What barrel length for AR15?


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Alex45ACP
December 2, 2005, 05:30 PM
I'm planning to buy a new Bushmaster AR15 type rifle soon and need to choose a barrel length. I'm stuck between 16 and 20 inch. I'm leaning toward the 20" because I'm not planning to be kicking down doors or anything like that, and a longer barrel should give more velocity. But a friend of mine is telling me to get the 16" because it's lighter and the 4" don't make much difference in velocity. Any input?

BTW the rifle will be used for self defense purposes.

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SpookyPistolero
December 2, 2005, 05:37 PM
If you don't really think it's something that will be carried much, I like the idea of the full length barrel much more. Plus you get the rifle length gas system. You could compromise, though, and go with an 18" from somewhere like MSTN.

Alex45ACP
December 2, 2005, 05:39 PM
I'm not planning to carry it. But if I needed to for some reason would the 16" be much better?

SpookyPistolero
December 2, 2005, 06:05 PM
I should probably add the disclaimer that I'm not an AR afficionado. But I don't really believe that the 2" difference is going to make all the difference in the world if you had to go indoors when using it (though you might find the full 20" a bit cumbersome). What might make a difference is having a rifle length gas system instead of the abbreviated version on most 16" examples.

But really there a tons and tons of 16" ARs out there, the owners of which will likely chime in soon, which are perfectly reliable. Probably some who will say that to them, the 20" is still a handy length. My opinions are just based on handling and shooting a few of each example, and other rifles of the same lengths.

If it were my money, and it isn't at all, I'd probably go with the 18".

Kurush
December 2, 2005, 06:20 PM
If you're using it for home defense I'd recommend the 16". The extra barrel length is great for long range target shooting and shooting critters/bad guys at longer ranges but it doesn't sound like that's what you're doing. Here's a link to the 5.56 fragmentation charts: http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=16&t=189353

Too Many Choices!?
December 2, 2005, 06:29 PM
I say the shorter the better! My 14 1/2" barrel with permanantly attatched AK muzzle brake(it's a Bushie), has been drop dead reliable. Even after being dropped and I did think I would die, but that was in my still teething days. Now my AR gets treated like my AK, as a tool. The AR-15 gets treated like precision tool however:neener:! If it is a DEFENSIVE carbine, then reach out and touch velocity of a 20" barrel really isn't needed. My M4 will easily handle anything inside of 200yds. If you need more stopping power at range than that on your defensive carbine, I would say you should either get a 24" barrel or move up to .308 out of an AR-10 or M1A varient:uhoh: !!! Because arguably anything greater than 200yds away and you should probably have more options. The extra barrel only gives you a little more oomph at range, while giving up mobility/swingability, and with proper bullet selection you will get back SOME of the stopping power at range that the shorter barrel gives up(soft points, heavier bullets and hollow points are options).

Harry Tuttle
December 2, 2005, 06:34 PM
for defensive use, bayonets mount up weird on 16 inch barrels

GoRon
December 2, 2005, 07:25 PM
Get both


I have a 16" and I'm in the process of getting a 20". This is what happens, you feel compelled to buy "things" for your AR, you feel compelled to buy a second one set up for different applications.

Alex45ACP
December 2, 2005, 08:26 PM
Is it possible to switch barrel lengths? Like get a 16" and put a 20" on later?

boing
December 2, 2005, 08:31 PM
Yes. With a few tools (barrel nut wrench, receiver block, pin punch for the gas tube), any dope can swap barrels on an AR. I've done it, even. :) Headspace is determined by the manufacturing tolerances of the bolt and the barrel extension, so that shouldn't be a problem given parts of reputable manufacture. Still a good idea to have the headspace checked after barrel swap, though.

You'll need new handguards and gas tube to fit the new barrel.

The easier way is to just get a new, complete upper receiver/barrel assembly in the configuration you want: push the two pins, swap the uppers, done. It's more expensive that way, but more versatile, and much less of a hassle.

GoRon
December 2, 2005, 08:32 PM
You can buy complete uppers.

Then all it takes is seconds to switch uppers.

I don't know about using a carbine upper on a lower with a rifle buffer and spring.

Now that the question is out there someone who knows for sure will let us know :)

boing
December 2, 2005, 08:36 PM
Standard "rifle" buffer/spring will work fine with a carbine upper. During the AWB, tons of ARs in this configuration were sold (Bushmaster Shorty, etc...)

