M16 20” @ 500 yards?

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

  1. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,900
    Location:
    Missouri
    And the OP's question was about hitting a 500 meter target with iron sights. He didn't ask or say anything about using scopes.
     
  2. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    9,644
    I’m one of them. As I’ve commented multiple times in this thread. I used to shoot Service Rifle in the era we still had to use A2’s, but haven’t fired irons on a rifle in years - I can’t resolve my front sight any longer, so rather than installing diopter lenses on any of my rifles, I simply don’t shoot irons.


    As I also stated in my first post on this thread, I’m intrigued to get out and play with my irons soon. Since I haven’t shot Service Rifle at all in about 5-6yrs, and haven’t shot irons for SR in - I forget, when did we start using 4.5x optics? Longer ago than 5-6yrs... - maybe it’s gotten harder to hit targets with irons than I remember. My eyesight has gone to absolute pot the last few years. But I do have a couple 20” AR’s I could take to play with, and while I don’t have any true mil-surp ammo on hand, I believe I do have some Rem/UMC 55grn ball on the shelf. With an optic, and bipod, I know what the result will be at 500, no question. With irons, I also know what the result will be; ugly at first, but progressive - I’m just not certain the volume of practice I’ll need to get back in the groove with irons.
     
    Random 8 and Nature Boy like this.
  3. jeff-10

    jeff-10 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,622
    Location:
    South Florida
    I was an 11 Bravo (infantryman) in the mid to late 90's. Mainly carried either an M249 or a M16A2 with a 203 as a team leader. We didn't have optics back then. My last duty station was on the DMZ and there was a range we would we would mainly use for SAW's and M60's but that we would also shoot the M16A2's. Went to 700-800 meters if I recall correctly. We would do all kinds of amazing things at that range with the 5.56mm. Only our snipers had spotters and there were like 2 per battalion with M24's. Never saw any kind of range flags. That's the longest range I can recall shooting M16's at in the Army.
     
    d2wing likes this.
  4. zdc1775

    zdc1775 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    690
    Location:
    Alabama
    That's actually kind of the point with military qualifications. They aren't to make you skilled they are to prove that you are proficient. Add into that the fact the military teaches everyone from rabid anti-gunners who have never touched a gun before to kids who were basically born with a gun in their hand and can shoot the sack off a gnat at a 1,000 yards plus and you quickly see that the military's effective max range range is far from absolute but basically a minimum standard.

    I can verify that many of the people in my particular unit made 500+ hits on bad guys overseas shooting M855 out of M4's with Eotech sights and that several of us who were DM's made hits at 800+ shooting M262 out of MK12's with Leopold 3.5x10 scopes so it is certainly possible, though not necessarily easy, to actually make hits on actual humans from field expedient conditions at more than 500 yards using 5.56.

    Now ,with both of those statements in mind, it is easy to conclude that a skilled marksman can easily exceed that minimum standard.
     
    ms6852, gyp_c2, d2wing and 3 others like this.
  5. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,900
    Location:
    Missouri
    @zdc1775 is correct. And that is also why there are three levels of marksmanship in the Army and Marine Corp. Not everyone is at the same skill level. I don't expect someone that barely qualifies as a Marksman to hit a 500 meter (or farther) target with any degree of accuracy. Now someone that qualifies as a Sharpshooter or Expert will do a lot better at hitting targets at 500 meters or farther. And the squad designated marksman is usually the guy that qualified as expert with a perfect score (or near perfect).

    And after using the various methods of zeroing the M16A2, I have to give credit where it id due. The Marine Corp got it right with the 36 yard zero. You don't have to move the rear elevation dial or flip the rear aperture once you establish your battle sight zero like you do when using the 25 meter zero.
     
    gyp_c2 likes this.
  6. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2018
    Messages:
    1,878
    Location:
    Central MN
    I'm skipping over most of the replies at my own peril, but will speak to the OPs original question. Sorry if I beat any dead horses. I have shot and currently shoot service rifle, full course to 600 yards and have also dabbled in PRC and 1000 yards with the same rifle. Our ranges locally are lined by trees and hills, so the wind flags are pretty much useless, I tend to ignore them and look more at the grasses, floating dandelion seeds, and mirage. With a National Match AR15, A2 irons, and a heavy for caliber 69 or heavier bullet, first shot hits inside 20" are not only possible, but routine at 600 yards. Typically my first guess on the wind is much tighter. It helps if you're on second relay and you watch how much dope everyone dials into their windage:). My NM rifle has some advantages for precision shooting vs a standard A2, but they are rapidly eclipsed by rifleman's skill as the distance and/or wind increase. I believe with a standard A2 or M4 iron sighted and heavier bullets, the 20" at 500 yard goalposts could easily be split by a good rifleman. With 55 or 62gr military ball, the bar would get higher, requiring a greater level of precision and skill on the part of the shooter, but I believe would still be attainable given known distance and relatively consistent and mild wind.
     
    d2wing likes this.
  7. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    28,263
    i got my first leg points in the M16 EIC match at camp perry, where the AMU hosts and all competitors use their rack grade actual m16s. no fancy barrels or upgraded triggers or buttstocks filled with lead. they don't let you use bigger targets
     
    gyp_c2 and d2wing like this.
  8. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Messages:
    4,346
    Location:
    Phoenix Az
    I was always jealous of your DMs getting actual acopes. The SDMR we had in the Army probably shot as well as the Mk12 (didnt look as cool though) but we got issued ACOGs. While the ACOG is a great bombproof optic, it really hamstrung the capabilities of the rifle/ammo.
     
