About a week ago I received back my carbine from Mac's Refinishing: HOME PAGE I have to say, I am really happy with the work that he did. It took a hair longer than he advertised, but guns are like cars- you never know until you have it all apart. It was well worth the wait (~3.5 weeks). This carbine is what is now termed a "recce carbine". If you spend any time on BARFcom or the yuppy M4carbine.com, you have at least heard of them. It's a concept that is as old as ARs. Basically, I heavier barreled, free floated, carbine with medium power optics. You can read more about the military origins here: SEAL Recon Rifle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I do find it a bit funny that until some SOF guys use something, it's not cool. I remember building a free floated HBAR with a 3-9 Leupy back around 2002. Then it wasn't cool. The M4 ruled in popularity then..... I digress. Anyways, mine is a CMT lower (actually marked CMT- I've been told they don't exist, but I have one). I'm not sure on the LPK. It's just a standard LPK. The butt stock is a VLTOR Emod. I think the Emod is one of the best collapsible stocks for a scoped carbine. The upper is CMT with a Oly 1-8" SS minimally cut .223 chamber (NOT 5.56). It's an HBAR profile. The rail system is an SWS. You should check out SWS- Art is a really good dude to do business with. The optics are a Leupold 1.5-5x Mk 4 MRT. It's a really great optic. I actually have 2 of them. It's mounted in a Larue SPR 1.5 mount. Larue makes great products, I am about to buy a 4th mouth from them and likely another optic package. Their optic packages can't be beat if you are going to end up with their mount anyways. All groups were shot off the Grip Pod with a bean bag in the rear. I used the prone position. Keep in mind the range floor is concrete. The Grip Pod isn't the most accurate rest, but it is rest I would more than likely use on this carbine. For a dual purpose carbine, it is more versatile than a Harris hanging off the front. The Ammo- the ammo was standard ball. 55 grain .223 loaded with 27 grains of Win 748 on my Dillon 650. The recce concept never included a load type. Theoretically, the point is to be able to shoot standard ball ammo more accurately. The ammo is part of the test here as well. I was curious what my ball ammo will do. I have about 800 more rds of these projectiles and then I am switching over to the Hornandy 75 grain projectiles. I was curious about the consistency of the Dillon powder drop. This carbine is a good load tester. From my weighing of drops from the Dillon, they typically vary +/- .1 grains. I have weighed some flyers that are off as much as .3 grains. Not nearly as accurate as trickling up the powder weight. What does it mean to downrange performance..... Here are the groups: Group One- 2.25" Group Two- 2.38" Group Three- 1.25" Group Four- 1.75" There are a few things that can be learned here. The first two groups were at the top of the target. I think their more extreme spread is due to the increased elevation. I was straining to work the bean bag to those little black dots. The last pair of targets were lower and at a more natural point of aim. The third target was in the center of the paper (a B-27 man target). This created a more natural "center" through the scope. Of course, I was getting more comfortable with the carbine toward the end. I wish I had more ammo to put on paper, but the steel was calling my name earlier in the shooting session The load- not bad. Probably capable of 1" under better circumstances. I think moving to a more consistent projectile will help. I am also going to trade out the Dillon powder drop with a RCBS Uniflow hooked up with a Hornandy case activated dropper. From what I have read, I should be able to narrow my powder accuracy to .1 grain. I fully expect to get sub MOA groups with a better powder drop and better projectile. And finally, here is the carbine: I'll post again when I get the new load worked up. What I would like to do to the carbine.... not much. I think a new trigger since I am having such great performance out of the Geissele that I am running on my other go to carbine. Most of us feel the need for a long range precision rig to fill the less than likely niche. This carbine is a good alternative if you know that your longest shot is under 600M. Most shooters can't perform further than that anyways (usually a combo of lack of practice and range out to those distances). There is no sense in having a long bolt gun that is capable of shooting 800M if you live in a wooded area where your farthest shot is 400M. Save the weight and build a dual-purpose carbine instead. Keep the optics low in magnification (mine goes down to 1.5x) and you can use it for close up fast work as well. If you really have to get a point sight too, get an Aimpoint RMR and a mount to put it above your optics. I think even Trijicon and Leupold have a version of the point sight to mount along with longer optical sights. 19 JAN 2010 ETA: Well, I decided, for $$ really, to stick with a 69 grain round. I changed out the Dillon sliding bar powder drop with a Hornandy case activated powder drop. It enables me to use my RCBS Uniflow powder measure (or similar) for a more consistent powder drop. Here is the equation that I believe is is beginning to spell success- good barrel + good bullet + a consistent powder drop = acceptable MOA accuracy. The trade off in this equation is time and money. I'm not using match primers, virgin brass, or any other known enhancers. I can crank out about 400 of these in less than 2 hours with real attention to detail. I have some 850 loaded now. Price per 1000 is about .22ea + powder.... I think? Anyways... the other thing I confirmed is the grip pod sucks for real accuracy. Here are the results. Pic 1 is with grip pod. All others were off a bipod with American Defense mount. Grip Pod: All the following are 5 shot groups with bipod... Discounting the flyer, this group would be .5": The next pic was rapid fire. It looks like I can hold 2" groups in rapid fire: The first group with the bipod was the best group. At the time, I was spotting for my daughter too. The groups became worse from that point, probably due to my split attention. For reference, the square diamonds are 1" x 1". The center dot on the Leupy 1.5-5x is 1 MOA at 100 yds. That makes it a bit difficult to center the dot with the 1" diamonds IMHO. Consistent sight picture was a bit difficult. With a high power scope, I think the groups would shrink quite a bit. I have another scope I will throw on eventually (need a mount). Overall, I am happy with this one.