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Page AR-15 » AR Discussions
AR Sponsor: bravocompany
Posted: 5/6/2003 11:28:03 AM EDT
I got my Bushmaster AR about two months ago. It is a A2 with the 20" barrel. I really love this rifle, it has been 100% reliable so far with approx. 500 rounds through it.

When I first got it, I sighted it in as the instructions said. Well, I'm here to tell you that it might work for a battlefield zero, but it is crap for target shooting or general plinking.

So today I took it back to the range and sighted it in at 100 yards, two clicks down from 300. It is usable at 50, and dead on at 100 and one click up from the bottom is good at 200.

But my main question is about group size. The Win. Q3131 is grouping about 1.5" at 50 yards and about 3.5"-4.5" at 100 yards. At 200 it was, well, everywhere.

I had some Black Hills 69gr. Match HP with me and it was one hole, .5", at 50 and about 1.25" at 100. At 200, three shots went into 2", but the last two blew the group out to 3.5".

The suprise of the day was the Wolf ammo. I bought my first box ever today just to try. I only shot it at 100 yards and 200 yards. At 100 it was shooting into about 1.5". At 200 it was shooting about 4". I thought that was pretty good for $2.50/20 junk ammo.

All groups were shot with iron sights.

So what is acceptable to the folks at AR15.com? You folks have a heck of alot more experience with these guns than I do. Give me some feedback.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 11:52:37 AM EDT
There are some situations that can affect group size no matter what ammo you will use and at what distance.
1. How the rifle is secured and if some type of shooting rest or if a sling is used.
2. Wind.
3. Shooter's breathing/trigger control

Your groups seem decent for using open sights. For most 20" A2s, 1.5-2" groups is the average when tested at the factory. The variance in your groups probably was the result of any or all of the 3 situations above.
For example, when you were shooting the cheap Wolf ammo, you could of been using better breathing control and a steadier trigger finger than when you were using more expensive ammo.

Link Posted: 5/6/2003 12:03:58 PM EDT
I get 1 inch groups at 100 yards with my Bushmaster A1 20HBAR Bench! Thats useing Santa Barbra SS109 and Sellier&Bellot SS109! I also get ragged holes/Clovers with Federal 69grBTHP! Good Stuff!

Im not thrilled with the accuracy of Q3131A out of my A1HBAR at 100 yards! Then agian its not suppose to be match Ammo!

If you are a good shot and use a Sand Bag/Bench and good ammo you should have no problem getting a 1 inch group out of your Bushmaster!

Im sure the Rifle is more accurate than you!
I know that mine is!

Go get some good ammo and head out to the range.
Shoot for a few days Now because we all have our bad days at the range! or at least I do
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 12:04:23 PM EDT
Groups are about four things:

1>  The rifle.  The barrel, the trigger, lock time, mechanical disurbances, etc.

2>  The ammo.  Better ammo is consistant ammo.

3>  The firing technique.  The more stabilized the better.  Again consistant groups need a consistant firing routine.

4>  The environment.  Wind, haze, temperature, etc.

Off these the most consistant element you possess in what you describe is your rifle.  Provide it with good, consistant ammo and you can begin to work with the final two factors, firing technique and environment.  True shooting IMHO is mastering those two factors.  

As for tollerable shooting I've done MOA groups at 100 yds from a standard Bushmaster 20" HBAR from a bench with iron sights.  Those are range conditions.  On the other hand I shot a rapid fire event this weekend for the first time and off hand, with an Aimpoint, I was barely minute-of-pie-plate at 50 yards!  I know what I'm working on next...
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 12:07:15 PM EDT
if you want to shoot tight groups get a scope. you can't hit what you can't see.  
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 12:52:34 PM EDT
What is acceptable accuracy?  The criteria for  "Acceptable accuracy" is like the criteria for "real time processing", it all depends on the user and his situation.

You could give me a sub-MOA capable rifle and I could never get it to shoot sub-MOA without mechanical assistance so for me, acceptable accuracy is keeping it in the black.   A buddy of mine is classified as a Master in High Powered Rifle and he is unhappy when the bullet holes aren't kissing at 100 yards.

If you are unhappy with the rifle's results find an excellent shooter to test it for you.  That will give you a better idea of what the gun can do.

Years ago I had a Glock 17 and in spite of being classified as a Master in conventional pistol, I couldn't hit the proverbial barn with that gun.  I handed it to a friend who carries one on duty as a SWAT cop and he proceeded to punch out a ragged hole with it.  His only comment was, "shoots low."  Obviously it was me so I sold the gun and stuck with 1911s.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 1:01:26 PM EDT
Thanks folks.

Some more detail might be useful. I was shooting off a bench useing a combination of a wood V-block and sandbags. It was stable but not as stable as my benchrest setup.

The trigger of my AR is horrible compared to what I'm used to, which is a bolt action Remington 700 adjusted to 3#.

I may mount a Leupold 3-9 that I have laying around on it and see what I get from there. I will need to find a higher cheekpiece for scope use though.

Thanks for the feedback and keep it coming.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 1:08:28 PM EDT
If it breaks a salad plate at it's intended range every single time it's fired then it's "accurate enough" since I've never met anyone whose vital area was smaller than a salad plate. I'd put that at 50-100 feet for a handgun or shotgun, depending on model, and at 200 yards for a rifle. I don't plan on ever breaking anything but paper or a salad plate but that's what gets a pass or fail on the gun report card.
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 3:16:52 PM EDT
Sometimes I use a 10x scope I find I can shoot it well without the Cheek add on!

