1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Looking for a coyote/prairie dog rifle... the CMMG bull barrel AR's look appealing

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by grandviewranch, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. I've been on the market for a new varmint rifle ever since I sold my .223 WSSM A-Bolt (for my purposes, the caliber was just stupid). I actually turned a small profit on the rifle, netting $475, and I have $200-300 in additional funds that I'd be willing to spend. I was excited about the Savage M25 Walking Varminter in .223, but when the rifles failed to enter the market several months after their "release", I moved on.

    Anyway, one manufacturer that has caught my eye recently is CMMG. I'm a fairly young gun owner and sportsman, so I've never owned an AR15, but I figured a varmint rifle would be a good place to start. I've always wanted to eventually own an AR, and CMMG's bull barrel, 16" carbine looks like a good starting point. They're available on CheaperThanDirt for $700 - just within my price range, plus I already have a very nice Bushnell Elite 3200 Tactical 5-15x40 scope from the rifle I sold.

    The question is - will this rifle be sufficiently accurate for coyotes/prairie dogs? I've researched CMMG online, and several sites and forums seem to agree that they consistently shoot at - or just barely below - 1 MOA (Also, everyone seems very satisfied with the brand's build quality, reliability, etc.). Maybe the bull barrel model is a bit more accurate, maybe not, but 1 MOA does seem sufficient for my purposes. Theoretically, it would be good on prairie dogs to around 200 yards, and even further on coyotes. I have easy access to a reloading bench, so I could work up handloads for the rifle. I really like the concept of getting an AR, and I would have a solid lower receiver if I wanted another upper in the future. Opinions would be appreciated, and I really wouldn't mind any alternative suggestions (I really don't think I can swing anything over $800, sorry).

    Thanks a lot.

    P.S. - I looked through CMMG's site and noticed that they do offer longer barrel lengths for the bull barrel rifles. The problem is, I can't find them anywhere other than CMMG's site, where the retail ($850) is $150 more than CTD's price. If you know a seller that offers the 18" (or even 22") rifles for a reduced price, please let me know!

    Update: Here's a $740 option where I buy the upper and lower separately, saving a pretty good amount of money: CMMG 18" SS Bull Barrel Upper - $510.
    CMMG Complete Lower - $230. Thanks again.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  2. A-FIXER

    A-FIXER Well-Known Member

    That is the most ultimate desire we all have, but you can do that type of hunting, with an AR. And even out to 350 yrds with some great accuracy the bull barrel will help in the rapid multiple shots and the 1-9 twist will handle the lighter varmint bullets and yet at the same offer good control with the heavier bullets. All you will need is a higher end scope and your off hope this helps. If you have other questions or in depth msg me and/or post the questions.
  3. Eb1

    Eb1 Well-Known Member

  4. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    I like what your thinking. I have a DPMS 20" SSBULL 1-9" and it's a real good shooter but I wouldn't want to do a lot of walking with it. You could get a quality 20" free floated barrel and most likely enjoy the same accuracy without the extra weight of a bull barrel. I'd also recommend 1-8" twist as my 1-9" gets funny with 68+ grain pills.
  5. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Well-Known Member

    I really like my DPMS Bull 20. Free floated, 20 inch stainless bull barrel. This is my first AR as well. I put a 3-9 Leupold Mark AR Mil-Dot Scope in a LaRue SPR mount.

    Routinely shoots 3/4" for 5 shot groups at 100 yards with my favorite handload for it; 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 24.4 grains of Benchmark. (Easy metering powder + boattail bullet, so it's fun & easy to reload them too.)
  6. NG VI

    NG VI Well-Known Member

    I had a CMMG M4gery a while back, was very happy with it. Never a malfunction, though I didn't give it the accuracy testing you are interested in, and it had a less accuracy-focused barrel anyway.
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Most any barrel length or twist will work for coyotes, since you're only going to get one or maybe two shots at any one time. Distances are rarely beyond a hundred yards or so.

    Prairie dogs in large towns? Whole different deal. The opportunity is there for rather lengthy strings of fire, so a heavy barrel makes sense. I know from experience with a 22" light sporter that shots to 300 yards are easy, so 20" should work okay.

