For this post, I’m going to discuss specific features to look for on an accurized rifle. This will not be a commentary on manufacturers, calibers, semi versus bolt, or glass.
- Free floated barrel. A free floated barrel means that from the chamber to the muzzle, nothing touches the barrel (with the exception of sights and the gas system). Especially, the handguard of the rifle does not touch the barrel. This is important for several reasons.
- Heavy barrel. A heavy barrel has several benefits. It is structurally stiffer, causing less movement during the integrated act of firing. It maintains a constant heat better, leading to less warping which causes a zero shift.
- Match trigger. Poor trigger pull is a common source of shooter error. A light, crisp trigger can go a long way toward alleviating this.
- Good Furniture. I’m a big fan of adjustable stocks. The Magpul PRS is the first I know of off hand which allows for easy cheek and length of pull adjustments. In the old days, we had to build up the cheekpieces with foam scraps and tape. Additionally, I like bipods. They make for an extremely good prone support. All of this hardware also adds to weight. Heavier rifles tend to be more accurate, unless of course they have tired out the shooter over the course of a long walk!
I think that a lot of precision rifle features are cool, but overkill for most shooters. With a few additional features, most stock rifles are decent candidates for precision work.