View Full Version : Opinions on Colt AR-15 Match Target Rifle

October 2, 2010, 08:37 PM
Hello All,

I picked it up at Cabela's last night. Unfortunately I did not get to take it to the range today to shoot it but plan to tomorrow. It does not have a scope on it but after tomorrow when I see that as I expect I cannot shoot it worth spit with the standard sights I am going to buy me a scope for it...any recommendations? What are you opinions on it?


October 3, 2010, 01:57 AM
You sound like a young guy and probably have good eyes. No reason in the world you shouldn't be able to shoot that rifle well with the issue sights. I took up NRA service rifle match shooting at about age 50 with that very gun--mine was also a Colt--and was shooting tight groups from day one. I admit that a few years of competitive pistol shooting helped--I already knew something about the basics of marksmanship, namely the four fundamentals: Steady position, sight picture, breath control, and trigger control. My advice? Go to an NRA high power match in your area--there's bound to be one within an hour's drive--and observe and talk to the shooters. You'll find them to be glad to help. Bring at least 100 rds of ammo--if it's a small match you will want to participate. A large match--more than 20 or 30 shooters--will be more intimidating. NRA high power shooting is ALL fired with iron sights. Even if you have no interest in match shooting you should learn to shoot with open sights before you buy a scope. I'm 68 now and am still shooting in monthly matches. As long as my eyes allow I intend to keep it up.

October 3, 2010, 02:03 AM
It would be a shame to not learn to use the iron sights properly.


October 3, 2010, 07:15 AM
Jimro and 45ACPete,

Thank you for the encouragement. I think I will try to shoot it wtih irons for a while to see what I can accomplish.


I would not classify myself as a young guy. I will be 49 in a couple of weeks but I still see ok at distance. I am wondering what distance those matches are held at? Also with irons what type of groups are considered "good" at 50 and 100 yards?


October 3, 2010, 07:52 AM
A nice Bushnell 3200 Elite 5 x 15 Mil Dot AO is $389.00 at Midway very nice scope http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=273033

Troy Rail Mounted Iron sights, also very nice, ~ $350.00 so price is a wash. I agree wirh previous poster. Start with iron sights. I have a RRA Hvy barrel AR w/ 2 stage trigger (great trigger) and it's a sub moa gun. With Troy iron sights I can routinely stay in the 9 Ring on a B-27 Silhouette at 300yds. I'm not a young guy I'm 55yoa.

Beyond giving you something to do firing it before equipping it with sights is a waste of ammo

October 3, 2010, 01:02 PM
Can't quite figure out the previous poster--on the one hand he agrees that you ought to learn to shoot with irons and on the other hand seems to suggest that shooting without a scope is a waste of ammo. Anyway, Dearhunter, to answer your question--NRA highpower matches are fired at 200, 300, and 600 yds. There are four stages in a match: Standing (offhand), sitting rapid fire, prone rapid fire, and deliberate prone. The first two stages are fired at 200 yds, the third at 300, and the last at 600. Standing is fired without a sling or any other means of support; in the other three stages you are allowed to use a sling. Because full-course ranges (600 yds) are somewhat scarce it is more common to shoot these matches at reduced ranges. 200 yd matches are probably most common--the targets for the 300 yd and 600 yd full-course match are scaled down proportionately for 200 yds. They also have reduced, or scaled down targets for 100 yd ranges. I would suggest that if you want to try this game a reduced course match would be a better introduction--the 600 yd stage of a full course match really requires heavy (77g or 80g) bullets. These are available in loaded ammunition from Black Hills, but may have to be ordered from a supplier like Midway. A full course match requires you to make sight elevation changes from 200 to 300 and again from 300 to 600 yds. The 300 and 600 yd stages also demand that you make sight adjustments for wind changes, unless you are lucky enough to have a calm day--unlikely in Texas! This all adds to the challenge, of course, but I would suggest that in the beginning a reduced course match would be plenty to handle. Groups? Your gun should be capable of one in. groups at 100 yds with good ammo and I would say that if you can shoot three or four in. groups at 100yds with irons that would be a good start--you just may find you can do much better than that. When I was a young guy of 22 or so my first centerfire rifle was a SAKO in .222. It had a rear aperture and a bead sight up front and I could shoot one in. groups with that gun. It was a sweetheart--wish I still had it.
But I digress--as to highpower competition--there is a fair amount of equipment you will need if you get serious, but to start you can get by with just a sling and a piece of carpet for a mat. A spotting scope is pretty much a necessity, but you can probably borrow one, or buy a cheap one and maybe upgrade later if you like this game. You'll see a lot of expensive Kowas and other high-end spotting scopes even at reduced course matches, but expensive optics are really only needed at 600 yds and up--out to 1,000 yds- where they come into play at reading mirage for windage corrections. Anyway, you have the most important piece--a good rifle with a heavy barrel and the right twist ( 1 in 7", right?) for this game, and I encourage you to give it a try. Pete