    I have a CMMG upper with a sporter-type 20" slow-twist barrel that I've set up for casual varminting, as a truck gun. No difficulty in three-shot one-MOA groups with a K4 on top--and that was before my cataract surgery. :)
  8. Thanks for the responses, everyone. I'm glad to hear that your experiences with CMMG were positive, and I'll take a look at the DPMS upper. However, I think I'm more interested in the 18" CMMG upper, for a couple of reasons. One factor is a beginner's guide to the AR (this guide pertained to "fighting rifles" but most of the information still applies) by an officer.com forum user called jwise (link). He ran through a lot of the desirable and sometimes necessary traits you'll want to look for in an AR, such as a properly staked gas key, M4 feed ramps, etc. At the end of this guide, he strongly recommended CMMG, as it had most, if not all of these traits at a very reasonable cost. Additionally, the other reviews of CMMG rifles I've read have been really positive, so I think I'm set on a CMMG lower and (probably) the 18" stainless steel bull barrel upper made by CMMG.

    That said, are there any absolutely must-have tools for working with the AR? Where is the best/cheapest place to buy them? I'm a total novice to the AR system, but I know that some special tools/cleaning procedures are involved. I wanted to mention something else but I can't remember it and I have to go, so I'll check in later. Thanks again!
  9. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you've got your mind made up to get the CMMG. It will work just fine for many purposes.

    I don't use any "special" cleaning tools with my rifles. I have a 22cal cleaning rod and typical accessories and I tear down the bolt and clean everything with the usual carbon removing solvants, rags and brushes. Lately I've just used a 22cal bore snake to wipe down the bore. Haven't noticed a change in accuracy or reliability.

    I do run my AR "wet" and use regualar Gun Oil because I don't care for the smell of CLP.
  10. Eb1

    Eb1 Well-Known Member

    If you are looking for an accurate AR-15 upper you need to look at the link I posted to White Oaks Armament. You will not find a better class or product for the money, and many top HP matches are won with these uppers. Not CMMG. I have owned CMMG, and they are good rifles, but if I wanted known accuracy it would not be from CMMG. It would be from WOA.

    Do what you like. It is your money, but I think you need to research a little more before you jump off the cliff from just one book you have read.
    Also M4 feed ramps, Lined HF barrels and many other goodies are pretty common these days. They are not a special feature offered by CMMG alone. My PSA Dissipator came with these features at a fraction of the cost of a CMMG upper, and it is just as well built as my CMMG upper.

    Nothing special about cleaning an AR-15. Clean from the breach, keep the bolt wet when shooting. Sounds like you have better read some more.
  11. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    While heavy barrels are commonly assumed to be more accurate, all you really get is more mass. The barrel profile is simply turned down less.

    Mass gives more resistance to recoil, which the AR isn't known for. On singles or doubles on coyotes, a properly chosen brake or compensator would do as much, saving a lot of exertion hiking in the woods. For long strings of fire on prairie dogs, mass will soak up a lot more BTU's, which means the barrel will be affected by heat less initially. Shoot it enough, and whatever warpage, stress, or inclusions exist in the steel will still affect the point of impact. And once it gets hot, it stays hot much much longer.

    That means heavy barrels are for short strings of fire, or those spaced out over a long period of time to allow enough cooling to take affect. It's notable that when faced with the heat of full auto fire in his original design, Stoner still chose a pencil barrel profile.

    There is no guarantee that a heavy barrel is rifled more accurately than a normal profile - the premium paid for less work lathing off the extra material isn't justifiable unless a guarantee of higher accuracy - or your money back - is included. And if accuracy is guaranteed, the barrel profile is irrelevant. It could be less than full bull as long as it delivers. Only the maker can ensure that, and the shooter by handloading a variety of loads until the best is determined.

    Which means specifying a bull barrel is getting things out of sequence. It's just one feature of many, and doesn't directly affect the actual accuracy - it just compensates for the affect of other byproducts, recoil and heat. Choose a barrel for the accuracy first - among the premier makers who guarantee their work, and worry about the profile afterwards. The rifling, as proven by airguaging, and leade are more important than the profile.
  12. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Gotta disagree with you Tirod. A heavy barrel is less subject to distortion with heating, which is why they are preferred for long strings of fire. This is particularly true for rapid-fire events.

    As far as accuracy for three- or five-shot groups, when not fired in a big hurry, there is little difference in group size between a heavy and a light barrel.
  13. So you say the CMMG's accuracy isn't that great? Darn. I guess this isn't going to be as easy as I'd hoped. I mean, a $730 varmint AR sounds great, right? The thing is, I'm working with a fairly small budget. Eb1, I did look at the White Oak uppers and they look very appealing, but it would raise the cost by another $100. Maybe I'm being cheap, but I was hoping I could set up this rifle in the $700 range. Besides, I'd still need to buy scope rings, magazines, and (eventually) a stock and pistol grip to replace the dorky-looking M4 furniture. Basically, though the WOA uppers look very good, they'd really be pushing my budget.

