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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 03-27-2008, 4:10 PM
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Default AR-15 Varmint Uppers

I just finished my AR-15 CQB and am very happy with it, but I went with a BB configuration.
In order to use my normal, pre-ban capacity magazines, I want to do a Varmint build with my second LWC lower.
Here's my usage/needs:
I do most of my shooting over fairly open oak woodlands, rolling hills and grasslands in the foothills of CA.
I'd like this to be a very accurate 300 yard, .223/5.56/Wylde rifle for 'yotes and other varmints.
I've got a variety of other rifles that fill the .22, 6.5, 6.8, .308 niche, so I'm not looking for those. Plus I need to be able to use all my pre-ban mags!

Here's the uppers I have it narrowed down to, in tentative order of preference:

CMMG 18" SST SPR w/Miculek Brake
Bushmaster 20" V-Match SST
RRA 20” SST Predator Pursuit
RRA 24” Varmint SST
Armalite M15 A4(T)
Model 1 Sales 24” Varmint SST

Note: I don't like the bastardized scope mounts on the Bushmaster Predator or Varmint Special, so they're out.

So, assuming prices are all about the same (between $500 and $600), which would you choose and why?
(I know the CMMG is the shortest, and I wish CMMG made a longer upper in SST, but since I've had such good luck and accuracy out of my 14.5" w/Phantom Hider, CMMG is leading the pack now.)
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Last edited by emc002; 03-27-2008 at 8:38 PM..
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2008, 4:14 PM
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i'd probably go with the cmmg or the rra predator pursuit. the 24" bull barreled uppers will probably be too heavy to carry around with you.
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2008, 4:24 PM
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How about Remington 22" varmint upper? Just saw it on Rifleman magazine.
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  #4  
Old 03-27-2008, 4:42 PM
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I have RRA and Really like it...Good quality and price..
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Old 03-27-2008, 5:04 PM
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i'll say cmmg but the predator pursuit has been getting great reviews w claims of .25in to .50in groups.
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Old 03-27-2008, 5:41 PM
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RRA are priceds great & the accuracy & quality are great as well . My first mistake with a black rifle was to order a dpms 20 inch bull barrell form miday.
The price was like 399.00 with my birthday discount , BUT in the box was a little piece of paper the stated not to expect great accuracy but maybe;.
I about through out the door. Also the dust cover will not shut.

Hard to but belive it , it came with an accuracy WAIVER.




RRA have a printed group size with ther products , got to love that!
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Old 03-27-2008, 8:41 PM
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Weight is the consideration for the shorter barrels, but is 18" too short?
Like I said, I like the CMMG quality, but I'm worried about appropriate length for what this rifle is going to do...

Plus, if I rember correctly the thread here that ranked Upper Quality went something like:
LMT>CMMG>Bushmaster>Armalite>RRA/Stag>DPMS
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  #8  
Old 03-27-2008, 9:27 PM
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I got a 24" bull barrel kit from www.jtdistributing.com it's a good quality upper and I am happy with it. I have not really got a good test of accuracy yet because my damn scope won't hold zero.
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Old 03-27-2008, 9:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emc002 View Post
Weight is the consideration for the shorter barrels, but is 18" too short?
Like I said, I like the CMMG quality, but I'm worried about appropriate length for what this rifle is going to do...

Plus, if I rember correctly the thread here that ranked Upper Quality went something like:
LMT>CMMG>Bushmaster>Armalite>RRA/Stag>DPMS
It is more like this LMT>CMMG>RRA/Stag/Armalite>Bushmaster>DPMS
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  #10  
Old 03-28-2008, 12:42 AM
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www.jprifles.com I've seen their rifles shoot 300 yards and 3 shots were covered with a dime the other two were less than an inch out. This was with a 4 power scope, and a girl with great eyes.

JP-15 or if you have the extra $$$ CTR-02
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  #11  
Old 03-28-2008, 1:06 AM
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Three questions:

1.) How far will you be shooting?
2.) What bullet loading will you be using?
3.) What kind of shooting will you be doing (bench, field, walk and shoot)?
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  #12  
Old 03-28-2008, 8:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uclaplinker View Post
Three questions:

1.) How far will you be shooting?
2.) What bullet loading will you be using?
3.) What kind of shooting will you be doing (bench, field, walk and shoot)?
1. Between 50 yards and 300 yards (maybe longer, but not usually).
2. Hunting / Target: Hornady 75gr or Nosler 77gr bullets. Generally NATO loading but sometimes 90~95% max pressure for match loading.
Plinking: Whatever's on sale (usually American Eagle), but no Wolf.
3. 15% Bench (Range) / 55% Portable Bench (Field) / 30% Walk & Shoot
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  #13  
Old 03-28-2008, 8:41 AM
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PERFECT. Now I know you definitely do NOT want a bull barrel or anything over 20".

