I finally got a chance to shoot for a few hours, and I spent about 200 rounds of Q3131A and Wolf to test accuracy. I have a new 3-9x 40mm scope for my 14.5" AK brake 1/9 Bushy, and I figured that I could get small groups with it. I had heard that the 14.5 inch barrel should be able to get 1" groups at 100 yards. However, even with the Q3131A, the best group I got was 3" in about 12 shots. With the wolf I got somewhat larger and more miscellaneous shots. Every once in a while I got a hole that was pretty far off from the rest (I'll post some pictures once I get them scanned). I had the AR-15 braced onto some ballistic bags, and with almost all of the shots the crosshairs were within a half an inch from the center.
Is this normal, or do I need practice? I had the scope very still, and I squeezed the trigger really slowly, and still I got large groups and got some shots that were far from the pack.
Here are a few smaller questions:
1) How much can wind affect accuracy? There were occasional light gusts of wind, probably in the 15mph range or so . . . well, enough sometimes to blow my targets off of my table with an empty magazine on it.
2) Someone said that barrel length doesn't make a difference at close range, and the only reason a shorter barrel is less accurate is the bullet speed difference. How can this be true, since I got groups that were wide, not just tall?
3) Every once in a while (As you'll see from the pics once I get them up) a bullet would stray far from the pack, as I mentioned before. Did I twitch, or is it just a bad bullet or something? I squeezed the trigger slowly, and I didn't know when it was going to go off, so I don't see how I could have time to twitch before the bullet left the barrel.
OK, I got the pics scanned, and here they are. The black area is 5.5" in diameter
After what I've read here and other places on the internet I wouldn't use anything under 16". Under 16" you lose the velocity, accuracy, and stopping power unless of course you engage targets in CQ. 100 yards isn't really considered CQ (IMHO). Get a 16" and your accuracy will greatly improve. That 1-1/2" between 14.5" and 16" that doesn't sound like a lot actually is a huge difference.
There are still a ton of variables here...
What type/manufacturer scope are you using? What type of mount are you using?
What position were you shooting from?
Was the rifle rested? Where was the rest in relation to the muzzle?
I do definitely think a longer barrel will help a little bit.
In all honesty, I think you need practice.
The average shooter should be able to shot 2" to 4" groups with Irons with the ammo you used.
Take off the Scope and get used to Irons, then move to a scope (on a 14.5" barrel?).
Going straight to a scope is silly IMO, you need to become one with your AR first grasshopper.
You said you had the rifle "braced" on some bags. How do you mean "braced"?
From experience, I see a lot fo new shooters holding their guns too tightly, thus putting too much pressure on the barrel, which, will effect accuracy.
Let me verify what I mean by holding too tightly. A lot of people, even if the rifle is sitting on a rest or bags, will still hold the rear of the handguard area, or the fornt of the magwell. When they peer through the scope, they may notice a little movement. So, they tend to grasp the rifle a little harder to steady it. They may pull on the handguards to bring the rifle in tighter to the shoulder, or pull the rifle down harder into the bags or rest for stability. Any pressure on the handguards is relayed to the barrel. The barrels are thin enough where this extra pressure can sometimes greatly effect your accuracy. I cant tell you how many friends I have helped with their accuracy by showing them this problem.
I like to just lightly craddle my AR when shooting for groups. The AR does not kick much at all, so you don't really need a death grip.
This may not be your problem, but thought I'd give it a shot. Nothing, and I mean nothing, helps more than plain old PRACTICE.
For the benefit of posters here that don't know:
this is your rifle, Greenhorn, mine started out life as similar, but swapped to a flat-top and installed a S.I.R., in other words I'm shooting the same barrel which is 14.5" barrel and AK brake for 16" OAL. This is IMHO one of the best barrels BushMaster makes so I'd ignore comments made by poster #1 (who po-pooed all the M4s currently in use by miltary in Afaganiland) and #3. Matthew_Q has good questions and answering them will let us know alot more. I like the heavy barrel as it will take to alot of rounds downrange without adverse affects. Last SF shoot guys put 500+ rounds through mine in about 2 hours with no deterioration of accuracy.
Here's a group I shot using my Aimpoint ML2 w/ Q3131A at 100 yards, from a benchrested position:
This is about normal for your particular rifle as it is in the 1.5" range. Your rifle should be capable of same accuracy w/ Q3131A once your get your shooting technique proper, so don't be discouraged.
Wind, unless your in a hurricane will have minimal effect on the 223 at 100 yards.
As to barrel length question, think if 14.5" is good enough for the military should be okay for a SHTF weapon.
If your Bushy is still stock then the trigger unless you've fired 1500+ rounds through it will not be optimal, I had mine smoothed on by competent gunsmith and it made a noticable difference in group size.
