooting sling and some more magazines for training.

--The direct gas impingement system is actually a brilliant idea. There's no moving parts to fiddle with. I can see how it would be trouble if the thin steel straw got full of crud, but you also won't have a bent op rod on this thing.

--Cleanup is a breeze. The bore was back to fresh after a few sweeps.

--The biggest limiting factor of this rifle is the cartridge. As noted it is a breeze to carry, but it is wee tiny. The ballistic performance is meager and the bullets are too small. Of course there are a growing number of upgrades you can easily swap over to. The 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC are very interesting and have had impressive results hunting hogs from what I've heard. I expect to do some exploring in this area, but the low cost of 5.56 and light weight make it excellent for training.

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Ramone
June 12, 2011, 06:56 PM
KUDOS!

You are now the proud owner of the greatest battle instrument ever devised.

Some comments on your notes:

Millions of raw recruits have been trained to maintain the AR platform. It ain't rocket surgery.

Tearing down to the gas tube? for the love of god, what the hell did you do that for!?!?

The M16 will engage man sized targets to 500 yards, and every USMC qualifies at that range in boot camp. 300 m *is* way more than will usually be used, but it's nice to know it's there. Use the 0-2 aperture for shooting when moving, use the unmarked for any shot you want to count. In Fact, never use the 0-2 at all- all shots should count.

the correct 'tool' for setting the front sight is one round of 5.56 ball ammo.

Most of those that poo-poo the AR and the 5.56x45 cartridge have never had to carry any rifle any distance.

Good on you, biking to the range- you got heart, kid!

The trigger will break in pretty quickly, and there is an easy trick for reducing the take up:

http://www.longislandfirearms.com/forum/m-1291074353.96125/

obtain and learn to use a 1907 pattern sling, like this one:

http://prostores3.megawebservers.com/turnersling_com/-strse-6/National-Match-Police-Tactical/Detail.bok

The use of the 1907 sling is the mark of a true rifleman.

http://www.turnersling.com/faq_how_use.html

Those forward handles are the dumbest damn things I have ever seen. The Magpul Angled forward grip, on the other hand, is simply brilliant:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yIdEGB2QfRs/TKU4PoOUJvI/AAAAAAAAExY/ii6n1tztUQI/s400/MPAG015s.jpg

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-5hE6NAZV_0M/TKU4QTh-JwI/AAAAAAAAExc/j38VgGaXgMY/s400/MPAG001s.jpg

E. Stoner is right up there with JMB in my book. That 'thin steel straw' gets cleaned with a jet of white hot gas every time you pull the trigger. Don't worry about it.

The 5.56x45mm is capable of taking any animal in North America with proper shot placement. Without proper shot placement, no caliber will take any animal. Don't underestimate the poodle-shooter.

PS- good call on the B.A.D. lever- the locking the bolt was always my least favorite part of the manual of arms for the M16- but get that silly cockstrap off that magazine.

Cosmoline
June 12, 2011, 07:31 PM
The angled forward looks ideal. I'll give it a try. I've used the M1907's with bolt actions many times, but how are they for toting the carbine? Will the magazine and pistol grip jab you if you don't have one of the more modern slings?

I always tear down any new firearm I get, mostly to learn about it but also to see if there are any trouble spots. The tube in this case had some carbon build up but nothing a soak in cleaner and pipe brushes didn't get out. I'm following the Marine manual for the steps, which seems to work well.

Ramone
June 12, 2011, 07:52 PM
Do note that for the Angled grip, you'll have to put a rail on your lower handguard to mount it.

I prefer to carry the AR 'African Style'- muzzle down on the support side, but it's ok on the strong side, muzzle up, too.

for Mags, I prefer the 20 round over the 30 - in fact, when the USMC was switching over, my platoon universally kept the 20s over the 30s.

They are less likely to hang up when moving, better when slung, and they let you get way down in the dirt when going prone.

Sam Cade
June 12, 2011, 08:09 PM
Do note that for the Angled grip, you'll have to put a rail on your lower handguard to mount it.
...and its intended to be pushed way forward to facilitate a very specific style of shooting.
The idea is to get your off hand as far toward the muzzle and as high as possible.

Like so:
http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/MagpulAFG.jpg

Thusly:
http://dynamicarmament.com/images/magpuljune2009/afg_7.jpg

or:
http://www.magpul.com/pics/afg8.jpg

Sky
June 12, 2011, 08:17 PM
Yes and check out your ammo supplier or Aimsurplus and get you a few different types of weighted rounds to play with. Did not see the twist of your barrel but there are some match grade 223s at 75 gr that might change your mind a bit on the little bullet? I honestly shoot 62 gr mostly only because I have enough it does not bother me popping a few off. The match stuff I save for pig popping but many others would probably work just fine. There is nothing wrong with the 55 gr for sure I guess it just make me feel better shooting the heavier bullets when hunting?

taliv
June 12, 2011, 08:20 PM
interesting write up and perspective!


no, the vertical foregrips are NOT for steadying it. they are for driving it rapidly left and right to hit large, close targets quickly.

the way to make it more stable is to bring your support hand closer to your body, not farther away, if you are shooting positional. leverage, you know. take a look at the odcmp.org website in the US AMU's coaching section for pictures of very stable standing positions

in the future, don't stick anything in the gas tube. it is self-cleaning and you will cause more problems than you solve by sticking pipe cleaners in it.

