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AR-15 - A Proposal for a Standard and "Minimum MAG Configuration"

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by DarkLight, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    This thread comes as an expansion of a previous AR-15 standards thread. The purpose is to propose, discuss and hopefully come to a consensus on the following:
    • Hard requirements that every configuration should have - This is the basic, minimal required hardware for a fully functional, accurate, usable by any "Monkey" firearm. It will provide consistency of platform as well as a minimum standard for accuracy and tolerances. Minimum, in this instance and used in this thread should not imply lack of quality control or capability. Basically, any Monkey should be...proud I guess, to own an AR based on what we as a group determine to be our minimum.
    • Suggested component upgrades or additions to the platform - Any upgrades or additions need to be something that has a positive impact on the utility of the rifle: accuracy, reliability, etc. They should be components that are not directly required by the platform to function and directly increase your ability to put more bullets in a smaller area at a greater distance. Higher "quality" components may fit into this category.
    • Preferred configuration components - This is where personal preference can (and should) start to enter the picture. Preferred configuration components should not "encumber" a user that isn't familiar with their operation or hinder their ability to utilize the platform. The highest quality components also fit into this category.
    • Optional components. These are just that...optional. They are NOT required to make the base firearm work, although they may enhance the overall functionality. Like Preferred components, inclusion of these options should not hinder a user who is unfamiliar with them in the operation of the firearm. This is the most subjective area and as such has the potential to be the most hotly contested. Please see the notes at the end of this post as they absolutely apply here.
    Before we begin cussing and discussing all of the various components, I think I need to help define a few things and what the purpose of the thread is for.

    First, this is not a thread for you to trash anyone or anything. Civil discourse is required. I am not a mod but I will flag (and I hope others will to if necessary) inflammatory, negative, appendage wagging posts for deletion or editing. By posting in this thread, you agree that if you cross the line in a post that is otherwise useful, your post should, can and will if at all possible be edited for content.

    Second, I am nobody, ok? I'm not a mod, I'm not a founding member and the "Site Supporter" tag just means I threw a few bucks at melbo to help defray the costs associated with the server. My opinion carries no more weight than anyone else's (except with me...I think I'm usually right). I just see a need and hopefully a way to navigate it. I'm being blunt but frankly, I don't have the authority to back up what I'm asking for/saying.

    Third, standards exist for a reason, so people can standardize and know what they are getting. In this case, I hope we can come to consensus on a minimum, suggested and preferred configuration "standard". That being said...standards exist for a reason and people don't always know what that reason is.

    Case in point: rifling twist. Originally the platform had a 1:14 twist rate with only 4 grooves (1 full turn of the rifling every 14 inches of barrel length). It was soon discovered that was insufficient to stabilize the bullet at low temperature and was changed to 1:12...faster spin. This was also based on a 55 gr bullet. Generally speaking, heavier bullets perform better with a faster spin...however, there is a point of diminishing returns, thus the argument surrounding 1:9, 1:8 and 1:7. Current spec (at least I believe current spec) is 1:7, right-hand twist, 6 grooves. From what I've read, this is partially as a compromise for the even heavier SS109 bullet (62 gr) as opposed to the M193 (55 gr). This is also somewhat of a compromise for distance, more stable at longer ranges.

    Rather than outline what I think should be the base, minimum standard though, I really think we need input from everyone with justifications for the things that they want, think are important or feel should be included.

    Personally, I'm not necessarily brand loyal. If you provide a specific off-the-shelf build, please provide specs that show where it sits in the min/sugg/pref chart. Reasons for everything we use as a standard are going to be critical to keep this as objective as possible for as much of the build as possible. I would posit that the fact that the company has a Military contract for the firearm is insufficient reason to consider it higher or lower in general...we all know that the tools our government buys are ALWAYS from the lowest bidder.