So without knowing the answers to Matthew's questions I'd say the fliers were OE.
Hope this has helped,
I have read many postings about one's shooting prowess and how a shooter and his rifle can do an MOA group, or better, all day long. Just go to Ak-47.net and see how many people claims that their Romanian SAR shooting Russian ammo can do 2-3 MOA groups all day long. Or many AR shooters who claim they can do 1 MOA or better with factory ammo or even surplus ammo, all day long. I tend to believe people, unless I have evidence to show otherwise .... however, in years of shooting, I dont seem able to match most, if not all, of these claims.
I am no expert marksman, not by a long shot. But I have been shooting competitively since I was 13 yrs old. Starting with Feinwerkbau match air rifle, shooting Olympic style match (60 rds all off-hand in 2 hrs at 10 meters). Then I ventured into smallbore rifles, representing my University as a member of its rifle team. Never won anything at the inter-collegiate level, but I was the best shot in my team (I was the only civilian too, everyone else was ROTC or military). Then I picked up high power (service rifle) using DCM AR15 with all bells and whistles. I admit my DCM rifle is of the basic configuration ... I am still a poor Doctoral student, too poor to buy me a good Krieger barrel or Jewell trigger. But I make do with what I have ... After just two NRA sanctioned matches, in less than 6 months, the NRA sent me a card ... and it reads "Expert" .... Now, my scores starts to "venture" into the Master playground ... scary ...
So, I guess I know a little bit about shooting, and do have a tiny bit of experience ..... however, I still cannot equal all these claims that I have read online ... like an AK that can shoot 2 MOA with Russian ammo, or a stock AR that can shoot 1 MOA with surplus ammo ... WOW ... I must have spent my money on these expensive DCM guns for nothing ... probably should have picked up and AK and shoot it in high power matches, after all, my best shotgroup with my Bushmaster DCM rifles using my own handloaded match ammo with Sierra Matchking bullets is just 2-3 MOA for 20 rounds slow fire from prone position ....
Sometimes I wonder, all these people who make these claims, .... they must be great shots, much better than I can ever be .... imagine if they decide to shoot High power tomorrow ... with those shotgroups they can make Master and High Master in no time ....
Check out these target below ...
This is my best 100 yds group (20 round) for slow fire prone (sling supported). Still, the shotgroup is just a meager 2.6". I was using Spanish SS109, so may be able to scrape up a few more points had I used match ammo ... but no way in hell I, with my rifle, can shoot MOA group. Just look at the target, the X-ring is just 0.75" diameter ... if you shoot MOA group, WOW ... you'll be hitting all Xs ... providing your rifle is zeroed right ... Holy smokes, not even David Tubb can shoot 200-20X .... or can he? Well, no matter, if Tubb can do it, then how many other "David Tubb" out there among us ? With all these claims ... we must have many of them !
Oh well, I wish one of these great shots can tell me what the heck I am doing wrong here ... I wish I can claim that I can shoot MOA groups all day long with my stock rifle .... :(
HA, HA, HA, HA.
HE, HE, HE, HE!
Edited to add, what kind of scope do you have? Check the mounts every couple rounds to see if it's working loose too. Actually that one group on the right with the Q3131 don't look that bad for a Greenhorn, or any shorty AR for that matter. Most people shoot 1, 3 shot group under an inch and their rifle is forever more a sub MOA rifle.
..and to change left to right.
MouseGun, I hear you.
This is the internet, whatever someone tells you, repectively times or divide by 2 and there's your REAL answer.
With my 20" HBAR, I can shoot 2-4" groups all day @ 100 yards W/ Stamped 86' SA ammo irons of course. I'm still relitively new to AR's (going on a year in few months) but I consider myself a decent shot.
It's to easy to exaggerate on a computer.
I'm pulling 0"-1/8" MOA@100 yds w/ Red Box Black Hills ammo. (scope)
Iron Sights are good for about 1" (bagged)
UMC and American Eagle...1/2" to 3/4" groups.
20" DPMS, free floated Stainless Bull Barrel, 4.5 to 14 x 50 scope.
Oh, the JP trigger helped IMMENSELY =)
I have a bipod on it, but benched on sandbags/lead shot bags is the way to keep it solid.
My advice -
1. Scrap the scope, and use iron sights. The scope puts too many variables into the equation. If your scope is mounted above yourcarry handle, there is NO WAY you can get a good cheek weld, and 4-8" groups are to be expected.
2. Move IN to 25 yards, where you can SEE where each hole is being punched. Fire 1 shot, note where your hole appeared, and learn what you did, and how it makes your point of impact change. Fire a second shot, then repeat the learning process.
3. This may be the most important - PUT A GOOD ROCK RIVER ARMS MATCH TRIGGER IN YOUR RIFLE. The stock 87lb. trigger you get from Bushy WILL give you crappy groups.
