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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/11/2005 11:20:47 PM EDT
I'd like to build a 20" A2 to compliment my M4gery and use in service rifle matches. it may also see some field and training use, so it needs to be robust as well. no pure, fragile, target-only gun for me. i'm on a limited budget, so expensive, modest improvements in accuracy aren't required (free-floating handguard, SS barrel, etc.--i'm more of a factor than these right now).

i know a good trigger makes a huge difference (at least for me), so what's a good trigger that will withstand a little abuse (i hear a lot crap out at training courses)?

do i really need a heavy barrel or will govt. profile work?

should i get NM sights?

to sum it up: what's a good, economical configuration that is first reliable, and able to be competitive in service rifle matches second?
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 12:33:02 AM EDT
Well it would be cheaper upfront to just buy an out of the box ready to go service rifle like a RRA NM or Armalite NM than to piece one together . Or you can just buy a RRA NM upper half for $ 650 and a 2stage trigger $ 120? and build your own lower half.

Link Posted: 7/12/2005 12:37:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By topgunpilot20:
I'd like to build a 20" A2 to compliment my M4gery and use in service rifle matches. it may also see some field and training use, so it needs to be robust as well. no pure, fragile, target-only gun for me. i'm on a limited budget, so expensive, modest improvements in accuracy aren't required (free-floating handguard, SS barrel, etc.--i'm more of a factor than these right now).



There are several major factors in a "competitive" AR15 Service Rifle build (listed in order of importance, IMHO):
1) Matchgrade trigger
2) Freefloated CMP-legal handguards w/ sling swivel moved from the FSB to the tip of the freefloat tube
3) Quality CMP-legal Service Rifle sling
4) Matchgrade rear sights (1/2 MOA x 1/2 MOA, or 1/4 MOA x 1/4 MOA)
5) Quality barrel with 1/8" or 1/7" twist (this need not be a Krieger SS tube, as I can get sub-MOA performance on my Colt A3 Tactical Carbine's 16" chrome-lined HBAR 1/9" tube out to 300yds)
6) Lead weights in the buttstock and under the handguards



i know a good trigger makes a huge difference (at least for me), so what's a good trigger that will withstand a little abuse (i hear a lot crap out at training courses)?


The Jewell 2-stage trigger is an AWESOME Service Rifle trigger. If you really want to shoot Service Rifle, you can afford to buy an inexpensive lower that you will permanently install a Matchgrade trigger into for that purpose. A trigger that will "run well" in a tactical carbine course will not have the necessary adjustment for pull-weight, overtravel, and sear engagement that you need. The Jewell will take all the abuse that you need to give it.


do i really need a heavy barrel or will govt. profile work?


See my quote about barrels above. I run a 1/8" chrome-moly Douglas barrel on my Service Rifle, and it is more than capable of sub-MOA at 600 yards with the right ammo, and as long MY headspace and timing are set properly. I think you'll find that a slim "government profile" barrel will heat and whip (especially under sling tension), with attendant zero shifts, quite a bit under match conditions


should i get NM sights?


Yes and no. The "NM" sights that most mfgs advertise are nothing more than standard military grade A2 sights. You need competition-ready sights such as these:
http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/dcm/9349072cga2.asp
Preferably w/ a hood:
http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/dcm/9349075cgh.asp



to sum it up: what's a good, economical configuration that is first reliable, and able to be competitive in service rifle matches second?


I started out w/ a stock pre-ban Bushmaster 20" HBAR A2 rifle (an M16A2-clone). In my first match, I shot 62gr Wolf ammo.

