And the next time I see or hear someone say their rifle shoots "sub MOA all day long", I may reply they should get their cocky ass to the Craig match. Prove it, or shut the hell up.
105 second stage, starting in prone, with glass on first target, mag in bolt back. 5 targets, two shots each target, A-E, near to far.
A -- 300 yards, 3" circle on a T post. All targets were JC Steel's "spring post spring target system". T posts were painted bright orange, the circles were painted white, the springie-post thingie below the target circle was painted bright blue.
B -- 400 yards, 4" circle. Almost straight back from A.
C -- 500 yards, 5" circle. Maybe 50 yards right of B.
D -- 600 yards, 6" circle. Maybe 60 yards right of C. Targets A through D in the flats of a old river drainage.
E -- 700 yards, 7" circle. Maybe 70 yards up and right of D, on a hillside.
Once the white paint was stripped from the circles by hits (mainly from the first squad of the day), they were hard to see with all the sage brush in the background. Finding targets was really hard in any light -- both cloud cover and sun. Winds were 3-7 mph from the left, varying from shot to shot. Mirage sucked. Most of our squad never made it past target C. One guy engaged only A and B, not even finding C.
I scored 2 on the stage (out of 8 shots), which was about average for the match. IIRC my hits were first rounds on A and B. I wasted time searching for target E, and just had reticle on target, just as time was called. The RO stated there were many zeros on this stage.
MOA all day long. My frickin' ass. Let's see it when the clock is ticking and 10 people are watching.
There's a big difference between shooting "sub-moa" and being able to hit the same. That's a tough course outlined and I'm in the "show me" crowd, too.
I do most of my shooting at 100 to 600 yards(our range limits) with my bolt guns and M-14's. It's great fun.
|Go ahead punk, make my day|
Well, you have to define "sub-moa" all day long vs the timed target detection, acquisition, and successful engagement drill that you lay out.
Anyone knows that those two are very different things, even if it seems to get your hackles up.
My one shot hits are all sub-moa, regardless of where they hit.
"take your big black cow and get out of here" (or something like that)
- Donald Fagen & Walter Becker
Nice use of terrain for the longer targets.
|Master of one hand |
I do miss the days I could shoot my 7mag at 1000y just east of Santa Ana. Now my Oregon club only goes to 200y.
NRA Benefactor CMP Pistol Distinguished
I finally got around to making some planned changes to my 18" barrel AR15 -- a Wilson Combat that now has a Bartlein/Craddock barrel. The first item was cleaning the trigger. A couple thousand suppressed rounds gunked it up pretty badly, and now it feels better.
I changed the rifle-length buffer & spring for a JP silent capture system with an H3 weight. I picked up JP certs from match prize tables, then ordered two systems directly from JP. The JP rep recommended H3 buffers for my suppressed match rifles, stating that they will cycle much more smoothly.
Boy howdy was the JP rep right. The AR just seems more refined now. I never heard the "grinding sproing" sound while shooting the rifle, but I sure did during manual cycling. Recoil now seems smoother, and maybe slightly slower. My 20" barrel gets the silent capture spring unit in the wings. Pretty certain I'll order more silent capture springs for the 16" rifles, too.
#3 was changing from a TBAC direct-thread 223P-2 suppressor to a TBAC CB-mount Ultra 7. In three matches the direct-thread can has loosened slightly, with disastrous affects on POI for stages -- until I realized the can was loose. I hoped that the CB-mount system eliminates the can loosening issue for ARs. I soon discovered that Thunderbeast's CB mount is just a different set of threads -- from the brake to the can. I'm uncertain if that will make a difference. I hoped for something like Surefire's SOCOM system. Time will tell.
The Ultra-7 is definitely a lighter can than the 223P-2. However, my 223P-2 might have some carbon buildup, so it's time to give it a cleaning. I didn't expect it, but the 18" POI changed with the lighter can. It's now about 1 MOA higher. I need a better day to confirm zero and down-range dope. Winds were 15-20 mph at times yesterday, mainly from my left, as wave after wave of storm clouds passed by.
