By Dennis Santiago
It’s called the “Rattle Battle” or more formally, the National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT) at the U.S. National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. It requires practice. It takes teamwork. To optimize one’s Rattle Battle practice in California you need a pre-ban AR-15 properly CA DOJ registered [that’s California law] service rifle — something that civilians in California are now banned from acquiring (along with high-capacity magazines). Glad I have my 1989 Roberti-Roos era registered rifle because I do want to represent my state as well as I can at the Nationals. It’s legal to insert a 30-round magazine into this CA-registered rifle.
This is a practice drill shooting 29 rounds in 50 seconds. Hyperventilate, shoot multiple rounds per breath, put them all into the silhouette target. This was slow. I need to build speed to create time to make one or two sight corrections on command in the middle of the string. Practice makes perfect. As they say: “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.”
The CMP’s National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT) has been a staple at the National Matches since 1922. Also known as the “Rattle Battle,” the event is one of the most unique in the competitive rifling world — scoring is based on how many hits six-person teams can score on a bank of targets during a series of 50-second firing periods at four yardages.
Teams begin the NTIT match with 384 rounds of ammunition, which they fire upon eight silhouette targets from 600, 500, 300, and 200 yards during successive 50-second periods. After each rapid-fire string, team members move forward (to the next-closest distance) carrying all equipment from firing line to firing line. The match emphasizes extremely fast, accurate fire and good communication among teammates. The Rattle Battle is always an exciting competition for spectators to watch.
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We like AR-style .22LR rigs for Rimfire Tactical Matches and 3-Gun cross-training. With an AR-style rimfire rifle you can train with low-cost ammunition while enjoying the same ergonomics, controls, and sighting systems found on your centerfire ARs.
Smith & Wesson has upgraded its M&P 15-22, a fun rifle that we’ve praised in the past. The new M&P 15-22 Sport MOE SL model (Magpul Original Equipment Slim Line) features a more comfortable handguard, an improved grip, and an adjustable Magpul buttstock. The dedicated .22 LR M&P rifle retains the look and features of the company’s popular M&P rifle line, with the enhanced ergonomics of Magpul furniture. Click HERE for Spec Sheet.
In our Shooters’ Forum, one member recently asked: “What makes an AR accurate? What parts on an AR can really affect accuracy — such as free-floating handguards, barrels, bolts, bolt carriers?” He wanted an honest, well-informed answer, not just sales pitches. Robert Whitley posted a very comprehensive answer to this question, based on his experience building and testing dozens of AR-platform rifles. Robert runs AR-X Enterprises, which produces match-grade uppers for High Power competitors, tactical shooters, and varminters.
Building an Accurate AR — What is Most Important
by Robert Whitley
There are a lot of things that can be done to an AR to enhance consistent accuracy, and I use the words “consistent accuracy” because consistency is a part of it (i.e. plenty of guns will give a couple great 5-shot groups, but won’t do a very good 10- or 20-shot groups, and some guns will shoot great one day and not so good on others).
Here are 14 key things we think are important to accuracy.
1. Great Barrel: You’ll want a premium match-grade barrel, well-machined with a good crown and a match-type chambering, true to the bore and well cut. The extension threads must also be cut true to the bore, with everything true and in proper alignment.
2. Rigid Upper: A rigid, heavy-walled upper receiver aids accuracy. The typical AR upper receiver was made for a lightweight carry rifle and they stripped all the metal they could off it to make it light to carry (which is advantageous for the military). The net result are upper receivers that are so thin you can flex them with your bare hands. These flexible uppers are “strong enough” for general use, but they are not ideal for accuracy. Accuracy improves with a more rigid upper receiver.
3. True Receiver Face: We’ve found that truing the receiver face is valuable. Some may argue this point but it is always best to keep everything related to the barrel and the bore in complete alignment with the bore (i.e. barrel extension, bolt, upper receiver, carrier, etc.).
4. Barrel Extension: You should Loctite or glue the barrel extension into the upper receiver. This holds it in place all the way front to back in the upper receiver. Otherwise if there is any play (and there typically is) it just hangs on the face of the upper receiver completely dependent on the face of the upper receiver as the sole source of support for the barrel as opposed to being made more an integral part of the upper receiver by being glued-in.
5. Gas Block: You want a gas block that does not impose pointed stress on the barrel. Clamp-on types that grab all the way around the barrel are excellent. The blocks that are pinned on with tapered pins that wedge against the barrel or the slip on type of block with set screws that push up from underneath (or directly on the barrel) can deform the bore inside of the barrel and can wreck the accuracy of an otherwise great barrel.