1911 guy
December 2, 2005, 09:47 PM
Personally, I like the 20" barrel since I use mine for everything from bedside to paper punching to coyotes. Practically, the 16" setups are popular and manufacturers have got them running as reliable as any other configuration. I'd get the lenght you itch for now, then buy another complete upper later.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 2, 2005, 10:07 PM
The 16" barrels are popular because being shorter and lighter, they make for a very handy rifle. If you go with a 20" barrel, getting a government profile barrel (light underneath the handguards, heavy forward of the front sight base) will help the handling of the rifle.

Since all the parts on the AR were originally designed around the 20" barrel and rifle length gas system, the rifle will have a slight edge in durability and reliability. However, they now make 16" barrels with midlength gas systems that reduce the gas pressures to make it more inline with the rifle and give you a little extra sight radius as well.

As to the collapsible stock/fixed stock, you can use any stock with any length barrel, you just have to make sure to use the carbine buffer with short carbine stocks and the rifle buffer with fixed A1/A2 stocks. If you run a really short barrel (10.5" or less), you'll need a new heavier buffer and may still see the occasional reliability issue.

NMshooter
December 2, 2005, 10:08 PM
Either 16" or 20" work great, especially if you get a light profile barrel.

Matter of fact the 20" is much more user friendly when it is an A2 profile barrel.

You can stick a collapsible stock on any barrel length or gas system length, and I recommend an "H" buffer if you do so.

And get a flat top upper receiver, even if you want to start with a carry handle, because sooner or later you will appreciate the ability to remove it and attach anything you want on there.

Hope this helps.

Kurush
December 2, 2005, 10:41 PM
Just to confuse you a bit more, you could also get a LMT monolithic rail platform (MRP) upper and get different length quick-change barrels. You'd still have to stay above 16" of course unless you get a stamp.

Mulliga
December 2, 2005, 11:03 PM
I vote 20" A1-profile - light, easy-to-handle, reliable, and has that extra 100 fps.

1911user
December 2, 2005, 11:15 PM
I'm planning to buy a new Bushmaster AR15 type rifle soon and need to choose a barrel length. I'm stuck between 16 and 20 inch. I'm leaning toward the 20" because I'm not planning to be kicking down doors or anything like that, and a longer barrel should give more velocity. But a friend of mine is telling me to get the 16" because it's lighter and the 4" don't make much difference in velocity. Any input?

BTW the rifle will be used for self defense purposes.

If you don't require a short barrel, then choose the ammo first and a barrel to work with it.

It's hard to go wrong with either length, just don't get a 20 inch HBAR version. If 20", get the govt. profile barrel and lose a pound of metal while making it balance much better. For the 16 inch barrel, a mid-length gas system is better, but you may have to go with RRA (or a custom barrel) to get one. I don't think bushmaster sells barrels with mid-length gas systems.

If you are using FMJ (M193 and ss109) ammo and are counting on bullet fragmentation then the longer barrel makes a nice difference in effective range.

If you get into ARs, you'll likely end up with both so which do you want to start with???? :D

Alex45ACP
December 2, 2005, 11:25 PM
The 16" barrels are popular because being shorter and lighter, they make for a very handy rifle. If you go with a 20" barrel, getting a government profile barrel (light underneath the handguards, heavy forward of the front sight base) will help the handling of the rifle.

I think Iím going to get this rifle: http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa2s20.asp

Is that set up the way you describe?

And get a flat top upper receiver, even if you want to start with a carry handle, because sooner or later you will appreciate the ability to remove it and attach anything you want on there.

That is the A3 version, right?

It's hard to go wrong with either length, just don't get a 20 inch HBAR version.

What is HBAR?

Sunray
December 2, 2005, 11:39 PM
"...the 4" don't make much difference in velocity..." Your buddy is confused. You lose about 100 fps per inch. All these short barreled AR's are marketing things.

Too Many Choices!?
December 2, 2005, 11:43 PM
This will mean it has all the great qualities of being cheaper for the manufacturer to make(as it spends less time being profiled), should be stiffer (less susceptible to,'barrel whip"), a hell of a lot heavier up front(which can help dampen muzzle jump), and able stay more accurate as the barrel heats up durng rapid, or prolonged fire sessions(H-bars supposedly tranfer or dissipate heat more evenly too):) . Some say it's a gimmick. I say my H-Bar M4A3 with 14 1/2" barrel is very consistent, even when it's too hot to touch the barrel! TIFWIW .When it comes to the AR-15, you literally have Too Many Choices!?;)

PS- I also think a 20" H-bar is a bit much to attempt holding up from shot to shot :uhoh: .Oh yeah, my PDW AR-pistol is a 10 1/4" H-bar.

