Police Special at the Range
To run this rifle through its paces, I tested 10 different factory loads. The course of fire was five 5-shot groups at 100 yards.
Throughout the day temperatures ranged from the mid-60s to the low 80s, with winds from the north gusting up to 16 mph creating a cross wind. Near the end of the five-hour shooting session, the winds shifted to out of the west from the target to the shooting position and it rained for 30 minutes.
Changing atmospheric conditions didn’t seem to have nearly as big an impact on group size as did heat mirage coming off the barrel.
When the mirage got excessive, the weapon was cooled for a few minutes. Firing for groups was conducted with a Trijicon 5x-20x variable optic. Velocity data was recorded with a Shooting Chrony chronograph.
While testing, I found that switching loads caused the first five shots to print larger groups. When I discussed this with the veteran gunmaker, he echoed the same findings.
“For some reason, until a load fouls the barrel it doesn’t shoot as tight,” Baer said. “I don’t know if it’s the change in bullet jacket material or change in powder, but it makes a difference. I shoot four or five shots off target with a new load before I fire a couple of five-shot groups and it shoots much tighter.”
After accuracy testing for all loads I swapped scopes to a Trijicon 4x ACOG, and an additional 10 rounds were fired with each load to measure velocities.
I fired an additional 150 rounds off-hand at steel targets at varying ranges. More than 500 rounds were sent down-range during this evaluation with only two stoppages, which was the fault of a worn out surplus 30-round magazine.
Ten factory loads were tested in the Patrol Carbine. Ammunition from Black Hills, Summit Ammunition, Federal, Hornady, Winchester and Silver State Armory was included. The top performer was Hornady’s 55-grain TAP load that produced a five-shot group at 100 yards and measured 0.515 inch. Loaded with the right ammunition, this rifle is sub-MOA capable with ease.
Les Baer Police Special Carbine
Caliber: .223 Remington
Action Type: Semi-auto, gas impingement
Receiver: Anodized, blue steel
Barrel: 1:8 twist, 16.25”, button rifled
Magazine: 2 30-shot magazines
Trigger: Timney Match trigger group
Sights: M1913 Picatinny rail, removable carry handle rear sight, LBC flip-up front sight
Stock: Six-position, M4 style adjustable stock
Weight: 7 lbs., 9 oz.
Overall Length: 37 inches with ATI stock extended
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