Sam Cade
June 12, 2011, 08:21 PM
Did not see the twist of your barrel but there are some match grade 223s at 75 gr that might change your mind a bit on the little bullet?

Its a 6520 so 1/7" twist.

Sky
June 12, 2011, 08:24 PM
1/7 is good should never run out of twist or bullet options!!

Ramone
June 12, 2011, 08:31 PM
the way to make it more stable is to bring your support hand closer to your body, not farther away, if you are shooting positional.

I'd advise just the opposite- long control base=finer control.

Above all, do not use the 'gangster grip' (support hand on the magwell). in the event of a catastrophic failure, the blast goes mostly out the magwell. Plus, it is the carbine equivalent of holding your pistol sideways.

Cosmoline
June 12, 2011, 08:36 PM
I was doing some more stances with it and it seems to me that it's the shape and texture of that forward grip that's causing me troubles. I need it to be thinner and less slick. More like the stock on the rifles I'm used to shooting. All the options seem to add more, and I want less not more.

It could just be a question of getting used to it. I have an inclination to leave this one as is. The classic looks fit my high drag, low speed lifestyle.

and its intended to be pushed way forward to facilitate a very specific style of shooting.
The idea is to get your off hand as far toward the muzzle and as high as possible.

Hmmm. If I do that with this Colt and my arm length, I'll be grabbing the end of the muzzle! Ouch.

It is 1:7 as noted. It seems to like 62 grain bullets. I used the PMC green tip for zeroing. I fed it some "match grade" 75's and it scattered them. I'll be doing more tweaking to see what it shoots best with but so far I'm getting 2" groups at 50 which is fine for my purposes.

It's odd you folks say never touch the gas tube, since it is in fact on the list for periodic maintenance in the manuals I've looked at. And it did indeed have some soot in it.

Plus if I don't remove it, how can I do like the operators and use it as a snorkel to breath underwater while the bad guys are after me?

As an aside--is there any real reason to smack the mags against my head? I keep doing it but the rifle isn't shooting any better or worse.

Sky
June 12, 2011, 08:50 PM
Wow you are planning ahead!! If you can breath through that thing I am impressed!! Honestly no need to remove and many of the guys who are recognized for their knowledge of the weapon system say leave it alone; it really is self cleaning. If you end up getting a .22lr conversion kit and shooting some really dirty 22lr ammo just shoot a couple of 223 when finished with the 22 and all will be well....not even sure if that is necessary but I usually do because some of my ARs do not get shot all the time and stay in the safe. There are ARs that have shot 1000s of rounds and only had some lube squirted at them!! No kidding!! But it seems to be the general consensus leave you snorkel alone! By the way that was a great write up!

taliv
June 12, 2011, 08:50 PM
just so we're clear, i was responding to this statement:
To steady it in the stances I'm looking for a good hasty sling. I've got a single point sling but that appears to be useless as a shooting aid. The rattling around is another matter. That's a function of the light weight I think. I feel almost no recoil, but the thing bounces around a lot. Maybe that's what those forward handles are for?


for fast shots on multiple targets, 3gun style, you want your hand fairly far forward (and farther than you can do on a carbine-length gas block without burning yourself, which is why people put rifle-length guards on them occasionally)

for slow accurate shots, CMP/NRA HP style, you want your hands as close to your center as possible. Usually, the support hand is holding the handguard adjacent to the mag well.

some forearms are smaller than others. i think troy, noveske, and PRI all make low profile models. my KAC forearm is fairly small too.

the gas tube will always have some soot in it, but it will not build up. it's not a problem.

Cosmoline
June 12, 2011, 08:59 PM
Thanks for the input! For the record I will leave the gas tube alone from now on and will stop drinking Dr. Pepper with it.

taliv
June 12, 2011, 09:02 PM
i forget who, but someone makes a pig tail gas tube like the drinking straws for children. you could just get one of those and drink from it, just for the conversation piece value

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1591/product/AR_15_M16_PIGTAIL_GAS_TUBE

JoeMal
June 12, 2011, 09:18 PM
I walked away from a helluva deal on one of these last week and I'm kicking myself for it. Oh well, moving to Texas is more important to me than a gun

Thanks for the report I enjoyed it

Sam Cade
June 12, 2011, 09:24 PM
taliv: $110 for a gas tube. I laugh every time I see that.

taliv
June 12, 2011, 09:27 PM
sam, yeah, it's pretty silly. guess that one's going to be "in stock" for a long time.

mizzlep
June 12, 2011, 09:56 PM
Nice rifle. I don't hunt, but some of the larger loads for 556 should be more than adequate for hunting medium game such as hogs, etc.

wanderinwalker
June 12, 2011, 09:58 PM
Excellent write-up, that was an enjoyable read!

No, they are NOT rocket-science to work on at all and keep running. I've rebarrel my MATCH gun in the garage TWICE, and the current barrel is shooting great groups and scores for me. I have a target in the car, it's 2" for the first 5-shots at 200 yards, prone with the irons, NO load work-up. So...

