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Posted: 2/5/2006 11:21:50 AM EDT
Here's my thinking....

I've been planning a "Var-tac" type upper for a while now. Since I'm here on the East, I figure there's really no chance of shots over 350 yards. Also since there are no "dog towns", the notion of just setting up and shooting all day doesn't really exist. It's more of a "walking varmint" type gig.

Initially I was thinking of an 18" RRA upper and having it fluted, DD or LaRue rail (gotta be "tacticool", you know), and maybe an MSTN quiet comp.

However with the advent of the "Recon" and SPR type barrels that Grant, Denny, Steve, etc are carrying is there any benefit to a fatter "varmint" type barrel? I mean these newer barrels seem to be as, or more accurate than the RRA. Would I be better served with a 16" or 18" Noveke, ADCO, or "Recon" barrel?

Thanks
Rich
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:29:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 11:31:35 AM EDT by bigbore]
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:41:45 AM EDT
Skip the muzzle brake. All it will do is fuck up your ears. I used to run an ArmaLite upper, and it would give me headaches, regardless of how much earpro I had on. This was a full 20 inch gun, and I'm the kind of guy that runs 2,000 rounds through a 10.5 in a week without one complaint (except for the time I broke a shot in a wooden box).
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:41:54 AM EDT
Thanks Bigbore,
I'm thinking of the 18" as the length of choice for me. I guess I'd like something that is more versatile and less "one trick pony" (without sacrificing anything).

Rich
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:48:24 AM EDT
They are not overrated, nor obsolete. You are correct however, a properly configured Recon/SPR setup will do about the same. The heavy varmint setup is more of a dedicated use item. I wouldn't do a heavy varmint AR again unless I was hunting prairie dogs out West.

I've owned several varmint uppers in varying lengths and configurations. None shot worse than 3/4" at 100 yards off the bench. Most were far better than that. These setups all had .75" or heavier barrels from 16-24" long, and everything in between. I always gravitated away from them due to cumbersomeness while on an extended walkabout hunt. Since groundogs are fewer and further between than prairie dogs, hunting on the move produces better results for me. My current SBR uppers will still kill a groundhog out to 50-100 yards with my EOTech. I kill just as many groundhogs with a pistol or carbine while walking than sitting on the hill top and shooting 200-400 yards away.

For sitting on a hill side and shooting longer distances I've decided my bolt guns will do just fine thank you very little. 25-06 and 6.8SPC now, 22-250 in the recent past... While I'm lucky the 6.8 has enough energy to exit the barrel, I'm sure it will do just fine. (a jab for all you haters )

Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:50:19 AM EDT
You got to wonder? Im thinking also on a RRA Varmint 18 1/8 twist

Then I thought a RRA Standard A4 20 SS 1/8 twist and a floater of some sort

My Bushmaster 20 HBAR 1/9 Chrome Lined shoots 1 inch groups with M855/SS109
And even Less with 69gr.BTHP all rounds touching

So I would think there wilsons SS 1/8 twist should do alot better than my Bushwhacker
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 12:01:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 12:10:40 PM EDT by uglygun]
If there is varmint splattering that needs to be done, I pull out my accurized AR15. Even if it means lugging around the beast of burden, 24 inch barreled rifle that is 48 inches long from butt to tip and heavy as hell.

Built it with the sole intent of sitting on a hillside and splattering Ca. ground squirrels all day long but it is used in all positions.

I built it up before I had years of experience with the AR15 and based upon my experiences if I had it to do over again, some things would change but not everything.

But here's the thing, back then there were NOT as many custom builders out there as there are today.

For accurized upper assemblies from big names it fell into a few groups. Olympic Arms, DPMS, JP Enterprises, or one of the ABC makers who basically gave you a milspec barrel with a freefloated handguard.

I went with JP Enterprises, used a stainless steel lower receiver for additional weight. Thing shoots very well. Back then I didn't think I had what it took to build an upper so I went with a Grade 1 upper, lower was tinker toy easy.


Pictures of the gun early on.



Gun as it sits now is in this picture to show scale. After 7+ years it is largely unmolested. The 3 way adjustable buttplate was neccesary for proper eye relief behind the Leupold LR scope, plus the stock fits my 6ft 3in frame better now.




