semi-auto .308 precision rifle


August 21, 2004, 03:52 PM
I been thinking about a long range (out to at least 500 yards or further) precision .308 rifle for a while now, bolt or semi, and I'm kind of leaning towards semi (for the additional fun factor). I've thought up a couple of configurations, but I'm wondering which is going to be more inherently accurate, etc.


Armalite AR-10(T), Swarovski PH 6-24x (doesn't quite follow the rule of thumb about pay as much for the scope as you do for the rifle, but hey, you can only spend so much on a scope), Badger scope rings, Armalite scope base adapter (do I need this?), and Harris bipod, plus maybe a PSG-1 style grip.

Second: SA M21 Tactical rifle, same Swarovski scope, Burris Signature rings, and a Harris bipod.

With an upper limit of about seven thousand dollars (which pretty well puts PSG-1s and W2000s out of the question), are there any additional things I should add (besides ammo and magazines)? Should I use a different system?

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August 21, 2004, 09:20 PM
DPMS is making a .308 AR-10 type rifle that gets pretty good review.

DSA makes a heavy barrel FAL rifle that's supposed to be very accurate.

The M1A rifles are good, but I don't know of a good source for new ones right now. Yes, I DO know that Springfield sells them but they seem to have problems with the small parts...

The SR-25 is a good rifle. Probably edges out the AR-10.

August 22, 2004, 12:27 AM


Chris Rhines
August 22, 2004, 12:43 PM
The AR-10(T) is really the only choice for a precision 7.62mm semi. I like M14-platform rifles, but the match-type M1As have a well-deserved reputation for shooting themselves apart over a fairly short period. They take too much maintanence to keep them accurate.

If you have an upper limit of $7000, then you can get anything you want for an AR-10. If I had that kind of money available, I'd buy:

- One stock AR-10(T) [$1400]
- One RRA/John Hollister two-stage custom trigger [~$150]
- One Kreiger 24" AR-10 barrel [~$400], or maybe one of those neato ABS composite 5R barrels [~$650]
- One PRI carbon-fiber float tube [~$300?]
- One Nightforce 3.5-15x56 telescope [~$1300]
- One set of Badger Ordnance Maximized rings [$150]

Then I'd take it all to a good riflesmith and have him assemble the whole thing. Such a package, if properly built, should be able to shoot 1/2MOA all day and all night.

- Chris

August 22, 2004, 12:50 PM
The question about the M25 model is, is the inherent accuracy so much greater than that of the M21, the AR-10(T), or the DPMS .308 Long Range that it merits the extra money? As in, is it possible for a (let's say extraordinarily talented) person to shoot better groups with it than it is for the same person to shoot with the other three? If not, I would far rather spend the money on a better scope.

Edit: The stock AR-10(T) MSRP is $2080. Can you really get one for 33.333% off MSRP? New?

August 22, 2004, 05:45 PM
I've shot an M25 that was fairly well set up. Total value for the rifle with all accessories was like $4200, but I just couldnt see it being worth that much.

August 22, 2004, 06:46 PM

August 22, 2004, 07:22 PM
C-w, is the MkII Mod0 Navy Rifle really worth $4500 more than the SR-25 Match, especially considering that I would prefer a longer-range, crosshair scope and no RAS system over a shorter-range mil-dot scope and a RAS system? And that I don't want a BUIS and don't need a quick-attach supressor system and would prefer to get a GemTech or B&T when I do get a supressor?

And, for that matter, is the SR-25 Match really better than the AR-10(T), and is the AR-10(T) better than the DPMS .308 Long Range?

It's called maximizing your utility, and it's a basic principle of economics. If you can choose between a $20,000 pickup truck that is missing more than $10,000 worth of the accessories you want $30,000 pickup truck that has everything you want, and a $40,000 pickup truck that has most of the things you want, stuff you don't have a use for, and some things you don't like, buy the $30,000 one.

August 22, 2004, 10:03 PM
Call George Gardner at GA Precision and ask him what he could build you on the AR10 platform.

He could use any number of barrels from the top rated manufacturers and his builds are totally reasonable and compete very favorably to the stock AR10 T price.

I had been looking into having George build me a 260Rem upper for my AR10 A4 but after looking at the performance of my 20inch AR10 A4 as it is now the thing is performing well enough that I'm gonna leave it be and focus on bolt guns. The price for a 260 Rem accurized upper was very reasonable at like 1000-1100 dollars compare to retail prices on a stock Armalite AR10 T upper being very close to the same.

George could probably get you into a custom built AR10 for right around 2200 dollars for the complete rifle which is in the ball park of the SR25 Match and the AR10 T with the Lothar/Walther barrel. I'd put money on the GA Precision AR10 being the more accurate gun or being able to build you a gun with more of the options you want that Knights or Armalite doesn't offer.

