Adam Wilson of 1MOA Solutions asked us to share this article. We agreed in the spirit of stirring debate. We want to hear your opinion.
During carbine classes the topic of “What is The Best Fighting Rifle?” frequently comes up. This is a subjective question in my opinion because “best” is dependent on each individuals requirements. A shooter in a rural area may need the ability to engage mid range targets beyond 200 to 300 yards, while someone in a urban area typically deals with threats at much closer distances. My first recommendation is to ensure you tailor your rifle and training towards the scenarios you are most likely to encounter. While we can’t prepare for all scenarios we can train to overcome the majority.
The second thing I tell shooters is to be honest about their needs and abilities. The shooter is often the weakest link when it comes to accuracy. Lets take a moment to discuss “Fighting Rifles” and the balance of accuracy and durability. The biggest factor in your rifle’s inherent accuracy, is the type or quality of barrel used. There are two primary choices when it comes to AR15 barrels, Cold Hammer Forged (CHF) or Stainless Steel (SS). The accepted theory is that a CHF barrel is more durable than a stainless steel barrel but you compromise accuracy for longevity. There is also a significant price difference between a CHF barrel and a SS barrel. Daniel Defenselists their 14.5″ CHF barrel for $279.00 while Noveske Rifleworks lists their 14.5″ stainless steel for $455.00
For some individuals the increased accuracy may not be worth the higher cost. The $176.00 saved in this example could be invested in ammo, training, or a rifle optic. If a shooter chooses to go that route and picks up a CHF barrel instead of a stainless steel barrel how much accuracy are they sacrificing? Is that rifle still effective on a man sized target from 100 to 500 yards?
Based off of the performance I’ve seen with the Daniel Defense CHF barrel I will say yes, without a doubt! The Army Marksmanship Unit considers the issued M4/M16 rifle to be a 2-3MOA rifle. My personal experience has shown it to be a 3-5MOA rifle dependent on unit maintenance procedures. That equates to a 3-5″ group at 100 yards and 15-25″ group at 500 yards under ideal conditions.
I shot the rifle pictured below from the prone position for groups using a bipod and sand sock for rear support at 100 yards with a 4.5-14x Leupold Optics MK4 scope. It is a Legion Firearms LF15 with a Daniel Defense 14.5″ CHF barrel mid-length gas system and a SureFire, LLC muzzle device. Three different ammunition selections were used during testing. The best performance was with Federal 69gr SMK but each group fell within the 2MOA standard. This equates to 2″ at 100 yards and 10″ at 500 yards. If the average 5’8″ male is 40″ from the waistline to the top of the head and 20″ from shoulder to shoulder, a 10″ cone of fire at 500 yards gives you room to err under less than ideal conditions.
Is this what I would consider acceptable accuracy for a stainless steel barrel and match grade ammo? No, but it provides enough accuracy for the majority of shooters who also value the increased barrel life the CHF barrel provides.
Bottom line, be honest about your abilities and expectations so you get the maximum return on your investment.
1MOA Solutions was founded with the sole purpose of developing reality based training necessary for survival during deadly conflict. Our curriculum is built upon the knowledge and experience gained while serving as US Army Snipers. They challenge each shooter to constantly learn, evolve, and prepare for that one moment when accuracy determines life or death.
Comprised of a dedicated group of Military shooters with a background in precision marksmanship the 1MOA Solutions team can be found competing in Multigun, Long Range Tactical, and USPSA matches throughout the country when not training in the El Paso area.