View Full Version : AR15 @ 1000yds

Randall Kern
October 19, 1998, 03:06 AM
Is anyone using an AR15 for 1000yd matches? I've been shooting a Bushmaster DCM out to around 600yds, very happy with it, but would like to go a little farther. The rifle has a 20" barrel, and iron sights on the integral carry handle. Should I purchase another upper? My local shop suggested a 26" flattop, but want another $800 for it. What optics would you suggest for this sort of use?


October 19, 1998, 09:06 AM
I don't think .223 can quite reach that far, at least not without loosing so much - in terms of trajectory, energy, and a .223 after going that far has been effected by so much wind... that is more than extreme range for the little .223. It is effective out to 500 meters, and your shooting 600 yards already. Your pushing its limits pretty good there. What load are you using for that performance - if a hand load, do you have a factory load that comes close to that? In the Army we did some sniping with special heavy barreled M-16s that were being considered for a "spotters rifle" it was good for 400 meters - good, not great. That program ended with no further consideration to that idea. I dont know anyone even using .308 for 1000 yard matches... heavier calibers get the nod for that. Heat, air pressure, wind all play havoc on a bullets trajectory when reaching so far out... and as such, you want as stable a bullet as possable. That tends to mean its going to be heavy. 223 & 308 get blown around too much for precision competion work at that range. (If the 223 gets there at all. I've never fired one at over 400 meter ranges - and my ballistic tables end at 800 with the bullet falling like a high drag bomb)

October 19, 1998, 10:50 AM
It seems I saw an article in Precison Shooting magazine about a guy whooping it up on people with 30 cal. rifles using a 223 at extreme ranges.

I do not have that issue. Anyone else see it??

October 19, 1998, 05:52 PM

Was this article referencing an AR-15/M-16 series rifle or a benchrest unlimited?

My 30-years of experience with Eugene Stoner's tactical rifle platform does not support it's utility for this range, even with extensive R&D modifications.

I have read of some pretty phenomenal things done by persistent benchrest shooters, however. If someone has developed a 1000-yd AR, I'd be very interested in the applied physics of the project.

Rob Pincus
October 20, 1998, 12:05 AM
I friend of mine was in 'Nam and he said that when theu first got issued the M16 they wanted to see what they could do, so they set up about 1500 meters from this VC camp and....

Nevermind. I've never seen an AR or variant shoot very well even at the distance you are shooting at now. (Most guys I know swear that it is the rifle/catridges fault they can't hit the 300 meter target!)
Personally, I wouldn't take the shot at over 300 meters at anything smaller than a refrigerator, unless I really had too. then again, why would I need to shoot a refrigerator at that range?

Randall Kern
October 20, 1998, 01:27 PM
Performance @ 600yds isn't good, but on a cool day without wind I do keep most shots in a 10" area. I haven't been loading for this rifle yet, just using Federal Gold Match, 69gr boat tail. 300yds seems workable (4" groups on good day).

What do people usually use for 300-600yd shots?

October 20, 1998, 03:00 PM

Rob Pincus
October 20, 1998, 03:08 PM
That made me laugh. out loud.

But I have to say I was thinking along those lines kodiak...

I think you need a good bolt action in 300 Win Mag for the kinda ranges you are interested in.

December 25, 1998, 08:55 AM
Sierra Bullets has a good technical article on shooting [email protected] 1000yards! I think you have to use an 80 grainer and longer than normal OAL. But it can be done. Just don't expect much on target enegy. A 26" barrel with a 1 in 8" twist might work. Try sierra @ 1800-223-8799 for details. Also AA #2520 or win 748 might bemthe hot ticket! Good luck

December 25, 1998, 04:00 PM
see john feamsters book "black magic" it can be done and is often at rifle matches the hot load is vit 540 powder with 80 gr sierra bullets benchrest primmers usualy cci br-4 in norma brass 1-7 twistor 1 8 twist barrel try to keep bullet super sonic groups go to pot if the bullet is trans sonic plan on spending some time to get on paper first time bu after its as easy as with a 308

December 28, 1998, 12:27 AM
OK why not go .50 cal for those long shots.