Careful with how tight you sling up that lightweight carbine when you go to shoot. You will pull your POA/POI off if you really torque down on it. That's the downside to having the sling-swivel attached to the gas block. You can add some pressure to steady it, but not a whole lot.

That 1-7" twist barrel is probably the most versatile option for the .223/5.56 IMO. You can shoot anything available in the caliber without worries, from the 52gr pills all the way up to 77gr HPBTs (OTMs if you insist) and even the long 80gr VLD-type slugs can be used.

And don't worry about the gas-tube! Mine is on it's 3rd barrel now, figure 9000+ rounds without issue. Yeah, I should replace it at the next rebarrel. Otherwise, it gets ignored until it stops functioning, kind of like most people treat a bicycle headset. ;)

68wj
June 12, 2011, 10:48 PM
Congrats on the rifle. I see the rifle is marked for .223, but do you know if the barrel is chambered for 5.56 too? I think the .223 is a great round and you definitely keyed on one of its better redeeming features, the weight.

As far as more-power type upgrades, many of the variant cartridges are very easy swaps. Right now Palmetto State Armory has come out with their own 6.8 SPC option that is getting very good reviews and is down right cheap (relatively :D) http://palmettostatearmory.com/2202.php

Enjoy the rifle!

Sam Cade
June 12, 2011, 10:57 PM
Congrats on the rifle. I see the rifle is marked for .223, but do you know if the barrel is chambered for 5.56 too?

Its a 6520, so though the lower is marked ".223" the barrel has a 5.56 chamber and is marked accordingly.

68wj
June 12, 2011, 11:01 PM
Its a 6520, so though the lower is marked ".223" the barrel has a 5.56 chamber and is marked accordingly.
Thanks. I'm not very familiar with true Colts.

john5036
June 13, 2011, 01:05 AM
...and its intended to be pushed way forward to facilitate a very specific style of shooting.

The idea is to get your off hand as far toward the muzzle and as high as possible.

It covers both really. I had asked about the AFG on a carbine length in another thread and decided to try one out for myself. If you employ a carbine length handguard, that locking of your wrist to get the ring and pinky on the guard can get uncomfortable, and so the magwell grip became an option. If you do the extended support arm grip, it still alleviates your wrist by allowing your ring and pinky finger to have support, taking tension off your index, middle, and naturally, again the wrist.

YMMV, but the AFG2 is a little shorter in length and extends far enough on a carbine rail to do the extended forearm grip. If you do CQB type drills, it's right where it needs to be to keep your support arm comfy, and your grip solid.

It's a great little accessory, and worth a shot at trying out if the vertical foregrips or the traditional rifle grip isn't comfortable. I, for one, really like the AFG2.

1858
June 13, 2011, 04:47 AM
Those forward handles are the dumbest damn things I have ever seen. The Magpul Angled forward grip, on the other hand, is simply brilliant:

I had exactly the opposite experience. I like most MAGPUL products and so I bought a pair of the AFGs and installed them on a POF and Vz.58. After shooting a 2-gun match with the POF w/AFG I realized that I hated it. It forced my hand/wrist into a completely unnatural position. After the match, I asked another shooter if I could try his Noveske with a short TangoDown vertical grip and I loved it. It offered so much more versatility and felt very natural, so the following week I removed both AFGs and installed a LaRue FUG on the POF and haven't looked back. I'll be adding the cheaper TangoDown to the Vz.58.

Fabius
June 13, 2011, 06:59 AM
The rattling around is another matter. That's a function of the light weight I think. I feel almost no recoil, but the thing bounces around a lot.

The rattling sound may be the buffer. Standard buffers have three weights in them that shift back and forth in recoil (designed that way).

Spikes Tactical makes a buffer, the ST-T2, that is filled with tungsten powder rather than solid weights and, among other things, gets rid of the noise that the solid buffer weights make in recoil. If your buffer is a standard weight buffer, then a heavier buffer may also smooth out and soften the recoil a bit. Carbine buffers come in standard weight and progressively heavier weights designated H, H2 and H3. The Spikes buffer is between and H and H2 weight.

Sam Cade
June 13, 2011, 10:53 AM
It forced my hand/wrist into a completely unnatural position.
Not bent is unnatural?

Tirod
June 13, 2011, 11:13 AM
A refreshing and interesting perspective. Likely some of us will link to it for those who would appreciate the viewpoint.

Yes, it's lightweight, and goes directly with the light ammo you carried. All too many shooters completely forget the average military user will likely have to walk miles between places to shoot - and then maneuver in combat with 300 rounds of ammo, a gallon of water, body armor, an MG bipod or LAW, NVG's, etc etc.

Slings in that environment are often removed and stowed away, the gun must be kept at hand and combat ready. The gun is not configured well to be shot with a sling, entirely due to the traditional swivel mount attached to the barrel. It will shift the point of aim if tightened up to International target shooting practices - which is NOT how the gun should be used unless or until a free float is installed. At that point, it's range capable.

Be careful in assessing the trigger needs replacement - as most target triggers use an adjustable take up screw to eliminate creep and slack anyway. One way to look at it is that proper adjustement - like the millions of bolt guns sold with one - will take out 65-80% of the travel, which means NOT creeping over 65-80% of the grit or roughness, too. That improvement can be had for less than $40, no gunsmithing needed, as opposed to $250 for a "great" trigger. You get your money's worth.

