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Old 05-12-2020, 06:17   #1
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AR Accuracy

I'm hoping someone has run into this before. I'm looking into getting a upper with a longer barrel on a S&W AR 15 5.56. Before I do that I thought I would ask you guys. Just how accurate is a standard plain Jane AR, 16" nitride barrel, Mil-spec trigger, A2 flash hider, straight out of the box with store bought 55 grain white box Winchester ammo or what ever is on sale ammo? What is a stock AR capable of shooting in a nut shell.

This will tell me if it's the gun or the shooter...
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Old 05-12-2020, 14:37   #2
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A good AR rifle with a 20 inch barrel will always be more accurate than you can be. Many high quality AR rifles can shoot sub-MOA. You can get AR upper halves with barrels up to or longer than 24 inches if you want. You can get them in carbon steel or stainless steel as well.

The accuracy of good AR rifles is such that Filipino Marines have taken to using them as sniper rifles in their country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Scout_Sniper_Rifle

https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Mari...t_Sniper_Rifle

When a nation, even a poor one, can adopt the AR/M-16 for sniping that kind of explains how accurate they can be.

By the way, most of the sniper/precision shooters are using heavier bullets over and above the 55 grain bullets. The Filipino Marines are using the 62 grain ammo.

The next entry will give you some 24 inch upper halves to consider. Model 1 is just one example of where you can get such upper halves. Rock River, White Oak and so on have the longer barrels for sale.

https://www.model1sales.com/index.cf...ategory_ID=152
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Old 05-12-2020, 17:27   #3
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Thanks for the info, if a 20 inch barrel on a good ar will do sub moe, what will a bone stock 16 inch do?
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Old 05-13-2020, 08:58   #4
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Originally Posted by YZblue View Post
Thanks for the info, if a 20 inch barrel on a good ar will do sub moe, what will a bone stock 16 inch do?
I bought an Windham Weaponry carbine and 1moa right outa the box but a Mil Spec trigger sucks. I did the trigger before I shot it. Took it down to 2.5 pounds from what ever it was 6 ish? I think I paid like 635.00 for it many years ago.
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:00   #5
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The average, run of the mill AR carbine should be able to shoot 2-3 MOA with fresh, American made ammo, in the bullet weight the twist will support/like. That means 2-3" groups at 100 yds, for 5 rounds. Most will actually shoot better. The main things that affect AR accuracy are shooter ability/technique, whether the barrel is free-floated, and the quality of the barrel, in that order. A good 2-stage trigger that breaks the second stage cleanly def. helps matters, but isn't an absolute requirement. Direct impingement rifles and carbines generally are slightly more accurate than a piston driven upper, due to less "stuff " hanging from/attached to the barrel.
Removing the standard handguards and installing a free-float tube of some sort(which is pretty much standard equip. these days), can cut groups by as much as half.
20" rifles, in my opinion, are a much better alternative to a carbine of any type. They simply operate and cycle better. The system was originally designed for direct gas impingement, 20" of barrel length, and a certain amount of barrel after the gas port(gas system length). Anything that deviates from that formula is a detriment. Just ask the army and look at the development of the M4. It was problem ridden, and in the end, was just as heavy as the 20" rifle, but with a shorter sight radius, less muzzle velocity, and less effective range.
Do yourself a favor, and get a 20" rifle with 1/9-1/7 twist barrel, a free floated handguard, and good ammo. With proper markmanship steps, you will own out to 700 yards.
Then get yourself to an appleseed and learn how to really use that rifle!
Infantry soldiers are called RIFLEMEN, not carbinemen!
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:30   #6
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There is what I needed to know. A free floated barrel means the hand guard doesn't touch the barrel I'm assuming, even towards the front by the gas block?
2-3" groups at 100 yds even out of a 16" barrel 1/7 twist. I'll see what I can find in a 20". Thanks for your help.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:49   #7
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Yep. A free floated barrel means that the handguard assy attaches only to the upper receiver, and not the barrel, at all. Typically, they include or incorporate the barrel nut, or they clamp onto the factory barrel nut, and that's it.
2-3" is pretty much milspec, although they rate it in different terms. They use what is called "mean radius", or the average distance out from the aiming point of the target.
A 2MOA rifle is still usable out to as far as you can hit, and a 4MOA rifle is goot to 500 yds, for hits on a man sized torso target.
The 20" will have more velocity, and more importantly, has a longer sight radius, so it helps to minimize the effects of aiming errors.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:56   #8
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I have a stock Ruger MPR with an 18" barrel and Ruger's "upgraded" AR trigger. On a bipod, I shoot sub MOA groups with 62 grain ammo and MOA groups with cheap Wolf Gold 55 grain ammo if I am concentrating and doing my part of the job. This is not an expensive AR.
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Old 05-13-2020, 13:55   #9
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Originally Posted by 2rangers View Post
Yep. A free floated barrel means that the handguard assy attaches only to the upper receiver, and not the barrel, at all. Typically, they include or incorporate the barrel nut, or they clamp onto the factory barrel nut, and that's it.
2-3" is pretty much milspec, although they rate it in different terms. They use what is called "mean radius", or the average distance out from the aiming point of the target.
A 2MOA rifle is still usable out to as far as you can hit, and a 4MOA rifle is goot to 500 yds, for hits on a man sized torso target.
The 20" will have more velocity, and more importantly, has a longer sight radius, so it helps to minimize the effects of aiming errors.

