AR 16in vs. 20in barrel .223


PDA






bbq fan
December 22, 2011, 10:10 PM
Hello folks:
I am asking your help where I might find information on the realistic pros and cons of an AR with a 16in vs. 20in barrel. I searched the THR database and did not read something specific enough. (Background: This rifle will be a strict factory spec A2 type. No planned mods other than a sling and lighting device. I will be buying this fully assembled and brand new.) Thanks

If you enjoyed reading about "AR 16in vs. 20in barrel .223" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Z-Michigan
December 22, 2011, 10:15 PM
The 20" gives you about 100fps more velocity (depending on ammo), a longer sight radius, and an extremely soft shooting experience with the rifle-length gas system.

The 16" is slower, shorter, has a shorter sight radius and a gas system that is potentially more finicky (carbine gas setup) and has more felt recoil than a rifle setup (both carbine and midlength).

I would choose a 20" for a typical adult man who's going to be using it exclusively outdoors at targets more than 25 yards away. I would choose the 16" if any amount of indoor or <25 yard use is planned, or for smaller shooters.

NeuseRvrRat
December 22, 2011, 10:19 PM
This rifle will be a strict factory spec A2 type.

wouldn't that mean it should have a 20" bbl?

Snowbandit
December 22, 2011, 10:32 PM
I have both the 16 and 24 inch models. That's the best of both worlds but, if I had only one, the 20-inch does pretty much everything.

Ranger30-06
December 22, 2011, 10:52 PM
The longer sight radius is the best advantage of the 20" barrel. Target acquisition is a lot quicker and quite a bit more accurate at the longer ranges.

The extra velocity is actually about 200 FPS more (50 FPS/inch) but negligible under 300 yards. I wouldn't base your purchase on this, unless you were specifically shooting over 300 yards on a regular basis, and even then you would be better served by a 24" or 26" barrel.

The 20" barrel is usually a bit heavier, but I like it as I find it keeps the rifle a bit steadier provided you have an A2 stock; it's a little awkward with a lighter collapsible stock.

crazysccrmd
December 22, 2011, 11:20 PM
I like them short. An issue M4 is a 14.5" barrel and I've hit targets with iron sights at 500yds repeatedly on multiple occasions.

wildchild2010
December 22, 2011, 11:36 PM
Using for hunting, self defense, plinking? Heavier bullets like a different twist that the standard 1/9 many AR's use.

Magog
December 23, 2011, 02:35 AM
I would go 20 in every time. the 5.56 does wonderful damage to people but it needs all the velocity it can get to work its magic.

16 in means the 5.56 is only good out to 100 yards, after that it is a common 22 mag round.


Love that temperay cavity the size of a basketball, yawing, fragmenting, hyperstatic shock...

ugaarguy
December 23, 2011, 02:51 AM
16 in means the 5.56 is only good out to 100 yards, after that it is a common 22 mag round.
And you base this on? You also post as if M193 & similar FMJ are the only 5.56 / .223 ammo available. MK262, MK318, and civilian JHP & Polymer Tip are far less dependent on velocity to be effective.
I am asking your help where I might find information on the realistic pros and cons of an AR with a 16in vs. 20in barrel.
I did two TDYs to Iraq While in the USAF, and I had to carry an M16A2 at times. Getting in & out of vehicles, and navigating through comm-electronics modules without the bbl hitting important equipment was a pain in the rear. I don't realistically see the need to shoot past 300 yards with a 5.56 / .223 rifle for anything I do, so I've stuck to 16" bbls. for my defensive AR rifles for ease of handling. If I were shooting DCM High Power matches I'd get a properly configured A2 for that sport. For varmint hunting / long range shooting I'd be looking at other longer bbl. AR type rifles. However, by stating that you want to add only a sling & a light it sounds like you want to use this rifle for defensive purposes.