    Instead of putting a poll on this thread, I'm going to start separate threads for different components. This is due to the fact that there are simply too many variables for a single poll (or at least my meager poll creation skills. To the best of my knowledge, the poll functionality on the site doesn't allow for sub-items, etc.

    I'll be uploading a spreadsheet (blank right now) in .xls format for maximum compatibility that will get uploaded and the link here should always point to the most recent, up-to-date copy.
    JABECmfg and kellory like this.
  2. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    I'd be more interested in ammunition standardization, a la "Dude, toss me a mag" and my point of impact stays close enough.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Good. Then I might learn something about these weapons. When I DO purchase or build, I want to know the why's of it, not just the what's. I own (currently) only one semi-auto weapon. A glenfield #60.
  4. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    Very good point. Perhaps if this goes well I'll start (or someone else can) another thread where we go into gory detail on ammo.
  5. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I have a few questions as to how we should determine the minimum standard;

    Is the standard based on if this was your only rifle?

    Is the standard determined for a Close Quarter Battle, Medium Ranged Marksman or Long Distance Marksman rifle?

    Or are we trying to come up with a rifle that would fit all of the above, compromise?

    I agree not everybody is gonna be able to throw down almost $2000 on a complete rifle package. Everybody's budget is different, some people might have to struggle just to be able to afford the basic $700-$800 AR-15, let alone add any accessories. Some folks might rather purchase 2-3 complete rifles that have not undergone all the required testing protocols to be considered a mil-spec rifle.

    All of us have different reasons for coming up with what WE might consider the perfect configuration based on budget, terrain, perceived threat, is this my only AR-15, ect, ect, ect........

    Up until a few years ago, each and every Carbine AR-15 I had owned was kept in the original configuration as it came from the factory. Also, up until that same point each and every Carbine AR-15 I had owned either had a fixed carry handle or it was an A3 upper with a removable carry handle. This is the configuration I am most familiar with and what I have the most trigger time with.

    Since then, I have broadened my horizons with different length uppers, fixed power and variable power optics on different types/brand/length upper, Red Dot Scopes and Holographic Weapons Systems.

    Based on my personal experience from the above, my main (if this is my only rifle, though not my only) AR-15 that I set-up, I came to the conclusion that I should set it up as a Medium Range Marksman rifle as my compromise. I also based this on that I would have a pistol and defense shotgun to help supplement CQB scenarios, for what I lost setting up the AR-15 as a Medium Range Marksman Rifle.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  6. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    @ColtCarbine - Excellent questions/points and that's exactly what we need to decide. Do we need a minimum carbine and a minimum full-length standard or can it be something that compromises?

    I know I'm suggesting we build this thing by committee which has the potential for creating a platypus if we aren't careful. I have some ideas as to what I would throw out for minimum, suggested and preferred and I plan on putting some of that to paper but I'd like everyone who wants to weigh in on this (hopefully that includes @melbo and @phishi...see what I just did there? ;) ) to take a long hard look at what they think those standards should be.

    Will minimum be "pretty"? Well, I think so because I like the platform and even a "basic" rifle in either carbine or full-length is great (assuming quality...won't dis a brand but I have some reservations about some producers). Will it be as "capable" as a suggested or preferred? Probably not. Things like magnified optics exist for a reason, but if all I have is iron sights then that's all I got and I need to know how to use them (at the range I'm probably 80% iron sights because I can now tear out a hole in the paper with my red-dot that everything afterwards goes through).

    Do optics need to be a minimum? What should it be zeroed at (one reason I like iron sights with windage and elevation)? Is chrome an suggested or preferred upgrade or is it, again, minimum? Carry handle or flat-top? If carry handle, does it "need" to be removable for any of the three standards? Free-floating? Where, if anywhere, does a piston system fit in? How important is parkerization under everything? Is an upper chambered for Wylde acceptable at any level?