Thanks, my AR isn't evidently a free floated barrel, the front hand guard slips into the gas block, my old SP1 Ar is the same way, but it has a 20" barrel and chrome lined. It's 45 yrs old but is pretty accurate. The carry handle doesn't come off so a scope isn't an option. I'll look at the links you sent for an upper.
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Old 05-13-2020, 13:57   #10
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Originally Posted by LousyShot View Post
I have a stock Ruger MPR with an 18" barrel and Ruger's "upgraded" AR trigger. On a bipod, I shoot sub MOA groups with 62 grain ammo and MOA groups with cheap Wolf Gold 55 grain ammo if I am concentrating and doing my part of the job. This is not an expensive AR.
Thanks an 18' would be nice, I don't think Ruger sells just uppers but I'll check, thanks for the info.
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Old 05-13-2020, 17:36   #11
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Just to verify is 5.56/223 the same cartridge as 223 wylde? looking at uppers some are some aren't.
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Old 05-13-2020, 17:52   #12
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Originally Posted by YZblue View Post
There is what I needed to know. A free floated barrel means the hand guard doesn't touch the barrel I'm assuming, even towards the front by the gas block?
2-3" groups at 100 yds even out of a 16" barrel 1/7 twist. I'll see what I can find in a 20". Thanks for your help.
You can get some more velocity and maybe some more accuracy out of a 20" barrel but a 16" barrel is so darn handy. If the Smith comes with a mid length hand guard better yet. I'll bet the smith is going to be more accurate than you especially if you get a nice 2 stage trigger. Rock River Arms makes a 3.5 lb varmint trigger that is absolutely great. A 1/7 twist barrel is good for shooting 77 grain bullets if you want one that heavy. But, it's hard to beat Winchester white box M193 stuff.

