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July 14, 2004

My Latest Gun (UPDATED) « Gun Issues »

I picked up my L1A1 from layaway on Monday. I haven't had a chance to take it to the range yet...

Sometimes I think I like the idea of owning guns more than using them. But in any case, based on an article by Kim du Toit on what rifle he would give the average US military rifleman, I researched and fell in love with the VEPR. Here's a pic:


It's based on the AK-47. More accurately, it uses the RPK squad automatic weapon receiver, which is based on the AK-47. The thicker metal and heavier weight of the machine gun receiver, plus a hammer-forged and chrome-lined barrel help to make this a very accurate weapon.

I got it because it's also in .308, just like my L1A1, but this one is already drilled and tapped for a scope (and comes with it). I expect I'll have lots of fun with the L1A1, but this will be more of a serious rifle for me: serious hunting, serious accuracy practice, etc. I'm sure I'll work up accurate handloads for this baby (when I finally start handloading!!), because it's a rifle with which I should be able to see the difference.

I think I'll have fun.

The only thing I'm still not clear on: I recently learned that the reason Stoner used direct gas impingement to cycle the rifle in the M-16 system (like the MAS 49/56), rather than the piston of the AK-47 system, is that the motion of the piston itself throws off accuracy more than a small blast of gasses. I guess the FN-FAL (L1A1) mitigates this by using a short-stroke piston. The 6.8 SPC version of the M-16 apparently was designed with the gas port in a "sweet spot" midway between that of the AR-15 (in 5.56mm) and the AR-10 (in .308/7.62 NATO), so perhaps it is possible to make several choices to maintain accuracy in piston systems...? Dunno. I'll post some range reports after I get familiar with the rifle. That might not be for a month or two...

Posted by Nathan at 08:20 AM | Comments (3)
» protein wisdom links with: Surrendering to my inner interior decorator

Nice piece there. Nice blog too. Into my blogroll with you now.

Wish I could buy one of those babies in Boston (waits for laughter to subside).

Posted by: Bruce at July 14, 2004 08:57 AM

The gas impingement/gas port and piston accuracy difference is far more theoretical than real.
In order to prove such a theorectical difference one would have to have rifles with each operating system with barrels bored and rifled exactly the same with identical chambers. The barrels would have had to have been straightened after boring, exactly the same way. Those barrels would have to be crowned identically. Those barrels and actions would have to be bedded exactly the same into stocks of identical quality of materiels, design and workmanship. Then each rifle would have to have a load made up to match the harmonics of the barrel, the rifles would have to be fired by shooters of equal skill under the exact same conditions with identical sights.
Then after doing this once, we'd have to repeat the operation with enough rifles to remove the element of chance.
Even then, the quality of the various things I've mentioned plus a lot of things I haven't will have a greater effect on accuracy than gas impingement/gas piston. Camp Perry was regularly won with the M1 and, later, the M1A with their 'less accurate' gas pistons. If a rifle's system is good enough to win at 600 yards, it's good enough.
I can catagorically say that the design of the Remington Model 700 is more conducive to fine accuracy than the Winchester Model 70. That's why most police and military snipers as well as many target shooters use the Remington as a base. Still, if I go to the shop for a new rifle I can't say that THIS Remington will be more accurate than THAT Winchester.
When you get around to handloading try about 46 grains of Ramshot's Tac, the Sierra 155 grain Palma Matchking and the Federal Gold Medal match primer. See if you can find some Lake City National Match Brass to put it in. If not, spend the money and get some Lapua Brass. If you can't find the Ramshot Tac, try about 47 grains of Hodgdon's Varget. This is a compressed load, I pesonally prefer them. I've seen both these loads win matches.
You will cry tears the size of horse turds when that semiauto flings that 35 cent a pop brass into the tall weeds or down a gopher hole, though.

Posted by: Peter at July 14, 2004 07:09 PM

Wow! Great stuff! It all makes sense, so I guess the commonly-referenced inaccuracy of the AK-47/AKM/AK-74 is more due to the looseness of the action, then?

...I have the best readers in the world.

Posted by: Nathan at July 14, 2004 09:12 PM
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