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Posted: 6/17/2003 12:15:06 PM EDT
Howdy Folks,
I am preparing to build my first AR with a specific intention in mind and would like some opinions. I want to get into Service Rifle (SR) competition. Given this goal and the fact that I will be a beginner in that type of rifle shooting (I have shot smallbore 3-position in the past, so I have most of the ancillary equipment) what kit or parts would you buy for this build.

Keep in mind that this is an entry level SR build (a beginning golfer would be wasting money on a $1000 set of clubs and I don't want to waste money on a gun which will be beyond my abilities in the next couple of years).

What features are a must have?
- Two stage trigger
- Free float barrel
- NM sights

What twist barrel?

Should I just buy a J & T basic kit w/ free float barrel then add the two-stage trigger later? Or, should I save my pennies a bit longer and just buy a RRA upper w/ associated lower parts? Is a free float barrel worth the money for a beginner?

Remember think entry level but competitive! I have been reading many posts here in this forum and the competition forum gleaning what I can, so I have my opinion, but want yours (especially those who compete in SR).
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 1:36:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By JPM63US: Remember think entry level but competitive! I have been reading many posts here in this forum and the competition forum gleaning what I can, so I have my opinion, but want yours (especially those who compete in SR).
View Quote
Personally, I'd build a standard A2 and forget things like free-float and two stage triggers. While these may help you when shooting from a bench, they're useless when trying to do things like transition from standing to prone in the rapid fire legs. My best advice is use a good chrome-lined barrel - either a Colt or Bushmaster - because trying to clear stoppages will absolutely kill your score. Instead of spending money on trick parts, I'd spend it on first quality standard parts, and the rest on ammo for practice. That will do more to raise your scores than anything else. My $0.02
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 3:08:35 PM EDT
JPM63US, You and I are in the same boat, I have not shot high power service rifle in about 15 years and now want to get back into it. 15 years ago I was shooting an M1 Garand, great rifle but I don’t really want to spend all day shooting a 30-06. To that end I have just picked up a standard Colt 6601 Match Target H-Bar. My train of thought is as follows: I put my sling on and I’m good to go for the match, the rifle isn’t a super completive weapon but it is probably be out shooting me at this point. I can compete and if I decide not to I can sell the rifle and come out right where I went in, no harm done to the wallet. If I continue to compete I think my first upgrade would be to scrap the battle sights for some high quality match sights, then trigger. Maybe the trigger first and sighs after; we’ll see. Then a free float tube and if I’m going to keep at it the rifle will get a new barrel in a year or two. I love the barrels that Krieger produces and I think it is worth it to save up a little more money to get one of their tubes. As for the barrel on the Colt 6601 right now it is not chrome lined and I would not want it to be so for competitive use. My barrel has a 1/7 twist, which will work fine for just about any bullet. It might seem a little fast for the 55gr pills but it works out just fine. I’ll be shooting at reduced targets at 100 yards for the time being but hopefully I’ll get to a 600 yard range a few times too. At that distance I’m thinking I’ll be shooting 69 or 75 grain bullets which should be perfect for the 1/7 twist. I thought about building a rifle too but figured if I decide not to compete and I want to get rid of the rifle it’s much easier selling a factory weapon than something I have pieced together. I chose Colt as I have other Colt products and they’re great, and again the resale. I hope some of this might help, maybe we’ll meet at Perry some day. Best Regards, C
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 5:19:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2003 10:26:50 AM EDT by Halfcocked]
Actually Homo is full of crap. The most benifit from a free float barrel comes from taking stress off the barrel when cinched into a sling, not off a bench. Jeese what a friggin idiot. He probably never shot a Service Rifle match in his 4 or 5 years of life. Depending on your abilities you may progress quite rapidly and out grow a standard A2 in a year or 2. Either way you'll always be wondering was it the operater or the weapon. Each of the above will add about $100 to your total cost ($300). If you can, get them and then you'll know. My first matches were with a DCM Garand and then a rack grade M1A that I glass bedded and free floated. Shot my first master score with that rifle with a chrome lined barrel, but that was the barrel that came with it so I used it. If you're building from scratch any of the things you buy that you plan on replacing is wasted money.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 5:58:09 PM EDT
You want to max out what you can do with the rifle (however accurate or inaccurate it is) so you could take whatever you have and add (in order of importance and as funds permit): 1. Two stage trigger 2. NM sights 3. Free float sleave
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 11:07:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/17/2003 11:18:21 PM EDT by pogo]
The way I built my match rifle I would do again. A free floated barrel is a must. The smallest targets you shoot at are with a sling. My sight adjustments from standing to sitting to prone with a **TIGHT** sling are so small they can be ignored. Try that trick with an unfloated A1 barrel. ANOTHER EDIT: I think the A1 profile is the same aft of the sling as an A2? I assembled it from parts - a DPMS match upper from Midway - I think they are on sale again, 450-500 bucks with bolt and stainless barrel. I have not used an upper made by the custom shops, but I do not feel I am at a disadvantage equipment-wise against the best. The only misfeeds I have had with that rifle are when I misalign the cartridge when single loading. A chrome lined moly barrel necessary? I think not! Go to your local SR match and look what your non-novices are shooting. All stainless, all the way. This comes with a 1/4, 1/2 minute match sight that I have no real complaints about. I'd druther have a straight 1/2, 1/2 minute sight. I did buy a Jewell trigger from midway as well. This is pricey at 175 bucks or so, but MAN! It makes a difference. If I had an existing rifle, I would replace the trigger first of all. The rest of the rifle I built up from cheap parts, as in as cheap as I could buy them. I loaded the front with cuff weights, and balanced it out with 230 grain slugs in the buttstock. Say what you want, but this rifle shoots like a dream. I used my M1A Springfield Armory sling, but I since bought better ones made by Turner. A high quality 1907 sling by Turner or Tam is a must. Some guys use the web sling, but 90% use one of the 1907 slings. These cost about 35 bucks.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 7:01:58 AM EDT
