M16 20” @ 500 yards?

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

  1. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    on a man sized target it’s not as bad. but on a real man you’re still trying to hit a vital area not just scrape the edge.


    the best way to understand this is to look up WEZ analysis. Bryan litz wrote a lot about it and made a calculator. You can Google it and see how it works. Basically it simulates a large number of shots and then does some statistical analysis to see how the probability of a hit changes as the wind or target size or bullet and velocity change.

    if you do this analysis on a mil spec bullet compared to say a match 6mm, you’ll see an enormous difference in how much the wind moves them around.
    But at only 500 yards on such a huge target it doesn’t matter that much
     
  2. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Clearly, a small concealed target behind cover at 500 is much different. I doubt most would even be able to see that far, much less a cammyflaged combatant considering concealment.
     
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  3. GE-Mini-Gun

    GE-Mini-Gun Member

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    Not a 223, but I watched a guy hit a 12" steel gong at 1k with a 16" 308 5 times in a row
     
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  4. champ0608

    champ0608 Member

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    1) This is where bullet choice plays a role. 55s do get blown all over the place. 77s can be loaded to mag length, and are much better in wind.

    2) You don't need wind flags, but to consistently hit a man sized target at 500-600 with a 20" barreled Ar15, you need wind doping experience. MOST rifle shooters don't have the skillset. I know this because I routinely see new shooters arrive at high power matches and fail to hit the 36" aiming black at 600 yards.
     
  5. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Can you give advice on how to obtain this skill? I would like to learn it.
     
  6. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    A Kestrel in hand sure doesn’t hurt. At least a Wind Wizard.

    From there, it’s largely a matter of watching environmentals and mirage, and reading terrain.

    Reading through this thread again this evening, it still makes my brain itch. Again, not to be argumentative, but substantiating my position as to why maybe I expect more from marksman than does the .mil manuals... I’ll throw out up front - the energy retained certainly doesn’t align with anything I would call “effective” - but if the measure of “effective range” is consistently impacting a man-sized target, I have to think getting farther than 300 yards with an x39 is easier than doing it with a 22LR, and my boy put together this 66% IPSC target at 300yrds with a ~$270 rifle and $50 scope last year, chewing up rot-gut Thunderbolts if I recall correctly. You can estimate the windspeed by his hair if you like. 7.62x39 is no speed demon, but in a proper rifle, twice the speed should help getting past 300 easier than this little 22LR. Even easier with a much flatter and faster 5.56. I also have to think most marksmen can shoot as well or better than a 7yr old boy. It’s probably fair to expect this Savage does shoot better than many rack AK’s or even many AR’s, but not HALF as small, I wouldn’t think. Kneeling on the stool behind a bench (too short to sit), bipod and rear bag. I gave him wind calls and corrections (not particularly a strong suit for me), but his misses were my bad calls and a few random stragglers, the rest were peeling paint.

    3C5C140D-D66D-40D1-ADDC-E66E53A1187F.jpeg

    I know the mil-spec expectation for accuracy from the M16 isn’t stellar (isn’t it something like 2-4MOA as passing?), but I’d be exceptionally disappointed to hear the average accuracy of the rifles our soldiers - many of you folks - are or were carrying is really that poor. Sights and shooting position not withstanding.

    Or maybe I really would be woefully disappointed to see firsthand how poorly issue rifles perform, or how poorly soldiers perform using them. That’s a “bet” I’d be very sad to lose.
     
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  7. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    The standard to determine maximum effective range is if the round penetrated both sides of a M1 helmet. And the M16A2 using M855 ammo will do that at 550 meters. The M16A1 using M193 will do that at 460 meters. That 2-4 MOA is the maximum allowed. Most M16A2 rifles will do better than that as long as the barrel s not shot out.

    Now the OP asked if it is possible to hit a 500 yard target at 500 yards and the simple answer is absolutely yes he can.

    I personally used mine and others experiences in the military with shooting at 500 and 600 meter targets to show that a M16A2 or civilian AR15 built to the same specs using M855 ammo can hit targets at that range. The M855 ammo is not known for the best accuracy but we can still hit targets at those ranges. So if someone took the time to find what ammo his rifle shoots the most accurate then there is no excuse for not hitting a 500 yard target using iron sights. If a person wants tight groups at those ranges then they need to use a scope.

    Comparing precision long range shooting types of rifles against a standard issue M16A2 is like comparing apples to oranges. And it has been proven that with an issue rifle and issue ammo, at least 50% of soldiers and marines can hit targets at those ranges with iron sights.
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    No argument here. But since this seems intended for me, I haven’t compared a precision long range rifle against an M16A2 in this thread.

