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Thread: Shoot the gun and learn things.

  1. #1
    S.L.O.W. ASH556's Avatar
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    Shoot the gun and learn things.

    I know a lot of guys that have a lot of nice guns that hang on their office walls or they sit in a safe, but they never shoot them. I'm talking VERY expensive setups that they've put together on theory with input from folks, but they've never shot them, or at best, they've shot them at the 25yd indoor range to get the optic "on paper."

    You can't set something 80% of the way up, and then declare it "good to go." You need to shoot it and confirm. Zero distance, optic, irons, suppressed and not, with the ammo(s) you plan to use. When you do this, you learn things. One of the things folks quickly learn when they do this is that different guns respond differently to the same inputs.

    Here's my story for the week:
    I recently put together 2 new AR configurations as pictured below. Both of these are built with top notch components including Geissele triggers and rails, all Colt upper parts including SOCOM barrels (one shortened to 10.3), Nightforce and Aimpoint optics, etc. They look good, and the build lists are impressive, but do they work????



    Well, the short one works well. Target is 100yds in an indoor range (I know, cool concept, right? but the lighting still isn't great). Red circled hits are without suppressor, un-circled hits are with suppressor using a 2MOA Aimpoint T1, bipod and rear bag with 64gr Gold Dots. I'll take that!



    On to the long one. 5 shots at 100yds outdoors (from a couple weeks ago), 64gr Gold Dots, no suppressor. Grid squares are 1/2", so again, I'll take that all day!



    So then I screwed the can on expecting to see the same negligible, if any, shift from the suppressor. I mean, after all I have a thick SOCOM barrel to mitigate droop, etc with the suppressor. WRONG! My rounds wouldn't even hit the IDPA silhouette I was using as a backer. Since this is a recently pinned-welded brake, I assumed it was a mount issue and took the gun back to the shop who did the work (no need to mention their name, but they're a well-known precision rifle shop). 2 hours later they called me to say the muzzle device checks out fine, but they found the problem:




    You see, friends, it turns out that hanging a suppressor off even a heavyweight barrel can cause it to move and flex differently and what was enough clearance between gas block and handguard before, no longer is. Apparently having your barrel slap the side of your handguard will have negative impact on your accuracy. So off to home I ran and proceeded to further trim and then refinish the gas block. I then proceeded to the aforementioned 100yd indoor range to confirm correct zero.

    100yds unsuppressed with 64gr Gold Dot:


    Then I put the suppressor on and was amazed by what I saw:



    That is the result of 3 rounds fired aiming at the top target, unmounting and remounting the suppressor, and firing 3 additional rounds aiming at the top target. At least it's repeatable I guess. So, when shooting suppressed with this rifle, I'll dial up 1.6mil (I'll probably make a mark on the turret) and for all other times it'll be zeroed.

    Same POA with 1.6mil elevation dialed. I attribute the slighted opened group to the mirage I was seeing off the suppressor at this point.:



    Don't assume anything and test all your gear in every condition possible.
    Last edited by ASH556; 11-02-2018 at 01:25 PM.
    Food Court Apprentice
    Semper Paratus certified AR15 armorer

  2. #2
    Thanks for this post. It’s a good example of doing the work. It can be tedious, but worth the knowledge and perspective it brings.

    The unspoken cost of buying new gear is the vetting process. A new optic, new trigger, new bullets, etc. all cost time and ammo to verify performance and to explore nuances.

    Back when life was simpler and I was just into pistols, my test as to whether or not to buy a new gun or piece of gear was this: “would I be better served by that new thing OR the equivalent money’s worth of ammo?” I almost always picked ammo and have never regretted that choice.

    Since getting into rifles, I’ve been playing around with optics and gear so much more. When shooting for accuracy, every trigger press answers one question and produces two more it seems. There are many more variables to keep track of if one really wants to shoot the rifle to its potential.
    Last edited by Backspin; 11-03-2018 at 12:53 AM. Reason: Grammar

  3. #3
    Site Supporter NH Shooter's Avatar
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    Good post! You don't know until you try...

    I will also state that the more variability you introduce, the more complex the vetting process becomes in verifying POI. A few that come to mind;

    • suppressed vs. unsuppressed
    • optics and parallax (how does a shift in my cheek weld affect POI?)
    • POI change as barrel heats up
    • variable power scopes at different power settings
    • forward sling mount tension placed on free-float rail with front sight attached to it


    Not to mention function variability and all the factors involved with that, as well as ergonomic issues (rifle balance, ease of portability, etc.).

    This is why I've grown extraordinarily fond of KISS rifles - keeping the variabilities as low as possible. The easy trap to fall into is the justification of why one thinks they need a certain accessory, where is might be wiser to honestly access why the accessory is not needed for the role the rifle is intended to fill.

    In any case, my KISS rifle is irons-only and I am currently experimenting with a different set that I think will improve speed and accuracy. I'll be putting that theory to the test soon because as ASH556 stated, it's the only way to know for sure.

    Improving the function and usability of a modern sporting musket is very gratifying, especially when it does not involve adding more stuff to it.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter hufnagel's Avatar
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    I've heard many stories about how putting on a can shifts POI, and being of engineering background I understand the concepts of mechanical droop and altering harmonics, but I've NEVER heard of a case of the inside of the hand guard getting bitch slapped by the gas block like that. I know it sucks it happened to you, and you have to sort out the issue now, but that's FREAKING COOL!
    Rules to live by: 1. Eat meat, 2. Shoot guns, 3. Fire, 4. Gasoline, 5. Make juniors
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  5. #5
    Murder Machine, Harmless Fuzzball TCinVA's Avatar
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    With some of these setups and some of the newer generation lightweight compact "rails" there isn't much room for error. I'm not shocked hanging a can off the end of it produced that result.

    The point of the original post is, of course, correct. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "It works for me!" from people who have not taken even basic steps to pressure test what they are yakking about. You don't know if it works until you prove it does.

    And I'll stop there before I start ranting about the staggering percentage of people out there who cannot effectively zero a carbine in the first place...
    3/15/2016

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCinVA View Post
    And I'll stop there before I start ranting about the staggering percentage of people out there who cannot effectively zero a carbine in the first place...
    Preach it !

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by TCinVA View Post
    With some of these setups and some of the newer generation lightweight compact "rails" there isn't much room for error. I'm not shocked hanging a can off the end of it produced that result.

    The point of the original post is, of course, correct. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "It works for me!" from people who have not taken even basic steps to pressure test what they are yakking about. You don't know if it works until you prove it does.

    And I'll stop there before I start ranting about the staggering percentage of people out there who cannot effectively zero a carbine in the first place...

    But that's what the first five hours of class are for.
    Safe – Accurate – Confident
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Cunningham View Post
    But that's what the first five hours of class are for.
    That’s what BRM was for. 9 rounds or less. Zeroed.

    I’ll confess to having had some trouble getting a good scope zero on an AR, however.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Reminds me of something G.K. Chesterton wrote:

    “...she [Joan of Arc] did not praise fighting - but fought!”

    “She [Joan] was a perfectly practical person who *did* something. While they [Nietzsche and Tolstoy] are wild speculators who *do* nothing.” - Chesterton, Orthodoxy
    Safe – Accurate – Confident
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