4V50 Gary
December 28, 1998, 11:13 AM
I've read Feamster's book and it was an eye opener. However, as its orientation is very much towards present times, it will probably require numerous updating in later editions to remain current.

December 28, 1998, 02:07 PM
Can HE make a .223 go 1000 yards effectivly?
Or is he holding the barrel at a 30 degree angle and shooting indirect fire?

Kenetic Defense Institute
[email protected]

December 29, 1998, 01:08 AM
it beat the m-14 and the m1a at perry and thats all i need to know! (the match rifle kicked its but)

4V50 Gary
December 30, 1998, 11:24 PM

Feamster mentions Sgt. Tippie of the USAMU using 80 Sierra Match King VLD bullets. Per Tippie, the bullets remain supersonic @ 1k yds. Barrel has a 1:7" twist (which is better than the across the course 1:8").

He also mentions Roy Baumgardner of Precision Shooting using 80 grains Sierras. He loads with Vihta Vuori N-140 or N-540 powder and Remington 7 & 1/2 BR or Federal BR primers. Brass is IMI with velocity of 2730-2750 fps.

The third shooter mentioned by Feamster is Bert Medina who uses Lake City brass and Remington 7 & 1/2 BR primers. Powder is Vihta Vuori N-530 & N-540 & Sierra 80 grains VLD. Bullets are moly-coated.

No powder charges are given by Feamster for any of his three friends.


Roger Dailey
December 31, 1998, 12:33 AM
I believe we'll see the AR become the gun to beat in some 1,000 yard competition. It may be in 223 or PPC or Rem BR or a new round. Its probably very doable right now, but the required bullets are expensive. PRL was/is producing some tungsten bullets. They are very heavy for the size and have a very good ballistic coefficient. I think they have had something like a .500 BC at 2,800 fps in a 223 AR. That should be about the same as 180 grain convential bullet in a very hot 30-06 or slightly mild 300 Win. One distinct advantage to the AR in a 223 is mild recoil. That means less wear on the shooter and quick sight picture restore. I believe that with practice it might be possible to get off 5-10 rounds before the wind conditions change. That is the hole card of the AR. The quick fire capability would reduce the requirement to have bullets with an ultra high ballistic coefficient. Take care, have fun.... [email protected]

December 31, 1998, 03:23 PM
Being a grunt 11B for many years... I just can't fathom an M-16 shooting at a target at 1K range. My mind just wont process the code. When we wanted to shoot that far, it was left up to either our sniper teams, or our other 11 series troops:
11C - Morter crew
11H - Tow missile gunner
11BC2 - Dragon missile gunner
I trained in each... and believe it or not I liked the Dragon the best...
Give me a 1K target and standard military weapons... I would shoot a dragon at it.
This would make scoring a match rather difficult.
Super customed heavy barreled scoped ARs are new to me - but I would tend to still keep them in the ranges I used open sighted with my standard M-16.

Kenetic Defense Institute
[email protected]

4V50 Gary
December 31, 1998, 03:41 PM

That reminds me of Gunfight Rule #2: Bring a bigger gun.

That's how some Brits took care of German sharpshooters. They called Arty and flattened the place. However, the wisdumb of our political fathers have seen that we are unfit to such home remedies though. :(

Michael Carlin
January 1, 1999, 01:41 PM

I have fired some 1000 with an AR, the results were not encouraging. I am using an 80 grain Sierra in front of N135 or N540 (I will not provide suggested charges, but they are at or close to maximum).

The best result I had in the past two years was a 184 at the Quantico Regional at 600 yards. It is my perception that the AR will shortly erase the M14 from the record books. My highly opinionated gadfly piece in the Virginia State Shooting Association organ "The Bullet" will be posted in the next post.

It is my considered opinion that with bullets such as the PRL tungsten core bullets and very slow powders the 2800 fps 5.56mm rifle will shortly become competitive for 1000 yards.