Alex45ACP
December 2, 2005, 11:47 PM
http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa2s20.asp

Is that in HBAR? That is the rifle I'm probably going to buy.

1911user
December 3, 2005, 01:03 AM
http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa2s20.asp

Is that in HBAR? That is the rifle I'm probably going to buy.

I'd bet money it is. For hi-power and target shooting, a heavier barrel makes sense. For a rifle (carbine) that is going to be carried much, the govt. profile is more desirable. Here's a link showing the govt. profile. The difference is only under the handgaurds (not installed in this pic): http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/barrel-assemblies/abbl-20a2.asp
Compare with this pic (HBAR): http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/barrel-assemblies/pbbl-20a.asp

Heavy barrels are not so bad on shorter barrels since the weight is closer to the center of the rifle. They aren't "light" but seem to balance better than 20" heavy barrels. You really ought to handle several different AR configurations and see what feels good to you.

You might also want to spend some time reading in the AR-15 secion of ar15.com, lots of good info there.

artherd
December 3, 2005, 02:40 AM
I say go 18" or 17" is the shortest you can go and keep a 'rifle' gas system.

I have a 20" right now and like it, but it's not the best close-in high-manuverable gun.

I think mid-lightweight profile 17" AR is about perfect.

salty
December 3, 2005, 10:06 AM
Length does make a difference - 16" for under 200 m and 20" for over to maintian velocities. I would buy the 20" as it will cover more situations than the 16" as you stated it is not a defense weapon. If you get a 16" at least get the Bushmaster diaspator model.

Gary G23
December 3, 2005, 10:39 AM
Since you said the rifle will be used for self defense I would get this one:
http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa3f14m4iz.asp

Beren
December 3, 2005, 11:16 AM
I really like 11.5" myself, especially for home defense. :evil:

Buy a complete Stag Arms lower half with collapsible stock from eaglefirearms.net. Buy a 16" or 20" upper from them or the vendor of your choice.

Fill out a Form 1 to register the lower as a SBR.

Use the 16" or 20" upper for the 3-4 months it'll take for the paperwork to clear.

Once you get your tax stamp, get an 11.5" upper from the vendor of your choice. CMMG has used 11.5" A1 Colt uppers currently.

Enjoy. :D

Bartholomew Roberts
December 3, 2005, 12:27 PM
I think Iím going to get this rifle: http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa2s20.asp

That is a 20" HBAR (Heavy Barrel) profile. It will weigh almost a pound more than the Government Profile barrel and all of that weight will be forward of the barrel nut. Bushmaster does sell a 20" Government Profile barrel; but you would have to call and special order it. You can only order it off the website as a separate item.

Your buddy is confused. You lose about 100 fps per inch. All these short barreled AR's are marketing things.

A 20" barrel has a muzzle velocity of about 3,259fps with 55gr M193. A 16" barrel has a muzzle velocity of 3,132fps with M193. There is a velocity loss; but it is nowhere near 100fps per inch.

Too Many Choices!?
December 3, 2005, 01:49 PM
I like the way the short stiff barrels handle for home defense...My PDW AR-15 pistol is my home defense gun. I may SBR my Bushmaster lower and keep the PDW AR pistol as it is, since it can legally already take any length barrel and still be considered only a,"long barreled pistol" EVEN if I use a 16" or greater barrel...I also want a," blow back," operated .40 cal S&W PDW pistol upper, with a 7-8" barrel, and a suppressor. Especially if there are some nice long .40 S&W 30 round stick mags available:evil: !! Oh yeah, and I want a 7.62x39, 10 1/2" pistol upper, contingent on that same 30 round mag availibility:evil: !

PS-Short barreled velocities for 10 1/2" barrel will still force SP ammo to expand or atleast shred the soft lead tip while tumbling, depending on the distance to the target and muzzle velocity of projectile when it hits... ;) Whcih would still ruin your day with an impact velocity of greater than 2200 fps....After all, putting two EXTRA HOLES(entry and exit:)) THAT GOD DID NOT INTEND TO BE THERE will atleast change a person's priorities under 200 y/m, as the sudden decompression of the bodies vascular system will cause the ceasation of hostilities sooner or later, dependant on # of, the size of the holes and, the placement of said holes:evil: !!