I tested the Utra-7 and 223P-2 cans back-to-back, for both accuracy and muzzle velocity. Accuracy seemed the same. MV was higher with the Ultra-7 for the three types of factory 223 match ammo I stock. Hornady 75 Black was 10-20 fps faster. Hornady 55 Vmax was 40-50 fps faster. Federal GMM 69 was a whopping 90-100 fps faster! What the...? The higher FGMM 69 MV may be for real, as impacts on steel at 500 and 550 yards were definitely higher than my existing dope cards predicted.
So...I have a little more field work to do. Probably changing some dope cards, too.
I've been forced to deal with extensive ranch management issues, but have managed some suppressor evaluation.
I have switched my 18" and 20" match AR-15s to the TBAC Ultra 7 can, with a 308 bore. POI is definitely higher with the Ultra 7 can. Some types of ammo have a little higher MV, with a couple being a little lower. I have not yet revised dope cards. For the 20" AR, I no longer have the same 100 yard zero for all ammo types -- the 73 grain loads impact about 3/4" higher than the 69 and 75 grain loads.
Accuracy with the Ultra 7 is at least equal to that from the TBAC 223P-2. Some of the smallest vertical dispersions for 5 rounds I've done with the 18" AR are with the Ultra 7.
1.25" Federal 69
1.75" Federal 73
1.75" Federal 69
2.25" Federal 69
1.88" Federal 73
Some of the highlights with the Ultra 7 in the 20" AR.
.88" Federal 73
1.75" Hornady 75 black
1.5" and 1.75" Federal 73
1.0" and 1.25" Hornady Vmax 55
1.75" Hornady 75 black
1.75" Hornady 73 ELD
2.0" Federal 69
1.5" and 2.38" Hornady 75 black
1.75" and 2.25" Hornady 73 ELD
This means the old direct thread TBAC 223P-2 will be dedicated to my bolt action 223.
The final stage is testing my 24" AR15 with a SOCOM Mini can. This 24" rifle has also used the TBAC 223-2. I'm still working through the data, but the accuracy seems unaffected. MV is down slightly, but not significantly less. Some of the lowest verticals with the SOCOM include:
1.5" and 1.5" and 1.62" Federal 69
1.88" Hornady 75 black
2.25" Hornady 75 black
1.88" and 2.25" Federal 69
I am considering eliminating Hornady 73 ELD from my inventory, as Hornady 75 Black seems to perform as well. Furthermore, 75 Black is cheaper and is a little easier to find.
However, Federal 73 GMM is showing some good accuracy. But it is harder to find and is a bit more expensive.
As always, thanks for that informative report.
To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead.
— Thomas Paine
As we all know, ammo is hard to find. My primary match ammo is Hornady 75 Black, with Federal GMM 69 as a backup. FGMM is generally the more accurate ammo, but the 69 SMK bullet doesn't fare well at longer distances in crosswinds. Both types just aren't showing up on internet sales. I have a reasonable inventory, however one never knows when the market panic will change. Thus, I've tested a few alternatives as product becomes available.
Sierra's Tipped Matchking (TMK) bullets have some great BC's, but they seem to be finicky with chambers and barrels. TMK 69 & 77 loads from Black Hills and Creedmoor Sports performed poorly in all my barrels a few years ago.
I recently bought a few boxes of Sierra's Prairie Enemy 69 TMK ammo. In my 18" Bartlein/Craddock barrel, it was about 3/4 MOA accurate at 320 yards. Accuracy decreased to a touch over 1 MOA at 430 yards. Muzzle velocity was good, with very low MV variation. In my 24" DSC barrel, accuracy sucked canal water -- 2 to 2.5 MOA at 320 and 430 yards. Again, MV was good, with low variation. It's my understanding that TMK bullets don't handle jumps to the lands very well. The 18" Bartlein has a tight 223 match chamber, whereas the 24" DSC has a 5.56 chamber. I will try the few remaining boxes on other barrels, but I don't think Sierra Prairie Enemy will work for me.
I bought a few boxes of Federal's TRU Law Enforcement 69 TMK ammo. In the 18" Bartlein it was .6 to 1.0 MOA accurate at 320 yards. I only did one group at 430 yards, but is was an outstanding .4 MOA of vertical. For the 24" barrel I got 1 to 1.5 MOA at 320 yards and 1 to 2 MOA at 430 yards. So...maybe it works on tight chambers. Needs more testing.
