1,200 Yards w/5.56 AR-15 – AXTS MI-T556 SPR Range Report

Adding a Silencerco suppressor, the AXTS SPR remained well balanced with very little shift in impact once attached.

The new AXTS SPR is a 5.56mm rifle designed for extreme long-range shooting. The author was able to engage targets out to 1,286 yards without missing a beat. Shown equipped with a Silencerco suppressor and Atlas bi-pod.

Although a relatively young company, AXTS Weapon Systems has earned a reputation for producing top-quality firearms designed to achieve very specific missions. And its newest, the AXTS MI-T556 SPR, continues that tradition.

The rifle is based on the Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) that was brought into U.S. military service as the MK12 in 2002. It was designed as an accurized version of the M16 chambered in 5.56mm. It used an 18” barrel designed to stabilize the heavier 77 grain bullets (MK262) for longer-range applications. Hand guards were free floated, tolerances a bit tighter, and iron sights more precise. Original models were equipped with a muzzle attachment that would accept a suppressor.

the AXTS SPR delivers long-range 5.56mm performance. Engaging steel at 300 yards, the AXTS SPR was stable and accurate, even when used from improvised positions.

the AXTS SPR delivers long-range 5.56mm performance. Engaging steel at extreme distances, the AXTS SPR was stable and accurate, even when used from improvised positions.

Still in service today, the original design concept has really caught on both within and outside the military market. And, improvements in design and manufacture since 2002 have made building a rifle like this with the precision needed even more within reach. Barrels are better, receivers stronger, accuracy improved and operation consistent.

It’s not uncommon to see an SPR that will rival precision rifles for accuracy at ranges extending to 1,000 yards. Bullets are better, ammunition more effective and optics vastly improved. Whether you are a hunter, officer, target shooter, or just plain enthusiast, the SPR-style platform offers all you will ever need in a semi-auto rifle chambered in 5.56mm.

Long Range with the Mouse Gun?

For most of my career, “experts” have been telling me the .223/5.56mm is a 500-meter rifle, prevailing thought being it was ineffective beyond that range and lacked the accuracy necessary to get consistent hits any farther out. That may have been true in the 1980s when rifle and bullet technology was lacking. Given a rifle shooting into 4” at 100 yards on its best day and ammunition to match, 500 meters would be a stretch.

Well, it’s not 1980 anymore, at least for a couple decades! Rifles today are different, shooters are better, and ammunition has improved by leaps and bounds. Factory rifles shoot twice as well as most early ARs. Purpose-built precision ARs can be astoundingly accurate. As to effectiveness, while many are willing to decry the 5.56mm’s limitations at “range,” few are willing to test them in person.

The terminal effectiveness of the new 77-grain TMK is substantially different than the FMJ of the day. It and similar bullets are proving devastating at ranges as far as 700 yards on small game. Accuracy potential on steel or paper reaches out to 1,000 yards given the correct combination. There is little doubt the sweet spot is the 100-700 yard range, but that is not the extent of its range. It’s a new world, and there are lots of new rifles to match.

 Training at Range

Teh author employed Spuhr’s ISMS mount. He feels it is super strong and accommodates a number of accessories for long-range shooting.

The author employed Spuhr’s ISMS mount. He feels it is super strong and accommodates a number of accessories for long-range shooting.

I had been experimenting with longer ranges using the 5.56mm with a couple custom built ARs. Able to reach 700 yards at my range, it was pretty easy with 77 Grain OTM (Open Tipped Match) bullets. Given a custom barrel, solid build, and steady position, I could hold 1 MOA at that range, even beyond. Of late many factory rifles were more than capable.

While enlightening, it took some serious training with Buck Doyle from Follow Through Consulting to really open my eyes. Buck is a combat Marine with 22 years of service, much of it as a Force Recon Marine. Having used accurized ARs at range in combat gives him credibility. Several years of contracting afterwards added to his “been there done that” reputation. More importantly, he provided a means to learn how to do it yourself at his Scoped Carbine Class.

Held on his range at The Lodge at Red River Ranch in Teasdale, Utah, it’s a long-distance shooters dream. Targets are placed mostly from 300-1,100 meters amongst the beautiful red cliffs of Capitol Reef, Utah. It’s windy, dusty, and can be harsh, making it challenging. Targets are generally 12” circles with nothing bigger than a silhouette. Buck believes in “aim small, shoot small,” and practices that consistently.

Designed around a scoped 5.56mm carbine and the Horus TreMoR reticles, it’s all about ranging and getting on target fast. No knob turning; you use the reticle, and once dialed in you seldom see prone. It’s mostly from barricades, making the effectiveness of the SPR more surprising. It’s an eye opener. Having attended or assisted with several classes, students are hitting steel at 800 meters in stiff winds by day three. In at least a couple cases, students having never used an AR accomplish this. It rather quickly dispels any remaining mythology as to the ability of the 5.56mm cartridge to reach out.


Using just the Silencerco ASR flash hider, the AXTS SPR remains easy to maneuver, lightweight and well balanced.

