Ashbury Precision Ordinance Testing The .308K1

AshPro1

Once I was at my local range with my precision .308 and happened to be sitting next to an older gentleman that was there shooting a .308 as well.  The major difference?  He was sporting a 26″ barrel to my 20″ barrel.  At one point he decided to make conversation by saying to me “You will never get that thing to shoot right.  That barrel is too short, you lost all your velocity and will never get it to be accurate.”

I did tell him that I disagreed, and when we went down at the next cold range and all four of my targets had mickey mouse ear groups … he didn’t bother me again.

308K1-Acceptance-Target-647x485

The moral of the story here is that barrel length is becoming less and less of a issue to precision shooters then was once thought.  Ashbury Precision Ordinance is working on their new .308K1 which is sporting a 16.5″ barrel with a 1:8 twist, and no, that is is not a typo, it really is going to be a 1:8 twist barrel.  I know that there are some out there that are not going to believe in a 1:8 .308 barrel, but I am actually going to wait and see what comes of their testing.

Through a recent post they have been able to achieve 1/2MOA accuracy out of the barrel, which is pretty impressive for any rifle, but from a prototype shorter barreled, fast twist .308 it is really impressive.  It also goes to show that while there is going to be some velocity loss with a shorter barrel, picking the right ammo can mitigate that loss and still produce a very accurate rifle that is much less cumbersome in the field, at the range or in a patrol car.

Take a look at the article they have written and the work they are doing.  It is a pretty impressive rifle that they are creating.

Recently APO’s ordnance department finished up a technology demonstrator rifle that has really caught the attention of a number of our customers.  We’ve had on-going discussions with Jim Gilliland of Shadow 6 Consulting for some time about the merits of a short barreled .308 caliber rifle for tactical law enforcement, urban wildlife control and hog hunting.

Jim has a considerable professional background on the use and application of .308 sniper rifles and feels strongly that barrels longer than 20” (except in long range shooting applications) are more cumbersome and heavier than need be for a given use.  In fact, he’s a serious advocate for a 16.5″ precision rifle fed with the “appropriate” ammunition. Jim suggests such a rifle can fulfill a number of special needs at short to intermediate ranges which would be ideal for law enforcement tactical marksmen among other applications.

So with a bit of R&D time invested, APO’s product development team and gunsmiths got together with Jim to create technical specifications and then built a rifle.  Over the past two weeks we invited some law enforcement, military snipers, a couple of wildlife control specialists and recreational rifle shooters to come over and get some trigger time in on our little .308K1 Tactical Rifle.

The APO .308K1 Tactical Rifle in the slideshow above is built on a X-Treme titanium short action receiver, Pinnacle Series 16.5″ 1-in-8 twist 5R 416RQ fluted stainless steel barrel, AAC Blackout 51T muzzle brake, and 762SD suppressor.  The primary day optic is a Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44, Insight MRDS close combat optic on a return to zero GDI PROM-L scope mount.  The base rifle weight is a tick over 11lbs.  This is all built on Ashbury’s latest SABER RSA-A3 MOD-1 “K” model modular rifle chassis.

Now you might be wondering about what Jim meant by “appropriate” ammunition?  So we gathered up some likely suspects and below you’ll see the data sets.  By far the best performing ammunition in terms of “precision” in this rifle is the RUAG Swiss-P at sub ½ MOA.  However, with that being said, the Hornady and Lapua supersonic ammunitions provided solid sub ¾ MOA accuracy.  Subsonic ammo from both brands shot consistently sub 1 MOA, yet we did see a preference for the 200gr projectiles.

RUAG Swiss-P 175gr Match
AV: 2403 fps
Hi: 2416
Lo: 2393
ES: 23.0
SD: 7.0
Hornady 168gr TAP-FPD
AV: 2477 fps
Hi: 2492
Lo: 2459
ES: 33.0
SD: 8.0
RUAG Swiss-P 240gr Sub-Sonic
AV: 947 fps
Hi: 975
Lo: 933.5
ES: 41.8
SD: 11.8
Lapua 200gr Sub-Sonic
AV: 953 fps
Hi: 971
Lo: 932.3
ES: 39.5
SD: 12.2
Lapua 167gr Scenar
AV: 2623 fps
Hi: 2651
Lo: 2595
ES: 56.0
SD: 15.4
 

We shot various specialty ammunition from RUAG that provides “matched ballistics” at 100 yards and it shot awesome.  That includes Styx Action (rapid expansion), Tactical (glass penetration), and Armor Piercing (AP).  Here is a link to the various types of RUAG Swiss-P in different calibers other than .308.  By the way Styx Action projo’s “crush” varmints and big game!