    Ok, I lied, here are some of the things I think should be bare minimums but again, they are my opinion and I'm willing to compromise where necessary.
    Iron sights with windage and elevation on a carry handle...can be detachable but defeats the purpose.
    Carbine or full-length, zeroed at 100, 200 and 250 yds. If full-length, zeroed further (I "can't" because there isn't a range nearby to go that far).
    Chambered in 5.56. Having an upper that is only spec'd to .223 is a half-useless rifle because you limit your choice of ammunition.
    Trigger pull between 6.5 and 8 lbs

    That's it, those are my minimums. If it is quality, I won't care if it's a collapsible stock or not, if there is an integrated trigger guard or the little "removable" one, etc. For me, I would be really hard pressed to use a left side ejection model because...well, I'm right-handed and that would send the brass into my face.

    Do I have some personal preferences? Sure. I "prefer" a collapsible/adjustable stock (I have long arms). I "prefer" carbine length but adapt very quickly to the longer 20" barrel. I haven't ever used an upper without a forward assist but I'm sure they exist and I would really like it to be there just in case but...not required IMO. Hell, it doesn't even have to have an ejection port cover! I have no preference of forged or billet (yes, technically the forging comes from a billet but I think you know where I'm coming from). The mag well doesn't have to be...what is it called, fluxed or something like that. If the mag goes in like it should, feeds like it should and comes out ONLY when I press the mag release...I'm good.

    I guess that's what I think of when I throw "minimum" out there. Fully functional with a minimum of parts. Quality parts to be sure and guaranteed to work but no fuss, no muss and as inexpensive as possible to get the job done successfully.

    Some standards should probably be discussed and I'm open to chrome-moly or chrome being a minimum. I'm open to shot peened being a minimum. I'm open to magnetically...shoot, can't remember the term, being a minimum.

    I don't personally think a bipod needs to be a minimum, nor is a light a deal-breaker...for me. Make your case, I may change my mind but none of the lights I have will reach out to 200 yds. anyway and if I'm using at that range (and frankly, I hope I am using it at that range instead of clearing a room), I want the muzzle flash to be the first, last and only thing they see...if even that.

    So, I guess we should start putting the suggestions out there, for all three levels even, and see where it goes from there.
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  7. whynot

    whynot Monkey++

    Chrome lined bore and chamber, 1 in 9 twist or faster, 5.56 chamber, the rest rapidly becomes personal preference.

  8. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Single point sling and make sure it is silent. NightForce scope.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    There are so many AR configurations that it is probable that there's one out there to suit any monkey from a Rhesus to a Mountain Gorilla. The questions then are what common features can be used by all, and which ones can be more confusion than useful?

    I'm noted for opinions, so here are a couple: Mine only.

