Standard Barrel Accuracy

I started this blog with the intent of tracking my progress with marksmanship skills. In particular, I wanted to focus on practical marksmanship with standard equipment, not tricked out match equipment. While I am still working on this goal, slowly, I’ve been hungry for information concerning just what a standard weapon is capable of. My early inspiration for starting this journey was an article about using a standard 20″ iron sighted AR-15 to make combat effective hits at 1000 yards. That feat was replicated again with an M4 and mil-spec ammo.

If I was to only believe the things I’ve read on message boards, then a standard mil-spec AR-15 is a 4 MOA weapon at best, with ammo selection bumping that up to 6 MOA or greater. Top-tier stainless match barrels will get me below 1 MOA, maybe down to .5 MOA using quality ammunition. Well, Shawn at loose rounds put up a link on Facebook to an article from last year. In it, he uses a standard M4 mil-spec 1/7 twist chrome lined barrel, and produces groups that one would not typically think a mil-spec weapon could produce. What more, he does one of them with 40gr bullets- which would typically be called “too light” for a 1/7 twist barrel. The 20 round group with 77gr SMK hand loads is particularly impressive to me. I hope he doesn’t mind if I repost it here.


Note that he says this was with sandbags and a bench rest shooting set up. Obviously, I don’t think I’m capable of producing these groups with just myself behind the gun. But it is a reminder that the weapon itself is often FAR more capable than we typically give it credit for.

Again, with this new information in mind, I am super stoked to finally get my 20″ upper together this week. I’ve got a handful of SSA 77gr SMK and Hornady 75gr TAP laying around, but I definitely need to put in an ammo order soon.

4 thoughts on “Standard Barrel Accuracy”

  1. if you use that SSA 77 grain ammo, dont be surprised if it does not live up to what you thought it would do. and do not blame your skill if it does not shoot to how you expect


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