October 3, 2010, 02:51 PM
There's a certain satisfaction that comes with shooting the service rifle well...be it a Krag, an 03, the M1, M-14, or the M-16, as issued. It's a bond you can share with those that serve and protect this great nation.

That said, you can do well, often extremely well with the issue iron sights. I continue to shoot the CMP and NRA matches with the service rifle and its issue sights. I'm sure their out there, but I've yet to hear of a Colt Match Target that will not shoot nearly minute of angle groups with the issue barrel, and good ammunition, off a rest. Mine came with a creepy trigger which I had gunsmithed...at the same time I had a forend liner installed that allows use of the 1907 type sling as well as the web types without bending the barrel down....and its resultant group dispersions. The sights were changed at that time to 1/2 MOA adjustments...and that sums up the whole package...around $200 if memory serves. If I was on a budget, I'd do the forend work as well as the trigger and use the issue sights. That should cut about $100 off the price tag.

Since then, and still on the original barrel, I've put 5000 rounds through it and it will still go into 1-1/2 MOA, and that with iron sights. I've lost count of the 200 yd rapid targets I've cleaned with it.

If I were using it to hunt wood chucks or varmints, I'd maybe...maybe opt for a scope...otherwise I'd advise using the irons. I'm 64 now, and age is not much of a disadvantage using the iron sights...you just have to get your prescription adjusted for the front sight distance..tho I'll admit that the M1 front sight post is easier to pick up in rapid fire.

Just my opinion, and not meant as a put-down for any of the brotherhood who prefer a scope..but a scope on an AR looks a bit like a couch commando mod. The plain, stock, black rifle says a lot...it's all business and a good bit lighter than one outfitted with a scope, flashlight, coffee maker, what have you....and it'll hit a 6" pie plate all day long at a long 200 yds if you do your part, and 300 when you get to know the sights and have built a position in prone.

Good luck with your new rifle....BTW...Blackhills 69 gr FMJ's or 77's should do nicely...anything longer needs the 1:7 twist, but I think the 1:8 or 1:9 should stabilize the 77's.

Regards, Rodfac

October 3, 2010, 11:15 PM

Here is a photo of my AR and also one of my first target today. It is from 50yards. I stapled 4 targets together since I had not shot this rifle and aimed at the connected 4 corners. All groups are 10 shot groups. The first group is the one at the left target bottom right. While looking at these targets you will also see some additional rounds...someone at the range either could not hit their target, shot at the wrong target by accident or worse out of meanness.

Please let me know what you think. Frankly I am not terribly upset with the groups but do think I would shoot a lot better groups with a scope on it.

While I was looking at the target I simply could not figure out how to ensure I was holding a consistent aim point on the target I was using. It was so small at 50 yards and then smaller still at 100 yards. Any advice is much appreciated.


October 4, 2010, 12:01 AM
Try printing out the target I posted here: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4236230&postcount=16

Back up to 100 yards. The aiming black should be the same width as the front sight. If you want, put it on a copy machine and reduce it 50% and use it at 50 yards.

Put "the pumpkin on the post" meaning put the top of the front sight at the very bottom of the aiming black. It should be fairly easy to line up horizontally, as the sides of the front post will line up with the edges of the black. It is also easier to line up vertically, as it it much easier to see/judge a full circle than a half (if you were using a center hold).

