Archive for August, 2010

Aug
22

Range Report: New Varmint Build

You may have noticed that I put together a new AR-15 varmint build.

New varmint build - RRA lower, WOA upper, Geissele trigger

New varmint build - RRA lower, WOA upper, Geissele trigger

When I asked John Holliger what he recommended for barrel break-in on this new upper, he simply replied, “I am not a big believer in barrel break-in.”
In WOA’s FAQs, it suggests shooting 15-20 rounds through it, cleaning, and consider it good to go. So that’s what I did.

Conditions: 85 degrees, humid, sunny afternoon, 10-15mph wind.

Heavy stainless fluted 1:12" twist fluted barrel

Heavy stainless fluted 1:12" twist fluted barrel

I shot 19 rounds of 55 grain .223 VMAX to simultaneously break in the barrel and zero the scope. Then I took it inside for a quick cleaning with Bore-Tech Eliminator. You can tell right away when you’re cleaning a hand-lapped barrel like this one – the patches glide down the barrel like butter.

Topped with Nikon Monarch X 4-16x50 scope

Topped with Nikon Monarch X 4-16x50 scope

After that was done, I shot 10 rounds of Thunder Ammo’s 55 grain VMAX in a respectable 1.359″ group.

10 shot group of 55 grain VMAX

10 shot group of 55 grain VMAX

Feeling pretty good about the first 10 shots out of a new rifle after the world’s fastest break-in, I tried some of Thunder Ammo’s 50 grain VMAX, which grouped slightly better than the 55 grain.

The 50 grain .223 VMAX grouped a little better than the 55 grain

The 50 grain .223 VMAX grouped a little better than the 55 grain

I just so happened to have a box of Black Hills remanufactured 40 grain VMAX on hand, which I figured should be well suited for the 1:12 twist rate of the White Oak barrel. Ten more shots gave us the best group of the day – .900″.

Remanufactured 40 grain VMAX Black Hills Ammo grouped at .9 inches

Remanufactured 40 grain VMAX Black Hills Ammo grouped at .9 inches

Did a quick re-zero to the faster 40 grain bullet, and shot a .616″ 5-shot group.

5 shots of 40 grain Black Hills VMAX in .616 inches

5 shots of 40 grain Black Hills VMAX in .616 inches

A short video:

All-in-all, I’m very pleased with this new build. It’s extremely accurate, the trigger is incredible, and the Monarch X scope is nothing short of superb. (Separate reviews for the trigger and scope will come later).

Once we get a few more rounds down the pipe, a less windy day, and a better rest (which will be here in a few days!), I’m sure those groups will tighten up even more.

Happy shooting.

Aug
18

Incoming!

Later this week…

P220 Carry SAS DAK

P220 Carry SAS DAK

That is all.

Aug
17

Varmint Build Is Finished

The upper from White Oak Armament came in today, along with a Geissele match trigger, so tonight I was able to complete the varmint AR-15 I’ve been wanting to build.

It all started with a good deal on a Rock River Arms lower, complete with a RRA parts kit, Ergo grip, and VLTOR buffer and tube. The VLTOR EMod buttstock I had on hand… I may swap this out later on for a Magpul PRS, but we’ll see how this works out first.

New custom varmint .223 build

New custom varmint .223 build

The Geissele 2-stage trigger came highly recommended, and after installing and adjusting it, I can certainly see why. The first stage is set to a smooth 2 pounds with a crisp 6oz second-stage pull. It took about an hour to install and fine-tune the trigger, but that was with a lot of first-time fumbling – now that I know what I’m doing, I’m sure I could do it again in about 15 minutes.

Geissele 2-stage match rifle trigger

Geissele 2-stage match rifle trigger

I went with a WOA upper for a number of reasons, but mainly due to their reputation for outstanding accuracy. I plan on shooting primarily 55 grain Hornady V-Max loads out of this rifle, and WOA’s John Holliger recommended a 1:12 twist. The stainless bull barrel is heavy, and this will not just be a bench gun, so we kept it on the short side at 18″ and added straight fluting that takes off about a pound of weight.

Service from WOA was excellent, and the turnaround on this order was right at 4 weeks.

18 inch stainless fluted barrel on the WOA upper

18 inch stainless fluted barrel on the WOA upper

Speaking of heavy, it’s topped off with a nice, heavy scope: a Nikon Monarch X 4-16×50. This is an amazing scope for the money (street price of around $900). I’ll do a full review of the scope later, but for now, suffice to say I compared this side-by-side with a Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14×44 and Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14×50, and I didn’t buy the Nikon because of the price.

I’m really looking forward to breaking this in next weekend… it should be a real tack-driver.