The .308K1 with its short stubby barrel has great potential in light of the fact that it’s losing only about 140 fps of velocity over a longer 20″ tube which is still shorter than the normal 24″ to 26″ standard length .308 barrels – with no loss of precision we might add!  If you plug the velocity data into any popular ballistic software package like FDAC or Field Firing Solutions note how far the Swiss-P 175gr, Hornady 168gr TAP, or 167gr Scenar remains supersonic…

In the coming weeks, Jim over at Shadow 6 is going to conduct some extended range field tests to validate what the ballistic computers are reporting and confirm the stability of projectiles using the faster 1-in-8” twist rate.  Jim’s data and the .308K1 will then make its way out to combat arms instructor Adam Wilson at 1 MOA Solutions in Texas to experience some of that fine south Texas heat confirming Jim’s down range data.




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  • jordan Hyers

    just like modern pistol hollow points have come to be better/worse by so miniscule amounts that choose the caliber you want that you shoot best 9, 40, 45 and what hold the right amount of rounds for you. The 308 of old and the 308 of new, while basically the same, differ in the technology developments in the years between barrels, powders, metallurgy, we have fine tuned the old to do more than they use to.

  • Bruce

    There will always be haters, but I saw this coming a mile off. The last year has been a very interesting one for short barrel research since SBRs and such are becoming more mainstream and accepted. I’m glad a big maker has stepped up to the research and delivered something like this. The long range/short barrel idea has been made a topic on many sights and it looks like Ashbury took their cues from the rather obscure maker Scally Hill Systems who I believe is no longer in business. The guy now writes and stuff, but people made fun of him for writing what he did on TTAG. Looks like he was right enough to prompt significant product development.

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/01/daniel-zimmerman/practical-applications-short-barreled-precision-rifle/

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/10/daniel-zimmerman/the-truth-about-barrel-length-muzzle-velocity-and-accuracy/

    • Nicks87

      TTAG used to be a great website but it has since degraded into a forum for 2nd amendment extremism and cop-bashing.

      • Paladin

        They’re for second amendment extremism only if you think saying that “‘The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ means that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” qualifies as extremism.

        As for the cop bashing they’ve said it many times themselves, they are not opposed to law enforcement they are opposed to the abuse of law enforcement powers.

        Despite your views on the blog they still do produce quality information on a regular basis. Neither of the articles linked have any real connection to either police or the constitution.

        • hydepark

          Thank you, Paladin, for standing up for TTAG. There is a lot of misguided hate towards them from TFB readers.

          • Paladin

            It always seems to me that there’s a lot of unnecessary infighting in the firearms community. I try to be the voice of reason when I see it happen. Both TTAG and TFB have valuable insights and information, which is why I read both of them.

          • Nicks87

            Oh, give me a break. That website is full of people that need to chill the f*ck out. Especially their fearful leader Mr. Farago.

        • Michael R. Zupcak

          I’ve been very happy with law enforcement coverage at TFB, it seems very UN-biased. That is to say without bias, not biased toward the United Nations.

          • Paladin

            TFB is avowedly apolitical, a position which deserves it’s fair degree of respect.

            TTAG on the other hand is unashamedly political, and that’s also OK.

            They are different view points, both are useful. TFB maintains it’s focus on the technical nature of guns. TTAG is free to explore their political nature, and to rally activism in defense of the right to own and use them.

          • hydepark

            Couldn’t have said it better myself. Sometimes I’m confused at the backlash from the staff here towards people who discuss politics. Politics wouldn’t make much sense in an automobile blog, for example. There’s no natural, God-given, constitutional right to keep and bear transportation. Firearms (even the technology / engineering side of things) are inseparable from political discussion in this country. For example, when the Russian import ban came through a few weeks back there were staff members telling the community not to include anything political in their comments. It seems childish at best

        • Nicks87

          Apparently you dont read the comments section on TTAG.

          • Paladin

            I do in fact read the comments when I feel so inclined, and post my own on occasion. I just don’t view them the same way you do.

          • Nicks87

            So how is the view from fantasy land? Ya know, that place where there are no cops and everyone has guns but there is no crime.

