AR-308 First Shots Range Report

cdragen

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Posted in the "Anybody get anything cool..." thread a couple weeks ago re: finishing my AR-308 build and promised a range report once I was able to take it out. Well, earlier this week I took my first shots on the new rifle and, having never shot an AR-308 in any of its variants, I learned a lot.
20210903_123041.jpg

I'll start by describing the build: based around an Aero M5 receiver set with an 18" .308 WIN Ballistic Advantage HBAR Nitride barrel. Except for maybe the Luth-AR MBA-1 stock and an ODIN Works adjustable gas block, I wouldn't say anything on this build is particularly special, mostly mil-spec budget or mid-grade parts that (excluding the scope, which I'll get to later) all told comes in at under $1200. I am not a real long range shooter--and even if I was, I recognize .308 would be a poor choice (which is why I have a second upper I'll eventually put a 6.5CM barrel on :thumb:). Ultimately this rifle was mostly to see if I could put a AR-308 together so I could help my brother with one, and partly for fun and maybe trying to reach out to some longer distances and have a semi-auto hunting caliber rifle.

To the point: she shoots, and pretty well at that. Initially I was having trouble zeroing my optic because it was so far off the paper I couldn't tell what direction to adjust. Once I got that figured out and started getting things on the paper it appeared to be shooting ~1.5" groups at 100 yards from prone off a tripod (which I am still new to using and consider a weak link in my groups). One issue that became apparent early on was a failure to fully cycle. With the gas block all the way open it would eject the brass but not pick up and chamber a new round (I also discovered, incidentally that the cheek riser on the MBA-1 stock prevents the charging handle from coming all the back, so will probably have to trim that down some 😑). Brand new PMAGs, bolt cycled manually just fine, no obstructions, no obvious reason for failure to fully cycle. Eventually it started trying to pick up a new round and on a couple occasions I created a double feed by racking the charging handle without realizing a round had been partially pushed onto the feed ramps, so I began to think that perhaps the buffer spring was just stiff and needed some breaking in. By the time I had about 30 rounds through it, it started feeding normally.

About the time the feeding issue got figured out, I was just starting to get the optic fully dialed in when The Incident occurred. I had picked up my gun on the tripod to relocate it a bit when someone entered the range. I went to go talk to them and at some point while talking the tripod fell over (neither of us heard it). It was on shortened legs so it didn't fall far, but it was enough to bend the scope mount. Whoops. So at that point my day of shooting was done, since I didn't have backup sites and my scope was now oriented well off the bore. Now, if I had invested as much in the scope as I had the rifle, I would have been indescribably mad, but fortunately for my dumb self, I super-cheaped out on a supposed unicorn of a 6-24x50mm SFP scope by Twod (assuming it's pronounced Two-Dee, like 2D, hell if I know...) on Amazon, because I couldn't believe you could even make a scope for that cheap, much less something functional. Is it a good scope? Probably not, but it was so ridiculously priced I figured it was worth a try and if it didn't work out I wouldn't be bothered much. Since it was a cheap scope, I put in on a cheap scope mount, and that might have been what ultimately saved it. The mount bent on impact and as a result the gun was not damaged, and as far as I can tell the scope appears to only have minor scrape. I haven't been back to the range to verify yet (I just got it back on a new mount today), but so far it looks like the scope may still be good. I'll update after I get back to try it out.

Prior to the fall, the scope seemed to be working quite well. The glass was clear and had pretty insignificant loss of light transmission at full magnification; the reticle was pretty basic but looked to have decent BDC capabilities, and it had both red and green illumination, though I didn't use it much and I would hesitate to call it daylight bright; the covered turrets had very positive clicks with the ability to reset the zero (but no locking turrets or zero lock); and the eye relief was pretty forgiving at full magnification, and the eye box was decent, but not great. It came with some other accessories like an eyecup and sunshade, but I didn't even bring them to the range. According to ReviewMeta.com, only 4% of the 1000+ reviews are removed for an adjusted rating of 4.3 stars (not sure how well ReviewMeta works these days, but it's been my go-to in the past for weeding out review padding). To get started, this may actually not be a bad optic, however I'm planning on upgrading to an Arken Optics SH4 Gen 2 for Christmas 😁.