The following is a sequential list of improvements in equipment that helped my score:
1) 69gr Sierra handloads
2) Tanner Saddlery leather sling
3) Jewell 2-stage matchgrade trigger
4) Creedmoor Sports shooting coat (the Ventilated Hardback)
5) Compass Lake Engineering rebuild of my upper w/ Douglas 1/8" CM barrel, windage adjustable FSB, matchgrade hooded rear sights, freefloated Service Rifle handguards
6) Lead weight in the buttstock
7) 80gr Sierra handloads for the 600yd line
8) Bob Jones diopter insert for my rear sight
9) 77gr Sierra handloads for the 200yd and 300yd line
10) Lead weight under the lower front handguard


As for being "competitive" . . . you will be in store for some eye-opening at your first match. Even if you are military and routinely shoot "Expert" during your qualification, you will almost certainly shoot in the "Marksman" category at your first match. Experience, improved skills, and better equipment will all be part of driving your scores up through Sharpshooter and into the Expert ranks. Master and High Master come when you can read the wind like a book and are truly a master of your technique.
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 12:40:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/12/2005 12:55:26 AM EDT by topgunpilot20]

Originally Posted By tangeant:
Well it would be cheaper upfront to just buy an out of the box ready to go service rifle like a RRA NM or Armalite NM than to piece one together . Or you can just buy a RRA NM upper half for $ 650 and a 2stage trigger $ 120? and build your own lower half.


i was hoping i could build it for less than the $1000 a RRA NM A2 costs.


ShakenNotStirred thanks for your response. i shot my first match last month with one of the club's Colt match rifles. i shot a 409. i'm a poor college student now and will be shooting primarily for self improvement for the next couple years. i figure i can upgrade over time as i get better and it will actually make a difference. i am looking for the minimum i need to keep the rifle from holding me back (which probably isn't a much right now). i noticed a vast improvement in the Colts competition trigger over my M4gery's stock trigger, so i know i will need at least that. like i said, i'm looking to improve skills right now and need a rifle that won't hinder that too much.

BTW i will be shooting cheap, factory loads for a while.
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 2:11:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 2:14:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/12/2005 2:15:16 AM EDT by topgunpilot20]
so i want an hbar because of the barrel whip induced by the sling? damn, never liked hbars (too damn heavy).

ETA: would a RRA NM trigger stand up to a training course?
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 4:32:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 5:24:15 AM EDT
You'll definitely want a free float tube under the HG because in the prone and sitting position, you loop up tight. Without the FF tube, you'll put lots of pressure on the barrel. To loop up tight you'll need a sling.

You'll want a good trigger.

If you shoot true XTC matches, you'll need a good 1 in 8" or quicker barrel. If you shoot only reduced course matches, then you have a bit more latitude, but a good CM or SS match barrel will still be more accurate than say a 1 in 9" chromelined BM.

If you can't afford a good upper (RRA, WOA), then just shoot whatever you have with good 68/69 match loads. Just don't try to feed a 1 in 9" 75/77 grain stuff and expect it to shoot at 600.
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 5:50:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/12/2005 5:53:04 AM EDT by ShakenNotStirred]

Originally Posted By topgunpilot20:

i was hoping i could build it for less than the $1000 a RRA NM A2 costs.



$625 for the RRA NM upper (and you could probably find it cheaper elsewhere). Some lowers go for as cheap as $80. Plus a used A2 buttstock and a lower parts kit. You can probably finish out the rifle for less than $800 (and you'd have a good, solid, CMP-legal competition upper).

As you can afford it, add the Jewell trigger, the Turner sling, a jacket, a shooting mat, a spotting scope w/ stand, a shooting cart, etc.


ShakenNotStirred thanks for your response. i shot my first match last month with one of the club's Colt match rifles. i shot a 409. i'm a poor college student now and will be shooting primarily for self improvement for the next couple years.


Don't feel bad, that's how I started! 409/500 is OK for a first match, but you'll want to improve that, and (unfortunately for your slender finances) 30-40% of that improvement is going to be equipment.

One thing I did in college was to start reloading. You SHOULD have the time and the finances can be increased creatively (cutting out drinking in bars, eating smartly and on the cheap, etc), and as long as you can fork out the dollars for the one-time purchase of the machine, dies, and a few accessories (a scale and calipers, minimum), you will enhance your accuracy, reduce your costs (or, increase the number of rounds available per dollar spent).