          • Paladin

            I get the feeling that you’re more interested in causing a fuss than you are in an actual debate, and given your evident lack of any ability to make a cogent argument I can understand why.

            First: opposing the abuse of police powers is not equivalent to hating police in general. None of the writers at TTAG have ever advocated for the abolishment of the law enforcement profession, nor any form of violence towards police officers. They have on the other hand advocated for a greater degree of accountability and restraint.

            Second: Gun ownership does not in any way correlate to higher rates of crime. No reputable study has been able to show any significant linkage between the two. It is entirely possible to have a country with widespread gun ownership and low crime, in fact there are numerous examples of such.

            Now if you wouldn’t mind crawling back under your bridge, I’ve got things to do that are more worth my time.

          • Nicks87

            I claimed you live in a fantasy land because every article on TTAG that concerns Law Enforcement is full of negative comments directed towards the police. It’s pretty obvious the type of individuals that are attracted to that website are anti police/anti gun control, which are extremist view points. I dont care what the writers have or have not stated on the site my original comment is that the site has become a forum for cop bashing. I did NOT state that “the writers at TTAG have ever advocated for the abolishment of the law enforcement profession, nor any form of violence towards police officers”. You are putting words in my mouth. You demand I make a cogent argument but you are the one using ad hominem and straw man attacks. You tell me I’m wasting your time but you are the one that keeps responding to me. Am I right so far? Your pretentious comments have only further proved my statement by displaying the type of individual that frequents TTAG (you) resulting in my continuing lack of interest in the website itself. No need to spew your RKBA rhetoric to me, save it for someone who cares. As long as those laws are on the books they are going to be enforced and crying about it on the internet and having a bad attitude towards Law Enforcement isnt going to change a damn thing.

          • Paladin

            Extremism in defence of virtue is no vice. I am extreme in my intolerance of murder. I am extreme in my intolerance of theft. I am extreme in my intolerance of any violation of any person’s rights. If this is enough to label me an extremist then I will bear the title proudly.

            This is not living in a fantasy world. I back up my views with facts, logic and stats.

            As for demanding a cogent argument, I shouldn’t have to demand to get one. When debating a proper argument is to be expected. And where are these ad hominems? These straw men? Do you actually understand what either of those are? or do you just break them out for every debate on the internet?

            The whole point of talking about the bad laws on the books is part of an effort to get rid of them. If debating them on the internet won’t change anything then saying that “the law is the law” and giving up certainly won’t.

            I don’t have a bad attitude towards Police officers. Never once have I intimated such. Police officers are as human as the rest of us, there are good ones and bad ones. I respect the unsung officers who work hard to protect the rights and liberties of the common man. I reserve my utmost distaste for those who misuse the position of public trust that they hold, and for those who would defend them or enable them. I condemn all who would violate the rights of their fellow man regardless of what uniform or badge they wear.

            Feel free to condemn the entire website on the basis of a few of the commenters. I certainly can’t stop you from doing so, and wouldn’t if I could. All I’ll do is point out prejudice and bias when I see it, others can make up their own minds.

          • Nicks87

            Straw man- “misrepresentation of an opponent’s argument”

            I did not imply that the writers of TTAG have ever advocated for the abolishment of the law enforcement profession, nor any form of violence towards police officers. Those were your words not mine.
            ————————————————————–
            Ad hominum- “Personal attacks”

            “Now if you wouldn’t mind crawling back under your bridge”
            “your evident lack of any ability to make a cogent argument”
            Now go back to whatever half-ass school gave you a degree and ask for your money back.

          • Paladin

            And how many times have you misrepresented my arguments? How many times have you misrepresented the position of the TTAG editorial staff? Conflating criticism of law enforcement with being opposed to the very idea of law enforcement fits the definition of a straw man argument to a T. And don’t even try to dodge that,

            So how is the view from fantasy land? Ya know, that place where there are no cops and everyone has guns but there is no crime.”

            “I claimed you live in a fantasy land because every article on TTAG that concerns Law Enforcement is full of negative comments directed towards the police.”

            “It’s pretty obvious the type of individuals that are attracted to that website are anti police/anti gun control”

            This is as straightforward of a guilt by association argument as it gets. You may not have said straight out that the blame lies at the doorstep of the editors at TTAG, but you most certainly implied such.