AK Gun Man 88
December 23, 2011, 03:00 AM
You could get a 16 in Dissipator. It'll give you that rifle length sight radius but still a 16 in barrel for defense purposes, if that's what you are going for. If you really can't decide buy one in 20 in configuration and then later down the road get another upper in 16 in or vice versa. It'll take about 7 seconds to swap out.

bbq fan
December 23, 2011, 06:47 AM
Thanks for everyones quick responses. You have give me much to consider...

jad0110
December 23, 2011, 08:29 AM
If you plan to use your AR for home protection, I'd heavily lean towards the 16". If it is going to be for range fun or hunting small to medium sized game, I'd go with the 20".

The other thing to consider in addition to barrel length is the thickness. And that's kind of a personal preference thing. It is is going to be used to achieve maximum accuracy, a heavy barrel is preferred. If it is going to be a SHTF carbine used predominantly for home protection, I personally prefer the quicker handling of a lightweight, thin "pencil" barrel on my carbine. Then there's the "government profile", which is sort of in the middle (thin under the hand guards like the pencil barrel and thick from just behind the sight base/gas block to the muzzle like the HBAR), though IMO it feels more like a HBAR.

Keep in mind also that putting a 20" HBAR on a rifle will shift quite a bit of weight forward. Putting on a light weight adjustable stock to this configuration will shift the balance even further forward. I've picked up a rifle set up like this (20" HBAR, CAR 6 position adj stock) and it felt plain odd to me. Felt like the balance point was just aft of the front sight base.

benzy2
December 23, 2011, 10:56 AM
It really depends on what you are looking to do. If you want a defense rifle I would pick one of the trusted "tier 1" rifles and buy one that comes close to milspec in most areas. A basic Colt is pretty cheap these days and is always a great option.

I personally don't use an AR for defense so my idea of a perfect setup is different than those looking to fight with their rifle. I like the 20" setup. It's a good balance of weight and size as well as giving a long sight radius and slightly better velocity. Outside I've never had an issue where I was honestly upset that the rifle was 4" longer than a carbine. Again though, I've never had to ride in humvees or anything of the sort so what is important to me may not be to someone else.

Art Eatman
December 23, 2011, 02:47 PM
To me, generally, a 20" barrel is about as short as I'd want. With these itty-bitty cartridges, more velocity is a Good Thing. :)

Past experience: I never had to reach out beyond a hundred yards to kill a coyote with my Mini-14, whatever barrel length that is. Jackrabbits to 150, on a hunt up in Nevada.

My 22" bolt-gun .223 does quite well on prairie dogs to 300.

My present Colt AR 20" gives me three-shot MOA groups with irons. With a slow-twist 20" upper and a K4, I also get MOA groups.

W.E.G.
December 23, 2011, 03:06 PM
We used to call any gun with a 20" barrel a carbine.

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/rifle%20pics/Winchester%20Model%2094/DSCN3145.jpg

greyling22
December 23, 2011, 03:16 PM
20" should give less muzzle blast and flash as well, and what there is will be 4" further away. AR's are noisy.

Agent Tikki
December 23, 2011, 03:25 PM
Personally I'd choose a 16". I have fun with mine at 200 - 300 yards.

20" if I wanted a more long distance shooter, or need the added velocity. I don't really think sight radius would matter much because I'd be using an optic beyond 300 yards.

ms6852
December 23, 2011, 03:30 PM
It becomes a personal preference. Before I retired from the Army, I always had to qualify with the M16A1 which has the 16" barrel. The farthest I ever shot on qualification days was 400 meters with iron sights. It is accurate with the 16" barrel. Now I own a RRA predator with a 20" barrel. It is heavier but just as accurate as any semi-auto rifle I have shot. If you plan to shoot of the bench or shoot alot of prairie dogs or go hunting with it 20" barrel will be a little heavier to lug around than a 16 barrel. Another thing you should consider is the rifle twist, either a 1;7,1:8 or 1:9. Once again that another whole ball of wax.

Sergeant Sabre
December 23, 2011, 03:41 PM
It becomes a personal preference. Before I retired from the Army, I always had to qualify with the M16A1 which has the 16" barrel.