During several classes AXTS provided their MI-T556 for use. Built to exacting standards, they were impressive. Over time a relationship developed between AXTS and Buck Doyle, resulting in his consultation on their rifles. Most of their previous rifles used pinned 14.5 or 16” barrels. While they worked great, they did not take full advantage of the latest loads like the Black Hills Ammunition 77-grain TMK.

Using one of my personal builds with an 18” barrel, the differences were obvious. Holds with the 77-grain TMK were often 10-20% less at the same range given muzzle velocities in the 2,750 feet per second range. It only proved what we both knew, that the 18” barrel was the ticket for taking complete advantage of modern ammunition without sacrificing usability. It prompted AXTS’s latest rifle based on Buck’s design input and extensive testing.

Buck Doyle’s dream AR, the SPR, was designed for practical application out to the limits of the 5.56mm cartridge. It started with an MI-T556, adding a few touches including a 17.5” barrel and full-length, custom hand guard to match. The results are impressive, to say the least.

The SPR features hand-fit, CNC-machined receivers. Controls are truly ambidextrous, recessed yet easy to access, and the proper size for easy application.

The SPR features hand-fit, CNC-machined receivers. Controls are truly ambidextrous and the proper size for easy application.

The MI-T556 starts with hand-fit, CNC-machined receivers using a proprietary configuration. Designed for use in harsh conditions, they are as light as possible without sacrificing strength. Controls in the A-DAC lower are completely ambidextrous, recessed, and strong. The forward assist is moved forward so it does not interfere with the charging handle. Made of titanium, it is DLC coated. The company’s Talon 45/90 degree safety sits on either side. The lines on these receivers are perfectly matched and tight.

For the SPR, a custom handguard using M-Lok is mated to the receiver ending just at the flash hider, covering most of the barrel. It protects the 17.5” barrel capped with a Silencerco ASR flash hider. Starting with a Shilen 416R blank, the barrels are profiled using a 1:8” twist rate. Each crown is hand polished. The highest quality barrel extensions are used with polished feed ramps and .223 Wylde chambers. An AXTS Black Nitrided bolt carrier group is utilized. Manufactured from case-hardened 8620 steel, the 4130 steel gas key is properly staked. The bolt is 9310 steel, MPI tested and CNC-ground following heat treatment for a perfect fit. It’s all coated in Black Nitride for the best possible operation under any condition. Charging is accomplished with an AXTS Raptor ambidextrous handle.

The rifle features an AR Gold trigger. Having a right-side bolt release makes reloads fast and keeps you locked into the gun.

The rifle features an AR Gold trigger. Having a right-side bolt release makes reloads fast and keeps you locked into the gun.

Each MI-T556 uses a custom American Trigger Corporation AR Gold Trigger nestled into the oversized trigger guard. Designed to be operational over the long term, it provides a crisp single-action pull with a predictable take-up. AR Gold triggers have proven reliable under the harshest conditions with design features that insure operation in dusty and dirty conditions. Magpul’s STR stock covers a mil-spec sized buffer tube with an H2 buffer. This rifle was coated in a very nice green Cerakote. Pistol grip is a Magpul. Each is shipped in a Grey Ghost soft case with a single magazine.

Chambering: .223 Wylde
Barrel: 17.5 Inches
OA Length: 34 inches (collapsed)
Weight: 6.5 pounds (bare rifle)
Sights: Optics rail
Stocks/Grips: Magpul MOE grip/AXTS M-Lok Hand Guard/Magpul STR Stock
Action: Semi-automatic/rotating bolt/gas impingement
Finish: Cerakote
Capacity: Accepts standard AR-15/M16 magazines
Price: $3,000

Finishing the Rifle Out

My Leupold Mark 6 3-18X scope using a Horus TreMoR 3 reticle was mounted in a Spuhr ISMS mount and covered with Adamount lens protection. It keeps the scope low to the rail. The built-in level keeps you square at range. A Trijicon RMR was added at one o’ clock using Spuhr’s mount. An Angle Cosign Indicator was attached to the left side of the mount, keeping everything compact and solid. SLR provided an M-Lok rail for the Atlas bi-pod. Dueck Defense offset sights were mounted for close quarters work. Testing was completed using the ASR along with Silencerco’s Omega .30-caliber suppressor.

The author equipped the AXTS with Leupold’s Mark 6 using a T3 reticle. It allowed him to get hits on target quickly and accurately.

The author equipped the AXTS with Leupold’s Mark 6 using a T3 reticle. It allowed him to get hits on target quickly and accurately.

Silencerco’s Omega suppressor is lightweight, quiet and versatile and can be used on several calibers in different configurations.


The Shilen barrel really liked 77-grain bullets, including Remington’s Premier Match. It produced this sub half-inch group at 100 yards.

The Shilen barrel really liked 77-grain bullets, including Remington’s Premier Match. It produced this sub half-inch group at 100 yards.