  9. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    9,644
    Two questions spurred from this - both of which I assume two things 1) Google fu can answer, but 2) you fellas likely know off of the top of your heads and can answer more quickly and directly:

    1) It’s sensible that the worst shooters would struggle to hit the 500yrd targets, but can they pass the qualification without hitting at all at 500? In other words, is success at the shorter range enough to get to Marksman qual without any points from the 500yrd line?

    2) What actually happens when a shooter fails to qualify as Marksman?
     
  10. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,542
    I'll answer for Army. Army qualifies at 50-300 meters. The 300 meter target pops up 4 times. So you can miss the 300 all 4 times and still get a 36/40 for expert qualification, assuming you hit everything else.

    Also Army answer, you try again. Depending on the commander, they will only give you so many do-overs to qualify. Marksman starts at 23 out of 40 hits. So in order to pass, you need just slightly more than half. Continual failures can lead to a bar to reenlistment or separation from the military. Many commanders consider marksmanship a critical soldier skill. So it is treated like failing a physical fitness test or some other critical component.
     
    rabid wombat and Varminterror like this.
  11. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,900
    Location:
    Missouri
    I that been a while since I got out of the Army and I'm sure things have changed quite a bit since then. When I was in you had to shoot 40 targets in a certain amount of time. You shot at 20 targets from the prone unsupported position and then 20 from the prone supported/foxhole position. Targets ranged from 25 meters out to 300 meters for all soldiers.

    This is how it was in the late 80's mid 90's:
    To qualify as marksman you have to hit at least 23 out of 40 targets. 23-29 out of 40 hits qualifies you as a marksman
    To qualify as a sharpshooter you must hit between 30 and 35 targets.
    To qualify as an expert you must hit between 36 and all 40 targets.

    If you failed to qualify (hit 23 targets) during basic training you would get held back and sent through basic again. IIRC, you only got 2 or 3 chances to qualify before you were sent home. If you failed to qualify in regular units, the commander could make you repeat qualifications, get remedial training, bar you from reenlistment, or separate you from the service. As herrwalther stated, it was possible to barely qualify as a marksman without hitting the farthest targets.

    The Army wide standard was to shoot out to 300 meters for qualification. Now some infantry, combat engineer, and special forces units would have their soldiers qualify out to 500 meters. It all depended on the type of unit, their mission and what the chain of command wanted. For some of the units I was assigned to, we did the normal qualifications out to 300 meters and also had to qualify out past that separately. Failing to qualify past 300 meters would get you sent back to regular type units.

    Again that was the Cold War Era standards that we used up to at least 1996. I'm sure somethings have changed since then.

    Those that were in the Marine Corp will have to answer on how they do things.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  12. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,900
    Location:
    Missouri
    And as an NCO/trainer, I had to work with soldiers that did not qualify. Some of them were lucky to hit 23 or 24 out of 40 targets. If they could not qualify, it was up to the company commander and higher on what to do with the individual. If I was told to keep working with the solder, then I did until they qualified or the chain of command decided enough was enough. Most of the time I could get them to qualify as marksman.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    18,180
    I must say my eyes, well, have seen better days. There is quite a variety of devices under the category “iron sights” and I can still do pretty good with some of them, with the right combination of front, rear, target and distance. optics make it easier for everything else.
     
  14. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9,937
    Location:
    Denham Springs LA
    Most Marines have very little trouble at the 500. This is due to the fact that they are firing from the prone position, which is the most stable.
    Where most of them drop points is at the 200. Some from the kneeling and most from the standing.
    The rapid fire is 10 round, two magazines, with 30 seconds to fire. The dog target is used. At the 200 it’s fired from the sitting position and the prone at 300. You start from a standing position and move to your shooting position on the command to fire. If you don’t get a good shooting position, you can drop some points.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  15. jeff-10

    jeff-10 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,622
    Location:
    South Florida
    In a line infantry unit in the 90's they wouldn't let us leave the range until we shot expert. In both units I was in, CONUS and Asia, we marched to the range every Friday and basically shot all day. We were pretty proficient at that point. You need an expert qualification to compete for an EIB (Expert Infantry Badge) every year and that was pretty much mandatory. TBH, I don't remember it being a hard. It was almost a game in that you know which targets were shot out and we would even shoot in front of them to kick dirt into them and make them fall. That was all open sights, mainly with M16A2 but the M4's had just started showing up. I remember firing the M4 and I wasn't as accurate. Looking back it could have been sight radius but at the time I contributed it to the collapse able stock and noticeably shorter barrel.
     