As it stands now, my 20inch AR10 A4 with handloads is averaging right at 1MOA for 5 shot group averages at 100 yards. Not too shabby for a non-freefloating handguard and chrome lined bore, also the trigger is terrible.

Over the next month the rifle is going through some changes where I am going to change the trigger/hammer out for a better single stage JP Enterprises trigger(excellent trigger I've already used in my AR15s). I also am freefloating the barrel within the next week or so and will note any improvements in accuracy.

I am hoping that freefloating is going to help either improve accuracy or atleast make the accuracy more consistent between a cold and hot barrel. Right now I can watch group size open up as heat gets into the barrel, have had MANY 3 shot groups right around 1/2 inch but they continue to open as round count goes up. Again, hoping freefloating the barrel will help.

Once the AW ban goes bye bye this rifle is getting a vortex flash suppressor installed to remove the darn blast enhancement muzzle device.

For tack driving accuracy I favor the AR10/SR25 platform over the M1A. AR10/SR25 platform is going to be more maintenence free in the long run with no bedding issues or hassles with mounting optics.

My favored grip for target shooting is the SPR(Sierra Precision Rifles) grip that is in the picture, very beefy and nicely fitting grip for precision shooting.

The Armalite 1 piece mount comes in 1 inch and 30mm sizes, it returns to zero VERY nicely with little if any noticable shift in zero(if it isn't returning to perfect zero I can't shoot well enough to see the difference).

Scope in the above picture has existed on the rifle for a few years while I focused on other firearms, didn't have the money to drop 600-700 dollars into the optics so I went with a 6-24x B&L Elite 4000 for 300 bucks. Has worked well enough to work on load development over the years, probably going to throw a 3.5-10x Long Range M1 on the rifle one of these days. When the new scope comes some new rings are going to be chosen to work better with an ARMS SIR that is going on the rifle within the next week or so.

August 22, 2004, 10:11 PM
The AR-10 platform will probly be more acurate all told, however look beyond the Springfiled line up, there stuff is just not up to snuff and no way worth what they ask for an M24, or any of there rifles.

Look at some of the stuff from LBR, Smith Ent, or Fulton Armory if your looking for a great M14. My Fulton Comp grade (not there best) will shoot better than me.

Chris Rhines
August 22, 2004, 11:11 PM
The stock AR-10(T) MSRP is $2080. Can you really get one for 33.333% off MSRP? New? Sorry, I mistyped a bit. My friendly neighborhood Armalite dealer sells the AR-10(T) for $1800 out the door. But if you're going to buy an AR-10(T) and toss the barrel, trigger assembly, and float tube, then you may as well get a stock AR-10A4 for your base gun.

BTW, I second the suggestion of George Gardner as a riflesmith.

- Chris

August 23, 2004, 03:52 PM
Is there somewhere to order .308 uppers sans barrel and handguard assembly, but with everything else? Because it would make sense to keep the non-match barrel and guards and have them on a "fun" upper, and put the match parts in a seperate upper.

August 23, 2004, 04:08 PM
Check Armalite's web page, everything needed to make an AR10 upper is available including spare barrels.

It would probably be easier to get a complete AR10 rifle in either the carbine configuration or the rifle configuration, then have a custom upper made where somebody like George Gardner will use the neccesary base Armalite parts such as receiver/bolt group and fit the barrel, sights, and handguard of choice for the buyer.

August 23, 2004, 04:25 PM
Wouldn't it be better to buy an Eagle Arms ar10(t) and mess with it, it cost less and I think if you're going to change out the barrel the Armalite warranty isn't that big of a selling point.

Zak Smith
August 23, 2004, 04:27 PM
Another option is to buy an AR10 built by someone who knows how to build accurate rifles, and will guarantee accuracy and reliability.

My JP AR10 shoots 0.6 - 0.75 MOA consistently with FGMM 168gr, and it has a 20" lightweight barrel.


August 23, 2004, 04:34 PM
another48hrs, very true but I think Eagle Arms AR10s are getting harder to come by.

Think production of Eagle Arms AR10s has been seriously downscaled. AR10 lowers from Eagle Arms may still be available, I think Quantico Arms might have a couple available. These are probably excellent to use in a total build up from a competent smith.

August 23, 2004, 04:45 PM
Thanks for the info, uglygun. I didn't know Eagle Arms are getting downscaled and you could buy lowers only. I would definitley go that route for a custom build too.

August 23, 2004, 04:53 PM
Thanks for the info, uglygun. I didn't know Eagle Arms are getting downscaled and you could buy lowers only. I would definitley go that route for a custom build too.

August 23, 2004, 06:46 PM
I'd either go to George at GA Precision or I'd hawkeye the 'For Sale' section over at Sniper's Hide.

