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

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  #1  
Old 05-02-2008, 1:56 PM
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Default Noveske N-6 build, 26" Bull Barrel.

I have finally joined the ranks of the OLL builders now that an Armalite compatible 308 lower is available. Picture of my work in progress:


Upper is a Blackthorne unit with 26" stainless Bull Barrel. It was cheap, I didn't know any better, hopefully it works out OK...... Bolt and carrier are Armalite parts, so that should go a long way towards making it function correctly.

Scope is a 4-16X56 illuminated mil dot from Leapers. Rings are from NC Star, and are absolutely massive. Not one to take chances, I added another set just to be sure. Definitely overkill, but at least I can rule out the rings as a potential source of problems later on.

Stock and trigger guard are from Magpul, with Ergo Grip rigid tactical grip w/ palm shelf. I have a Jard 3 pound adjustable single stage trigger on the way. eventually I hope to get a VLTOR/Tango Down bipod to mount up front once I get some side rails installed on the free float tube. Once I get everything function tested and all the bugs worked out, it will get camo'ed up with either DuraCoat or AlumaHyde.
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2008, 2:00 PM
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LOVING the ring set up. You probably could have bought one pair of decent rings for what the two sets of Ncstar rings ran you...or a decent mount of some sort. Let us know how it runs and if you have any problems.
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2008, 2:10 PM
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Actually, those rings are only $14.00 a set.
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2008, 2:18 PM
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Very nice clean looking rifle you got there. Congrats...
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Old 05-02-2008, 2:28 PM
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Originally Posted by FMJBT View Post
Actually, those rings are only $14.00 a set.
I stand corrected. Well hell, I say put on another set!
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2008, 2:44 PM
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Originally Posted by IceMan711 View Post
I stand corrected. Well hell, I say put on another set!

I could probably fit one more in on the backside.....

They're pretty decent rings really. I could have just used one set and been fine. I ordered two just in case though, and I hate having leftover parts
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2008, 2:49 PM
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What a shame for the fine piece of firearm and ammo.... leapers scope and ncstar rings....
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2008, 3:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jicko View Post
What a shame for the fine piece of firearm and ammo.... leapers scope and ncstar rings....
I figured putting a Nightforce/U.S. Optics/Zeiss/Swarovski/IOR scope with Badger rings on a Blackthorne upper would be a bit like sprinkling diamonds on a turd. The optics and rings I'm using are pretty comparable to the upper they are on, and I'm sure they will work just fine. Thanks for that bit of constructive criticism though
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2008, 3:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Jicko View Post
What a shame for the fine piece of firearm and ammo.... leapers scope and ncstar rings....
Smart people spend what they can when they can. Dummies spend more than they can all the time.
Maybe he wanted to hurry up and have something to shoot while he saves up?
Maybe he wanted to try out the AR10 platform on the cheap before he commits to a Randall build?
Who knows? I'll tell you who doesn't know - You and I.

Cut the guy a break. At least he used a PRS with the lower!
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2008, 3:26 PM
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Originally Posted by emc002 View Post
Smart people spend what they can when they can. Dummies spend more than they can all the time.
Maybe he wanted to hurry up and have something to shoot while he saves up?
Maybe he wanted to try out the AR10 platform on the cheap before he commits to a Randall build?
Who knows? I'll tell you who doesn't know - You and I.

Cut the guy a break. At least he used a PRS with the lower!
Well... the $200 for the PRS would've been better spent on glass, IMHO.



It's all up to the individual, though.
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2008, 5:50 PM
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Is that one of those $199 barrels? (and the $99 upper receiver?)

How does the barrel look? I have heard that they are made from Wilson blanks? Does anyone know for sure? I have been told by Armalite that many of their barrels started out life as Wilson blanks and this is what they make the AR10T barrels (when there is not a special run with a higher end barrel).

When are you going to shoot it? I am very interested to see how it does.

What did the complete upper cost you?


Do you think that barrel could be cut down to 20" and still have it function without having to rework the gas system?