Shooting itty-bitty groups with an AR can be a chore with varying success, mostly attributed to the shooter. Group testing occurred over two days using several bullet weights. Overall it seemed to favor the 77-grain ammunition, with Remington Ammunition 77-grain Premier Match taking the day at .47 inches. Black Hills 77-grain TMK was very close behind at .56 inches. Days were always windy, so many groups were in the .75 range, but when I was squared away it clovered most of the time. Overall this is a half minute gun at 100 yards with the right shooter and ammunition.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 2.10.38 PMHowever, that’s not where the accuracy story ends. Buck is fond of expressing his lack of interest in what a rifle does at 100 yards. The real question is will it hold that group at range, say 300 yards minimally, even better 700 yards or more. Black Hills 69 grain TMK was a perfect example. Struggling to shoot under .75 inches at 100 yards, it printed a nice 5-inch group on 12 inch steel at 669 yards. Overall it created a 6-inch clump at that range over 10 rounds. Moving out to 887 yards, the 77-grain TMK and 77-grain Remington both held under 1 MOA vertically. Even my group at 1,236 yards measured just over a foot vertically, staying around that 1 MOA range. Bottom line, this rifle is about as good as it gets in a semi and better than my capability most of the time.

Practical Application

The author found the AXTS SPR to be a true, long-range performer. This one can really reach out when needed.

The author found the AXTS SPR to be a true, long-range performer. This one can really reach out when needed.

This rifle really shines working in the field, and that is how Buck designed it. Given the time spent on the road or in my FJ, much of my training occurs in and around it. Setting up on the hood and bumper, 12” steel was engaged at 200 to 400 yards using a bag for a rest or the Atlas Bi-pod. Working different positions, it remained “point, hold, and shoot” out to 300 yards. The only time the knobs were touched were at 1,200 yards; everything else was completed using the T3, and it is fast.

With the Silencerco Omega installed it was easy to use under the truck, by the tires, or even next to the bumper. No concussion, minimal recoil, and plenty quiet for use without hearing protection. The MI-T556 remained balanced and the extended hand guard insured the barrel was never resting on cover. Using a GG&G barricade stop, it locked into barricades, trees, and the bench. Getting hits on 12 inch or smaller targets out to 400 was a no brainer; stretching it out to 800 took some solid wind reads, but this rifle is practical to 800 with ease and capable of hits at 1,000 with skill.

Other Considerations

Bullet impact shift was less than an inch when the suppressor was added, and was consistent. Return to zero was within half an inch when it was removed and reattached. Brass ejection was all but unaffected. With the suppressor attached or not it sent brass at roughly 4:00, just a bit farther with the suppressor. Gas in the face was almost unnoticeable, and over 100 rounds the magazine was still pretty clean. Given the lack of an adjustable gas block, this surprised me. It was pleasant enough that the Omega will stay on there for most training.

Working inside the truck and shoot house took some work, but after 10 years running an 18.5” shotgun it’s not hard. Certainly not what its best at, but no worse than a 16” gun, and it will do things a 10” AR won’t. My conversion to this barrel length for a scoped carbine is complete and will not change. I like a short gun for dedicated work across the parking lot using a red dot sight; for everything else this rifle is the ticket. This may be Buck’s dream rifle, but we clearly share the same vision.

Final Thoughts

Retail on this SPR is in the 3K range, so you expect it to work. Still, the attention to detail is superb, rivaling only my hand-built custom rifles. Everything is smooth, mates perfectly, and operates flawlessly. Only the best possible parts are used, making mil-spec rifles look like toys. It’s like a custom 1911 that has been hand fit and contoured.

This is the first production SPR off the line (not a prototype, but rather a full production model), but they are a few weeks out when it comes to ramping up the website to reflect the new product. AXTS prides themselves on a delivery time measured in weeks, not months, so give them a call to put in your order.

While you can certainly pay more you will not get much for it; it just does not get much better. At the same time it is a working rifle designed by a combat Marine with the sole purpose of using it, not hanging it in a safe. I test a lot of ARs, hundreds over the years. Nothing has come across my path any better, many less so at a higher cost. If you are in the market for a custom grade AR designed and tested for real world use this one needs to be at the top of your list, it may be your only choice!

Dueck Defense Rapid Transition sights operate like standard A2 sights allowing for use at any range as needed.

Dueck Defense Rapid Transition sights operate like standard A2 sights allowing for use at any range as needed.

The Talon 60 degree safety from AXTS is comfortable, easy to access and ambidextrous.

The Talon 60 degree safety from AXTS is comfortable, easy to access and ambidextrous.

A custom-made hand guard from AXTS locks up tight, providing one of the most solid ARs on the market.

A custom-made hand guard from AXTS locks up tight, providing one of the most solid ARs on the market.

Designed to match the barrel, the AXTS custom hand guard extends all the way to the base of the flash hider, completely protecting the barrel.

Designed to match the barrel, the AXTS custom hand guard extends all the way to the base of the flash hider, completely protecting the barrel.

Coated in Cerakote, the SPR is striking in certain light with a solid look that is useful in any environment.

Coated in Cerakote, the SPR is striking in certain light with a solid look that is useful in any environment.

For more information, visit https://www.axtsweapons.com/.
To buy an AXTS firearm on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=AXTS.