In fact, there's one of George's SH AR-10's up on the block right now for ~$2100 as I recall. He builds a fantastic product; a couple of the guys over there who sprung for the group buy have run into hard circumstances, and I've seen them post their brand new custom AR-10's for sale. You won't 'steal' it, but for the money, you'll get a damn fine custom gun for just a little more than OEM price.

August 25, 2004, 08:25 AM
No one's mentioned the .308 NDM-86 Dragunov. Still available from CDNN for $1700. Using a cheap Russian 8x scope & Georgia Arms "Canned Heat" 168gr match ammo my personal best at 100yds is 4 shots ctc into .44" and 3 shots ctc into .24". My best 3 shot ctc at 500m is 4.5". (Pics available upon request).

August 25, 2004, 03:03 PM about a Saiga .308. People that have them brag about how accurate they are. You can get it with the 22" barrel and have it converted to pistol grip to get rid of the lousy trigger. The rifle and conversion should still be under $500. Good Russian optics would likely cost $200 or less. You can mount a bipod too.

Then you'd have a solid, reliable, accurate .308 with optics and bipod for under $800.

August 25, 2004, 08:48 PM
I'm curious as to why the SR-25 is not being seriously discussed as an option. I was under the impression that it was a high quality rifle that delivered impressive accuracy--is there something I don't know about it?

August 25, 2004, 09:33 PM
SR25 is no more or less viable an option than the AR10, for most AR enthusiasts the two can almost be considered replacements for one another. The real point of comparison between the two comes down to which is more readily available or which is more readily serviceable if something should go wrong.

Certainly people are going to consider building up a custom AR10 from readily available parts with smiths who stock the parts as opposed to paying something like 2-3k dollars for a base SR25 or 6k for the rediculous MKII Mod 0 SR25.

It's just an analysis of potential deminishing returns, at what point over a certain amount of money do things such as taking pride in the rifle's exclusive pedigree count more than having a rifle in a certain configuration capable of a certain level of accuracy.

It's my hope though for all the SR25 owners out there that Knights or some other manufacturer out there starts mass producing 20 round magazines for the SR25 so that the magazine price will come down.

It's bad enough that us AR10 owners are getting hit with 40-50 dollar(at the lowest end of the spectrum) prices for postban mags and can expect the price to maybe drop to 35 dollars when it bottoms out post-Sept 13th.

SR25 mags have been up around 90-120 dollars for about as long as I can remember and I don't really forsee them dropping much in price after Sept. 13th.

August 25, 2004, 10:19 PM
Chris you seem pretty knowledge able. Can you tell me more about the barrel options for the AR10T. I have a AR10 T with a Lorthar Walther Barrel. It shoots around 1 moa typically. It does have a 4 in 1 syndrom. The first round is typically about 1 inch or more high the rest usually group around .5 inch.

The gun is a monster in the weight department. I would consider a carbon fiber barrel depending on cost?

What can I expect from a Krigger barrel accuracy wise with good ammo. I would like the rifle to be .5 moa on a good day and no wose than 1 moa on a bad day.

Also optics. I had a leapold 4-12 Varix 2 on it. But I sold it. I am looking at the Nightforce NSX 3.5 to 15 with mildot illuminated rectical and zero stop. But I am also tempted to go cheaper and get a leopldl Mk4 4.5 to 14 x 50 with an illuminated rectical. Also What kind of stocks can I get. I like the JP wood stocks but will they fit. Would I be better off selling my T upper and buying a custom upper?

Thanks for you time.

August 25, 2004, 10:21 PM
As to the russian stuff. I was always under the impression the Dragonoff was a 1.5 moa gun at best. I have heard the Saiges are reliable solid guns but like AK's not all that accurate. In the 4 inch range at 100 yards.

August 25, 2004, 10:59 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned an HK-91 style rifle, particularly the PTR-91. I've had my eye on one of those for when I get the money for a long range .308. For the $750 range it's a whole lot less pricey than the AR-10 option.

Chris Rhines
August 25, 2004, 10:59 PM
Chris you seem pretty knowledge able. You're being far too kind. I actually don't own an AR-10 at present (I've had two through my shop in the past month, but that doesn't count.) I've been doing a great deal of research, with the intention of buying one as a major-caliber 3-gun rifle. All my comments are products of that research.

It does have a 4 in 1 syndrom. The first round is typically about 1 inch or more high the rest usually group around .5 inch. This is interesting. 4/1 groups are caused by something changing in the rifle action between the first and second shots. Have you tried shooting a group by loading single rounds in the magazine?

A couple of other things I would look at - how's the torque on your barrel nut? What is your headspace? What kind of ammo are you using?

Based on my experience with Kreiger-barreled highpower ARs, an AR-10 with a properly installed and headspaced Kreiger barrel should have no trouble at all making consistent 0.5MOA groups from a machine rest.

