Pursuant to Phil Bourjaily’s post on the strange tribal habits of modern shooters, I feel compelled to put in my oar, as the British used to say. Here are some random observations:
I think the love of volume shooting without any particular point, such as hitting, is the result of very cheap ammo, negligible recoil, and an addiction to video games, if that’s what they’re still called. I believe if ARs were chambered only for the .416 Rigby, or the .338 Lapua, or the .500 NE, the picture would be a lot different.
If you go to a place where people shoot a lot and don’t police their brass, 98.3 percent of the brass cases that litter the ground will be headstamped 5.56 or 7.62×39.
Considerable effort has been made in the last year or so to attract “average” AR owners to competitions. These events allow you to use whatever you’ve cooked up for zombies without the need to reconfigure your rifle for target shooting. From what I’ve seen in my narrow corner of the world, no force in the solar system can haul the AR blasters beyond 100 yards. Show them 200 yards and they grow pale and begin to tremble; point them to 300 or 500 or 600 and they lose control of all their sphincters simultaneously.
On the other hand, there are AR shooters who are as skillful as anyone out there. They compete either in events for military rifles, or in informal matches for tactical rifles. Some of them build their own ARs. Everyone tinkers; that’s one of the reasons to use them. And the best of these guns will shoot right along with anything.
I have yet to see anyone hunting with an AR.
I see used-gun racks filled to overflowing with ARs. I think that most of these were Obamasales or Hillarysales, just in case confiscation was on the menu. When it wasn’t, at least for the time being, people hung for-sale tags on them. The only used guns I see as many of are sad, hard-used lever-actions, pumps, and autos that have given years of loyal service, but are now as old-fashioned at 78 rpm records.
There is still a lot of interest in the better class of ARs. The 716 SIG DMR will shoot with anything. It’s a $3,000 rifle, and yet SIG can’t come close to meeting the demand. Even the SIG Pro Shop can’t get them.
Compared to bolt actions, ARs have superior ergonomics, lower recoil, can be tinkered with easily, are equally accurate, and can utilize the cheap ammo that’s out there. On the other hand, they weigh more and can’t digest large or powerful cartridges, and I think a lot of them are overpriced. The fact that some people use them as noisemakers is the fault of the people, not the rifles.