Federal's GMM 73 uses Berger bullets. This load shows outstanding preliminary accuracy from my 20" Krieger and 18" Bartlein barrels, but nothing special from the 24" DSC. Again, the 73 Berger may not like being jumped to the lands.
I just received some Federal TRU Law Enforcement 69 SMK ammo, but haven't shot it. I looks exactly like FGMM 69. Testing will likely occur in October and November.
I see that 77 SMK loads are more often available via internet search engines. 77 SMK loads have never been as accurate as Hornady 75 in my ARs. But if the ammo supplies continue to be messed up, I may have to revisit.
Over the course of a few weeks I have tested new ammo types on my "beater" upper, a 14.5" LWRC piston. This upper has been my least accurate AR from the start. It should be able to handle anything with its 1:7 twist, but it exhibits good accuracy only with 69 SMK loads from Federal and Aussie Outback. It does OK with 55 Vmax. It sucks with 55 FMJ, and doesn't like 75 or 77 grain match bullets. So...on with the testing. I used steel targets at 320, 433, and 492 yards.
Federal 69 TMK (tipped matchking) TRU (tactical rifle urban). Not so good. Vertical variations of 1.5-2 MOA at all distances. Muzzle velocity was decent, SD was good.
Federal 69 SMK (sierra HP matchking) TRU. Verticals of 1-1.5 MOA at 320 and 433 yards, therefore a little better. Still bad at 492 yards. A little slower MV and a little worse SD than the TMK version of TRU.
Sierra 69 TMK Prairie Enemy. Verticals of 2 MOA at 320 and 433 yards. Then a 1/2 MOA group at 492 yards. Weird. MV was reasonable and SD was good. I don't know if the 492 yard result was an anomaly, or that it just took that long for the ammo to settle down. After seeing a similar radical reduction of verticals with a 16" Wilson Combat upper after 11 rounds were fired, I wonder if it takes awhile for the TMK ammo to settle into an accuracy mode.
Freedom Munitions 69 SMK. Verticals of a touch over 1 MOA at 320 yards. Verticals of 1.5 MOA at 433 yards and 492 yards. MV was OK, but SDs were somewhat variable. Potential ammo for positional training.
Gorilla 69 SMK. Generally a touch over 1 MOA in verticals, with a few groups just under 1 MOA. MV was a little slow and SD was a little high. But a reasonable option for positional training.
Nosler 69 SMK. Verticals of 1.5-2 MOA at all distances. MV was a little slow, SD was a little high. Disappointing.
Federal 53 Vmax. Highly variable results, so it's out of the hunt. Verticals at 320 yards were all over the place -- 1.62 inches (woohoo), 3.75 inches, 5.0 inches, 7.0 inches. Four groups, shot back-to-back, in similar conditions of a light breeze from the left.
Due to the horrible accuracy results, I tried again the following weekend. Very little difference, with the exception that tried and true Federal GMM 69 shot with 1.5 MOA verticals, instead of the normal 3/4 to 1 MOA results. Furthermore, MV appears to be down a little.
I've noticed this barrel is slowly developing greater carbon fouling in the throat, evidenced by post-shooting cleaning. I've also noticed that the barrel's accuracy might suffer when it's fouled with multiple types of ammo. I wonder if the barrel is wearing out prematurely, or it's just an indication of a 2nd tier barrel.
Bottom line -- this LWRC remains a beater barrel, of mediocre accuracy. I won it in a match, therefore I don't have any money in it. When I feel the barrel is truly toast, I'll probably just throw away the entire upper. LWRC doesn't seem to support this model with replacement barrels.
Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the accuracy of my Wilson Combat ARs and uppers? DI rules.
Grateful I'm surrounded by good friends who have all this stuff. Able to compare, see problems.... Scopes are laid out in optical order as we see them (some pun intended). The S&B and NF 5-25 are so very close.
NF NX8 4-32 on some kind of AR
Vortex Razor Gen2, RimX 22lr
S&B PM2 5-25, Vudoo 22lr
NF ATACR 5-25, Bighorn 6.5x47
NF ATACR 7-35, Kelbly 300PRC
Tangent 5-25, 40X 22lr
The two scopes missing friends have are the Minox ZP5 5-25 and ZCO 5-27. I'd put the Minox behind the Tangent, ZCO behind the Minox.
