In my pursuit of a new rifle for shooting at 300m I was recently given the opportunity to try out an AR15 match rifle. I went to the range to try out a new .308 load but ended up spending more time with the .223 (pictured below)
George (the owner of the rifle and generous lender) said he initially considered bringing me a box of 50 rounds then decided I would probably enjoy myself with it and so brought a bucket full.
Once I was in the rhythm I started burning through the ammunition quite quickly. Although the wind was gusty and shifting I was able to generate some quite decent groups.
The rifle is chambered in .223 Rem and has an adjustable stock and a floating forend tube. The 26″ barrel and gas parts were made by White Oak Armaments. It is a semi-auto, but it has a “bob sled” (special magazine insert) which enables it to be loaded one round at a time. After firing, the action ejects the case and locks back allowing the shooter to slip a fresh round into the breach then press a button to release the action forwards and lock. It took me a while to get used to it but once I was in the rhythm it felt very smooth and required little effort or disruption to my shooting position.
It took me a while to find a comfortable prone position with this rifle, initially the magazine well was jamming into my left wrist causing the rifle to cant left. But I was able to shorten the stock and move the handstop forward which moved the magazine well rearwards enough that it no longer bothered me. After that it felt like a small-bore shoot.
Once I was comfortable I felt like I could shoot this rifle all day, and had to make myself stop as I didn’t want to use too much of the ammunition the rifle’s owner had brought along. Although the .223 is a little more affected by the wind, the comfort and ease of firing is exactly what I am looking for. Despite my initial hesitation over a semi-auto for target work, I am coming around to the possibilities of this platform.