Just out of curiousity..... why does anyone care about sub-MOA?
The only way we can make use of a sub-MOA rifle is off of a ruck, bipod, or some kind of improvised rest.
I have yet to meet anyone that can fire a sub-MOA group from prone with or without a sling. If the MAN can't do it, why care if the machine can?
Obviously I'm not talking about a sniper rifle here, in a rifle designed to be run from a rest accuracy is golden. But who runs 10X optics on a battle rifle?
You get my drift...... as a sniper rifle, any self-loader on the market right now isn't optimal. And I say that after having run a self-loader through basic and advanced sniper courses, so I'm not just trying to poo-poo someone's idea.
FWIW, I'm investigating good optics for a battle rifle (my eyes have just gotten to the point irons aren't working for me like they should anymore) - and I want the low end of the magnification to be as close to 1X as I can get. That's not sub-MOA optics, that's battle rifle optics.
Or for us spotters, it's a motto of "energy on target".
If a rifle can shoot 1" off the bench, then a decent shot should be able to get 2" unsupported. It gives you flexibility. That means as a spotter you can go for targets out to 400 and have a good chance of center mass, and out to 600 and either hit the body or t least piss them off. If the rifle can only make 3" off the bench, tie one end of some rope to it and the other end to your boat.
A 1" capable rifle can be used to engage effectively to 800 yards or so. How wide is the human head or human body, and I don;t mean some fat arse sitting at home eating fried chicken, but a relatively fit soldier or thin assed druggie perp. Given that military snipers shoot for center mass, a 1" 7.62 rifle with consistent ammo can easily shoot to 1000 or so prior to the round going subsonic. If it can't make an inch then your max effective engagement distance becomes much shorter. also the more accurate the rifle the more options you have for shot placement and for engaging partially obscured targets.
As for the man machine comment, I agree but...if the rifle is more accurate than you, then at least one more variable has been removed. Variences between man and machne simply compound. Think about it... if the rifle makes 2" off the bench, and you are half as good from the shoulder then you're talking about 4" at 100, 8" at 200 and a miss at 300.
Ultimately though it is personal opinion though i have never believed that there can be such as thing as a rifle which is too accurate?
1 MOA at 100 is far different than 1 MOA at 1000. Any stick that is MOA at 1K is at the worst 1/2 MOA at 300, probably much less. Mine at 1/3 MOA is a touch worse than 1 MOA at 1K, and I was happy to see 1 MOA (actually a TOUCH smaller, not enough to count) with 3 rounds recently at 900. I've pulled off ONE real string (not 5 shots, but 20 for score) in my life at 1K, and I'll admit it was as much a fluke as luck (I'm good, not THAT good - but then again that's national champion level).
The XCR-L isn't a MOA rifle, but I can engage effectively (good hits, not just hits) at 400 on demand. Most of the time, 500 is doable, but now we're talking hits and not just GOOD hits. At 500, 4 MOA with ball ammo is perfectly suitable with the 5.56 NATO - or at least that's my opinion since the 5.56 isn't that effective that far out.
So where is a 3 MOA rifle not any good? I'm perfectly happy with a 3 MOA group at 1K with a rack grade, open sighted stick using GI ball ammo and run from a sling. That means I'm good for body hits out to 700 at least. You see what I mean......
We both know that hits with the 7.62 NATO out at 600 are perfectly doable from a good slung position. But 800 gets REALLY questionable. After all, how much real estate does a siloughette take up on a GI front sight blade? I don't know.... I've been using narrow front sight blades for years now (the 0.072" "medium" NM blades to be exact) and a siloughette at 600 is NARROW on that puppy - much too narrow for me to want to go under 1/4 of the blade at 800 on any target that can call in bad things on my position.
I guess what I'm saying is that I have yet to see a half-decent quality shooter / ammo / rifle combo where the shooter wasn't limiting factor. Again, I'm talking not from a rest.
Now a spotters rifle is a bit different ;D Although I will admit that there are a couple of different camps on that matter. The camp I'm in is that accuracy is key. One of my good friends (USMC scout sniper) is big on the M4/203 combo. Team security versus secondary targets. I'm assuming from your comments that you're in the second camp, and that's cool.
