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Thread: AAR: Gunsite Vets 223 Carbine class 8/2021

  1. #1
    Site Supporter Erick Gelhaus's Avatar
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    AAR: Gunsite Vets 223 Carbine class 8/2021

    Who/What: Gunsite’s Vets 223 course – 8/2-6/21

    Where: Gunsite Academy Inc, Paulden, AZ

    Background – for well over a decade now, Gunsite has been running Veteran-specific 250-General Pistol and 223-Carbine classes to thank the veterans of the GWOT. The courses are free to the Vets who attend; we instructors donate our time, travel, etc. to teach the classes; and the school provides the ranges, etc. For the last few iterations, alumni from the business world have written checks to cover lunches every day for all the students. The school maintains an ammo stash to assist any student running low as well.

    As seems to be the norm, there were two sections to the carbine class. Each ended up with nineteen (19) students and three instructors (one section sent a student home for safety violations). The lead instructor, or rangemaster, for my section, was – Freddie Blish, retired USMC LtCol, former head of Aimpoint Mil Sales, and owner of Robar; another retired Cal police Sgt / former USMC MP and I were the assistant instructors or coaches.


    Weapons & Optics:

    Aero Precision AR / Vortex Spark 1x;

    Aero Precision AR / Holosun 403;

    Aero Precision M4E1 / Vortex PSD-2 1-6x;

    Anderson Arms AM-15 / EO tech;

    BCM Recce-16 / Aimpoint T2 1x;

    Daniel Defense DDM4 / ACOG;

    Daniel Defense DDM4 / Vortex Spark 1x;

    Daniel Defense DD M4A1 / EO Tech;

    Daniel Defense Mk18 / Vortex Spark 1x;

    FN 556 / Aimpoint Comp M2 1x;

    IWI Galil 7.62x51 / Leupold LCO (replaced with M1 carbine / Aimpoint T1 1x);

    Palmetto State PA-15 / Aimpoint Pro;

    Ruger MPR556 / Vortex Strike 1-8x;

    Ruger SR15 / Crimson Trace CTS1000 1x;

    Ruger SR556 / EO Tech (replaced with Colt 6920 / Aimpoint T1);

    Spikes Tactical / Aimpoint T2;

    Springfield M1a Scout / Irons;

    Springfield Armory Saint / Sig Romeo MSR;

    Stag Arms 15 / Aimpoint Pro 1x;


    The students shot between 900-950 rounds of carbine and about 30 rounds of pistol.

    It was 100f at the end of lunch most days. Tuesday hit 109f and it was 113f as we came off the range on Wednesday afternoon. Most firearms courses have some physical demands. A carbine class in the high desert summer - @4800’ ASL and over 100f – will exacerbate those demands. Taking care of yourself, ahead of time, will only help you – hydration, endurance, acclimatization, flexibility all matter – and aid in your learning and retention of material.

    There were no noted optics issues during the week.

    Two of the three Ruger carbines suffered blown primers which bounced the inside before locking up the fire control group. One of them also resulted in a stuck case and when forcibly removing that from the chamber, the extractor tore through the case rim. The student was loaned a Colt 6920 with an Aimpoint T1 to finish the class (Another advantage of attending a school with a gunsmith on-site who has loaner firearms available.) These two carbines were the only ones that needed visits to the gunsmith from the class.

    The M1A Scout performed well in terms of function. However, the ergonomics seriously hampered the shooter during timed drills such as the carbine El Presidente and student on student shoot-offs.

    The student shooting the Galil switched to an M1 carbine on day #4. It began exhibiting extraction issues and would have needed significant cleaning. The student also wanted time on the M1 carbine.

    Targets from 3 yards to 200 yards were engaged on the square range. The students ran one indoor simulator (shoot house) in The Pit, because they did not have frangible all the targets were shoot-throughs. I ran them on the Military Crest – an outdoor simulator. We did half runs, using ten of the twenty firing positions. They had to find and engage anywhere from a lone target to six depending on the firing point. With one exception, the targets were steel “Option” targets - IPSC/IDPA sized and similarly shaped – painted in earth tones. Ranges involved targets out to their 200 yards zero, with one just beyond though not at a distance that required any holdover.

    Asymmetric and jack ass positions had been covered on the range but not everyone is adaptable to this. Also, target locating in rural environs (and urban) is always a skill we can put more practice time into.

    We preceded the night shoot with my low light lecture, tailored for carbines & patrol rifles. It addresses both equipment and legal issues, as well as, much more importantly, human factors & physiology. I didn’t record all the students’ lights, but Freddie and I demonstrated with both handhelds and weapon-mounted lights from Surefire, Modlite, and Cloud Defense.

    Between compensators, muzzle breaks, and flash hiders we had an interesting sample on the range. Those with A2 flash hiders and 3 prong adapters consistently had better performance than other offerings. Always nice to have in-class validations of the work done by others (RIP AWG).

    For those manufacturers that insist on building strobe features into their lights, could you make them a LOT harder to inadvertently activate?

    While there was only one single-point sling, there were no three-point slings. Everyone else had some variation of an adjustable two-point.