Ratting goes right along with the easy two pin takedown. Fortunately, it has nothing to do with accuracy at all, and attempting to get it quiet is money spent for almost nothing.

A good optic and quality ammo will go a long way to tightening groups, next would be a quality target barrel. Until all three are acquired, no other accessory will be any use at all, and most only add small increment improvements - including the free float. It's no joke that ammo and barrel makers can say what MOA is possible with their products - but all the others can't, and won't. It's not possible without the basic accuracy being there, the stuff they sell just doesn't LOSE as much accuracy, it's impossible to add more than that.

Interesting read, takes us back to why we choose to use the AR.

BrocLuno
June 13, 2011, 11:30 AM
As a farm boy who shot heavy old guns as a kid, I had about the same reaction when I was handed my first M16 in Army boot. We all grew to respect the Mattel rifle.

Ever see what one of those little 5.56 ball rounds will do to 5 gallon bucket of water? And yeah, we were all glad we did not have to hump 06 all over the place :)

Guess it does make a good gun for a "bike" guy :)

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 12:19 PM
The gun is not configured well to be shot with a sling, entirely due to the traditional swivel mount attached to the barrel.

What about just using the M1907 as a hasty sling, and not rigging the forward loop for my elbow? I can't imagine the POI shift from the pressure would be half as bad as the generally cruddy off-hand accuracy due to the light barrel. My off hand arm is used to holding an M39, and kept overreacting to the little carbine's weight. I did some experimenting last night and even in a hasty format the leather sling really helps me lock it down.

taliv
June 13, 2011, 12:58 PM
The gun is not configured well to be shot with a sling, entirely due to the traditional swivel mount attached to the barrel.

i don't understand that statement at all

Andrew Wyatt
June 13, 2011, 01:11 PM
i think what he's saying is since there's no free float tube, sling pressure will change POI

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 01:12 PM
I was watching the Marine training video again and they're certainly using the sling to steady their A2's. Is there a different attachment point for the carbines? Does it tweak the pins attaching lower and upper or something?

Sam Cade
June 13, 2011, 01:16 PM
Does it tweak the pins attaching lower and upper or something?

Your carbine has an extremely slender barrel so its possible to cause a shift just with sling tension. The barrel is actually flexing.


A2 profile barrels are much thicker so they arent as prone to do this.

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 01:51 PM
Hmm. How much of a bend are we talking about? If this is a minor shift it won't matter, esp. if its consistent and I can adjust for it. Or is this something where I could actually bend the barrel permanently?

If I understand the problem I'd need to swap over to a stiffer handguard that does not clamp to the barrel and that has a sling attachment point on it.

Andrew Wyatt
June 13, 2011, 02:04 PM
with a mini-14 which has a similar profile to pencil barrel ar's, and a gasblock mounted sling swivel, I've witnessed a 12 MOA shift in impact at 100 yards.

you probably wont permanently bend the barrel.

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 02:08 PM
"Probably"? Are you saying that just putting standard sling pressure on this barrel *could* permanently bend it? That's not acceptable at all, but I have a hard time believing it could happen to modern steel unless the thing is white hot.

If I'm putting that kind of pressure on the thing, surely the upper would start to pull loose of its moorings before the barrel itself bent.

taliv
June 13, 2011, 02:11 PM
guys, you're not going to permanently bend the bbl with sling pressure.
you can flex it ever-so-slightly, but it's as much 'harmonics' as anything

Sam Cade
June 13, 2011, 02:13 PM
Hmm. How much of a bend are we talking about? If this is a minor shift it won't matter, esp. if its consistent and I can adjust for it.


You could pull it off a couple inches at 100 yards easily of you sling up hard.



Or is this something where I could actually bend the barrel permanently?


Not through normal use, but I do realize I am talking to a guy who bicycles in the snow.:cool:



If I understand the problem I'd need to swap over to a stiffer handguard that does not clamp to the barrel and that has a sling attachment point on it.

Well, kinda. Folks that shoot DCM and such that have to keep their rifle looking stock but want the best repeatability sometimes use forearms like this.
http://blackrifleworks.com/dcm-cmp-free-float-tube-p-120.html

You don't have that problem so any free float tube will do the job you need so long as it has provisions for mounting a sling.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 13, 2011, 02:15 PM
Using sling support will shift the POI on a non-freefloated AR. I am not sure if it is due to actually flexing the barrel prior to the shot or whether it is due to changing how the barrel vibrates during a shot; but you'll have a different POI using sling support vs. not using sling support.

If this is a minor shift it won't matter, esp. if its consistent and I can adjust for it.

The shift in POI is noticeable at 100yds and is as consistent as the shooter is. The Marines managed to shoot E-silhouettes at 500m for years with slung A2s, so it appears to be manageable.

Or is this something where I could actually bend the barrel permanently?

I haven't yet seen someone bend a barrel simply by sling pressure. My hypothesis is that there is very minimal actual flex of the barrel due to the sling and that it is the change in barrel vibration that accounts for most of the difference - just as if you rested the barrel across a barrier when shooting.

amd6547
June 13, 2011, 02:16 PM
I use a military black nylon webbing sling on my AR, and I do use it as a hasty sling. I don't tighten really hard on my arm...just enough to steady-up. No POA change problems.
BTW, this is with a retro styly A1 build using an M16A1 GI surplus upper.