Thanks,

David
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2008, 8:49 PM
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Originally Posted by StoneTower View Post
Is that one of those $199 barrels? (and the $99 upper receiver?)

How does the barrel look? I have heard that they are made from Wilson blanks? Does anyone know for sure? I have been told by Armalite that many of their barrels started out life as Wilson blanks and this is what they make the AR10T barrels (when there is not a special run with a higher end barrel).

When are you going to shoot it? I am very interested to see how it does.

What did the complete upper cost you?


Do you think that barrel could be cut down to 20" and still have it function without having to rework the gas system?

Thanks,

David
Yeah, this is one of the uppers from the Akpartskits.com website. I bought it a few years ago, and at that time they were still selling complete uppers. Now all they have are the seperate parts to build an upper with. IIRC, this upper was only about $400 when I got it. I had to get the bolt and carrier seperately which is probably a good thing as I don't think Hesse/Blackthorne would do a very good job with the smaller parts.


Aside from some file marks added to the exterior of the barrel during assembly by Blackthorne, it looks to be fairly high quality. It wouldn't surprise me if it was indeed a Wilson blank. Rifling is well defined and doesn't have any rough areas or tool chatter marks from machining. The chamber is nice and smooth, and it just barely locks up on a "GO" headspace gauge. The recessed target crown is also nicely finished. I really can't find any faults with the barrel aside from the exterior areas that Hesse decided to file on for some reason.


The receiver has some odd machining marks in a few places, and the finish was slightly scratched in a few spots when I got it. It also doesn't mate perfectly with the Armalite lower as far as cosmetics are concerned. There are a few areas near the rear of the receiver where there is a slight offset between the surfaces. You really have to look for it to see it though. As far as function is concerned, the upper and lower mate together perfectly, which is all that really matters.


I'm not sure if the gas system would still work if the barrel was cut short by 6 inches. You'd still have about 6 inches left past the gas block, but I'm not sure if that would be enough to cycle the action or not.


I should be ready for test firing by the end of the month if all my parts get in. I was actually supposed to go on deployment this month, but it got cancelled at the last minute so my schedule is wide open now I'll probably end up taking it down to SBR&GC or out in the boonies in Dulzura one of these weekends when I can get out of babysitting for a few hours. I'll post back here with results.

Last edited by FMJBT; 05-02-2008 at 8:56 PM..
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2008, 9:03 PM
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I like this setup muahahaha
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  #14  
Old 05-02-2008, 9:08 PM
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I like this setup muahahaha
Hmmmm.... That looks oddly familiar......
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2008, 8:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneTower View Post
Is that one of those $199 barrels? (and the $99 upper receiver?)

How does the barrel look? I have heard that they are made from Wilson blanks? Does anyone know for sure? I have been told by Armalite that many of their barrels started out life as Wilson blanks and this is what they make the AR10T barrels (when there is not a special run with a higher end barrel).

When are you going to shoot it? I am very interested to see how it does.

What did the complete upper cost you?


Do you think that barrel could be cut down to 20" and still have it function without having to rework the gas system?

Thanks,

David
For what its worth I spoke with the folks at akpartskit.com (Blackthorne/Hesse/Vulcan) about these barrels. I was told that these are Wilson blanks, button rifled by Wilson, with a SAMMI 308 chamber reamed by Wilson. I ordered one and it is en route. Im going to send it down to Randall at ar15barrels to have it cut down and threaded. Hopefully he can give it a thorough inspection and give the rest of the board an opinion.
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  #16  
Old 05-03-2008, 1:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CACitUP View Post
For what its worth I spoke with the folks at akpartskit.com (Blackthorne/Hesse/Vulcan) about these barrels. I was told that these are Wilson blanks, button rifled by Wilson, with a SAMMI 308 chamber reamed by Wilson. I ordered one and it is en route. Im going to send it down to Randall at ar15barrels to have it cut down and threaded. Hopefully he can give it a thorough inspection and give the rest of the board an opinion.
What is it going to cost you to have it shortened? What comes with the barrel? (Gas block, barrel extension??) Did you happen to ask if they are gong to get any more of those $800 20" barrels That has to be a mistake.

