It Grows

My AR has continued morphing into something that is closer to being useable. For several years this rifle existed only as a lower assembly, less trigger guard and stock. The idea was for a “precision” AR. I even had a semi vague idea of what I meant by that. I put a Rock River 2 stage trigger in. At that point the Geissle was fairly new, and just too expensive. I knew even back then that I wasn’t going to use the A2 pistol grip and standard trigger guard, so I left off the trigger guard.

I did a lot of research in the past couple weeks on pistol grips, because I knew there had been some new ones released since I’ve been paying attention. Why did I care? I’ve learned a little about what kind of trigger technique works for me, and what it takes to get my hand in the right position for that to happen.

When I first found the combination of the Magpul MOE grip and enhanced trigger guard I felt like it was perfection and there was nothing that could top it. It is very comfortable in the hand. Where I have found it lacking recently is that it places my hand just slightly farther back than I really want it to be for maximum precision. Since the rifle should be capable of a decent level of precision, this is important to me.

Oddly, what I’ve found is that the standard A2 trigger guard puts my hand in just about the right place. In all other ways, grip circumference, angle, the little nub that sticks out into my ring finger, I just don’t like it. My goal was to find something that felt as comfortable as the MOE but allowed me the trigger control I want.

What I ended up going with was the Bravo Company Gunfighter Grip Mod 0. The idea with these is to change the angle of the grip to allow for use of a more modern carbine technique. That was not as important to me as the placement of the trigger finger on the trigger and the overall comfort of the grip. The new grip did what I wanted it to as far as trigger placement, I like the angle, and overall it is an improvement for me. It doesn’t feel quite as good in terms of grip in the hand as the MOE. I have more to say on that, but not right now.

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Note the difference in grip angles between the BCM Gunfighter Grip, Mod 0 (top) and the Magpul MOE (bottom).

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The BCM allows my trigger finger the angle that I would like for best precision without having to “stand off” from the grip as with many other grips.

 

This is probably a good time to say that none of this is very important. Grips, handgaurds, trigger guards, etc., don’t mean too much in the big scheme of things. Ensuring personal capability to complete the “mission” is what is actually important. Finding serviceable tools is also important. Finding things that are close to being perfect belongs more in the realm of luxury than necessity. It’s probably more important to ensure a sufficient quantity of ammo and a reliable source of it to ensure regular training and practice than it is to worry about making the toys “just right”. It takes work to figure out what actually works and what doesn’t. Having said that, I do appreciate the luxury to configure a gun just like I want it and I think it’s interesting.

I robbed one of my carbines of it’s Magpul CTR stock temporarily so I could start to get a feel for my rifle’s handling. That was fine. I’m not sure exactly what I want in a stock, so having any stock on is better than none. My “maybe minute of man” carbine probably won’t notice the difference anyway.

I’m in a bit of a quandry over how to achieve the right comb height. The stock AR sight height is just a smidge too high when coupled with the standard stock height. I looked into the Magpul PSR stock. I don’t want a fixed stock, and looking at the PSR, the cheek riser looks awfully far back. In my research this is not an uncommon complaint from people who have tried it. There are also interesting looking riser systems. The one that had me almost convinced was the SAPR cheek riser. I really looked hard at that, but it didn’t quite look as quick and intuitive as I wanted. I decided to try the other route and lower the height of the sight that I put on it… when I get to that point.

What I have been strongly considering instead is the Nightforce Unimount. It allows for a mounting height of 1.125”, from the top of the rail to the center of the ring. It would seem that most other mounts are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.45”. I think if I can get that much lower it will give me the consistent cheekweld I need. I believe that it is also a cantilever mount that will allow me the correct eye relief since I don’t have a monolithic upper rail.

I installed a sling mount at 12:00 on the forend, and am using a prototype tactical sling that offers the same loop as the RS2. I’ve been trying to get this sling going for a long time, mostly for lack of parts availability. The buckle I’m using is supposedly the only sample available in the universe (or something along those lines), and it’s not perfect yet, so it will probably be a while. Mounting at 12:00 seems to offer no disadvantage vs. mounting at 9:00, but is very advantageous if the possibility to loop up exists.