Going to sell off my two Tangents, up against 10K rounds on each. I have not had any problems. That's a lot of rounds, twisting the elevation knob up and down for almost every shot. Before the Tangents shot Premier scopes for several years. Optically very close to the Tangent. Premiers also had the Gen2 XR reticle like the Tangents. Have tons of rounds on that reticle. One scope will be on the 40X 22lr, the other my match centerfire rifle. The Minox 5-25 I feel is the best bang for the buck. I like the Minox MR4 reticle better then anything NF offers, come on NF! ZCO has a great eye box but the reticle is soooo thick. The NF 7-35 and S&B focus down to 25-30yds which is great for 22lr matches. Tangent just gets down to 50yds. Leaning towards finding a used mint S&B 5-25/Gen2 XR for the 40X and another Tangent for the centerfire. Fun stuff!
Over the course of many weeks I have evaluated various match-ish ammo in my 223 AR15s, to understand ammo alternatives in theses challenging shortages. Ultimately, my testing had little effect on my preferred ammo. Most testing was done on the 14.5", 16", and 24" barrels. I wasn't too concerned with my 18" and 20" precision match rifles. I didn't shoot any groups at 100 yards. All accuracy testing was done on steel targets with 5 or more rounds at 320, 433, and 492 yards. I experienced some pretty challenging cross winds on many days.
Nosler Custom Competition 69
A big disappointment. Muzzle velocities were slower than expected for 69-grain factory ammo. Velocity SDs were a little high, but not bad. Nosler uses their own 69 grain bullet, which has a lower BC than Sierra's 69 Matchking. Vertical variations were all over the place -- acceptable on one group, then horrible on the next. The only decent groups were with my Wilson 16" #2 at 320 yards -- verticals of 2.25" to 2.88". I saw verticals of up to 2 MOA on occasion with all barrels.
Freedom Ammunition 69 HPBT Match
OK results at 320 yards, but inconsistent at longer distances. This could work as training ammo for positional shooting, if nothing else was available. Muzzle velocity was in the ballpark, as was its SD.
Gorilla 69 SMK
Surprisingly good results, across all barrels. Muzzle velocity was good and MV was reasonable. Accuracy was close to that of Federal GMM 69. It even shot well in my beater LWRC barrel.
Federal Tactical Urban Rifle (TRU) 69 SMK
Good results, across all barrels. I wonder if this ammo is intended to be FGMM, but doesn't quite meet standards. Accuracy was very good at 320 yards, with best verticals in the 1" to 1.5" range. All but one barrel showed good results at 433 yards. MV and SD were similar to FGMM. Probably not match ammo by my standards, but decent training ammo.
Federal Vmax 53
High muzzle velocity, reasonable SDs. Accuracy at 320 yards good for all barrels. Accuracy at 433 yards was a little more variable -- I suspect this light bullet gets tossed by the wind a bit. It could be acceptable training ammo.
And now for the challenges of shooting ammo with Sierra's Tipped Matchking ("TMK") bullet. TMK bullets have great BCs, however I hear of few people using them. It appears TMK bullets don't like a jump to the lands, and thus like tight chambers. I didn't expect good accuracy with 5.56 chambers.
Federal TRU 69 SMK
The accuracy was quite good in my 18" Bartlein barrel, which has a match chamber. I probably should try it in my 20" Krieger barrel, which also has a match chamber. Accuracy in my 5.56 chambered barrels were highly variable. One group showed promise, then the next one really sucked. Very common to have 3 impacts right on the targeted elevation, and then both a high and low flyer. I wonder if Sierra was able to turn back the clock -- would they design the TMK differently?
Sierra Prairie Enemy 69 TMK
I really had hopes for Sierra's own ammo with their own TMK bullet. Muzzle velocity was high for 69-grain loads. SD was among the lowest I've seen for factory ammo. It shot OK in the 18" Bartein barrel, but generally quite poorly in the other barrels. Had two absolutely stunning groups at 320 yards in two barrels, followed up by groups that sucked. Accuracy at 433 yards was just bad. Had a couple of groups that were amazing at 492 yards, then the next ones sucked.
Helping a good friend set up a range. So far we have targets out to 1200yds. Eventually go to 2000yds.
