The Springfield Saint Victor handled our recent 7,300-round torture test like the work horse it is. Before any extended shooting sessions, make sure you go over the firearm in detail. Have everything in working order. While you’re at it, make sure everything is cleaned and lubed where it needs to be.
But when it comes to an undertaking such as this, you’re going to need a tremendous amount of gear. The firearm itself is truly only the beginning. To put 7,300 rounds downrange, obviously, you’re going to need a whole bunch of ammo. We recommend various types, and not the cheap stuff.
Our test utilized multiple magazines, mag loaders, an optic, and steel targets, along with standard safety gear, cold weather gear and more. Above all, make sure you bring a few friends along. You’ll be glad you did.
Moving forward with your own torture test, here’s what you’ll need.
Your ammunition selection is very important. Do not go for the cheapest ammo you can get for a test like this, no matter how tempting it can be. I know $20 for 500 rounds of Billy-Bob-Jean-Hortons The Second reloads might seem like a good deal now, but it can cost you down the road. It’s probably reloaded with poor/aged powder that can really gunk up a gun and you might also run into a hot-loaded round that might blow your gun apart and take some pieces of you with them.
Speer Dot Gold ammo is used by various law enforcement agencies. They are known to be proven duty ammo for both handguns and rifles. This is one of the many reasons why we chose to go with .223 Speer Gold Dot 62-grain Soft-Point. It was accurate, pleasant to shoot and most importantly, it ran clean.
Before you get to have some fun and rain over 5,000 rounds down range, it is always a good idea to get some accuracy groups at the start. This way you can compare the rifles and ammo performance afterwards.
Federal Barnes TSX; 55-Grain Triple-Shock X, Hollow Point
Starting Accuracy: 0.80 inches
Accuracy After 5,800 Rounds: 0.97 inches
Uses: Medium Game, Self-Defense
Notes: The Federal Barnes TSX hands down is an awesome round. The bullets expanded reliably and consistently, and retains almost all of its weight on impact. My home defensive carbine is now being feed with these. (federalpremium.com)
Federal Gold Medal Berger; 73-Grain Boat-Tail Target, Open Tip Match
Starting Accuracy: 0.68 inches
Accuracy After 5,800 Rounds: 0.81 inches
Uses: Target Shooting
Notes: The Saint Victor loved this round, it was a match made in heaven. The rifle and ammo was more accurate than me, and I sure someone can make tighter groups then I can. The load use Gold Medal match primers, Federal brass and specially formulated propellant. Great for competition shooting. (federalpremium.com)
Speer Duty Ammunition; 62-Grain Gold Dot, Soft-Point
Starting Accuracy: 0.78 inches
Accuracy After 5,800 Rounds: 0.95 inches
Uses: Hunting, Self-Defense
Notes: The Saint Victor ate a lot of these. I was really impressed on how clean burning the powder is. The Saint Victor should have been way dirtier then it was. It is a great round in general and you can’t go wrong with using them. As a bonus the loads feature flash suppressed propellants. (speer-ammo.com)
Sure you can use regular bull’s eye targets, but when you’re shooting over 5,000 rounds, that gets old quickly. It helps when you have some “reactive” targets, such as some rotten fruit, water bottles and even some Tannerite (which will definitely grab your neighbors' attention).
One of the best reactive targets you can get are steel targets. Reusable and gives you instant feedback when you connect. We got ours from Target Solutions who offers a wide selection of AR500 steel targets. You can’t go wrong with Target Solutions, just make sure you have a can of paint spray to redo your steel targets. (ar500targetsolutions.com)
Sure you can use the flip up sights that come with the Saint Victor, but where’s the fun with that? We used a Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec LQD Reflex Sight that gave us repeatable accuracy, ultra-fast target acquisition (very important when you have little time and a lot of rounds to go through) and proved to be very tough. The lens feature a scratch resistant and anti-reflective red coating, and has an integrated sunshade. The reticle features a red 65-MOA ring that goes around a 2-MOA red dot, and 10 brightness settings. It also has a motion sensing auto on/off activation, 12-hour auto shutoff and a low battery indication. It mounts quickly and easily thanks to its quick detach locking mount. Everyone was impressed with this sight and how easy it was to use. (sightmark.com)
While we did use the standard magazines for the Springfield, we also had some fun inducing higher capacity then standard magazines available. Magpul’s PMAG D-60 is a super reliable 60-round 5.56mm/.223 Remington polymer drum magazine. The drum’s configuration keeps the height of the magazine lower then compared to other 60-round mags. It’s fairly easy to load, the only drawback is that you can’t use a speedloader. (magpul.com)
SureFire’s MAG5-60 is also a 60-round magazine used in this test. It’s constructed from Mil-Spec hard-anodized aluminum and feeds smoothly and reliably. It is 1.66 inches thick, which is less than two 30-round mags clipped/tapped together. It is longer then the PMAG D-60, but with the MAG5-60 you can use a speedloader. (surefire.com)
Caldwell’s AR-15 Mag Charger will save you so much time and Band-Aids need for your fingers. It is designed to accept 50 loaded rounds directly from any common 50 round ammo manufacturer or from an aftermarket 50 round storage box, such as their own Mag Charger Ammo Box. Insert a magazine and move the plunger back and forth, which loads 5 rounds at a time, and viola, you have a loaded mag in less than 10 seconds. I have been recommending this to anyone who would listen, it is a game changer. (caldwellshooting.com)
You have to protect your eyes, you only have two of them. Magpul has a wonderful line-up of various glasses for various faces. I like their Summit line the best. The polycarbonate lenses and frames are constructed from the strongest thermoplastic material (TR90NZZ) available for eyewear. They are extremely comfortable and the lenses provide a super clear and crisp vision. Make sure you check out their Eyewear Lens Technology page where it explains the difference of lens and mirror selections. (magpul.com)
Walker’s Silencer Bluetooth Earbuds use advanced digital circuitry to suppress loud noises like gunfire while amplifying everyday sounds. The Bluetooth variants up the ante because you can use a free app on your smartphone to control the program settings, monitor battery levels, adjust the volume and change the auto shutoff time. It also allows you to take cellphone calls or listen to any audio files on your phone. The earbuds are also rechargeable, and Walker’s includes a USB cable and charging dock as well as sizing fins. (walkersgameear.com)
5.11’s Approach Jacket is a three-layer hardshell jacket that is the cat’s meow. It features a waterproof but breathable membrane, YKK zippers, stowable hood and cuffs that allows you to adjust for the best fit. It also features 5.11’s RAPIDraw pocket to access your CCW in all manners of weather, no one likes being wet and cold. It’s great jacket especially if you don’t know if the weather will turn on you. Available in black, tundra or dark navy. (511tactical.com)
If you’re going to shoot tons of rounds, it’s always a good idea to bring some friends along, not just the imaginary ones. Besides helping them get some trigger time, you might be introducing them to a new type of firearm that they might have not fired before. They can provide you with important feedback that you might have otherwise missed or dismissed. But the most important thing is when you shoot over 5,000 rounds, have fun and be safe.