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GUNS Magazine January 2011 - Page 20
• G L E N Z E d I k E R • This upper started as a DPMS hi-Rider. This is a high-quality competition-use upper with no forward assist and increased wall thickness. Its rail sits 1/2" higher than usual. Gary eliseo machined the Picatinny rail into an 11mm dovetail to match the Anschutz rear sight mount, then machined a slot aft of the ejection port to provide clearance for a bolt knob to retract the carrier. The knob works better. Photo: Ichiro nagata Mostly it’s the “Mr. Potato Head” part. ’ve been doing this department for six years. Crazy. Still I haven’t run out of things to say, not nearly. I thought this time around I might take a poke at why that is. My Little Man has developed a very strong interest in the world’s military firearms. About the same I did. And, at about the same time he started to continually ask me, “Dad, what’s the best—what would you want?” Carefully considering that question, I answer, “Well, it would be some form of AR-15…” I stand by that because he keeps mentioning others, I consider them (there are few out there I haven’t pointed at a target), and then reaffirm my answer: some form of AR-15. That, all by itself, is the key to the reason. I also keep telling him also that different ones have different purposes, and that, again, only increases my conviction. (The only drawback, I have to accept I can’t own a .30 mini-gun. Oh well.) mixing and matching pieces, parts and its faces change right along with your needs in a rifle. The essential platform is a lower and upper receiver, each to which can be affixed a myriad of differently designed hanger-ons. Assembled lowers and uppers are simply pinned into place, one under and one over, no tools needed. There’s no bedding, no zero change. It can be anything from a plinker to a tactical entry gun to a competition firearm to a varmint rifle to a dag-gone pistol (of sorts). It’s been chambered in everything from .22 rimfire through .50 centerfire. It can be everything but a shotgun, although I’ve seen them with shotguns affixed to their fore-end undersides. It may not be the world’s “ultimate” in every form it’s had or use it’s been put to, but it is an amazingly capable firearm done up as everything I’ve seen it become. Beyond piecing an AR-15 into the essential format or formula that determines its primary function, it’s one of the most “accessorized” firearms on the planet. It’s popular and, therefore, we have a huge array of options to fully customize and WhY I LIkE thE AR-15 personalize anyone’s gun. Change the grip, change the trigger, choose buttons and levers, clamp on a flashlight, scope or scopes, and, well, the list is virtually endless. Easy To Shoot Well For me and my way of thinking, the ultimate appeal of AR-15s is ontarget performance. Built right, I have yet to encounter a military-specbased firearm that can run with one downrange. I’m excluding anything with a turn-bolt operating system. Compared to any Kalashnikov-based variant, or one of the HKs, group size at distance (especially at longer distance) favors the AR. So does deployment. ARs are easy to shoot, and shoot easy. Now, if we have to include things with manually-operated bolts, that race is closer. As all know, my focus, experience, and impetus for shooting is competition. I choose an AR15 for centerfire competition for a few reasons, and the first is that they will shoot really, really well. Premium components and thoughtful construction combine to produce a target arm that’s capable of shooting under one minute of angle at any realistic distance. My best will group about 4" at 600 yards. That is not quite as good as a purpose-built bolt-gun. However! It’s no excuse for landing a shot outside the 12", 10-ring we’re up against on that target. And running a 12-pound AR-15 in rapid-fire events is almost like cheating. Mr. Potato head I started off this department those years ago saying that the AR-15 is Mr. Potato Head. Make it what you want it to be. Get a short barrel and stock and plug in its mad face. Get a long barrel and tube fore-end and work up its serious face. Pin on a .22 LR upper and outfit the happy face. Keep 20 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY 2011