6. Free-Float Handguard: A rigid, free-float handguard (and I emphasize the word rigid) really makes a difference. There are many types of free-float handguards and a free-float handguard is, in and of itself, a huge improvement over a non-free-float set up, but best is a rigid set-up. Some of the ones on the market are small diameter, thin and/or flexible and if you are shooting off any type of rest, bipod, front bag, etc., a rigid fore-end is best since ARs want to jump, bounce and twist when you let a shot go, as the carrier starts to begin its cycle before the bullet exits the bore.
7. Barrel Contour: You want some meat on the barrel. Between the upper receiver and the gas block don’t go real thin with a barrel (we like 1″ diameter if it’s workable weight-wise). When you touch off a round and the bullet passes the gas port, the gas system immediately starts pressuring up with a gas impulse that provides vibrations and stress on the barrel, especially between the gas block back to the receiver. A heavier barrel here dampens that. Staying a little heavier with barrel contour through the gas block area and out to the muzzle is good for the same reasons. ARs have a lot going on when you touch off a round and the gas system pressures up and the carrier starts moving (all before the bullet exits the bore) so the more things are made heavier and rigid to counteract that the better — within reason (I’m not advocating a 12-lb barrel).
8. Gas Tube Routing Clearance: You want a gas tube that runs freely through the barrel nut, through the front of the upper receiver, and through the gas key in the carrier. Ensure the gas tube is not impinged by any of them, so that it does not load the carrier in a stressed orientation. You don’t want the gas tube bound up so that when the gas tube pressures up it immediately wants to transmit more force and impulse to the barrel than would normally occur. We sometimes spend a lot of time moving the gas block with gas tube on and off new build uppers and tweaking gas tubes to get proper clearance and alignment. Most gas tubes do need a little “tweaking” to get them right — factory tubes may work OK but they typically do not function optimally without hand-fitting.
9. Gas Port Tuning: You want to avoid over-porting the gas port. Being over-gassed makes the gas system pressure up earlier and more aggressively. This causes more impulse, and increases forces and vibration affecting the top end and the barrel. Tune the gas port to give the amount of pressure needed to function properly and adequately but no more.
10. Front/Back Bolt Play: If accuracy is the game, don’t leave a lot of front/back bolt play (keep it .003″ but no more than .005″). We’ve seen factory rifles run .012″ to .015″ play, which is OK if you need to leave room for dirt and grime in a military application. However, that amount of play is not ideal for a high-accuracy AR build. A lot of front/back bolt play allows rounds to be hammered into the chamber and actually re-formed in a non-consistent way, as they are loaded into the chamber.
11. Component Quality: Use good parts from a reputable source and be wary of “gun show specials”. All parts are NOT the same. Some are good, some are not so good, and some aftermarket parts are simply bad. Don’t be afraid to use mil-spec-type carriers; by and large they are excellent for an accuracy build. Also, remember that just because a carrier says “National Match” or something else on it does not necessarily mean it’s any better. Be wary of chrome-plated parts as the chrome plating can change the parts dimensionally and can also make it hard to do hand-fitting for fit and function.
12. Upper to Lower Fit: A good upper/lower fit is helpful. For quick and dirty fit enhancement, an Accu-Wedge in the rear helps a lot. The ultimate solution is to bed the upper to a specific lower so that the upper and lower, when together, are more like one integral unit. For the upper receivers we produce, we try to get the specs as close as we can, but still fit the various lowers in the market place.
13. Muzzle Attachments: Don’t screw up the muzzle (literally). Leave as much metal on the barrel at the muzzle as you can. People like to thread the muzzle for a flash hider, suppressor, muzzle brake, or some other attachment, but if you really want accuracy, leave as much metal as you can there. And, if you have something that screws on, set it up so that it can be put on and have it stay there without putting a lot of torque and stress on it right where the bullet exits the bore. If you are going to thread the end of the barrel, make it concentric with the bore and make sure what you screw on there is as well. For all muzzle attachments, also ensure that the holes through which the bullet passes through are dead true to the bore. Many aftermarket screw-on things are not so good that way. Anything that vents gas should vent symmetrically (i.e. if it vents left, it should vent equally right, and likewise, if it vents up, it should vent down equally). Uneven venting of gas can wreck accuracy.
14. Quality Ammunition: Ammo is a whole story by itself, but loads that are too hot typically shoot poorly in an AR-15. If you want accuracy out of an AR-15, avoid overly hot loads. Shown below are test groups shot with four (4) different uppers, all with moderate loads. These four uppers all pretty much had the same features and things done to them as explained in this article, and they all shot great.
Geissele Automatics manufactures a line of two-stage triggers favored by top Service Rifle, High Power, and 3-Gun shooters. Geissele now offers a variety of trigger models for both large-pin and small-pin lowers, with pull weights from 1.8 lbs to 6.0 lbs. You select the Geissele trigger with the appropriate first and second stage pull for your discipline (refer to chart below for trigger model specs).