{ 53 comments… add one }
  • tony james February 19, 2018, 2:27 pm

    Some of these comments are very well thought and some are flat out comical! Let me start of by saying I am retired federal agent and held numerous advanced firearm instructor certs. and was in Iraq in 2003. I used to find myself getting into the same strange dilemmas some of you discuss like what is the effective range on whatever round at whatever distance etc.. or how does it perform in ballistics gel at these ranges and all sorts of odd debates. But let us be 100% honest here- NO ONE is using any rifle round on anything but game, shooting paper, or in the super rare case oh home defense. So, who the hell cares how it performs at 1,000 yds on flesh??? Not one person, unless you are a but job are going to use a 5.56 on a human target that distance or are in combat. So it is very silly dilemma to even debate. For home defense we are talking about what 5 yds?? And I would not use one there anyway. If you are that worried how a 223 round will perform on game from that distance then you should go with a .308 or something else! To me civilians debating the lethality of rounds at any distance over 20 yds is pure insanity and planning for something like a damn zombie invasion! I mean I would love to heat any time in history where a civilian, non-leo, has used deadly force at a range over 100 yds LEGALLY for self defense in the U.S. I do not think there has been any in last 100 years! I mean come up with a scenario where this would be legal and you are using your trusty ar for self defense at 1100 yds!!!
    Maybe they are fun intellectual debates to have for LEO/military use or the end of the world Armageddon but in real life it will never happen on anything other the paper or deer. And having been in Iraq I can tell you shot is shot! Many people have been killed with 22 calibers and people react badly when they are shot. Yes, we have all heard stories of people running and doing all sorts of stuff when hit with 55 grn ammo etc… but again – military not home defense! In my opinion an ar based in 5.56 is fine for small game and defense. When you start talking about long distance etc.. it is no longer for self defense. We all watch to many movies! But good points on the ballistics on drop, wind etc… I had an 18″ SPR an easily hit steel out to 800 with it using 77 SMK. Past that is was tough! But again- sport versus reality should weigh in!

    • David July 22, 2018, 3:38 am

      University Of Texas, civilians legally returned fire against what we now call an active shooter, Charles Whitman. First one to pop into my head. There are others, but I generally agree with you. I do however believe that there is a place and time for everything. I can say that if I was ever in that situation that I could possibly stop an active killer from a reasonable distance, that I would at least try. I understand the fallout and accept that I may even be confused for someone who is a second shooter. In that situation, I understand that I may be shot as well. To some of us it’s worth the risk to save a life, or many lives.

  • kevin September 19, 2017, 9:59 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed the comments about this rifle or that and especially about why does anyone like an ar. I retired from the army 18 yrs ago and I did a lot of shooting for those 20 yrs. just this past year I started shooting again and the only rifle I wanted was an ar platform. It was simply the only platform that I liked. It isnt the only rifle I have and I dont think I ever just shot up a target of any sort with as many bullets as I could. I missed it.

  • Glen December 29, 2016, 9:46 am

    The gun looks great.. If I had that kind of Money I would have one in a heart beat. 3k for the gun and another probably for the set up. That gun better shoot well lol. You can’t deny that it is cool. I especially like the cnc receivers that have been fitted. Even in the picture yo can see how tight of fit they are.. Some of the shooting they are talking about I think is more for just hitting a target.. Some of you people are arguing about if it would kill you that far.. I don’t think that was the point of the article.. of course 5.56 isn’t the best for terminal velocity out past 450-600m.. Maybe a little further with 75+ grain bullets. Which they are using Black Hills 77 grain which has a ballistic coefficient of 0.372 and a sectional density of 0.219 and a muzzle velocity of 2750.. Which i doubt is hittable by many AR out there with shorter barrels.. According to my calculations and this is without the weather added or atmosphere conditions of Utah.. 900 yards with that round and those numbers gives a 27.5-29.5 ft drop and out at 2000 yards a 325 ft drop.. But whats interesting is that at 400-700 yards the bullet still is extremely accurate. I would say a most people could hit steel with that set up at 700-1300 yards with practice. .416 barret is a caliber i dont see to many articles on that has some really interesting numbers check it out.

  • mpr June 24, 2016, 8:55 am

    Sorry, it is a waste of money… I have a rem700lr with a Vortex PST FFP 6-24×50 scope, tricked out for $1800 total. Long range shooters don’t use enough ammo to make up the difference in cost. My 30.06 govt. surplus rounds at about 40 cents each work fine, not much more cost than 5.56. plus I can go elk hunting, etc. and make a large game shot at 4-500 yds. safely. Federal premium loads are $1.50 each, but rarely used. You can buy this rifle plus a nice 5.56 for less than the $3000.00 he spent.

  • Dan F. June 22, 2016, 12:13 am

    So, who really buys these? If you don’t have an unlimited, taxpayer-funded budget or take pride in a high burn rate, it’s just a stupid status symbol. No freakin’ way.

  • Rob June 21, 2016, 4:25 am

    I find it extremely interesting how all of you experts know so much about something you have no experience with. Since you can’t wrap your tiny mind around it, must be bs. I’ve been shooting a very similar rifle in very similar conditions for the last few months and everything in this article is accurate. On Thursday I put many rounds on steel with it at 1236 yards w/ the 77 gr. TMK, one 3 shot group went 4.5″ (some luck w/ the wind there for sure, but still). The guy next to me put 5 rounds on the plate in under 5 seconds. At 1,200 yards the TMK still has over 200 ft. lbs of energy, same as a .380 HydaShok at the muzzle. Any of you spouters wanna put a .380 HydraShok in your chest and report back if it “tickles?” Didn’t think so. With the Tremor reticle I’m shooting while you’re trying to range and dial. If my first round doesn’t get it, the second one for damn sure will and it’s on the way before the brain has fully processed what just happened. With the light weight of my rig, I’m feeling rested after carrying it for hours, and I’ve got plenty of ammo. This rifle sure is fun to take to the range, but that’s just a bonus. This setup is a serious tool, the best one I’ve seen if you only have one to deploy across a variety of situations.

