M16 20” @ 500 yards?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JCooperfan1911, Jul 15, 2021.

  1. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    From years ago, 1968, basic Army training... I was finally able to shoot "Expert" with my M-14 - but I struggled and barely made it... A year or so later, still stateside, we had to re-qualify with that "new" M16 and i found the difference to be night and day for this under average sized shooter (on my best day I might have been 5'9" and maybe 140 soaking wet... ). With minimum familiarization I was easily able to shoot "expert" with targets that did go out to 500 meters (or yards - couldn't tell what the measurement system was all those years ago... We're talking strictly issued 16's with standard iron sights.

    Distance shooting with an AR... very do-able in this writer's opinion...
     
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  2. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Marines qualify with the M16 series of rifles to 500 yards.
     
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  3. Dirtybob

    Dirtybob Member

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    last time I qualified with an A1 they gave me the M855 rounds to use. They were keyholing at 25M on my zero target, still managed 31/40 while missing every single 150M target...
     
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  4. mokin

    mokin Member

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    Thanks for the memories Gunny. I'm sure the explanation of the Course of Fire is interesting to folks. I find it hard to believe I used to be able to hit that B Mod target with iron sights. The way I remember it, the black was smaller than the front sight post.

    Seemed to me, everyone really liked the 500 yard line. We were shooting at the largest target from the most supported position. If you had a good score by the time we moved back, 500 yards was gravy.
     
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  5. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    I remember having an outstanding day at the range for one qualification. I think I hat only dropped 4 points by the time we went back to the 500. As I got in possession, clouds rolled in and it started to rain, nothing hard, just a light drizzle. I was so relaxed. The command to fire came and I put 10 in the black.
     
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  6. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Here’s a few range pic from 1983.
    Scoring for my buddy at the 500.
    24118B29-994A-4B55-8CD1-F81F43621937.jpeg D37B9709-A6EC-4421-8E1E-1441E8D0F30D.jpeg

    Me getting ready to shoot at the 500.
    02AFFC96-FDE9-4794-87A4-444EC5654239.jpeg

    Boy were those targets far away.
    E4AF00E9-ACB5-4B40-984A-8949B019C9F6.jpeg

    Down in the butts.
    DF256F55-265A-4CA6-824C-8351711AC960.jpeg

    One of my friends was having a good day. That’s me with the score sheet and Dickerson marking the target.
    I was 19 years old at the time.
    DCA78333-5328-40AD-988E-A237636C5103.jpeg
     
  7. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    Damn Gunny..... I was born in 1983, hahaha
     
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  8. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    You're making me feel old now. And Gunny has me beat, I enlisted in Jan 1989
     
  9. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    I have shot a telaphone can at 15 yds with a Beretta 92 and cheap ball ammo and all it did was dent the can.
     
  10. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    My 2 AR15A-2's are sighted in for 50 yard zero just because our matches only go out to 200 yards. I love to hear the sound of hits on 8-10" steel when using aperture sights. I'll be 75 this year!! :)
    None of the new shooters even try "irons"!
    MY M4's are sighted in at 25 yards with R/Ds OR BDC Optics.
    I'm in the process of building a long range specific AR in .223/5.56! I'm researching barrels and twist rates but AR stuff is pretty hard to come by lately!

    Smiles,
     
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  11. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I have never tried it with iron sights but I can shoot 2 liter bottles all day with my scoped 20" AR varmint rifle at 500. The most I have ever tried with iron sights is about 200 because I have very poor distance vision, but extrapolating from that and even taking my eyesight into account, I am certain that 500 yards would not be a safe place to stand if I or any competent shooter had a 20" m16 in their hands.
     
  12. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    despite 2 pages of "yes" answers, I'm going to go with "not really". And I say that even though I have a Distinguished badge shooting the AR 20" service rifle in the National Match course with iron sights out to 600.

    You've asked several questions, and they should really be answered individually:

    Is it possible to reach out to 500 yards? yes, of course. the bullet will fly for miles.
    Is it EFFECTIVE? that's a different story. If you're trying to kill someone or a game animal, keep in mind the M193 and M855 ammo is designed to fragment, not expand. To reliably fragment, it needs to be going a certain velocity, and M193 out of a 20" barrel drops below that at about 200 yards. data and pictures here: https://www.ar15.com/forums/AR-15/Max-Reliable-Fragmentation-Range-of-M193-blast-from-the-past-Posted-for-Posterity-/16-731116/
    otoh, if you're just harassing your enemy, or wounding them by poking a 22 cal hole, you can "effectively" do that much further away

    How realistically possible is it for a solo shooter in a field type situation, with an iron-sighted 20" AR to hit a man sized target at 500 yards?
    Not bloodly likely

    I used to shoot about 197-198 10x at 600, which is 17-18 out of 20 rounds in a 12" circle, and half of them in a 6" circle at 600. but....
    First, shooting a 36 inch black bullseye on a 6 foot square white backer is easy, because you can SEE it. so you can put that circle on top of the front sight post or hold line of white or flat tire or whatever. But outside walmart, most people are substantially smaller than 36" wide and they're not wearing black on a white background. they'll be wearing camo, or earth tone outdoor wear. and they'll prob be hiding behind cover. Maybe you can see them because they're standing in a window or doorway. But you can't use the pumpkin on a post method. You'll have to use a zero that tries to put the bullet right on top of the front sight, which means your sight picture will be covering half the target, so what you're looking at gets a lot smaller. i.e. if you're aiming at the middle of your man sized target, you'll only see half of it. which means it's harder to see.