    The rifle pictured above might look like an LRP rifle in its stock, but it’s a factory $250 Savage Mark II FSS (their base model stainless - cheapest stainless bolt action 22LR they made at the time) 22LR which came with a full length polymer stock, which I replaced with a $97 Boyd’s ProVarmint stock to be cut down more easily for a 10.5” LOP, and then added a $50 Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 and a $50 Winchester branded Harris knock off from Walmart - and of course... it’s a 22LR, a 40grn slug leaving the station at 1035fps with a G1 BC barely above .1. I DO have and have built dozens of LRP AR’s for customers; but the AR’s I’ve mentioned shooting out to 500 are, well, AR’s... The one 20” AR I mentioned specifically above wasn’t anything special, a walk about hunting carbine with a mid-grade barrel, even with a DPMS “Mil-spec” trigger left over from an LPK which I had laying in a junk drawer. My first Service Rifle was built for under $300 in 1998, an A2 clone built on Bushmaster components, nothing special, and none of which could be mistaken for LRP rifles.
     
  9. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    This is the problem in combat. They don't stand there in the open and let you shoot at them. I rarely saw what I was shooting at. Not the case for everyone. I guess effective is different for combat in that if you hit them you are likely to make them unable to fight. Or hit close enough with enough volume to drive them from the battle. For paper it is how accurate you can be at a range. For hunting it is a 100% one shot kill for me. Obviously that is a much higher standard. It depends on the individual and tactics as much as accuracy and power. As far as rack grade weapons, the ones I shot seemed to be 1-2 MOA if memory serves me well. But then most people could not shoot them that well. I have hear various reports of issue accuracy more recently. My nephew was a Marine sniper until a year ago. I will ask him someday. All my builds shot 1.75 MOA or better. Very comparable to my issue weapons but I don't know what they issue now.
     
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  10. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Being of German, Swede and Norsk decent, I hope we never fight them. I was in Germany in 1967. The war we were prepared to fight then was with the Russians.
     
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  11. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    The US Army now states that the maximum effective range of the M16A2 is 550 meters.

    It has been a long time, but in the back of my mind I seem to remember that the max eff range of the M16A1 I was issued was 460 meters.

    We only shot quals out to 300 meters, using the green knock down targets. I had no difficulty shooting Expert.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
  12. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    You keep looking at this from a target shooter’s perspective. What most of us have posted relates to combat shooting.
    Your son’s rifle is set up with more then a military standard issued weapon. And then there’s the fact that it’s a bolt action and not a semiauto.
    When shooting on a Marine KD range it is done with a standard issued weapon. Back when I was in we had iron sights, no bipod, no rest, no rear bag and no bench to shoot from. All you had was a military issued sling and that was it. You were allowed to use the sling when shooting from the sitting, kneeling and prone possession. You could not use the sling while shooting offhand.
     
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  13. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    And the only difference between the Marines and the Army is the positions we shoot from, or at least that was how it was when I was in. We shot from prone/foxhole supported and prone unsupported. Even though most Army troops only qualify at 300 meters, some units do qualify out to 500 meters. I was in a few that shot out to 500 meters.
     
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  14. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Interesting perspective to hear a 7 year old with a $400 22LR should be expected to shoot better than an adult with an M16, it doesn’t speak well for the training or gear we’re giving our soldiers.

    As I’ve said from the outset, there’s a lot about Service qualifications which inhibit the shooter, irons and lacking support certainly don’t promote ultimate precision.

    Here’s the same 7 year old shooting a semiautomatic pistol, a $290 factory Ruger Charger, at a 12” square at 400 yards, standing from a porthole. Not irons, but I’m pretty certain the M16’s buttstock would be an advantage he didn’t have.

    “Possible,” “common,” and “universal” might be different things.

    8A9491E2-6516-4CE5-B572-93D2147391DA.jpeg
     
  15. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    the AK type rifles are more accurate than the internet chatter gives them credit for

    the AR type rifles are more reliable than the internet chatter gives them credit for

    7.62x39 AKM



    5.45x39 AK-74

     
  16. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    It's like you are in your own world and do not pay attention to what others post or the subject matter. I don't see what you are saying being in anyway relevant. Most others have posted on experience with with shooting AR's at long range. The conclusion seems to be that yes, it is reasonable to shoot a man size target to 500 yards with an AR. It was also brought up that can you kill a man at 500 yards. Yes maybe. Not exactly a given. I don't know about the weapons or quality training of the armed forces. I am pretty sure my Marine nephew had no problems. The quality of everything from unit to unit can vary a great deal in my experience. Training, equipment, work ethic of the unit. Most units are not combat units.
     