  • ryan June 21, 2016, 3:59 am

    Nice writeup on the gun. Here’s my takeaway: 1. The SPR platform can be stretched out to longer range than most people think and 2. AXTS sells a really nice SPR. He didn’t say this was the optimal gun for 1200 yd shooting, only that it could be done. In fact he says that 100-700 yds is the sweet spot. For anyone who thinks it’s impossible, do some research. Buck Doyle’s classes have been well documented by media outlets over the last couple of years. Everyone who comes out of the class talks about consistently hitting steel beyond 1100 meters in windy conditions. Sounds to me like training worth taking. As for terminal ballistics, keep in mind these guys are shooting in Utah (high altitude). I ran some quick numbers with MV of 2750 fps and DA of 6500 ft. Velocity at 1200 yds is around 1000 fps. I guarantee if you get hit with a 77 gr TMK at 1000 fps you will require immediate medical attention and I would call that a combat effective hit.

  • Ty Noslrac June 20, 2016, 6:35 pm

    Even at 1000 yards the 5.56x45mm round even using a 77grain bullet does not have enough energy to kill much of anything. At 1200 yards (even if you can adjust for the elevation and windage, highly doubtful) it might tickle a bit, but it’s not deadly. So what’s the point.

    • J October 4, 2016, 8:36 pm

      That is one of the most ignorant comments I’ve heard in a very long time. Do you have any experience or knowledge regarding ballistics at all? Either you possess no knowledge, are a horrendous marksman, or both.
      Saying its highly doubtful that someone can adjust for windage and elevation at 1000-1200 yards gift wraps my point and puts a bow on it.
      It’s highly probable that I’m wasting my time responding but your comment pissed me off and really annoyed me.
      Do some research before you run your mouth, you might save the taste of your foot..

      I guess all the boys overseas should be made aware that that the enemy is just playing dead after getting lit up over 1000 yards away with a 77 gr smk or tmk.. Someone should tell them!! Lol.

      Critics should look up the energy at the muzzle of a .38 special, .380 auto, or the plethora of side arms out there and compare…
      I wouldn’t want to get shot at PBR with a piece, and the cartridge in question still has more energy at that distance.

    • You are a damn fool April 9, 2017, 6:57 pm

      Go stand at 120 yards and take 1 center mass and see how nice it feels you god damned fool you…go back to nana’s basement and watch pornhub and stroke it lil boy.

  • MB June 20, 2016, 6:09 pm

    I’m calling BS on this author. I shoot match bolt guns in .223 loaded to the gills with 77gr pills.
    Never even occured to me to do so, but i ran the data through the Nightforce software.
    At 2,700fps (which you wont get with an 18″ barrel) you are looking at 860 inches of drop, 210 inches of drift with a 10mph cross wind and a whopping 930fps terminal velocity! So just hold 70 feet high and 17 feet into the wind….
    To accomplish what? I’d like to see a verified targetwith video. That wont happen. Also, os he shooting off the hood of a Polaris Ranger? Sure thing…

    • Ty Noslrac June 20, 2016, 6:36 pm

      I agree.

    • ryan June 21, 2016, 4:50 am

      Tongue in cheek here, but I can’t resist: 1. just because you call bullets pills doesn’t make you a bad@$$. 2. 2700 fps is easily achievable and very common with a 77 grain bullet out of an 18″ barrel. 3. Any decent scope on the market that’s made for long range use will allow you to compensate for elevation and windage. It’s what those knobs are for on the top and on the side. 4. People say that .223/5.56 is anemic at long range, but nobody will let me test it on them. 5. Positional shooting (such as shooting over the hood of a Polaris Ranger) is common in any shooting venue except the square range. 6. The video really won’t happen because this is a printed article. 7. If someone says 2+2=4 and you “Call BS”, 2+2 will still equal 4.

      • brian November 30, 2017, 1:52 am

        To be fair, the people saying that 5.56 doesn’t have very good terminal performance at long range sort of have a point. Most 5.56 ammo depends on high velocity for it’s terminal performance so it can yaw, tumble, and fragment. By the time it gets to 1200 yards, the energy is is carrying (Energy = 0.5[MV^2]) is comparable to a 9mm fired from typical pistol. So it becomes much more important that you get your shot placement exactly right when the terminal performance of 5.56 at 1200 yards will be similar to a 9mm at 10 yards. I don’t think anyone would argue that 5.56 is incapable of getting the job done at those distances, but just to bear in mind the fact that hitting a person or animal at 1200 yards with 5.56 simply isn’t the same beast as it is at 100 yards.

