Got in a long discussion with the son of a former employer whom I have stayed good friends with. He's the eldest son of a Korean family who owns quite a few local buisnesses including a million dollar range and gunshop that I worked for as a buyer when they first opened. As the gunshop isnt realy as lucrative as the range is (they still have weapons there from when they opened right after 9/11)
Anyhow, James and I got to talking practical shooting and I guess somewhat of a challenge arose.
He's a strong believer in what I'll call the "expensive three" of 3-gun-match weapons, the Colt M-4(gery), the H&K USP9 and the Benelli M-1. He claims that with that lineup, any two experienced shooters of about the same skill level, the shooter using those three or reasonable stand-ins would have an insurmountable edge against a shooter using anything else.
This was a pointed challenge to my love of com-block weapons, and we've decided to put it to a practical test. We're both about the same experience and ability with firearms, my pistol marksmanship is somewhat lacking but not much, and he isnt all that experienced with a scatter gun where I've been shooting a "guage" since I was a kid.
My first issue is the rifle:
On paper, on the bench, his pre-ban Colt AR with the M4 upper and a RIS system with all the bells and whistles, will print just a little tighter than my cleaned up SAR2 in AK47 guise.
My groups tighten a little using the PSO scope against his GI type AR scope (the little one with the BDC), and I believe this is a result of the lesser iron sights on the AK series VS the better sights on the AR. IE the scope helps me out to a greater degree than the scope helps him out.
Off the bench on practical targets I'm not quite sure what to expect, or what I'm going to need (if anything) to improve the AKs shootability against the M4. Any ideas? I mean, I'm not even opposed to sending the whole gun away to have it REALLY tuned by a competent professional if thats what it takes....I've already got an adjustable trigger, an AK74 brake, and I'll be ordering the Mojo peep from RSA tommorow morning...any thoughts on a virticle foregrip VS a standard? How about a tac light or a laser? Should I look into a Kobra, or some other sort of Red Dot?
For the other two guns:
I've decided (big surprise) to bring my Saiga project gun from Idaho with a barrel extension and a Choate druganov stock for this particular excercise, and other than the fact that I'll loose some tightness with my shot pattern against his Benelli (I'll have a 10" bbl with an 8" piece of pipe pinned to the end) I think my red-dot sight, box mag feed, and adjustable trigger, will give me an edge in speed on the M1.
Finaly I'm kinda up in the air about what to use as a pistol. I'm very comfortable with my Tokarev, but I'm thinking a CZ52 with a ported barrel (or even a break) from FAC, and a set of custom tritium sights as well as a trigger job might be the way to go. I've been tossing around the idea of having my Norinco Tokarev customized for a while though, so I might just stick with that. A 2rnd mag extension, a widened trigger, some polishing on the internals, and may be even a barrel porting ALA Glock.
As we're limited to 10rnd mags in this little competition (to occur the 1st of September) on the pistols, I'm not realy all that worried even if I have to stick to factory "eights". The Tokarev isnt as finely accurate as a USP and never will be, but its good enough to hit poppers at 25yds...and thats all I need. Man I wish I had a Stechkin. Or even a double-stack Makarov. May'be I'll post something in the EE.
Any ideas greatly appriciated.
So what size groups are you getting with your SAR2? Have you tried a few kinds of ammo to see if it has a favorite load?
Not sure of the speed vs accuracy balance in your format, but the Kobra rocks for fast plinking and the 1.8moa does give me groups similar to irons. Also consider the PO3.5x scope, it weighs a full 2lbs but gives a massive 60' field of view (12 deg) at 100 yds for easy target finding, and has very clear glass with a nice sharp reticle.
What kind of rifle competition shooting will you be doing? Bench, static, or shoot and scoot?
For a good competition, I would recommend plates, clays, or shoot-and-see targets. Series of targets at a few different stages, with each stage at different distances. One shot per target, time it, and subtract points for each hit. Include some type of traditional bullseye for a set non-timed factor.
For the AK set-up, it seems you pretty much have it covered. Get more familiar by doing non-bench supported dryfire practice, learn the scope in quick fire shooting, and use good ammo.
Keep the rifle set-up simple. Let your buddy worry about the gadgets(lasers, etc.). Rely more on mastering the basics and improving your manual skills. Get your eye connected to the trigger finger and a solid shoulder and cheek weld.
Stomp his M4 in Sept.!
As far as accuracy some issues are going to be:
Muzzle brake-This item kicks butt for followup shots, but if it's at all loose, or can shift, it will effect each individual bullet POI. The gap between the bullet and the brake (which should be concentric) must remain constant. Do your utmost to get it concentric, then stable. The POI of the bullet is most effected by the muzzle rifling and anything hanging on the muzzle because as gas escapes around the bullet, it pushes it around.
Sights-I'd look into the Kobra. It's the best set-up for a red dot on an AK. Take a look at the other optics available as well. There are quite a few high quality ones that will improve your performance, simply by eliminating the sights.
Vert forgrip would be a preference item. I don't think it will help you one way or the other, other than if you like one way better, you'll shoot it better.
As to the shotgun, I have a Benelli M1S90 and it does indeed ROCK! You have a good chance with the Saiga though as you have the box mag. Cutting reloading time is a huge gain. Just make sure to have enough spare mags, and a good way to carry them.
