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Tuning up my new/used Colt AR15

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ReadyontheRight, May 8, 2003.

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  1. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Minnesota - nine months of ice and snow...three mo
    I was all set to start the process of getting a White Oak Precision - tuned upper when I made the mistake/good furtune of visiting my local gun shop. I came across a used Colt Sporter HBar A2 in great condition with a Kreiger barrel and a bunch of other extras. It was kind of like shopping for puppies - I had to get it. I just wish it could have followed me home.

    While I wait for my approval to purchase (required for pistols in Minnesota and - surprise, surprise - also for "Military Style Semi Automatic Weapons" - Hmmm...which military uses semi autos?)
    :fire: , I am wondering the best course of action to get this baby accurized.

    It looks like it has not been shot much, so I will start the Kreiger-recommended break-in procedure.

    Here come the questions:

    I don't yet reload, so what ammo should I try? What sort of accuracy should I expect off a bench rest? What's a good course of fire to test accuracy? Other recommendations to get the rifle tuned-up? I will be using it to shoot high power matches.

    I want to get my new toy all tuned up and then start working on the nut behind the AR.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2002
    Southeastern US
    Well, frst of all does that Colt have a float tube under the handguards? If not that will wind up costing you about $150 to add down the line. (add that to your purchase price and re-evaluate...you can always back out until the money changes hands. Just pay for your background check and leave). You'll probably wind up getting a better trigger soon, too..add about $140 for that.

    Another thing to consider is twist rate fo the barrel. If it does not have a 1:7" or 1:8" twist barrel you could be one sad puppy at the 600 yard line. More later.

    I would not worry about break in at all. #1 even the best shooters disagree on "break-in" with even the best barrels. While the Colt barrels are usually pretty good I doubt any of them would see any benefits of a break-in if there is such a thing. Add to that that its been fired, so its "broken in" already.

    Regarding reloading, if it does have a 1:8" or faster twist, and hopefully a longish throat, you can shoot 80's for 600 yard use. Many use 69's and 77's for 200-300 yard use. I use 77s but may switch to 69's...no need to at this point, but who knows about next year?

    For ammo testing, since you're a beginner (this is not an insult!) you should put the rifle on bags and toss a scope on the carry handle. The AR A2 is a real PITA to use with a scope but if you're careful you can get some good testing done. As you get better you'll see that using a scope and a bench is too problematic and you'll do your accuracy testing from prone slung up and with irons, but you probably won't be able to do this until you're knocking on the door of Master class. Until then I suggest the following loads because they work in so many folk's guns. Rediculous amounts of ammo testing only wears out your barrel, so try to stick to known good loads and go from there. A very popular load is a 69 or 77 gr SMK with 23.5 to 24.2 (Hot load...be careful!!) of RL-15, Rem 7 1/2 primer and a LC case. Seat to 2.250" You can often use the same load (except length) with a 80 SMK and things work swimmingly.

    I'd suggest getting a Stoney Point OAL gauge and comparator and use that with your 80's to find the distance to your lands. 80's are not desinged to be seated to mag length, but rather set out towards the lands. They are single loaded. Find the distance to your lands, back off .010" and seat your 80's there. Oughtta shoot x's like a banshee assuming your barrel is good and you can keep up with it.

    BTW, if your barrel is a 1:9" and you still want the rifle, stick with 69's and try the 75 Gr Hornady's for 600 yards...sometimes they'll work. Look to see that they will group and that they make round holes (not keyholes). Your first year in HP, IMHO, is best spent at reduced course matches (200 yards) anyway. It will teach you positions like nothing else can. So you can forget the heavy bullet stuff, just shoot 69's, and try your damnedest to wear out your barrel at lots of matches. By next year you'll probably want a new one (barrel) and you can then get a faster twist and step out onto the 600 yard line with some good shooting experience and good positions.
    Last edited: May 9, 2003
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