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Old 05-14-2020, 04:30   #13
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Originally Posted by YZblue View Post
Just to verify is 5.56/223 the same cartridge as 223 wylde? looking at uppers some are some aren't.
223 Wylde isn't a cartridge, it's a modified chamber that will let you use both 5.56 and .223. It is supposed to increase accuracy.
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:35   #14
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5.56MM and .223 Rem are the same case dimensions. 5.56 is loaded to higher pressure than .223Rem. .223 Wylde is a chamber dimension. Basically, .223 rem chambers are tighter than 5.56 chambers. 5.56 mm ammo producing top of the spec pressures, fired in a .223 rem chamber, can cause problems. .223 Rem chambers usually have a shorter throat, and the lead in angle of how the rifling starts is short and abrupt. 5.56 chambers have a longer throat, and the lead in angle of how the rifling begins is more gentle. The wylde chamber is sort of a hybrid of both. It will handle hot, 5.56mm loads, but shoot with the accuracy of a tight .223 rem chamber. It was designed for match use, and allows max pressure 5.56 style loads to be fired with the accuracy of a tight, .223 rem chamber.
If you will be depending on this rifle AT ALL for you or your loved ones lives and safety, you want a 5.56 chamber. It will accept all 5.56 ammo, and digest it without problems.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:02   #15
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Forgive my intrusion into the ranks of the experts here (I am not an expert), but I wouldn't worry whether a given AR is capable of 1" groups or 2" groups. I happen to have a relatively inexpensive rifle that if I do everything right will shoot 1" groups, but it took me a lot of practice and many rounds to shoot that well with the rifle. I am strictly a target shooter, sometimes shooting for really tight groups and bullseyes, but mostly shooting the sorts of targets Hickcock 45 shoots...steel gongs, pop bottles, clay garden pots, et cetera. When I shoot the latter, I take off the scope and attach a red dot, because, basically, the red dot is quicker and more fun.
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:30   #16
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Originally Posted by 2rangers View Post
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5.56MM and .223 Rem are the same case dimensions. 5.56 is loaded to higher pressure than .223Rem. .223 Wylde is a chamber dimension. Basically, .223 rem chambers are tighter than 5.56 chambers. 5.56 mm ammo producing top of the spec pressures, fired in a .223 rem chamber, can cause problems. .223 Rem chambers usually have a shorter throat, and the lead in angle of how the rifling starts is short and abrupt. 5.56 chambers have a longer throat, and the lead in angle of how the rifling begins is more gentle. The wylde chamber is sort of a hybrid of both. It will handle hot, 5.56mm loads, but shoot with the accuracy of a tight .223 rem chamber. It was designed for match use, and allows max pressure 5.56 style loads to be fired with the accuracy of a tight, .223 rem chamber.
If you will be depending on this rifle AT ALL for you or your loved ones lives and safety, you want a 5.56 chamber. It will accept all 5.56 ammo, and digest it without problems.
Yea; I was aware of the pressure differences between the 223 and the 5.56 but even though I've been around firearms for years on and off, hunting and trap leagues, and just target shooting. I've not heard of a 223 Wylde, guess I was out of the loop too far. Sounds like a good option for an upper.
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:49   #17
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One last question , from what I have been seeing on some sites ( Model 1, White Oak) the uppers have either threaded and non-threaded muzzles, ?? Is a muzzle device going to make a difference? I know the muzzle device does make a difference to bullet performance so would just not having one be better, or getting a threaded barrel be the way to go in case latter on I want to install one for muzzle flash and noise?

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Old 05-14-2020, 10:43   #18
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in my opinion, a flash hider is a necessity. If you will be doing any shooting in less than full-blown sunlight, there will be noticeable flash. It's worse as it gets dark, or as the barrel gets shorter. I think the smith enterprises vortex and the noveske kx3 are about the best, followed by the original 3 prong "duckbill" hider and copies. As far as accuracy goes, weight hanging off the muzzle from a flash hider or muzzle brake tends to damp barrel vibrations, and therefore somewhat increase accuracy. This is most noticeable on skinny barrels. Muzzle brakes, on a 5.56 AR, are a solution in search of a problem. The recoil is not a problem, and they usually INCREASE flash.
Unless you live in an area that proscribes flash hiders, get a threaded barrel, and install the flash hider of your choice. If you don't want a flash hider, you can install a thread protector.
I have a different way of mounting flash hiders. I do not use crush washers, bevel washers, lock washers, or any other mechanical locking devices. I clean the flash hider and muzzle threads with brake cleaner and allow to dry. I apply 1 drop of blue loctite to the muzzle threads, starting about 1/2 way from the crown. I screw the device on, by hand only, until it bottoms out. Then I loosen it enough to clock it so it is upright(A2). Vortex flash hiders are even easier. Clean threads as before. Apply one drop of OIL to the threads. Tighten by hand until it stops turning. As you shoot it will tighten itself to the proper torque.
I do not like to apply torque to barrels, especially high $ match barrels.
BTW- I highly endorse and use WOA parts, barrels, and uppers. John Holliger cuts a very concentric chamber, and his uppers set records and kick ass.
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Old 05-16-2020, 04:09   #19
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First off ditch the GI or mil spec trigger. Then buy and install a Larue MBT-2S (2) stage trigger for your AR. A great trigger such as this one will shrink your groups.

https://www.larue.com/products/larue...bt-2s-trigger/
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:50   #20
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Another "Hell, I Was There!" story which is all true. I promise. Back in about 1990 or soosss I built a semi auto replica of the CAR 15. 11.5 inch 1x14 twist barrel with a permanently attached welded and pinned long flash hider.

Somebody built that barrel perfectly! Shot about 3/8 of inch inch at 100 yards off the bench using Winchester M193 white box Wally World ammo. Old Leopold 3x9x40 scope hanging way on top of the carry handle.

Lots of times welding and pinning around the barrel muzzle crown can destroy accuracy. Not that time. No key holing. No bullet tumbling. Wow, wow, wow! The customer was thrilled! I should have NEVER sold it.