    Next, even though you stipulate 500 yards, the shooter in a field situation won't know that unless they have a laser range finder. People, even highly trained military guys, generally suck at range estimation. And honestly, I'd be surprised if 1 in 100 AR owners have a LRF and practice with it. Heck, I'd bet more than half of PRS shooters don't have one because ranges are given to them at matches.

    And, field positions suck. Tall grass, shooting off stumps or fence posts or whatever. You're not going to have your shooting jacket. Prob won't have time to sling up. Giving the "skilled" shooter the benefit of the doubt, they can get into natural point of aim, as long as they don't have to track a moving target. but you prob won't be laying prone or shooting from a benchrest, so your ability to hold a man sized wobble zone will be greatly diminished.

    What goes in to judging windage at such a long range and is it even realistically possible without range flags and spotters?
    Depends on terrain and seasons. Shooting in the mountains from one ridge to another in the winter when there aren't any leaves? pretty dang hard. If the terrain is flat and you have good indicators, like grass blowing etc, then it's pretty easy, although iron sights eliminates one of the best indicators which is mirage.
    But yes, most of the time and in most circumstances, it's pretty easy to judge the wind.

    HOWEVER, if you miss, and you don't have a spotter, and you're using iron sights, you won't be able to see where you missed or even if you hit/missed. So it's dang hard to make corrections and getting a 2nd round hit like you could with a scoped rifle.
     
  13. BreechFace

    BreechFace Member

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    Taking one's ability to shoot iron sights out of the equation as that would effect ones success with anything.

    Why not? A 1:7 twist, 20" barrel shooting 77gr TMK's and a knowledge of how to adjust sights for wind and elevation, 500 yards should be rudimentary.

    And a 77gr projectile at 1,800 fps is nothing I would want to stand in front of at 500 yards.
     
  14. 1942bull
    • Contributing Member

    1942bull Contributing Member

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    Bear with me as I am only trying to be specific. The OP referenced M16 so I am referring to a military issue M16 using 5.56 NATO with a 20” barrel. I just looked it up and with a 20” barrel the maximum effective range of 800 meters with maximum range of 3,000 meters. So a 500 yard shot seems well within the capability of the rifle. Of course the capability of the shooter is the variable.
     
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  15. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    The maximum effective range of the 5.56 is 600 meters. I have engaged the enemy out to 500 meters with the M16A2.
    I don’t know where people get to idea that the M855 ammo is designed to fragment. It was designed for better penetration. It has a tungsten core in the tip.
     
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  16. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    In 1972, dropping green “human-shaped” pop-up targets at Ft. Leonard Wood with an A-1 at 300 meters, open battle sights with 18 year old eyes was no problem - I liked the platform, I was issued a very accurate weapon.
     
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  17. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I would say most of your points are addressing the practicality of shooting at 500 yards in general rather than the M16 specifically, meaning if you couldn't do it with an M16 then you couldn't do it with any other iron sighted rifle either. As for effectiveness one could argue that wounding the enemy or putting enough firepower close enough to them that they either need to seek cover or have to stop their attack and retreat would be a measure of effectiveness. All my experience in shooting at 500 yards has been at critters that were not shooting back at me so maybe I should keep my mouth shut.
     
  18. Jimster

    Jimster Member

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    1983. I was a hospital corpsman on the carrier USS Independence CV-62. We were blowing the living s&#¥ out of Grenada during operation Urgent Fury.
    Seems like a hundred years ago at times and only yesterday at other times. I can still smell the JP 5 jet fuel. Our Marine detachment on board was absolutely first rate.
     
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  19. Grumpy_old_Fart

    Grumpy_old_Fart Member

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    I did it from 88-92, qualified expert at every range I went to. We used the A1, the A2, the M60, M2, grease guns, 1911s, Berretta's, everything in the arms room and what we could get our hands on. from 10 yards to 1000 yards, weapon dependent, with or without chemical gear, and at night.

    Those are fun challenges. The amount of ammo we used, that was what was amazing. 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. What great days those were.
     
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  20. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I didn't get up close to do BDA on my targets so I don't know if the rounds fragmented, yawwed around, or went straight through. But I have shot at targets over 300 and under 500 meters away and not seen them get back up again. And that was good enough for me. Rounds were M855. I hear the 855A1 does long range shooting better but nowhere near as well as mk 262 mod anything. Knowing and doing that, I don't use 5.56 for hunting.
     
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  21. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    I don’t know where anyone would get the idea that m855 had a tungsten core in the tip.
    It does have a steel penetrator.

    but it also fragments. Just not as well as m193.
    This thread has a good post by ex-mod bart. And also a quote from the old ammo oracle site which sadly no longer exists. It explains the expected fragmentation performance and some testing by fackler. https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/what-the-m855-really-does.189504/
     
  22. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    That’s precisely why I responded. When I read the OP it seemed like he was asking if it was practically possible to hit a man sized target in field conditions. Everyone else responded as If punching holes in high contrast mil paper on a square range was the same thing. I’ve done my share of both and can assure you one is easy and the other is really friggin hard.
     
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  23. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    As always, shot placement is what really matters. Good work.
     
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  24. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I qualified with both the M-14 at 600 meters and the M-16 at 400 meters in the 1960's. It was easy I thought to qualify expert with the M-16. man sized targets at 4oo meters was no problem. As far as effective, I was happy to be on the sending end. We did not not have to get close enough to grab thier belt buckle. That was their doctrine due to the poor range, effectiveness and accuracy of what they were shooting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
  25. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    irons or acog?
     
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