Thanks,

David
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  #17  
Old 05-10-2008, 2:04 PM
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Default Range Report

Took it out for it's first test fire and zeroing today. Right at the start, it was failing to operate in semi. I need to do some more adjustments to the Jard single stage trigger evidently. The trigger and disconnector were operating fine when I initially installed and adjusted it, but this morning the disconnector was failing to engage. I ended up loading it one at a time through the ejection port for test firing. The rifle does cycle and eject well though, so once I get the trigger worked out it should fire in semi without a hitch.

I initially bore sighted the rifle, and then started out with some surplus to get it sighted in. This gun hates surplus ammo. Hates it bad. Groups on average ran about 4" to 5" and looked a lot like a shotgun pattern.

I switched over to some Ultramax reloads with 168grn FMJBT's and the groups started to settle in quite a bit. 10 shot groups were all within about 2". My Savage shoots these same bullets into a little less than 3/4". Switching again to Black Hills 168grn moly coated FMJBT's tightened up the groups even more. Here's the best 5 shot group of the day:



The first 3 shots cover just over 1/2", with 2 shots going into the same hole. Shots 4 and 5 opened it up to a little over an inch. Throughout the day the rifle repeatedly made consecutive shots into the same hole, but would throw the 3rd and 4th shots wide, but also nearly through the same hole.

Towards the afternoon the Jard trigger stopped working altogether, with the disconnector failing to release the hammer into the sear for firing. Despite the use of locktite on all the trigger adjustment screws, it seems that several of them have backed out and thrown the initial adjustments off.

In addition to the trigger malfunction, the gun had a few other hicups. Out of 60 rounds fired, the rifle failed to eject 4 of them although extraction was 100% Probably a simple fix like oiling the ejector plunger would solve this. I also noticed on the gas block that some of the gas is escaping under the edges. The block has been clamped down tightly, so I can only attribute this to surface defects on either the inside bore of the gas block or the outer surface of the barrel under the block. Given the file marks on the outside of the barrel near the gas block, I would bet that there are also some filed off areas under it as well that are letting gas bypass.

I should be able to get the trigger functioning properly this weekend. Once that is working I'll take it out for round 2 of testing and break-in and report back with more results.

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  #18  
Old 05-10-2008, 3:41 PM
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Good honest report. Keep us updated.
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  #19  
Old 05-10-2008, 7:58 PM
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Sounds great! I'm still waiting for my tax check so I can replace my HAR25.
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  #20  
Old 05-21-2008, 9:46 PM
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I see that Armalite is selling complete AR-10 uppers -- I assume you could have gone t hat way for the extra bucks? Is this a BB lower?

Last edited by X-NewYawker; 05-21-2008 at 9:51 PM..
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  #21  
Old 05-21-2008, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by X-NewYawker View Post
I see that Armalite is selling complete AR-10 uppers -- I assume you could have gone t hat way for the extra bucks? Is this a BB lower?
The Armalite upper would be a perfect match for the Noveske lower. I only went with this upper because I stumbled across it for a ridiculously low price, and I didn't take the time to play connect the dots between Blackthorne, Hesse, and Vulcan. Building an AR-10 was not even on my to-do list at the time, the upper was a complete impulse buy. After I bought it though, I soon realized that nobody made an OLL that was compatible with it. Hesse lowers were available from time to time, but the timing never worked out and I was never able to get one. After waiting for several years, the Noveske receivers became available and I jumped at the chance to actually finish this thing and get it to the range.

