A friend and I went shooting again this weekend, and I brought along my 16" AR. Usually we just shoot up cans and other unlucky objects that tend to fall in our line of sight... but this time I wanted to set up a target and see how accurate the gun was at 50 meters.
This AR isn't anything special... no free float, no match triggers, nothing fancy...
Anyhow, at 50M, I shot 4 groups of 5 in the prone unsupported position w/ only iron sights. The first group of 5, my friend spotted for me and helped me adjust my windage and elevation after each shot. After that, I was grouping about 3.5" on the best set, and about 6" on the worst set.
Now, I've seen quite a few posts about people shooting sub MOA... but I assume that's with a decent setup and optics of some sort.
How well should one be expected to shoot w/ irons on a plain jane setup like this? Are these groups about right?
I've been trying to get ahold of a TA31-F ACOG, but have not had any luck, and dont feel like buying a cheaper optic for a temporary solution. I would think that having a 4x optic like the TA31-F would help a lot... but not sure how much.
Thanks for any input.
I would say that those groups are average under the conditions you stated.
There are many factors to consider when shooting for accuracy.
1] Inherent accuracy of the rifle.
Most if not all AR15s are capable of achieving MOA results. The addition of a free floated match grade barrel will increase performance and consistency of group size.
2] Shooters ability.
Proper technique, trigger control, sight picture and stance can make someone a MOA shooter or a 20 MOA shooter.
3] Ammo selection.
Match grade, commercial and some surplus ammo may give a rifle sub MOA performance. Some surplus ammo or the wrong bullet weight for the rate of twist of a barrel can result in 6-12 MOA. Every rifle is different, you need to find the ammo that a particular rifle likes.
4] Quality and integrity of the sighting system.
Even the most accurate rifle and ammo combination will get poor results if its sights or optics are loose or of very poor quality. I'll bet that THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of shooters were discouraged with a rifles performance because they did not know that the scope was not mounted right/tight.
If I were you, I would buy a few different boxes of ammo and shoot your rifle from a rest to see what ammo your rifle likes.
Make sure that you read the ammo FAQs in the ammo forum. There is some great info there that may help you in your ammo selection.
thnx for the reply, FrankSquid.
as per your points.
1) I don't really think this is that hot of a weapon as far as a tack driver... just a cheap old SSB, 16" Olympic Arms cheapie.
2) I don't know that I qualify as an expert marksman... but I can generally hit what I'm aiming for if it's decent sized for the range I'm at (we were firing at a paper plate sized target at 50M... or about 2/3 the width of a man's chest).
3) The only ammo I've picked up so far for this AR is the SA battle packs... Not sure of how well that stuff shoots. 55gr and my barrel is 1/9. Will look into .223 rather than surplus.
4) Here's where I think the biggest problem is... when aiming w/ iron at 50M, the stinking front post covers up half the target. I don't see how I can tell where the precise aiming is at... as a matter of fact, I'm not sure how anyone can be very precise beyond 20 or so meters w/ irons (small targets, not man sized like I'm sure they're inteded for). I actually was trying to gauge the ammount of target showing on both sides of the post to tell whether I thought I was centered right or not.
Most of my shots tended to be more off from left to right, but my elevation was more consistant. I think that was due to the width of my front post covering up so much of the target...
I've read the ammo FAQ, and it's a very good read.
Would you consider something like a 4x ACOG to make a large difference at longer ranges? (of course, if it's used and mounted properly)
You can try a 6 O'clock hold. That's where you hold the front post up to the bottom (6 O'clock position) of the target. Try to get a little sliver of light between your front sight and the bottom of the target and you will get nice consistent results. You can adjust your sights so that the bullet hits the center of the target.
ACOGs are great scopes. If you are looking for MOA performance at over 200 yards, you may want something like a 10x scope. (Unless, of course, your superman or new-arguy)
Best of luck.
I second the six o'clock hold. You will get a better feel for what the rifle can do and your groups should tighten up considerably. Once you know what to expect out of yourself and your rifle, you can then concentrate on a COM sight pattern.
This may be the reason your groups are so big. Get a little dime or nickle sized stiker or just draw a circle about 0.5in across on the target and aim at that. You will probably see your groups shrink. "Aim small, miss small."
Ok, so mark the center of the target...and aim below my target.
So is the best way with A2 upper to zero to use the windage and elevation adjustments? I had the elevation almost all the way down, and the windage about 1/4 of the way left of center.
Or should I adjust the front post instead? I noticed you can press a pin down and turn it in order to lower/raise the front site.