That's a seperate topic, but a Dillon 550, a PACT digital scale, a cheap set of MidwayUSA calipers, Redding dies, and a sturdy table is all you need to get started.


i figure i can upgrade over time as i get better and it will actually make a difference. i am looking for the minimum i need to keep the rifle from holding me back (which probably isn't a much right now). i noticed a vast improvement in the Colts competition trigger over my M4gery's stock trigger, so i know i will need at least that. like i said, i'm looking to improve skills right now and need a rifle that won't hinder that too much.


Honestly, approach this as a dedicated "Service Rifle" to start with. You already have an M4gery, which will truly serve every other purpose you really need an AR15 for. If you try to make this rifle more than just a Service Rifle, you'll wind up making mistakes that will require more money to solve later, thus increasing your overall costs in the end. If you are serious about shooting in NRA Highpower Service Rifle and CMP Service Rifle, start inexpensively, but make the right choices now.


BTW i will be shooting cheap, factory loads for a while.


See my comments about reloading above.

HTH!
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 8:03:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tweak:
Colt HBAR, add parts as you can afford them. No point in getting all the bells and whistles if you're just starting out. First mod should be a CMP FF, then a trigger job or match trigger. Once you've shot out the barrel upgrade accordingly.



Perfect advice.

I would only ad one more thing: a finer elevation adjustment. While the stock A2 rear sights's 1/2 MOA windage is plenty good to begin with, the 1 to 1.2 MOA elevation adjustment is a bit too coarse. A NM sight 1/2 X 1/2 or 1/4 X 1/4 only adds about $100 more to the mods and is money well spent.
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 4:24:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/12/2005 6:37:05 PM EDT
RRA National Match
Link Posted: 7/15/2005 6:58:39 PM EDT
I've decided to get the RRA NM lower, and am debating between two uppers:
The RRA NM complete upper can be had for $590 and seems like a good deal, it will stretch my budget though (less ammo)
My friend will sell me his Bushy A2 20" HBar complete upper for $350. i'll save money and have the standard KISS rifle i've been wanting for awhile.
Link Posted: 7/15/2005 7:05:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/15/2005 7:06:27 PM EDT by SWO_daddy]

Originally Posted By topgunpilot20:
I've decided to get the RRA NM lower, and am debating between two uppers:
The RRA NM complete upper can be had for $590 and seems like a good deal, it will stretch my budget though (less ammo)
My friend will sell me his Bushy A2 20" HBar complete upper for $350. i'll save money and have the standard KISS rifle i've been wanting for awhile.



DO NOT buy a standard A2 upper for a dedicated competition rifle. You will end up being discouraged and disappointed at the coarse sight adjustments, and most of all, the shifting point of impact due to sling tension acting directly on the barrel.

You say "buy a Bushy, save money, lear to shoot". I say you will learn to shoot faster when the rifle and ammo combination you use is capable of cleaning any target. Then you know that the feedback you get from the target is due to you, not due to the rifle or the ammo.

Get the right upper and then build up your ammo stash. In any event, if you decide to get serious about NRA Highpower, you will end up being a reloader anyway.
Link Posted: 7/15/2005 7:33:39 PM EDT
How tough is the NM upper? will it stand up to being dragged through the woods hog hunting? it would also standby for possible SHTF use. i don't have enough guns right now to have competition only, no real world use guns.
Link Posted: 7/15/2005 8:18:36 PM EDT
It's plenty tough......take the lead weights out of the handguards and butt and it will feel similar to a HB.......take it and drag it through the woods shooting hogs and zombies.......put the lead back in and go win a match....

being cheap on the rifle will only slow your progress, frustrate you and cause you to quit High Power.....

listen to what's been said.......the Maine State High Power Championship is tomorrow and I'll be there shooting my Rock River DCM gun
Link Posted: 7/15/2005 8:36:20 PM EDT
thanks. do the NM sights have a large and small aperature?
Link Posted: 7/16/2005 1:03:18 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/16/2005 6:04:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By topgunpilot20:
How tough is the NM upper?



