In full disclosure, I build precision rifles for a living. So, when I see things like this that rarely get discussed or realized, I enjoy sharing them. One of my rifle chassis suppliers, MDT, sends out routine information via email about their products. I apologize upfront, but with the huge number of suppliers I have and the limited time I have to read their correspondences, I skip many of them. But this email subject line caught my eye: Weight = Balance = Accuracy
For years I’ve been trying to convince customers that they didn’t need bull-barreled AR15s carbines. But when DPMS and the boys all came out with truck axles sticking out of the upper receivers 15yrs ago, it was hard to talk people out of them. Sure, heavy profile barrels work great in certain situations, and very well in high-volume fire. But a heavy barrel doesn’t define a weapon’s accuracy potential for a few shots. Sustained fire and plenty of heat will skew these results of course, as a bigger and more rigid stick will probably warp less under extreme heat, and the heat rejection the barrel does give off will be done more consistently as it is spread over more material than a barrel with a pencil profile.
Finally, folks started trending towards light rifles. This is good. Why pack around all that weight with nearly no advantages to your shooting style or discipline? But, much like that trend 15yrs ago, we’re trying too hard to make things light with diminishing and misunderstood results. Especially in precision shooting circles, you need BALANCE in your rifle. Ask any bowhunter if he thinks his bow should be balanced and you’ll get a resounding YES from him or her. If you let an arrow fly and your bow tips down or up really quickly, your bow will be inconsistently influencing the flight of the arrow or bolt. That’s just the facts of the matter. …And the same is true of a rifle.
If you build a weapon that has the lightest stock you can find, an ultra-light optic, and hang a 30″ straight taper barrel off of it, I assure you it’ll be nose heavy and plunge repeatedly, but inconsistently depending on your shooting position. Why do I keep using the word “consistent” over and over? Because consistency is the cornerstone of accuracy and performance. If you are chasing variables and can’t impart some constants into your shooting, you’ll get poor results. …And that won’t work.
I agree with MDT’s assertion that balance, achieved through specific weights in specific places, is a serious consideration for any precision rifleman. Here is what they emailed out:
IS WEIGHT AN IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR YOUR PRECISION RIFLE BUILD?
The answer is yes, but maybe not how you’d think.
In short; The ability to add/adjust weight = a balanced rifle = a more precise and accurate rifle.
Now, you can absolutely tack every weight imaginable onto your rifle, effectively eliminating recoil for most calibers, but also rendering your gym membership obsolete if you plan on moving around at all. However, these days shooters are steering much more around balancing the weight than just blindly adding as much weight as possible.
A perfectly balanced rifle boasts a few added benefits.
- More control of your rifle, especially when shooting off obstacles like rocks, trees, barricades etc.
- Mitigated felt recoil and increased efficiency. A balanced rifle produces predictable recoil, making it much easier for the shooter to take accurate and quick follow-up shots when needed.
A balanced rifle build isn’t just for competitors, and at MDT, we have some great options giving you the ability to adjust yours.