For a while I’ve had a bit of an irrational urge to build up my version of a ‘Designated Marksman’-type rifle. Basically, an accurate AR that isn’t so trick you cant carry it afield, but not so spartan that you cant hit stuff out to several hundred yards (which, really, is about as good as the .223 is going to get in my opinion.)

For a number of years, I’ve had an IOR M2 scope sitting around here gathering dust. It has an illuminated reticle, BDC out to around 600 yards, very nice adjustments, steel tube, German glass, and is hell-for-stout. Have it sitting in ARMS QD rings. But…all dressed up and nowhere to go.

20170530_190128I found it in a pawn shop years ago for around $300. Having had very favorable experience with my IOR 10×56 scope, I figured this one would be a good scope to have for the money. It’s got a BDC calibrated for 62 gr., illuminated rangefinding reticle, and I just happen to have an ARMS QD mount sitting around. Now…what to put it on.

Also sitting around gathering dust are a stack of these:

20170530_190253No better time than the present. Again, these are purchases from years ago that have just been sitting around. A stripped lower (not to be confused with a low stripper) is fairly worthless without the innards…so:

20170530_190350Stag had a sale on these a year or two ago and I picked some up. I figured I could bide my time and wait for the sales to put together the parts I needed to cobble together a fun AR. Need a milspec buffer tube while I’m at it. Ordered these a month ago and Stag finally got the bloody things here today. Booooo Stag!

20170530_190155Ok, we have the lower put together. What do we put on top of it?

Stag had a bit of a sale a few weeks ago and they had an upper that looked very much like what I was after.Stag 15 DM-VRS-X Upper Half. On sale for $320. With bolt carrier group. And charging handle.  Ok, sure.

20170530_190559Alright, let’s grab a screwdriver, punch, and brass hammer and get this thing cobbled together.


“I call her ‘Vera’.” – J. Cobb

I  need to save my pennies and pick up a Magpul PRS stock, and a nice trigger. Once that’s done all I need is some quality brass and bullets and it’ll be time to play. But, I just put the A2 stock on there because I had one laying around and I really want to be able to go out to the range and play a bit.

Purpose? I have no idea. In my opinion, the .223 is a bit light for anything out past 400 yards or so…too light a bullet to buck the wind, and a bit light in the mass department. Sure, I don’t want to get hit with one but it’s not my first choice for shooting out there. No problem with it at intermediate ranges. I suppose this thing would shine for that situation where you want something you can use within normal conflict distance out to something a little longer range.

Realistically, though..this will most like be a range gun with some infrequent gopher shooting thrown in for practical challenge.’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

The barrel is a 1:9 20″. It’s what was available. A 1:7 would, I am told, be a better choice since it would be more optimal for the heavier 69-75 gr. bullets. Well. ya take what ya can get.

I’ve some Lapua .223 brass floating around, and about half a keg of Varget, so I’ll load up some Win 62 grainers and go break this thing in…if I ever have some free time.

Note that this isn’t really ‘building’ an AR15 any more than putting together an Ikea dresser is ‘building’ furniture. Any idiot can buy the off the shelf parts and assemble on of these…clearly, an idiot has. This kind of modularity is one of the AR-series great strengths. There’s enough aftermarket crap out there that you can tweak it into exactly what you want. As i said, all I’ve got left to do is a Magpul PRS stock and a trigger.

I’ll let you know how it shoots.


22 thoughts on “DMR

  1. I hate you. Yoi ask al llm the right questions of what to do with this part and that part. Then you show us Vera? Clearly the correct answer to all of your asked questions is…MY ( as in me) house. Feel free to email for my address.?

    • New guy here.
      Because tracers are lighter than non-tracers and the twist rate has the effect of…?

      • I believe the relationship isnt about weight so much as it is about bullet length. If you had two identical bullets, same in length and general shape but of two different weights, the twist, as I understand it, wouldnt matter. But, since bullets of different weight are usually of different length, and rifling is concerned with bullet length rather than weight, thats where the concern about twist comes from.