The M16a1, a2, and a4 all have a 20" barrel.

ms6852
December 23, 2011, 07:02 PM
:what: LOL, thanks for the correction, thinking one thing and typing another, a form of dyslexia.

Sergeant Sabre
December 23, 2011, 08:28 PM
I figured you just made a typo.

As to the original question: It depends on the intended use. For any time of police duty, or home defense, or anything combat-related at all, 16". You get a lighter, faster-handling rifle, and really give up very little in velocity. The shorter sight radius can be negated with either an optical sight or a mock dissipator set-up.

For hunting or field, probably 16". Again, a shorter, lighter rifle will be nice if you're hiking or maneuvering it in a blind or tree-stand. Velocity difference from the 20" won't be much, and you won't notice the difference out to 200yds, where nearly all hunting shots will be.

For paper-punching at the range: Maybe 20". Especially so if you are going to shoot iron sights.

exavid
December 24, 2011, 01:02 AM
My Mattel toy has a 20" heavy barrel model which works well for me. Accurate and even with a 20" barrel is still a short rifle. Personally I like the longer, heavy barrel for shooting offhand standing on my hind legs. My rifle is the Stag M4L which is working out well for me so far after firing about 300 rounds through it at our local range. I do think I'm going to put a scope on it though, at my age my eyes aren't all that great even with the peep sight.

baylorattorney
December 24, 2011, 02:26 AM
Ive had 14.5 - 24. For hunting the 20' bbl was the bomb. Faster, and more lethal, making shots on hogs at 300 yards, dead no problem. I couldn't or didn't ever make shots like that with anything shorter, enough tries and maybe probably could have.


Mark, esquire

Eb1
December 24, 2011, 11:07 AM
Best of both worlds. 16" CHF Barrel in 1:7 twist, Mid-Length gas system, Rifle length sight radius. I have to admit though. I have a soft spot for a 20" A2. I think they shoot very well, and are probably the best all around rifle for this platform, but I have a match 20" upper, and wanted a plain, Jane 16" AR-15, but didn't want it to look like a Lego set. So this is what I come up with, and it fits me, and my personality.

http://rob-barley.com/PSADissipatorSmall.JPG

Zach S
December 24, 2011, 11:14 AM
You could get a 16 in Dissipator. It'll give you that rifle length sight radius but still a 16 in barrel for defense purposes, if that's what you are going for.
Agreed. My go to AR and my AR22 are both dissipators.

I would stay away from the rifle-length gas system uppers. IIRC, CMMG was the only one to have this option, but my mid-length CMMG runs great.

Eb1
December 24, 2011, 11:29 AM
No, CMMG is not the only one with a 16" Dissy with mid-length gas system. PSA makes a fine upper as well with this configuration. See the picture above in my post.

Sergeant Sabre
December 24, 2011, 01:36 PM
And a dissipator with a RIFLE gas system? That's what he was talking about. CMMG is the only one.

Chindo18Z
December 24, 2011, 02:10 PM
Magog: 16 in means the 5.56 is only good out to 100 yards, after that it is a common 22 mag round.

Love that temperay cavity the size of a basketball, yawing, fragmenting, hyperstatic shock...

Is this a joke? :rolleyes:

willypete
December 24, 2011, 06:13 PM
Nah, THR hopped in its DeLorean and went back to 1990 for that particular post.

bbq fan
December 24, 2011, 11:16 PM
Thanks for the insights. Your comments have created a need for both. In the meantime, I am going to try and shoot the 20in before paying cash out... Many thanks.

Eb1
December 25, 2011, 12:50 AM
You'll be pleased. I like the 20" AR-15. This is my first 16" version, but I also have a 16" VZ58. The 16" version really comes to the eye well, and is very evenly balanced. The 20" will give you a little more out past 300 yards like was said.

Good pickings and Merry Christmas.

If you enjoyed reading about "AR 16in vs. 20in barrel .223" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!