ARP 054 - Training with the USMC


Reed and Louis Discuss the state of Marine Corps firearms instruction

Welcome to Episode #054 of the AR15 Podcast.  I’m your host Reed Snyder and with us is my special guest Sergeant Louis, a Marine Corps combat marksmanship coach. This is the podcast about your favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There is something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.

Otis Ripcord Giveaway

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Winner: Dan M.  Hi Reed and Tony,  Great job on the podcast! You have helped me through 2 builds now -- one is a standard 16 inch "maneuverable" frankenrifle and the other a 20 inch heavy barrel for longer range plinking. Please enter me in the Otis  ripcord giveaway.

I enjoyed your scope episode, as it explained many differences among scopes. However, there's this nagging question in my mind. Is it implicitly stated that if you are using a scope for long range shooting or sighting in, then you are also trying keep things steady? I don't even try to sight in without a table, chair, and some bags or something to support the rifle.  Now once things are sighted in sufficiently, then I can try to see how good I am with hand holding or different stances.

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Tip of the Week:  Proper breath control is an often overlooked component of the fundamentals of marksmanship.   Being something we do so very naturally, it is important to remember that attention must be paid to the natural rhythms of our breathing when on the rifle and then finding that place where we reach our natural respiratory pause.  At that natural pause, one must synchronize that pause with a slow and steady rearward application of the trigger.  Holding your breath will lead to tremors as a result of oxygen depletion in the muscles.  This causes muscle tension which in itself is undermining the principle of muscular relaxation and bone support.  Focus on the natural rhythms of your breathing and find your respiratory pause.

Main Topic:

USMC Firearms Training

Listener Feedback:

Grant C:  Guys, You're killing me!! Yawl increased the size of some of your podcast so I can no longer burn them to CD to listen to them in my truck back and forth to work. I’m not much of an ITunes guy so I roll old school, can you hook it and post as a part A & B if it goes over 70 minutes? That would be awesome!!!

I love the information I get from your show as I always get a gem or two every time I listen.  I am making my wish list for my 300 blackout build and am wondering if there are any pitfalls or optimal configuration I should look out for or consider. IE. gas system lengths, buffer/spring weight, twist rates. I see you have a show on reloading the 223 (I still have to listen to it from my computer, to big to burn), how about one on reloading 300 AAC Blackout!!! It seems to be the latest and greatest round, a little expensive and hard to find though. I have read where you can make your own 300 AAC out of 223 brass and 30 cal bullets. Any recommendations, tricks or tips?

Thank you Gentleman.

Greg P:  Excellent Podcasts! I was listening to episode 14 for a second time. This episode talked about what to buy and where to buy AR parts. AR parts are built to a pretty tight specification. If one buys Mil Spec parts and installs them correctly there is a pretty good chance that everything will work Right?

I’ve just completed my first build. I was looking for assurance of parts compatibility with the specification. With this in mind, I selected only Mil Spec parts for my build. I’ve installed everything correctly. I've function checked the rifle and it cycles rounds nicely (no slam fires). I’ve cleaned and lubed all the required items. So the build is done.

I may be overly wary on this point but, what should I do after I've completed my build? I mean, can I now head to the range with my freshly built, cleaned, and lubed AR and start sending rounds down range? Maybe I missed the discussion on the post build process, if there is one.

How do I know if my build is safe to fire?

Michael C:  Reed and Jake, Regarding bullets you can use at your range.  I don’t know your range, but I think you might be mistaken about full metal jacket bullets.  Do you mean military full metal jacket?  Some military rounds (green tip, SS-109) have a steel core “penetrator”.  And most surplus 7.63 X 39 (AK type rounds) have a steel core.  Most ranges don’t allow the steel core or “penetrator” type ammunition because it destroys steel targets and creates a fire hazard (steel hitting hard rock, concrete or other metal creates spark.)

The 77 SMK bullets you mentioned you shoot I imagine you shoot at the range, but they are FMJ; yes an open point, but still a FMJ for the most part.

Not all brass is created equal, some are harder, some are softer, can case capacity changes.  For most reloaders any brass will do with the exception of Federal; Federal is too soft.  My work used to use Federal and we for the most part, fire it forget, sweep it up, throw it in the bucket and off it goes to wherever they sell it for recycling. I was running short on brass so I took some of our Federal brass to reload for short range (200 and 300 yards).  I was having problems with primers blowing and the extractor ripped over the rim on a couple.  Federal is in the only brass I’ve had problems with.

I am a purpose type reloader focusing on accuracy and I customize the load to my rifles.  I use Winchester or Black Hills Brass for short range and Lapua for 600 yards.  I have several pieces of brass I’m on the 5th and 6th reload and the brass shows no sign of wear or donut development.

Reloading can be an endless topic.  I would like to add two other things I do for reloading.

-          Uniform the primer pocket

-          Deburr the flash hole.

 When brass is manufactured it is drawn and punched.  This means the primer pocket is domed and the depth is not uniformed.  Also since the flash hole is punched excess metal comes up and creates a flower petal like effect inside the case.

By uniforming the primer pocket you will insure proper seating depth for the primer, which will decrease the change of a slam fire and will make seating the primer easier.

By deburring the flash hole (and you only need to do this operation once for the life of the brass) you insure a uniform flash to ignite the powder.  What will happen if you don’t have a uniform ignition, is you don’t get a uniform burn and you may get a bullet tip during the bullet jump.  Now you will only see this effect at long ranges, more than 600 yards.  Caution this operation removes a lot of brass from the case, make sure it doesn’t get in your eyes!

I would also add safety to reloading: wear safety glasses, gloves and a heavy canvas work bid.  Metal flies, and primers do ignite on occasion (the primer ignition hasn’t happened to me yet, but it has to a couple of friends).

 If you want to know more than you would ever want to about reloading for completion I highly recommend Glen Zediker’s book “Handloading for Competition”  Glen also has other great book on the AR platform for competition.