So as I had nothing better to do today and because I hadn't been out in a couple of weeks, I took two of my AR-15 rifles out to the range to zero their optics and test out a new ammo load that I'd worked up for them.The top rifle is a Bushmaster that I bought as a carbine just six days before the 1994 "Assault Weapons Ban" went into effect. I've rebuilt it a few times over the years, and currently it sports a 20" heavy barrel and has been reconfigured as a clone of the old Colt Delta HBAR, with 3-9x40MM scope and raised cheek piece.
Yeah, it's one of the old ones with the fixed carrying handle, and because it came out of a lot that Bushmaster was rushing to get our the door prior to the ban, it's finish leans towards the purple end of the spectrum and mounting a new flat-top upper is a non-starter because the finish would never even be close. But it shoots so sweet I just can't bear to part with it.
The lower one is a newer Rock River gun that I built up from parts into a flat-top carbine, actually using the 14.5" heavy barrel that came on the Bushmaster originally. (And yes, it has a permanently-attached muzzle brake to bring it up to the required legal length, so don't PM me ad nauseum about having an "illegal" rifle.) This one has an Aimpoint Comp M3 red dot optic on a LaRue mount, and a Pentagon light mounted behind the muzzle. as parts-guns go, this one had more teething problems than any AR that I've ever built, but it's straight-shooting and reliable now.
I first shot my new ammo recipe to make sure that it was consistent and safe. A 62gr. ball over 25.0gr. of H335 and Remington Bench Rest primers in military cases seemed to approximate the SS109 loading well enough and the extracted cases all looked good. So then it was time to dial both rifles in at 100M.
As I didn't have any sort of rest, and as my overly-restrictive rifle club refuses to let us shoot prone like real rifle shooters do, I was restricted to shooting off-hand from the bench with the GI sling in use on the HBAR and just an "elbow on the table" rest for the carbine. The firing positions were not optimal in that regard, but I'm satisfied with the targets. The upper one is the HBAR (Yeah, I tossed that one flyer at eleven o'clock...) and the lower is the carbine with the Aimpoint. The two high shots were my first and second shots, and then I realized that I'd set the sight up for a six o'clock hold and corrected accordingly.
Both rifles are now zeroed and ready to go, and as soon as I can get Nicki to clean them, they'll be back on their racks.
Any day that you're shooting is a good day.