Beretta ARX 160 Carbine Review
Part 5 - Range Tests
June 9, 2015

Beretta ARX 160 Review

In this part of my Beretta ARX 160 Carbine Review, I show my range test results for this rifle.  Some of my goals for range testing were to zero the flip up sight installed on the rifle, check the rifle for overall accuracy using a rifle scope and put a variety of ammunition through the rifle to get a feel for reliability.

 

For the ammunition, I started pulling out various boxes of different types of ammunition off my shelves and made sure that some of the ammunition recommended by Beretta was part of the mix.  Beretta states in their Instruction Manual, "Based on our testing and evaluation, Beretta recommends the following ammunition for optimal performance:"

  • Federal American Eagle
  • CCI Standard
  • CCI Stinger
  • CCI Mini-Mag
  • RWS R100
  • RWS R50
  • Other .22LR ammunition may also work well but should be evaluated for function and performance.

The photo below and Table 2 shows the different types of ammunition used during the accuracy portion of the review.

Figure 1
Beretta ARX 160 Ammo Used In Review

The sights that come on the rifle are adjustable for windage and elevation at the front and have a 5-position adjustable peep sight at the rear (see photo below).  Each position corresponds to the following distance and diopter (peep hole) diameter according to the Instruction Manual (page 31):

  • Position 1 - distance 10 meters, diopter diameter 2.8mm
  • Position 2 - distance 10 meters, diopter diameter 3.5mm
  • Position 3 - distance 25 meters, diopter diameter 2.8mm
  • Position 4 - distance 25 meters, diopter diameter 3.5mm
  • Position 6 - distance 50 meters, diopter diameter 2.8mm

Using the Winchester 333 36gr CPHP high velocity ammunition, I zeroed Position 1 at about 11 yards which is about 10 meters.  The sight zeroed without issue.  The front post was still near the middle range for windage adjustment and there was still ample travel remaining for elevation adjustments.  This front sight position gave me confidence that overall alignment of the barrel and polymer stock housing were good.  I didn't shoot the other positions to verify their zero yardages because their zeros will be related to the type of ammunition (bullet weight and velocity) selected.  My recommendation is to find something that the rifle likes, zero Position 1 at some short distance that you feel you will be shooting regularly (10 yards or meters is probably good), and then confirm the zero distances on the other positions yourself.

Figure 2
Beretta ARX 160 Rear Sight Positions

For accuracy testing, I installed a Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50 Scope.  This scope includes a side parallax adjustment knob that allowed me to dial in a parallax free distance of 50 yards for range testing and a high enough power (14x) to really dial in the reticle.  I installed the scope with a set of UTG High Profile Quick Detach/Lock Rings.  The scope centerline height measured about 3.4" above the barrel bore axis.  This is about 1" higher than a typical AR style rifle which comes in around 2.4".

Figure 3
Beretta ARX 160 with Zeiss Conquest Scope

The 3.4" line of sight height above the bore with a 50 yard zero while using a 36gr bullet going 1200 ft/sec (ex. CCI Mini-Mag from Table 2) gives you a trajectory path as shown in Table 1.  The point to remember is that if you zero your optic at 50 yards, you will shoot under the target at close ranges and I recommend you study the bullet drop for whichever type of ammunition you choose to shoot.

Table 1
Theoretical Bullet Drop with 36gr bullet going 1200 ft/sec at muzzle with a 50 yard zero
Range (yds) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Drop (in) -3.4 -2.2 -1.2 -0.5 -0.1 0.0 -0.2 -0.7 -1.5 -2.7 -4.2 -6.1 -8.3 -11.0 -14.0 -17.5
Data generated using ballistics calculator at www.jbmballistics.com.

My bench setup during my accuracy testing included the X7 Bulls Bag at the front and a Caldwell Medium High Rear Bag at the rear.

Figure 4
Beretta ARX 160 Review Bench Setup

I set up the chronograph at about 10 feet from the muzzle and all accuracy testing was conducted at 50 yards.

