Range Report: T97 vs AR15

Best AR15 group for the day

Best AR15 group for the day

I finally got a chance to wring out my Norinco T97 and AR15 for accuracy today. I could do more next time: run target 10X+ scopes and shoot in less windy weather, but I had the fundamentals solid with a good rest and comfortable target picture. I shot 10 shot groups which are superior to more typical 3 round groups because some semi-automatics can throw the odd decent 3 round group, but it’s very hard to fake a good 10 round group. Keep in mind that 10 shot group MOA does not really translate to 3 shot group MOA. I shot all groups at a semi-fast pace, less than 1 minute per ten shots. This meant that barrel heating was a potential for loss of accuracy. I shot bulk surplus Norinco CJ95 ammo, Winchester white box 223 55 grain FMJ, Federal 223 55 grain SP, and Winchester 223 64 grain Super X SP. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive accuracy test, just representative of a range session.

best T97 group

Short answer is that the AR15 ran better groups, but not so much that it completely embarrassed the Type 97. Both rifles shot the surplus about the same, the Norc liked the white box a bit better, the AR15 loved the Federal 55 grain SP, and both like the heavier Winchester Super X 64 Grain SP. I’d like to believe that the horizontal dispersion on the T97 target was the result of wind, but I have to take the results as they are. The tight 1:7 twist on the T97 suggests that heavier bullets should shoot better, and today’s test proved it. With an even 3″ grouping of the 64 grain bullet, I’m going to be reloading heavier 60-75 grain bullets for further testing. Ultimately, I’d like to get an inexpensive, accurate coyote round worked up since that’s what I have my T97 outfitted for right now. Given today’s results, I’d expect that I can get close to 2 MOA at 100 yards with reloads, and that’s very decent coyote medicine, especially considering the ability to take speedy follow up shot(s).

Some guys can shoot iron’s just fine, but today showed me that I can’t. When I had iron sights on this rifle, I got no where near 5 MOA on surplus ammo. With the flat top upper and a simple 3X scope, my groups actually look like groups!

Want to check your own accuracy? Take pictures of your targets using your camera, download “On Target“(version 1.1 is free, v2 is $11.99), and run all sorts of stats on your targets.

Today’s results:

 T97AR15Notes
Surplus Norc5.45.1
Winchester White box4.15.6
Federal 55 gr SP5.72.61 shot from T97 off, otherwise 3.6 MOA group
Winchester 64 grey Grey box32.9Best from T97
  • Sim

    I’m looking forward to seeing what your hand loads achieve. Thanks for posting this.

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