Sam Cade
June 13, 2011, 02:18 PM
I've witnessed a 12 MOA shift in impact at 100 yards.


Nearly 13 inches of deflection?

Wow.

Was he completely slung up and locked down?

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 02:31 PM
OK, that clarifies it a bit. I suspect there are some problems because the sling attachments are on upper and lower. I'm not going to be doing any of the uber-tight competition shooting with the special jackets. This is strictly range shooting with off hand out to 75 yards and kneeling to 100. Beyond that, with these sights, my eyes are no longer able to keep it together. Guess I need to spend another grand on that ACOG ;-)

Andrew Wyatt
June 13, 2011, 02:35 PM
Nearly 13 inches of deflection?

Wow.

Was he completely slung up and locked down?

He sure was.


"Probably"? Are you saying that just putting standard sling pressure on this barrel *could* permanently bend it? That's not acceptable at all, but I have a hard time believing it could happen to modern steel unless the thing is white hot.

If I'm putting that kind of pressure on the thing, surely the upper would start to pull loose of its moorings before the barrel itself bent.

no, i'm saying that it'd be really difficult to bend a barrel without breaking your sling or swivels, but I don't want to say never and have someone prove me wrong.

Ramone
June 13, 2011, 03:01 PM
Representive target (a good one, but not a fluke) with tightly slung M4gery (prone)

I find NO significant change in POI with/without sling. The rifle will consistanly make 1-2 MOA.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-CY3ar15G-FM/TfP7Jd7x8iI/AAAAAAAAGYE/cwgqPmSKoSY/s400/ar0103.jpg

goon
June 13, 2011, 03:41 PM
Cosmoline - Your posts always seem well thought out so it never would have occured to me that you didn't know your way around an AR-15. Still, I'm glad you like the rifle. I hope to add one to my collection shortly.

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 03:44 PM
Thanks! One thing I love about firearms and shooting is there is *always* something new to learn. The cost has been the big barrier to the AR's for me, as I suspect it is for a lot of other folks. This is the most I've spent on a firearm pretty much ever.

1858
June 13, 2011, 03:58 PM
Not bent is unnatural?

"not bent" isn't what the folks at MAGPUL had in mind when they designed the AFG. Its design is intended to rotate the wrist downward in order to place the extended thumb parallel with the barrel so that the thumb points at the target. I don't find it comfortable or natural to rotate my wrist downward in an exaggerated fashion. That's why I find the LaRue FUG or any other "stubby" vertical grip to be a much better choice. The vertical grip acts as a stop, my wrist rotates to a comfortable and natural position, my thumb rests on top of the rail rather than on the side of the rail. It works for me.

bushhogger
June 13, 2011, 04:13 PM
I'm New to thr, been looking on this sight for a while,I just bought an DS arms sa58,I was just looking for a little feed back on it, the gun was slightly used, almost new gave 700 for it, shoots really well, but the front sight needs to be adjusted, is there a special tool for it, I'm hitting about 3in low at 100yds with the rear sight set at 400yds, so I need to turn the front sight down, looking forward to yall's feed back

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 04:45 PM
There appears to be a tool out there, but per the folks above a 5.56 tip and a small pair of pliers should be enough. I found these instructions particularly helpful:

http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=599

VeeArDoubleyouSee
June 13, 2011, 05:42 PM
A note on the sights - for a target shooter like yourself, you can do what you already have, and adjust the sights for the range at which you'll be firing the rifle. Those sights, far from out of date, are perfectly adequate for engaging certain 5-to-6 foot tall targets at ranges up to 500 yards, not at all unheard of in places like Afghanistan.

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 05:47 PM
What seems odd to me is that they'd be set to start at 300 meters instead of 200 or 100. I suppose with the flat trajectory it's less of an issue, though.

VeeArDoubleyouSee
June 13, 2011, 05:53 PM
Pretty much. If you turn it down two clicks from 300 (iirc), that's the 200yd setting. Anything closer and it'll hit a little high or low (at very short ranges), which matters on paper, but not on a "life-size" target.

68wj
June 13, 2011, 05:58 PM
What seems odd to me is that they'd be set to start at 300 meters instead of 200 or 100. I suppose with the flat trajectory it's less of an issue, though.
2 clicks back from the 8/3 mark is 200 yds. We called it 8/3-2.

Cosmoline
June 13, 2011, 06:04 PM
Yup, that's how I sighted this one in courtesy of Lt. Col. Chuck Santose.

goon
June 13, 2011, 06:53 PM
The cost has been the big barrier to the AR's for me, as I suspect it is for a lot of other folks. This is the most I've spent on a firearm pretty much ever.

True, the cost is an issue. It's holding me back right now... kind of.
But I don't think you can ever go wrong with purchasing a quality gun and Colts are known to hold their value. And I can also think of situations where I'd really be comforted by having a reliable semi-auto centerfire rifle in easy reach. In a case like that, a thousand dollars spent on a good rifle would be well worth it.

As for the zero, the 5.56 does shoot pretty flat. I like the A1 style sights over the A2 because I think they're a little more durable and potentially more trouble free, which is why I plan to stick a Daniel Defense A1 style on mine when I get it.