Figure 5
Beretta ARX 160 Review Range Setup

Since bench testing AR style rifles is usually easier with low capacity magazines due to the overall height required for the standard (high) capacity magazines, I purchased a 10-round magazine to use for all my bench test efforts.  Because Walther (parent company is Umarex) makes several style replica rifles such as their Colt M4 and HK416 in .22LR, the same Colt and HK branded .22LR magazines will work in the Beretta ARX 160.  In my case I purchased the HK 416 ten round magazine shown below.  You can see the Beretta and HK magazines together and they are identical at the interface location.

Figure 6                                                              Figure 7     
Beretta ARX 160 10-Round Magazine  Beretta ARX 160 10 & 20 Round Magazines

The table below shows the velocity and group size data for the ammunition used during the bench tests.  I feel the difference in velocity data between my results and those listed by the manufacturer are due to barrel length and potentially ammunition temperature.  With this rifle having an 18.11" barrel, velocities were typically less than the manufacturer's advertised velocity which are typically measured using longer barrels.  For example, CCI tests their ammunition with 24" SAMMI specification barrels and chambers (according to CCI).  My point here is that if you are planning to shoot at longer distances (100+ yds.) and adjust for bullet drop, then you need to make sure you either chronograph your ammunition or at least use data from this or other reviews when compensating for bullet drop.

Table 2 - Bullet Velocity and Accuracy Tests

Ammunition Advertised
Velocity
(ft/sec)
Range
Temp.
(°F)
Measured1 Vel. (ft/sec) 5-Shot Group Size3 (in)
Avg2 Std
Dev2
Max
Spread2
Max Min Avg
Aguila SuperExtra Subsonic 38gr HP (1B222268) 1025 66 939 10 34 1.59 0.88 1.17
American Eagle 40gr Solid (AE5022) 1240 67 1189 17 52 1.88 1.28 1.68
Blazer 40gr LRN (0021) 1235 82 1220 25 68 1.59 0.88 1.17
CCI Mini-Mag 36gr CPHP (0031) 1260 83 1203 17 54 0.94 0.65 0.83
CCI Mini-Mag 40gr CPRN (0030) 1235 83 1152 18 55 1.28 0.47 0.99
CCI Std. Vel. 40gr LRN (0035) 1070 83 997 13 51 0.75 0.46 0.59
Eley Club 40gr RN 1085 63 1057 10 30 0.76 0.41 0.53
Federal Premium GM HV Match 40gr Solid (719) 1200 82 1233 19 60 1.99 0.78 1.44
Fiocchi Std. Vel. 40gr LRN (22FLRN) 1070 82 1019 21 76 0.99 0.75 0.89
Norma Match-22 40gr LRN 1100 62 990 23 65 1.25 0.84 1.10
Remington Golden Bullet 40 gr PRN 1255 82 1198 33 107 1.54 1.09 1.27
Remington 22 Viper 36gr TC 1410 66 1327 51 193 3.34 1.25 2.40
Winchester 333 36gr CPHP (22LR333HP) 1280 82 1280 12 41 1.59 0.94 1.25
Winchester Super Speed 37gr CPHP 1330 83 1310 12 41 2.85 0.92 2.08
For All Groups = 3.34 0.36 1.23
CPHP - Copper-Plated Hollow Point, CPRN - Copper-Plated Round Nose, HP - Hollow Point, LRN - Lead Round Nose, PRN - Plated Round Nose, RN - Round Nose, TC - Truncated Cone
1 - Velocity measured using a chronograph placed ~10 feet from the muzzle
2 - Average, Standard Deviation and Maximum Spread based on 10 shots
3 - Group size data based on four 5-shot groups shot from a bench at 50 yards

Clearly the Beretta ARX 160 Carbine liked standard velocity ammunition.  The CCI Standard Velocity and Eley Club had 5-shot group averages of 0.59" and 0.53" respectively and minimum group sizes of 0.46" and 0.41" which is sub MOA accuracy.  The high velocity and hyper velocity ammunition was showing a significant increase in group size which may be due to the harmonics of the barrel.  The more I shoot CCI Standard Velocity ammunition the better I like it and I will definitely keep it on hand to shoot in this rifle.  The point of impact for the high velocity ammunition versus the standard velocity ammunition was about a 3 MOA difference where the high velocity ammunition would impact the target about 1.5" at 50 yards above the standard velocity ammunition.  My total group average for all 56 five shot groups was 1.23" at 50 yards which isn't too shabby.  The chart below gives you a good idea on how group sizes generally increased with velocity.