So, the rifle works (after some break-in apparently), and the scope may still work (after some breakin'). For anybody interested I'll update here after my next range trip and let you know how it worked out. But bottom line is: I guess I can help my brother build an AR308 now (or 6.5CM, more likely), but I think I'll encourage him to get a builder's kit rather than piece it together like I did.

(Thanks for reading my essay lol, didn't plan for it to be so damn long...)
 

Augustine

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Posted in the "Anybody get anything cool..." thread a couple weeks ago re: finishing my AR-308 build and promised a range report once I was able to take it out. Well, earlier this week I took my first shots on the new rifle and, having never shot an AR-308 in any of its variants, I learned a lot.
View attachment 223611
I'll start by describing the build: based around an Aero M5 receiver set with an 18" .308 WIN Ballistic Advantage HBAR Nitride barrel. Except for maybe the Luth-AR MBA-1 stock and an ODIN Works adjustable gas block, I wouldn't say anything on this build is particularly special, mostly mil-spec budget or mid-grade parts that (excluding the scope, which I'll get to later) all told comes in at under $1200. I am not a real long range shooter--and even if I was, I recognize .308 would be a poor choice (which is why I have a second upper I'll eventually put a 6.5CM barrel on :thumb:). Ultimately this rifle was mostly to see if I could put a AR-308 together so I could help my brother with one, and partly for fun and maybe trying to reach out to some longer distances and have a semi-auto hunting caliber rifle.

To the point: she shoots, and pretty well at that. Initially I was having trouble zeroing my optic because it was so far off the paper I couldn't tell what direction to adjust. Once I got that figured out and started getting things on the paper it appeared to be shooting ~1.5" groups at 100 yards from prone off a tripod (which I am still new to using and consider a weak link in my groups). One issue that became apparent early on was a failure to fully cycle. With the gas block all the way open it would eject the brass but not pick up and chamber a new round (I also discovered, incidentally that the cheek riser on the MBA-1 stock prevents the charging handle from coming all the back, so will probably have to trim that down some 😑). Brand new PMAGs, bolt cycled manually just fine, no obstructions, no obvious reason for failure to fully cycle. Eventually it started trying to pick up a new round and on a couple occasions I created a double feed by racking the charging handle without realizing a round had been partially pushed onto the feed ramps, so I began to think that perhaps the buffer spring was just stiff and needed some breaking in. By the time I had about 30 rounds through it, it started feeding normally.

About the time the feeding issue got figured out, I was just starting to get the optic fully dialed in when The Incident occurred. I had picked up my gun on the tripod to relocate it a bit when someone entered the range. I went to go talk to them and at some point while talking the tripod fell over (neither of us heard it). It was on shortened legs so it didn't fall far, but it was enough to bend the scope mount. Whoops. So at that point my day of shooting was done, since I didn't have backup sites and my scope was now oriented well off the bore. Now, if I had invested as much in the scope as I had the rifle, I would have been indescribably mad, but fortunately for my dumb self, I super-cheaped out on a supposed unicorn of a 6-24x50mm SFP scope by Twod (assuming it's pronounced Two-Dee, like 2D, hell if I know...) on Amazon, because I couldn't believe you could even make a scope for that cheap, much less something functional. Is it a good scope? Probably not, but it was so ridiculously priced I figured it was worth a try and if it didn't work out I wouldn't be bothered much. Since it was a cheap scope, I put in on a cheap scope mount, and that might have been what ultimately saved it. The mount bent on impact and as a result the gun was not damaged, and as far as I can tell the scope appears to only have minor scrape. I haven't been back to the range to verify yet (I just got it back on a new mount today), but so far it looks like the scope may still be good. I'll update after I get back to try it out.

Prior to the fall, the scope seemed to be working quite well. The glass was clear and had pretty insignificant loss of light transmission at full magnification; the reticle was pretty basic but looked to have decent BDC capabilities, and it had both red and green illumination, though I didn't use it much and I would hesitate to call it daylight bright; the covered turrets had very positive clicks with the ability to reset the zero (but no locking turrets or zero lock); and the eye relief was pretty forgiving at full magnification, and the eye box was decent, but not great. It came with some other accessories like an eyecup and sunshade, but I didn't even bring them to the range. According to ReviewMeta.com, only 4% of the 1000+ reviews are removed for an adjusted rating of 4.3 stars (not sure how well ReviewMeta works these days, but it's been my go-to in the past for weeding out review padding). To get started, this may actually not be a bad optic, however I'm planning on upgrading to an Arken Optics SH4 Gen 2 for Christmas 😁.

