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Posted: 4/1/2001 9:56:55 PM EST
I decided to turn my flat top AR into a long range gun. I'm putting a 6.5-20x56mm scope on it. How accurate is the .223 round? Am I foolish to put such a high powered scope on it? The scopes I usually see on AR's are fixed type 4x or similar with non variable power. Any advice on this subject would be greatly appreciated. I have only had an AR for about a year so I'm not as knowledgeable as I am of other types of guns. I'm hoping to shoot from 100 yards out to 300 to 400 yards? Thanks in advance for all the input I will receive as I have in other posts. This site and board are trully awesome!

Phoenix, AZ
Link Posted: 4/1/2001 10:01:27 PM EST
talk to uglygun, hes the squirrel huntin AR varmint rifle expert
the longer the barrel and more power of the scope means reaching out farther, an AR will do the job for varmints
Link Posted: 4/1/2001 10:08:15 PM EST
my "varmint" rifle [url]http://home.bak.rr.com/varmintcong/jpar.html[/url], pretty darned accurate custom AR15 that weighs in at 17 pounds, wears a 6.5-20 Leupold Long Range scope for spotting those hard to see varmints at long distances, the gun has hit a ground squirrel at 400 yards on the 3rd shot after having fired 2 rounds to "dope" wind and bullet drop from a 100 yard zero.

Plenty of accuracy in the 223Rem AR15 design provided you get a good upper like: MetalCraft Specialties, JP Enterprises, Compass Lake, or one of the other many quality builders.

My custom AR15 does 1/2 MOA or less for 5 shots when I'm using handloads and with factory loads it is usually shooting no worse than 3/4 MOA for 5 shots.  Recently I started shooting 10 shot groups with my handloads and they are holding 3/4 MOA.  At 400 yards on the steel plates I can spot my hits through the 20x scope and I'm still keeping them nice and tight and totally accurate enough to make consistent hits on squirrels at that distance if you the shooter are good enough.

And about the scope, many people say that a 6.5-20x is too much scope for a AR15 or a 223Rem, most of them haven't been out in a field staring at a distant rock 400 freaking yards out there and can't tell even at 20x whether it's a squirrel or a rock until the bloody thing decides to move or you decide to shoot it just to see if you're eyes are playing tricks on you.  For me the 6.5-20 has served well, it might be too much scope for others but not for me.  Only in really hot weather where the mirage is killing the scope do I ever go below 12x so as to tame the massive banding in the scope, in Arizona I'd imagine you'd have similar problems as I have in the summer here where in my town it gets up to 100+ degrees between June and August.

I'm gonna be building my AR10 into a nearly identical varmint rifle only it will be chambered in 243Winchester and the scope used will likely be a Leupold Long Range 8.5-25 for really long range shooting on Coyotes and squirrels.

The AR design is great for varmint shooting as there is so little recoil that it's extremely easy to watch your bullets impacting the target.  On my custom gun the scope just jutters ever so slightly due to "buffer slap", when in a good prone position shooting at 100 yards the crosshairs will bounce off target about an inch if that, double taps at 100-400 yards are fun as hell.  With my rifle there is absolutely no rearward recoil force to jar you off target, it's like a freaking video game for the most part.
Link Posted: 4/1/2001 10:45:08 PM EST
The Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) has range finders for 500 and 800 yds.

The gun is sighted by the US Military to shoot dead center at 250 yds, and then group in a 9" circle from 100 to 500 yds.

A bolt action "long gun" will nail golf balls at a couple hundred yds. But the AR will reach the larger varmints. Ground hogs at 300 yds is a bit of a reach.

I'm shooting a Colt Match Target, "shorty" with a 6X Redfield scope, JP Enterprises trigger, Harris bipod -- although using cross-sticks more than the pod. Taking coyotes out to about 300 yds. Scared the bajezus out of a crow the other day at 500 yds. -- but the wind was whipping pretty fierce.

My idea of a "long range" varmint rifle is nailing ground hogs at 500 yds. The AR won't do that, but it's a great gun for yotes -- especially running yotes.

I think a 6-20 X 56mm scope is a bit much for an AR. That's not what the gun is designed for. 6x fixed is about right. You'll need a cheek piece for a good weld while sighting a scope. The AR stock is too low for a good cheek weld on a scope unless you're using a flat top. And the flat top won't clear a 56mm objective off the front grip.
Link Posted: 4/1/2001 11:03:56 PM EST
I just now saw that Beagles747 said that he already has a flattop upper he is hoping to use, I thought he was planning to purchase one.