        As far as “oh yeah well let me shoot you at 1200 yards with 5.56 and see if you think it isn’t lethal” is the same sort of argument that people make when they try to argue that birdshot is sufficient for home defense. Nobody is arguing that it wouldn’t suck, just that it might not suck enough for the purposes you need it for.

        – “Birdshot is perfect for home defense. Doesn’t overpenetrate walls and a hundred little pellets going into a bad guys skin totally ruins his day. The whole front of his body will be swollen for the rest of his life.”
        – “No. There is no birdshot round that reliably penetrates deep enough to disrupt vital organs. Ruining his day isn’t the point. After ruining his day with birdshot, the perp is still physically capable of harming you if he decides he wants to persist. The point is to render him physically unable to harm you regardless of whether he decides he wants to persist, and to do that you need to actually penetrate deep enough to destroy vital organs. Birdshot doesn’t do that.”
        – “Oh yeah? Well how about you let me shoot you with some birdshot and see how harmless you think it is.”

        That’s kinda how it sounds when you say “let me test it on you then” to people who think the terminal performance of 5.56 at 1200 yards might not be good enough for what they need.

  • Tommy Barrios June 20, 2016, 4:56 pm

    People seem to forget that the maximum range setting on an M16/AR-15 with a 20+ inch barrel is 880 meters (2904 yards) and the gun will hit at that range with a 39% probability in the hands of the average shooter, it is 50% at 700 meters using the same average shooter standard!
    Now image this same rifle platform outfitted with a compact 6X Carl Zeiss scope, a 20 inch stainless steel ribbed heavy barrel, an AK-74 flame extinguisher and a Choate stock and you have MY “I can hit anything I can see” rifle!
    and all for the paltry sum of under $1,000!
    Here’s my take on firearms, if you got the money to spend, someone out there has the gun for you, if you just want to spend money, someone out there has the gun for you, BUT if you want to SAVE money and still get the BEST GUN for YOUR purpose, then again, someone out there has the right solution for you 😉
    How’s that grab you Podna 😉

    • Heath June 20, 2016, 5:41 pm

      880 meters is 962 yards and 2887 feet

    • MB June 20, 2016, 6:20 pm

      If you are talking about the same load in this article, you have a final velocity of 540fps at 2,940 yards. That wont penetrate skin covered by a heavy shirt. Hurt like hell? Yes. Kill something? No.
      Still not seeing the point of an AR worth 3,000 bucks shooting such a woefully inadequate long range cartridge when there are much better options.

      If the author had actually shown some groups rather than just talking about them and focused on the guns crazy ability to consistently operate within the practical range of the cartridge, I’d have been sold.

      • J October 4, 2016, 8:40 pm

        Velocity isn’t the question, it’s energy that kills

  • Steve Warren June 20, 2016, 3:17 pm

    M16/AR15 has been the rifle of choice for service rifle competition for about 25 years now. The M1 and M14 (M1A) are still seen, but the serious shooters are winning at 200, 300 and 600 yards with the M16. We used to use 80-grain VLD bullets for the slow fire, but I think the 77-grain bullets are preferred because they can be loaded into the magazine. The 80 VLD were too long to fit the magazine.

  • Rob June 20, 2016, 2:24 pm

    I think a lot of you are missing the point here. For a rifle light enough to carry around for any period of time and quickly and accurately engage targets from 50 to 1,200 yards, this is as good as it gets. Yes, there are better guns for extreme long range. My 6.5 w/ a 24″ heavy target barrel will give me better performance out there, but its a heavy SOB and I’m not going to lug it around very long. My .300 BLK suppressed SBR w/ a red dot is better for close work, but it’s not reaching out there. If I have to choose one gun as the all-around tool that I’m going to reach for when it matters, this is it. For those of you spouting ignorance like “will it break the paper when it gets there?”, you obviously haven’t tried the 77 grain TMK. And lastly, for the jackwang with the keyboard vomit about how his pos side charger is”probably more accurate.” You’ve had this abomination for a year and you don’t KNOW what the accuracy is? Thanks for confirming the obvious. Next!

  • Alvin Yoek June 20, 2016, 12:46 pm

    Really!! Shooting a .223 out to 1200 yds.,what are you going to hit out there? This is probably one of the stupidest articles I have seen guns America come out with. I am an old, literally, coyote hunter, I one called a crack pot wanna be out who said he killed a coyote at one thousand yds. We measured it and it was a little over 200. yds. maybe kill prairie dogs, if you can see them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Tommy Barrios June 20, 2016, 5:14 pm

      From Wikipedia:
      “In Fallujah, Marines with ACOG-equipped M16A4s created a stir by taking so many head shots that until the wounds were closely examined, some observers thought the insurgents had been executed.”[108] The newest M855A1 EPR cartridge is even more accurate and during testing “…has shown that, on average, 95 percent of the rounds will hit within an 8 x 8-inch target at 600 meters.”[109]
      600 meters = 1980 yards YO!

      • MB June 20, 2016, 6:25 pm

        Sure, cause if it’s on wikipedia, it’s true… Good Lord!
        There is NO WAY a Marine (God Bless them ALL) could hit 95% on head sized targets in field conditions with a POS M16 at 600 meters.

      • Damon June 20, 2016, 8:13 pm

        “600 meters = 1980 yards. YO!”