      • Longer the bullet faster the twist has to be. To save time every one just talks about weight as most bullets longer they are heavier they are but not all. Lead free bullets are long for there weight but again its not all lead free. The tracers the army uses nowadays are meant to burn for longer so need more tracer as the diameter is fixed the only way to do that is make them longer. This means the have to get barrels to fit the tracers they fire not the bullets.

  2. I’ve toyed with the idea of a free-float 18″ DMR/Patrol rifle with an A2 stock and a 1:7 twist on it. Only problem is that most of my Deep State ammo is all 55gr and a 1:7 tumbles a 55gr at the distances you want a DMR for so that means stocking back some more ammo dedicated to this single platform. Already doing that with the .300BLK combo AND I’m running out of space in the safe.

    Looking forward to a range report.

    • Everything I read says that the .223 loses a bynch of its lethality when you drop the barrel length below 20″, so I decided to keep the length.

      • Agreed but the 5.56 ballistics at distance are not legendary to begin with. As I said, toying with the idea. It came from an article I read about humping and patroling with a DMR in severe hills to mountians (terrain here). The theory being you have more accuracy than the 16″ in your group but a little more handy than a 20″ such as the case on the on the Mk12 SPR. I like the idea of the PRS stock on yours, again looking forward to a range report.

        • Yeah, I’m hoping to get a chance to break it in tis weekend. As far as I can tell the only other upgrades are stock, trigger, and BUIS.

          • I can give two thumbs up to the Magpul MBUS Pro offset sights. Very sturdy on the AR-10.

    • Why would spinning a lighter bullet faster than required cause it to tumble at distance? Not spinning it fast enough causes tumbling, of course.

      • Think of it as a child’s spin top. If you spin it to fast or to slow it is very unstable and wobbles around a lot. But if it is spinning at the right speed it is very stable and upright.

  3. The upper is now $459.99 so you got a very good deal.
    I would drop the comp.

  4. Cool new toy. My thoughts
    20″ is the way to go for a distance AR.

    The 5.56 is unique because hitting and rapid lethality are different at distance. Go to a high power or distance match and you’ll see dudes reaching way out with AR’s. Back to lethality. First as a civilian you can use soft points or HP ammo. Very different lethality. The Army has has very good luck with MK 262 mod 0 which if I recall is a 77gr Sierra match king loaded to a match standard by black hills. Kinda screwed yourself on that option with the 1/9 though.

    That said Travis Haley used a DMR way out in Iraq, with what looked to be M193 but certainly wasn’t any of the new fancy loads, to great effect.

    Next putting any lead in someone is going to mess up there Day and probably slow them down for a better shot.

    Also I see real precision from say a rooftop at 75-150 being more likely to come up than trying to get one shot stops at 600m.

    I’ve thought a DMR with a good QD mount and a carry handle to shoot hi power with would be fun. May just do it.

  5. Hollowpoints work, according to a story in SOF magazine about a fed level LEO who got attached to an Army unit in Iraq. They hit a compound, looking for BG’s. To keep him out of their hair, they sent him to watch the back wall while they assaulted the place. Intel missed the below grade door in the middle of that wall. A handful of armed BG’s exited, popping up the incline right into his sight-line. He said that when he brought his sights back to a target for a second shot, he couldn’t follow them as they fell too fast to track.
    The Army guys didn’t find anyone, and came to his location to hassle him about firing without cause. His response was pointing and saying “door”. Body count was 4 with 4 shots, IIRC.

  6. I have an IOR Valdada fixed 6 x 42 scope that is a helluva scope. IOR makes good glass, sometimes referenced the Romanian Zeiss. Bet that rifle shoots great.

  7. The LaRue MBT trigger is very nice. For a cheap, ie. wife friendly, trigger, the EPT from Palmetto State is a decent trigger.

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