No, the muzzle brake likely isn't worth the trouble. However I wanted a rifle that was essentially as recoiless as possible. The rifle jiggles off target by maybe 1/2 inch at 100 yards due to a slight bit of jiggle from the action cycling, it's not "recoil" that causes the rifle to shift off target.

Cleaning the muzzle crown is a bitch so I actually broke the JP brake loose so that I could get at the muzzle brake to clean it. There is a bit of a noticable difference when shooting with and without the brake, even on a rifle that weighs 15 pounds unloaded.


Weight, that's the one drawback of the gun and hence the reason it tends to be a sit on the hillside gun. 300-400 yard shots are possible and the gun has racked up more than a couple of them. Been able to shoot at a few 500 yard distant fleabags but they were at the local range and I couldn't walk down to confirm if they were infact KIA or just WIA.


Around 3-4 years ago I had started to consider the building of a "walking gun" but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

For out to 200 yards, it will probably be a 16-18 inch barrel. Medium contour barrel preferred.
Fiberglass handguard like a PRI so as to not have to put up with aluminum cold/hot issues.
Stock likely to be an M93A, really like the stocks now after using it on my 20in AR10 and being able to adjust the stock for a variety of shooting positions.
Optics will probably be a 4.5-14x Leupold LR.

Sounds familiar, much like the SPRs and RECCE stuff that has been popular over the past 2-3 years. Not really surprising though, it's an idea born out of neccesity so it's only natural that they will pop up in such configurations.

I've got two Stags that I'm hoping won't have to conform to the latest bullshit opinion of the Ca. DOJ and one of them will be built into something truely interesting if they get a chance to be built into their full potential.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 12:42:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 12:49:26 PM EDT by SWO_daddy]
If what you want is a walking varminter for eastern use, where your prey is most likley woodchucks (which are at most in groups of two and threes), you would be money ahead with this and a good scope:

CZ 527 Varmint

CZs are hellishly accurate, and I would put one of them toe to toe with any AR for accuracy. My CZ 550 in 6.5X55 will shoot 1 1/2" 5 shot groups at 200 yards from prone with sling.

ETA: they come with a charcoal gray HS Precision fiberglass stock if you like the black rifle theme:
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 1:06:42 PM EDT
Uglygun,
Nice rifles; what kind of grip is on the M4gery?
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 1:29:44 PM EDT
Just an ergo.

Tempted to go with a couple of magpuls though to see if I can get something between the SPR grip on my varmint rifle and the Ergo. Big wookie like hands ingulf A2s and ergos alike. Ergo is better than an A2 but not by much.

The 50BMG ALS needs a SPR as well.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 1:34:25 PM EDT
I have the cz varminter pictured above with the laminate stock, i love it. Everyone needs at least 2.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 2:00:31 PM EDT
If it's limited shooting like coyote or ground hog, bolt actions are fine.


However, if it is in a high population "town" of ground squirrels or prarrie dogs. I'll take the semiauto every time.

Reason I went with an AR15 is I can use magazine capacities of my choosing for 10, 20, 30 rounds. No having to feed the bolt action magazine after 5 rounds, carry loose ammo, or even manipulate the bolt after each shot.

I am hell unleashed on Charley and the Varmint Cong. I don't go out and spray a magazine at one individual squirrel, still try to make every shot count. But it's nice being able to deliver that quick follow up shot after watching your shot go wide maybe due to the wind or not having a precise dial in. 2nd shot can be on it's way to greet Mr. Bushy Tail before he's gathered his senses, that is he a well disciplined Varmint Cong(or uneducated) and doesn't high tail it the moment he hears the shot.

Shooting at a field of young dumb squirrels is great. Shoot into the wind and sometimes they don't even hear the shots, can clean up an entire field on those days when a bullet misses and the bugger jumps in the air only to turn around and sniff the crater of the bullet impact right behind him. He moves right into the point where your rifle is zero'd and then gets splattered.


The accurized AR15 makes varminting like playing a video game, point and click....
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 2:03:02 PM EDT
I wouldn't say the varmint AR is overated or obsolete. Especially for those of us using them for their intended purpose. My Bushy is great for groundhogs.



