The Why Of The AR-15 Semiautomatic By Jerry Stordahl


Mar 6, 2008
Bolt action rifles in general will overlap into other uses, and the semiautomatic AR-15 shares the same useful trait. The AR-15 has endured a rocky trail from its inception, but in today’s shooting climate, it has become one of the most popular platforms ever produced.

The AR-15 has been maligned by the media, attacked by politicians, and even some in the shooting world have assaulted the “black rifles.” They’ve come up with the misnomer, “assault rifle” to mislead and insinuate that these firearms possess some inherent evil. But every firearm’s sole purpose is to serve as a cartridge firing platform, and that includes the popular AR-15. Read More...

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I have to agree with you about thr AR. I never saw a use for a semi-auto gun for hunting untill I started hunting coyotes behind dogs. I use super explosive bullets because of ricochets, bullets I would never use in a bolt gun for them, but them slow them down enough that I can get several more shot off and I`ve only hit 1 that got away from me and that was because the junk mil. case blowed a primer and it jammed the action so I watched him limp in so standing corn. A flat top with a 3x9 Leupold in the best all around coyote gun there is, if you can have only 1 gun.
I allways thoght a semi would not shoot with a bolt gun but I got colt h-bar elite and it will shoot 1/2" with 40 50 55 60gr.vmax at a 100 yards I use ramshot x-term for lite bullets and varget for the 60gr vmax
Acouple of years ago I bought 2000 55 gr, bullets for $131 includeing shipping. Other than being cheap I knew nothing about them. I loaded 5 rounds with a cheap over run powder and went out and shot a .700 from a card table with the scope set on 9X. Since these rounds were to be fired at mostly running coyotes and off handed I never tried to get better accuracy. In 8 coyotes we got total penitration on only 1. From about 75 yrds. I put one between the ribs on the near side and it put a 3 1/2 to 4 in hole on the back side. I have hit ribs on the near side and the bullet will not go through. A shot from behind will pile them up, but they are scrambling to get back up. 2 or 3 more shot will change their mind, and I don`t worry about rickochets going to the next road.
I have used and "Cleaned" the M16, M16A1, M16A2, and the M-4 for over thirty years. It is an excellent weapon for accuracy and a lot of other things when compared to the soviet block stuff. How ever cleanliness is a must, which makes this weapon a pain in the *** at times. I much prefer the bolt design of the M1 Garrand, of which I have one, or the M14. These semi autos are much easier to clean say 10 minutes as compared to way over an hour for the M16. They are also easier to clean and maintain in the field, than the little black rifle. To really clean the little black rifle, well, you need to have the set up of say the Special Forces Weapon Cleaning facility at Fort Bragg, which is used by all SF students and Group members at Bragg. Things are much easier then. But in the middle east, such as Iraq, and Afghanistan, it is a whole different ballgame. I guess what I am saying is that I will take the black rifle over the soviet crap, but would rather have the M14.
I have worked as a Police Officer in a major city for 37 years and we tested most versions of civilian m16. I own several AR15 and many Garands......Still if I were going to Mars and could only take one handgun and one rifle. They would be an AK & a Glock..Sorry Black gun owners, thats just the way it is. We naver could make either fail without major abuse. At this time I don't own a Glock or an AK. I shoot matches with a Colt style 1911 and a Compass lake service rifle. Just my 2 cents after being a Range Officer in Chicago for 6 years.
Jerry, you wrote a fine article! I really appreciate your viewpoint of the AR as a defense arm. I will go back and read it again! My article only speaks of the fun of hunting and target shooting. Yours addresses many issues. I was impressed and learned quite a bit more than I thought I knew. Thanks for a great read on the Modern Sporting Rifle.
I'm with you all the way on the black rifle. I just built my first one this year and with a little help from the Internet and an extra pair of hands I had that thing running. Doesn't like steel case ammo. And aside from a few errors of making my loads too hot thing has been really good to me. I like the fact that if I want a little more power I can swap out my upper, barrel etc and have a completely differant gun. With out a ten waiting period. God bless California.
8 yrs ago I would have never owned a semi auto rifle. There's no way a semi could shoot as good as the tried and true 700 SA. That was until I ordered a RRA 20" Varmint A4. I put on an extended scout rail, and a Leupy LR 6.5-20, and shot some factory loads, and when I saw the clover leaf group of 10 rounds, I decided I better take this to the bench. I ordered 300 Win cases, some 50grvmax, 60grvmax, and used some of my 69 and 77gr, among many other 52/53 gr smk's. My first 5 shot group with 24.5gr of H4895 was a .391". WOW? no touching the lands, fireforming, neck turning, nothing. This started my passion, and now I own over 20 AR15 platform rifles, from HD Carbines, to LR ff rails, Geissele triggered guns. I also ordered my 1st 6.8SPC the way I wanted it (FS on here) but in the mean time I found one stock LAR68 on my FFL's shelf, that someone else ordered. I zeroed my lil 2-7 Leupy and set up that deer season, and took a small buck at 426yds with the 120gr SST, and another on doe day at 411 yds measured with a ARC1600 Fusion Bino LRF. I called Bill Wilson at Wilson Combat to see if this would be a good 3-500yd steel shooting gun, and I had an 18" Wilson Combat on the way, and when we shot at 500, I am still amazed, not only on targets, but on groundhogs, Deer, Hogs, Coyotes, and I had found my new favorite AR15 cartridge. I like the 6.5G but from a 16" tube the 68 just out performs it, and hits a lil harder too. If I didn't need a scope for my new Beanland Match gun, I wouldn't consider selling my "decked out" RRA 68, but after 2yrs of waiting, I just don't have time to put it to good use like someone else on here or elsewhere like the gun deserves. I hope someone on here finds it, and learned the way I did, that "WOW, this AR15 deal, is for real" Good write up
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