KC&97TA
December 3, 2005, 04:19 PM
Get both


I have a 16" and I'm in the process of getting a 20". This is what happens, you feel compelled to buy "things" for your AR, you feel compelled to buy a second one set up for different applications.

I feel the same way. Just an excuse to buy another gun.

Got the Wife a National Match AR (20") - really it's hers

The wife should have ordered my 16" upper and 6 position stock Today (Dec 2) A clone of RRA Entry Tactical

I went with CMMG inc. Lowers and Rock River Arms everything else.

I only skimmed the pages, but if you're looking for Home defence I'd sway you twords a shot gun, .223 is know to over penitrate men at close range, I recomend 55g hollow points if you are to fire it indoors, because they stay in your target ;)

Alex45ACP
December 3, 2005, 05:47 PM
Since all the parts on the AR were originally designed around the 20" barrel and rifle length gas system, the rifle will have a slight edge in durability and reliability. However, they now make 16" barrels with midlength gas systems that reduce the gas pressures to make it more inline with the rifle and give you a little extra sight radius as well.

:uhoh: Ahh, how much of an issue is this? I'm already extremely nervous buying this rifle because of all the horror stories about AR reliability, or lack thereof.

Alex45ACP
December 3, 2005, 05:56 PM
I should have been more clear. This isn't going to be a home defense gun. I already have a 12 gauge for that. This will be used more for self defense in case of some serious incident like riots, etc. And as a fun range toy, of course. I also just want to pick one up because you never know when the gun grabbers will manage to get them banned.

I checked out a 16" model at the gun store today. It felt very nice, the balance was great. Unfortunately they didn't have a 20" model I could look at.

I live in a rural/suburban area right now but I'm moving to a much larger urban area in a couple of weeks so I will probably not be making many long range shots. So I guess the main question now is whether those extra 4" make a large difference in lethality at closer ranges (IE within 300 meters)?

Alex45ACP
December 3, 2005, 06:00 PM
http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa3f14m4iz.asp

That's a nice looking rifle. What's the difference between this model and the one with the 16" barrel and "birdcage" flash suppressor?

1911user
December 3, 2005, 06:14 PM
Take a look at the barrels and handguards in this picture.
http://www.rockriverarms.com/item-detail.cfm?ID=AR1293X&storeid=1&image=nbrcara2.gif&CFID=1435842&CFTOKEN=78698050
The barrel length is the same (16") on each but the HGs are 2 inches longer on the one with the mid-length gas system.

This pic also shows the difference in storage room required for the collapsing stock vs. the normal A2 stock. The collapsing stock is nice if diffent size people are going to be shooting it. I can set it short enough for an older child or extend it fully for me. I'm not sure it's an issue in Florida, but wearing thick clothing (or body armor) means the stock needs to be shorter to fit properly.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 3, 2005, 07:13 PM
:uhoh: Ahh, how much of an issue is this? I'm already extremely nervous buying this rifle because of all the horror stories about AR reliability, or lack thereof.

It is a very minor issue for most people. First it only applies to ARs that use barrels shorter than the original 20" design. You would need to run several carbines very hard before you noticed the difference in reliability and durability between the two systems. If you had maybe 20-30 rifles, you would see a costs savings over time with the longer gas system. With a single rifle, you likely would never notice the difference unless something else in the rifle was already marginal (like a chamber that was too tight or rough).

The issue with a carbine gas system is that the timing is off. The components in the AR15 were designed with the 20" system in mind. The carbine has different pressures and timing; but uses the same parts as the 20". Not only is there higher pressure at the gas port; but there is a shorter distance for the gas to travel. As a result, the gas is trying to cycle the action while pressures in the chamber are still high and the brass is still expanded against the chamber walls. This means more stress on the bolt and on some rifles, you can see some reliability issues pop up that are related to this. The other issue is that because the carbine cycles harder and faster, there is less margin of error for the magazine to position the next round for feeding. The small difference in cyclic times between a rifle and a carbine can mean that marginal magazines will work in a rifle; but not a carbine.

Now there are several things you can do to address these issues and increase the reliability of the carbine gas system. One is to run a heavier buffer - this slows the unlock time of the bolt a bit and gives more time for the pressure to drop as well as slowing the speed of the cycle. Replacing the stock extractor and ejector springs with heavy duty models designed for the carbine help the bolt deal with having to yank out the brass at higher pressures than the rifle. Also, replacing your magazine springs with heavy duty or +10% Wolff springs and USGI green followers (or Magpul self-levelling followers) help make sure that your mags will have the rounds in position quickly. Finally, you must pay special attention to keeping the bolt clean and lubed with a quality protectant. If a bolt is not properly maintained, corrosion likes to form at the base of the lugs and because the lugs are already dealing with pressures beyond what they were initially designed for, the lugs will snap off if corrosion is allowed to undermine their strength much (a carbine can actually run with several missing lugs).