As tough or thougher than any GI upper. The only difference between a NM upper and an SPR/Recce/whatever upper is the handguards and 2" more of barrel length.

It's basically a free floated HBAR.
Link Posted: 7/16/2005 9:29:27 AM EDT
Check Eagle Firearms and ADCO for cheaper pricers on the RRA NM upper.
Link Posted: 7/17/2005 12:33:53 AM EDT
Would 1/4" or 1/2" sight adjustments be better? 1/2" seems to be standard for NM sights.
Link Posted: 7/17/2005 1:02:08 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/17/2005 1:03:02 AM EDT by ShakenNotStirred]

Originally Posted By topgunpilot20:
Would 1/4" or 1/2" sight adjustments be better? 1/2" seems to be standard for NM sights.



A lot of people will push for the 1/4" sights on the basis that you can more precisely tune where your shots are going.

HOWEVER . . .

If you think about these four factors, I think you'll agree w/ me that 1/2" sights are the way to go:

1) The size of the aiming black on High Power Rifle targets:

200yd SF/RF = both about 13" aiming black = 6.5 MOA
300yd RF = 19" aiming black = 6.33 MOA
600yd SF = 36" aiming black = 6 MOA

2) The size of the 10-ring on High Power Rifle targets = about 1.5 MOA across the course

3) The number of clicks required to traverse your shots from one side of the target to another (under a variable cross-wind):

1/4" sights: 6 MOA = 24 clicks
1/2" sights: 6 MOA = 12 clicks

4) The width of the 10-ring . . . 6 clicks w/ a 1/4" sight . . . 3 clicks w/ a 1/2" sight

Given all of this information, what does it mean? What it means is, that as you shoot, if you choose the 1/4" sights, you will have to input DOUBLE the amount of clicks for any windage or elevation changes, you will be more prone to wasting time "second-guessing" yourself about your adjustments:

"Should I have gone 2.25 MOA right, or 2.5 MOA right, or 2.75 MOA right???"

The 1/2" sights are simpler, require HALF the number of clicks for any adjustment (which means more speed, greater reliability, and easier to remember and repeat under stress), are less likely to cause you to diddle and second-guess your corrections, and give you ALL the range of adjustment you need to put ALL of your projos in the 10-ring . . .

Link Posted: 7/17/2005 1:10:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/17/2005 1:11:44 AM EDT by ShakenNotStirred]

Originally Posted By topgunpilot20:
How tough is the NM upper? will it stand up to being dragged through the woods hog hunting?



When I hunt , I usually don't drag my rifle (Winchester Model 70 Classic Featherweight in 270 Winchester) through the woods . . . I usually carry it at the ready or slung on my back.




it would also standby for possible SHTF use. i don't have enough guns right now to have competition only, no real world use guns.


Ok. While I am not that long out of college, and while I fully support having guns for WTSHTF, let's look at some facts:

1) You are more likely to shoot in a NRA/CMP match than civil order in the US breaking down
2) You are more likely to become able to build more SHTF guns in the future than TEOTWAWKI before that time
3) If you train and compete w/ a purpose-built competition gun, you will be far more capable in the event of TEOTWAWKI
4) If you can hit 1 MOA at 600 yds w/ iron sights . . . that's only 1/3 the width of an E-Type silhouette!

Link Posted: 7/18/2005 6:51:45 AM EDT
if i get 1/2" adjustments, can switch out adjustment knobs for 1/4" adjustments later if i want to, or will i have to buy a whole new sight?
Link Posted: 8/14/2005 12:12:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2005 12:12:44 AM EDT by topgunpilot20]
I posted what I ended up getting here. Thanks for the info everyone.
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