So, the rifle works (after some break-in apparently), and the scope may still work (after some breakin'). For anybody interested I'll update here after my next range trip and let you know how it worked out. But bottom line is: I guess I can help my brother build an AR308 now (or 6.5CM, more likely), but I think I'll encourage him to get a builder's kit rather than piece it together like I did.

(Thanks for reading my essay lol, didn't plan for it to be so damn long...)
I purchased an AR10 from Palmetto State Armory a few months ago. It seems very light weight and shoots well. I paid $929. for the model Gen 3 PA10 18" Mid-length Win .308 1/10 stainless steel 15" lightweight M-loc STR stage-2 rifle. It came with one magazine and a cleaning kit. I considered building one, but this one was so inexpensive that I couldn't turn it down. Now I am looking for a light weight AR15 for my wife for Christmas. I found a used special build at our local gun store for $1400. I will look to see what PSA has to offer.
 

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cdragen

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Well, I have a small update from today's visit to the range. Still having issues cycling, even though it seemed to be fine at the end of the previous trip, so in between shots re-zeroing the scope (which mounted fine and seems to be holding zero fine in spite of the fall--more on that in a minute), I attempted to adjust the gas on the Odin Works adjustable gas block I was smart enough to install (*patting self on back continues*...). I wasn't seeing any progress in fixing the cycling issue and decided to open it all the way up and then take it down a notch every shot until it wouldn't cycle again (following the instructions!). Well, I might have gone a little further than was strictly necessary when opening up that gas block, because the next shot felt markedly different and the bolt had hardly moved (when it should have been the opposite). When I went to make another adjustment I realized the gas adjustment screw was conspicuously absent. Whoops! I then wasted about a minute walking forward and looking down at the grass until I realized that I was being stupid and I was never going to find what had essentially become a second bullet with all that gas launching the adjustment screw downrange.

So I ended my range day early--again. I feel a little embarrassed at striking out twice, but then when I started this build I somewhat expected issues, just not like this lol. I also feel like the cycling issue may not be entirely due to gas or lack thereof--pulling the charging handle to cycle the bolt seems much more difficult than it should, and I think I may have dismissed it the first time around since I hadn't handled an AR 308 before, but now I'm almost sure that the buffer spring I have installed is too tight. It was a no-name brand since I figured I would be tuning everything at the gas block so a tightly spec'd buffer spring wasn't really necessary, but now I'm thinking I might need to trim a coil or two (maybe by halves) and ease up the tension in the buffer to something more reasonable (and if that fixes it probably purchase a different spring). I'm pretty sure Eugene didn't intend for his rifle to have to be braced on a knee or charged with two hands to cycle the bolt manually...

The surprisingly good news is that somehow that dirt cheap scope seems to have taken a lickin' and kept on tickin'. Some adjustment was necessary to re-zero after putting it in the new mount and leveling it, but I was still surprised at how little adjustment was needed--it was only off by maybe 2 or 3 MOA. I think I need to reposition it on the rail though, as it's a little further forward that it might have been before and I'm stretching my neck forward to get the right position on the scope. After doing that it will probably need a little more adjustment to account for the change in parallax. It also felt like the eye-box was a little less forgiving than it was, but I suspect that may be because it is set too far forward so I'll withhold any further thoughts on that until I put it somewhere comfortable. Again, I'm not necessarily recommending that anyone buy this scope, but if for some reason you needed an ultra cheap back-up for a situation where you might not be able to fix a primary, this might be handy to have around.

So I'm not sure there's truly any progress to report here except that I am learning the hard way, as usual. Once I get the gas block put back together, and get some more ammo, I'll head back to the range and try it all over again (looking at some of the reviews and comments on the gas block rebuild kit apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence lol--maybe I'll be less harsh on myself). Third time's the charm, right? Right??

The adventure continues...
 

PBramble

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I've got basically the same rifle. Odin works adjustable gas block too. Geiselle trigger was the only other mod I've made. Suppressed, I've run it with 168FGMM out to 900 yards at Fouled Bore. You'll love it when you get to use it. A little heavy for spot and stalk hunting, but I'm a glutton for punishment anyway.
 
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