View Full Version : AR sniper rifle

July 10, 2012, 12:03 PM
im wantin to shoot out to 500 or so yards with mine. what all would i have to do? what i have now is the Palmetto state armory with 1-7 twist carbine an UTG freefloat handguard. im wantin to go with the low profile gas block an UTG bipod but other then that what all would i have to get to be able to reach out that far? do i need a longer barrel with that twist rate i have now?

July 10, 2012, 12:20 PM
Going on the assumption that you currently have a 16" barrel I would suggest at least an 18-20" barrel although its not impossible to reach out with a 16". Best of luck, reach out there and touch it.

July 10, 2012, 12:29 PM
ya its the 16" i was curious on since i have the 1-7 twist do i really need a longer barrel? i did find one i think it was a 24" 1-8 twist but i wanna stay 1-7 if i can.

July 10, 2012, 12:41 PM
other then that what all would i have to get to be able to reach out that far?
Heavy (er) match grade ammo. When you're going out beyone 2-300m with 556, the extra weight does a lot to overcome the wind, although it'll still be there.

As for th 16'' barrel---a 20'' barrel would help get you some extra fps but it's not absolutely necessary. More important than an extra 4'' on the barrel is the competency of the shooter; much more important.

July 10, 2012, 01:03 PM
what twist rate would i be looking at?

July 10, 2012, 01:07 PM
http://www.snipercountry.com/Articles/AR15_part3.asp i did find that site. it is pretty neat to read.

July 10, 2012, 02:30 PM
what twist rate would i be looking at?

Generally 1 in 7 is best for heavier rounds but each barrel is an individual and no 2 are the same (in terms of performance).

Crow Hunter
July 10, 2012, 02:54 PM
If you are wanting to shoot long range accurately with the AR, the longer barrel is better. The faster the bullet is going, the quicker it will get down range so the less time wind will have to affect it.

I don't do much long range shooting but even in my limited experience I was suprised how much even a light breeze pushes rounds at 500 yards.

Kind of "WOAH! That isn't what I was shooting at" kind of moment.

It can be done with shorter barrels, but it will be harder.

A really long barrel will also let you use a slower twist rate to get the same long bullet stabilization as a faster twist on a shorter barrel.

July 10, 2012, 04:44 PM
You don't need a longer barrel. You have the proper twist rate to shoot heavy bullets. I like Black Hills 77gr. or Nosler 77gr.


July 10, 2012, 05:39 PM
Longer barrel will help get you out to 500. I shoot 68's out of a 1/9 20" tube at 500 with no problem at all. You can do it with a 16, but you are losing some velocity, and you'll have to allow a bit more drop. If you want to shoot out to 500, do it with what you have, and keep your data. You can do it and have a lot of fun learning.

July 10, 2012, 06:05 PM
500 yards is easy with a good 16" AR, you don't need 18" or 20" barrels. You could make good solid hits on a man sized target with a 14.5" chrome lined barrel and iron sights. A precision barrel and a magnified optic just makes everything that much easier.

I have made first round hits on 20" plates at 800M with this 16" and 5 power optic shooting Federal commercial 55gr FMJ .223

Lothar Walther LW50 barrel 1in7" twist Wylde chamber

This one can shoot all the way into the future...


July 10, 2012, 07:59 PM
Cameron what kind of scope is that second one? i do like that bigger one.

July 11, 2012, 12:10 AM
Leupold Mk4 4.5-15x50mm Tactical Milling Reticle


I found that there was so little difference between the 18" and the 16" and the effective ranges of the 5.56 round that I actually ditched the 18" SPR.


July 11, 2012, 12:58 AM
So why does whatever you decide to go with need to be a "sniper" rifle?

July 11, 2012, 02:28 AM
Inclined to agree with 10-96, the term sniper rifle is misused a little too much and here seems to be the case again. No problem though it happens.