Sky
June 14, 2011, 01:43 AM
The tool for the front sight is a great add on! Check your front sight and be sure if it is 4 prong or 5 prong and get the tool you will not regret it. Also the Vortex strikefire Red dot for $150 ( comes with mount) will co-witness with you irons perfectly! That set-up has killed some pigs in the brambles and brush for me.. It is a 3 moa dot with the strikefire and I would recommend the Red Dot version only simply because it is brighter.

Rubber_Duck
June 14, 2011, 08:41 AM
Good job Cosmoline on getting a fine rifle for your first AR-15. Lots of people buy the fully tack-ed out ARs from the get go but you seem to have subscribed to the KISS principle. Good on you. And good job on getting a Colt for your first AR-15 especially if you say money was a barrier. Buy once, cry once, looks like you were a good listener and did your homework. That Colt will hold it's value and is top shelf quality to boot.

If you find the handguards too fat for you try swapping them with something else. You have the fat oval "M4" handguards on it, if you find a set of the CAR handguards they are noticeably thinner and smaller in diameter, but they will still have the same texture/shape. Another option is the MagPul MOE handguard, many people like them. Otherwise the AR-15 is much different than mil-surp rifles and you just have to get used to it.

One upgrade I can recommend for a KISS rifle is a Geissele SSA trigger. They cut my groups in half when I installed one in a Bushmaster C7-type rifle. Not cheap but it's a much better option IMO than modifying the mil-spec trigger group, that's a no-no for me.

Also the Vortex strikefire Red dot for $150 ( comes with mount) will co-witness with you irons perfectly!

I'm not sure how a Vortex Strike Fire red dot sight will co-witness with the irons on a 6520 unless the OP uses one of those goofy gooseneck mounts that places the optic in front of the carry handle. It sounds like the OP is the type of person that likes to shoot irons and the AR-15 certainly has a great set of iron sights. Upgrades can come later after familiarity.

Tirod
June 14, 2011, 09:41 AM
Front sight tools are nice, I never saw one in inventory or issue for my 22 years Reserves. The standard solution was for the Range Officer to supply a bag of finish nails for sight adjustment. Works just fine.

My last qualification in the MP's was at Camp Clark, MO, and when I slung up I was getting 3-4" shifts in impact, on a short range. Completely unacceptable, no way to zero - I finally remembered that military weapons are NOT free floated like an International .22, so I unslung and cradled the forearm in the crook of my arm. Expert, again.

I've since attempted to estimate how many foot pounds of force a tightly slung weapon endures. With the sling at arm numbing pressures, hand forced against the guard, and gas block pulled almost exactly in the opposite direction, it could be 25-40 pounds easily.

Try it yourself - with a hasty position against a door post or tree, pole, or the side of a fixed target stand, press the gas block against it while shooting and see just what you get. ALL military weapons with sling points on front sights. blocks, or bands will shift POI, the issue isn't that they are somehow faulty, it's using a sling in combat like a range shooter when said sling ISN'T part of the combat kit out. The Infantry School at Ft. Benning circa 1983 removed the sling as part of the basic configuration in the field. Reasons included making less noise, not having the weapon on your shoulder when it should be at the ready, not snagging every piece of brush or gear on you tangling and impeding a quick sight picture, etc. We also NEVER used the "carry handle," that was more than an instructor's tripwire for pushups, it was a point of professional pride. You can't shoot a M16 carrying it like luggage, one too many newsclips from Vietnam exposed that newb behavior.

Having also trained MP - sure, there's a place for sling use in street patrol or CQB. Completely different game, you detain and search individuals, it's a police environment, part of the Low Intensity Conflict scenario. It's not field combat where you are assured of being in the sight picture of someone else, and where you need to be completely uninmpeded in your response.

Like any other accessory, if something has an optimum situation for use, it also has an opposite worse case where it has no place at all. Unfortunately the shooting public follows fads and doesn't keep the big picture in mind. Case in point, for the first time in history, the F150 was sold with more 6 cylinder engines than V8's - and since most users are actually commuters, you have to ask why it took them so long to get it.

I'll sharpen the point, since you train like you fight - don't shoot with a sling, don't sling up when hunting, and don't spend money on them beyond getting some kind of strap to carry it out of the woods at the end of a long day hunting. I encourage all those who would use a sling to practice with it at the range, at home, and in the field. Find out for yourself what works for you, rather than simply accept the preferences of someone else insisting on their view of an appropriate tactical response.

Hook a sling one time on a doorknob, lamp, or piece of furniture exiting a bedroom to investigate that noise in the night, maybe it's not the appropriate choice. If you don't practice and train with it, you really don't know whether it works for you.

taliv
June 14, 2011, 09:50 AM
definitely agree you should practice with the sing to see what works.

slings stay on my guns (ARs and bolts) pretty much all year round. I'll detach one end for cleaning maybe once or twice/year. otherwise, it's on in the house, in the car, when bagged, in the eberlestock, and certainly every time i pull the trigger, be it a class, match or goofing off at the range.

