View Full Version : .223 for Highpower - But How Affordable?

December 16, 2009, 01:29 PM
Has anyone produced a .223 rifle that could be used for Highpower - but, the cost of said rifle would be sufficiently low enough for a new shooter on a very thin budget? What is the best compromise when it comes to cost (really low) and a good all-around starter rifle?

December 16, 2009, 03:41 PM
Good afternoon. Good question. The first thing that you would need to establish is the actual budget and the time frame that it will be spent. I have figured out that each High Power Rifle match that I attend costs around $100. That includes the entry fee at $20, fuel at $20, ammunition at $30, and food for the day at $20. This is for the matches where I do not have to provide lodging. The firearm is not expensive when you amortize the cost over the time period that it is useful. Several companies offer fine systems ranging from $1100 to $1600, fully setup and ready to take to the matches. I reload my ammo, so that is a price reduction. Ready to use match grade ammo could run up to $1 per round. A barrel may last from 2200 to 4500 rounds. Spotting scope, and stand can set you back from $200 to $1000. Second hand shooting coat, $100, stool, $15, shooting mat, $20 to $65. I take 10 magazines to the match, preloaded to save time. One of these is a single load magazine. Shooting cart is nice to have, from $150-$300. Shooting glove from $10 to $45. This is not an all inclusive list, but a good start. There are lots of folks that can offer second hand items at a reduced price. If you are a junior shooter, your state organization may help with some of the equipment. The Kentucky State Rifle and Pistol Association offers junior shooters a lot of assistance. We supply rifles and ammo, coats, mats, and spotting scopes and stands. The best advice that I can give is to purchase the best equipment that can be had. That way, you do not have to buy it again later. I hope that this is some help. Best of luck to you. DennyMac.

December 16, 2009, 04:14 PM
I addition to the very complete information in dennymac's post, let me add this about your question
Has anyone produced a .223 rifle that could be used for Highpower........
Service Rifle highpower competition has been dominated over the last few years by the AR15 and the .223.
It's the thin budget part that is iffy - but you've got some good advice there. Even though it is an additional expense - loading your own ammo is a great way to reduce a continuing cost; it would pay for itself in very little time.

December 16, 2009, 04:30 PM
The absolute minimums for match shooting are really the rifle, ammo, sling and spotting scope. Home made items like a piece of carpet for a mat or work glove rather then a specialized shooting glove can save start up money. I think the main thing is to get shooting. Some clubs have loaner equipment. Almost every shooter I know will be willing to share with a new shooter. Going to matches you can see different types of rifles, ask to handle them and see for yourself what people are using. As for the rifle, if we're talking Highpower Service Rifle, most of the competition-ready models are quite reasonable for what you get. Most are match winners right out of the box. Any savings by choosing a lesser model may result in limits to the potential score.
When you're ready to buy even the lowest priced "Match Ready", such as the BushmasterDCM ,will likely serve well until you learn what you really want and need.

December 16, 2009, 05:37 PM
OH a whole, the ARs are cheaper, in the match version then the M1A or any other match rifle. Ammo is cheaper.

Look down the firing line at Perry, you'll find the ARs have pretty much taken over.

Another advantage to the AR in High Power it allows younger shooters and more women to compete.

If you are just starting out, dont worry about High Price match rifles. Just get one that meets the Service rifle rules. Learn to shoot it, put your money into ammo, when you get to where you will out shoot the gun, then worry about moving to the high dollar rifles.

Another ideal, may High Power clubs, have loaner rifles, start with these. Several Service teams take extra rifles and equipemt to matches to loan to new shooters. I know I did when I was running the Alaska National Guard rilfe team. The service teams also provided coaching to new shooters.

I know: The rules forbid coaching in individual matches, but most range officers allow it for safty reason and to help the new shooter get started.

No one really believes that a first time, new shooter is going to win the match.

December 16, 2009, 08:06 PM
Same experience. Twenty years ago I belonged to a club in which the man operating the weekly Service Rifle matches arranged an NRA Councilor to come in and got all of us who were regulars to take the weekend class and get rifle instructor certifications. We would then get a break in the club match fee for spending at least one relay coaching and safety managing a beginner. There was so little chance the newbies could even get through a rapid fire reload without needing help, that it posed no threat to any experienced competitor's scores for them to get that help.

I don't think we ever had a ringer, per se, though we had a few who could shoot OK with a bolt gun before trying our game. The main idea was just to get each newbie enough taste of success to want to keep participating in the sport. That's even more important today, in my view.

As to the rifle recommendation, the least expensive functioning used AR that isn't a flat top is likely to be fine to start out with as long as it doesn't violate the rules (see pages 20, 21, and 23, here (http://www.odcmp.com/Competitions/Rulebook.pdf)) that describe a service rifle. If the gun is junk, you'll be able to trade up later.

You can buy match triggers and and sights and new uppers and all manner of things to make a marginal AR shoot better. In effect, over time you can build it into a match rifle as if you had started from a basic kit. If you eventually decide your lower is inferior, you can move all that other stuff over to a new one. You just need someplace to get a start.

As to cost, I have a rule of thumb that all adult hobbies cost at least $5K, plus consumables and fees by the time you have all the bells and whistles in good to high quality. Shooting did. Scuba diving did. I understand golf does. But start cheap.

December 26, 2009, 02:22 AM
I just started shooting service rifle about 3 months ago.

The competitors I have met are a great group of guys. Some of the most welcoming and helpful people I have ever met.

A RRA NM or Bushmaster DCM is probably where most new competitors start. I shoot a RRA myself and have no complaints. I am sure I will upgrade to something fancier but right now the rifle I have is plenty good enough for me.

Tim R
December 28, 2009, 03:04 AM
boltgunner, You have been given good advise here so far.

As to cost, I have a rule of thumb that all adult hobbies cost at least $5K, plus consumables and fees by the time you have all the bells and whistles in good to high quality. Shooting did. Scuba diving did. I understand golf does. But start cheap.

Jeese Unclenick, 5k would include a shooters stool with a porta potty.

Having a thin buget is a pain in the arse but there are a couple of places you can save a little $. The rifle is not one of them. It seems AR prices are starting to come down a little. Well at least for the stripped lowers. I would second the RRA NM or Bushy DCM. I would lean towards the RRA NM because of their trigger. Course there is always White Oak Precesion or Compass Lake.

I would find a High Power match and maybe just attend if you have too. If you let it be known you are interested, an old crusty Master or High Master might just offer a rifle and ammo for the next match. Nothing makes an old shooter more happy than to see a newbie get started and start heading towards good scores by doing it the right way.

I have seen to many guys wanting to start out and buy the wrong rifle. It might look right but the sights won't be fine enough, or the twist will be all wrong. A couple of years ago, there was a new guy who was on fire for his new found game come up to the Eastern Washington Service rifle Champs. He had read a book on High Power and talked to a local to him AR manf. (won't mention any names, but most will figure it out as this poor guy was from the west side) This un-named Manf. suggested a 1 in 10 twist in his barrel. His rifle shot OK at the short ranges but he struggled with the ammo he was limited to at 600 yards. I don't think he ever hit the paper at 600 as the range has some pretty good changing conditions about the time we get back to 6.