A good day at the range

This M&P 15 Sport resembles the gun we had, but ours had an M4-cut barrel -- on a civilian gun that will never mount an M203, a styling affectation.

This M&P 15 Sport resembles the gun we we were sighting in, but ours had an M4-cut barrel — on a civilian gun that will never mount an M203, a styling affectation.

Spent a good day at the range yesterday. Well, the range was part of the day. It wasn’t a usual range or a familiar gun, and gettiing there was half the pleasure.

We’re far away from home precincts, and don’t have our own guns. But friends are here to help, and to beg help — particularly with an M&P 15 (a Smith and Wesson AR clone) that had resisted taking a zero on its optics. We’d handled, but never shot, the Smith AR before, and this gun’s optics were new to us.

This is the Burris AR-332. Secret to sighting it in? Mounting it tight.

This is the Burris AR-332. Secret to sighting it in? Mounting it tight. The Fastfire was attached to the top rail.

The main scope on the gun was a Burris Tactical AR-332 and the sight, too was new to us, as was the backup red-dot Fastfire (also a Burris product). The night before, we did our homework on the glass and tried to do the same on the Fastfire, but the Burris website only has product information on the newer Fastfire II and III, and no user manuals even for those. We didn’t care about what Burris marketing had to say about the silly thing, we wanted instructions for adjusting it. Was that too much to ask? Evidently. The Fastfire was mounted to the Picatinny rail that’s integral to the AR-332.

We also had a few other guns to shoot. Now, as a rule of thumb, you get more done at the range, and you get it done more elegantly, if you’re only trying to do one thing. This is time to be the hedgehog, not the fox.

The AR-332s reticle (ours was black). The ring gives you a CQB sight, but you still have the eye-relief-sight-time issue with any scope.

The AR-332s reticle (ours was black). The dots give you holdover. The ring gives you a CQB sight, but you still have the eye-relief-sight-time issue with any scope.

The problem sighting in the AR-332 was simple. It wasn’t firmly locked on the rail. The S&W AR turned out to be a real tack-driver, and we soon had groups adjusted right where we wanted them for a battlesight zero with 55-grain M193-equivalent ammo.

We didn’t like the AR-332’s reticle. It has a bullet drop compensator, but this particular one was black, apparently unlighted, and was easily lost against a black bull’s eye; it’s also not obvious from looking at the scope whether the compensator is for 62 or 55 grain ammo (they have different part numbers). We’re sure with more experience, we’d get better at using the scope, but the premium price of an ACOG is worth the money in our book.

This is actually a newer FastFire II. For some reason, it couldn't adjust below about 8-9 feet above point of aim at 25 yards.

This is actually a newer FastFire II. For some reason, it couldn’t adjust below about 8-9 feet above point of aim at 25 yards.

We never did get the Fastfire dot sorted out. It is boresighted about eight feet above the target and there isn’t enough adjustment to bring it on. Anybody have a manual for a first-generation Burris FastFire?

We did like the Smith AR. It’s a simple, DI AR with no forward assist (a dead weight, in our opinion). It worked fine, accepted PMAGs, and handled well. Even the Okeechobee range staff, who see lots of guns, liked it.

There was plenty of ammunition available for range members and guests, at (post-crisis) reasonable prices. We do think they gave us a military and police discount, but we paid $12.49 for 5.56 ammo.

The Seminole Inn, 1946. Only the cars have changed!

The Seminole Inn, 1946. Only the cars have changed!

Lunch stop enroute was the Seminole Inn, about the only interesting thing in Indiantown, FL. It was owned by the father of Wallis Simpson, later Duchess of Windsor, and contains one room where the Duke and Duchess once stayed (Palm Beach was more their style). It is quite venerable by Florida standards, built in 1926, and architecturally fascinating. The lunch was a dreadful, listless buffet, but the uniqueness of the setting made it enjoyable.

(This is a hastily published report, we hope to add some images later, although we shot no pictures at the range Done! -Ed.).

3 thoughts on “A good day at the range

  1. GBS

    The M&P 15 Sport is a good rifle. I picked one up on an “impulse buy” last year at this time. At $600, I thought it a great value, and I recently saw one at a Cabelas in Kansas for $900. I’ve shot it out to 200 yards with the supplied Magpul rear sight, and also attached an inexpensive red dot scope for indoor use, and the rifle performs well every time. Several hundred rounds of various brands and types (all brass ammo) and no malfunctions of any sort. Few opinions I’ve seen from people with meaningful “professional” experience assert that the forward assist is important. Likewise, it seems the ejection port cover is superfluous unless one is dragging the rifle through fine dust while traveling to the local range. I saw a review at “truthaboutguns” that put it through the wringer, and it held up well after far more abuse than I’ll ever give it.

  2. Bill Millholland

    Hi Kevin,
    Nice write up on our fun day yesterday. Also love your website. Have a safe trip home. Aldo said to tell you “thanks so much for your hard work.” He is very happy the sight is zeroed. He finally realized that he didn’t include the zeroing directions for the red dot sight, but the hard work is done. Bill

    1. Hognose Post author

      I’m not sure the dot is mounted right. The rails on the outside of the scope should parallel the scope’s own mount.

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