However, the easiest way to address this problem is just to move the location of the gas port further forward. The location of the carbine gas port is a result of the original 10.5" barrel of the Colt Commando. With a 14.5" or 16" barrel, there is no real reason to have the gas port in the same location. Yoiu can move the gas port forward 2" forward on a 16" barrel and you reduce the gas pressure at the port and increase the time it takes for gas to travel back to the carrier and begin to unlock the bolt. These gas systems are called "midlengths". As a bonus, you get a better sight radius (helps accuracy with irons), softer recoil impulse, and more of the barrel is covered by handguards (helps protect you from burns when the barrel gets toasty)

I really like the midlengths and have converted all of my carbine gas systems to mids; but you woud be perfectly well equipped with a carbine length system. There are documented instances of 16" barrels with carbine gas systems running for thousands of rounds with no cleaning or maintenance. The carbine gas system isn't as rugged as the others; but it is still more rugged than 90% of the world will ever need. The link 1911user gave shows the difference between the carbine and the midlength.

I checked out a 16" model at the gun store today. It felt very nice, the balance was great. Unfortunately they didn't have a 20" model I could look at.

Was the 16" barrel an HBAR (Heavy Barrel) or M4? If an HBAR, it weighs 0.2lbs more than the 20" Government Profile barrel and would give you a good idea of what that barrel would handle like.

What's the difference between this model and the one with the 16" barrel and "birdcage" flash suppressor?

The one you linked to has a 16" M4 barrel. It is similar to the Government Profile in that it is light under the handguards and heavy in front of the sight base (except for the grenade launcher cutout). The 16" M4 weighs about 2.2lbs. The other rifle you mention is a 16" HBAR. It has a thicker profile under the handguards and the barrel forward of the front sight base is the same thickness as the M4; but without the cutout. That barrel will weigh about 2.7lbs.

Alex45ACP
December 3, 2005, 07:44 PM
However, the easiest way to address this problem is just to move the location of the gas port further forward. The location of the carbine gas port is a result of the original 10.5" barrel of the Colt Commando. With a 14.5" or 16" barrel, there is no real reason to have the gas port in the same location. Yoiu can move the gas port forward 2" forward on a 16" barrel and you reduce the gas pressure at the port and increase the time it takes for gas to travel back to the carrier and begin to unlock the bolt. These gas systems are called "midlengths". As a bonus, you get a better sight radius (helps accuracy with irons), softer recoil impulse, and more of the barrel is covered by handguards (helps protect you from burns when the barrel gets toasty)

Do the Bushmaster rifles come with mid length systems? Or is that like an aftermarket modification you have to do?

Was the 16" barrel an HBAR (Heavy Barrel) or M4? If an HBAR, it weighs 0.2lbs more than the 20" Government Profile barrel and would give you a good idea of what that barrel would handle like.

Iím not sure which it was, I forgot to ask. They look exactly the same to me. The gun store is right near my house though so I can swing by there tomorrow and find out.

So is the only difference between these two rifles the barrel weight?

New Bushmaster 16in Carbine with Bird Cage Flash Suppressor (http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa3f16m4.asp)

New Bushmaster M4 Type 16in Carbine with Bird Cage Flash Suppressor (http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa3f16m4.asp)

NMshooter
December 3, 2005, 08:17 PM
Superlite: http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/weapons/bcwa3f16sl.asp

Do not see any factory rifles with the A2 profile 20" barrel.

A mid-length gas system requires a different barrel, and all the other stuff that comes with it. You would need to purchase a different brand than Bushmaster, or get the parts later and change the barrel yourself.

Keep in mind that whatever configuration you end up with, you can always change it later if you want something different.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 3, 2005, 08:43 PM
Do the Bushmaster rifles come with mid length systems? Or is that like an aftermarket modification you have to do?

Bushmaster doesn't manufacture a midlength barrel right now. Rock River Arms, Armalite, Cav Arms, CMMG, Sabre Defence, ADCO, and MSTN all offer midlength systems now though. You can't really do it aftermarket since once the gas port is drilled in the barrel, you're done.

So is the only difference between these two rifles the barrel weight?