Video Shows Geiselle Trigger Installation in AR15
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has crafted a video showing how to install a Geissele National Match Trigger in an AR15. This video covers installation of the trigger assembly, the trigger guard, the safety selector lever assembly, and the pistol grip.
AR15 Trigger Installation Video
Follow-Up Video for AR10 Trigger Install
Gavin recently released a follow-up video which covers the installation of a Geissele Super Dynamic Trigger in an AR10. The procedure is mostly the same as for the AR15, but this video also covers removal of the AR10 factory trigger, so it’s worth watching. You may want to turn the volume down on your computer’s speakers before playback. CLICK HERE for Geissele Trigger Instruction Manual
AR10 Geissele Trigger Installation
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The latest digital edition of Shooting Industry Magazine offers a run-down of hot products at SHOT Show 2016. In this FREE April edition, you’ll find a SHOT Show in Review article, a “Show Stoppers” guide to Buyers’ favorites, a list of products you may have missed, as well as a 2016 New Product Showcase. For anyone interested in new shooting products, you really should read this special April issue cover to cover. This year’s SHOT Show, held January 19-22 in Las Vegas had more than 1600 exhibitors, with a record number of new products on display.
Show Stoppers from Las Vegas
One of the Show Stoppers highlights was a quad-barrel AR Kit. The new Multi-Caliber System (MCS) from Windham Weaponry offers plenty of bang for the buck. The kit comes with four different barrels: .223 Rem, 7.62x39mm, .300 Blackout, and 9mm Luger. The gun’s modular design makes it easy to change calibers by swapping barrels and magazine wells. (That’s right, you change the magwell to fit the caliber — a smart idea. That way you can run proper AK-style 7.62×39 magazines). One dealer stated: “You can get all four conversion kits in a hard-sided case at a decent prices. The fact you can change calibers so quickly is going to make this a big seller.”
New Product Showcase
Along with the Show Stoppers Guide, this April issue of Shooting Industry Magazine featured “Products You May Have Missed At SHOT Show” as well as a New Product Showcase. The Showcase highlights interesting new products from Benelli, Browning, Colt, Kimber, Nikon, McMillan, Nosler, Polycase, and many other leading brands.
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Planning to put together an AR-platform rifle? Or are you looking to upgrade your AR with a new barrel, stock, or trigger group? Then you should check out the AR-15 Rifle Build DVD from our friends at UltimateReloader.com. This DVD covers all the details of a custom build, using high-resolution video sequences, and helpful supporting graphics.
In this DVD, Gavin Gear guides you through the entire process including selecting components, acquiring and using the necessary tools, assembly steps and details for each component, and even mounting a scope. Building an AR-15 can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and help it’s not difficult and is a lot of fun. With this DVD you’ll be able to build your AR-15 with confidence.
Right now, as a New Year’s promotion, the AR-15 Build DVD is on sale for just $9.90 (plus $3.80 shipping/handling). This DVD can pay for itself many times over by showing you how to do your own gunsmithing (and get quality AR components at attractive prices).
Upper: Barrel / Gas Block / Gas Tube
Upper: Handguard Installation:
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M-K IIA2 GEN2 Tactical Trigger from The Wisconsin Trigger Co.
Gear Review by Johnny Fisher
Do you shoot an AR-platform rifle? Here’s an excellent trigger upgrade option that has recently returned to the marketplace. The Wisconsin Trigger Company (WITC) has resumed production of the legendary Milazzo-Krieger M-K II trigger for the AR-platform rifles. Not merely marketing a replica of the original Milazzo-Krieger design, Wisconsin Trigger now offers an enhanced, drop-in version called the M-K IIA2. An easy install, the Milazzo-Krieger trigger drops in with no special tools or machining required (and no modification of the safety selector switch).
For those who are looking for an extremely crisp AR15 trigger that closely mirrors the “feel” of a finely tuned M1 / M14 trigger, this trigger might be the solution. The first stage is exceptionally clean and smooth due to a proprietary diamond-grinding process. I felt that the first stage travel was longer than a Geissele, but many guys will prefer that. Upon reaching the very noticeable and defined “wall” of the second stage, a further increase of pressure provides the instantaneous snap one looks for in a high-quality trigger — complete with a total absence of anything resembling creep or slop.
If you follow the instructions in the box and watch WITC’s informative how-to videos, installation of this trigger is extremely straightforward, requiring no special tools or fitting.
As supplied straight from the factory, the first stage requires about 2.25 pounds of take-up before encountering “the wall” of the second stage. For this purpose of this review and to ensure “making weight” in CMP Service Rifle Competitions, the (white) 5-lb. disconnector spring was used. The weight of the second stage came in right at an extremely repeatable 5 lb. 3 oz. (averaging +/- 1.5 oz.) for a ratio of about 40/60 between the two.