I'll probably drop down to an 18 or 20" tube for my next upper though. I think 24" is a little overkill for the minimal velocity gain.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 3:01:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 02Overlander:
I wouldn't say the varmint AR is overated or obsolete. Especially for those of us using them for their intended purpose. My Bushy is great for groundhogs.

img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/05HemiJeep/Firearms/BushmasterVarminter.jpg

I'll probably drop down to an 18 or 20" tube for my next upper though. I think 24" is a little overkill for the minimal velocity gain.




Ahh but you're referring to just what I was talking about. I was referring to the 24" bull barreled jobbies. I mean if I can get the same accuracy out of a shorter tube AND if realistically none of my shots will be over 300 yards, why not go for a 16" or 18" lighter tube?


R
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 3:19:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 3:19:55 PM EDT by uglygun]
I think for getting a decent velocity, 18-20 will be about the sweet spot for out to 300 yards.

Figure out what you can get away with for a point blank type zero depending on the target. Hell, you can almost manage point blank on a ground squirrel out to 300 yards with the longer barreled ARs.

If going for the bigger wood chucks or ground hogs, you can probably manage 200 yards with an 18 or 20 with slight hold overs to 300.

There is definitely a benefit to them, hence the reason I'm tempted to build one.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 4:06:49 PM EDT
Here is my var-tac w/ RRA 18 varmit upper:



Link Posted: 2/5/2006 4:38:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/5/2006 4:42:41 PM EDT by advntrjnky]
i went a different route for a walking varminter. i'm in the same boat here in MN no real long shots/ no p-dog towns to smoke a barrel on. i found a nice condition m16a1 barrel and free floated it in an armalite FF tube. with the american eagle 50gr HP and WW box 45 gr HP it'll keep 1"-1.25" at 100yds easy. that was just screwing around with noe real rest/ bags. with quality ammo and rest i think it may do quite a bit better. i haven't shot it enough in one sitting to see how the groups open on the LW barrel wehen it gets hot (when it thaws around here i'll really out it through it's paces).

here's one crappy pic of it, but you'll get the idea(i'll look for a closer shot to post).



found it! this one is a pretty good close up

Link Posted: 2/5/2006 4:57:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:
Here is my var-tac w/ RRA 18 varmit upper:

i16.photobucket.com/albums/b12/wirebrush/100_0115.jpg




Wirebrush,
Specs please...that's the closest thing I've seen so far to what I'm looking for!

Rich
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 5:12:28 PM EDT
I am a big fan of the RRA Varmint series. I have an 18" that is a tack driver and my latest build is a 16" Varmint, NM lower, ACE SOCOM stock and IOR 3X25 scope.

I am thinking of sending my upper to Randall at AR15 Barrels and have him install a shaved gas block and a 9" Daniel Defense quad rail. I may turn the barel down to get some of the weight off.

This will be a lighter Var-Tac with the above modifications.

77Bronc
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 6:13:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Trumpet:

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:
Here is my var-tac w/ RRA 18 varmit upper:

i16.photobucket.com/albums/b12/wirebrush/100_0115.jpg</a>




Wirebrush,
Specs please...that's the closest thing I've seen so far to what I'm looking for!

Rich



RRA 18" mid varmit upper
YHM Specter length FF tube
CMC drop in trigger
MEGA lower
Magpul stock, grip, and rails
GG&G AR-10 rail, MIAD, and front flip sight
Leupold quick release rings
Burris signature 1.5-6x illuminated
Insight technologies M3X longun light
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 7:52:31 PM EDT
Wirebrush
That is exactly what I had thought about building and think it is the Shi? !
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 12:03:37 PM EDT
When I think "varmint" I think prairie dogs, and thus a 20-24" barrel for max velocity, HBAR or fluted for heat tolerance, free-float tube with bipod for shooting off a bench, and a big scope on top. Not walking around with it. I think that's the same vision BM and RRA had in mind with their "varmint" models.

