View Full Version : AR-15 newby - Looking for Wisdom

January 18, 1999, 10:46 PM
Just cut a deal today on a Colt AR-15 Match Target Competition HBAR (Colt model MT6700) flat top w/ removable handle. I have never owned an AR but have friends with an SP1 and another 6700 like mine (ain't got it yet) and a few others - Bushmaster etc.

I've been told I can expect at least 1 MOA with good ammo/shooter. I hope so, since I sold a Mini-14 because it didn't shoot to suit me.

What about goodies?? What do I need to be looking for in mags, accessories, things to replace (trigger?) etc. I need to know brands, expected (fair) prices, what to steer clear of and what to grab on sight.

Speaking of sight...what about optics, scope or dot, C-More or Millet. What do you like?

I come to the forum seeking wisdom - enlighten me.

[This message has been edited by Mikey (edited 01-18-99).]

Michael Carlin
January 18, 1999, 11:37 PM
What barrel twist did you buy? The rate of twist influences which bullet weights will show best results. You need about 1 in 8 for the heavy 77 and 80 grain bullets.

The light bullets, 55 and under will shoot well in a 1 to 12 twist. It has been my experience with the M193 ball round that it will shoot fairly well out of the 1-7.75 in M16A2 barrel.

The new ball M855 does not seem to shoot well. The consensus is that the penetrator core is not uniformly centered on the longitudinal axis of the bullet. This causes excessive pitch and or yaw and destroys accuracy. Seven or eight out of ten rounds will go well but about tow or three will be flyers.

Buy good bullets, or ammunition loaded with good bullets suitable for you rate of twist.

The AMU team shot some Black Hills this past year. Burge turned in a real good score with it when I scored him. Must be OK. Some swear by Federal, and frankly it has a good reputation.

What do you intend to do with your AR?

For sanctioned matches I like 20 round magazines in the prone, for those that allow it I like to jam a 30 into the dirt. NRA and CMP matches do not allow this.

GI magazines in good condition seem to work well.

Triggers are very subjective, I like the Armalite trigger, and the JP Enterprises, some of my shooting compatriots swear by the Milazzo (sp?). These are "service rifle" legal 4.5 pound triggers. I like a good two stage trigger, though good shooting can be done with either single or double stage triggers.

If you scope the rifle get a good scope. The USAR combat team was moving towards a Leupold couple of years ago. But they were shooting Trijicon and another they referred to as the "boat anchor". As these were legal "issue" scopes.

Good ammunition is available, and good handloads are easily developed and assembled. Use proper load development technique and bwe safe.

Trim you brass lest your pressures go through the roof. The shooters here seem to like CCI primers, and VihtaVuori Powders N540 and N135 for high power. I have no experience with any other use of the rifle (other than compeition). The Virginia State Rifle Team seems to shoot Sierra 69s, at 200 and 300, and Sierra 80s at 600. I like the new 77 grain bullet and have to decide what to buy for this coming season shortly. The 69's are cheaper and I will probably go that route.

We are divided about molybdenum, I am in the coat the bullets camp. The latest Precision Shooting Magazine has an intensive article about this. Kevin Thomas does a good job and concludes that the only verifiable benefit is ease of cleaning. He is apparently employed by Sierra and tests things for a living.

Gary Jeter, one our VSRT masters says that more barrels are ruined by damage associated with cleaning, and says that the ease of cleaning in enough for him.

Me, I moly bullets because I think it might help, and I trim brass every time, and I uniform primers pockets, and deburr flash holes. Heck, I would kill a chicken at midnight under a full moon if I could improve my scores about 35 points!

It is difficult to say with certainty that any rifle will produce a MOA group, but the Colt certainly can get into the ball park with loads that it likes.

Hope you enjoy your AR, in my estimation you made the right move when you gave up the Ruger for an AR! Just my opinion! ;)

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


January 18, 1999, 11:43 PM
First off, go to www.ar15.com
This site is "black rifle mecca" Lots of good info.
Second, pick up an Army/Marine Corps technical manual. You can get them at any gun show and some gun shops.
I have found the road to happiness with this weapon system (my experience is limited to the M16 though) is cleanliness. Learn to clean it right and keep it clean.
Also, you may want to invest in an Accu-wegde. They are cheap, about $10 bucks. This will tighten up the upper to lower fit.

Good shooting,

Edmund Rowe
January 18, 1999, 11:50 PM
Something not commonly known is the Colt Competition models do NOT have chromed bores. This makes for tighter groups but it CAN rust in there.

Get a good nylon coated 1 piece Dewey rod for cleaning it. I use bronze brushes and Shooter's choice in my guns.

As to the rest of your questions, like Michael said, what do you want to do with your AR?


January 19, 1999, 07:27 AM
Twist is RH 1/9. I have no real idea what I'll end up doing. There is an NRA/DCM rifle club local and I'll be contacting one of them but I've never played the rifle game (except metallic silhouette). All my experience in competition is pistol. This place is eat up with coyotes so that duty will be required. hell, I just wanted a new toy!

I do have some experience loading the .223 for bolt rifle use on groundhogs. Brass trimming, primer pocket cleaning, and good bullets are nothing new.


Thanks for the heads-up on the bore. I've never had a chromed bore in anything else so I probably won't miss it.

Good stuff - keep it coming

Rosco Benson
January 19, 1999, 08:26 AM
Mikey; You should probably steer clear of aftermarket triggers and other less-reliable-than-stock gingerbread to hang on the rifle. It'll work fine as it came off the line.

There is a very comprehensive FAQ on magazines at the www.ar15.com site. It basically says that only COlt and GI-contract mags are worth a hoot (and there are a couple GI contractors to steer clear of).

Since you got a flatop, you'll probably end up scoping it someday. Although the red-dot sights have no eye-relief considerations, conventional scopes do. It is almost impossible to get a conventional scope far enough forward for adequate eye relief if you mount it directly to the receiver or to a rail or "riser" which is the same length as the receiver. Both ARMS and GG&G make "riser/rail" arrangements that are extended and cantilever out past the front of the receiver. One of these will let you get your front ring (and, thus, your scope) far enough forward to permit proper eye relief. The ARMS rail (Swan sleeve) incorporates a flip-up rear reserve sight too.


Greg Melcer
January 19, 1999, 05:21 PM
I was able to attend an Urban Carbine course as taught by Jim Crews last week. I used my Bushmaster 16" carbine, with virtually no mods.

One of the most important things that I learned was that the rifle is capable of a great deal as it is. Only add the stuff you really need. Some people really need red-dot scopes to shoot well, due to eyesight problems. I'm lucky that I do quite well with the iron sights.

Before you go nuts on cool toys, get some training. It'll show you what you do need and don't need to get the job done.

Edmund Rowe
January 20, 1999, 12:08 AM
Yeah, urrahhhh!! Let's hear it for good training, especially Jim Crews training!


Greg Melcer
January 20, 1999, 12:29 PM
One thing that my rifle needs is some trigger work. Actually, I'm considering a 2-stage aftermarket trigger, due to reliability problems reported about single-stage triggers.

Does anyone have any experience with any of the 2-stage triggers on the market? Anything to look for or stay away from?

Michael Carlin
January 20, 1999, 01:58 PM

I have the Armalite 2 stage NM trigger in my service rifle, and I really like it, it has held up well up for about 3,000 rounds so far!

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship