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.