For now, I'm using a Prince 50 Mag Lock on the lower. Once I've tested the OLL waters here in San Diego a bit more, I'll probably swap it out for a BB. Having a detachable mag would be nice. I've also been toying with the idea of running a thin cable from the underside of the magazine follower out through the bottom of the mag to a pull ring. To load the mag, you could just pull the cable from the bottom of the mag to lower the follower, then dump in 10 rounds through the ejection port to fill up the mag. Release the cable to put compression back on the follower, release the slide, and fire. Like combat loading a shotgun, sort of....
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  #22  
Old 05-22-2008, 11:53 AM
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You owe me a new key board for the Red Bull I spit all over mine after reading your post. Bahahahahaha.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FMJBT View Post
I figured putting a Nightforce/U.S. Optics/Zeiss/Swarovski/IOR scope with Badger rings on a Blackthorne upper would be a bit like sprinkling diamonds on a turd. The optics and rings I'm using are pretty comparable to the upper they are on, and I'm sure they will work just fine. Thanks for that bit of constructive criticism though
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  #23  
Old 05-25-2008, 7:37 PM
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You owe me a new key board for the Red Bull I spit all over mine after reading your post. Bahahahahaha.

I'm glad somebody saw the humor in that
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  #24  
Old 05-25-2008, 8:01 PM
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Default More bullet holes!

Went to BLM land again today to run some more rounds through the AR-10. The trigger worked for the most part this time, I was able to get several 10 round strings without malfunctions. It still has some issues with the disconnector not engaging though. Several times the hammer failed to reset between shots. I've noticed that after about 40 to 50 rounds, my trigger finger started to get sore because the trigger is violently getting reset when it does actually work. I'm going to tear it down again and take a look at the disconnector spring. It seems like the spring may be bound up, causing the entire trigger assembly to ratchet into place during recoil instead of just the disconnector itself. So far, not too happy with the Jard trigger

New group photos:


10 rounds of Black Hills 168gr HPBT @100 yards. POI remained the same from the last group I shot a few weeks ago. Shot #10 is in the upper right, and was actually a Remington 150gr soft point (Ran out of Black Hills 168's)


10(+1) rounds of crappy 147gr Indian surplus 7.62. Yup, it still hates milsurp. Had an extra round of Remington 150gr soft point left over that I decided to shoot at the target as well just for the hell of it. Can you guess which one #11 is?
(hint: It's in the red....)

Last edited by FMJBT; 05-25-2008 at 9:51 PM..
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  #25  
Old 05-25-2008, 9:12 PM
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Forgot to add: Just ordered a Bullet Button to use next time out. I'd probably be okay with a Mag Lock on a standard AR-15, but on an AR-10, the goofy spring plunger on the back of the magazine follower just dicks up the whole operation. It jams while loading the second round from the top of the mag, and requires a lot of manipulation to get it to release the follower to accept more rounds.

In summary: Top loading an AR-10, not so much fun.
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Old 05-26-2008, 1:43 AM
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Looks good. I pick up mine on Tuesday. If I can get everything switched from my HAR25 I'll take it to Coalinga (1000 yards) on Friday. Once I got the springs right, my Jard trigger worked fine in my HAR25. I've been running a monsterman grip because I didn't trust the mag catch in the HAR25 when using an Armalite mag, but I have a BB for the N6.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 50BMGBOB View Post
Looks good. I pick up mine on Tuesday. If I can get everything switched from my HAR25 I'll take it to Coalinga (1000 yards) on Friday. Once I got the springs right, my Jard trigger worked fine in my HAR25. I've been running a monsterman grip because I didn't trust the mag catch in the HAR25 when using an Armalite mag, but I have a BB for the N6.