Also, would anyone recommend a front post that is more narrow or perhaps pointed/taipered? That might help for precision, but perhaps be harder to see...
200meters is a pretty long shot, I dont forsee myself really doing a whole lot of shooting beyond 100 or so... I'd prefer to keep the weapon as a close to midrange target rifle, and if necessary for self defense.
For my intentions, I cant justify walking 200M or more to setup my pop cans or targets every time I wanna shoot something. And I really dont see any need for a 200+ meter self defense shot.
That's why I was leaning toward the TA31-F. After I get the scope, I will most likely either sell the current AR or keep it for pliking, then build a new AR piece by piece.
Thanks for the input... I'll give these suggestions a try next time we make it out. And hopefully that'll be soon.
Tapered front posts are for thoses who have an overwhelming need to feel special. I have never needed one and neither will you. You may want one, and if you do go ahead, but you don't need it. Proper zeroing for up and down is performed by adjusting the front sitght post, never the rear. Take the rear knob and turn it so that it is set on the 300/800 which should be three clicks or so above dead bottom. If I am off I apologise, I no longer use A2 sights, only a Reflex with ARMS #40 and a BMAS front. Set your rear aperture to center by the lines and raise the distance peep to zero. Don't use the ghost ring because you won't have as tight a zero. Get a good position and sight picture and squeeze off a round. I suggest using a military zeroing target to zero and doing it at the suggested 25M. You don't have to, but it helps. If the first round is way off make an adjustment and fire another round. Try to zero using the average of three round groups. Fire three rounds, look at the center of the group, and make your adjustment from there. Make sure you have the same sight picture every time, nose touching charging handle, relaxed open front hand, etc along with a good position. You shouldn't have a problem if you do that. Let us know how it went.
If you want a tapered front sight post, look no further than the A1 front sight. However, you will be going backwards if you do. The A1 front sight post is round and tapered. The reason it was changed was to enhance the sight picture as the round, tapered post was easily "lost" by reflections when trying to acquire a good sight picture.
Stick with what you've got and work on your marksmanship skills. There is always room to hone your own skills before making changes to the weapon. Equipment cannot overcome bad form.
Take something with you to rest the rifle. This is done by resting the forearm on your hand on whatever you are using. Rest the in front of the toe of the buttstock on something, also. The heel of the buttstock is on your shoulder.
Ballistics of the 5.56/.223 are such that it passes through the line of sight at 25 meters the first time. If you are zeroed at 25m, the bullet passes through the line of sight again at 250 meters. So, barring wind conditions, where you hit at 25 is where you will hit at 250. The bullet will strike a little high at 50, higher still at 100, about the same at 200, dead on at 250, and lower at 300.
Often it is not the inexpensive rifle, but the shooter. I have seen some old fellas who can drive tacks with .22's that weren't all that good to start with.
Heck that one guy hit all those little wood cubes with a Remington Nylon 66, and they were no miracle of marksmanship.
Good instructions for zeroing can be found here at the Maryland AR-15 Site. Adjust the rear sight as described, then adjust the front post until you're on at 50 yards. That'll get you pretty close out to about 300 yards. If you allow for the third click "below" 8/3 you can get even closer at 100 yards.
If you can find a dot that's about the width of the front sight at 50 yards you should be able to aim more precisely. I use 50 ft. pistol targets (because I have a lot of them I printed cheap) and they work pretty well at 50 yards with the rifle. I also sometimes draw a horizontal line through the center of the circle with a marker to make the vertical center easier to judge.
I don't think the issue is the rifle - an OLY with Stainless barrel is fairly decent should easily be capable of 1moa groups given the right ammo.
SA surplus is OK ammo, should get 2 moa w/o any problems.
Nothing wrong with the sights. I shoot at 3" circles at 50 yards with no issues.
With these rifles you should use a Center-of-Mass hold - NOT a 6:00 hold. 6:00 holds are for Match rifles - where the target is a KNOWN size at a KNOWN distance. Rifle should be zeroed so the rounds strike where the center of the front sight blade is.
Nothing magical or difficult - people have been judging the center of the sight for 'small targets' for centuries. Just make sure you are getting a CONSISTANT cheek weld (I recommend the US Army's nose to the charging handle technique)
A decent rifleman with military quality ammo (like your using) should be able to keep all their rounds in a 3" circle at 50 yards from the prone position when using irons (its easier with the rifle - but you can do it with the carbine). My guess is you just need more practice with the rifle.