Don't know the make or configuration of the upper but if it's just an A3 with regular A2 handguards in a nonfreefloating arrangement, probably 200 yards and maybe 300 yards could be expected.  I've bagged squirrels with my Bushmaster 20inch A3 out to 200 yards when using my 6-24x Bausch&Lomb on it.  I'm a magnification freak, I like to see what that squirrel is thinking before I squeeze the trigger on it, plus you get a better view of the mess after the bullet impacts the target.  There have been times where a 6x scope would have not allowed me to see some squirrels because they blend in so well with their environment, I use a 12-14x setting to scan the area and then bump up to 20-24x for when I'm about to make the shot.

A regular configuration AR15 will likely be about a 1.5 MOA for 5 shots(hopefully better, but possibly slightly worse) rifle and the scope will hopefully help you shoot so that you can hold a level of precision to allow for that kind of accuracy, with a 1.5MOA rifle shooting ground squirrel and prarrie dog sized targets should be possible out to around 300 yards.  200 shouldn't be a problem with accurate ammo and at 300 yards sometimes you'll hit and sometimes you'll miss.

A good scope mount to use on an AR15 flattop is the Armalite 1 piece mount, it properly sets the centerline of the scope so that it is at the same height as the A2 iron sights and most everybody finds it very comfortable.  The Armalite mount also provides enough clearance to mount up a 50mm objective over A2 handguards without worrying about clearance, in fact about 1/4 inch of space remains between the objective and the handguard.

Sorry if I got confused, I've seen so many "varmint" threads lately that I automatically think that somebody is shopping for an "ultimate varminter" type of setup.

The spaceguns are certainly capable of making hits out to 500 yards so long as you can see your target, those guns get wickedly accurate and the shooter becomes the weakest link in the system.  I can put most bolt action 223Rems to shame with my AR15, if I'd get down to actually processing my brass and tuning my loads I might be able to get a 1/4MOA load for my rifle but I start to give up around the 1/2MOA mark.
Link Posted: 4/2/2001 12:25:18 AM EST
Hi Guys,

For the task Ugly has set up his JP, the 6.5-20X isn't too much power. The choice of optics (if any) should be dictated by what your plans are with rifle. Most of the time a 4X or 6X will be sufficient but there are also guys and gals who shoot benchrest disciplines (!) with very tinkered spaceguns. They tend to regard 24X as low power! Most of them use a 36X scope for 100 meters BR!

So think about what you will use the rifle for most and let that decide what type of scope you want.

Link Posted: 4/2/2001 3:21:11 AM EST
I have an ASA lower with an ASA upper with a Wilson Bullbarrel (20"), stock trigger,4x12x44 Simmons scope and I put the thing together myself.  Not the best rig but I have gotten 5 shot 1/2" MOA @ 100 yards and 10 shot 3 1/2" @ 300 yards with handloads out of this rifle!  I know if I had a better trigger things would improve even more. The AR is easily effective out to 600 yards, since I know many people who use it in DCM matches.  The key is practice and handloading, with that 300-400 yards varmit kills are easily possible.

Just my .02cents

Link Posted: 4/2/2001 3:54:32 AM EST
One very important component is the weight of the bullet.  I use 77gr and 80 gr Sierra MatchKings.  Remember these are the bullets used at Camp Perry for Service rifle competion out to 600 yds and the real good guys get 2 inch groups at that distance.  You need the heavier bullets to combat the wind.
Link Posted: 4/2/2001 4:37:48 AM EST
I agree with uglygun, 6.5-20 is not too much scope for the top of your AR.  I shoot a Bushmaster with a DPMS 20" bull barrel.  My buddy and I spent 4 days in South Dakota on our annual prarie dog "safari" last summer.  Anyway, most of our shooting was 150-400 yards out.  My AR had no problem with this, and performed very well.  Accuracy was excellent, especially since I was shooting Enforcer reloads.  I plan to shoot some handloads this year and see how things compare.  On the last day of my hunt, I shot a dog at a laser rangefinder verified distance of 476 yds with a 55 gr SP.  I only have a 4-12x scope on my rifle right now, but at this distance it is difficult to pick out targets from the mirage even on 12x.  I plan to mount a larger scope this year.  IMHO, for varmint hunting the more power your scope has, the better.  
Link Posted: 4/5/2001 7:16:21 PM EST
It was just the other day I posted this....
You guys have really given me a lot of info. I kinda need to soak it all in again slow...
I'm going to upload a picture of my AR so you can see which one I have.Thanks for all the feedback.