Figure 8
Beretta ARX 160 Group Size Versus Velocity Chart

Since no range test would be complete without showing some of the groups, this next photo shows my first 5 shots at 50 yards which created a 0.57" group.  After adjusting my point of impact to the right, I shot the next 3-shot group which came in at 0.48".  I will admit that I'm partial to the CCI Standard Velocity ammunition and was betting that it would shoot nicely in this rifle and that is why I started with it first.  My bet paid off and put a positive mood over the rest of my accuracy testing.

Figure 9
Beretta ARX 160 First Groups

These next two groups are the best groups shot with the CCI Standard Velocity and Eley Club ammunition.  The point of impact difference in elevation between these two groups was due to me not changing the zero on my scope after shooting some other ammunition.  From my perspective, this rifle has all the accuracy potential needed for its intended roll which I feel is a fun tactical rifle and potential training rifle for those who may be considering purchasing its big brother the Beretta ARX 100 chambered in 5.56 / .223 REM.

Figure 10 - CCI Standard Velocity                                      Figure 11 - Eley Club          
Beretta ARX 160 with CCI Standard Velocity  Beretta ARX 160 with Eley Club

After bench testing, I put several magazines through the rifle shooting at various steel targets and dueling trees.  The rifle was fast shooting, hit where I intended and fired every shot without issue.  Each time I loaded a magazine, I was impressed with the magazines sturdy feel and the follower was easy to shift down with your thumb and index finger on the external serrated surfaces when loading.

Throughout all my range tests so far I have put about 700+ rounds through the rifle with various types of ammunition and have not had a single issue.  Clearly some ammunition shoots better than others, but considering all of the various types ammunition I cycled through without issue, this makes me think the Beretta ARX 160 is a reliable shooting platform.

For my final configuration (or at least until I change my mind), I installed a Bushnell TRS-32 Red Dot Scope and Blackhawk Web Sling.  The TRS-32 would 1/3 co-witness with the flip-up sights without issue and the sight height measured about 3.6" above the bore of the rifle.

Figure 12
Beretta ARX 160 with Bushnell TRS-32 Red Dot Sight

I zeroed this optic at 25 yards which gave me the below theoretical bullet drop table using the CCI 36gr Mini-Mag ammunition.  This zero gives me a first zero at 25 yards and a second theoretical zero at about 100 yards with a max impact above the line of sight being 2.2" at 65 yards.  In reality, most of my shooting with a .22LR rimfire platform is shooting freehand typically between 10 and 50 yards, so this is a good starting point for many more shooting adventures with this rifle.

Table 3
Theoretical Bullet Drop with 36gr bullet going 1200 ft/sec at muzzle with a 25 yard zero
Range (yds.) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Drop (in) -3.6 -2.0 -0.6 0.5 1.4 1.9 2.1 2.1 1.7 .09 -.02 -1.7 -3.5 -5.7 -8.4 -11.4
Data generated using ballistics calculator at www.jbmballistics.com.

 

Thoughts

I really enjoy range testing firearms when they prove to be reliable and accurate.  Both of these held true for the Beretta ARX 160 Carbine.  For my purposes, which will be primarily shooting off-hand and with a 1x red dot sight, the rifle's accuracy is more than adequate for the majority of my shooting situations which will be less than 50 yards.  I have no doubt that I will be putting thousands of rounds through this rifle over the next year when letting my friends and family shoot this unique platform.  With what I have seen so far, I don't see that there will be any issues, but only time will tell.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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