    1-Back on phishi's thread, I identified the forearm as A1. It ain't, I knew that, just had a slip of brain power. I was duly corrected, rightly so. My ARs have no rails on the forearms.
    2-Someplace else along the way, I spoke of rails, and someone else pointed out that they have sharp edges. I wasn't clear. I LIKE rails, but NOT where hands can find them too easily. If I had to use another monkey's rifle with rails, I'd be sure to have a glove on that hand. (If cold enough, I'd have one on my trigger hand too, but the trigger finger would be cut out so I could feel the trigger stroke.) phishi's stub rail at the gas block is fine, and I might get one for my flat top if I can find one for under the barrel.
    3-I do NOT like handles, fixed or removable. I have a flat top and one with a handle, I can use them both equally well, but distinctly prefer the flat top, which is where my rail is. Anything I need for sighting can go there, including an offset mount for a light.
    4-Slings, then: I like two point. Why? Because I know how to use them, and have faith in the operability. I do not understand single point rigs, nor 3 point, nor any other configuration that could be a fad. I'd have to take the time to change out a sling arrangement I am unfamiliar with if I had to borrow another's rifle.
    5-Bipod. Might get one some day, but for now, no. Why? Two reasons, one is weight, tho' minor. Second is that they look to me like something to catch on something while moving, especially in woods.
    6-Barrel. I have one in 9:1. Works quite well for light bullets. The other is 1:8, which seems to work with light and mid weight bullets. If I get another one, it'll be 1:7. That is likely to blow up the light slugs, but will handle the heavies readily. Chamber for 5.56 or Wylde, .223 is too restrictive. I have no experience with chromed bores and will defer to anyone that does. Free floated in any case. If, as I think is a good idea, a can is involved, a 16.5 inch is good. No can, go longer, says me, and maybe me only.
    7-Furniture: I am totally insensitive to butt stocks and pistol grips, as long as the butts are adjustable (clothes and physique), solid and don't wiggle. Suit yourselves, folks.
    8-Sights and shooting aids, scopes and so forth: A red dot is very nice to have, I currently have one that is highly unreliable, and is off the rifle for that reason. Someday, maybe, an ACOG. In the meantime, irons will have to do. (Even with these old eyes, I can hold military accuracy with irons.) I very definitely prefer sights that can be coregistered with the red dot. Cheek weld doesn't change that way.
    9-Trigger. Two stage or single stage, I don't care. Crisp counts and in the range of 3 to 5 lbs.
    10-Mags: They have to work across all platforms. Period. USGI for me, YMMV.
    11-Reliability. I don't much care what brand is handed to me as long as the owner has sent enough rounds down range in practice to prove the rifle is reliable under as many conditions as can be tested in. ARs like (at least mine do) to run wet with lube. Hand me a dry one, I'll hand it back and depart at speed.

    I'm going to ignore the argument over piston or gas. For interoperability between monkeys that seems immaterial.

    There is something else that has not been addressed, that being ammo. To my mind, that's a personal selection, BUT, for interoperability, sight setting tables should be to hand for rifle swapping.

    Something else to consider is brass catcher. Excellent accessory for hit and run tactics.
    Witch Doctor 01 likes this.
  10. whynot

    whynot Monkey++

    Ghrit needs to get extra credit for #11 in the above post.

  11. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Nice posts. I have to admit that I stepped out of the other thread due to a conflict of interest. I know what I like and how I spend my money but didn't want to be too heavy on my preference as Admin and a Founder.

    BTPost likes this.
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter


    My experience in slings has consisted of the usual two point Military Parade sling to the dual point combat adjustable sling. The Military Parade sling when used with a rifle makes a steady 3 point shooting platform, standing, setting or prone. As a way to carry a weapon any distance they pretty much are a poor choice. YMMV

    I find the single point use of the dual point combat adjustable sling to be most useful for daily carry when the carbine might be needed quickly. In a mode where carry and doing work it allows me to carry the carbine in a ready position as well as a more concealable position. It also allows me to have quick access while sitting or using binoculars.

    The single point position allows a quick change over to a pistol when needed and is still easy to access the carbine.

    In the dual point mode the sling can hold the carbine close to the chest and allow the operator to do other work with one or both hands. They can also allow a carbine to be moved to your back, with a full magazine and not poke your gut. The parade position can also be used as dictated by Mil Parade moments.

    Recent dual point slings are wider and more useful for me.

    As a more often than not lone patrol application, lone being me by myself, they fit the world I live in.
  13. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    The only type of standards I apply to my AR10 rifles is the ammo I will have zeroed my rifles to. For my M4 configured AR10's, I have a battle site zero for the M80 ball spec ammunition, and for my 24" bull barrel AR10. I am zeroed for M118 LR match ammunion.

    Now then, as for all the add on stuff, well,,,,,,,,,,, even the US Special Ops community has a,,,,,,,, well , I let the poster say everything.[​IMG]
    Yard Dart and HK_User like this.
  14. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I would check out PSA (Palmetto State Armory) if you decide to build.
    Prices good, Service good, and wont break the bank.
    I shot a deer with mine last year, Head shot, However I reload so I have tweaked a hunting round for the 1/7 twist.
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