            You presume that negative comments directed towards some police officers constitute negative comments towards all police officers. You presume that all negative comments arise from a fundamental hatred of the profession itself, rather than a hatred of the abuse perpetrated by certain individuals therein. You fail to understand the nature of criticism. The purpose of criticism is not to tear down, but to prune. It is through criticism that flaws are brought to light, not as damning evidence, but so that we can fix them. I and many like me do not criticize police officers out of hatred or anger, but out of a desire to see better police officers more capable and attentive to the duty of defending our rights.

            Your arguments, such as they are, are filled to the brim with presumptions and misrepresentations. You assign the blame for people exercising their freedom of speech on a public forum to the administrators of that forum through guilt by association, and thus presume to discredit the entire publication.

            Also, calling out trolls for being trolls, or remarking on the poor quality of a person’s argument hardly constitute direct personal attacks, no matter how butthurt you get over them. Both bear direct relevance to the debate at hand. If those remarks constitute ad hominem arguments, then what are these?

            “Especially their fearful leader Mr. Farago”

            “So how is the view from fantasy land?”

            “Your pretentious comments have only further proved my statement by displaying the type of individual that frequents TTAG (you)”

            “Now go back to whatever half-ass school gave you a degree and ask for your money back.”

            Perhaps you should see to the log in your own ye first, eh? If you’re going to bleat about bad arguments and then strut around as if you’ve won, perhaps you should turn your efforts to actually countering my core arguments. In case you’ve missed them I’ll lay them out plain.

            First: The authors on the website are not responsible for the contents of the comments posted on their article. In the interests of supporting robust discussion the website operates under the policy of only removing comments that are explicitly derogatory or hateful in nature.

            Second: Being critical of police is not equivalent to hating police as a whole.

            Third: Opposition to gun control is not unreasonable, particularly given the fact that the writers are civilian firearms enthusiasts, and as such hold significant personal stake in the debate. Additionally, despite your refusal to hear out the facts, evidence does in fact support their position. See:

            http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

            https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/76918135/Langmannreport.pdf

            http://www.fraserinstitute.org/publicationdisplay.aspx?id=13506

            I’m done wasting my time on this farce. Come back when you have a real argument worth debating.

  • Drew Wood

    What you lose in velocity, you can regain by using a heavier bullet with appropriate barrel twist. i would like to see the 200 grain in super sonic or perhaps something even heavier supersonic. the firearms industry was (is?) caught up on the velocity metric too much. mass and weight are equally important.

    • flashman929

      They aren’t at all equally important, if you’re talking about kintletic energy. Mass affects energy proportionally, velocity affects it by the product of it’s square. The equation for kinetic energy is 1/2 M x V2; so if you double the bullet weight, you double the energy. If you double the velocity, you quadruple the energy.

      • Drew Wood

        The equation you are using is not the proper application. the energy equation correctly calculates the required energy to propel/launch an object, but physicists calculate collisions using conservation of momentum (p = m*v) not energy. that is what i mean by the firearms industry too caught up in velocity as the primary metric. you also lose velocity vs. distance exponentially.

        as a real world example, would you rather let a baseball strike you in the chest at 90 mph or a 12lb bowling ball at 15mph? they have equal energy, however, the bowling ball has >5x the momentum. (an average blowing speed is between 16 – 20 mph).

        for a more extreme example, a 1000 lb wrecking ball moving 2mph has about the same energy as a 40 grain 22lr.

        speed has other benefits (flat trajectory and adds to penetration), which is why they are equally important.

        • flashman929

          Ah, ok, I see where the confusion lies now. You are correct that the equation for energy calculates what it takes to get an object moving; however it ALSO tells us how much energy it carries, due to the law of conservation of energy. p=m*v is only the equation for momentum; it is most assuredly different from the law of conservation of momentum, and is definitely not how you calculate the forces involved in a collision (m1u1 + m2u2 = m1v1 + m2v2 for an elastic collision, for example.) I also don’t think velocity IS the primary metric used in the shooting industry, I would say it’s kinetic energy, but that’s just my impression.

