The problem may have been with the upper, not the scopes. I should be able to confirm over the weekend.
After discussing the issues with my preferred 'smith, he took this 16" Wilson Combat upper back to the shop and gave it a careful inspection. His analysis:
- The barrel nut was fairly tight, but not completely so. My 'smith torqued it down to spec and stated there shouldn't be issues going forward. He said the 'smith who replaced the barrel may not be all that familiar with Wilson ARs.
- There's very little clearance between Wilson's TRIM rail and the gas block. My 'smith did a little milling to open up the clearance, as he suspects bipod pressure and heat from shooting makes the limited clearance a bit too limited.
- With the barrel nut now tight, the handguard shouldn't rotate relative to the gas glock.
I hoped to try the tweaked upper last weekend, while sighting in at the Raton 2-gun match, but ran out of time on the sight-in evening.
The goal for the weekend is to chrono my primary ammo types, find a good zero, perform tall target tests to confirm that optics are good, and see how the upper holds vertical at 400-500 yards.
I have an Origin action on preorder and have started looking at barrels, boy it looks easy to change out with an action and barrel wrench. I don't have much time shooting longer range, and I wonder if I should get a .223 bolt head and start with a .223 barrel. You can get Hornady American Gunner 6.5cm for 80 cents a round, so I'm not sure the economics are there for practice ammo. What do you guys think?
I'm not familiar with the Origin action. Offgrid has many thousands of rounds on his Bighorn actions -- he may be able to help you. I can state that offgrid's Bighorns shoot really well and they cycle very smoothly.
I am in the slow process of building a 223 precision rifle, as a training option for my larger caliber rifles. Quality 223 ammo can be found for less than 6.5 ammo. Furthermore, a good 223 match round flies a long ways with good accuracy. The downside to 223 bullets is that they show noticeably more wind drift than their 6.5mm counterparts.
Somehow, I don't have 100% success rate with goals.
I'm pretty comfy that the tweaked 16" Wilson upper is now put together correctly. Although I had only limited time with with AR this weekend, I didn't experience its prior issues. No movement of the gas block relative to the rail. No contact between gas block and rail. Accuracy was more consistent across a limited number match-grade ammo lines. But I still need to confirm accuracy across all my match-grade ammo options.
Before the 'smith tightened the barrel nut, I experienced a number of groups with very little vertical dispersion, but with noticeable horizontal variation. I attributed the horizontal to high & variable winds, but it may have been due to the harmonics of gas block contact. 100-yard groups now appear more concentric. Winds were unpleasant while shooting, so I didn't stretch out to longer distances. Testing a limited number of ammo options for group size and muzzle velocity was enough for the day.
One of my original concerns with this upper was the optic -- a Vortex PST Gen II 2-10x ffp. Initially, I was concerned that wonkiness in accuracy and POI was due to the scope. I'm glad I didn't blame the scope from the start of this journey. But I think I have found one issue with the scope.
First, the good news on the Vortex 2-10x.
- Glass is really clear.
- Parallax function is great.
- Reticle is useful and OK -- but I like the MOA reticle from Nightforce better
- Zero stop function is relatively easy to set
- Turret feel is decent.
- It's one of the few FFP 2-10x optics on the market. Burris is one other.
- Turret elevation tracks with reticle elevation. i.e. either holding or dialing elevation works....within reasonable values....
I think I can live with the one downside of this scope. When I spin the elevation turret all the way to the top, then back to zero, then back to the top, then back to zero -- the zero elevation changes by 1 to 2 MOA. This shouldn't happen with a properly designed scope, but it does with this one. So....I just won't dial up 65-70-ish MOA in elevation anymore and bang up against its maximum value anymore. Which is more than 2 revolutions on the elevation turret -- 25 MOA per rev. I doubt I will ever use more than rotation on the turret anyway, so it's just something to remember. When I kept dialing/holding under 32 MOA, tracking was accurate and repeatable.
Nightforce may one day distribute a 2-10x (-ish) ffp scope -- possibly in their NSX line, but could be SHV or ATACR. One NF rep told me 2-10x ffp ain't happnin', but another rep had that look..... Until then, I hope my Vortex scope continues to play nicely with my Wilson 16" upper.
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