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Plunging In


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Noon,  Thursday,  15 March,  2012.

Last night I called up the Brownells web site and ordered some PMags for an AR-15,  one for my LR-308,  a BAD-A.S.S.,  another pistol grip for an AR.  It is an act of faith.  The LR-308 rifle in my gun safe is as fully equipped as it needs.  There is no AR-15 when I submit the order.

Cabela's opens at 9 AM.  Today starts a special sale.  Plans go awry,  as usual.  It is 10:30 AM when I push through the doors.  There are not going to be very many of these sale-price rifles in this store.  I am late.  Straight to the gun sales counter.  Point to the picture in the flier.  Salesman smiles,  waves me to the far end of the counter and shows me a rifle.  I tell him it is what I am looking for and he grabs it out of my hand and gives it to the next customer to look at.  I am confused;  then from nowhere he has a new rifle still in the sealed original box and begins the real sales process.  A new rifle almost untouched by human hands.  11:15 AM:  I am pulling out of the parking lot with my new AR-15 in the trunk.

It is a DPMS Oracle,  the barrel stamp says:  DPMS  5.56  1 - 9.  I have a scope that has needed a home for a long time.  Primary other parts are in the mail.  Might wait to see how it feels when fired before fitting a Limbsaver to it.  Or maybe not.  Wait and see how the Limbsaver decision works out.  Zero recoil is just too nice.

Next big item is a new dedicated 22LR upper.  Need advice from all of you.  If I might borrow from Robert McNamara,  "Cost Effective!!"  That means not necessarily the cheapest or the highest priced but whatever seems to give the best consistency and accuracy for the money spent.  And of course it has to easily slip onto the DPMS AR-15 lower.  Thoughts on a scope for the 22LR upper are welcomed,  also--  but my Bushnell 4X bubble-pak glass is doing so well on the 10/22 that I might just rinse and repeat?

Eventually there may be a third upper:  18 or 20 inch bull barrel with free-float tube.  Targets and coyotes,  but that can wait (My pocketbook nerve is saying it can wait a very long time!).  And that scope will most likely be a Nikon mil-dot variable like the one on my LR-308.

Tried the feel of the trigger on this new rifle.  Does not feel too bad?  Never know until the gun is hot on a live-fire range.  Everything is different when it is all for real.  Will let you know.  Would have ordered an RRA NM last night but Brownells was out of stock and could not find mention at MidwayUSA.  The price of the RRA is chilling enough;  the price of any of the 'drop-in's' is more than I can deal with.

I really like my LR-308's A-2 stock.  Will wait and see how the collapsible stock on this new rifle does and feels before getting another A-2 for it.

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I cant speak highly enough of the CMMG .22 Sierra upper. Regarding the trigger. You can have a trigger job done by Bill Springfield very cheap. If your a patient guy good with your hands and small parts I know a guy who got a good deal on some Jards. He has one left that he might be willing to part with to help out a friend at what he paid for it. He finds the installation a pain in the butt.  ;D

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I do not have much patience.  I do not think I would do well with the Jard.  I need to see what happens with the OEM trigger first,  in any case.  Then if I feel still in need,  Bill Springfield may be my best next option.

15 minute break:  Took the new AR apart,  stuffed a wad of Kleenex between the hammer and frame cross-piece so the cross-piece does not get beat up or cracked;  hold two fingers across the top of the lower to catch the hammer and reset it and help keep the pad in place in case.  In 10 minutes I have pulled the trigger and released and reset the hammer nearly two hundred times or more.  lost count.  It is smooth now.  It does not feel like a two-stage trigger but a lot more like a handgun.  Maybe like a pathetic but smooth M1911?  It could be a lot lighter pull,  but that might not be a good thing.  Let us see what we really have.  >:D ::)

10 minute break.  This is too easy.  5 gallon bucket with bail,  wire coat hanger,  balance scale,  water supply.  The slide on the scale arm is in the middle of the last increment short of 6:  5 lb 14 oz.  That was just enough weight to trip the trigger - 4 times with a little water taken out and a little added back until it did again.  A pound and a couple of ounces less would be nice but maybe for now  it is best to leave it alone.  My demon is bugging me to calibrate the scale with a bag or a couple of bags of sugar.  ???

