The first thing that makes ARs so accurate is triggers. Without a good trigger no rifle can reach its potential. The first ARs and indeed, some of the later ones, had atrocious triggers. Full of creep, poundage and travel! All the things you donít want in any trigger, be it in a bolt action or the semi auto AR. Because of shooting games using ARs, and (former) bolt rifle shooters accustomed to fine triggers, thereís been a push for better equipment. Several manufacturers have met that need in their own and differing ways. Makers like Geissele, Timney, Jewell, American Gold Trigger, and Rock River all make excellent AR triggers that make the rifles a lot more accurate and enjoyable to shoot. I personally love the Rock Riverís two stage match trigger and the American Gold. They are, for all intents and purposes, bench rest triggers for semi autos. To install them, you simply pop out two pins, remove the old trigger and stick the replacement back in. Itís that easy and they make a world of difference in shooting comfort and accuracy!
This is a picture of ďThe BeastĒ, my AR10 Matt Salm built for me. Good looking rig, right? It has a 26Ē barrel and a .875Ē muzzle behind the Vais brake. It should shoot an 85 grain pill all the way to 600 yards to bring grief to PDs! (Did you notice the Scope Shield Alaska scope cover dangling from it? Or the awesome Night Force 8x32 scope?) Oops, I have left off one of my valuable pieces of equipment, one I donít shoot without! Itís the 3BUCC shell catcher. That is a required item if you want to keep brass to reload or simply not to litter. Works great!
I finally got some quality range time. Two groups like this and one more. All three were less than .600Ē and this five shot group went .425Ē with the four into .179Ē. Not bad for an old guy with a gas gun. If only that one...
Another important component I believe that is critical to fine accuracy is a good scope mounted properly in reliable rings. One must remember that a scope on an AR gets recoil in two directions. I donít believe you can mount a ďcheapĒ scope in good rings nor a good scope in cheap rings and expect it to perform as well as a good scope in properly secured good rings. Read that again! If youíre looking for the utmost accuracy and repeatability out of your AR, you simply cannot cut corners. I didnít get the groups pictured in this article without attention to the details of properly mounting a quality scope in quality rings. My favorite rings are TPS. Iíve never had to lap any of them and they come with important but very simple directions for mounting. Nothing moves in these mounts if you follow their directions.
The third key component is the barrel and chambering. Some would argue it is the first component, but I will say all three parts are about equal. You can have them heavy or light, long or as short as you like. Iím in the camp of long, cut rifled barrels. Iím not a fan of button rifled barrels; however, the factory built ones I have are button rifled and they shoot as accurate as my cut rifled barrels. But, if Iím ordering a barrel, it will be cut rifled. There are several small, quality barrel makers and thereís Kreiger. My 6x47 Lapua has a Brux barrel and the 20 TAC and the 223A.I. have LRB barrels. Their bores are as smooth as butter, take very little to clean up and shoot fantastically. Kreiger is probably the finest barrel maker today and theirs are cut rifled. I have five of theirs on bolt rifles. In addition, Krieger sets very high standards for the blanks before they accept them and then even higher standards for their finished work. You canít go wrong with Krieger nor the other two companies, Brux and LRB.
These three components are, in my humble opinion, the most important parts of what will make an AR accurate, or not. All the other parts are simply what are needed for completing the rifle and the look the builder and owner are striving for. However, if the builder cuts any corners in the build, even the best components wonít matter. He still has to do all of his work properly. The ARs I own I fully enjoy shooting, and they will shoot a lot better than Iím capable of doing. They are lots of fun, very accurate, and interesting in their diverse configurations and calibers. Yes, the ARs are the Modern Sporting Rifle. If you havenít shot one, what are you waiting for?
I have been blessed by God to have a wonderful life: a life of travel and the opportunity to meet many people who have became good friends. We live in a country filled with diverse beauty and incredibly interesting people. My advice is to get out there and explore our beautiful country and meet new friends. Travel by ground roads, not air, if at all possible! Enjoy the scenic beauty of the lands we live in, the places you travel through and the loveliness of your destination. Go with an open, uncluttered mind that will allow you to see and appreciate it. You will be richer for it. God made it for us to enjoy; I hope you will as I have. Remember too, that getting old is normal but growing up is optional! Try new things, and if you havenít tried the modern sporting rifle, what are you waiting for? I encourage you to do so. So many calibers, so many configurations, so many choices. Ainít life grand?
My thanks and appreciation to:
Jessica, my sweet niece who proofread this and gave moral support. I couldnít have done it without you!
Phillip, my son, who also aided me in making the corrections that Jessica pointed out.
Lee Mosher of Insight Shooting Systems, Pueblo,Colo. Lee got me started and has remained a great friend. He builds very fine AR uppers!
3BUCC. Builder of the fine brass catchers for ARs. An indispensable item!
Scope Shield Alaska. Probably the finest scope cover made!
Matt Salm, a Patriot. One who built an excellent AR 10 upper.
Don Lahr, Precision Ballistics, LLC, for those fine 6mm bullets.
Bill Alexander, Alexander Arms and his staff for their support and for building a great little AR.
and Rock River and DPMS for building some of the worlds best ARs!
Charles E. Speck is a Virginia Christian clay and target shooter, hunter and reloader. He has been doing this for over forty years and says he is still learning! Charles has written a couple articles and had an article written about a gun he had commissioned called "The Patriot," which is the only gun ever to commemorate 9/11. Charles loves side by sides and accurate rifles.
Join the discussion of this article HERE at the Article Discussion Forum.