    As for the cleaning question, I guess I was wrong. I thought you absolutely needed some sort of scraper thingy thanks to reading a few gun magazines, but as I said, I have almost zero AR experience.

    The problem is, I'm looking for a low-priced-but-quality AR to get me started in the black rifle world. I needed a predator rifle, so I figured I might kill two birds with one stone there, but maybe I don't yet have the money I need to get started out. I might bide my time and wait for a good deal or better funds. I do appreciate everyone's suggestions, and if I seem a little reluctant to take a certain route, it's due to my tight budget, not disregard for your suggestion. Again, thank you all for your time and thoughts.

    P.S. - I thought it might be helpful if I expand on the type of hunting I'll be doing:
    I live in Western Colorado, where the topography and property sizes keep most shooting ranges at or below 300 yards (most of the time). I'm basically shopping for a 300 yard rifle that can maintain "minute of prairie dog" up to that range (even only up to 200 yards would be fine). As I mentioned earlier, my budget is tight - the reason I want to stay in the $700 range is the accessories that I'll have to buy - scope rings and magazines in the immediate future, and a different stock and grip later on.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Like I said, I get one-MOA with a sporter-weight CMMG and a K4. I figure that's pretty good for eyebones that are 77 years old. :)

    Odds are, with a 3x9 on it and a bit less coffee and cigarettes--and maybe knock off twenty years--the silly thing would do quite a bit better. :)

    And, FWIW, I was using some sort of como-se-llama ammo, not tailored handloads.

    IOW, I'm just happy as a bug with my CMMG upper...
  15. That's good to hear, Art (by the way, good shooting)! I found a review on Cabela's from a buyer that owns the 24" CMMG upper. He says the accuracy is great, so I'm feeling a little bit more positive about the CMMG.

    One thing about the upper I'm looking at is it doesn't seem to have a front sling swivel. How hard would it be to install one? Would the WOA upper be worth it because of that factor?
  16. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure we disagree. My point is that far too many pick the "look" of the heavy barrel and interpret it as "accurate," when in fact the manufacturer actually makes no substantiated claim or even guarantezees it. It's called "Marketing to Ignorance." I sell auto parts and the hot rod side is filled to bursting with BS bling sold to separate a driver from his money.

    If you don't have a decent bore rifled to maximize accuracy, the profile isn't going to make up the difference.
    "Heavy barrel" in no way constitutes "precision rifling." It's just a gimmick if the quality isn't there.
  17. jem375

    jem375 Well-Known Member

    Another owner of a DPMS bull barrel 20" SS AR. This is my coyote rifle and is very accurate, but carrying this thing around without a sling in the snow is pretty tiring for these old legs. But, I will do it anyway unless I decide to use my other DPMS with the EO Tech and the 16" barrel...
    Good luck on your choice, the CMMG will no doubt work just fine also...
  18. Matthew Courtney

    Matthew Courtney Well-Known Member

    All else equal, heavy profile barrels are more accurate because they are stiffer. The stiffness means that they whip less due to firing vibrations and the bend less in response to both internal stress changes from temperature changes and external stresses from various forces. Shorter barrels are more accurate for the same reason.

    The myth that longer barrels are more accurate is based on two truths and faulty logic. Many longer barrels account for higher velocity, and projectiles moving faster results in less impact variation from wind and/or range estimation error. Longer barrels also usually allow for a longer sight radius and a longer sight radius on a rifle is more forgiving of sight alignment error. In other words, a longer barrel may help us shoot a rifle more accurately, but if we take human error from the equation, shorter barrels are more accurate.
  19. Made the purchase!

    So I've been doing a lot of research, and I finally made my purchase today. I found a Rock River Arms Predator Pursuit (20" barreled) complete upper on GunBroker for $545 plus shipping. I felt like it was a very good deal and I'd read nothing but positive reviews of RRA's varmint setups. I decided on the Predator Pursuit because its barrel is lighter than a full bull barrel (actually cutting a pound of weight), its accuracy is still top-notch, and the price was very good. Though the WOA uppers were appealing, they were out of my price range.

    That said, I'm still on the market for a lower. I'm thinking either RRA or CMMG, but I'd like to know of any other recommended complete (sorry, I don't think I could stand waiting for 4+ components to ship, if nothing else :D) lower receivers in the $200-230 range. Also, I'm getting ready to buy rings, will "high" Weaver Tactical rings suffice for a scope with a 40mm objective and (I'm not sure of the terminology here) the parallax controls as part of the bell (adding a few mm of bulk)?
  20. Eb1

    Eb1 Well-Known Member

Share This Page