Upon release of the hammer, the disconnector reset is decidedly short. National Match shooters in particular will appreciate the very short but easy-to-recognize trigger reset during rapid-fire strings.
Tuning the Trigger Before Installation
As with most National Match-grade triggers on the market, the Millazo-Krieger utilizes proprietary pins that come supplied with this unit. They must be used for final installation and are purposely oversized to a specific diameter for a very snug fit. This is to ensure the trigger and hammer rotate solely on the pins, as opposed to the pins eventually rotating inside the receiver. It is best to use standard sized mil-spec trigger and hammer pins for the setting of tensions (trigger weight) before final installation to help avoid undue wear to the receiver pin holes. Final adjustment of second-stage pull weight must be done BEFORE final installation.
It is recommended to first set the amount of desired disconnector engagement by performing a very simple process that is detailed in the included installation instructions from the TOP of the trigger. The swapping out of disconnector springs and final tuning of the second stage can then be done, but only from UNDERNEATH a disassembled trigger.
The disconnector tensioning springs are easily swapped out by removing the spring plug from the bottom of the trigger housing that exposes the spring pocket. After inserting the desired weight spring, the spring plug must be installed at least flush with the bottom of the trigger housing. Installing it deeper will add trigger pull weight on the second stage. Installing it too shallow will interfere with trigger movement.
The Wisconsin Trigger Company offers a full lifetime warranty to all unaltered parts of its triggers. This lifetime warranty is fully transferable when the trigger is sold to a new user! When have you heard of an AR component manufacturer with a transferable warranty — we’re impressed.
Not just a retailer, John Scandale of Keystone Accuracy is a distributor of these triggers. He currently has many in stock and for sale at a very special introductory price.
What Comes in the Box:
The $265.75 trigger kits come complete with everything you need: Trigger unit assembly, trigger return spring, full strength hammer spring, two proprietary oversized trigger & hammer pivot pins and three disconnector tensioning springs (3.25 lb., 4.5 lb., 5.0 lb.). Also included is a comprehensive installation manual, a color-coded disconnector spring selection chart, some promotional items, and the lifetime warranty card.
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Here’s an AR configuration suited to the new AR Mid-Range Prone Discipline: Moderate-length barrel, Harris Bipod, Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 4-12x40mm scope. Photobucket image by Ingo1978.
The NRA has created a new mid-range, target-shooting discipline for AR owners. The provisional rules for the new AR Mid-Range Prone Competition will allow calibers from .22 up to .308. Rifle weight will be limited to 14 pounds. Competitors may use Harris (or similar) compact, “tactical” bipods, and optics up to 12-power will be allowed (but iron sights can also be used). The goal of this new competition is to get the many AR owners to the range to compete.
The NRA’s Information Sheet for the new mid-range discipline explains: “These rifles are of the ‘AR-Platform’ variety, semi-automatic, chambered in any caliber from .223 cal./5.56mm. up to and including .308 cal./7.62mm. The courses of fire will be the same courses of fire currently used for other NRA Mid-Range (Prone) High Power Competition (300, 500, and 600 yards) and are designed to be fired concurrently with other forms of Mid-Range competition. The targets will be the same targets that are used for Service Rifle, Match Rifle, and Palma Rifle Mid-Range Prone competition. Mid-range telescopic sights will be allowed, but not required. Because this is prone competition, shooters may use tactical front rests such as Harris-type bipods and limited rear rests of the type one might find used in military or police tactical situations.”
A very prominent NRA member who works with the Competition Committee recently posted this explanation of the new AR discipline on our Forum:
NRA Mid-Range (Prone) Tactical Rifle (AR)
For those clubs and match directors who have members with ARs who want to shoot Mid-Range Prone but who don’t want (or can’t afford) to shoot traditional “sling” or F-Class, we have a new opportunity to get those ARs out of the closet and onto the range with very little in the way of additional costs:
It’s called Mid-Range Tactical Rifle (AR). A copy of the description and the Rules (Provisional) are attached as a PDF file and should be published by the NRA very soon. CAUTION — these are NOT official — but I think they are accurate:
In brief, here’s how it works:
1. The event will be fired concurrently with any other Mid-Range event, alongside of F-Class and “sling” divisions.
2. The Event will be fired on the “sling targets”.
3. AR Rifle General Standards:
Calibers: 223/5.56 up to and including .308/7.62mm
Weight: Overall weight not more than 14 pounds
Support: Harris-type “tactical bipod” (no large F-Class bipods).
Optics: Scope not more than 12X
Barrel: Not more than 20″
Trigger: Trigger pull not less than 4.5 pounds
4. This is NOT F-Class — this is designed to be closer to “tactical”. F-Class competition gear is generally illegal; competition stocks are generally illegal. [The event] is designed to attract more law enforcement and/or military (maybe local National Guard?) and other “tactical shooters” out to the range shooting for precision. For more info, check out the attached PDF file.
You’ll find a discussion of this new AR Mid-Range discipline in our Shooters’ Forum, HERE: AR Mid-Range Match Forum Thread. Here are some interesting comments from that thread:
“Opening up mid-range matches for ARs is a great idea. I’m not an AR guy myself, but I have lots of shooting friends who are. They tend to have a lot of ideas what their guns are capable of out to 600 yards, but most don’t take many opportunities to shoot them at those ranges, and none of the existing High Power disciplines are very appealing. Until now. I hope it doesn’t become an equipment race. A 185/200 is a respectable score even with a 12″ 10 ring. I hope everyone is supportive — helping get these guys on the paper and providing positive feedback even for scores that seem modest by F-Class standards.” — Comment by Berger.Fan222
“It looks like the recommended targets will be the same as conventional shooters use (i.e. ~1 MOA X-ring). Given the specifications for rifles/bipods/scopes/etc., I think this would be an appropriate level of difficulty to start. It will be challenging, particularly at 600 yards, but by no means impossible. Of course, at 600 yards, anyone shooting an AR15 (.223/5.56) will be at a disadvantage to ballistically-superior calibers unless they come up with a good way to load 80+ grain bullets that will mag-feed. Personally, I’d like to see this limited strictly to .223 ARs. Almost everyone has one and the mag feed requirement would really keep things even across the board. The inclusion of other calibers will allow this to become a ‘caliber race’ in that .223 will have a very hard time keeping up with other, better calibers at 600 yards.” — Comment by gstaylorg
“Looks like a great new addition. The PDF document says rule 7.20 for course of fire which is mid-range slow fire. I believe all slow fire is currently ‘one round loads’. The PDF explicitly states 10-, 20- or 30-round magazines and no sleds. Does anyone know if this new discipline would be fired from magazine or one-round loads? Shooting from magazine would be keeping with the ‘tactical’ aspect and enforcing mag-length loads. But it does not seem to jive with the ‘one round load’ currently stipulated for slow fire?” — Comment by Highpower-FClass
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AR-platform rifles can be maintenance-intensive beasts. But some AR owners make the situation worse by not regularly cleaning important small parts, or by using too much oily/greasy lubricants in the wrong places. A properly maintained and lubricated AR15 can shoot hundreds of rounds (between cleanings) without a problem. If you learn where (and where not) to apply lubricant, you’ll find that your AR will run more reliably and the task of cleaning the bolt and bolt carrier will be less of a burden.
Here is a good video that explains AR-15 Cleaning and Maintenance. In this 30-minute NSSF video, Gunsite Academy instructor and gunsmith Cory Trapp discusses the proper way to clean and maintain the AR-15 carbine. Very knowledgeable, Trapp provides rock-solid advice for AR owners. Along with cleaning producedures, this video explains how to inspect key components and how to function-test your AR before each shooting session.
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain Selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. 6mmAR.com — Easy-Change Front Bag-Rider for ARs
Here’s a great product from our friend Robert Whitley at 6mmAR.com. This new device is a 3″-wide, flat-bottomed, front bag-rider that mounts to your AR in seconds, without tools. The bag-rider (aka “sled”) really works — stabilizing your AR when shooting from a front pedestal rest. We recommend using the front sled during load development and whenever shooting from the bench. The bag-rider attaches to your AR’s handguard with a Velcro strap, indexing on the bipod stud. Right now the Easy-Change Bag-Rider has an introductory price of $55.00. If you own an AR, you should get one.
2. Target Sports — Federal .22 LR Ammo, 325 Rounds for $24.90
Need good quality rimfire ammo at a low price? This TargetSportsUSA.com deal — 325 rounds for $24.90 — is a very good value. We’re pleased to see rimfire ammo prices become affordable again. Purchases are limited to five (5) 325-round boxes per customer. This is better than most “bulk-box” rimfire ammo. Another good deal right now is the Federal AutoMatch Bulk Pack, 325 rounds for $20.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply (but you are limited to two boxes).
3. Precision Reloading — Forster 2-Die Sets with Ultra Seater
Precision Reloading has Forster two-die reloading sets on clearance now. For $75-$80 per set you can get a precision full-length sizing die plus an Ultra micrometer-top seater. These are good dies — your Editor uses these very same dies for my .223 Rem reloading. Die sets for numerous popular chamberings are on sale now including: 220 Swift, 222 Rem, 22 PPC, 6mmx45, 6mm PPC, 6mm Rem, 243 WSSM, 257 Roberts, 25 WSSM, 7mm BR Rem, 280 Rem, 7mm WSM, 7×57 Mauser, 7mm RUM, 303 British, 30-378 Wby and more.
4. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $70.25
This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).
