Selecting a Target Rifle For NRA/CMP High Power Shooting

Rifles we often use in High Power Rifle Competition:


The AR-15 is the best gun for this type of shooting!

The migration from .30 cal to the AR started with the version of the AR that looks like an M16A2, over the years shooters and gunsmith's identified several accuracy fixes to improve the shootability of the rifle. These are:

The float tube keeps the barrel from bending when you put on your sling. On the standard military sights the elevation is like 1.5" per click, not fine enough. NO stock AR ever has a decent trigger. Some people also get custom barrels, hooded rear sight apertures, added weights in the buttstock & under the handguards, etc. (You must be certain that you get one that is DCM "legal" that is it meets the requirements of a "service rifle". The variants with the detachable handle, the 7.62x39 versions, the short barrelled versions, the fancy race-guns with tubular handguards and scopes do NOT.)

You can buy some other gun and have a gunsmith do all the upgrades, years ago that was the only option. Today it is better to get  a "DCM-ready" rifle from a manufacturer, or get a full gun or upper from a gunsmith specializing in NRA/CMP competition guns. I recommend the Rock River National Match A2. but Bushmaster, Armalite, DPMS and other companies may have an out-of-the box race-ready gun. Alternately a good 'smith such as Compass Lake, Accuracy Speaks, White Oak. etc will build a good upper and put a trigger in a lower for you.

Some folks shoot "match rifles" which can be a bolt action or an AR with olympic style sights and an adjustable butt stock and various other adjustments. Usually these are used by more experienced shooters. Usually they are custom, but the Tubb by McMillan was almost a factory rifle, and some 'smith's build "space guns" on AR receivers.

Barrels: The Rock River is a 1 in 8" stainless. Many of us get 1 in 7.7" Kriegers. 1 in 9" might be usable but is not a first choice. 1 in 7" Colt HBARs were OK.

Triggers: The Jewell 2-stage is one of the best, Geiselle is another, there are several others, Rock River's is OK. most of us like a 2-stage trigger.

Weights: Most of us put weights in the buttstock hole and around the tube under the handguards. Bring the rifle up to 12 or 16 lbs. To start with, you can fill the buttstock with shot or lead bullets.

Sights: Most of us use 1/2" (per click adjustment at 100 yds) rear sights. Some people like 1/4", but rarely can you shoot well enough to make use of that and more likely it will confuse you if you get on a coached team. Most people use a rear aperture much smaller than stock. 0.046" or so. Often we use insertable apertures so we can use a smaller peep in bright light and a larger peep in poor light. Some use a hooded rear sight. Some shooters find they need to use an insertable lens such as those from B Jones Sights. After you turn 40 years old, you might need a lens or shooting glasses.

Sling: Most of us use a good leather one. The standard M1907 is not long enough for most humans to use with an AR. Turner Sadlery and others make good extra long lings. 50" or 52". The CANVAS web slings from the M1 days are actually quite usable and can be found for $10. The "nylon" web slings from the M14 days are just about worthless DO NOT BUY ONE!

Magazines: We need to use magazines that hold 2 and 8 rds, have the same dimensions as a standard military 20 or 30. Don't bother with 30 rds they are awkward to hold. The standard vietnam era style STRAIGHT 20 rd aluminum are the BEST. Older military or new manufactured it does not matter, nor does it matter what name is on the floor plate. These days you can find these for under $15. Get 6. Many of the cheap steel aftermarket 20's are worthless. I have not yet tried the high-quality steel mags they might be OK.

Cleaning: Maybe I'll write more later.

Case: Get a  hard case for travel and a soft case for walking around the range.

Did I mention an M14 or M1 above? Those are antiques.

Since you can get an M1 from the CMP and a lot of folks have one, it makes a good starter. With a lot of gunsmithing it can be almost competitive.

The M1A was king until about 10 years ago. If your prefer it, or your eyesight prefers it, try it. You'll be alone. Civilian M14 copies are called the M1A. They are from Springfield Armory,  If you start with a stock M1A it will take some smithing to get it match ready. good article 

last modified by Bill Poole on 22-Aug-09, 12-Jan-02, 30-Mar-01, ©.
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