500-600 is perfectly doable with a 16" though i prefer my 18" and 20" setups. Twist rate for the heavier 5.56 projectiles will usually need to be 1:8 or better (1:7) as 1:9 will more than likely have problems stabilizing the longer 5.56 bullets. I run 77gr SMKs @ 2700fps out of my 18" MK12, requires 17.3 MOA of elevation out to 600yds.


Crow Hunter
July 11, 2012, 08:01 AM
Just keep in mind. The slower the bullet is traveling, the more time wind will have to work on it. Even with the heavier bullets.

In my experience, making good hits at 500 yards is less a factor with elevation than with judging and holding/adjusting for wind. That and actually seeing the target (when it is small) without good optical quality magnification.

Especially those nice cool and comfortable fall/spring days with a variable breeze and very little mirage.:o

But I am not a long range expert, and others with more experience will probably do a lot better.

July 11, 2012, 08:50 AM
So why does whatever you decide to go with need to be a "sniper" rifle?

If you use it for shooting at people from a discrete location far enough away that you have plenty of time to take rested aim, then it would be a sniper rifle in my book. The term was coined long before Accuracy International came along.

Edit: Hopefully that isn't the OPs intention.

Sent From My Galaxy S 4g Using Tapatalk

July 11, 2012, 10:09 AM
Relax everyone. "Sniper" is the new "tactical." My proof is Midway's sales fliers where once I counted 20+ items labelled as "tactical." Their latest flyer has much less "tactical" items but some have been renamed "sniper." Example is a padded rifle case that used to be called "tactical" but with an extra pocket or two is now called "sniper."

Ah, the romance and mystique of sniperism. Should be a TV reality show.

July 11, 2012, 12:28 PM
Maybe he is actually going to shoot snipe and be an original "sniper"

The term sniper has nothing to do with shooting people, it has to do with being a successful marksman. It came about with the British hunting a small bird called a snipe. If you were able to shoot the bird (which was very difficult) you proved your marksmanship skill and were known as a sniper.

When soldiers who were excellent marksman took to the battlefield, they were called snipers because it was a distinguished title.

Either way, sniper and marksmanship technically can be used as a synonym. Now what everyone is complaining about is that the term sniper is also a military profession, which everybody thinks is the only sniper, its not.

But for a long range rifle, although doable, the shorter the barrel, typically the harder it is to hit man size targets at 500m. I've seen it done with 14.5 inch M4s but they had a harder time than people shooting with M16s. It may have been the barrel, or it may have been inexperience but it was still done.

Like people said before, heavier round at a faster velocity will make it easier.

A good scope will help a lot as well but it can be done with iron sights, I (and many many marines before me) have qualified with iron sights out to 500m. Its hard to place the shot, but to just hit the target (from prone) is not all that difficult. You just need a stable platform, good sight picture and sight alignment, and proper trigger control (not to mention proper wind readings) and it is like shooting at closer distances.

July 11, 2012, 12:52 PM
im going to say i wouldnt go past 18 inches in barrel length... .223/5.56mm is a cartridge thats been tuned to do its best in shorter barrel lengths, at one point the added barrel tends to stop increasing velocity, and starts to decrease it from drag, unless you planned on making your own ammunition specifically for longer barrels, at which case i wouldnt go more than 20.. besides a quality heavy 20 inch barrel, good ammo, go for a good, clean trigger group and a free float barrel and you should be good

July 11, 2012, 01:47 PM
And be out quite a bit of money. Is there any budget limitation here?

July 11, 2012, 02:23 PM
Stick some decent glass on your current rifle and load it up with some decent heavy grain ammo and go shootin! I have an 11.5" and shooting out to 300yds isn't difficult.

July 11, 2012, 03:36 PM
the budget uhh lol there really isn't no limit just if it is expensive ima be saving up for it a lil longer then other things. the scope, there is a guy here who came out of the Marines who said take a look at Leatherwood? he said it is what his company used for the long range shots. past the eotechs an ACOG's an stuff like that. an for rounds i was going to try the standard 55 grain FMJ to the Superformance rounds.