    Magazine capacity and weapon loading continue to be an interesting subject. Yes, I/we know that a 30-round magazine is supposed to hold 30 rounds and be capable of being loaded into any AR/M4/M16 with the bolt carrier group forward. However, that is not always the case – regardless of how much time the users do or do not spend time on the weight pile. Ideally, the individual shooter will put in the time to determine what does or does not work for their rifle and magazine(s); however, if they won’t or they have multiple make/model carbines &/or magazines – then loading with 28rds works just fine. Presscheck Consulting addressed this quite nicely in a somewhat recent video.

    Speaking of, at least one student quoted or referenced material from both Chuck Pressburg (aka - @presscheckconsulting) and Ash Hess – the primary author of the US Army’s newest carbine shooting manual. Both gentlemen are worth listening to.

    Students ran the gamut from fighter pilots to automated logistics specialists with plenty of others including a doctor, grunts and Civil Affairs officers in between. All branches were represented.

    Handgun was secondary to the purpose of the course, but nearly all benefitted from the foundational skills block taught on Wednesday afternoon. There was discussion amongst the staff about the need to require verifiable handgun training first or leaving transitions out of the POI.

    (Note: Freddie assisted with the AAR, providing a couple insights I had missed)
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    Last edited by Erick Gelhaus; 08-09-2021 at 07:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Hammertime
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Desert Southwest
    Another outstanding post. Thanks.

    A friend has a Ruger 556 pistol and it has been less than reliable with failures to extract and torn cases as well.

  3. #3
    Student
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Arizona
    Thank you guys.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc_Glock View Post
    Another outstanding post. Thanks.

    A friend has a Ruger 556 pistol and it has been less than reliable with failures to extract and torn cases as well.
    That makes me wonder if they are not using a real 5.56 chamber...

  5. #5
    Site Supporter Erick Gelhaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WDR View Post
    That makes me wonder if they are not using a real 5.56 chamber...
    Now that i'm thinking about that ... they could be using a .223Wylde chamber based on frustrations I had with another manf's upper some years back. However, I could at least mortar that one open.

  6. #6
    Erick:
    Nicely done AAR. It reminds me of the one's Pat used to do. Thanks for taking the time to prepare and disseminate it.
    Bruce
    Bruce Cartwright
    Owner & chief instructor-SAC Tactical
    E-mail: "info@saconsco.com"
    Website: "https://saconsco.com"

  7. #7
    Site Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick Gelhaus View Post
    Now that i'm thinking about that ... they could be using a .223Wylde chamber based on frustrations I had with another manf's upper some years back. However, I could at least mortar that one open.
    QC on the Ruger 556 models in general is pretty bad.

    The S&W Sport seems to be the best option in that price range.

    I seem to recall a few of @Gadfly’s coworkers had issues with Ruger 556s.

  8. #8
    Member Gadfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCM View Post
    QC on the Ruger 556 models in general is pretty bad.

    The S&W Sport seems to be the best option in that price range.

    I seem to recall a few of @Gadfly’s coworkers had issues with Ruger 556s.
    Yeah, my co worker got a rifle with an upper so out of spec, it would not close without putting body weight on the upper to be able to push in the pin. It took hammer whacks to get the rear pin out.

    Ruger had to have know this when the assembled it to box up, and yet they set it out anyway. Between that and their insistence on changing minor shit for no reason (I’m looking at you taper pins on top of FSB), I see no reason to go ruger over S&W or Aero for a bargain beginner AR.
    “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.” - Shane

  9. #9
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    I bought a Ruger AR556 pistol about 6 months before the COVID panic when they were $499, just to use as a range toy and see "how bad can it be?". I have zero plans to employ it as a hard-use weapon (have Colts and BCM's for that).

    The only thing out of spec on mine is the ejection port...it was radiused just a hair too much and the dust cover detent won't engage. I bought a Strike Ind. cover with an adjustable detent that fixed the issue. It does have a lot of sharp edges I wish had been knocked down before finishing (selector lever stops, flare around magwell opening, etc.). I've got @ 2k rounds through it so far w/o issue (mix of Federal, Fiocchi, PMC, Norma)...but I still won't consider it as a serious-use gun. I bought my both my sons an M&P Sport II for Christmas 2019 as their first AR, and I'd grab one of those over the Ruger if I had no other choice for defense.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Erick Gelhaus View Post
    Who/What: Gunsite’s Vets 223 course – 8/2-6/21

    Where: Gunsite Academy Inc, Paulden, AZ

    Background – for well over a decade now, Gunsite has been running Veteran-specific 250-General Pistol and 223-Carbine classes to thank the veterans of the GWOT. The courses are free to the Vets who attend; we instructors donate our time, travel, etc. to teach the classes; and the school provides the ranges, etc. For the last few iterations, alumni from the business world have written checks to cover lunches every day for all the students. The school maintains an ammo stash to assist any student running low as well.
    What!... I didnt know this. I might have to figure out a time to attend someday! So cool. I signed up on the website for a schedule. So I look forward to seeing future dates if its still a thing later on. Any more photos or video?

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