Now as far as your comments on the more accurate the rifle the better, and taking out one more factor in the equation, I couldn't agree more! When a newbie starts working in the sniper program, I recommend getting the tightest rifle he can find - not 'cause he's that good (or good enough to even realize a portion of it's capacity) but because that way there is ABSOLUTELY NO question if it was the ammo, rifle or the shooter. Helps to know for a fact if he's a member of team WTFDTSG (where the #*&@ did that shot go?) it's 'cause of any reason other than the rifle, stick, or sling ;D
I know Bravo does not like me but I am going to have to agree with him on this one
Sub MOA is only good if you are have front and rear sandbag support, got a good 3 seconds to sight in before pulling the trigger, and you are shooting at stationary targets like water jugs or paper.
A battle rifle only needs 5 MOA as most of the time you are shooting off hand at moving targets while moving yourself. The AR and XCR are a good 1.5 MOA with match ammo, and about 3-4 MOA with surplus ammo. What more can you ask for in a battle rifle?
Bravo, you make some good points but I disagree in part with the assertion that 1 MOA at 100 yards does not equal 1 MOA at 1000. Yes,there is a difference but it is caused by atmospheic diffrerences, wind and ammunition variance from shot to shot. Not so much the rifle. If in doubt take a look at the EDM Windrunner and it's computational adjustment computer. It would be useless if the rifle was not consistent. I've had to qualify by shooting five rounds into a 10 inch circle at 1000 yards. That rifle shot five round groups in 0.75-1" groups at 100 yards.
There also seems to be some confusion over the 1MOA meaning. Possibly by me. A rifle that can shoot that off a sandbag, with a scope, will do less with a prone position and less again with open sights at distance. A 3MOA rifle with a sandbag and a scope will be crap when shot prone and with iron sights... What is the frame of reference? Mine is that if a rifle can do 1MOA with a bag and scope, will give acceptble accuracy when shot free with either a scope or iron sights.
My preference is accuracy and unlike Eric I don't accept a 5 MOA rifle, thought perhaps the issue here is the frame of reference. If the shit hit the fan, yes I would pick up whatever was available, but I'd replace it with a more accurate rifle whenever possible.
Aussie, a medium machine gun is an area coverage weapon, not a point shooter, usually used for suppression fire. The issue with the BREN was that it's spread as was too tight and thus used too much ammunition to suppress a wider area. The rear sight was modified to help resolve the issue. I used the 7.62 version of the Bren gun, the L4A4, though I much preferred the L7A2 or GPMG (M240) stole my heart though. The BREN was very reliable though, and our re-issue or the Bren in the 1990 scuffle in the sandbox worked very nicely. Remember, also, that when you zero a machine gun, you zero the burst not individual shots. Point taken however.
Either way it's personal choice. I always like to start with an accurate rifle becasue it's easy to use a spotters rifle as an assault rifle or battle rifle but very hard the other way around. Admittedly there is also an additional issue of surplus or military ammo not being as good as match and a good reloader can get good accuracy out of a mediocre rifle. Also a rifle that shoots 1MOA with match ammo will not do the same with surplus. But really, would you rather have a 2 or 3 MOA rifle over a 1MOA rifle?
Mickey, yes, mathematically 1 MOA at 100 is 1 MOA at 1000. In reality though, I typically don't see people running MOA groups at 1K - even the national champions. FWIW, my instructor for basic sniper was just put on the American team going to Bisley for the F-class T/R (tactical / restricted) world championship. He took 3rd place at the Carlos Hathcock memorial the year before he asked me to be his spotter.
Here's the deal - you and I both know that at 100 yards, a wind that gusts from 10 to 14 MPH at full value flatly doesn't matter. Hold and go. If you were shooting, and I was spotting - the target now at 600 instead of 100 - I'd dial you for a 10 MPH wind, try to give you the "fire - fire - fire" when the wind conditions looked right, with the call "favor" into the wind. I'd bet between the two of us, we'd get a headshot.