Moral of the true story? Spend your money on the barrel, bolt head, headspace, trigger and absolutely correct barrel torquing, perhaps the most important things on a home build. Or ... have somebody build it.

Not me. Retired. Hundreds of AR15 builds.
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Old 07-13-2020, 18:35   #21
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Originally Posted by YZblue View Post
Thanks for the info, if a 20 inch barrel on a good ar will do sub moe, what will a bone stock 16 inch do?
Barrel length in and of itself is not a variable which affects accuracy, or really, mechanical precision. So a 12.5” barrel can group as well as a 24” barrel. About the only thing a longer barrel buys you is more velocity which gives you a flatter trajectory and less wind drift for longer effective range and more forgiveness in terms of range estimation, but in terms or precision it doesn’t really matter.

As far as your question about a rack grade medium to lower quality AR with standard 55gr ball, you’re looking at a 3-4 MOA combination with the ammunition being the biggest issue. Most standard FMJ is horribly inconsistent. Some batches are better, some worse. I can get handloads with 55gr Hornady FMJ around 1.5 MOA, but it’s hard to find factory 55/62gr FMJ which will do that consistently. You can bring that down to around 1.5-2.0 with high quality ammunition, which is perfectly workable for most uses.

A high quality barrel and FF handguard and a little work and you’re looking at an MOA gun.
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Old 07-13-2020, 18:36   #22
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Originally Posted by HB of CJ View Post
Another "Hell, I Was There!" story which is all true. I promise. Back in about 1990 or soosss I built a semi auto replica of the CAR 15. 11.5 inch 1x14 twist barrel with a permanently attached welded and pinned long flash hider.

Somebody built that barrel perfectly! Shot about 3/8 of inch inch at 100 yards off the bench using Winchester M193 white box Wally World ammo. Old Leopold 3x9x40 scope hanging way on top of the carry handle.

Lots of times welding and pinning around the barrel muzzle crown can destroy accuracy. Not that time. No key holing. No bullet tumbling. Wow, wow, wow! The customer was thrilled! I should have NEVER sold it.

Moral of the true story? Spend your money on the barrel, bolt head, headspace, trigger and absolutely correct barrel torquing, perhaps the most important things on a home build. Or ... have somebody build it.

Not me. Retired. Hundreds of AR15 builds.
Lol... Of all the things that didnít happen, that might be first on the list.
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Old 07-13-2020, 18:48   #23
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Originally Posted by YZblue View Post
Thanks an 18' would be nice, I don't think Ruger sells just uppers but I'll check, thanks for the info.
If youíre looking for an 18Ē, just build one.

For a general purpose rifle, give the Faxon Gunner profile 18Ē, with rifle length gas a hard look. Iíve been using them in 3-Gun for a couple of years... The standard is a solid MOA or slightly sub MOA and the nitride stainless Match is easily sub MOA. 18Ē and a high BC slug gets you out to 700-800 yards pretty easy.

Rifle length gas and brake of your choice means virtually no muzzle movement allowing you to keep the target in glass under recoil. Itís a lighter weight profile but Government profile from the chamber to gas block so you donít have a shifting POI when the barrel is hot like you get with some pencil profile barrels.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:30   #24
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My new build tear down and rebuild max spread limit is .5 inches for any rifle including an AR. My AR-10 in 308 shoots .3 and my 6.5x08 shoots .13 the 6mm Mongoose I just finished, still in fire form and barrel break-in mode, it runs in the .3s I was a member of the 101st Rifle and Pistol team, coach, Armorer and a battalion sniper.

This was yesterday in the rain off the back porch, at 75 yards, off hand with the 6mm using an 80gr bullet with 25gr of 844. That is a 35 pound female yote DRT.
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Old 08-03-2020, 19:23   #25
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Originally Posted by Rapier View Post
My new build tear down and rebuild max spread limit is .5 inches for any rifle including an AR. My AR-10 in 308 shoots .3 and my 6.5x08 shoots .13 the 6mm Mongoose I just finished, still in fire form and barrel break-in mode, it runs in the .3s I was a member of the 101st Rifle and Pistol team, coach, Armorer and a battalion sniper.

This was yesterday in the rain off the back porch, at 75 yards, off hand with the 6mm using an 80gr bullet with 25gr of 844. That is a 35 pound female yote DRT.
Get a video of you shooting a 0.3 MOA, 5-round group from your AR-10 and Iíll PayPal you $250.
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