    rabid wombat and Mosin Bubba like this.
  16. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,542
    I also served time as being a remedial trainer. My typical score was 39 and I had gone through SDM and gunfighter schools, giving a lot more trigger time than a typical soldier. I would tell particularly poor students what a CO can do if they don't qualify: bar to reenlist, separation etc. The very last student I coached before separating was my company commander. He was scoring 11 out of 40 at the rifle range. I remember standing next to a few NCO trainers contemplating what would happen to an infantry CO that couldn't qualify.
     
    rabid wombat and 12Bravo20 like this.
  17. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,900
    Location:
    Missouri
    I was glad that I never had to work people that couldn't qualify with their assigned pistols, there would have been quite a few officers in trouble. When I was stationed in Germany,, one of the worst shots with any weapon was our battalion commander. That particular Lt Col. could not shoot a 1911, M9 or M16A2 to save his life.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  18. zdc1775

    zdc1775 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    690
    Location:
    Alabama
    Personally I hated the ACOG, I actually only qualified as a marksman my first time shooting with it after qualifying expert three times using iron sights, so I was extremely happy that I had went to DM school and got issued a rifle with a real scope before I ever deployed. And I don't doubt that the SDMR was just as accurate as my Mk12 if the optics and shooter were equal.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  19. zdc1775

    zdc1775 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    690
    Location:
    Alabama
    It's changed a little bit since I was in but on just the KD course you needed a 185/250 to qualify Marksman, Sharpshooter was 205/250, and Expert was 225/250. The course of fire consisted of 25 rounds at 200, 15 rounds at 300, and 10 rounds at 500. All rounds were worth up to 5 points each. So to answer you question yes, it is possible for someone to completely miss the target at 500 and still qualify as a Marksman. Though like @GunnyUSMC said above it's actually much harder to hit the 12" bullseye at 200 yards shooting standing unsupported than the 20"x40" semi silhouette at 500 yards from the prone.

    But for your actual rating you also have to include the "Table 2" course of fire. That consists of 42 rounds fired at 25 yards/meters and 8 rounds fired at 100 yards/meters. Those rounds are worth up to two points each for a total of an additional 100 added to your KD score.

    Off the top of my head that raised the score to 245 for Marksman, 275 for Sharpshooter, and 305 for Expert, but don't be surprised if you look it up and I'm off by a little as I have slept a time or two since then.

    As to your second question other than remedial training and being flagged as non-deployable I honestly don't know what would happen if someone failed requalification after getting to their unit. Possibly admin separation with either a "general" or "other than honorable" discharge if they continued to fail.
     
    rabid wombat and GunnyUSMC like this.
  20. sharkman

    sharkman Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    167

    ^^^ This was my experience, qualified expert. All in the black at 500 yds, but that was back in the 80’s.

    At 62 years old, eyes aren’t what they used to be. Farsighted so need some correction, have settled on a compromise. If I use lenses that give a crisp front sight picture then I can’t see the target, so I accept a slightly fuzzy front sight and I can still see the targets. Works great out to 300 yds. Beyond that luck plays a big part! Even managed to hit 1 out of 3 at 400 yds with my Mosin.
     
    rabid wombat and GunnyUSMC like this.
  21. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    9,937
    Location:
    Denham Springs LA
    There’s a lot of things I was able to do when I was younger. I can still do most of them, but some not just as good. Getting older has its advantages and disadvantages.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  22. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,007
    Location:
    south Florida
    Greatly enjoyed reading the accounts of how various outfits handled training and qualifications.. I won't even attempt to speak about how we trained and qualified back in the stone age (1968, with M-14's...). Not sure my account would be accurate - but I do remember really struggling to shoot "expert" and just barely made it at the very last qualifying round... Once I left basic I never touched another M-14 - a year or so later we were sent to the range to "familiarize" and qualify with those new (to us...) black rifles. My scores went way up with the M-16 - but the few times I ever went full auto with one (at the range only, and under strict supervision...) I became convinced that full auto would be an ammo waster for this shooter...

    I will speak about pistol shooting though... My Dad was amazing with rifles (small bore), standing off-hand... but always made a point of mentioning that he couldn't hit much of anything with a GI 45 and of course as an officer that's what he was supposed to carry... but that's typical in real world armed forces where you're dealing with what you're issued (or finding some way around it...).
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  23. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    6,278
    My question is how did he became a CO?

    Qualifying marksman ain’t that hard.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  24. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,542
    I spent time in ROTC on an officer path as well as enlisted. I have 2 therories. 1) Some piss poor ROTC program worked him through without a good basis in marksmanship. Which happens based on program budget, not enough money to go to the range etc. or 2) perishable skill. Go so long without practice, you can't hit the broadside of the barn. Seeing how every soldier, regardless of rank, is supposed to qualify yearly at the bare minimum. I am not sure what I am more comfortable believing. Marksmanship was not the only thing this officer was lacking competency in so a few months after the range, I hung up my uniforms for good.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  25. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    6,278
    Yeah, but, in order to be a CO he was promoted twice.

    I acknowledge that my experience is anecdotal, but I never knew anyone who didn’t meet STRAC and get promoted, let alone become a CO.
     
    rabid wombat likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice