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Best national match AR for a newbie

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by ithaca_deerslayer, Oct 15, 2012.


  1. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    Looking to spend $1500 max on a national match AR-15. I'm a dumb newbie, never shot one of these matches, and never owned an AR, and have only shot 2 recently. Strongly prefered the rifle over the carbine, and liked the AR iron sights. What should I get?

    A guy at my club has competed at Camp Perry in high power, I'll check with him eventually. Not sure what he had. Just saying if I get into it, there are resources to help. He's a fellow pistol instructor, but we haven't talked rifles. I just recently got bit by the AR bug. Purchase will be with end of January tax return money. I can't wait!

    The detachable handle idea makes sense to me in case I ever want to scope it. For example I might decide not to do stock service competition afterall. So this way I'd have options.

    Ideally want 1 MOA or better. My Savage 10FP bolt .308 gives me 3/4" groups at 100 yards from casually resting at the bench (trying hard, but not fancy, just laying across a bag). AR iron sights recently let me shoot 1" groups at 50 yards in an 18" Bushmaster stainless barrel on top of a Colt lower fullsize rifle, fullsize handguard. This was a different guy's gun, not for matches. It was probably not a target trigger. Not saying that result makes me whatever, just saying I liked the way the AR iron peep sights work, so maybe, just maybe, I could compete and learn, and not be too embarassing :)

    I'd prefer to buy a complete gun off the shelf and not tinker with anything. Try a few boxes of factory ammo to see what it likes, and then buy that ammo by the case. I have an Interarms Mark X .223 that likes 55 gr, for woodchucks and about 1.25" groups at 100 yards. I've given up on the idea trying to stay with the same grains. The AR will be into whatever ammo it decides to like, hopefully 1" or better groups.

    Tried not to get hung up on the accuracy aspect, but I probably will be more happy the more accurate the new gun shoots. Even though any off-hand iron sight competition rifle can shoot better than me, when I'm away from the bench :)

    Home defense is not the main purpose here, but I don't want a gun that jams. Who does? I've got an unconverted Saiga 16" 7.62x39 that I think fills my home defense needs well enough, along with the handguns of course. So the AR will be a fullsize rifle made for long range accuracy, and not for room clearing. Although my wife would rather it be for room cleaning.

    So what rifle should I buy? And what weblinks do you have for me to read about national match shooting or other types of service rifle shooting that you like?

    Thanks for any opinions :)
     

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    #1 ithaca_deerslayer, Oct 15, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  2. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    The Armalite national match looks cool.
    http://www.armalite.com/ItemForm.as...Category=8e8e5de6-5022-483e-812b-822e58014822

    This RockRiver, national match model looks interesting.
    http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=226

    Here is what I assume is Bushmaster's version of a national match rifle
    http://www.bushmaster.com/firearms/competition.asp

    Maybe a BCM is the way to go, even if not specifically marketed as a national match
    http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-M16-A4-AR15-Bravo-Company-carbine-rifle-s/146.htm

    Or perhaps even the Colt match 6700
    http://www.impactguns.com/colt-rifle-a3-20in-mt6700-mt6700.aspx

    Any others? :)
     

    #2 ithaca_deerslayer, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  3. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr
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    Armalite gets my vote
     
  4. ghostwn

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    What about Stags version?
     
  5. TedG

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    I'd assemble one, emphasizing the upper to be as accurate as you can afford. A lower, with a good two stage trigger is all that's necessary. The "tinkering" isn't all that difficult or time consuming. You can also go to your local range or competitions to see what others are driving tacks with.
     
  6. Big Bird

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    The old Bushmaster used to make a very nice NM off the shelf rifle for the money.

    I'd check with Wyndham Weaponry.

    The things you want in a NM rifle aren't the same as what you want in a HD carbine.

    You want a freefloat barrel WITH a sturdy sling capability...you are going to sling up and put some pressure on the forend. But HP rules require the gun to appear stock.

    You don't need a great barrel like a Krieger to start. You'll wear out the barrel before you have developed skills good enough to take advantage of a $500 barrel. I promise.
    By the time you get to Master class you can spend the money of the expensive barrel. A barrel that will hold 1 MOA with 10 shots at 300 yards will take you well into master class. 3 shot groups are meaningless for this game. You need consistency.

    If you are serious about shooting highpower buy 1,200 pieces of brass...I don't care what kind. GI brass is fine. If you have 1,000 pieces of fired Lake city that's fine. Full length resize, trim and swage the primer pockets for the entire batch. Load the entire batch using Sierra Match Kings--69 grain or more. You only need to trim and swage them the first time. Shoot the entire batch and then FULL LENGTH RESIZE and reload the entire batch. After 4 reloads throw the cases away (they will start to separate case heads on the 5th reloading). Do not neck size only. You will regret it many times over and the small gain in accuracy you get isn't worth the number of jams you will see. When you have fired this batch of brass 4 times you will have close to 5k rounds on your barrel and it will be time for a new barrel. I promise...I'm telling you from experience here. I've worn out 4 barrels shooting highpower. You don't want to dork around loading 200 or 300 pcs of brass. Get into this properly.

    Your trigger must be 4.5# or more to be legal as a service rifle. Your sights should be National Match--matters not--pretty much all the same.
     
    #6 Big Bird, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  7. Bren

    Bren
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    Borrow a rifle or use a standard AR and shoot a little at local matches and learn about it before you commit. You're not going to be read for the president's match next summer.

    I put one together from various parts, but used a DPMS CMP/DCM upper and just changed the rear sight to a Northern Competition aperture. I used a Colt stock and put in a lead weight and used a CMT lower with a Jewell trigger. It's pretty accurate. Somewhere I have a 100 yard target that I used to test 3 rounds of my reloads - all the shots are touching.

    Too bad you're not in KY or I'd sell you the rifle and all the gear (leather coat/glove/scope/stand/etc.). I haven't shot a match in 3 or 4 years.
     
    #7 Bren, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  8. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    Do they have a detachable handle one? Didn't notice it on first pass of their website.
     
    #8 ithaca_deerslayer, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  9. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    How do you know when a barrel is worn out?

    Groups sizes expand suddenly, or very slowly?
     
  10. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    I've thought about a standard rifle, too.

    I'll try to try a couple more rifles from club members before I purchase.
     
  11. Big Bird

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    You know the barrel is worn out when it won't hold the 10 ring at 600 yards. A newbie will not be able to tell this has happened BTW...

    You cannot shoot HP with a standard rifle well. First, the sights won't work at 600. Second the adjustments are too crude.

    You need a NM sight with a small front post and a couple of small NM apertures. But the standard AR sights won't work at 600

    You'll want to shoot the heavier bullets. 52 grain match bullets are dismal at 600 yards. 69 gr are good. 75-77 grain are better for 600. Since you slow fire/single load 600 yards you can use the 77 grain bullets seated out a little further and shoot the 69 grain at 200 and 300 rapid fire where you need the ammo to fit the magazine.
     
  12. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    Lots of good info you are providing.

    Do you have to single load at 600 yards, or is that just what some do to fit in longer bullets.
     
  13. Big Bird

    Big Bird
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    200 yard Offhand 20 shots Single load slow fire--20 minutes

    200 Yard Standing to sitting 20 shots rapid fire. Two 10 shot strings started from standing to sitting 1 minute each string with a few minutes between each string for the pit to mark and score targets. There is a required reload in each string so you load 2 rounds in a magazine, fire those, and reload with another mag with 8 rounds.

    300 Yard Standing to Prone 20 shots rapid fire. Same sequence as 200 yard rapid fire except its shot from the prone.

    600 yards prone single load slow fire. 20 shots in 20 minutes.

    There are 2 sighters allowed before each timed stage above. 88 shots total including the sighters.

    Its typically shot in relays--one group of shooters works the pit and pulls targets while the other shoots the 200 yard relays and vice versa. Move to 300, lather rinse repeat. So you alternate between shooting and pulling/marking targets.

    Things you will probably need--a shooting coat. Look on ebay for a nice used Creedmore or Champion's choice shootng jacket. A good shooting jacket is essential IMO. A shooting mat...not a lot of dough $40... A spotting scope--big money if you do it right but you can get a decent one that will get you started for about $250.
     
    #13 Big Bird, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  14. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    I've got a Leupold Ventana 15-45x 60mm angled spotting scope. How well should that do?
     
  15. Big Bird

    Big Bird
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    It should be fine. You'll need to be able to use it in all three positions--prone, sitting and standing. A 20-25X scope is about the most you can use on hot days as the mirage makes it impossible to see bullet holes on the higher magnification settings on warm days.
     
  16. Big Bird

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  17. Bren

    Bren
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    That's where the scope stand comes in. I tried getting by with a standard tripod and it doesn't work - you can get by with a cheap scope, but not a cheap stand.
     
  18. Big Bird

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    Agreed, But I've shot with High Masters that had scope stands made out of iron pipe they fitted together and fabricated a swivel mount out of junk. It worked great.

    Most all scope stands can benefit from a 10lb barbell put on the vertical pole and resting on the base. Makes it much steadier in the wind.
     
  19. smokin762

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    If you can, go to Camp Perry and do an EIC Match. The cost is $45.00. You can keep the brass and you get a free T-Shirt. You will be using a Rock River Arms NM rifle. This is what the CMP provides. You must use their rifles.

    This will give you a taste of the competition. If you sign up, the first time you will want to do the beginners class. They go over the positions a lot to help the new competitors. I would recommend going with a friend. I usually get into the 4th or 5th position on the string. That way I pull pit duty right away and leave after my Match.

    The CMP building is real close and you can check it out as you get time.

    http://www.odcmp.com/NM/SAFS.htm

    Worth the watch.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR0vMCT5cqA"]Camp Perry 2012 M16 EIC - YouTube[/ame]
     
  20. ithaca_deerslayer

    ithaca_deerslayer
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    Is that you shooting?