There is a discussion of the various sight pictures here: http://www.ocabj.net/?p=760

October 4, 2010, 08:07 AM

Thanks for the information. I will try these and see how things go.

October 5, 2010, 12:50 AM
I have a match target hbar and it shoots < 1 moa at 100 yds with fed gold medal 69 gr ammo. It is an incredibly accurate rifle.

I used to shoot ntl matches also at a 200, 300, and 600 yd range with my m1a super match. It is a great thing to get into. However, I think to reach your potential (at least in my case), I had to spend the money on all the good equipment like the Kowa scope, the shooting coat, good mat, etc.

But what I think helped me improve more than anything was dry fire practice, getting organized, planning and preping such as marking the notches on the sling for sitting and prone so there's no guess work involved, learning about reading the wind (though that takes many yrs to master), having everything ready and in order like mags loaded so when u get to the line you are ready to shoot in short time, they do rush you, knowing how many MOA u need to go up from 200-300-600. For accuracy, one tip I remember is focusing on the front sight post, not the target. From what I understand, this one tip can help your scores quite a bit.

Like Pete said u will need the heavy bullet ammo at 600 yds. I think u can get away with 69 gr at 200 and 300, but not sure on that. Anyway, the ar15 platform is the standard for svc rifle now at the ntl matches. 15 yrs ago when I used to shoot they were already becoming big but a lot of guys were still shooting m1as. Now I think most shoot the ar15 platform for the svc rifle class.

Hope this helps if u do decide to start sompeting. It's a lot of fun, except for the 7am-4pm under the hot sun of course.

October 9, 2010, 11:04 PM
Dearhunter--Emcon is right. You need to be shooting at standard black-on-white bullseye targets. I do almost all my practicing on the SR-1, SR-21, and MR-31C targets, which are the NRA highpower 200yd, 300yd, and 600yd targets reduced for 100yds. I've been camping in northern CA for a week and am just catching up with my correspondence. Don't waste any more ammo shooting at red diamonds or anything other than a traditional black-on-white bullseye--you also see a lot of neophytes pasting a red or day-glo orange dot in the center of a bullseye target. This accomplishes nothing except to develop a bad habit of letting your eye focus on the target rather than the front sight.

Tim R
October 10, 2010, 03:35 PM
Well, you do have the hard part (the rifle) for shooting High Power. It's a fun game that teaches you how to be a true rifleman. Learn to use the irons. After you learn how to use the irons shooting a scoped rifle is a piece of cake. Don't focus on the target but always focus on the front post. The way the targets are set up the aiming black remains the same size. No matter if you are shooting a reduced target at 100 yards or a full sized target at 600 yards, the aiming black appears to be the same size in your sight picture.

One nice thing about highpower shooters is they are always willing to help a guy just starting out. And it could be a wide range of help too. Trust me.

Most people who shoot High Power are also reloaders. It's the only way one can afford to shoot the heavy bullets. I shoot 77 gr. SMK's to 300 yards and for 600 I shoot 80 gr SMK's. 80's are loaded one at a time and don't need to fit the mag. For reduced matches I shoot 52 or 53 Gr SMK's. These shoot very well even out of my worn out AR which has a 6 1/2 to one twist.

October 10, 2010, 05:58 PM

I can not thank you enough for all your help and encouragement. I tried out the Black on white target today and am attaching the two targets. The one with only ten rounds is the Hornady Match ammo, 75 grains, BTHP. The other target is rounds I inherited from my cousin...do not even know what kind it is. It was already in a clip I inherited from him as well. Considering this is only the second time I have shot it and am still learning how and where to aim I am pretty happy with the results. I would love to have someone meet me at the range that could teach me a little more. Does anyone know where I can find out where one of the competitions you all are describing will be held here in the DFW area? If one of you has already provided this info please forgive me I missed it.

This is from 50 yards. I also shot my AK-47 today for the first time so I just stayed at the 50 yard range. Next time I will move to the 100 yard range and see what I can do.