Sky
June 14, 2011, 11:53 AM
Yep I have used all sorts of things for adjusting the front sight. Because I was sighting in my ARs once upon a time (and replacing some front sights) also helping with several friends ARs I finally broke down and got the front sight tool for less than $6 when I ordered some other stuff; made my life easier. But yes one rifle and getting it set is usually a one time type operation and no need for a dedicated tool.

Cosmoline
June 14, 2011, 11:56 AM
Tirod--I'm planning on using his for some more advance tactical carbine training, and from what I've seen everyone seems to be using slings--often the fancy three point ones--for this purpose. Is it viable to do this kind of training where you swap from carbine to handgun and back *without* a sling? What do you do with your AR?

I'm used to the standard M1907 sling so I put one on this. After some adjustment it seems to be working fine, and if I know the POI shift in my stances I can adjust for it.

Andrew Wyatt
June 14, 2011, 12:59 PM
Tirod--I'm planning on using his for some more advance tactical carbine training, and from what I've seen everyone seems to be using slings--often the fancy three point ones--for this purpose. Is it viable to do this kind of training where you swap from carbine to handgun and back *without* a sling? What do you do with your AR?

Drop it on the ground, presumably. I have an m1907 sling on my garand and my LTR, but carrying straps on everything else i own. the three point sling or a single point sling is a nice complement to a carbine, since it keeps it handy and accessable and also out of the way.

I'm used to the standard M1907 sling so I put one on this. After some adjustment it seems to be working fine, and if I know the POI shift in my stances I can adjust for it.

taliv
June 14, 2011, 01:07 PM
Drop it on the ground, presumably.

i'm assuming that was a joke

but seriously, in matches and classes, the sling is a safety device. most instructors i've taken would not let you on the line without a sling that keeps the gun vertical (muzzle up or down) when your hands are not touching it. in matches, I require the guns to be transported slung or bagged. we do not allow people to carry guns in their hands because they invariably sweep everyone around them, drop them, or have an irresistible urge to diddle with them. most matches i've been to, incl zak's steel safari have similar rules.

Cosmoline
June 14, 2011, 02:06 PM
I was thinking throw it at the target like I do with the Mosins. With the requisite berserker yell, of course.

Sam Cade
June 14, 2011, 02:40 PM
I've since attempted to estimate how many foot pounds of force a tightly slung weapon endures. With the sling at arm numbing pressures, hand forced against the guard, and gas block pulled almost exactly in the opposite direction, it could be 25-40 pounds easily.

Try it yourself - with a hasty position against a door post or tree, pole, or the side of a fixed target stand, press the gas block against it while shooting and see just what you get.

Ok, I just did an experiment. I clamped a torque wrench onto the back rail of my work bench and placing a rifle against it and getting into a shooting position I got 38lbs.

taliv
June 14, 2011, 02:42 PM
you're going to want the bayonet lug then :)

C-grunt
June 15, 2011, 11:29 PM
Cosmoline... Im glad you like the Colt. The 6520 really is a great lightweight accurate carbine.

I run a VTAC 2 point sling on my Colt and like it a lot. It has a padded section for you shoulder and an easy to use adjuster for the sling. Here is their instructional video.
http://www.vikingtactics.com/pop-instr_video.html

Larry Vickers has a very similar sling that is also supposedly really good.

CathyGo
June 16, 2011, 01:42 AM
As an aside--is there any real reason to smack the mags against my head? I keep doing it but the rifle isn't shooting any better or worse.

The reason is to get the rounds to seat themselves a little more uniformly in the mag. If you're paying attention while you load there's no reason to do it. We do it on the range because the mags are normally loaded in a hurry and aren't a precision job. You can't really smack yourself hard enough on a bare head to make a difference anyway. We rap them against our helmets pretty hard. The people you see doing it on the range saw a soldier do it and figured "monkey see, monkey do". Not quite. Smack it on a hard surface and spare your head if you see a few rounds aren't quite right.

The best front sight adjustment tool I've ever used is a 2-3 inch nail. Unlike a "real" sight adjustment tool you can see each click easier. There's a technique to it but once you figure it out it's fast and doesn't stress your hands.

About slings- I'm currently an MP in Kandahar, Afghanistan. All of us use some way to secure our weapon to us for M4s. You name a sling type and there's probably at least one of us using it. I have a 4 inch long piece of 550 cord and a carabiner securing my rifle to my body armor at my right shoulder. Not really a sling but I hate long slings. They get in my way. Putting my rifle on something is as simple as lifting my hand. But that's an urban fighting position and set-up for a rifleman. No single type of sling is better than another.

I have a foregrip with a pop out bi-pod. Handy as hell for day to day use. Keeps my rifle and optics out of the dust.

Jeff F
June 16, 2011, 07:11 AM
Cosmoline, I have killed quite a few hogs with a Mini 14. The .223/5.56 will kill them DRT with proper bullet placement. the last one I shot was over 300 lbs on the hoof and went less then 10 feet before he piled up.

taliv
June 16, 2011, 10:40 AM
i'd not recommend smacking the mags against any hard surface. that's what causes the welds on the back of aluminum mags to let go which results in feeding malfunctions

the top two rounds need to be pushed back so the tips aren't sticking out the front (which would cause it to be difficult to push the mag into the magwell). you can easily push them with your finger. it doesn't matter where the rest of the rounds are in the mag

if you do feel the need to smack the mags against something, i would procure a good supply of mags and use a lip gauge regularly

Cosmoline
June 16, 2011, 12:26 PM
Thanks for that input! I'm going to try to run it with a simple two-point sling for now.