There is no doubt in my mind that the new records for ITT set by the Black Rifle are just the beginning. The recoil allows many more shots in the same time frame. This will become true in the 1000 yard matches when the technology catches up.

Yes I, agree that given equal footing the bigger weapon will fare better. But the accuracy demanded by the target is not very great, and the fact that possibles will be shot with either gun favors the lowere recoiling unit every time.

BTW, I strongly dislike, the Dragon, much prefer the 106mm Recoilless Rifle for 1000-1100 meter work. Fire it and forget it, no need to "drive the rocket" to the target!

Were I in charge of weapons development I would have spend the money on a ICM (Improved Conventional Munitions) HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) shaped charge round in the 100 to 120 mm class. Using a carbon fiber wrapped stainless lined tube I think we could have had a fire it and forget it system of greater simplicity and the same lethality. just my .02 worth!

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


Michael Carlin
January 1, 1999, 02:07 PM
This is an excerpt from an email exchange among Virginia State Rifle Team members, which was published as a stand alone article in The Bullet:

"In my opinion the black rifle will be the dominant system (completely dominant) in five years. The .30 gas guns have had roughly 50 years of development. The black rifle
was ignored until about 6 or 7 years ago.

Already the records are starting
to fall to the new rifle. The .30 guns are obsolete and will die off sooner
or later, no matter what is done with the rules. The mouse gun is easier to
shoot, and kids like Joe Bartoli and Jim Ward who are juniors shooting in
the high 480s will be shooting 498s by the time they are thirty.

I suspect that the match results will reflect nearly complete dominance of
the newer rifle in less than five years. This is long overdue, as the
McNamara types running today's military will never buy a bigger heavier
rifle (in terms of caliber). The next system (in development) is a 20mm
grenade launcher and 5.56mm rifle system, which will have a laser range
finder, infrared and passive night vision capabilities, and cost about $20K
apiece, the days of the citizen soldier are fast drawing to a close (SO
they say).

The rule concerning the scoring plug for .22 cal vice .30 caliber is
unimportant in the long run. The black rifle is going to eliminate the .30
caliber guns as surely as automatic transmission displaced the standard and
central air conditioning became the norm in home construction. It is a nice
rule for me as I benefit from it, and I honestly think it fair. But the
days of the .30 caliber rifle are waning, no matter what we do with the
rules. Personally I think that I can overcome the .30 advantage in this in
order to become distinguished, as I am competing with those who are not
masters of the .30 just as I am not yet a master of the .223.

I will be at Rivana this weekend and DO NOT invite anyone to shoot me with
either rifle from any position, at any range. I do invite anyone to engage
me in conversations concerning the impugnability of the obsolete and antique
M1/M14/M1A. The infantry trophy team scores are only the beginning soon
there will be no evidence of the big rifles in the record books. It was a
fine rifle in its day. That day is OVER! Long live the M16A2 and its
perverted match service rifle aberrations!

yours in marksmanship

Michael the opinionated"

There it is! Your rebuttals are invited!

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


Kenny Wasserburger
January 11, 1999, 12:49 PM
Kodiac, plenty of folks using the 308 and 223 at 1000 yards! Best look at the postings for the NRA National Matches 223 will get ther just fine. Using 80 plus gr vld Very Low Drag bullets! the plama is fired with the 308 all the time only leagal cal. Ranges 800 to 100 yards cleans are fired very often! I have shot this stuff since 1988 and the 308 is plenty of gun. But the 223 has made some very good inroads bullet wt and barrle twist are the Keys. I still like the 308 but have been since shooting the 6.5X55 since 92 and was one of the first 6.6 shooters in the Wimbelton Cup In 92 Marines took a great deal of interest. As have others Mid Tompkins and Wife nancy have been using 6.5-284 with a great deal of succuss! and the Brits shoot out to 1800 plus with 308 all it is is reading wind and knowing traj.. I have went ot old stuff big bores 45-110 and shoot out to 1200 yards have my own range on the family ranch. See last issue of Precision Shooting for the 1800 yard plus 308 shooting! kenny Wasserburger

Kenny Wasserburger