Will you be shooting small game, or moving up to things like coyotes? If so, go to 20"

I'd push you toward a lighter or medcon SS in the 18-20" range.

Get at least 1/8 twist (probably optimal here) with a Wylde chambering for flexibility from 55gr-80gr.

Honestly, at the 0-400yd range, even a 16" barrel is enough. The extra length will up velocity, but short and fat is better for precision accuracy.

If you can afford it, put more money into the barrel. Think JP.

I would suggest something like their 18" light contour barrel 1/8 or, if you need the velocity, their heavy 20"

Quote:
Originally Posted by emc002 View Post
1. Between 50 yards and 300 yards (maybe longer, but not usually).
2. Hunting / Target: Hornady 75gr or Nosler 77gr bullets. Generally NATO loading but sometimes 90~95% max pressure for match loading.
Plinking: Whatever's on sale (usually American Eagle), but no Wolf.
3. 15% Bench (Range) / 55% Portable Bench (Field) / 30% Walk & Shoot
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  #14  
Old 03-28-2008, 8:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uclaplinker View Post
Will you be shooting small game, or moving up to things like coyotes? If so, go to 20"

I'd push you toward a lighter or medcon SS in the 18-20" range.

Get at least 1/8 twist (probably optimal here) with a Wylde chambering for flexibility from 55gr-80gr.

If you can afford it, put more money into the barrel. Think JP.

I would suggest something like their 18" light contour barrel 1/8 or, if you need the velocity, their heavy 20"
uclaplinker, you're the man! Thanks that's the exact information I was looking for!
Yes, I'll be shooting coyotes, along with ground squirrels and jack rabbits as the main prey of this gun.
I'd like to get a nicer barrel, but I'm saving my $ for a really nice AR-10 barrel for that build instead, so I'm looking at complete uppers.
So of those I listed, it sounds like your recommendation would be (in this order)?
RRA 20 SST Predator Pursuit - .223 Wylde, 1:8 Twist
CMMG 18" SST SPR w/Miculek Brake - 5.56, 1:8 Twist
Bushmaster 20" V-Match SST - 5.56, 1:9 Twist

Is there any other out there in the $500~$600 Complete Upper range you'd recommend over these?
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  #15  
Old 03-28-2008, 9:08 AM
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I really like my 24" fluted SS DPMS Upper (there was a group buy for them like a year or so ago). This one is easy 1/2 MOA with my reloads and even with me behind it and with cheap BSA scope. I want to blacken it though, too blinky for my taste.

Vasiliy
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  #16  
Old 03-28-2008, 9:38 AM
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I might consider the match stainless hbar barrel from RRA.

You can get it 20", it allows a detachable muzzle brake, and you can swap out the plastic handguard for that same FF rail and the railed gas block.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emc002 View Post
uclaplinker, you're the man! Thanks that's the exact information I was looking for!
Yes, I'll be shooting coyotes, along with ground squirrels and jack rabbits as the main prey of this gun.
I'd like to get a nicer barrel, but I'm saving my $ for a really nice AR-10 barrel for that build instead, so I'm looking at complete uppers.
So of those I listed, it sounds like your recommendation would be (in this order)?
RRA 20 SST Predator Pursuit - .223 Wylde, 1:8 Twist
CMMG 18" SST SPR w/Miculek Brake - 5.56, 1:8 Twist
Bushmaster 20" V-Match SST - 5.56, 1:9 Twist

Is there any other out there in the $500~$600 Complete Upper range you'd recommend over these?
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  #17  
Old 03-28-2008, 9:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uclaplinker View Post
I might consider the match stainless hbar barrel from RRA.

You can get it 20", it allows a detachable muzzle brake, and you can swap out the plastic handguard for that same FF rail and the railed gas block.
Looked, but my Google-Fu must be weak today. Link?
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  #18  
Old 03-28-2008, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emc002 View Post
Looked, but my Google-Fu must be weak today. Link?


Last edited by aplinker; 03-28-2008 at 10:17 AM..
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  #19  
Old 03-28-2008, 11:37 AM
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I have an upper that is very similar to the RRA Predator Pursuit, 20" Wilson heavy match barrel, it has a standard A2 handguard, not free float, with the railed gas block. It is very good at the ranges you say you want to shoot. It is a little heavy for a lot of carrying, but nothing like the 24" bull barrel rifles.
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  #20  
Old 03-28-2008, 5:45 PM
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Predator pursuit over the nm setup it is specifically setup for what you want. unless you plan on using it as a match gun also.
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Old 03-28-2008, 6:04 PM
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Quote:
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Predator pursuit over the nm setup it is specifically setup for what you want. unless you plan on using it as a match gun also.
The "options" can be changed. The pictures don't show what's possible.

