AR-15 question. Accuracy: Free float rails vs drop in rails


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twofourthree73
June 27, 2008, 10:15 AM
Since I haven't got my membership confirmation for AR15.com, I'll ask here.

How much of a difference in accuracy would I see with Free float handguard rails vs the drop in type that just replace my standard handguards?

I will have a 16 inch medcon barrel with mid length gas and sight length. I don't need to hang much on the rails, just a handle and maybe a light at some point. I won't be mounting any sights on the rails.

I'd like to be able to shoot sub moa at 100 yds if possible.

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Tarvis
June 27, 2008, 11:18 AM
Sub moa may be a stretch without a floated hand guard IMHO. If you want achieve sub moa without floating the hand guard, you'd probably better plan on reloading and doing some extensive load development and be very proficient with a rifle.

That being said, get the free float rails. They aren't that expensive (some of them, anyhow) and afaik, don't have any weaknesses besides not being able to remove them on the spot, which you shouldn't need to do.

YHM free float rail (http://www.yankeehillmachine.com/store/forearms.html)

Shung
June 27, 2008, 01:12 PM
The free float is a must have if you want to attach optics on the handguard, for example (eotech+ magnifier, for ex). , otherwise, you dont need it.-

I had both.. 1st a standard Midwest Industries , and than a Mfour free float from Danil Defense. both make my M4 + ACOG equally precise at 300m

twofourthree73
June 27, 2008, 01:30 PM
The free float is a must have if you want to attach optics on the handguard, for example (eotech+ magnifier, for ex). , otherwise, you dont need it.-


If this is the case then It sounds like the drop in handguard with rails would be fine since I don't plan on mounting optics on the handguard. I'm not planning on shooting 3 inch targets at 500 yards either.

Any other opinions?

highorder
June 27, 2008, 01:36 PM
YHM railed handgards are more expensive than their free float tubes.

The FF tube is the best option unless you have a line on some CHEAP railed handgards.



also, I had a pair of the samco railed HG's and they were a wobbly mess; they would not support a vertical grip.

If its railed, it should be metal. If its metal, it should be a free float tube.

YMMV.

Spyvie
June 27, 2008, 01:45 PM
Let me preface this by saying I'm no expert at all, I bought mt first AR about 6 months ago and I've never taken a carbine course or been in LE or the military. I have been a gun owner since I was a little kid and I have a pretty strong understanding of mechanical concepts.

With that said, I went with a very affordable 2 piece rail from Leapers/UTG. I've installed it on my mid-length and I couldn't be happier with it.

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ARR146-69006-3025.html

I've heard nothing but trash talk about UTG rails but I'm really not sure why. This thing is solid as a rock, has 4 completely usable rails and does not move at all. The two pieces actually fasten together with 4 allen screws, and the ends are designed differently from the stock hand guards. The result is a quad rail that is unquestionably more secure than the plastic pieces that came with my RRA mid length. And it only cost $59

Read the reviews on the product page, I'd have to agree. And I'd have no qualms at all about attaching a VFG if I wanted one.

EDIT: You asked about accuracy... this is not a bench gun but the barrel/hand guard assembly is every bit as accurate as me or the EOTech.

I'm still shopping for a light.


http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j260/spyvie/RockRiverAR012.jpg

yayarx7
June 27, 2008, 01:56 PM
Free float hand guards allow you to sandbag your rifle, or sling it up, with no change in point of aim. With conventional handguards you can change your point of aim, I have seen it firsthand, and its not pretty. That is why we train to use the magazine as a monopod.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 27, 2008, 02:22 PM
In my experience, free-floating an AR is good for about 0.5" reduction in group sizes at 100yds (test rifle was a 16" Bushy HBAR).

Molon at AR15.com has also done some tests that try to quantify free-float accuracy and he came up with a very similar number.

One other guy on the internet who matches my own personal experience is solid data to me ;)

twofourthree73
June 27, 2008, 02:29 PM
In my experience, free-floating an AR is good for about 0.5" reduction in group sizes at 100yds (test rifle was a 16" Bushy HBAR).

Molon at AR15.com has also done some tests that try to quantify free-float accuracy and he came up with a very similar number.

One other guy on the internet who matches my own personal experience is solid data to me


thanks. That's helpful.

I'm sure no one on an internet board ever stretches the truth a bit. ;)

Bartholomew Roberts
June 27, 2008, 02:38 PM
I've heard nothing but trash talk about UTG rails but I'm really not sure why.

Well, I think Leapers reputation in other firearms accessories precedes them. I haven't heard anything bad about the UTG rails; but I think there are better options out there.

For comparison, a YHM lightweight carbine rail retails at $122.00 and weighs 10.6oz while free-floating the barrel.

This thing is solid as a rock

At 16oz shipped weight for the carbine rails (not including USGI barrel nut or delta ring), they should be pretty solid.

Mr White
June 27, 2008, 02:51 PM
I'm not an expert but I've read several books written by experts. It seems to be well accepted that floating the barrel on an AR is the number one way to increase accuracy. Both David Tubb and Glen Zediker mention this in their books on competition rifles.

twofourthree73
June 27, 2008, 02:56 PM
I'm not an expert but I've read several books written by experts. It seems to be well accepted that floating the barrel on an AR is the number one way to increase accuracy. Both David Tubb and Glen Zediker mention this in their books on competition rifles.


True, floating barrels are almost always more accurate, I was wondering if they were worth it over the drop in ones for the accuaracy that I'm looking for.

I'd like sub moa if possible and if the drop in handguards will do that and support a forward grip, then great. The ease of installation and cleaning are the only reason I'm even considering the drop in handguards.

teombe
June 28, 2008, 01:51 AM
You will likely not get sub MOA without the free-float, IMO.

From what I hear (haven't shot this one yet)...for serious accuracy, get one of these:

http://www.countryboyartillery.com/images/random_images/afghan.jpg

Zach S
June 28, 2008, 01:56 AM
At 16oz shipped weight for the carbine rails (not including USGI barrel nut or delta ring), they should be pretty solid.
I've got a UTG forend on my dissy. The included covers weighed more than the forend. Without the covers, its pretty light. The weight difference between the forend and my HGs was barely enough to notice. I went with different covers and gave the others away.

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