As for the pistol, I'd go with the Tokarev. I have a couple CZ-52s, but the mag swaps are going to be quicker with the Tok and they're a fine gun in their own right.
Get a CZ83 for your pistol. All steel TDA .380acp, double stack 10 or 12 rd mag, amb safety, amb mag release, and a fixed barrel. No recoil and accurate as hell. Perfect for punching lots of holes in paper really fast.
Check out Red Star's amb mag release for your SAR. I've got a buddy that's been using one on his SAR in the local 3-guns & it works great.
There's an AK bolt stop out there too; however, I'm not sure if he has one that will work with the smaller caliber AK's. www.geocities.com/akcatch
My son's been using a Romanian laminated PG on his SAR-3 with a 1P29N Russian scope for three guns (I've been using a AK-101 w/ iron sights). The laminated pg works great; however, a red dot would work better than the 4x 1p29n for most shots. The only exception is when there are head shots at range with a no-shoot target in front. Then the magnification is a must.
Thanks for all the great advice. So far it seems like I'll be placing an order for the Cobra and a Williams apature rear sight today.
My break is the Bulgarian (I believe) that required a new FSB. Its threaded on to the rifle and instead of using a spring loaded retaining pin I just used a fixed one so its BATF legal (still cant bring myself to grind the bayonet lug off though). The break is secure and has had at least four or five hundred rounds bumped through it, not to mention another seven to nine hundred rounds in regular fire. Its stiff as the day I lathered it in perminant loc-tite and threaded it on, so I dont expect it to get loose anytime soon.
My trigger is a home-made adjustable that I've been polishing and tweaking for over a year now and is pretty good, I've worked all the slap out of it and have it down to about five pounds which is more than acceptable on a combat rifle. I can ease it a few pounds more but I get a tendancy to double if I push it much past four. Which would be fine if it were an Abakan, but it innt' so I think I'll stick with five. No offense to Ken, I've got a second-hand RSA trigger on my shotgun this morning, but I think the $85 will be better used on a more comfortable stock than the "issue" wood.
Speaking of which, where can I get a pair of synthetic forward handguards with the "heat plate" in it? This gun gets blasted HOT after a few magazines....(I shudder to imagine any sort of sustained automatic fire)
The match indeed will be shoot-n-scoot, with the last stage, being pistol, in a "kill house" sort of setup with remotely operated poppers.
I've already began looking at CZ83s as I just would feel more comfortable with something newer, especially facing down a USP. I trust my life to my Tok, but you can only push that so far...
To answer another question, I can pull, from the bench, with Barnul FMJ, between 1.75-2.75" groups at 100yds all day. This is with the trigger lightened up as far as it'll go practicaly, and the rifle resting on a sandbag with no forearm contact at all and my left hand on the butt end of the sling. James has been routinely shooting between 1.15"-2" groups with his M4gery, so the abilities of the two weapons are very close from a sitting position.
Thanks for all the great advice so far and keep it coming...My Saiga already has its pipe attached and is in the mail on its way to me. Now I have to hunt down a Choate druganov for it....anyone got one they want to part with? Just the butt end?
Get a fresh battery for the Kobra from Radio Shack. My Russian battery went from bright to dead in about 10 minutes after unk usage, but I have yet to kill my Swiss lithium from RS.
You SAR2 groups are about as good as they get, steady 2.5-2.75 groups of 5 for the Romy, and about .5 smaller for the Bulgy guns.
KVAR has the handguard with the metal heat sheild, which also has nice ridges for a more secure hold. (and BFest proven!)
Doh! Was all set to get all the goodies from K-Var when James side tracked me with a $175 Norinco SKS (pin barrel) with a professionaly done AK mag mod.
Guess the Kobra and the stock bits for the SAR have to wait until the next pay day. This SKS job, whoever did the conversion, will even accept AK drums....very nifty.
I've got a black plastic dragonov style stock that's new, I think. I got it with some other stuff & stuck it in the closet. Not sure who made it though. If you want it, I'll dig it out & ship it to you.
It'll cost you a picture posted on the site after you put it on though.
Email me asap, or you'll have to wait until I get back from snorkeling.
If CZs are game due to their ComBloc origins, you should skip the .380 and go straight to the CZ-75 in 9mm. That would put you on an even keel with the USP, in terms of capacity and potential accuracy. Got a nicer DA trigger, to boot.
Neat idea; glad you're rising to the challenge!
Heh, yeah, I know. I've been hunting a CZ75 with the short-rails for a long time now. Very very well aware of how great the gun is. Unfortunatly its got to be a "GI" weapon and to my knowledge the Czechs went right from the '52 to the '83.
I *adore* the 75B with the Continental style hot blue finish and Tangafolio wood grips. The gun has such a glassy finish inside and out...its a thing of beauty.
It already sounds like your AK will give the AR a run for its money at any 'practial' ranges. Its going to be up to the shooters to do their part.
Does the course of fire involve magazine changes? That will highlight rifle differences - IIRC there is an enhanced magazine release that should help.
BTW if this is a 'practical' rifle I'd have a mount so you could install a decent (Surefire) light for night use. A bit of weaver rail properly mounted to the handguard at the 9:00 position should fit the bill nicely.