Can't stand it,  must know.  >:(

So the 10 lb bag of sugar balances at an indicated 10 lb 2 oz.  :beer: Subtract 2 oz from the trigger pull and it is 5 lb 12 oz.  The lower and the BCG still need their initial oil bath (clean with brake cleaner,  slop on Mobil One Full Synthetic 0,  5,  maybe 10W-20 or 30 [whatever turns up these days!] mixed with 25% Kroil;  let sit awhile;  dry with paper towel) and some live fire.  Then it will be time to think about the trigger again.

Oil bath for the upper will be after first live fire.  Bore break-in. A few rounds with minimal lubrication (initial cleaning with brake cleaner and then Hoppe's before first shoot) to possibly smooth tool marks some. I will read the manual,  too.  Might change my mind or procedure with more info.

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Last night I read about tightening and accurizing an AR in this forum or in AR308.  My front pin is tight,  to my ability to tell.  My rear pin is quite loose.  With just the rear pin engaged,  movement of upper vs lower is easy to see.  Time to find and try an oversize pin. 

Can't help but think a "repair kit' would be nice.  A threaded stainless sleeve (with drill bit or hone and tap) that could be put into the hole in that lug along with lots of Locktite.  The hole in the sleeve would be slightly undersize.  Use (the?) wood dowel and polishing grit to open the hole just enough for a tight press fit.  No,  not an arbor press but maybe need a cartridge to assist?  Something better than fingers.  The pin would still loosen quickly enough.  All just a little game for DIY gunsmithing?  And maybe not workable?

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Loose takedown pins,  cheap accurizing.  Measured the takedown pins mentioned in the previous noise and measured the holes.  The culprit in the loose upper is the hole in the rear mounting lug.  Almost 0.010 oversize.  Thought about it and fell back on the airplane mechanics ultimate cure.  Made a shim not quite as wide as the length of the hole and about 350 degrees inside the hole of beercan aluminum.  Soda can,  same thing.  Took up almost all of the slack--  or,  I can't tell that anything moves now.

Beercan aluminum sounds like a joke.  Its not.  Beer/soda cans are made of 2024 aluminum,  same stuff as airplanes from the 1930's until the 1990's and probably still for a lot of applications.  Alloy of aluminum and copper.  By the time it becomes a beer can it is 2024-T6 coated on both sides so it is almost proof against corrosion,  maybe 0.005 +/- inches thick.  Makes great shims.  If needed the can can be cut in a spiral and wound straight to fill worn space.  Fixed a clutch,  worn plastic bushings where the only option was a too-expensive major assembly replacement.  Clutch held up fine for 6 years and I sold the car.  My screen doors swing on hinge pins with beer can shims to keep it all in alignment.  Never forget where to find great shim stock!

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The bad news:  Uploading pictures is not possible  :confused: with my computer/software.  Sorry.

The good (maybe) news:  Sometimes the gremlins will allow copying of a picture into Email.  Then I can send the missive to a moderator who uploads the picture to the site.  Maybe.  That is 'maybe' for both the gremlins and the moderator.  ;D

There is still a lot going on. 

Tonight Brownells did it to me again.  They promise 7 - 10 days and hint at two weeks between ordering and arrival of those packages.  I filed my order online Wednesday night or Thursday morning.  Ref:  first line in this thread.  It was close to midnight,  one side or the other.  They gave the parcel to the US Mail (OK,  by request).  The stuff was on my front porch this afternoon (Saturday).  That's not long enough to even develop a good case of anticipation?

With parts in hand,  The CAA grip and the BAD-A.S.S. selector got stuffed into the rifle.  I use the biggest back insert on the CAA grip and that pushes my hand up high just like on a M1911 or a Smith.  It also pushes my trigger finger down to the bottom of the trigger.  Longer trigger moment arm,  easier to pull the trigger.  Dry fire,  it feels like a passable handgun and not at all like a military two-stage.  Maybe I can even like this trigger?  Have to see how live fire goes before I will know.