July 12, 2012, 03:07 PM
Just go on "Snipers Hide" and post a thread that you wanna build a "sniper rifle"...;)

Just say you want to build an accurate rifle, capable of engagements out to "X" distance...

I agree it's semantics to most, but to the guys that actually shoot two legged targets for a living, they seem to take exception to the term being used loosely.

July 12, 2012, 04:22 PM
I really hope the OP gets the rifle he wants. But on the symantics issue- I think it'd be more of a noble goal to become a well rounded "rifleman" than a sniper. If all a person can do is sit at a bench on a range and shoot, well, my heart goes out to those guys. However, if they have a chance to learn and hone their skills from at least three positions and yet they don't- I see that as an oportunity lost on them.

Also, I noticed "UTG" mentioned in the opening thread. I have limited experience with UTG products (a front and rear sight set for AR), but I did notice a huge lack of quality and have come to understand UTG as bottom of the barrel equipment shipped en masse from China. Whatever setup, you go with, I'd humbly suggest going with a better quality brand name. And a quick google check seems to indicate UTG is the same as Leapers, DE, and another re-brand or two from whoever the parent company is- that makes airsoft equipment.

Crow Hunter
July 13, 2012, 07:19 AM
If all a person can do is sit at a bench on a range and shoot, well, my heart goes out to those guys. However, if they have a chance to learn and hone their skills from at least three positions and yet they don't- I see that as an oportunity lost on them.


Also, I noticed "UTG" mentioned in the opening thread. I have limited experience with UTG products (a front and rear sight set for AR), but I did notice a huge lack of quality and have come to understand UTG as bottom of the barrel equipment shipped en masse from China.

I have UTG stuff on my M&P 15-22. I agree, I wouldn't want to use it on a "for real" rifle. But it is a good way to try out a concept without having to spend alot of money. It is cheap enough, if you don't like it, throw it away.:D

July 14, 2012, 05:07 AM
what do you need? practice and an AR-15.

500 yards is easy with a good 16" AR, you don't need 18" or 20" barrels. You could make good solid hits on a man sized target with a 14.5" chrome lined barrel and iron sights. A precision barrel and a magnified optic just makes everything that much easier.

Yup. I've done it with irons and a 16" barrel and a 4x optic with 14.5". learn the wind or carry a reference and most rifles will put every round on target if you can.

keep in mind an average man is 19 inches across the shoulders, that's roughly 4 MOA at 500 yards.

July 14, 2012, 05:39 AM
has OP considered a different caliber?.. these new 6.8 loads ive been looking at has a 6.8mm remaining supersonic at 1000 yards, is well supported in the aftermarket, and a fairly easy conversion, and feeds well in the AR15 as well

but like i said earlier, most 5.56x223 loads are designed to be most efficient in shorter barrel lengths, so longer barrel lengths wont add much velocity, and in many cases that added drag can slow it down coming out of a longer barrel

July 14, 2012, 06:14 AM
ya i asked my cousin who was in Samolia an iraq an a friend who is a 101st screaming eagle an they both said there M-16's an M-4's could iron sight 500 yards with the snipers showin off at 6-700 yards. but since you guys said i can do it with the stuff i have now im looking at optics. i've heard that Leatherwood is a good brand?

oneshot onekill
July 14, 2012, 07:47 AM
As to the OP, a precision built AR with a good barrel and the proper weight bullets for said barrel can be as accurate as anything out there... At any distance.
As to the "Sniper" comments... Actually, Snipers were not well thought of at all until very recently. Even by their own fellow soldiers. In the days of the Civil War they were thought of as cowards. even in WWi and WWII they weren't given much respect.
My own Brother served in the Marine Corps the same time as I did and had no respect at all for what i did. That was back in the early 80's but that's just what many Fleet Marines thought of Snipers. They thought Snipers were less honorable because they would not face the enemy in a "Stand-up" fight.
It's only recently that, at least in Military circles, Snipers have gained some respect. The civilian romanticism of Snipers is just that... Romanticism.