Just a little OT, but ... I'm new to an AR and to shooting a rifle, so I don't know the 'proper' technique. Regarding the sling, how should I properly use one and what benefits does it give? I have an inexpensive sling right now, good for carrying the AR, but want to get a better sling once I know how to properly use it. Thanks.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 7:20:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2003 10:25:01 AM EDT by Halfcocked]
Get a good leather one held together with hooks. If you're using one with slip buckles or cam clamps and it ain't slipping, your not in it tight enough. Remove it from the butt stock sling attachment and make a loop. With bottom of rifle to you, butt on the ground, give the sling a 1/4 turn clock wise looking down and slip the loop up your left arm, to your arm pit. Sling should come from the front of the rifle to the right of your hand/fingers when gripping the hand guard, run between wrist and mag well to arm. Adjust loop for your arm and adjust the length with the front set of hooks so that you literally have to push the butt into your right shoulder. You'll appreciate a heavey padded coat and left glove. (Left handed shooters, do this upside down). Edited to add some missed words.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 9:04:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2003 9:05:41 AM EDT by pogo]
[url]http://www.fulton-armory.com/slinguse.htm[/url] This link shows how to install your sling and sling up. Edit: The M1 slings up the same way as the AR does. When properly used, your left arm forms a solid triangle to eliminate movement due to your left arm. Your right elbow will be on the ground or your knee, and the resulting movement will be due to your pulse. That is the reason for the thick glove - to dampen out the pulse in your thumb. Little things become noticeable after the major ones are taken care of. Get the 50" sling. I am of average build and this is the shortest sling I recommend. Works well for me. It takes a good deal of tinkering with the sling to get it right, but once it is right there is nothing better. Talk to a service rifle shooter when you go to the range with your sling. All those loops and hooks have a purpose!
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 9:40:49 AM EDT
Thanks for the info. There's much for me to learn, but this is a good start.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 1:25:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By JPM63US: What twist barrel? Remember think entry level but competitive!
View Quote
Kreiger makes a 1:7.75". It's a $500 barrel though. That's what I've used in the past. If you can find a 1:8" that makes a good "tweener" (in between-er). Otherwise go with Sierra 69 to 77 grainers accross the range and go with a 1:7"
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 8:00:36 PM EDT
You will be better off in the end dropping $ 1200 for an out of the box DCM rifle. Building one as you go will end up costing more $$ in the end but if that is what you wan't to do get an M&A parts kit with a DCM 1:8 H-BAR. Than get a match trigger, than sights and than a tube since by that time you will most likely need a new barrel anyway.....If you are going to start with a complete rifle find a post ban Colt HBAR with a 1;7 barrel and go from there...
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 4:53:24 AM EDT
I let the dust settle for a couple of days on this - now I come back and say thanks for all the input. I still plan to build it up myself as I'm an engineer and like doing that sort of thing (enjoy building ML guns too). I will get a 1:8 twist SS barrel, free-float handgaurd, and NM sights on the initial build. I just do a standard trigger to save bucks (remember "Entry Level") as the add on NM trigger later won't be a problem to do. Thanks again for all the advice! JPM
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 7:25:01 AM EDT
Some where around these boards is a link to a 15 minute trigger job for stock parts. I did a search and couldn't find it. Maybe someone else with greater powers here can.
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 11:09:23 AM EDT
[url]www.whiteoakprecision.com[/url] For about $115, John Holliger at the above link will sell you the sweetest little two-stage trigger you can get. A lot of folks prefer it to a Jewel. FWIW, I started shooting highpower with a stock A2. First thing I added was a 2-stage trigger before the first season; I shot with no float tube and with stock 1 min. elevation/ 1/2 minute windage sights for the first year and still managed to get an expert card. Then I sent the upper off to Holliger for the float tube and 1/4 x 1/4 sights. If I were you, I'd get a decent trigger in that thing. It makes a world of difference.
Link Posted: 7/1/2003 8:46:24 PM EDT
Thought I would post my experience on Service Rifle shooting. This is my second season as a Service Rifle shooter. The First thing if you're going to build the rifle is look at all the rules for service rifle, you don't want to build a rifle and take it to a match to find out that you've put something on the rifle that is illegal in Service rifle and they make you fire in Match Rifle. I have found the best thing to do is find a club that is around you and join them. The shooters at it will be a wealth of knowledge and most of them will help you out. Also the Civilian Marksmanship program has a sale program where you can buy a Bushmaster DCM rifle all setup and ready to fire for Service Rifle. [url]http://www.odcmp.com/Services/Programs/AR15.htm[/url] I used these rifles when I first started out then I paid the money to buy an Armalite National Match Rifle and have found it to be a great rifle. Some other Advice is that get a twist (1:8 or 1:7) that you can fire the Sierra 80 grain bullets. They are the best for 600 yards. For the rest of the Course I shoot the 53 grain Flat base for 200, 68 grain for 200 (if it's windy) and 300. A really important thing is having that 2 Stage trigger, with the heavier standard trigger you'll be causing flyers specially at 600 yards. Those are my two cents on this subject, best thing to do is find a club and let them help you out.
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