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A newbies range report

1971 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  SigsRule
Originally posted Feb 28 on FALFILES.

Okay, I have a brand new XCR, with a brand new ACOG. Both are my first foray into the black rifle world. I did my due diligence and researched a lot of forums for advice before settling on the XCR and took a chance on the ACOG. I’ve had the XCR almost three weeks now and haven’t made it to the range until today.

I was on the waiting list for Aurora Gun Club for a couple years and just recently bubbled to the top. The range orientation was two weekends ago so I was anxious to get out and use the range. AGC requires you to bring your own target stands, so being an engineer, I worked up a quick but sturdy design to hold IDPA size targets which I ordered right after the orientation. I had purchased five C-products 30 rd steel magazines from Jensen Arms along with a case of ammo when I picked up the XCR and ordered another five from Magpul. At the Tanner gun show I also picked up two aluminum 30 rd magazines and a Eula magazine loading tool.

I got out the magazines and the Eula loader (which works like a champ) and loaded up all the magazines. That’s when I discovered the first problem. The aluminum magazines have the old style follower’s and canted sideways at a glance thoroughly jamming the magazine. The C-Products Steel magazines all have the new anti-tilt Magpul followers and I had no problems with them. I unloaded all the magazines and loaded them up again with only five rounds each for function testing.

When I’m not on the road doing my consulting thing, I’m working out of my home office and have freedom to come and go as I please. I finally got caught up with work things and planned to hit the range. Loading up the rifles, ammo, gear bags, and answering last minute emails dragged out getting away. I had several other errands I wanted to run while out and got those out of the way. So now I’m halfway to the range and suddenly remembered that I forgot to bring my new target stand. Damn!

Oh well, I originally had three goals for today - one was practicing for IDPA with my Sig P226 Blackwater, another was to start breaking in the XCR, and the third was to rough sight in the ACOG – so only two of them were off the table. Since breaking in the XCR was the only goal left, I scrounged some unbroken clay targets from the trap range and planned to use those as gross targets against the berm (this was suggested during the orientation as a good way to find out where you’re hitting compared to the sighting point before getting onto paper) and just blast away to burn up the 200 rds I brought.

So, the clay targets are placed against the berm, I’ve got magazines stuffed in every pocket, and I’m ready to go. I should mention at this point that in my research I came to the conclusion that the XCR should have the adjustable gas block set at position 4 for 300 rounds or so to break it in. The XCR wasn’t overly coated in heavy grease so I had just wiped it down and lightly oiled the carrier/bolt assembly about the same way I oil the rails on my Sigs.

Before I go any further, a word on the ACOG is in order. I have the TA31F which is the built in rail mount 4x32 version with a bright red chevron and range marks out to 800 meters calibrated for 5.56 NATO. Trijicon’s website has information about the Bindon Aiming Concept along with a video demonstrating how it works. Basically you keep both eyes open and when you mount the rifle you see the target clearly with the eye that isn’t aligned with the scope and the bright red chevron superimposed and can easily acquire targets even when swinging the rifle just like a red dot. Once you are ready to shoot your brain causes the other eye to focus through the scope and you get the magnified view. I had been trying this dry firing in my basement and it was working exactly as demonstrated in the video. However this would be my first shots with it at longer ranges.

I brought the rifle up, immediately saw the chevron superimposed on a nice red clay target and fired. To my surprise the clay target exploded! The ACOG was dead on! That was the good news – the bad news was that the bolt didn’t close on the next round. In fact the bolt was stuck open about a quarter inch from closed. I tried the bolt assist but it was stuck good. Clearing the magazine and using all the force I could muster finally rewarded me with a bruised palm and an empty case being ejected – it hadn’t extracted the round!

At this point, my research suggested a fix – put more oil on it! I walked back to the bench and disassembled it – which by the way is dirt simple even for a newbie like me. The bolt and carrier were perfectly oiled – for a well broken in Sig P226, but apparently not for a gas piston 5.56 that isn’t broken in yet. I was in the process of oiling the bolt carrier when it slipped out of my hands and right into the sand at my feet! Gag, it looked like a popsicle covered in rice krispies! Fortunately I had brought cleaning supplies and finally got all the grit out. I oiled it again – this time holding it over the table – and put everything back together, which only took about ten seconds or less, the XCR is dirt simple. Well oil wasn’t quite dripping out the bottom of the magwell but I was definitely running a wet gun now.

Back to the line and finished running the rest of the ten magazines and first 50 rounds. There were a couple more failures to extract in the first couple of magazines, but then it started to run smoothly and the last seven or so magazines didn’t have any problems.

I loaded up the magazines with the remaining 150 rounds and moved back to the 25 yard line. There were no more unbroken clay targets so I put out pieces this time. I quickly discovered that with the ACOG I was hitting even the small pieces and started shooting at little pieces of wood and dirt clods, and all this was without even really trying to line up and squeeze the trigger. It was a simple matter of putting the chevron on the target and pulling the trigger. I will admit that I had spent some time dry firing in my basement to smooth out the trigger and was basically using the IDPA style flash sight picture and pull through. The 150 rounds went fast.

After shooting up all the 5.56 I had brought I started picking up the brass. As reported by many people, the XCR was throwing all the brass between one and two o’clock and about five to 20 feet away. I recovered 195 of the 200 rounds fired and promised myself to bring more ammo next time along with the target stand. Now I’ve just got to see what kind of groups I can get.

All in all, I’m thoroughly pleased with the XCR and the ACOG. Another hundred rounds or so and I’ll start playing with the gas block settings although I have to say I didn’t really notice the recoil at all even near the end of the 200 rounds. All my previous rifle sessions have been with hunting rifles and other than when varmint hunting with my heavy barreled 22-250 a 20 or 30 round session was pretty much the limit, especially with my 300 Weatherby. But the XCR is just damn fun! I could easily see going through hundreds of rounds in a day at the range just having fun. I learned a couple of valuable lessons. First, be sure to bring the target stand and targets. Second, run a wet weapon until well broken in with these kinds of rifles. Third, don’t handle a really wet bolt carrier while standing in a sand box! And Fourth, I need to get some .223 dies for my Dillon, I have a feeling I'm going to be burning a lot of powder.

More next time.
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Good report, and every informational. I too have had my XCR for a little over a month and still haven't gotten to the range. It is also my first trip into the Black Rifle zone. I took alot of of advise from your post, thanks! I guess oily hands are in order this weekend! ;D
how about telling us about the condition of the gun after firing and how did it clean up?
I opened it up and looked at the bolt carrier group. It didn't look dirty enough to bother cleaning up so I haven't yet.
I just noticed that the Robinson Arms website now has break in instructions and prominent among the suggestions is oil the hell out of it until broken in.
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