5. CDNN Sports — 1911-Type .22 LR Target Pistol
Everyone should have an accurate .22 LR target pistol. This German-made GSG 1911 22LR pistol shares the look, feel, and ergonomics of J.M. Browning’s classic model 1911 so it’s good for cross-training. We’ve tried this pistol and the trigger is pretty darn good — though don’t expect it be be as nice as a S&W Model 41. But consider that the GSG costs just $249.99. By contrast, MSRP on a new Model 41 is a steep $1369.00. For cross-training and target work the GSG is a very good value.
6. Stocky’s Stocks — Composite Stock with Bedding Block
Here’s a killer deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $199.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with a matte black, tan, or olive baked-on textured finish for $229.97.
7. Natchez — Nikon Hunting Scopes on Close-out
Natchez Shooters Supplies is running a big sale on Nikon optics with Camo finishes. Prices have been reduced as much as 43%. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, name-brand optic for your hunting or varmint rifle, check out these Nikon bargains. This scopes all carry full Nikon factory warranty.
8. Amazon – Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit
This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $64.40 with free shipping, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish.
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Here’s an interesting project — using a second-hand barrel to upgrade an AR15. Our friend Erik Cortina decided to make his AR15, originally chambered in 6.8 SPC, into a 6.5 Grendel. Erik acquired a “pre-owned” 6.5-06 match barrel through our Shooters’ Forum. Erik inspected the barrel with a bore-scope and confirmed it was in good shape after the first few inches (past the chamber). The 6.5-06 barrel had more than enough length, so he trimmed off the chamber end, then contoured the barrel to fit his AR15. This is a smart way to upgrade a gun without spending $350 or more on a brand new barrel.
In the first video, Erik explains the process of converting his 6.8 SPC AR16 into a 6.5 Grendel: “I take the upper completely apart and pull barrel off which will be used to take dimensions for new barrel. The new barrel will be turned from an old competition heavy barrel. All the barrel reaming will be done using JGS reamers. I will also use JGS reamers to make a seating and F/L sizing die.”
In the second video, Erik contours the “pre-owned” barrel to fit his AR. He uses an old bolt-action 6.5-06 competition barrel and cuts it to 17″ long and contours it to fit his AR-15. The barrel is turned down on a manual lathe to .750″ outside diameter for the majority of its length in order to fit the gas system barrel block that is made for a .750″ barrel. After contouring, the barrel will be threaded and chambered.
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If you missed out on some steller deals this past Friday, fret not. Brownells.com still has many products on sale through the end of the weekend. What’s more, you can save an additional 10% by using Code LCX for purchases of $150.00 or more. Today’s daily bargain is an Aero Precision AR upper for $69.99. That’s a steal. Combine that with a $199.99 assembled Bushmaster Lower Receiver (with stock) for a very affordable package. If you don’t own an AR platform rifle, this is a great way to get started.
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Geissele Automatics, respected maker triggers and firearm accessories, is offering some very attractive specials on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On Friday 11/27 get 25% AR triggers. On Monday get a complete Geissele AR 2-Stage Trigger (GS2) for just $115.00. These normally retail for $165.00, so you save fifty bucks. In addition to these great deals, you can get 50% off Geissele gear, and 30% off Reaction Blocks (used for assembling AR platform rifles).
This Deal is Available on FRIDAY 11/27/2015 ONLY:
This Deal is Available on MONDAY 11/30/2015 ONLY:
Other Black Friday Geissele Specials:
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Creedmoor Sports is having a big sale on printed books. On sale now are many of the most popular training and competition books. If you are looking for some good reading material this winter, check out the Creedmoor Book Sale. Gun books also make great holiday gifts for your shooting buddies.
As a lead-up to Black Friday, Brownells.com is running three full weeks of special sales. You can get some very good deals during this 3-week “Back to Black” event. Above are three featured items for Week Two of this promotion. There are some nice Geissele and Timney triggers at good prices. In addition to these top deals, hundreds of other products are on sale at Brownells.com this week. Here are three products that caught our eye. You can’t go wrong with an RCBS Rock Chucker for $129.99 or a stripped AR15 Lower Receiver for $59.99 (or $99.99 with Tan or Sniper Gray Cerakote finish). Brownells offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on these Aero Precision Lowers.
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The CMP has just released proposed 2016 Competition Rules. There are a number of important proposed changes, some quite controversial. Topping the list are rule changes that would allow optics for service rifles and “modern military rifles” (MMR). If these changes are adopted, Service Rifle shooters and modern military rifle shooters will be able to use scopes up to 4.5X power. Rifle weight limits will be increased slightly to allow for the optics and the definition of “Service Rifle” will be liberalized to allow more AR variants. In addition, collapsible or adjustable-length stocks will be allowed.