Art Eatman
July 14, 2012, 09:09 AM
I've only seen one Leatherwood in action; thirty years back. I was impressed. Cammed for a .308 150-grain. Set the range, hit the target--on out to 1,000 yards.

July 14, 2012, 11:34 AM
I bought the Leatherwood CMR when it was first introduced two years ago based on some rave reviews I had been reading online.

I was not disappointed.

Yes, it is CHINESE glass....

But, it has exceptional edge-to-edge clarity. I think the "1x" is very slightly off, but not enough to matter. It has a fantastic etched, illuminated reticle- mil-dot with holdover as well up to 1000 yards for the .556. It has only a horizontal crosshair and partial lower, keeping the upper half of the reticle clear, and I like that as well. It also has a true zero-lock, not found elsewhere on a scope in this price range that I'm aware of. The one MOA center dot, and the 5 mil ring surrounding it are illuminated crisply- making it very quick for target acquisition.

I had to test their CS once, and it was exceptional. My dumb azz DROPPED the scope onto my concrete deck when I was Duracoating it...knocked the top turret loose :(
I sent it in, and less than a week later I got a phone call, telling me that the scope could not be repaired (the loose turret)- BUT, that the scope was still serviceable- they had tested it and it was functioning and tracking perfectly, despite the wobbly turret.

The only downside for me is the 1/2 MOA clicks, I would have preferred 1/4...

If I were in the market for another 1-4x, I'd buy it again.


Bartholomew Roberts
July 14, 2012, 01:58 PM
The biggest issue with hitting man-sized targets on a range at 500yds is accurately doping the wind. Other than that, a 16" is perfectly capable if shooting out to 600yds and even further with the right loads.

July 14, 2012, 03:58 PM
Just go on "Snipers Hide" and post a thread that you wanna build a "sniper rifle"...

I wouldn't try that if I was you, those guys can get pretty ruff when one asked about AR 16" "sniper" rifles.

Anyway, load up some 77 grn SMKs with 24 grns or RL 15 and go out and see what your rifle will do, I bet you wont have any problem if the wind don't get you. You can learn to judge wind, just takes a bit of practice.

The army shoots 77s out of an 14 in M4 out to 700 yards.

July 14, 2012, 06:32 PM
Only 500 yards. Not a problem with a good quality ar-15 with a 16 inch barrel. If you get a high quality ar15 with a 18" barrel you can hit stuff at 1000 yards with the proper load and skills:cool: I use my p415. If you really wanna reach out you can gen an upper chambered in 6.5 grendel.

July 14, 2012, 07:39 PM
im wantin to shoot out to 500 or so yards with mine. what all would i have to do?

As others have posted, practice, quality ammo and then more practice will get you a lot closer to your 500 yard goal.

July 14, 2012, 07:54 PM
It doesn't matter what optics you put on it if you're unable to read range flags or foliage to get an accurate windage. As a second award expert marksman in the Marine Corps I like to think I have a little expertise on the subject. Just don't ask me much else unless it has to do with quadrant elevation (artillery). With an accurately zeroed rifle, iron sights and the ability to read range flags it wouldn't be too difficult to put 10/10 in the black at 500 yds. That was with a 20" barrel though.

Art Eatman
July 15, 2012, 09:59 AM
I'm with nmbrinkman as to "Wind is the enemy." :) I built a 500-yard range at my house. First time out with my '06, sighted for a 200-yard zero, and the "breeze" had me holding two feet upwind from the center of the target. (First shot was five inches low at six o'clock, brag, brag, brag. :D)

Two feet with a 150-grain bullet? Likely a good bit more with 70 grains.

July 15, 2012, 10:31 AM
To give you an ideal about wind. My 77 SMKs out of my White Oak AR Servicer rifle drifts 4.25 Minutes at 600 yards in a 10 MPH wind. The same load drifts 3.4 minutes in an 8 mph wind.