What kind of groups have you been able to get with the HAR-25? Are mine pretty typical for this upper? I'm definitely interested to see how yours does at 1000 yards.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:57 AM
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Upgrade your glass, your group sizes will shrink.
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  #29  
Old 05-26-2008, 11:43 AM
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Upgrade your glass, your group sizes will shrink.
I'm still keeping that option open, I have a Springfield Armory Govt. Model scope that I might swap out eventually. I think the main issue with my groups now is that the rifle is very picky about what ammo it likes. It shows a definite preference for heavier rounds. I'm pretty sure that playing around with seating depth of the bullets will improve accuracy quite a bit as well. On this last trip out, I ran a few handloads through it that a friend of mine loaded for my Mauser. They just barely fit into the mag, quite a bit longer overall than the Black Hills 308. Six of those ended up in a cluster just under 3/4" across.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:46 AM
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LC brass, 43.0grs RL15, 210M, 175gr SMKS, Fitted to 2.800 OAL Close to M118LR loads give that a try.
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Old 05-26-2008, 4:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FMJBT View Post
What kind of groups have you been able to get with the HAR-25? Are mine pretty typical for this upper? I'm definitely interested to see how yours does at 1000 yards.
We have the same upper and the groups look about the same. I haven't taken the time to work up a load for it yet. I have an M25 (Springfield) and need to work up a load for it as well. Using Blackhills ammo I usally get about 1.5" (5 shots at 100 yards) with both rifles. But occasionally I'll put 5 in less than .75". Surplus SA opens it up a lot. I still need a better scope for the N6/HAR25 but I will see if I can get to 1000 yards with the one I have. I'll mainly be there to shoot my 50BMG but I bring the 308's for the silhouette's out too 500m. I haven't shot either of the 308's on paper at 1000 yards yet but I plan to this weekend.
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  #32  
Old 05-26-2008, 5:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cypriss32 View Post
LC brass, 43.0grs RL15, 210M, 175gr SMKS, Fitted to 2.800 OAL Close to M118LR loads give that a try.
I'm still saving up for a reloading setup, but I will definitely give this a try once I get everything pieced together. In the short term, I may be able to get some M118LR to try next time I go out. Hopefully they tighten up the groups a little and indicate if the rifle needs something heavier than 168's.
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Old 05-26-2008, 5:33 PM
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Reloading will not save you any money.... You wil just be able to shoot more!

It should get that thing shooting GREAT. What kind of barrel is it again?
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  #34  
Old 05-26-2008, 5:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cypriss32 View Post
Reloading will not save you any money.... You wil just be able to shoot more!

It should get that thing shooting GREAT. What kind of barrel is it again?
Yeah, I've been keeping an eye on prices for components, not as cheap as they used to be. Still cheaper than buying feeding it Federal Gold Medal, but not exactly "cheap"....

The barrel is factory Blackthorne/Hesse, supposedly built from a Wilson chambered blank. It's basically just an uncontoured 1.20" blank under the handguard. Forward of the gas block it is turned down to .920". It's massive enough that even 20 rounds fired in under 5 minutes barely gets it warm.
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Old 05-26-2008, 6:32 PM
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Don't even bother with 7.62 unless your upper is specifically chambered in 7.62, especially a semi-auto. The only rifles I've seen that liked 7.62 were (no surprise) M1As and FALs, although I'm not too familiar with AR-10s all the ones I have seen are .308. Besides the technical differences 7.62 just shoots like crap out of .308s, as you saw already cheap 308 shot much better. Also I know other people suggested this already but since you seem to care about the accuracy of this build I'm bringing it up again: you will get tighter groups with cheap 150gr 308 and better glass than that Leapers and any 168gr match, at any range.

What is the twist on your barrel?
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  #36  
Old 05-26-2008, 8:28 PM
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The barrel is a 1-10" twist rate. Good point about the 7.62. I figured the large groups with the surplus were due largely to the lighter bullet weight, but chambering differences could definitely be playing a part too. I might try running a box of 110gr 308 rounds through it next time out just to see if they get tossed around too.

Pending the results of more load testing, I may end up switching out the scope, although I seriously doubt that the Leapers scope is a major contributing factor in this case. The clarity on it is excellent. Better, in fact, than the Springfield/Hakko scope I have as a backup for it. I can see my own hits at 100 yards very clearly. It holds zero, tracks well, and is repeatable. My only real gripes about it are that I have to crank down from 16X to 10X to use the Mil Dot, and the 1/8 moa adjustments are a little too fine for field use.
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  #37  
Old 05-26-2008, 8:31 PM
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Save your pennies and get some good glass. You groups will be good with the 168gr and 175gr Match ammo.
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:58 PM
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Old 06-10-2008, 8:03 AM
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