That's the most noticeable difference. The HBAR may be a little more rigid and take heat a tiny bit better but it is a pretty small difference. I ran a 16" HBAR for years and while it was a good barrel, I didn't notice any significant edge over the lighter M4 barrel.

sully
December 3, 2005, 09:30 PM
Simplicity is the way to go. For the circumstances you describe that you wish the rifle for you need reliabiity, ease of use, and accuracy. For reliability I recommend a chrome lined barrel and beefed up extraction system. For ease of use and accuracy I recommend a long sight radius, as a longer sight radius makes it easier to be accurate. I would also suggest an iron sight in a same plane aperture, as this would give you a close quarter and longer distance sight that are bored on the same plane so there is no change in the zero between them. The barrel would be best suited in a 1/9 twist as it will accomodate the widest array of ammuntion, including the most common one that you will find and shoot which would be the .55gr-fmj. My recommendation of the barrel configuration would be something like our SLR15 Commander, the Bushmaster Dissipator, or Olympic Arms Eliminator, as they offer a longer sight radius in a 16" barrel.

Once you have your rifle then seek out some high quality training that will teach you not only how to shoot and manipulate the rifle, but teach you specifically about maintenance issues to ease your mind on the reliability issues.

Stay Safe & CY6,
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
Chief Instructor
http://www.SLR15.com
http://www.TheDefensiveEdge.com

Alex45ACP
December 4, 2005, 04:08 AM
Bushmaster doesn't manufacture a midlength barrel right now. Rock River Arms, Armalite, Cav Arms, CMMG, Sabre Defence, ADCO, and MSTN all offer midlength systems now though. You can't really do it aftermarket since once the gas port is drilled in the barrel, you're done.

Ahh now I understand what you mean.

So is there a model that comes with a mid length system like that already configured? That's probably the model I would want to buy if I was going with the 16" barrel, right?

Sorry for all the questions. There is so much info on these rifles it's mind boggling and reading AR15.com just confuses me further.

demusn1979
December 4, 2005, 10:22 AM
:uhoh: Ahh, how much of an issue is this? I'm already extremely nervous buying this rifle because of all the horror stories about AR reliability, or lack thereof.
Oh yeah thats funny from someone who heard it from someone!:rolleyes:




http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/demusn79/th_Im000478.jpg (http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b317/demusn79/Im000478.jpg)
Fooey!

P0832177
December 4, 2005, 12:30 PM
Simplicity is the way to go. For the circumstances you describe that you wish the rifle for you need reliabiity, ease of use, and accuracy. For reliability I recommend a chrome lined barrel and beefed up extraction system. For ease of use and accuracy I recommend a long sight radius, as a longer sight radius makes it easier to be accurate. I would also suggest an iron sight in a same plane aperture, as this would give you a close quarter and longer distance sight that are bored on the same plane so there is no change in the zero between them. The barrel would be best suited in a 1/9 twist as it will accomodate the widest array of ammuntion, including the most common one that you will find and shoot which would be the .55gr-fmj. My recommendation of the barrel configuration would be something like our SLR15 Commander, the Bushmaster Dissipator, or Olympic Arms Eliminator, as they offer a longer sight radius in a 16" barrel.

Once you have your rifle then seek out some high quality training that will teach you not only how to shoot and manipulate the rifle, but teach you specifically about maintenance issues to ease your mind on the reliability issues.

Stay Safe & CY6,
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
Chief Instructor
http://www.SLR15.com
http://www.TheDefensiveEdge.com

This man knows of what he speaks!

Bartholomew Roberts
December 4, 2005, 05:58 PM
So is there a model that comes with a mid length system like that already configured? That's probably the model I would want to buy if I was going with the 16" barrel, right?

There are many different models that come with a midlength system already configured. Personally, I think that moving the gas port forward is a smart idea and if someone wanted a 16" AR15; but didn't want to do a bunch of research on it, that is what I would recommend.

Having said that, you should go with what YOU want. If you've got an itch for a particular model or like a particular feature a lot, then get that model. The great thing about AR15s is they are easy to modify and there are a ton of parts to do it. Worst case scenario is that you sell off the old parts you don't care for and add new ones that suit your needs.

There are so many features and so many quality places to buy AR15s now that the best way to do it is usually to make a list of the features you want that are "must-haves" and the features you want that are "nice-to-haves" and then buy from whichever manufacturer has those features on a rifle. Usually just narrowing it down to a certain set of features will also narrow it down to 2-3 manufacturers.