  17. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Sorry, I didn't realize AK's are part of the conversation. It is much more unlikely to hit a man at 500 yards with an AK. You bring your standard AK and I'll bring my standard AR and we can try it out. If you have ever been to a military rifle match you probably know the AK doesn't have any chance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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  18. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    There’s so much “context” in this thread that I find myself agreeing with everyone
     
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  19. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    Yes service members have been hitting a man sized target at 500 meters with rifles usually made by the lowest bidder using ammunition that has never been known for its great accuracy. And remember that Mil Specs and military standards are just that, a set of standards that must be met and usually they are the bare minimum standards for military use. So if a 17-20 year old recruit can hit a man size target at 500 meters with an issued rifle and issued ammo, then anyone that is a good shot and takes the time to find the ammo that his rifle shoots the best should not have a problem either.

    And d2wing is correct, training will vary from one unit to another and from one branch to another. I have been lucky in that most of the units I was assigned to sent us to the range on a regular basis to shoot all of our assigned weapons versus some units only going to the range once a year for annual qualifications.

    We are talking about hitting a man sized target or big metal gong at range versus precision shooting at those ranges. Two different disciplines with a different sets of standards. Now if I need to shoot small groups at long distances, I'll grab my Savage Model 12FVL with a Bushnell Elite 4500 6-24 MIL DOT scope instead of my AR15 with iron sights.
     
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  20. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    Rifle qual you are also under time constraints. The Army qual recently changed so I cant speak on what it entails, but when I was in you shot pop up targets from 50 meters to 300 meters from foxhole/prone support, prone unsupported, and kneeling.

    For example on one of the prone rounds of fire you have a target that pops up at 150 and one at 300 meters. You have 10 seconds to engage both of those targets before they go away. The closer targets get less time. 3 seconds for the 50 meter target and 5 seconds for the 200 meter target. You also only get one shot per target. For an experienced shooter the qualification isnt hard, but it isnt exactly easy either.

    Now that qual is the standard. Everyone in the Army does that. Even the people who dont really carry guns. When you get over to the infantry side of things, we do more. We would do "battle march and shoot" days. Start at the company area in full battle rattle with a heavy-ish ruck and then do a fast paced ruck march to the range 6-10 miles away. Once yoy get to the range you grab some ammo, flop your ruck down, and shoot the qual off the ruck.
     
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  21. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    All of the Combat Engineer units did the same as Infantry units as far as weapons training. And some of the units I was in even made all the support troops in the battalion do the same. I've also been assigned or attached to other more high speed units that did have us shoot out to 500 for qualifications which is above and beyond what Army wide standards are.

    Train as you fight!
     
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  22. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    That's like me going down to the range and shooting steel for a day and then saying I was shooting better than people who missed the targets at the last PRS match. Things are a bit different under time and round count constraints.
     
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  23. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    You are the one that brought you kid and his shooting abilities into this conversation.
    I think it’s great that you have spent the time to teach your son to shoot, but the fact is that what your son is shooting has nothing to do with the topic.
    We’re not talking about shooting bolt action 22 rifles or shooting with scopes.
    I know plenty of people that can shoot great with a scope, but can’t hit something past 50 yard with iron sights.
    Just take a 20” AR to the range and see how good you can shoot using the same standards we’ve listed in this topic, Army, or Marine Corps.
    You say that you’re not being argumentative but what I’m starting to see a little different.
    It’s like we’re talking about drinking black coffee and you keep bring up drinking tea with sugar.
     
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  24. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    Prob best to start a new thread on this topic

    but there are two components. One is trying to determine the velocity and direction of wind (which may have multiple components at distance) and two is calculating that effect on your bullet.

    my recommendation for the first would be to carry a kestrel everywhere you go. Stop every few minutes and make a wind call. Then hold up the kestrel and measure it.
    Keep in mind you’re just measuring at the shooter not downrange. To start making more complete wind calls go shoot or spectate at every fclass match you can. Set up behind shooters. Observe the flags mirage and all other indicators, then watch their trace as they shoot and the bullet goes downrange. You can watch the wind push it. Chat with the shooters about how much they were holding. Look at the results on target.
    Make an attempt to observe matches during various weather conditions. Especially if forecast calls for rain, go watch. Or shoot.

    for the second, it’s mostly math. Read litz books or other material. Play with jbm ballistics online or your fav calculator. If the wind is perpendicular it’s pretty easy. If it’s at an angle it’s harder.
     
  25. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    This is my contention as well. 100% agreed. Backing it up by the fact “if a slackjaw like me can do it, then anyone putting effort into it shouldn’t have a problem either.”

    ESPECIALLY in the civilian world where none of us are constrained to shooting M16A2’s, but AR-15’s, with the liberty to use optics and bipods instead of irons and slings. I’m honestly surprised it’s even a question. Achieving 500 feels a lot more like a “standard expectation” rather than a “maximum limit.” It’s easy to screw up if a guy doesn’t know a trigger from a tire iron, but that doesn’t strike me as meeting the “skilled shooter” criteria the OP pointed out.
     
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