Now it was time to go to my ammo locker and select some cartridges from my stock of .308 ammunition. I chose Black Hills Gold with a 168-grain Hornady A-Max bullet, which has a factory velocity of 2650 fps (feet per second). Next I picked Federal Gold Medal that has a Sierra 168-grain “MatchKing” BTHP bullet also rated at 2650 fps. To add a law enforcement-designed cartridge I included the one of the Hornady TAP loads in .308.
According to their website, “The 155-grain A-MAX TAP Precision cartridge offers match accuracy with a high-ballistic coefficient providing superior long-range performance. This load demonstrates expansion and fragmentation similar to the 110-grain load, but with a noticeable increase in penetration and retained bullet weight. This bullet penetrates glass with minimal deflection and exhibits retained expansion and fragmentation characteristics.”
It is also intended for use in a 1-in-10-inch or 1-in-12-inch twist rifle barrel such as that on the LAR-8. My final selection was the Winchester 150-grain Supreme Elite with “The new XP3 bullet that starts with a two-stage expansion design, then combines all the best-known bullet technology to offer delayed controlled expansion, deep penetration, and high retained weight.”
With my rifle/sight combination, plus test ammunition in hand, it was time for a field test. I did my shooting at the NRA Whittington Center during the 2008 Shootists Holiday and used the Center’s Sight-In Range for my accuracy and chronograph testing session. I sighted the Trijicon ACOG 3.5x35mm scope in for 100 yards, then proceeded to shoot three 3-shot groups for record with each test cartridge, using the concrete benches and an MTM Casegard rest.
My best group was 0.82 of an inch using Federal Gold Medal loads, followed by 0.97 of an inch with the Hornady TAP ammo. All of the group averages stayed under 2 inches and my guess is that the rifle would have had no trouble out-shooting the shooter that day. I also set up my Oehler Model 35P chronograph to see what velocities I would get from the LAR-8 M/L 16-inch barrel.
Next I put a silhouette target out at 200 yards and fired a dozen shots using a mixed bag of .308 cartridges at center mass and scored 10 hits in the 10 and X-ring and two just out in the 9-ring. Three shots to the head resulted in three hits in the 10-ring. Lastly, I took the LAR-8 to the Animal Silhouette Range, where the backstop is a mountainside covered with nice big rocks.
From the standing, off-hand position, again using a mix of my test ammo, I was able to make dust fly on rocks out as far as I could see them on the mountainside, which has been previously checked with a laser rangefinder to have shootable rocks out to some 475 yards. The best part besides the practical accuracy and “shootability” of the LAR-8 was the fact that it was 100-percent reliable and I did not note a single malfunction during the test.
RRA has a winner here and mated with the Trijicon ACOG scope and good ammo, I can’t think of anything I’d rather take into harm’s way.