4. At 100 yards, 14" barrel will be MAYBE 1/4" different than a 16" barrel. A 20" barrel MIGHT get you a 1" difference over a 14" barrel.
5. NEVER use Wolf. Especially if you are gonna be measuring your groups. ( a more self serving comment would be "Always use Wolf ammo." - cuz I know you'll eventually give up shooting out of disgust for your groups, and you'll sell me that FINE AR you've got real cheap )
6. "Fliers" (bullets that are far from the rest of your group) are 90% due to rifleman error, and 10% due to erratic bullet loads.
7. If this is a new rifle, erratic groups are to be expected. They'll calm down after about 300 rounds.
8. If you are gonna use bags to shoot off of, you wann use front AND rear bags that essentially will make the rifle point RIGHT AT the bullseye without you holding the rifle. The force you then exert on teh rested rifle is minimal.
that's all I can think of. Keep us posted as you progress along.
I wasn't using the Wolf to see how well I could shoot. I only shot that because I wanted to see how accurate it was. I used the Q3131A when I wanted to try to get small groups.
Polyak - "Let me verify what I mean by holding too tightly. A lot of people, even if the rifle is sitting on a rest or bags, will still hold the rear of the handguard area, or the fornt of the magwell. When they peer through the scope, they may notice a little movement. So, they tend to grasp the rifle a little harder to steady it. They may pull on the handguards to bring the rifle in tighter to the shoulder, or pull the rifle down harder into the bags or rest for stability. Any pressure on the handguards is relayed to the barrel."
That's me :-D THanks for the tips, I'll keep that in mind.
Matthew_Q - "What type/manufacturer scope are you using? What type of mount are you using?
What position were you shooting from?
Was the rifle rested? Where was the rest in relation to the muzzle?"
1. Tasco brand.
2. Colt rail with weaver mount
3. From the bench
4. The handle made it impossible to put the rear bag under the butt, so the magazine supported the back and both bags were under the barrel. WHen I let go of the gun, the scope would be pointing right at the bull's eye.
I used some loctite, and I checked the mount and rail every few shots, and it didn't loosen at all during the 200 or so shots.
I'm going shooting again this saturday, and I'll try out what you guys suggested.
If you wish to shoot an MOA group, you probably dont want to take some pointers from a guy who has never been able to shoot an MOA group out of a stock or DCM AR15 using milspec ammo, but FWIW, you may want to consider the followings as they may help you shoot 2 or 3 MOA groups like I do ....
If you are new to the AR, I would strongly recommend learning how to shoot well using iron sight. The AR has one of the best sight systems in any military rifles ever designed. So you should take advantage of this and be able to know what you and your rifle, as an integrated system, is capable of doing using the most basic method for target acquisition and aiming: iron sight.
Scopes and optics can break or run out of battery. So what will you do if facing this situation ? Stop the fight and go get some replacement optics or batteries at WalMart? Cant do that, can you? Here's what you will do, get rid of the broken glass and continue engaging your targets using iron sights. The more options you have, the more versatile you become ... Optics have their advantages, but always have a contingency plan, because technologies are known to fail and they have ...
Get off the bench ! If you really want to know how you, as an integrated system of human parts, can function as a target recognition/acquisition/firecontrol system with your Bushmaster carbine as your bullet delivery system ... then get off the bench and started learning how to shoot from positions that have been known to be used in actual applications where your Bushmaster carbine is designed to do. Do off-hand, kneeling, or sitting, then prone (both with and w/o support). Fire slowly, single loading your rife if necessary, feel how you and your rifle becomes one ! ... no sandbag, no bipod, nothing else except you, your rifle, and the sling .... Filling up 30 rounds in your magazine and blasting away will do very little to improve your marksmanship skill ... unless you are deliberately doing it for a rapid reaction fire practice or CQB type scenario, but if this is what you are doing then why do you worry about an MOA shotgroup ??
Do everything the same way each and every time. Repeatability is important. Shooting 3 rounds into a 1" group does not guarantee that you can do it for 10 or 20 rounds. So keep on practicing and be patient. Learn how to control your breathing, and learn muscle discipline for the correct pose in various shooting position. Trigger control is also very important. The last two, muscle discipline and trigger control, will be crucial when you shoot off-hand.
So, get off that bench! If the enemy is far away and the ground is open, then get into a prone position, get your sling up and give them one well aimed fire at a time. But sometimes you cant see the enemy while laying in the prone .... well sir, that's why we learn how to shoot sitting or kneeling. However, as the Marines learned in Guadalcanal, there will be times that the grass will be just too high to see your enemy from a sitting and prone position ... heck, stand up soldier and give them your best shots off-hand .........
From one Greenhorn to another ...