Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Semi-Auto Precision Rifle

Traditionally shooters that come to Shootrite for our Precision Rifle courses have shown up with bolt action scoped rifles. However, I just finished a Precision Rifle class here at Shootrite, and a common trend is developing. Half of the shooters in this class were firing AR type rifles with scopes. The same has been true of the past few Precision Rifle courses we’ve run; the scoped AR type rifles, especially in .308 and .223, are becoming more popular, and outperforming the bolt guns.

In the past the only way to get surgical precision was to use a bolt gun. Now you can have an AR type rifle, in almost any caliber you want, that will shoot just as accurately, and sometimes better, than bolt guns. There are a multitude of companies offering rifles capable of ¼ and ½ moa groups at 100 yards. And of course there’s always the option of buying the required parts from the companies of your choice and modifying the rifle you already have into a SPR – special purpose rifle.

The AR has several advantages over the traditional bolt gun. At the top of the list is the ability to immediately apply follow-up shots when necessary. Remember, just because you shoot ’em doesn’t mean they’re going down. There’s no doubt you can learn to cycle a bolt action quickly, but it will never be as quick as simply resetting the trigger on a semi-auto – especially from the modified positions you’re forced to use in the field. This is also a huge advantage when presented with multiple threats. There’s also the reduction of recoil with the semi-auto, which shortens the time required to get the scope back on target for additional shots or index on the next threat.

The semi-auto also has the advantage when it comes to magazine capacity. Normally you wouldn’t need to fire that many rounds, but in L.A. during the King riots officers were involved in a number of engagements where they were presented with multiple threats, often at extended distances.

The AR platform also allows the shooter to configure their rifle for specific actions in a short amount of time. It takes about one minute to take a short-barrel carbine equipped with a red-dot sight suited for general purpose or patrol and into a scoped precision rifle by simply exchanging the upper assembly.

I think the SPR is the future of precision rifles. It won’t happen overnight, but then the transition from revolvers to semi-auto pistols was a slow process as well. There will be many that will hold onto tradition, but we should never let tradition stand in the way of efficiency. In this case newer is better.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15

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