One other place for AR-10 barrels - This guy does custom AR-10 barrels on Douglas XX, Shilen, or other blanks, headspaced to your bolt. I've never used him, but I've heard enough good things about his work that I probably will for my next AR.

The carbon barrels are more an affection than anything else - if I had a spare $650 to spend, I'd have to get one installed just to try it out (an AR-10 that makes scout weight has long been a fantasy of mine.)

For optics, you are choosing between two of the best long-range telescopes made today. I got to try out a friends Nightforce a while back, and I quite fell in love with it. It has more internal elevation than the Leupold and I think that it is more solidly constructed. But the Leupold Mk4 is pretty well the standard by which sniping scopes are judged. Advising you as to one or the other would be kind of like advising you to choose between the BMW M5 and the Audi RS6. Drive 'em yourself and buy the one you like the best.

For precision shooting, the stock I prefer is the old A1 stock (or the new Cav Arms equivelent) with an A2 buttplate. I sometimes use a cheekpad made of stick-on closed cell foam to get the proper cheek weld.

Hope this helps some.

- Chris

August 25, 2004, 11:05 PM
"As to the russian stuff. I was always under the impression the Dragonoff was a 1.5 moa gun at best."

True for the 7.62x54 Dragunov primarily due to the lack of decent lightweight (appx 147gr) .311 match ammo. The .308 NDM-86 seems especially happy w/168gr match and exhibits surprising accuracy. Only 1,000 .308 NDM-86s were made as a special order back in the early '90s.

August 25, 2004, 11:24 PM
Thanks Chris. You may have said this before but who is a good smith to install the barrel. Also is cyro treating worth it?

August 26, 2004, 12:45 PM
"As to the russian stuff. I was always under the impression the Dragonoff was a 1.5 moa gun at best. I have heard the Saiges are reliable solid guns but like AK's not all that accurate. In the 4 inch range at 100 yards.

4 MOA is what you can expect from a typical AK using 7.62x39. There's a Saiga chambered for this cartridge that probably gets just a little better than that. Of course, if you're firing a lot in a short amount of time, I'd expect the groups to open up as the barrel heats up.

The Saiga .223 and .308 are both more accurate and can be expected to do 2MOA or better, on average.

I have a neighbor who shoots a Bushmaster AR15 (with scope and bipod) against his dad who uses a scoped Saiga .308 with a bipod. According to my neighbor, the guns are on par with eachother for accuracy out to almost 300 yards. After 300 yards, however, the Saiga easily wins.

August 27, 2004, 04:05 AM
One more question do you have a contact number or web page for George Gardner?

August 27, 2004, 09:17 AM
George's site is:

As for Nightforce vs. Leupold, the NF is *much* more sturdily built. In my personal experience, I don't know anyone who's chosen a Leupold over the Nightforce when cost wasn't a consideration. In a side-by-side test among 4 shooting acquaintances, the NF won hands down (though only one shooter owned or had ever looked through a NF). For clarity edge-to-edge, twilight resolution (both reticular and target resolution, the NF was spectacular here next to the Leupold); the Leupold "shut down" when we expected it to--it was just getting dark--but the NF just kept going and going, til we lost track of time and it "wasn't getting any darker" (it wasn't "country" dark, we were in an urban setting). With the advent of the new "50mm series", I think there is little left to hold against the NF except price (and maybe weight). If you can afford it, then the Leupold is a stepchild.

Leupold's Mk 4 is the standard by which all other "sniper/tactical" scopes are judged, but out of economic necessity; I don't recall anyone who's said their LE budget's big enough to absorb the cost of an LRT much less a Mk 4. Most city managers balk at the price of just a Leupold LRT. Damn near the only folks I've heard of who can 'readily afford' the Mk 4's are federal agencies and the military. This is not to rag on the Mk 4 or the LRT; they are the acknowledged 'standard' among serious shooters--but it is also generally acknowledged that NF is more in the class with Schmidt & Bender, Swarovski, Hensoldt, maybe even USO optical quality.

addendum: I should add that my advice to your original query--a precision .308, and you're "leaning toward semi(-auto)..." is, talk to George. No way will you come close to your budget; George guarantees 1/2 groups out of his high-end 10's. Most shooters are reporting mid-.3's as their average 5-shot groups, and some reloaders are claiming average low .2's. These are with the group-buy rifles that he recently put out--I think the cost was just under $2100 excluding scope and rings. He quoted me a "poor man's version" at ~$1700 as I recall--a semi-auto "field gun" capable of .3's average for $1700 ain't bad. I know you can find used GA Precisions and very likely with less than 500 rounds through them; this group buy just recently ended. Sniper's Hide and Sniper's Paradise classifieds are good places to look for that kind of equipment.

August 27, 2004, 02:42 PM
355sigfan, cryo is BS. As a metallurgist I can tell you that it doesn't do anything.NRA studies and studies of others have found no benefit. It's $50-75 for nothing.

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