Not many can call the wind within 2 MPH at 600 yards. But the X-10 ring on the NRA MR-1 (600 yard target) is 2 MOA or 12 inches so its doable with practice.

If you are hitting the center of the X ring, and you miss a 2 MPH wind change you would still be on the inside edge of the 10 ring.

July 15, 2012, 02:03 PM
Found this on another TFL thread.


July 15, 2012, 04:29 PM
If you want to build an AR-15 sniper or designated marksman rifle a good barrel is a must, flattop, good rings, good optics and the trigger and good ammo.

July 15, 2012, 09:52 PM
Time behind the rifle and fundamentals is also equally important if not more important just to add. Shooting an AR accurately is harder to achieve than a bolt rifle IMO.

July 16, 2012, 09:14 AM
:( you guys are makin me lean towards a whole different upper for that lol. an im thinking all lightweight parts. starting with the bushmaster CARBON upper with a 20" Evolution Match barrel, JP Enterprises Enhanced bolt "service life 60k rounds", Smith Enterprise Chrome plated Bolt carrier, Badger ordance ultra low gas block, BCM charging handle, Houge free floating foregrip an im desciding on a scope an a stock that will work with both the long range shooting an also be able to use with the tactical upper too. my 101st airborne buddy says they use the Magpul CTR stocks but i was thinking of the Gen 2 PRS? if anyone has any other things i can look at let me know

Crow Hunter
July 16, 2012, 09:20 AM
I would get something basic and try it out before going all in.

You might not like long range shooting and just a basic set up might suit your needs good enough.

If you decide you don't like it a basic rifle will be easier to get rid of without taking a bath than a 1 off custom job.

July 16, 2012, 09:23 AM
o if i don't make a long range upper lol the one i got will eventually become one.

Art Eatman
July 16, 2012, 09:53 AM
Maybe three or four years back I bought a CMMG upper. Lightweight, slow twist barrel, 20" flat top. Intended as a varmint/truck gun. I get just inside of one MOA with a K4 on top. I figure that's okay for a tri-focal wearing Olde Phart who drinks a lot of coffee.

My experience through the years is that MOA has been MOA on out past 100 yards. IOW, any decent setup should work just fine during the learning curve. Refining into competition capability can come later, at greater expense.

July 16, 2012, 10:02 AM
hmm i think i get what you say "sorry as i am kinda slow" do you mean buy a complete varmint upper an upgrade on that as i need to?

July 16, 2012, 11:22 AM
Here's a DMR I put together using a Black Rain Ordnance 3R 1-8 barrel. It whaps 18" gongs at 500 yards with ease using 69 gr handloads. The glass is an inexpensive Nikon M-223, but for the price it works well; it's amazingly light for a 20" rig.


Art Eatman
July 16, 2012, 09:46 PM
customaquatics, I guess I'd recommend a bunch of trigger time to improve your skill with what you already have. Your twist rate is good for the heavier bullets, which are what are commonly used for longer-range shooting.

I've never used a bipod. I'm mostly a hunter, and I use sandbags on my bench rest when I do load development or sighting-in. IMO, the sandbags allow better uniformity from shot to shot than does a bipod.

I always advocate setting up for reloading. It allows a shooter to tailor his loads to his particular rifle. I've bought a lot of my gear at gunshows; good-used has been plenty good and is a lot cheaper than brand-new retail. The way it actually saves money is that it keeps you out of the beer joints at night. :D

I figure that with a bunch of trigger time, a guy can get near his rifle's limits and then it's time to upgrade--and likely with more knowledge as to what is really worth buying.

July 17, 2012, 06:57 AM
about the reloading i heard that voids the warrenty? if it is used in a new rifle an something happens. this rifle has only had 4 rounds in it "when the free float was put on 4 rounds was sent threw to see if the gas system still works."