I had the pleasure of shooting 702Shooter’s Precision AR Raffle Rifle. The raffle was put together to help build a world class veteran’s memorial here in Las Vegas. The rifle boasts a very impressive list of components all donated from various vendors who contribute to the effort.
To me the heart of the rifle is the Lija AR740 20” 1-8 twist 3 groove barrel. Lija started offering theses barrels in January of 2009. I’m a fan of the faster twist barrels because they allow you to shoot the heavier .223 bullets. The heavier bullets hold up better to the wind and make is easier to shoot long range with the .223 Remington round. It’s a very effective way to practice long range shooting and will help you develop skills for reading wind and adjusting for deflection.
The original finish and fit of the barrel were excellent. The barrel comes from Lija ready to mount on your upper receiver as is but the decision was made to bead blast the barrel so the overall look would tie in better with the rest of the custom build. The barrel uses 3 groove rifling which helps capture gasses behind the bullet and propel it down the barrel giving it an little extra push to bump the FPS up a bit. We didn’t have a control barrel or chronograph out with us to verify this. These barrels are made from 416 type stainless steel and are hand lapped like all Lija barrels. The Lilja AR740 barrels come to you pre-threaded at .500 x 28 TPI (1/2×28) for mounting flash suppressors, sound suppressors, or other muzzle device.
To start the session we broke in the barrel by shooting one round then cleaning. We repeated this procedure for 10 rounds. My Dad and I got very good at tearing down the rifle and putting it back together. Next we moved to shooting 3 rounds then cleaning and lastly we shot 5 rounds and cleaned. In total we burned up 40 rounds of match ammo loaded with a 77 gr. Sierra Match King bullet from Fiocchi.
Once we were finished braking in the barrel we went to work getting the rifle zeroed at 100 yards. The rifle shot well, the trigger breaks nice and clean but we experienced some problems with cycling which took away from our consistency causing our groups to be just above 1 MOA. Upon trouble shooting the rifle, it was discovered that the hydraulic buffer was the culprit and once that was removed, the rifle functioned perfectly. I strongly feel that since the buffer issue is now resolved, this rifle should easily be able to obtain 3/4 MOA.
The Lija barrel should have no problems accurately shooting all weights of .223 projectiles except for maybe the heaviest ones available. I think the optimal bullet weight for this rifle is the 69 gr. SMK.