Tough going setting up targets this time of year. Steel targets, T-post driver, T-post all humped out on foot/snow shoes, backpack.
Berms at 100, 200, 330, 450. Kind of see the targets past that last berm from the tracks. Turns at the 800yd target to the 1000 and 1200. We'll fill in some more in the next few weeks weather permitting. My buddy and I were both rewarded for our hard work with first round hits at 1000/1200yds with the 6! About 1.7 second flight time, see the target move, about 3 seconds for the sound to get back, ding! Fun stuff! Wind was a easypeasy 5-7 mph. Usually the wind there is hauling ass this time of year. That's me snow shoeing to the 450 berm to check out some loads from a 12.5" AR shot on paper. Have a 10" plate at 450, getting boring with the 12.5"! Took 3 shots at the 800yd target with the 12.5" AR, managed first two hits, 3rd miss, could not see the miss in the difficult bright snow conditions, stopped. Certainly helps shooting that far with a 77SMK when at 9200'. We're shooting from inside a heated building, 24 degrees outside. It's going to be a challenge reading the wind there, mirage the only indicator. Overcast day, very little mirage... gonna be tough. I'll enjoy the challenge!
At the 1000yd target looking at the 1200yd target.
Wow; the stuff of dreams, not to mention the first hits.
Looking good. Amazing that you can sink posts this time of year. The ground at my range is rather firm.
You know, if you painted your steel white, you could spot your impacts more easily....
|One Who Knows|
Absolutley epic pics!!
fritz, ya the T-post driving is a bit tough. I got them deep enough for now. We're only shooting 6BRA and Dasher at for now. Save the white paint for spring.
6BRA/105 VLD Hunter at 1000yds still has a 800lbs of energy at 1850fps. Berger claims that bullet expands down to 1725fps. Using the Hunting VLD instead of the Target VLD because easier to find. No difference between the two on target. The thicker Target jacket can handle higher velocity w/o it coming apart. I'm nowhere near that velocity with the Hunting VLD. Hopefully I get a chance to shoot an Antelope there next fall with my 6BRA!This message has been edited. Last edited by: offgrid,
Finally have my 223 bolt action configured the way I want. I installed a 12" long Arca rail from Henderson Precision. My Grayboe stock has Mlok slots on the bottom, and there aren't all that many choices for Arca rails attached via Mlok bolts. The rifle now sports a NF ATACR scope. I dedicated the direct-thread Thunderbeast 223 suppressor to this rifle -- my newer CB mount TBAC Ultra 7 can will bounce among other rifles. A big challenge was that the thread length between the barrel's muzzle and crown is just a touch longer on this rifle's Proof Research barrel. Thus, when I'd move it from rifle to rifle there were issues with maintaining tightness, building/removing a small carbon ring, and point of impact. From my measurements, the Proof's threaded area was cut too long by one or two threads.
This thing just feels and shoots great. Grayboe stock and bottom metal, Defiance action, Proof carbon-wrapped barrel, Triggertech, NF ATACR. If there's a downside to the system, it's loading cartridges in the Accurate Mag DSSF mags -- the spring is...strong.
Quite a few months earlier, I did a little testing of ammo for accuracy at 100 yards, using a temporary scope. All went well and I realized this is definitely a sub-MOA gun. This time out I wanted muzzle velocity readings of various factory ammo types and preliminary accuracy at longer distances. I zeroed with Federal TRU 69 TMK ammo -- an OK type that I didn't intend to repurchase. At 100 yards this ammo produced bughole groups. So...on to 410 yards, with the Magnetospeed strapped to the can. Very slight breeze from the right, guessed the elevation requirement, aimed center of the 12" plate:
1.25" vertical, 1.25" horizontal -- 1-5/8" total spread for 5 rounds. Yep, this thing shoots.
Shortly after, with Gorilla 69 SMK ammo. Winds picking up, held on the 3 o'clock diamond point. 1.75" vertical and 1.75" horizontal for 5 rounds, also at 410 yards.
I still have a few more types of ammo to get MV readings on. Then the Magnetospeed comes off and it's time to see what it does at 600 yards and beyond. This will be a great training rifle. And maybe even a shorter-distance casual match rifle.
An enviable setup, fritz; thanks for the report.
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