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Western Area of Ops- 308 versus 556

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    While I have a couple of Colt 6920’s I recently decided to build up a nice DPMS spec AR308. Mine has a 16 inch Rainier Arms ultra match barrel and 2A Xanthos lightweight receiver with normal magpul furniture and a lighter weight rail which I cut to just cover halfway over the gas block. Total weight 7 pounds 11 oz with magpul BUIS but no scope.

    As the rifle weighs only about a pound more than my Colt; I started pondering the advantages of making this my primary go-to rifle versus the 5.56 Colt.

    I see two types of scenarios out here in Utah. The first being an LA Riot type situation after some local disaster like an earthquake, nuke event, or North Korea Bio Event. The second being a get-up in the mountains with a bunch of folks and run operations from there (similar to the books by Max).

    In the LA Riot scenario; I have to believe that a 308 weapon would be much better against gang banger vehicles, badguys hiding behind cover etc. In the mountains and valleys, a short shot is 500 yards; unless you are in heavy timber; which we do not have a ton of.

    I am told that Utah is very similar to Afghanistan which is why some troops do pre-deployment familiarizing in Utah.

    Having gotten my AR10 to a respectable weight; 308 is now a real option. I would imagine the guys in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and other Rocky Mountain States may have similar thoughts. My tactical bolt actions weigh about the same as my AR10 (7 lb 10oz and 8lb 6oz respectively)

    What are your thoughts on 308 versus 556 for Western Area Operations?

    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Profile photo of Hello Kitty (Craig)

    For the love of Oden, just don’t put a 2.5-20 variable scope on it. It is a battle rifle. Not a sniper rifle. Put a fixed 4 or 5 power scope on it. You can do CQB if needed and if you can shoot, it will be deadly out to 800 or more.

    CTT 1502, NODF 1502, CP 1503, RC 002- Rifleman, FoF x 2, Run and Gun, RS/CTT, CLC, CQBC, Heat 1

    Craig S.

    Profile photo of Keeper aka "Sun Shine"

    HelloKitty is right a 2.5 x 20 is way much. I run a 4 x 16 on my .308 4 for up close and 16 when I want to hi to someone a long away. I use to run a Elcan 1.5 x 6 great glass but went to the 4×16 FFP for ranging and other stuff. Just what ever you get learn it.

    Alumni living in N.E Fla. for now. Going to retire in Iowa on the farm some day soon.

    Profile photo of Rocky Mtn Yankee

    I had the same dilemma as you last year. I live in the foothills of CO where visibility in almost all directions is measured in miles not yards/meters. My go-to rifle was an 18” custom AR10. After attending CTT (with an AR15) in Idaho last year (similar wide open terrain to my AO albeit with much gentler rolling hills), I decided that for primary fire team duty I was switching to 77-gr OTM 5.56 for the simple reason that we expended ALOT of ammo for covering fire and .308 weighs about twice as much as 5.66 rounds. The 77-gr OTMs are effective out past 500 yards, and that’s a lot less weight to hump up and down the mountain trails. Just my 2 cents.

    CTT May 2017

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    At the moment I have a Leupold Mk4 1.5-5 illuminated on it. I do have a Nightforce 4-14x but I would be worried that 4x at the low end is too high of a magnification. Plus the 28oz of the Nightforce versus the 19oz of the Leupold.

    On another rifle I have a 1×4 MK-AR by leupold. Very light scope and it is the same reticle as my 1×5. (SPR)

    Profile photo of

    Thanks Iron Griffin. I have an AR 18″ rifle with a White Oak barrel on it and Bravo Company BCG. It weighs 7.3 pounds with BUIS. Shooting Israeli 77 OTM RZR ammo I can get a consistent half inch group when I do my part. It does have an M4 feed ramp and I pinned a Bravo Company gas block on it with my BRD Engineering Jig.

    The practical side of me says to go the 77 OTM route as a primary, with a few mags of 55 grain for “aw crap” moments.

    If I stay 5.56 that will probably be my go-to versus the Colt 16 inch carbines. The Colts would go to the younger guys for assault work. As the White Oak Ar is only 7.3 pounds I could put my Nightforce on it. Hmmmm. I love that Nightforce SHV 4×14 by the way. The reticle rocks.

    I guess the 308 would be great if I were manning a barricade at the end of my neighborhood during the LA Riots. But up in the hills; weight matters.

    Different golf club for different purposes?

    Joe provided two links which I will check out. Thanks

    Profile photo of Trailrunner

    Consider, (HK-91, G3 Clone) PTR-91 GI, 4x 3-4x scope (hensoldt Z24, trijicon night sights) and G3 accessories as needed.

    Your good to a solid 25-600 yards. Day and night within reason and backup sights.

    Parts and accessories still reasonable and available.

    Profile photo of Max Velocity

    I think this all needs perspective. Joe links to my articles about .308 and there is a severe ammo capacity / carriage issue. You have to consider what you are trying to achieve, and 600 yards is the limit of footprint of a rifle squad. Even though you can see a lot further, are you really trying to reach out to those distances? If you are, I would see that more along the lines of a specialist role such as I wrote about with the MSG (maneuver support group) element, who would have accurized rifles but capable of a steady support fire not just accuracy. Caliber / ammo up to you.

    As a CUTT you cannot maneuver or dominate an enemy outside of 600 meters. 300 is more realistic. You can bring down various types of harassing fire, to varying degrees of accuracy, outside of 300.

    Although we talk about long distances, which we can use to our advantage in the siting of OPs and overwatch, we need to be closer to achieve an effect. With good use of terrain you can indeed get close, even where you can see for miles, for example Idaho. I can move on that open Idabo ground without being seen, using folds and micro terrain. You can also use night, and how mnay of you have effective ranged night optics on those .308’s? Thermal night sight? I would orefer to utilize an MSG overwatch element and use ground to get within infantry fighting range. Where of course, we are back to 5.56.

    Remember, as we teach at MVT, it isn’t about the shooting, but the holistic shoot, move and communicate.

    Get within 100, and wipe them out.

    Profile photo of Keeper aka "Sun Shine"

    Get within 100, and wipe them out.
    right to point

    Alumni living in N.E Fla. for now. Going to retire in Iowa on the farm some day soon.

    Profile photo of

    thanks. good info. If 600 meters is reality short of a sniper rifle; then 5.56 should be fine.

    Profile photo of Jamison

    I’ve gone to 556 for my fighting gear. I’m up here in the Seattle area, It’s mostly urban, with the wooded areas having a max visibility of maybe 300m a the most.

    Mu current fighting rifle is a 10.5 MK18 MOD1 clone suppressed with an AAC 556SD. Rifle shoots like a dream. Not light, but balanced really well. I’ve shot this out to 300m. I know an SF guy who got a kill at around 500m with a mk18. The platform is capable even with a short barrel. Just remember, accuracy and good hit’s on target.

    Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter-accusations.

    Nulla fatere. Nega omnia. Accusatis calumniatorem. Demanda probationem.

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    After the Trolley Square massacre in Salt Lake in 2007 in which a peace-loving Muslim shot a bunch of innocents I decided to move from 40SW to 9mm.

    If I remember correctly the off duty cop who kept the Muslim suppressed up until SWAT arrived had a 45 ACP with only two low capacity mags. He was terrified that he would run out of ammo.

    So, there is something to be said ab out quantity over quality as far as round count.

    I have decided that 5.56 is the way to go in my AO

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