        Another victim of American public schooling. 1 meter = 1.094 yards.
        Thus, 600 meters = 656.4 yards.

        Nothing you have to say about ballistics can be considered seriously with such a basic mathematical error so boldly stated.

        Heinlein said it best when he stated that those who cannot understand basic mathematics shouldn’t really be considered people, just high-level monkeys who have learned not to crap on the floor.

        As to the rifle in question, why bother accurizing such an insignificant caliber? If I’m going to shoot at something 1200 meters away, I want it to fall down dead when the bullet gets there.

        • Jim June 20, 2016, 8:47 pm

          I agree. Lost all interest and claimed BS when the math didn’t work. 1 meter is just slightly larger than a yard, not 3.3 times longer. They have that 1 meter = roughly 10 feet. That’s one hell of a football field.

        • hdfinder47 June 20, 2016, 10:35 pm

          You mean to tell me we’re not supposed to crap on the floor any more?

      • WillR June 20, 2016, 8:56 pm

        Where are you getting your conversion formula? Because you’re saying here that 600 metres is 1980 yards, and you said in another post 880 metres is 2904 yards, and I’d really like to know HOW you came to that figure. You’re CLOSE to a metres to feet conversion but even then the math is wrong. 600 metres is 656 feet. 880 metres is 962 feet. Unless precision distancing is necessary, metres and feet are generally used interchangeably. Have you ever seen a meter stick and a yard stick next to one another?

        • Tom June 30, 2016, 11:02 pm

          I think you mean 600 “meters” (not metres) = 656 yards NOT “feet”

      • rdsii64 November 26, 2016, 4:22 am

        I hate to brake it to you but 600 meters IS ONLY 656.168 YARDS!! your math is way off.

  • Robert June 20, 2016, 11:38 am

    A most beautiful weapon, fired by a true hero ( Marine ). That is the highlights. I would never pay 5,000 dollars for a scope ( unless it was one of those systems that Kyle’s wife used in her competition). All in all, for 8 to 10 thousand, I would get a .50 Cal BMG !!!

  • mesaman June 20, 2016, 11:33 am

    But, could it kill a mouse at that distance? Did it break the paper at that distance?

    • Craig Flarida June 20, 2016, 2:20 pm

      I’m with you on this.

  • Thomas Lewiston June 20, 2016, 10:49 am

    Ridiculous concept that makes no business sense. Putting all of these additional add-ons to improve a cartridge that cannot physically perform reliably at its intended specifications. An article that over sells with a unrealistic title and under delivers on content and truth .

  • Bobk90 June 20, 2016, 10:33 am

    Pure Fantasy… I’ll stick with my Factory Savage AXIS HB in 308 Bolt Gun which cost me roughly $350 and out shoot the Gun in the Article with an AIM SPORTS 10x40x50 that cost $150!!!
    Wannabes buy Expensive toys thinking it makes them Operators when reality dictates that their FOOLS….

    • uh huh July 2, 2016, 10:02 pm

      You are an idiot. If you are happy with your savage, great. I buy expensive toys because I want to and because I can. Your $150 scope is garbage. If you drop that once in the woods, zero is off guaranteed. I will guarantee the scope won’t track properly as well. You don’t have to justify buying sub-par equipment and I don’t have to justify buying the best.

  • David Guthry June 20, 2016, 9:42 am

    Would love to purchase the AR-15 shown with the scope and suppressor.Let me know where to purchase one.Thanks.Dave

  • Frank Mancuso June 20, 2016, 9:37 am

    The article was interesting but one line is really just pure marketing and out out BS here is the line (It’s not uncommon to see an SPR that will rival precision rifles for accuracy at ranges extending to 1,000 yards. ) Not hardly it won’t even come close, that rifle is shooting 1 moa according to the article at 1200 yards here is just two examples of a precision rifle (Sarver Shoots 1.403″ Group at 1000 Yards) http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2007/07/sarver-shoots-1403-group-at-1000-yards/ (Best 10-Shot, 1000-Yard Group in History — Be Amazed) 2.6 inches http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2014/04/best-10-shot-1000-yard-group-in-history-be-amazed/ Even though that is a good little gun it isn’t a precision rifle.

    • Bruce Carpenter June 20, 2016, 12:30 pm

      I thought I read in an article that the .223 would begin to tumble past 500 yards. Did I misread?

      • Steve Warren June 20, 2016, 3:20 pm

        You’re probably thinking about 55-grain bullets through a 1:12 twist barrel. A 77-grain bullet through a 1:8 twist barrel is pretty accurate out to some astounding ranges (for a .22).

      • William League June 20, 2016, 5:20 pm

        Whatever you may have read in another article is irrelevant here. However, you did misread (or skimmed) this article. Please re-read it and pay close attention to the relevant ballistic data applied here vs. your 500 yd tumbling projectile article. Seems like there’s a surprising number of “enthusiast” out there that can’t get past the caliber of the round and on to the whole point of the article: barrel length, twist, bullet grain, precision tolerances, et al. Regarding all the “why would you?” and “my big gun is better than your little gun”, we should ALWAYS strive to aim higher/further out, loud pipes DO NOT save lives, Your lifted big red diesel dualie pickup DOES NOT make YOU any bigger, and we revel in the accomplishments of ourselves and our brotherhood of expert marksmen.