Need rings for my scope.  I bought a Pextax 4x-12x - 40 MM from MidwayUSA a long time ago.  Have done some checking and I need a set of affordable 1 inch tip-off rings that will give 1 inch clearance between the integral rail and the bottom of the scope.  That will allow 1/4 inch clearance between the front bell of the scope and the handguard.  Position of the scope above the rail will permit a basic set of high-lift rings.  'Tip-off' is optional.

Tomorrow I will begin looking for a set of rings.  There is Cabela's and on weekdays some others.  After that I will go back to the internet.  The keyword is 'affordable.'  I awreddy gave up on the internet once,  partly because of 'affordable' and partly because the descriptions leave too much doubt about how high that scope will be above the rail.  Never nobody to talk to when I get to where I need telephone time around midnight or on a Sunday?  ???

I promise pictures (see Paragraphs 1 & 2) when the scope is mounted;  if the range still allows shooting this caliber/type of rifle (anti-gun lawsuit in progress),  maybe even some targets?

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Here are the pictures.  DPMS Panther "Oracle;"  5.56 NATO;  Mods are CAA grip,  Battle Arms ambidextrous safety selector,  Burris tactical scope mounts,  Pentax "Gameseeker" 4x-12x-40 scope.  Pardon the excess oil from the first oil bath seeping on the side of the lower.

Click on the pics to make them bigger?



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  • 1 month later...

It has been about six weeks since I bought the DPMS AR-15 Oracle.  As noted the trigger is/was not really bad.  I found this original trigger to be uncomfortable in live fire.  It was smooth enough to be manageable but the long pull messes with my nerves.

Pardon my mixing past and present tenses.  Last weekend I found an RRA NM trigger that did not say in the catalogue "Out Of Stock."  What it said was "Expected available On April 25."  At 0600 on April 25 I filed my order and the computers accepted the order.  Wow!  In mid-afternoon I got an Email from that vendor that the trigger had been shipped.  :o    It arrived on Friday,  US Mail. 

Tonight I installed this new RRA NM trigger in my DPMS Oracle AR-15.  The difference is beyond actual description.  The best I can do is say:  "Thank You!" to my guardian Angels and to 'Whatever gods may be' (Longfellow?)  for guiding me to a website I had never visited before and allowing this boon to come to pass!    :beer:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Made it to the range again yesterday.

Trigger pull is very nice and very crisp.  That pull at the break is a lot stronger at the range in live fire than in dry fire at home (with the upper removed and catching the hammer to avoid damage within the receiver).

Groups are still much too large.  4 inches +;  If this was my only gun and I had no other shooting experience I would just hide.  I shoot 3 308 Win rifles including an AR pattern and 2 bolts,  a 7 MM Rem Mag bolt,  2 Black Powder front-stuffers and a collection of handguns and all of them do better than this 5.56 AR.  The 308's and the 7 MM easily keep all those holes within 2 inches of each other if I am not adjusting the scopes and messing with an infinite variety of factory ammo and handloads.  Even the handguns usually stay under 4 inches (on a good day with the 45ACP M1911,  2 inches at 25 yards). The 10/22 is a special topic,  other posts & threads.

Yesterday at the range I watched what the guy a couple of shooting stations away was doing with his very tactical AR 5.56/.223 Rem rifle equipped with a red dot sight and magnifier and the holes on his targets compared well with the holes on my targets.  That comparison allows for the red dot perhaps covering the area of the entire target while my scope was pinpointing the 'golf ball' in the target center.

Picture taken at the range shows the DPMS 5.56 with the Nikon scope.  The scope was taken from one of my bolt 308 Win rifles.  Currently cannot shoot 30 cal or larger at the range:  Harassment Lawsuit,  Court Order,  EPA.  I had hoped that the Nikon scope would produce better groups than the first scope I put on this rifle.  On the 308 Win bolt gun,  I get under 2 inch groups consistently.  Better than that by far if I am having a good day.



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Made it to the range again yesterday.