Put your scope on and go out and see what she will do?
Lets us know?
Link Posted: 5/6/2003 3:34:30 PM EDT
When engaging personnel, you always have to ask "how accurate do I need to be?"

Do what alot of people here have said. Chose a good quality and effective round that functions well in your weapon. Practice with it to see how accurate you are under a variety of field conditions. Know the capabilities of you and your chosen system and let that be your guide if that time ever comes that you get in a mess.

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 6:39:15 AM EDT
I ditto the horrible trigger. I got the m4 with a really heavy and creepy trigger. Not sure what the pull weight is on it, but much heavier than I like. I am also used to the bolt guns which I have set to 2.5lbs with no creep. I know for a fact that such a heavy trigger is real bad for accurate shooting, at least for me.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 2:09:43 PM EDT
But my main question is about group size. The Win. Q3131 is grouping about 1.5" at 50 yards and about 3.5"-4.5" at 100 yards. At 200 it was, well, everywhere.
View Quote

I get the exact same accuracy you do using the same ammo at 50 yards although mine is a 16" M4 profile barrel.  Mine are 30 round groups though.  I personally think your group sizes are pretty typical for a somewhat unmodified rifle.  A good trigger will help shrink your groups even more.  Although I have some match grade ammo stashed away I have yet to try it because i'm satisfied with the groups I get now using Milspec ammo.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 3:52:27 PM EDT
Ditto above - get a scope, with a good scope base - I prefer the ARMALITE.

The groups you're getting are good for iron sights.

My 20" BUSHMASTER shoots better than I can hold. I have to align the crosshairs with the squares on the target to get good groups, because my eyes aren't good enough to get sub-moa groups!

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 4:12:06 PM EDT
Minute of Head at 100yards
Minute of Chest at 300.

Good enough for me.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 4:14:09 PM EDT

But I'd definetely set worst group threshold to 4 MoA, and I think I still would do ok in SHTF. Because that I can hold all day long.

I would like to get 2 MoA everytime, but I can't do that now.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 4:40:37 PM EDT
This is my best group:

With this rifle:

Rifle is Colt Lightweight Sporter Preban.
M-16 20" barrel cut to 16"
Leapers 4x20 carry handle scope.

From bench with s&b ammo, WCCQ3131A, Santa Barbara, or LC, it averages about 1" to 1-1/4"

With match it will do what you see here.
It will shoot a lot better than me.

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 4:43:50 PM EDT
Thats nice shooting!

How many rounds?
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 4:49:23 PM EDT
The Army uses the standard of 3" at 100 meters as acceptable accuracy. Your groups at 100 yards may be due to sight allignment of trigger control. A little practice and you'll see your groups drop to about 2" at 100 meters with almost any good ammo.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 4:53:57 PM EDT
I can get sub MOA groups from my 20" Bushmaster from the bench with hand loaded ammo. 1.75", 5 shot groups at 200 yds with iron sights. This is necessary for competitive shooting... it's not necessary for defensive use. Bottom line is, the gun is probably more accurate than you are. Find (better yet, make) ammo the gun likes and... practice.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 5:01:49 PM EDT
Thats nice shooting!

How many rounds?
View Quote

That group was just 3 shots.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 5:12:56 PM EDT
Using good handloads (match quality),  I expect and get half inch or better five shot groups at 100 yards with a 4x scope,  from a Bushmaster NM 20" barrel.

That's very good accuracy.  Good enough that it would be OK when dealing with a hostage situation with the bad guy hiding behind the hostage. You expose an eye and I'll shoot it out and won't worry about the hostage getting hurt unless it's by a flying bone fragment.

Link Posted: 5/7/2003 5:21:45 PM EDT
I would like to get a very consitent group of 4 MoA or less (like 30 round shot group) than a small volume of fire measuring 1 MoA. Hey, but thats just me.

My best group with Aimpoint was 1 MoA (3 shots) using slings & sitting (no rest), but that does not happen very often [:D]
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 5:37:16 PM EDT
Thanks for the feedback folks. I mounted a Leupold 3-9 on the AR last night. Hopefully I will get to shoot it tomorrow. I will post the results.

Any suggestions on improving the trigger? Or should I leave it stock for reliability?
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 5:50:43 PM EDT
I got my bushmaster in Jan '03 (A3, 20" fluted )and shot all types of FMJ and match grade ammo and still could not get consistent patterns. My patterns were better with all my hunting rifles and a couple SKS's.  

I finally gave up, sent the barrel and carry handle back to bushmaster and they told me I had a bad barrel.  They replaced it.  

If you know you shoot better than the gun, send it back!
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 8:57:48 AM EDT
Your results are not bad considering all the variables...but I know your rifle, if it is correctly assembled, and I bet it is, is capable of sub-inch groups off a rest with the right ammo. Just keep trying...also...is your barrel broken in yet?
Link Posted: 5/9/2003 12:30:59 PM EDT

I installed a Leupold 3-9x40 Vari-X II on my rifle and got to the range today. Much more consistant results. All groups are five shot at 100 yds. and measured with a dial caliper.

Blackhills 68gr. MHP

Blackhills 52gr. MHP

Wolf 55gr. FMJ

Winchester Q3131

I only fired three shots at 200 yds. as the wind was blowing pretty strong. Three shots with the 68gr. Blackhills went into 2.1"

Not bad for factory ammo. I think this rifle may have some real potential with a better trigger and some handloads.
Link Posted: 5/9/2003 12:59:10 PM EDT
The best improvement in accuracy for the money is a better trigger, and should be installed before you try using a scope, IMO. I hated the trigger in mine, so first I put a JP single-stage in it, but since I like a two-stage better, I got an RRA fom legal-transfers, and I like it just fine.
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