Those pics were for his options on handguards and barrel choices... At least from RRA
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Old 04-01-2008, 5:27 PM
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i'm afraid that this is a super stupid question, but what is the difference between the varmint bull barrel and the national match stainless barrel?

how does the national match barrel achieve its accuracy without being a bull barrel type architecture?
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Old 04-01-2008, 8:50 PM
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Quote:
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i'm afraid that this is a super stupid question, but what is the difference between the varmint bull barrel and the national match stainless barrel?

how does the national match barrel achieve its accuracy without being a bull barrel type architecture?
The only difference between bull and heavy is profile (thickness)

bull>heavy>medcon>government (there are LOTS of others, too)

The 24" length needs more thickness so it doesn't flop and go flaccid.
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:12 PM
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I'm happy with my 20" DPMS varmit upper. I am not a big fan of RRA. My RRA upper is alright, but not as accurate as my buddies Model 1. Go figures BTW, I was talking about M4 uppers. RRA varmit upper may be better.
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:18 PM
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I can build you a nice mid-weight 18" upper for $685 using a White Oak SPR-M barrel, basic rifle length freefloat tube using good quality components.
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Old 04-02-2008, 1:56 AM
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Randall makes good stuff, great stuff actually, and will do it as you wait. If you're local you should 100% go that route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by draconianruler View Post
I'm happy with my 20" DPMS varmit upper. I am not a big fan of RRA. My RRA upper is alright, but not as accurate as my buddies Model 1. Go figures BTW, I was talking about M4 uppers. RRA varmit upper may be better.
You're comparing the accuracy of a stainless steel varmint barrel to a chrome lined combat barrel.

There's a difference there.
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:33 PM
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I sent Randall a PM, good advice.

Now, since White Oak was mentioned, and its about the same price, what about the White Oak Armament Varmint Upper versus the CMMG 18" SPR & RRA Predator Pursuit?
White Oak Varmint 20" - $590
RRA Preadator Pursuit 20" - $549
CMMG 18" SS SPR - $535
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Old 04-04-2008, 5:22 PM
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I have a RRA predator pursuit 20". It shoots great. it will eat most any kind of bullet. I'm still a bit of a newbee when it comes to shooting, but it will put the hole where i want it.

I picked it over some of the other manufacturers cause the fit and finish is really nice on the reciever. it matched my Mega lower really well.

i don't think you will go wrong with any one of those options they all will be fine.

I've heard great things about Randal at AR15 barrels and that would give you a better barrel set up and you wouldn't have to worry about quality either.

My buddy have a 18" Compass lake Heavy barrel that shoots just a hair better than my predator pursuit. he did spend a bit more for the complete upper. If quality and accuracy is what you want, spend the extra $50-$100. and get it right the first time!

my .02
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Old 04-04-2008, 5:49 PM
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I have had good luck with my J&T 24" Match 15 Upper, you can check out more info about it here
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Old 04-04-2008, 8:36 PM
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Haven't read the whole thing...but what about the .204 Ruger uppers? I've got a 24" stainless free floated .204 upper that is SWEEEEEET. Dead accurate to well past three hundred yards, ammo is fairly cheap, it takes the SAME, UNMODIFIED MAGAZINE as the 5.56 so you can use all your old high caps, its not the same caliber as any that you already have... ... ...
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Old 04-04-2008, 8:40 PM
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I'm a hobgoblin of mindless consistency. I generally like to keep my rifles in the same caliber unless I need a specific performance I can't get out of my existing arsenal.
Most of my rifles are .17HM2, .22LR, 5.56/.223, .308. Makes reloading easier too.
OTOH, I know I'm missing out on cool calibers I might like better, but I'm worried if I do try one and like it better, I've got to re-do my entire line up!
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Old 04-04-2008, 8:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emc002 View Post
I'm a hobgoblin of mindless consistency. I generally like to keep my rifles in the same caliber unless I need a specific performance I can't get out of my existing arsenal.
Most of my rifles are .17HM2, .22LR, 5.56/.223, .308. Makes reloading easier too.
OTOH, I know I'm missing out on cool calibers I might like better, but I'm worried if I do try one and like it better, I've got to re-do my entire line up!
When did you start reloading 22lr?
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Old 04-04-2008, 8:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uclaplinker View Post
When did you start reloading 22lr?
Or 17HM2?
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Old 04-04-2008, 9:05 PM
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Ah bite me ya bastages! I'm a few scotches into the night.
I just meant I have a lot of rifles in that caliber!
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Old 04-05-2008, 1:18 AM
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IIIIiiiiii think you should look into the .204 Ruger. Easily and cheaply reloadable and, like I said, you can still use those old leftover thirty rounders that you have stockpiled because they feed from an unmodified 5.56 magazine! Awesome performance, very little recoil so you can see squirrel heads go pop through the scope, incredible velocity and...with a good shot...many say it'll drop a coyote out to decent ranges too. I LOVE mine. Probably shoot it more than i do my 5.56 anymore, and definitely more than I do the Beowulf (though not because I don't want to shoo the fifty more...just because of cost!)
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