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Target Rifle Advice

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Bruuin, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. Bruuin

    Bruuin New Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    I have recently had the opportunity to attend a few service-rifle high power matches and compete with loaned M1s. I would like to continue to participate in this sort of thing with a personal rifle.

    Currently, I am trying to decide between three avaliable rifles: the '03, the M1 and the AR-15. I'd like to have a rifle that can shoot ~1 MOA (that way, I figure that the rifle will always be as good as it needs to be and, more importantly, better than I am). Additonally, it needs to satisfy the standard high-power requirements.

    I'm leaning towards buying a CMP '03 and preforming some minor modifications to it. It would probobly require a good bedding and trigger job and stock fitting (things I can most likely do my self or for limited cost). I also believe the rifle may need a new sort of front site to bring the battle site to ~200 yards. I hope that such a rifle would not need a new barrel for some time. However, I'm not opposed to buying a new one eventually. All these modifications seem inexpensive and easy and I suspect they would give me a reliable 1 MOA shooter. I could also use this to hunt, which would be something of a plus.

    Though it appears to be more expensive, the AR-15 also strikes me as a good rifle for this sort of thing. I could easily buy a RRA standard A4 upper and match it to whatever lower made itself most convienient. This should be good enough out-of-the-box in addition to allowing me plenty of room for future customization. Also, the ammo is significantly cheaper. Thus, I could practice more often though I would obviously have to, at another time, buy a hunting rifle (not something I'm opposed to).

    The CMP M1 is a lovely rifle but it seems to require as much work as the '03 while being (potentially) less accurate. However, I know from experience that they are fine rifles and do not wish to discount them out of hand.

    Please help me select what would be best for these activites.

    Note: An M1a would be an obvious choice given all these criteria. However, I can, under no circumstance, afford one.
  2. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Participating Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    SW NH
    Well, the 03 isn't classified as a Service Rifle, so you'd be shooting it in the Match Rifle class. And then...

    The AR-15 is your best choice. They are easier to shoot, cheaper to run, less maintenance to run and will shoot better on average.

    The hot setup seems to be a WOA upper mated to a RRA lower with a tuned 2-stage trigger dropped in. This rifle is capable of winning if you are capable of winning.
  3. Bruuin

    Bruuin New Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    I see. I assume shooting an somewhat accurized '03 alongside the other target guns would be something of a bad idea?

    I'm currently looking at a RRA standard A4 upper:


    I would expect this to handle suitably for the time. I may be able to get a good deal on a DPMS-type lower to use along side this. Else, I suspect I'll purchase a RRA lower as well. Would this make for a reasonably-priced starting rifle for such matches?
  4. USMCRotrHed

    USMCRotrHed New Member

    Dec 16, 2005
    What wanderinWalker said....

    You can't go wrong with that set up. Yoy can buy your RRA lower at the nearest Rock River Dealer and order the WOA (White Oaks Armament) upper for the same price as the RRA service rifle A2. Ask for the pinned rear sight. John Hollinger is doing amazing things with ARs.

    I have all 3 of the rifles you are considering. All 3 shoot great, but the AR gives a much better group in a shorter amount of practice. AND probably a cheaper purchase price once you look at all the work you will have to do with the M1 and '03.
  5. rangerruck

    rangerruck Mentor

    Jan 12, 2006
    Texas, baby!
    well , even though cost can get hairy, the ar guys are winning all the comps now. it is a matter of physics, really. the moving parts all seem to be "hanging" and therefore balanced , with no side to side rock, in a straight line suspended in "air" almost. So it has a ton of natural accuracy built right in, just from a trajectory standpoint , with the trajcetory really starting from the rear of the bolt carrier, not just from a starting point of the muzzle.
  6. bobsmith

    bobsmith New Member

    Feb 17, 2006
    I would discourage you in using the 03. A friend had one and had a terrible time in the rapid fire staged. The 03 bolt handle doesn't lift as easily as other bolt actions like a model 70. I would go with an AR15. It is inherently more accurate than a M-1, you don't have to keep fooling around with the bedding, and it is just easier to work on.
  7. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    The AR15 dominates service rifle.

  8. trbon8r

    trbon8r Active Member

    Feb 13, 2005
    If you want to compete in the service rifle class and your sole objective is to win, the AR is the best choice by far in terms of accuracy and cost.

