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Precision rifle class review of optics and rifles.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2009 at 17:00
supertool73 View Drop Down
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Superstool

Joined: January/03/2008
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Well I took another 4 day precision rifle class this last weekend and wanted to talk a little about some of the optics and rifles that were used in the class.

There were 18 people in the class.  Most were shooting Remington PSS or VS rifles, one 5r.  We had an FN SPR, a PBR, one Steyr, 1 Armalite AR-10, and Knight SR-25. A high end M1A (not sure the exact model) and a Howa.

Scopes, a bunch of Leupold MK4s, either 3.5-10x or 4.5-14x. Also a couple target VXIII Leupolds.  3 or 4 Night Force scopes 3.5-15x and one 5.5-22x.  A Bushnell 3200 10x.  A Super Sniper 10x.  2 IOR scopes, 2-12x32 and a 3-18x42, a Falcon Menace 4-14x.  And a Springfield Armory scope (what a POS). 

We only shot about 150 rounds this year, kind of a let down.  But we were shooting from 0 back to 1100 yards with a lot of wind.  Wind ranged from 0 to 20+ gusts over the weekend.

Start off with the rifles.  Both of the AR-10 rifles had a lot of problems.  Serious feeding issues, cases getting stuck in chambers, neither seemed to be very accurate.  We had to shut down the line several times while the owners and instructors tried to fix them and keep them running.

All the bolt guns performed well.  Most of them seemed to shoot 1 MOA or better.  Some of them did not, but I have a feeling that had a lot to do with the users and ammo.  Some of the people brought hunting ammo.  We were in some very dusty conditions which did not affect the bolt guns at all.  The ARs were another story.  A guy shooting next to me was actually shooting Winchester 147 grain FMJ ammo.  Virtually every 3 shot group he had a flyer.  He was getting pretty flustered. 

The M1A did not make it through the first day.  A lot of malfuctions and he could not get any kind of groups with it.  He switched to the SPR and did a lot better with that. 

Everyone was shooting .308s.  Based on what I saw, a bolt gun is definitly the way to go for a precision rifle.  People keep trying to use battle rifles for precision rifles and they just are not up to the task.  I seen this also in the two classes I took last year.

On to optics.  Most of them did very well.  I had the opportunity to look through pretty much all of them.  All of them were optically sufficent for what we were doing.  We did not do a night shoot this year and the wind got up to around 30+ at the end of the day and the dust was so bad we could not see 100 yards.  So I did not get the opportunity to look through them during low light. 

We done a box test on the first day and all the scopes except the Springfield Armory passed the test.  If failed miserably.  I am not even sure how the guy finished the class with it.  The Bushnell 3200 really suprised me.  It passed the box test and worked perfect for the guy all weekend.  The Super Sniper worked prefectly as well.  They guy using it actually shot a perfect score on the skills test.  He was embarresed to have it at first because most of the other shooters had expensive scopes.  But by the end day 4 he was pretty pleased with his $400 Super Sniper. 

Optically to my eyes the IORs were the best scopes there.  Both of the IORs tracked perfectly all weekend.  I was able to see bullet holes out to 300 yards with mine.  Of all the others I talked to, no one else was able to do that with the other brands. 

The Falcon Menace was actually a nice surprise.  It tracked very well all weekend the optics were good and all in all I think it is a good choice for the budget shooter who wants a variable over the Super Sniper.

Head shots a 100 and 200 yards said a lot about the accuracy of the rifle and the ability of the shooter.  The tagets had a head box about 6 inches by 3 inches.  Most of the shooters/rifles were not able to keep rounds consistanly in the head box.  There were only 3 or 4 shooters who were able to keep all the shots in the head box during the skills test.  There were 4 head shots at 200 and 4 at 100. 

I know this was a pretty general review.  But over the 3 precision classes I have taken I have seen several trends.  Bolt guns are the way to go.  Every semi auto I have seen has had a lot of problems preforming the role of a precision rifle.  They don't have the accuracy or reliablity needed.  Not saying there is not some out there that could do it.  But I have yet to see it.
 
$800 to $1000 remington rifles seem to shoot very well.  Particularly the PSS/VS rifles.  They will out shoot most of the users especially when you start dealing with the wind.  The FN rifles are also very good rifles.  I have seen 5 or 6 of those now and the only problem I have seen was on one of them.  When the action bolts were torqued about 50 in lbs it would not allow the action to cock properly.  As soon as it was dropped below 50 it was fine.

Ammo wise, Hunting Shack Ammo, and Federal Gold Medal are very good.  They have low ES and seem to shoot very consistant.  Black Hills has issues with ES and when you get to 600 yards and beyond the spreads start to become an issue.

Optic wise, Leupold, Nightforce, IOR are very good choices.  Of the 3 classes I have yet to see one of those fail the box test or not make it through a class.  The Super Sniper is awesome, I have seen 5 of those in these classes now and all of them preformed perfectly.  For the real budget concious the Bushnell 3200 impressed me a lot.  Not bad optically and the adjustments seemed very accurate, but I have only seen 1.  The Falcon impressed me as well, but then again I have only seen that 1 scope. 

One other thing, if you have good ballistic data on your ammo.  Meaning the correct velocities and BC, and the correct enviormental readings.  Exball works awesome.  My data from exbal was matched perfectly all weekend.  I shot 1/2 MOA groups all weekend with dead center hits as long as I read the wind correctly.  These programs work great as long as you have all the correct data.  Definitly the way to go to get things started.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2009 at 19:07
RONK View Drop Down
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 Excellent review, as usual!

 I wonder why so many AR10 -types seem to have so many reliability problems. They sure don't behave like the AR15s do these days. 

 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2009 at 19:42
supertool73 View Drop Down
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I don't know.  The instructors they have only seen a handfull of AR-10 type rifles ever make it through any 4 day class there.  They say the Bushmaster AR-10s seemed to always do the best.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2009 at 21:00
Steelbenz View Drop Down
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Good review Jason.  What was the cost of the ballistics program (exball?) did it take into account for a crossing wind. in the program or do you just subtract 50% like others tell you to do?

Edited: For Cross wind I mean quartering wind.


Edited by Steelbenz - March/31/2009 at 21:01
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/31/2009 at 21:07
supertool73 View Drop Down
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Superstool

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Here is the software.  http://www.perry-systems.com/  I have it for a PDA and my PC. 

You can put in the wind direction for any direction/speed you want.  It will figure it all out for you.  Doing it that way changes your elevation at long ranges, which is probably correct to do anyway.  I like the software a lot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/01/2009 at 09:42
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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the type and success of guns going through any training class are dependent more on the people doing the shooting than the machinery per se. Obviously the really good stuff isn't going to be seen because that is what it is-- a beginners class. (except in the cases where a good piece is used by a so-so shooter).

most good battle rifles will easily hold 2 in at 100 yds  or 3 at 200 and head shots aren't really a difficulty. at 100 and 200 yds. it should be eye shots with a good precision bolt. (its the shooter). most of the time it can be traced to 147 gr FMJ surplus or equiv. A good gas gun should be treated and fed just like a good bolt gun.

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