We want to stress that these new rules have NOT been set in stone — not yet at least. The CMP issued its notice of Proposed 2016 Rule Changes to inform competitors and invite feedback. The CMP asks that comments/questions be sent to competitions @ thecmp.org, not later than November 13, 2015.
Major Proposed Rule Changes
1. Optical Sights For Service Rifles
The CMP states: “For several years, the CMP has recognized that optical sights are the wave of the future for Service Rifle shooting. Military recruits today do all of their training with optical sighted rifles. Service Rifle rules have traditionally tried to keep abreast of military rifle and training developments so opening Service Rifle shooting to optical sights became an inevitable change.” The 2016 rules will, for the first time, permit M16/AR15-type rifles to have optical sights (fixed power or zoom) with a maximum magnification of 4.5X and an objective lens no larger than 34 mm. There will not be a separate class for scope-sighted rifles. Instead, competitors will have a choice of using either a scope-sighted rifle that weighs no more than 11.5 pounds or a metallic-sighted rifle that will continue to have no weight limit.
2. More Options For M16/AR15-Type Rifles
Since accurized Service Rifles first came into popular use in the 1950s and 1960s, those rifles, whether M1s, M14s, or M16s and their commercial equivalents, have been rigidly defined. Legal M16-type service rifles had to retain the external profile of an M16A2 or M16A4 rifle and could only have modifications that were explicitly permitted in the rules. All this will change in 2016. The CMP plans to liberalize the Service Rifle rules to encourage greater participation. A wider variety of commercial AR-platform rifles will be allowed so long as they meet basic requirements, such as 20″ max barrel length, 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem) chambering, and a trigger pull of at least 4.5 pounds. Notably, the rifles can have either a gas-impingement system or a piston-operated gas system. Collapsible stocks will be allowed. However butt-plates and cheek-pieces may not be adjustable. (See all Requirements HERE).
3. Optical Sights for Modern Military Rifles (CMP Games)
One of the fastest growing rifle competition categories is for Modern Military Rifles. There are two classes, one for M16/AR15 platform rifles and one for a broad range of other military rifles. Competitors who compete in Modern Military Rifle Matches will now have the option of using optical sights with a maximum magnification of 4.5X. To make allowance for the increased weight of telescopes, the weight limit for AR-type rifles was increased to 8.5 pounds and for M-14/M1A rifles to 10.0 pounds. (This is a CMP Games limit — a different Rule than the Service Rifle Rule).
4. Stocks for Modern Military Rifles
Butt-stocks on these rifles may vary in length and collapsible or adjustable-length stocks will be allowed. Butt-stocks, however, may not have butt-plates or cheek-pieces that adjust up or down.
No Changes for Pistol, Vintage Sniper, or Rimfire Sporter Competitions
While big changes are slated for the Service Rifle and MMR disciplines, the CMP is not making significant rule changes for other popular CMP shooting sports.
Pistol Rules Are Unchanged
Except for permitting service pistols to have a Picatinny rail below the barrel, the Service Pistol and 22 Rimfire Pistol rules adopted in 2015 are unchanged.
Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match Rules Are Unchanged
According to the CMP, Vintage Sniper Rifle Match rules “have stabilized nicely in the last two years” so there will be no 2016 rule changes for the Vintage Sniper two-man team event.
Rimfire Sporter Rifle Rules Are Unchanged
The most popular rimfire rifle match in the country continues to attract impressive numbers to its matches. Like the Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match, these rules have now stabilized so that there are also no 2016 rule changes in Rimfire Sporter.
For pure shooting fun it’s hard to beat a semi-auto .22 LR. While Ruger’s 10/22 is the most popular semi-auto .22 LR rifle, manufacturers are now offering AR-style self-loading rimfire rifles. These rimfire versions of the AR-15 are excellent training tools for 3-Gun and service rifle shooters. You can practice with less expensive rimfire ammo, and save wear and tear on your centerfire ARs. Rimfire AR clones also work great for Rimfire Tactical Matches.
AR-Style .22 LR Rimfire Rifles
Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22
Smith & Wesson’s 15-22 is a nice little rifle. The M&P 15-22 is designed and built as a true .22 LR semi-auto from the ground up, with ergonomics (and most controls) identical to a centerfire M&P 15 rifle. These rimfire AR clones are very affordable. For example, right now BudsGunShop.com is offering the M&P 15-22 (black version) for just $358.44. (If that deal has expired by the time you read this, find other deals with the SlickGuns.com search engine.)
NRA reviewer Colon Noir tested the M&P 15-22 and was impressed: “This gun is unbelievably fun to shoot. There is virtually no recoil. The non-existent recoil makes shooting fast a breeze. Yeah, the magazine is a little quirky… but in the grand scheme of things, this gun feels like a full-out AR-15. The M&P 15-22 makes for a great training companion. I would place this gun in the ‘Fun Box’ — it’s reliable enough that you can have a fun time shooting. I’m picking one up, because it’s guns like these that make you truly realize how fun shooting is.”
