Front Sight is a great place to gain some skills or test gear. In just two days of course time you’ll break, wear out, or otherwise learn about gear that in normal weekly shooting could take months or years. There’s just something about a shooting course that makes gear age at an accelerated rate.
This was my ninth trip and third rifle class so I decided to mix things up and shoot non-dominant side and with a .308. I was also accompanied by a new shooter who had a rifle she and I had built together. This article will cover not the course, but the gear used. What worked and what didn’t.
- Rifle: Stag 10S. As expected the rifle itself ran great. Accurate and easy to shoot. One unexpected hiccup came from the hammer pin walking out, but that was easily fixed on the firing line.
- Magazines: Magpul 20-round, Pro-Mag 30-round, C-Products Defense 20 round. The Magpul lost tension at the mouth and began feeding rounds two at a time. Considering this resulted in not one but two damaged rounds and a halt in the shooting I was very aggravated. The Pro-Mag spring bound up and failed, turning the magazine into an ammo organizer. The only magazine I had that made it all the way through was the C-Products Defense steel magazine. It was reliable and shows little wear after repeated hasty loads and dumps onto the gravel.
- Stock: Adaptive Tactical. This was my secret to quick and easy controlled pairs and no bruised shoulder. The cushy padding of the Adaptive Tactical stock made my .308 feel more like a .223.
- Mag Pouch: Wilder Tactical. This was my first time using the .308 pouch form adaptive tactical. The adjustable tension proved valuable in adjusting to the sweet spot between speed and retention. I did find it a challenge to insert the mag form time to time, but no tear shed. When I wanted a fresh mag it was there.
- Scope and Mount: Nikon Force 1000 in a Warne XSKEL. The Speed Force reticle was, “practically cheating” as my instructor pointed out. I even forgot to zoom when we shot form 200 yards and left it at 2x. Finding the target was quick and easy with no shots missed.
- Sling: MagPul. Having somehow left the slings at home MagPul 2-1 point slings were purchased. In double-point mode it worked, but the plastic parts of the clamp wore down quickly and lack of padding made 10-hour days less than comfortable.
- Shemagh: Combat Flip Flops. Having learned the joys of the shemagh in Afghanistan I used one to keep sun and brass off my neck. This was pactical, not tacticool.
- Rifle: Custom build using a Spike’s Tactical Snowflake, Bear Creek Upper, Brownell’s lightweight bolt carrier, DPM Systems Buffer.
- Magazines: Magpul MOE, ETS 30-round, C-Products Red 30-round. Of the three is was once again the C-Products magazine that came to be the favorite. The coated aluminum inserted and dropped more easily that the plastic. For a new shooter easier is always better.
- Buffer: The DPM Systems buffer warrants a story of its own. Three progressive springs slow the bolt back and then accelerate it forward to make for a very soft and flat-shooting recoil impulse. More on that in an upcoming article.
- Stock: Adaptive Tactical. How do you make a .223 feel like a .22lr? The Adaptive Tactical Stock. The grippy rubber also held fast in the shoulder and helped with developing a comfortable muscle memory.
- Mag Pouch: Wilder Tactical. The combination of the pouch and coated magazines meant both the grab and reholstering were easy after adjusting tension.
- BCG: Brownell’s Lightweight. This relatively new product from Brownell’s not only lightened the rifle and recoil, but also functioned nicely with the tight .223 Wylde chamber of the Bear Creek upper. The coating made cleaning a breeze as carbon simply wiped off.
- Scope and Mount: Nikon Force 1000 in Nikon Black mount. Once again the Speed Force reticle made aiming quick and easy which let Gretchen focus on her shooting and not fighting the optic.
- Sling: MagPul. Considerably lighter than Graham’s Stag 10S, Gretchen’s rifle was secured single-point style using a Strike Industries end plate. She had no complaints.
- Shemagh: Combat Flip Flops. While initially resistant to the idea of something tacticool, the Combat Flip Flops mission won her over. In the end she appreciated the shade and protection the shemagh provided.
In the end we both learned a lot about our gear and some about shooting too! I had never had to reinstall a hammer pin on a firing line before and Gretchen went from noob to ringing steel at 200 yards.