The SPR I see as more of an attempt to bridge the gap between the M16 and the sniper rifle. Giving up close-range efficiency by putting on a scope and adding a bipod but without being as unwieldy as the sniper rifle. The Recon on the other hand I see as more of an "accurized M4", using an ACOG, FF, and better barrel to get more precision without giving up the handiness of the carbine. That sounds to me more like what you have in mind.

The Recon/Operator/SPR barrels from Denny, Grant, or Steve should be more accurate than the "varmint" ones from RRA since they're made by match barrel makers rather than being off-the-shelf barrels.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 1:28:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mike_L:
When I think "varmint" I think prairie dogs, and thus a 20-24" barrel for max velocity, HBAR or fluted for heat tolerance, free-float tube with bipod for shooting off a bench, and a big scope on top. Not walking around with it. I think that's the same vision BM and RRA had in mind with their "varmint" models.

The SPR I see as more of an attempt to bridge the gap between the M16 and the sniper rifle. Giving up close-range efficiency by putting on a scope and adding a bipod but without being as unwieldy as the sniper rifle. The Recon on the other hand I see as more of an "accurized M4", using an ACOG, FF, and better barrel to get more precision without giving up the handiness of the carbine. That sounds to me more like what you have in mind.

The Recon/Operator/SPR barrels from Denny, Grant, or Steve should be more accurate than the "varmint" ones from RRA since they're made by match barrel makers rather than being off-the-shelf barrels.



I don't buy that. Every one of the Wilson stainless bull barrels I've had would put 5 rounds into 1/4" at 100yds. I also had an Armalite 16" T model barrel that would do 1/4 moa. The custom barrels will give equal accuracy with less weight, but I doubt they will be measurably more accurate.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 2:43:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:

Originally Posted By Mike_L:
When I think "varmint" I think prairie dogs, and thus a 20-24" barrel for max velocity, HBAR or fluted for heat tolerance, free-float tube with bipod for shooting off a bench, and a big scope on top. Not walking around with it. I think that's the same vision BM and RRA had in mind with their "varmint" models.

The SPR I see as more of an attempt to bridge the gap between the M16 and the sniper rifle. Giving up close-range efficiency by putting on a scope and adding a bipod but without being as unwieldy as the sniper rifle. The Recon on the other hand I see as more of an "accurized M4", using an ACOG, FF, and better barrel to get more precision without giving up the handiness of the carbine. That sounds to me more like what you have in mind.

The Recon/Operator/SPR barrels from Denny, Grant, or Steve should be more accurate than the "varmint" ones from RRA since they're made by match barrel makers rather than being off-the-shelf barrels.



I don't buy that. Every one of the Wilson stainless bull barrels I've had would put 5 rounds into 1/4" at 100yds. I also had an Armalite 16" T model barrel that would do 1/4 moa. The custom barrels will give equal accuracy with less weight, but I doubt they will be measurably more accurate.



100 yard accuracy does not extrapolate to 600 yard accuracy.

Also, my ideal varmint gun is an M1 Garand. 125gr Speer TNTs make a nasty mess out of a woodchuck. No scope, alas, but god bless America.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:58:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted by warren-hpf:

100 yard accuracy does not extrapolate to 600 yard accuracy.

Please explain. Are you saying two barrels(of the same length and twist) that perform the same at 100 yards will perform differently at 600 yards?



Link Posted: 2/9/2006 6:13:53 AM EDT
A gun that can shoot a 1/4 MOA group at 100 isn't going to shoot 1/4 MOA at 600yds. Differences that are too small to notice at 100 will show up at 600.
Link Posted: 2/9/2006 6:36:59 AM EDT
How can they be obsolete? We still got Kong to kill!



Link Posted: 2/9/2006 1:46:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mike_L:
A gun that can shoot a 1/4 MOA group at 100 isn't going to shoot 1/4 MOA at 600yds. Differences that are too small to notice at 100 will show up at 600.



While there may be some truth in that, I see no relevance to the discussion about weather a $500 custom barrel that shoots 1/4moa(at 100yds) is that much better than a $200 bull barrel that shoots 1/4moa(at 100yds).

In all reality, if outside variables like wind and other atmospheric changes were eliminated you would find that the bullet will "settledown" and accuracy will improve until it's velocity drops below the sound barrier.
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