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Old 01-25-2009, 07:43 AM
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Can an AR-15 be as acurate as a bolt action

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Well I was considering going the route of a bolt action .308 for some longer distance shooting but then after some consideration I realized that I don't really have any places to shoot over 500 yards. That in addition to the fact that I'm left handed has brought me to consider an AR-15. I used the M16 A/2 and M4 in the USMC for over ten years and have a lot of training with this rifle.

So now I'm considering building an AR-15. My biggest question is can I make an AR-15 as accurate as a bolt action rifle at 500 yards or less? Just for example, lets say a kit built AR-15 with a 20" barrel and 2 stage trigger vs. a Remington SPS Tactical.

I hope this question makes sense.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:23 AM
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Now is the post long enough to be excepted?
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:48 AM
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Pretty Close

I have never heard of a benchrest shooter that uses a simi-auto over a bolt gun. Anyone that is tasked with punching very small groups at 100-1000+yds will always pick a bolt. most accurate weapon that I own is a 24" AR. I call it the bas**rd gun because it is made up of all kinda different parts. Barrel is Bushmaster,lower is SGW/Olympic Arms,etc,etc. It will shoot in the low .3's with the 50gr Berger's.

Accuracy means certin things to certin people. The short of it will be able to attain all the accuracy that you will ever need with a well built AR. Is a AR as accurate as a bolt gun at 500yds ??? I'd say....close enough.

For this, bbl and trigger are the key ingrediants. With the gas system and scope,falling in close behind.

For a weapon that will shoot under .5" a AR will usually cost more than a bolt gun. It will also take more tweeking. Some(like me) consider this fun. -----pruhdlr
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:35 PM
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This is from an out of the box DPMS LR 308 $1250 with the extras.
Only at 75 or 80 yards but I was hot that day. click the link for the taget
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:54 AM
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5 shot group before floating the hand guard and with an off the self barrel w/flash suppressor. Maybe not bench rest accuracy but it will shoot better than I can from unsupported position.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:17 AM
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Make sure you get a 1:8 or 1:7 twist barrel so that you can shoot 69 gr up to 77 gr bullets. With these you can easily get out to 500 yards +. I have a Rock River Arms varmint, and that thing can shoot! I love the ar's.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:26 AM
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It's my opinion AR-15's are more accurate on average than out of the box bolt actions. I've got a few and love them.

I don't have any experience with AR-10's, but know they're sort of heavy. I'd still like to have one in 260 Rem.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:05 AM
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We use our MK11's (7.62) with consistent MOA accuracy out to 700 Meters. The M40 does have an edge on further out shooting, but tactically the MK11 is a very accurate rifle and capable of very useable accuracy. I would say if you aren't shooting past 500, you would never know the difference. They are excellent shooters. They are pretty heavy, but no more than a M40. Scotty
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:04 PM
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I'm not sure that the range matters...that may be a topic for discussion at a later point. The standard rifle used by the Service rifle teams is the M16, for all ranges. It can be said (maybe not truthfully) that the .223 has an edge over the .308 at extended ranges...w/heavy bullets.

It is accurate enough for what you are using it for.

Way back in '84, from 300 yards, I was clean (on the target) and had 5 out of 10 shots in the 4" X ring. So, a rack grade M16 will shoot right around a 4 inch group, at 300, WITH IRON SIGHTS...with iron sights.
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:29 PM
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Regarding your barrel, you are more likely to get the accuracy you want with a non-chrome lined barrel. I have shot 1:9, 1:8, and 1:7 barrels, the 1:9 only shooting really well with 52 grain bullets, the 1:8 shooting up to 80's well, and the 1:7 handles 80's well too (I have so many 80's on the shelf it'll be awhile before I restock with something heavier). Buying a barrel or an upper from a really good gunsmith is something I would suggest (these are smiths whose barrels I shoot):

A float tube would be good, either the Service Rifle or the Space Gun type. They allow you to use a sling: your point of impact will still change, but nowhere near as much.

You may want to leave flash hiders alone, as they can alter grouping.

The stock triggers are awful. I have a Jewel and a Armalite match trigger group, and I believe I prefer the Armalite.

I've always been happy with 1/4 minute match sights, but you may not be. The only time I've felt the need for 1/8 minute sights is in smallbore. The shorter sighting radius of the AR15A2 made my transition from the M1 to the AR quite unpleasant. Bullets were outside of where I was calling them. I shudder to think what it would be like with the shorter M4(gery) sight radius. With the A2's shorter sighting radius, consistent head positioning becomes more important. The only reference point for the AR I've heard is (for lefties) putting the right lobe of the charging handle in your left nostril.

If you go with an A2 configuration, getting a windage adjustable front sight base is a wise thing, allowing you to have your rear sight mechanical zero be your true zero.