    If you are like me and you enjoy shooting the .30 caliber rifles, then by all means get yourself a Garand and have fun. Although you won't be competitive with the top AR shooters (unless you are one hell of a trigger puller) just remember that other shooters before you have achieved Master scores and beyond with the .30 rifles. If you want to put in the time and practice you can shoot good scores with the big rifles too. Shooting the Garand does come at a price though, the learning curve is steeper and they cost more to keep shooting well than a typical AR does. Take it from me, a guy that likes doing it the hard way.
  9. FW

    FW New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    There will always be the great debate between the "best" combat rifle, M14, M16, M1, etc.

    The fact is, the M16 (or AR15) is a superior rifle for target purposes when competing with a "service rifle". Serious service rifle competition is dominated by the AR15. A fact. Not debatable. Some old timers don't like it, but that is the way it is, for good reasons.

    The AR is:
    Inherently more accurate.
    Cost a lot less for the same accuracy.
    Cost much less to shoot.
    More ergonomic (for most people)
    Easier to repair or modify
    Much less recoil
    Easier to find someone to work on it.
    and has many other advantages.

    Also, there are many match rifles based on the AR platform.

    Of course everything has its disadvantages, for example:

    -You can't use an AR in a Garand match. (Of course you can't use most accurized Garands in a Garand match either.)
    -The sight radius is shorter on an AR. (A problem for some people)

    Of course it's always amuzing to watch some old timer bash the AR at a match because it is "high dollar junk" and it was not what he used back in the day while he is the only guy there without an AR.

    Since you are trying to decide between an AR, and M1, and a 1903,
    Get the AR with the appropriate modifaction for competition, like the float tube, better sights, trigger, etc.

    Then get an M1 and/or a 1903 just because.

    For the cost of an M1A, you can get a competion ready AR AND a service grade M1 Garand. Then you can be competetive and cool.
  10. Bruuin

    Bruuin New Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    I think I'm sold on the AR, then.

    I've checked Eagle Firearms' site and gunbroker for rifles/parts and have a few questions:

    The RRA NM A2 upper runs about 150$ more than the standard A2 upper and the latter, due to cost, is somewhat appealing. Will not having a stainless barrel with a 1:8 twist, NM sights (how do these compare to the standard sights?) and free-float tube hinder me that much? RRA's site indicates that there's only a 1/4 MOA difference between the two. The WOA upper looks nice but it's more expensive than either by a fair ammount.

    There doesn't seem to be much money to be saved by buying a RRA complete lower with A2 stock and buying a stripped lower/parts. Am I just missing some place that has a good deal on either? Also, is the standard trigger a two-stage? How much of an issue will not having a NM trigger be?

    Finally, it seems that A4 uppers are legal for competition. Since this would be my only AR and it would obviously see some other use, would I really be missing that much if I get an A2? It doesn't seem to be difficult to put a scope on top of the carry handle.
  11. Quintin Likely

    Quintin Likely Active Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Relay 3, Target 17
    I shoot the same upper you're looking at. The 1:8 twist or faster is preferable (required), especially if you plan on shooting full course using the heavier specialized match bullets that make the AR a serious service rifle. The 69s will shoot out of a 1:9 and will do you okay at 200 and 300, but beyond that you're gonna get beat up by the wind.

    The free float tube IMO is a must. No matter how heavy and thick the barrel is, torquing on it with a sling will change POI. The free float tube allevates this.

    Remember there technically is no such thing as a national match part for an AR15. The biggest difference is the tapered front sight post and hooded rear aperture (on an RRA; some don't come with hoods). The elevation dial is marked differently as well, and compared to a GI sight, there may be more clicks, I've never compared a non NM sight to a NM sight side by side. I'm not a good enough shooter yet to really tell the difference and see any benefits from RRA's sight to say Holliger's pinned rear sight. But when you get up there and you want the best sights in the business for a service rifle, John's the man to see. He'll also slick up a RRA NM (there's that term again) trigger into the best you'll probably tug on short of the $270 Geissele. A stock AR15 trigger is horrible compared to the worst match triggers.

    In regards to the A4 uppers, yes, they're legal as service rifles now. But, most of the rear sights on those A4 bolt on carry handles don't have enough elevation to make it to 600 without fiddling with the front sight post in conjunction with the rear sight. I think RRA has one though, might wanna shoot 'em an E-mail to make sure.

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