The one issue I'm having in practice handling is the magazine release. I'm used to AK style and this thing just seems to be in the wrong place. When held straight my finger is resting on it, and if I brush it very much the mag pops loose. Plus a few times setting it down on a hard surface seems to have clicked the mag part way out. How hard is it to get rid of this release button and replace it with something on the underside?

taliv
June 16, 2011, 12:37 PM
cosmo, the tension on it is adjustable. push it ALL the way in and then spin the lever sticking out on the other side of the gun around to tighten or loosen

Cosmoline
June 16, 2011, 01:13 PM
Brilliant! Thanks!

benEzra
June 16, 2011, 05:05 PM
Tirod--I'm planning on using his for some more advance tactical carbine training, and from what I've seen everyone seems to be using slings--often the fancy three point ones--for this purpose. Is it viable to do this kind of training where you swap from carbine to handgun and back *without* a sling? What do you do with your AR?
The 3-point slings are unnecessarily complex for the job they do. A quick-adjust 2-point (Vickers, VTAC) is IMO a better choice.

If you want to try one cheaply, the Blue Force Victory series sling (http://www.blueforcegear.com/products/Victory%E2%84%A2-Two%252dPoint-Sling.html)can be had for $30 to $40. 2-points aren't great for right-hand to left-hand transitions (it's easier to just flip the sling over your head before swapping shoulders) but they do a lot of things better than single-point slings. Here's mine:

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/uploads/1188452912/med_gallery_260_23_3167.jpg

It adjusts quickly with the support hand, and when transitioning to a pistol the rifle hangs muzzle down against your chest and doesn't swing freely. It's basically a no-frills version of their Vickers sling.

Owen Sparks
June 17, 2011, 12:55 AM
Buy a 6.8 upper and a few magazines. That will make your rifle suitable for "dangerous game" in the 200 pound class.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 17, 2011, 02:27 PM
Tirod--I'm planning on using his for some more advance tactical carbine training, and from what I've seen everyone seems to be using slings--often the fancy three point ones--for this purpose. Is it viable to do this kind of training where you swap from carbine to handgun and back *without* a sling? What do you do with your AR?

I was trained to tuck it under the weak arm and shoot the pistol with one hand. This lets you use any light that is mounted on the rifle and from the range instructor's perspective, keeps the muzzle pointed downrange. However, it is really only practical with either no sling or a single point sling.

If you need both hands free, then a quick-adjust two-point sling is the way to go (with the VTAC and VCAS being the most popular examples). Magpul had the innovative idea of sewing an extra ring into the sling and using a snap-shackle on one end of the sling so that you can go from 2-point quick adjust to single point sling very easily. I think it was a brilliant idea, though I'd like to see that on a VTAC or VCAS sling rather than Magpul's MS2.

jad0110
June 17, 2011, 05:20 PM
Cosmoline,

Great thread ... great enough for a sticky, IMO.

And a very nice choice for a first AR as well. As someone else mentioned, a nice KISS AR carbine is a great place to start. And with a lightweight barrel no less. That was my mistake when I purchased my first AR. 16" barrel, adjustable stock, full HBAR. Rifles like these aren't intended for all out accuracy, so though we do give up a hair of accuracy potential and steadiness with the pencil barrel, we gain so much in handling and speed. I eventually replaced my HBAR upper with a pencil barrel 1x7 flattop from BCM, and I've never looked back. In short, a HBAR on a fighting carbine doesn't make a lot of sense, unless you have a happy switch. But that is just my opinion.

And that is the beauty of the AR platform. The only limit seems to be how much room is in your safe and the size of your budget. And the "retro" ARs, oh my, they are a whole world unto themselves.

The 5.56x45mm is capable of taking any animal in North America with proper shot placement. Without proper shot placement, no caliber will take any animal. Don't underestimate the poodle-shooter.

People forget that the "lowly" 5.56 M193 ball cartridge was capable of inflicting some pretty horrific wounds inside 200 to 300 yards in Vietnam, do to violent yaw and fragmentation. I wish I still had the link, but there is evidence out there that the 5.56 M193 had greater wounding capability at short range than the 7.62 NATO.

Cosmoline
June 17, 2011, 05:33 PM
Thanks! THR is great for getting up steep learning curves.

I don't doubt the 5.56 esp. HP or SP inside 100 yards against medium thin-skinned targets. I don't expect to take it on any hunting trips here but I have other rifles for that purpose and I never have time to go hunting anymore anyway.

The only drawback to this chambering is it leaves me with a pretty weak bear gun if I do one of my bike-hike-shoot-bike-athalons. But I was so exhausted after the last one that I expect I'll just choose to do either the bike/hike OR the bike/shoot. Ammo and water and rifles and boots is too much to man haul at my advancing age.

Justin
June 17, 2011, 06:18 PM
I wouldn't use 5.56 for hunting anything larger than deer, frankly. it's a great cartridge, but if you intend to hunt elk, moose, or defend yourself from a bear, it wouldn't be a cartridge I'd consider.

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