Link Posted: 4/5/2001 7:35:24 PM EST

The V Match flat-top Upper Receiver and “free-floater” handguard make this model a great choice for the competitive shooter or the varmint hunter. Its heavy, match grade, mil. spec. chrome lined barrel consistently delivers match winning accuracy. Barrel lengths of 20" or 24" are available, and the barrel, and other steel components, are manganese phosphate coated for complete protection against exterior corrosion or rust. The receivers, of 7075T6 aircraft quality aluminum, are forged for maximum strength and incorporate all M16A2 design improvements. The Upper Receiver's precision machined Weaver rail (Picatinny type) allows the mounting of a wide variety of scopes, sights and optics, and the V Match knurled aluminum handguard lets the barrel “free float” for optimum accuracy. The handguard is black hard anodize finished and machine checkered for greater control and a non-slip grip. Though we show the front sling loop mounted to the sight base (our normal manufacturing procedure), if you competitively shoot with a sling, you would want to attach the sling loop and sling to the handguard so as not to deflect the free floating barrel in any way. Our front sight bases are available in either the “full sight” version or a milled off “no sight” version (shown) for those using scopes or other sights. The XM15 E2S V Match Rifle is shipped complete with 10 round magazine, instructional manual, sling and carrying case. The Bushmaster Remove-able Carry Handle* is an optional extra for V Match models.

 XM15 E2S V Match 20
Link Posted: 4/5/2001 7:46:48 PM EST
All the info above I got off the Bushmaster web site.I got a 1" riser mount and have a set of high millet rings coming after the tasco rings failed for me by cross threading.I want to use it for hunting at some point but for the time being I just want to take to the 300 yrd range I go to and do some long range target shooting. Eventually, I want to get another bolt action, too. I had a Savage years ago but never shot it. I sold it to buy my H&K USP 45.Thanks again for all the info!

Link Posted: 4/5/2001 9:03:32 PM EST
My favorite use for my AR's are zapping varmints. I totally agree that a higher power scope is needed. Even a 6 power scope will hurt you at 100 yds. I used to have a DPMS 20" panther bull w/ a 1-10" Wilson barrel. I put a lead weight in the buttstock, a lead sleave around the barrel and hung a five pound lead weight under the bipod. The gun had no kick at all. It was like playing a video game. You could get 2 prairie dogs in the air at once. 300+ yds wasn't to difficult, the gun shot 3/4 MOA.
Anyways, I foolishly sold the gun, because I thought it was to heavy to pack around. I've got a receiver laying around that I'll probably sink even more money into making into a better heavy varmint gun.
Link Posted: 4/6/2001 6:41:03 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/6/2001 6:53:58 AM EST

I have also stripped my tasco mounts-they have changed them to a larger screw with coarser threads-much better than before, but still not as good as others.  had to buy higher mounts becuse scope was hitting upper near the charging handle area- could not get the scope to go forward enough for comfort until higher rings were installed.
Link Posted: 4/6/2001 7:19:37 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/6/2001 11:11:17 AM EST
I use a Colt A2 match HBAR with a 1x7 mounted with a Tasco 6-24x40mm scope on a B-Square mount. I wish I had a 1x9 twist, flattop, better scope and trigger, but I shoots what I got as best as I can and it still works! It's an MOA rig if I do my part. No modifications to it yet, as I have spent my pesos on other items. You definitely want the power and versatility of a high power scope. Like Uglygun I prefer HIGH magnification for tiny target ID. For deer, a 2.5x is fine out to 200yds, but you're shooting p-dogs, squirrels or hogs that are 10x smaller.
Link Posted: 4/6/2001 1:40:01 PM EST
I think the AR is well suited for varmiting. I just purchased a Les Baer Ultimate AR with a 1-12 twist for that very purpose. I got one of those can't pass up deals on it, low ser.#(295),good price (less than wholesale!!!!!!)etc.....I would show ya'll the test groups that came with it but I can't figure out the dang scanner. Anyway, untill I figure out how to post this target you'll just have to take my word for it.The smaller of the two groups was shot with Rem 55hp ammo #R223R2 (prod. code). The 100yd. group is 5 shots,looks like mickey-mouse,and measures just a HAIR over 3/8 of an inch.    
Link Posted: 4/22/2001 10:02:11 PM EST
I just wanted to thank you guys for all the info. I couldnt retrieve this thread to find it again and then I figured it out. Here's a pic of what it looks like done. I havn't sighted it in yet.
Link Posted: 4/22/2001 10:03:16 PM EST
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