Here’s a Video Review of the M&P 15-22 by the NRA’s Colin Noir
Hechler & Koch (Walther) HK 416
H&K offers the HK 416 D145RS, a dedicated .22 LR rimfire rifle. Engineered and built in Germany by Carl Walther, the HK 416 D145RS features a match-grade precision barrel, metal upper and lower receivers, retractable stock, and machined rail interface system with on-rail iron sights.
These Walther-made HK rimfire rifles (which employ a blow-back action) are accurate and reliable. They are also reasonably priced. Many vendors offer the HK 416 for under $550.00. One purchaser writes: “Great .22. I have had this gun a couple of months and have put about 500 rounds of 5 different brands of ammo through it. Not one FTE. I have shot other brands that can’t get through one 30-round mag without a failure. [The 416] is a little pricey compared to the competition but you get what you pay for.”
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Forum member Brian V. (aka “Carbide”) wanted a new look for his “modern sporting rifle”. He was tired of looking at black plastic (or FDE, OD green) and aluminum components on his AR15. So he decided to fit wood “furniture” on the rifle. He ordered a wood butt-stock and fore-arm set made by Lucid, but he didn’t like the two-piece fore-arm of the Lucid stock set. He decided he could build something better than the commercially-available, Lucid-made wood fore-arm.
So Brian took his existing AR tubular fore-arm and epoxied a walnut sleeve to it. With a lathe, Brian then turned the walnut sleeve to his desired dimensions: 2.250″ diameter in back and 2.200″ diameter in front, so there’s a little taper. Brian says “I could have gone a little thinner.” The wood fore-end was then sanded and stained to match the Lucid-made rear section. Brian says “the stain is not quite a perfect match, but but it looks a lot better.”
It’s great to see young people get involved in the shooting sports and achieve success through dedication, practice, and team-work. We congratulate the Pennsylvania Junior Team which took first place in the 6-man and 2-man Junior team matches this year at Camp Perry. Special kudos go to this year’s High Junior, PA team member Matt Lovre, shown at right.
The winning 6-Man Pennsylvania squad included Jack Graw, Joe Hendricks, Kevin Kerin, Matt Lovre, Alexander Thomas and Wyatt Thomas. Alexander Thomas reports: “Great day, great coach, [Berger] bullets flying true. Conditions were tough, but team members held together to shoot awesome scores and take the number 1 spot at Nationals!”
The Pennsylvania Junior Team’s match load featured .22 cal Berger 77gr OTM bullets pushed by Alliant Reloder 15 powder. The team’s AR-platform rifles were smithed by Dead Center Sports with White Oak upper receivers and Geissele triggers.
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Larry Vickers is a respected firearms trainer who has served with the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). In the course of teaching classes he’s learned that many gun owners waste money on impractical gun accessories. In his recent Ammoland.com article, “Don’t Be a Tacti-Cool Fool”, Vickers examines today’s trend of over-accessorizing firearms, particularly AR-platform rifles. Vickers doesn’t mince words… he states that too many people are spending too much money on poorly-designed hardware that may be “useless” at best.
Equipment Selection Advice from Larry Vickers
Every class I teach I see and hear students talking about the realization that some things about their gear and shooting in general just doesn’t add up on the range. Everything looks good in a Brownells Catalog but a significant amount of the parts and accessories offered on the market today are: a) useless; b) poorly designed; c) of questionable value; or d) downright dangerous.
No one is better at taking fully-functional, factory-made firearms and turning them into junk than a certain segment of the American gun-buying public.
Some people really don’t apply the common sense approach of not messing with what is potentially a life-saving tool. Sadly some of those same people will get on the Internet and talk bad about how the firearm they modified no longer functions and therefore is junk. Or they will recommend to fellow shooters the same parts and modifications they have used to turn their gun into, at best, a range toy.
Some of this shows up in my classes and usually by lunch on the first day the obvious flaws of the equipment at hand become apparent for everyone in the class, most of all to the owner of said equipment. It may have cost the shooter some money but in turn he learned a serious life lesson –be careful what you read on the Internet about firearms modifications and there is no substitute for shaking out your equipment at the range in a structured class.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’ll learn more about guns and shooting in one class than you could in a month on the Internet.
READ about guns, gear, and shooting on the Internet. LEARN about guns, gear, and shooting on the range during well-thought-out and useful training. This approach is proven and consistently produces results and shooter confidence.
Larry Vickers is a retired U.S. Army Special Operations Forces veteran with 20+ years of service. Vickers served in Panama, the Middle East (Desert Storm), Somalia, Bosnia, and other locations. During his time with Delta Force, Vickers worked on weapons R&D, and served as a combat marksmanship instructor training new operational members of Delta.
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