At 1K? I can't call the wind over 1000 yards to the nearest 1MPH. And I don't know those who can! We both know how much a miscalculation of 1 MPH wind at 1K will make, so suddenly we're not talking 1 MOA at 1K, when that error is added in. Will the stick do it? Sure. Will the ammo do it? Probably. Can we as people use that kind of accuracy at that range? Not often, and then it's either extreme skill or flatly luck. I was really proud of the trio of hits I made on the 900 yard iron maiden, a BARELY sub-MOA trio right in the chest. Could I do that EVERY time? Not hardly. 900 yards is a LOT of wind to call.
That's what I mean when I say that a rifle that does 1 MOA at 100 isn't a 1000 yard 1 MOA rifle. There's just too much that goes on over that much desert to let the bullet fly straight. At one point I couldn't get my shooter on at 1K, and I couldn't see the trace either! After 5 or 6 rounds, I gave up and went to the BIG scope - so I could see the trace. The bullets would have hit dead center THREE times - as in the wind call was great out to 600, but in the last 400 yards, the bullet cork-screwed due to the winds - first time I'd been able to see the wind move a bullet in what appeared to be 'up' as the trace went (I've had it unexplanably happen to me, just never seen the trace while it was doing so!).
Is a more accurate rifle more forgiving in such circumstances? Without a doubt. I'm just saying that when someone tells me they can put 'em all in 1" at 100, and therefore can hit 10" at 1K, I laugh.
I'm glad your Windrunner works great! We're in a different class of rifle now though. The instructor I was speaking of before had one, and he liked it. A fellow a few miles south of me got one, and I wasn't impressed - his wouldn't pick the rounds up out of the mag reliably. I wound up with an ArmaLite AR50
Your thoughts on an accurate spotters rifle put you squarely where I live - welcome ;D Really, I think we're more in agreement than not, it's just semantics.
Hey Bravo, I like the way you think. Hope you're enjoying the AR50. It's a hell of a rifle for the money. I don;t have a Windrunner anymore, freaking pain in the ass. I tend to shoot .338 Lapua these days. Just a shame lost river balistics went bust. They made some very nice tips. If you're going to Bisley with him, enjoy.
Regardiung wind and range, spot on. The rifle may be capable, but is the ammo or the data accurate and consistant enough. In 99.9 cases no. Thankfully most humans are more then 11" wide! wind effect on balistics is why the soptter is so important. You can call adjustments as required.
Re: the comment of being able to hit 1" at 100 and 10' at 1000, the comment was more that if the rifle is capable then there is one less variable to be concerned with. We did a test in aldershot where we took a pressure barrel moounted on a concrete block and fired sucessive shots to 1000 yards. Even with zero appreciable wind we saw, with the tracer tips a change in the path of bullets.
For reference the last record data I have is of a guy, shooting benchrest who shot a 3.835" TEN shot group at 1000 yards with a light rifle. The heavy rifle world record is 3.151" but light rifles are closer to a sniper rifle and the heavy closer to howitzers.
Funny you mention LRB..... yeah, they made some pretty good bullets, but I had a 'fallout' with D#$n Michellis some years back. His mouth over-rode his butt, and he 'chose the lesser version of valor' when challenged. After then, I wouln't do business with LRB if they GAVE me bullets. The funny part was that he claimed to be able to do some tremendous feats - tremendous bordering on physical impossibility - and I knew he couldn't. My mentor was his SOTIC instructor ;D At least he was a step above the USOptics honcho (the now-dead williams, not his son) who threatened to sue me for publicly stating experiences with those scopes.
But no, I don't get to go to Bisley. These years I'm a single father, and that takes virtually all my time - besides, I gotta be around home to send him to school every day. Especially with my kid (dunno if you caught the post, but he's in this months issue of SWAT magazine ) Besides, that competition is for shooters, and there is no need / requirement / accomodation for spotters. Heck, I'm lucky to get away for the weekend to the SHOT show.
Great stuff! It's good talking with people who know what's what!