OK…the rifle is together. If I’d bought one off the shelf, that’s pretty much what I would have gotten. There are still a few odds and ends to add, like a magazine, a scope, a bipod, etc…but those wouldn’t have come with an off the shelf rifle and I’d still have to buy them anyway…so for an apples to apples comparison, what’s the tally so far?
But we still have some loose ends to tie up. There are two components that, although not technically necessary for shooting the rifle, they really make it work better: A magazine, and some sort of sighting system.
I ordered a 10 round Magpul LR-308 Pmag from Midway USA for $18.
The sighting system was a little more complicated. I knew I wanted a scope because I want this rifle to be a tack driver at range. I’d love to be able to shoot it well at 500 or 1000 yards so I wanted something that would work for long range…variable power and a high zoom level.
Another thing I like is Mil-dot reticles. I like the fact that a mil-dot reticle can be used to estimate range. The down-side of that with a variable power scope, however, is that if the reticle is in the second focal plane, you have to adjust your calculations by the zoom level of the scope at the time…that really complicates the math. With a first focal plane scope, the reticle zooms along with the background, so the perspective stays the same, regardless of the zoom level of the scope. That makes the math (relatively) easy.
Adjustable Objective is a must for me. I don’t like having to worry about compensating for parallax. And a large diameter objective means more light, better view.
But, I didn’t want to spend $1000 or $2000 either. After reading review after review and finding scopes that were close, but was missing one or another feature I was looking for, I ended up finding a Vector Optics Counterpunch at Optics Planet for $200. Vector Optics gets mixed reviews, but, again, for the price, I figured it would do for now and I can upgrade in a year or so if needed.
Finally, just a couple of optional accoutrements I ordered from Amazon.
2 point Sling $10
GrovTec QD bases $8 (needed to add QD sling swivels to the Luth-AR stock)
M-loc QD sling base $12
QD Sling Swivels $9
And that completed the build. I now have a fully operational rifle, customized exactly how I wanted it.
Total cost: $852
A little over my original budget, but very good nonetheless.
I have to admit that I did splurge and break the bank a bit. On the first range trip, the cheap-o Fire Control Group - Refers to the mecha... More I had in there left, um, a lot to be desired. Very gritty, heavy pull and the pins walked loose, causing the rifle to malfunction. This won’t do at all. I could clean up the trigger, reduce the pull and make it smoother, but I’d still have to worry about the pins walking.
Considering I’m hoping this rifle will be a tack driver, I decided that skimping on the trigger isn’t a good idea. I decided I wanted a good match style 2 stage trigger. I was going to buy a Jewell like I had on my National Match AR-15, but alas, they don’t appear to make them anymore.
That’s a right shame…I loved that trigger. Completely adjustable and smooth as glass. I was really disappointed when I checked their web site and they don’t list them any more.
I settled on a Geissele G2S. Not adjustable, but pre-set for a 2.5lb takeup and a 2lb release for a total pull weight of 4.5 lbs. I prefer more on the takeup and less on the release, but that’s the closest I could get to what I want. I had my Jewell adjusted for a 4lb takeup and a 1lb release to meet the minimum 5lb pull needed for matches.
I could have gone cheaper…Rock River makes a similar 2 stage match trigger for half the price, but from what I’ve heard, it’s half the quality as well. The Geissele was $165 at Optics Planet, but after shooting it, I’d have to say, worth the price.
So I ended up at a little over $1000 all in. Sigh. It’s only money, I can make more…
Anyway…I took it back to the range with the upgraded trigger today. It ran like a clock, everything was perfect.
So, what’s the verdict?
100 yards on a standard sight-in target with 1″ squares. That’s a 3 shot group right at 1″.
This was from the bipod with cheap Remington Core-Lokt 150 grain ammo. I got 1″ groups or close to it consistently after dialing the scope in with cheap ammo and a not entirely stable rest. I really can’t wait to see what it’ll do with some match grade ammo. I’m pretty confident that it will do sub-moa.
Mission accomplished. The only question is: how long will the cheap scope hold up? Time will tell.