        Remember, kids……..when the zombie apocalypse hits, the ability to clear a perimeter 1000+ yds out makes you an invaluable team member.

        • Damon June 20, 2016, 8:19 pm

          Unless you’re burning up all the available .223 to put sore red marks on a bunch of zombie foreheads with no other effect.

  • Vanns40 June 20, 2016, 9:31 am

    All well and good until you look at the price for what you’re doing. $3,000 for the rifle, $5,000 for the optics plus the misc stuff. Really? If you’re going to drop that much money in a long distance rifle I think I’d pick other than 223. Of course I could be missing a point entirely in which case I profusely apologize.

  • bulruq June 20, 2016, 9:01 am

    So you can hit a relatively large target with the Mouse gun at 1200+ yards; why would you WANT too? Other than paper target shooting this has NO practical application. It would be irresponsible to hunt like that and as for human targets in a defensive situation, kevlar helmets and band-aids would negate any real utility other than the most ridiculous harassment possible.

    • Damon June 20, 2016, 8:21 pm

      Yep. Shooting people with a .22 at 1000+ yard ranges is what gets airstrikes called in on you.

  • buhbang June 20, 2016, 9:00 am

    i couldnt keep reading when author said it uses an 18″ barrel to stabilize the 77 gr bullets….
    this is done by rifling…. not by barrel length.and if company knew it was for the heavier bullets why didnt they give it a 1in7 rifling? 1in8 can do it, but not as good.
    and how can it be a “high end” long range rifle with button rifling?
    seems that this rifle should have a polygonal rifled barrel, as they have better velocity and accuracy over button rifling.
    You can build your own long range gun for far less than this one, and probably more accurate if you get a polygonal rifled barrel
    this gun sounds like a copy of my 1st ar build that i did a year ago,except i bet mine is more accurate as I have an 18″ polygonal rifled barrel,(1in8). and on mine, everything is billet, not forged, from the Black Rain Lower to the Crosshill Tech Side charging upper, even my gas block.
    build your own people, its really not that hard to learn how. maybe in a year or two the next axts will come out with a side charger and copy me some more 🙂

    • WillR June 20, 2016, 9:15 pm

      Barrel length absolutely affects stability. The longer your barrel, the more turns the bullet gets and the more velocity it gains before passing through the muzzle. Spin and stability is not simply a function of the rifling ratio(although it is affected by), but rather the number of turns the bullet makes before leaving the muzzle and the speed it has gained at said point. The faster the bullet, the more spin imparted. The more turns it makes through the barrel, the more spin imparted. Tighter twist ratios are just a way to stabilize heavier bullets in shorter barrels where velocity will inherently suffer.

      Also, polygonal rifled barrels are more accurate than traditional cut or button rifled barrels. Polygonal rifling gives 2 advantages over conventional rifling: less fouling/ease of cleaning and longer potential barrel life. There is no inherent gain in accuracy, though they can be AS ACCURATE as conventionally rifled barrels of the same quality.

      • WillR June 20, 2016, 9:16 pm

        The first sentence of the second paragraph should read “polygonal rifled barrels are NOT more accurate…”

  • Ethan Erwin June 20, 2016, 7:11 am

    Good read but it seems as though these guys are trying really hard to do something that’s already been done by many (Les Baer, Wilson combat, the list goes on). I have taken platform (Les Baer supervarmint) and bolt .223 out to 1k yards and do it several times a year. My first rub: the size of the target and the group size at 1200 yards was not mentioned. My second rub: the writer mentions that he got .75 inch group at 100 yd but that wasn’t a big deal bc it printed a 5inch group at 669 yd. this is the same accuracy standard. 5inch/ 669yd is 0.75. The writer seems to not understand that there is virtually no difference in .75″ @ 100 and 5″ @ 669 which seems a bit novice. Regarding the twist rate, 1:8 isn’t a bad choice but seeing as this article advertises 1200 yd shooting as the norm, why not go with the super tight 1:7 to help buck the hell-playing transonic state that all .223 bullets will encounter before 900 yards (most less than 700 yards). Building on this point, let’s not advertise this rifle as a 1k yard weapon. Any cartridge/ rifle combination that makes it to its target and has to undergo falling back through the sound barrier is not effective. This scenario will always lead to spotty, inconsistent groups.

  • Clem June 20, 2016, 3:30 am

    Took my custom build out to the range with a 5 tour airborne ranger special ops guy. His 5 shot grouping at 100 yards on a windy day was a dime. He kept asking me how much I paid for this gun? $1,500 and he shook his head and said wow. 20″ stainless bull barrel with 1:7 twist.

  • Slim June 17, 2016, 11:29 am

    Listen to pump yourself https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/precision-rifle-podcast/id716262035?mt=2&i=347769157. Episode 90 fast forward to the 23:08 minute mark.

  • Slim June 16, 2016, 11:52 am

    http://pumpprt.com/ Pump got a first round hit with a .223 @1839 yards. That’s good shooting with those gas guns.

    • Slim June 17, 2016, 11:39 am

      Oops! I was wrong 1,850 yds fourth round hit with a .223.

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