Groups are still much too large.  4 inches +;  If this was my only gun and I had no other shooting experience I would just hide.

to try to help diagnose this issue, let's start by asking what are you shooting for ammo? the 1-9 twist like the lighter weight bullets and may not be able to stablize a heavier gr. wgt. I would try to max out at 55gr. let me know how this works out because you can try a couple different types for cheap

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I may have to go back to 55 grain.  I did a web search and have read some articles in magazines that say the 1 in 9 nominal twist should handle up to 75 grains easily and some individuals report shooting 77 gr or heavier that did well in their own judgement in their rifles.  The seemingly more qualified sources have indicated that the 1 - 9 twist may be a little fast for 55 gr?  The M-16 originally had a 1 - 12 twist if I remember correctly,  and 55 gr was optimal for that.  This 1 - 9 should be just right at 69 gr?

I have accepted the 1 - 9 stamp on the barrel.  I am going to check it. 

Yesterday I was shooting 62gr HP Russian Bear,  69 gr HP Bitterroot Valley,  75 gr HP Bitterroot Valley,  69 gr HP Remington Match (that might have been some kind of factory reloads but did not say so.  The cases looked messy?). 

The water got muddy with the Rem Match because I adjusted the scope after a first clip and kept shooting;  the group after adjustment was about 2 inches with fliers to more than double that.  It was the end of the day and I was tired and my record-keeping discipline was on break.  About a dozen rounds in two clips to empty that box of ammo.  All the holes in the target mixed together.  The picture of a target,  previous post,  was after this.  Russian Bear may be good for combat and plinking,  but I really do not expect all that much from it.  It has,  however,  mostly done as well in this rifle as anything else.

The range forbids FMJ and checks.  Having any FMJ with you will get you banned permanently.

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interesting how fmj are banned there. kinda makes experimenting with ammo a tough thing to do.

i'm by far not a pro but you are way to heavy, those bullets are weights I would be looking into for my 1:7 twist barrel, where the lightest I have bought so far is xm855 62gr green tip.

give it a"shot" , let us know how things go. there is an abundance of 55 gr on the market, try a few, maybe even some lighter stuff if you can.

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I am intending to check if the barrel nut has been properly tightened.  The flash hider is rotated too far and is not level.  One sloppy assembler,  maybe,  or whatever.  Sloppiness is pervasive?  The barrel nut is going to be a 'two birds with one stone' attempt.  I will put a free-float tube on the rifle and try to get the new barrel nut properly tightened and re-tightened several times.  Then I will see what prints on the target ?

With the 308 AR's,  re-tightening the barrel nut several times is standard procedure.  I will be at the mercy of the attitude of a gunsmith,  however;  will have to wait and see how it all comes down?

The 1-9 twist is referred to many places as general purpose and should stabilize the ammo I am shooting.  A 1- 12 twist would be limited to 55 grain or lighter bullets.  I want heavier and boat-tail bullets to buck the wind as much as possible.  I have been spoiled by my 308 Win AR and those 180 and 190 grain spitzer boat-tails.  For refresh,  the range is dealing with a harassment lawsuit and 30 cal or larger rifles are verboten for now.

If the new and presumably properly tightened barrel nut does not help,  I will replace the barrel with a precision 1 - 7 twist barrel.  Then I will keep my fingers crossed and maybe even burn a candle on that range day.

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June 5,  2012:

The parts arrived yesterday,  DPMS slotted 12-inch free-float handguard & Mid-West Industries steel low-profile gas block.  Today there was a visit to a gunshop that is new to me but a very pleasant experience.  In a few hours the new hardware was installed and the rifle was back home again. 

The gunsmiths (there were two)  said everything seemed to have been assembled originally to factory specs.  Comment was made that the OEM military style handguard could have been tighter and more difficult to remove,  but .  .    .  Then the unsaid about he did not see how?  Maybe there was something there that affected accuracy? 

Range time as soon as it can be managed!  Pic of the new configuration below;  click it to make it larger.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Range report for June 13,  2012.

Not happy. 

Something happened in the rifle or scope.

Pics below.  Used 5 targets,  started at 50 yards to check function and then moved to 100 yards.

Look at target #3,  typical results.

Then look at target #5.  Fired another 2 5-shot clips just for the hell of it.  Rounds 1-4 did as expected.  I could see,  was watching that the crosshairs were on the golf ball for every shot.  Round 5 was low and right.  Damn.  Second clip--  What is this??

But--  out of time.  Other things that needed doing;  serious things.

Another trip to the range.  Soon.



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