P.S. I don't know what part of Florida you are in; but Florida has a large and active AR15 community. Here is a link to the Florida Hometown Forums on AR15.com
http://www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=8&f=10

Chances are you can find people there who have one or two of every configuration you might conceivably want to try and they are usually pretty good about helping people sort things out. If you are near Jacksonville, there is a gun shop there that has some of the most knowledgable AR15 people around.

demusn1979
December 4, 2005, 07:23 PM
:cool: Also...floridashootersnetwork.com

Much to learn!

Zak Smith
December 5, 2005, 12:42 AM
16" with midlength gas, unless you have a good reason to go longer.
That said, my favorite upper is a 17" MSTN with rifle gas.

Alex45ACP
December 5, 2005, 02:05 AM
.

Dr_Pain
December 5, 2005, 05:10 PM
Get both


I have a 16" and I'm in the process of getting a 20". This is what happens, you feel compelled to buy "things" for your AR, you feel compelled to buy a second one set up for different applications.

Is this a recommendation for buying the two, because I need to print this out and give it to my wife

Ala Dan
December 5, 2005, 05:21 PM
My primary AR-15 is one of Colt Defense manufactuer, with a 16"
barrel and a detachable carry handle. Its known as a Match
Target Competition II model, with a collaspsible stock. I have a
Calvary Arms mount, mounted too the carry handle with a new
Bushnell HOLO-sight for really quick acquisition of targets. All
for under $1K~!:uhoh: :D

Too Many Choices!?
December 6, 2005, 12:04 PM
:uhoh: Ahh, how much of an issue is this? I'm already extremely nervous buying this rifle because of all the horror stories about AR reliability, or lack thereof.

The fact that you still consider buying an AR-15 at all, tells me you didn't drink alot atleast. I have said it before, and I will say it again(of this I am sure
:) ), a properly built AR-15 WILL shoot more rounds than you can comfortably carry, before Carbon Fouling chokes it.. A 500 round day would not choke my M4 ,and no I didn't clean it when I got home:neener:. What have we learned from this ckass, don't drink the kool-aid, unless it's grape,mmmmm..

Beren
December 6, 2005, 01:19 PM
If it's not meant for home defense, go with 20". Better velocity, a little quieter, etc.

http://bravocompanyusa.com/Standard20inchRifleUppers.html

The first offering is a really nice upper. I may buy one myself when funds permit.

Onslaught
December 6, 2005, 11:39 PM
I don't have as many ARs as Zak, and I sure as heck ain't no "Sully"... but ARs are my hobby, and I have owned owned 11.5", 14.5", 16", and 20" ARs with carbine, mid, and rifle length gas systems. I can say whole-heartedly and without reservation that the mid-length 16" is BY FAR my all-time favorite.

From my FIRST HAND experience on a 500 yard range, even a 14.5" barrel can consistently hit the target. The biggest factors there were the optic (ACOG) and the ammo (77gr black hills). So anybody that tells you you need a 20" to go past 200 yards is exaggerating. You do get the benefit of flatter trajectory and less wind drift with a 20", but have to learn both with any length barrel. The 16" will give you more ammo choices for longer range shots than the 14.5" (not that you were asking about that).

I bought an Armalite 20" rifle for those "long shots", but after only ONE trip to the range I discovered that it couldn't do ANYTHING my RRA 16" couldn't do just as well, so I traded it off. I now only have 14.5" carbines and a 16" middie. Well, I do have a rifle on layaway, but that's a bit different... :cool:

The mid-length gives you a lower gas impulse than a carbine (reportedly the SAME as the rifle length) and 2" additional sight radius over the carbine without the extra weight of the dissipator.

I'd go "off the beaten path" a bit and check out the "RECCE" uppers from Global Tactical (http://www.globaltactical.com). They're SUPER-accurate 16" mid-length ARs that would have NO trouble shooting out to 500 or 600 yards with a good scope and a good shooter.

I've updated my motto since that layaway purchase I mentioned...

If it's a carbine, I prefer 14.5". If it's a mid-length, I prefer 16". If it's a rifle, I prefer .308 :D

Alex45ACP
December 7, 2005, 03:39 PM
I'd go "off the beaten path" a bit and check out the "RECCE" uppers from Global Tactical (http://www.globaltactical.com). They're SUPER-accurate 16" mid-length ARs that would have NO trouble shooting out to 500 or 600 yards with a good scope and a good shooter.