          In any case, momentum isn’t how bullets injure and kill; they do that by transferring energy to disrupt tissue. Momentum is sure required to get a bullet into the vitals, but it plays a negligible role in wounding or killing apart from that. You could say that the momentum of a bullet is really only important when it’s insufficient; ie when the bullet stops before hitting something vital. Perhaps the clearest illustration of why momentum doesn’t play a significant role in terminal ballistics is the old “sent flying by a shotgun blast” movie trope, which we all know to be fiction. If momentum was what made bullets lethal, then they would injure the shooter as much as the target – conservation of momentum means the force acting on the bullet is the same as the force acting on the shooter. The reason the kinetic energy transferred to bullet upon firing is so much greater that the kinetic energy imparted to the shooter however is the vast discrepancy in the mass of the bullet vs the mass of the shooter & firearm.

          The real world examples you give aren’t applicable to understanding the physics of gunshot wounds; they’re mostly elastic collisions. Bullets entering flesh are either partly or wholly inelastic collisions, depending on whether or not the bullet exits. In elastic collisions, KE is conserved (ball bounces off) and in inelastic collisions it is converted (bullet expands and stays in the body.) The amount of momentum transferred as a result of a gunshot is negligible; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physics_of_firearms#Force and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8956990

          That is not to say that velocity is sufficient on it’s own; the other two requirements are a bullet of sufficient sectional density and appropriate construction. This is why a .223 is a poor choice for large deer for example; it may have the energy on paper to kill, but the poor sectional density of the bullet means it’s penetration abilities to reach the vitals are poor compared to bullets of larger caliber.

  • ClintTorres

    I thought we’ve always known that a shorter barrel is stiffer than it’s longer counterpart with the same profile and, hence, less susceptible to accuracy-robbing vibration.

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      Yup. The problem is that too many people still believe that “long barrel = more accuracy”.

      • Paladin

        It falls under the general list of misconceptions about accuracy in the shooting community.

        First among these is the misuse of the term accuracy. When most people talk about accuracy what they really mean is precision. A gun that shoots tight groups is precise. A gun that shoots close to point of aim is accurate. A gun that shoots tight groups close to the point of aim is both precise and accurate.

        In this sense it is partially true that a longer barreled rifle is more accurate under certain circumstances, particularly at long range. A longer barrel means the bullet flies faster giving it a flatter trajectory, making it more likely that the bullet will hit closer to the point of aim if for example, one’s range estimations are off. This can however be easily corrected for.

        On the other hand longer barrels do tend to be less precise than shorter barrels in the same profile due to the aforementioned stiffness issue.

        • okbye

          That was refreshing

      • Mark N.

        This article suggests that longer barrel length =greater range. I suspect that there will be greater accuracy at long ranges to boot. But if you only plan on shooting 100-300 yds, the extra barrel length is just extra weight.

  • Brandon Davis

    I’ve been shooting a DTA 1:8 barrel for years – works great, especially with the heavy bullets.

  • South TN

    Barrel length in and of itself has never affected accuracy.

    • Rogier Velting

      Actually, a shorter barrel is theoretically more accurate, because it’s more rigid. So a 16.5″ could actually be perfect for police work and stuff. For 800 yards and more, you could use a longer barrel though, which is why F T/R shooters tend to use 28-32″ barrels, despite their decreased rigidity.

      • Benchrest shooters use short thick barrels, but they are working within strict weight constraints. It makes sense that between two barrels of equal weight that the shorter/thicker barrel will be more rigid than its longer/thinner counterpart.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    When you wrote base rifle at 11lbs, we’re talking no optic right?

    Too heavy. I really tried to deal with 13-15lbs rifles. They’re just too cumbersome unless all one does is prone. Where I can recount all the times I’ve come across great flat shooting spots in the field where I could lay it and still see my target (almost none).

    I Iove chassis systems, but they have a long way to go in terms of weight reduction.

  • iksnilol

    I think I will stick to 20 inch barrels for .308 simply because I don’t shoot exclusively handloads.

  • BillC

    Again, TFB, it’s ORDNANCE

    ORDNANCE

    noun
    1. cannon or artillery.
    2.military weapons with their equipment, ammunition, etc.
    3. the branch of an army that procures, stores, and issues, weapons,munitions, and combat vehicles and maintains arsenals for their development and testing.

    ORDINANCE
    noun
    1. an authoritative rule or law; a decree or command.
    2. a public injunction or regulation: a city ordinance against excessive horn blowing.
    3. something believed to have been ordained, as by a deity or destiny.
    4. Ecclesiastical. an established rite or ceremony. a sacrament. the communion.

  • Jim

    Sorry but I prefer a longer barrel with the Lapua 167gr Scenar.