A decent sling is a useful addition for retention of the carbine and also for normal carrying. I prefer a two point sling for my own uses, and my choice is the Blue Force Gear, Vickers Combat Applications Sling (VCAS). The quick slide adjustment is great, and the quality is excellent.
Also, there are several different collapsible stocks such as those from Magpul, Vltor and LMT that can replace factory units, if the shooter feels the need. Accessory choice is vast and is another reason for the why factor.
For ammunition to run the carbines in practice sessions, I generally just shoot any 55 grain loads I have around. A 55 grain bullet with 26.5 grains of Winchester 748 and CCI 400 primers will generate about 2740-2800 ft/sec. from a 16 inch barrel. For reference, the same load runs up to 3210 ft/sec. from a 26 inch Winchester varmint barrel, depending on the bullet and temperature.
For the most efficiency in the defensive role, 75 grain Hornady Match bullets are loaded over 25 grains of Varget for 2608 ft/sec. velocity from a 16 inch carbine barrel. CCI 400 primers and Winchester brass are utilized for these loads. The Aimpoint is zeroed at 50 yards, and the red dot sits on the top of the front sight when viewed through the Larue back up site aperture, for a proper co-witness.
I resize the necks of the new brass to assure they are uniform, then run them through a .244 inch Redding bushing. The normal neck measurement after full length resizing would be .245 inch, but with no crimping cannelure on the Hornady bullets, I put a little more neck tension on the bullet. Bullets are seated with a Redding Competition seater with its sliding alignment sleeve.
Please note that some AR-15s are chambered in .223 Remington, even though they may be marked as 5.56 chambers. The usual cautions apply in developing loads. Start a couple of grains lower and work up.
Fast magazine changes are one of the reasons for the AR-15’s popularity, so plenty of magazines should be stocked for ready use. Good quality aluminum G.I. contract magazines such as manufactured by Okay or Brownell’s, or the Magpul Industries synthetic ones should be selected. A magazine fed rifle loses its efficiency if there are no loaded replacement magazines at the ready, and a poor or damaged magazine will lead to malfunctions. Most shooters already know this, but with the AR-15 selling in record numbers, there may be a lot of new owners out there.
It is essential to carry extra loaded magazines, depending of course on the situation. For a ready to go carrying unit, I like the Eagle M4 Patrol Bandoleer. It is simply a compact pouch with a strap that can be grabbed and quickly slung over the shoulder. It will hold four thirty round magazines, and on each side of the double mag pouches there is a smaller pocket for pistol magazines. I carry a Gerber multitool in one of the mag pockets.
This carrier can be stored next to the rifle so extra magazines will be available for transport, should a person need to take up arms. A small loop on the back can secure the unit to a belt to help stabilize it.
Competition shooting is another field where the AR-15 has made great inroads. The AR-15 rifle successfully competes at the High-power Service Rifle matches by making use of .224 inch heavy bullets. What makes the AR-15 so grand in this application of competition shooting, is that it can be fired accurately enough to win! Courses of fire include ranges of 200, 300 and 600 yards! And that is another reason for the why! There are trigger pull weight restrictions and other rules, and this data is available from the NRA website.
Earlier in this article I mentioned using a rifle for varmints, and that brings to attention another valid rationale to own AR-15 rifles. That reason is hunting, and it is part of our national heritage. The .223 cartridge is limited in its power application on larger animals, but there are plenty of configurations available that are suitable for nearly any size of game. I am thinking of the .50 Beowulf, the .458 SOCOM, the 6.8 Remington and others.
The .223 cartridge has been used to take deer, and I am sure it will continue to be used for that purpose. Successful use means utilizing the proper bullet for best results. Winchester offers their 64 grain Power Point and Nosler has the 60 grain Partition. There are other bullets from Barnes, Speer and Sierra that a shooter can study and try. The construction of these smaller bullets is important when used on deer-sized game as is shot placement. I prefer to use a larger caliber and cartridge for deer hunting…namely the .308 Winchester. Check applicable state game laws, also, because the little .223 Remington may not be legal for deer hunting in every state. But you can change that by pushing out two pins and adding a caliber legal upper assembly! That is versatility at its best.
The AR-15 platform runs well, but like anything with moving parts it needs lubrication and cleaning. For lubrication I’ll use Breakfree CLP or Slip 2000 or synthetic motor oil. The AR-15 is not fussy about lube as long as it gets some.
Every rifle’s purpose is to chamber a cartridge and launch a bullet. Where that bullet is aimed is up to the individual, and some just like to do it with self loading capability. AR-15s have been called ugly, black, evil “assault weapons” by liberal politicians and various media sources. They have attempted to vilify these enjoyable firearms, and I doubt it would help to paint them fluorescent orange. It’s not the color “they” hate! It’s the capability of resistance to their agenda. So…why a semiauto? My answer is…why not? The second amendment is still valid today!
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