Thanks, those look very interesting. I might change my plans now and spring for that upper + Stag Arms lower.

f4t9r
December 7, 2005, 03:52 PM
I would recommend the 16
the reason for this is ??? well I just like them

idakfan
December 7, 2005, 05:40 PM
Check out the RRA Elite CAR A4 being sold by Eagle Firearms.

Mid-Length upper A3 w/removable carry handle, about $800.

www.eaglefirearms.net

Good people.

Hawkmoon
December 8, 2005, 05:54 PM
I'm planning to buy a new Bushmaster AR15 type rifle soon and need to choose a barrel length. I'm stuck between 16 and 20 inch. I'm leaning toward the 20" because I'm not planning to be kicking down doors or anything like that, and a longer barrel should give more velocity. But a friend of mine is telling me to get the 16" because it's lighter and the 4" don't make much difference in velocity. Any input?

BTW the rifle will be used for self defense purposes.
Barrel length does matter. Both standard 55gr and 62gr military ammo rely on fragmenting to create an effective wound channel. They require a minimum velocity to fragment reliably upon impact. Especially with 62gr ammo, the effective range drops from around 140 yards (if memory serves) to about 90 yards for effective fragmentation.

I decided on a 16" barrel and 55gr ammo. At some point I'll investigate synthetic tip ammo, but the 55gr M193 is so cheap I can afford it.

Longbow
March 14, 2006, 08:19 AM
Its gonna be for paper punching/target shooting only, as I already have a Daewoo for everything else.
Does the extra lenght barrel really helps with accuracy or is it just gonna be an unneccessary weight to lug around? What is the best barrel lenght for an AR15 for my purpose? Thanks in advance!

sully
March 14, 2006, 10:38 AM
24" works fine with internal, external, and terminal ballistics. The issue with the 24" IMHO is the extended weight that stresses the upper receiver, meaning that the weight of the barrel combined with the leverage due to length is stressing the upper receiver where the barrel extension locks into it as there is not much barrel extension inside the upper receiver. IMHO if you are going to use a 24" then do not go to a bull or super bull configuration.
Out of all the precision guns that we build we never go longer that a 20", as it is adequate and ballistically works all the way around.

CY6
Greg Sullivan "Sully"
Chief Instructor
http://www.SLR15.com
http://www.TheDefensiveEdge.com

Longbow
March 14, 2006, 09:24 PM
Thanks so much for the advice! :)
I'll gonna have the barrel cut down to maybe 18" or 20" since I already bought it. Its medium(?) weight I'm told by the seller. Thanks again.

rangerruck
March 14, 2006, 10:21 PM
depending on the round. you lose about 100 fps , per in of bbl. also the longer bbl will allow you raction to fucntion more trouble free for a longer time over the life of the weapon.

Zak Smith
March 14, 2006, 10:37 PM
depending on the round. you lose about 100 fps , per in of bbl.
Try 50, max

AR15hunter
April 21, 2008, 05:29 AM
I see this thread is now over 2 years old.

However.

I have a question.

My upper has a 16" barrel. Gas port is 6.875" from the muzzle.

So does that make it mid-length or what??

BBroadside
April 21, 2008, 05:57 AM
Welcome aboard, AR15hunter.

Does this article (http://www.defensereview.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=360) answer your question? It's pretty specific about gas port locations.

"The 20-inch barrelled AR-15/M16's gas port is located 12.5" forward of the chamber and 7.5" back from the muzzle. The M4/M4A1 Carbine's gas port sits 7.5" in front of the chamber and 8.5" back from the muzzle. The Armalite Mid-Length Carbine places its gas port 9.5" in front of the chamber and 6.5" behind the muzzle."

Looks like you have a mid-length to me.

(Now I know it's possible to resurrect some pretty old threads around here!)

AR15hunter
April 21, 2008, 06:00 AM
Yep. Mid-length it is.

Thanks heaps.

J. Jay
May 5, 2008, 01:38 PM
The 20" barrel and gas system is more accurate and reliable than the 16" system. period. If you want a shorter overall rifle, then put a collapsing stock on it. Many do this for more comfort with winter coats, etc.

Its been my experience that a 20" heavy barrel with a good trigger will perform better than a 24" super bull with standard trigger every time. I'd stay with a 20" heavy barrel not just b/c the barrel length is better for bullet stabilization, but the longer sight radius makes your "eye" more accurate.

If you are thinking of getting a 24" super bull barrel for even more long range accuracy----get a bolt action rifle.

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