Buy a good spotting scope. On good days you will see the .223 holes at 200. On really exceptional days you will see them at 300. Even with the best of scopes, you have not got a prayer of seeing them at 500.

Last edited by Chris Dingell; 01-27-2009 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by shooterpunk View Post
Make sure you get a 1:8 or 1:7 twist barrel so that you can shoot 69 gr up to 77 gr bullets. With these you can easily get out to 500 yards +. I have a Rock River Arms varmint, and that thing can shoot! I love the ar's.
I just want to add something to that.

While the faster twist rate (1:7, 1:8) is great for the super heavy bullets, it is terrible for lighter varmint style bullets. The fast twist destroys the jacket upon leaving the muzzle.

I have found that 1:9 is a good compromise. It is fast enough to stabilize the 62gr FMJBT and slow enough that the 36gr varmint grenades don't self destruct.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:10 PM
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The Rock River NM triggers are supposed to be a lot better than the stock as well and dont cost as much as a jp or timney. Remington is selling a R15 and R25 in calibers like 7mm/08,308,260rem DPMS OR 204Ruger, 223Rem Bushmaster as well. I have seen a few at Cabelas.

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Old 01-28-2009, 01:18 AM
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We have 1-7 Inch twists in our M4's and they shoot the 77 Black Hills ammo pretty awesome, and we are shooting out of a 10" upper. Out to 300 yards, they hold there own really well. The green tip ammo is so inconsistent that it is really difficult to get a "good" group. Sometimes you can put them into an inch, sometimes you are lucky to get them into 3". Case to Case is totally different sometimes. The 5.56 is very sensitive to wind, they are decent in the 77 grain, but not really in the same category as a 175 7.62. This is from my experience with Service Rifles, your results may differ. Scotty
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:35 AM
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I just re read this post and if you didnt know it Stag makes lefty uppers also. Add a ambi saftey and your looking pretty good i think.

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Old 09-18-2011, 05:07 PM
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Yes, they can be accurate...

Yes, an AR-type rifle can be accurate. I threw one together from parts acquired here and there that shoots one MOA at 300 yards, and I'm no shooter by any stretch of the imagination. That gun has a 1:8 twist, free-float, 16-inch heavy barrel in a black tube and not much more to write home about. I didn't even headspace it-- just whomped it together and went to the range. Hits a one-liter Mountain Dew bottle (about 3" in diameter) all day long from 300. Handloads in mil-surp brass. Powder thrown from a Lee powder measure. Common RCBS small-base dies. A 10-40X scope helps in the effort, too...
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:11 AM
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chk out FPS russian on you tube He has a ar in .338 accurate to 1500 meters
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:52 AM
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Yes, you can easily do it.
You have to remember a few things about what people "Know" about AR-15's...

The AR was designed as an infantry weapon, NOT a sniper platform. If you put in Mil-Spec parts only, you won't have mind-boggling accuracy. It will be very reliable, but not world class accuracy.
If you want it to be accurate, no problem. But it won't like being very thrown around in the truck, or the mud.
Accuracy is due to tight tolerances. Reliability(think AK-47) is loose tolerances.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:49 AM
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Look what dominates at Camp Perry, nothing even competes with the AR platform. Here is a 15 shot, 100 yard group from my bone stock Bushmaster Varmiter Special SS, it has a Bushnelle Elite 4200 6-24x scope. I think that should answer the O.P's question, I dont own a bolt gun that will shoot anywhere as good as this, and I own a bunch of bolt guns!

Last edited by fritz1; 09-20-2011 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 10-02-2011, 05:58 PM
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I own and operate a custom shop building what we consider to be the best custom and semicustom ar-15 rifles within our little place called earth...
We start with a completely billet aluminum upper and lower that lock together, as well as pin like traditional.
with douglas blanks in our rifles, we have a guarantee that no rifle leaves our shop without shooting a 5 shot group in less than an inch at a hundred yards. Our competition grade guns will shoot half that.
the best of those, frequently shoot tattered holes out past 300 yards.
The advantage a bolt has is simplicity, but the fact is the locking lugs on the AR platform do the same thing as the bolts locking lugs do.
the big limits with the ar are that they are really only available in a limited number of cartridges, UNTIL NOW!
we have some great stuff coming out this year, and next.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:58 PM
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since you dont have bench rests for big game hunting, and you can't possibly shoot better in the field than the 1 MOA that is easy to obtain with a scoped AR-15, you are worried about nothing. Better to have the rapidfire, for use in SD, shtf, matches, for stopping fleeing cripples, handling dog packs and hog herds. I don't consider a 223 to be the sort of big game rifle that a 308 is, so in that caliber, for elk, etc, I'd look for a used, $400 or so Remington auto loader. Lots of milsurp practice shooting, but be sure to use a good softpoint for hunting big game, like the Nosler Partition.
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