The mission for the first range trip with the AR-MPR rifle was to really do two things: First, it was about function checking the rifle. Second, it was about sighting in the Nikon Monarch 6-24x50mm riflescope. A third and less important goal was to see how accurate I could shoot this rifle based on some quick loads I whipped up with the RCBS Pro-2000.
I was expecting that the Nikon M-223 scope mount might not work with the chosen Nikon Monarch scope because of the mount’s built-in 20MOA downward slope. As expected, the rifle was hitting high at 100 yards (by about 8″) even with the scope elevation cranked down. So, I had to swap out the mount for a J.P. mount (thanks Bruce for the loaner!) with no slope built-in. The rifle was then soon zeroed in at 100 yards.
It was very exciting to pull the trigger for the first time! I was shooting off the harris bipod at 25 yards so that we could start to zero in the scope. As I hoped, the rifle went “BOOM” and I felt for the first time the manageable (but noticeable) recoil, and the “wind in my hair” from the rearward pointed gasses exiting the muzzle brake. “This is simply awesome” I told myself. I looked over to Tim (UR staff) and Brad (friend from the range I just joined) with a large grin on my face. I started with a single round in the magazine, and then had Tim shoot of the next two (hey, better safe than sorry with accidental full-auto fire, right?).
Here’s a shot of the updated scope mount arrangement:
Moving to 100 yards following the scope mount swap-out, my groups started shrinking. Keep in mind, my goal for the day was about 1″ groups (that’s good for a first AR-15 range trip right? No tailored loads, etc). I was then planning to work hard to make the .5-.75 MOA accuracy goal by doing single stage sniper style handloads (trickle powder loads, etc).
Well, the unexpected surprise came in the form of groups (starting here with 3 shot groups) that measured as small as .285″! Wow- I guess AR-15s really can be accurate!
Here’s the best group of the day – 0.284″ 3 Shot Group – On cardboard:
But, that wasn’t a fluke, there were other good groups like this one:
Don’t worry, we’ll still have Phase II (precision handloads on Redding Big Boss II) and Phase III (ammo mass production on progressives) as a part of this project, we may just have to tighten up the accuracy goal. I can tell you, my thoughts yesterday leaving the range were a huge stamp of “Mission Accomplished!” in my head. Success! Thanks again to Larry Weeks at Brownells and Jon LaCorte at Nikon for their knowledge, experience, and sponsorship! These are really class-act guys (and companies).
What do you all think? What should the goal be for accuracy given this rifle’s ability to perform?