I see looping up as a remote possibility with this AR setup, and it’s not as easy to do with the sling around the back, but I like the capability in theory. I may decide to eschew the loop capability altogether for this sling depending on how useful I actually find it. That would make the design a lot easier to perfect.

It still seems like a ways out before I’ll have a sight on the rifle to bother firing a shot from it. In a perfect world I would like to try several configurations from several optics manufacturers and compare them. My idea is to come up with several courses of fire to test my ability to perform with the optics for varying degrees of speed and accuracy at varying distances. I need to reach out to some optics folks to see if they’re up to some testing and public wringing out. On my list:

SWFA 1-6×24
SWFA 3-15×42
Leupold Mark 6 1-6 (this would cause an issue with the 34mm rings- mounts are expensive and I’m   broke)
Vortex Razor 1-6 (same issue with the rings)
Vortex 2.5-10×32 FFP
Nightforce 1-4×24

I have some U.S. Optics scopes on the way to try that I’m very excited about.  It should set the bar pretty high.  I’m open to other suggestions or testing samples. I anticipate each test to take up to a month so I could get to know the optic a bit.

8 thoughts on “It Grows

  1. Sounds like it is a work in progress. And the ability to use the various parts available for the modular AR system seem to me to be one of the reasons the design is so popular. Looking forward to your testing of the optics.

    By the way, I am curious about the weight of this project. I threw a couple of rifles on the scale for the first time the other day, and I was somewhat surprised at the weights.

    • Larry,

      This rifle is a lot lighter than it seems like it would be. I think it’s in large part due to the handguard, which is ironic because it’s so long. I’ll get everything weight out eventually and post it.

  2. I also use the BCM gunfighter grip. While I found it comfortable for rapid shooting and drills, I find it notably less comfortable for positional shooting. The A2 grip, as you found, is actually really good for this- but the little nub is terrible. There is a company making the A2 style grip without the nub, though.

    http://accuratearmory.com/ShopOnline/Components/tabid/75/CategoryID/1/List/0/catpageindex/1/Level/1/ProductID/9/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName%2cProductName

    Also, if you want to use the CTR stock, the Larue RISR might work well for your purposes. It attaches on the top and gives a much higher comb, but is on a spring so it slides out of the way when you pull the charging handle back.

    • I looked at the RISR as well. I don’t like the idea of adding more moving parts.

      It looks like you use the BCM Mod 1 grip? So far I like the grip for the positions I’ve dry fired in. I especially like it for taking the strain of my wrist in low ready.

  3. I have found the Umbrella Corporation grips to be amazing in dynamic shooting, and with a little technique, very easily converted to mid-range (300-500 yards), paper plate sized groups of 8-10 (I don’t get out as much as I’d like). I can vouche for the Vortex as being phenominal on the AR, especially the 1-4 with the MOA retical. The mount issue… It is a plague. Get in good with a good machinist, he can make you just about anything, including custom mounts. Really enjoy your blog! Thanks!

    • I had never heard of the Umbrella Corporation before. It looks like they were ahead of the curve as far as the straighter grips are concerned. It looks like the K grip with a beavertail. I’m interested to try a Vortex scope.

      Thanks for the kind words in reference to the blog, and thanks for reading.

  4. I’m curious to see how the 1.125″ Nightforce Unimount will work for you. They’re fairly light, as mounts go, and 45 degree offset irons negate the Q/D capability for me.

    • David,

      I think it is going to be a good fit, although I don’t know yet. One limiting factor seems to be the ability to find the correct eye relief with any given optic. For example, the US Optics 1-8 that I have on the rifle at the moment needs to be quite far forward, and would not work with this mount unless I had a lot more room up front, as in a monolithic upper. With the 1-4 and 1-6 power optics I don’t think there will be a problem. I find that the Larue mount that is on there now definitely leaves me with a floating non-cheekweld.

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