Rock River Varmint A4, what barrel length?


June 19, 2012, 09:11 PM
I've always been a believer in shorter, stiffer barrels to some degree, but with a 223 do I need a 20" barrel to completely burn my powder and get my best velocities, or could I get away with an 18" barrel? I've decided that this is the rifle I want, along with a Standard A4. I know that the Standard and Varmint models may seem a little redundant to some, but I'm getting the Standard as much for nostalgia as anything else (Basic Training).

I really want to turn the Varmint A4 into a viable 600 yard precision rifle for punching paper and ringing a steel gong. I know that the Standard A4 would probably handle that, but honestly this gives me an excuse to get two rifles.

Would I be wrong to order the Varmint A4 with an 18" barrel? Will I get the most efficiency from a 223/5.56mm in an 18" barrel or should I start thinking about a 20" barrel for the ranges I am wanting to shoot? Thanks in advance.

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Welding Rod
June 20, 2012, 12:21 AM
You are right, the Standard A4 should do what you want. My floated SS is a sub 3/4 MOA shooter and even my chrome lined non-floated shoots MOA or a little tighter.

I had a 20" varmit that was no more accurate than the SS HBAR available in the Standard.

I also had a 16 RRA varmit. It shot ~ 1/2 MOA, and sub 1/2 MOA on occaision. I never shot this gun beyond 200 yards though so I can't comment on 600 yard use.

I would consider getting a A4 Standard for nostalgic enjoyment, or better yet a BCM 20" Gov profile A4 upper, and then a A4 Standard with a SS barrel and free float tube for hitting small things far away.

June 20, 2012, 01:18 AM
I've had a RRA 20" Varminter for several years,it's a great weapon.You really won't notice the weight difference with a 18" barrel,IMO.
I built a 16" HBAR a few years ago,and could never shoot it near as well as the RRA.I sold it 2 years ago,but still have and use the RRA 20" Varminter.

June 20, 2012, 08:39 AM
I have one AR with a heavy 20" barrel, three with ligtweight 16" carbine uppers. There is no difference in accuracy. The longer barrel shoots most loads about 125 fps faster. I don't plan on shooting over 300 yards so I doubt the extra 125 fps will ever help me. I have another 16" mid-length upper ordered. When it comes in the longer barreled upper is for sale.

An 18" barreled upper might be a good compromise, but I found much better prices and selections with either 16" or 20" uppers so I went in that directon.

June 20, 2012, 08:45 AM
How about the RRA Predator Pursuit model? Does anyone have any experience with it? According to the RRA site, it's basically a flattop Varmint model with a National Match stainless barrel instead of the heavier varmint barrel.

June 20, 2012, 09:55 AM
my pp upper has been on order since valentines day. All reports say they shoot the lights out. Good luck finding anything in stock though. Rra is way backordered.

don't know about an 18, but a 20 has way less muzzle blast than a 16.

June 20, 2012, 10:43 AM
M predator pursuit just shipped out monday.....just be ready though RRA is about 4 months behind...i orderd mine february 19 and will get it in the next day or two....if u dont mind the wait like i do the predator should be a nice rifle for long range and for yote hunting with the 20 inch match barrel thats had a pound shaved off

June 20, 2012, 03:26 PM
it came in the mail today woot!! only took 4 months. I can build a tractor supply co. store in less time.

June 20, 2012, 03:30 PM didnt take them long to build...i sent a few emails and their barrel manufacturer couldnt get enough barrels to them fast enough...i believe they are wilson barrels and they make alot of barrels

June 20, 2012, 04:18 PM
Yeah, my 458 SOCOM upper took 111 days. I don't mind the wait. I may look further into the Predator Pursuit rifle.

June 20, 2012, 05:08 PM
my PP weighed out at about 8lbs on my bathroom scale as configured with scope.

now my wife says that that scale must be wrong and weighs heavy.........

June 20, 2012, 09:22 PM
im gonna buy a 458 upper for mine as do you like yours

and here's a pic of my PP

it comes in at a whopping 12 pounds as seen in pic

my lower is a RRA stripped
RRA NM 2 stage trigger
Ergo grips with palm shelf
Magpul ACS stock
The scope is a weaver extreme 6-24X50 with lighted reticle and side adjust parallax
RRA high rise scope mount

On the upper obviously RRA PP

upgraded to chrome bolt
quad rails
bcm gunfighter latch

total comes in at about $1600 as seen in pic $1200 minus the scope

June 20, 2012, 09:52 PM
Tex, I can't really pass judgement on my 458 SOCOM. I had to send it back to Rock River. It had some issues with splitting cases. The customer service folks at RRA were very accommodating and because of that and their overall track record I feel pretty confident in ordering two more of their rifles without knowing how they will fix my 458. That is a very nice looking rifle by the way.

Art Eatman
June 20, 2012, 10:31 PM
marksman13, for all that I'm a long-barrel freak, I figure you oughta do okay with an 18" barrel. For 600 yards, however, I'd figure on having a fast twist so I could use heavier bullets. Less wind drift, which is the main enemy at 600...

June 20, 2012, 11:59 PM
Art, do you think a 1:8 is a fast enough twist? That's fastest option RRA offers. I've shot plenty of 5.56/223 out to 500 yards or so, and 308 out to 800 yards, but I've never played with a 223 past 500 yards and never with targets smaller than a standard silhouette.

Art Eatman
June 21, 2012, 11:38 AM
A definite "probably". :D

I wouldn't try a heavy-weight VLD-type bullet, because of the length, but that's pretty much a guess.

I found that a rather round-nosed 70-grain bullet grouped nicely in a 1:10 twist. I'm mostly a varmint shooter, so most of my regular experience is with bullets around 55 grains.

I've read posts here where folks talk about their use of heavy bullets with 1:8 and 1:7 twists; maybe someone will chime in.

June 21, 2012, 12:11 PM
Take a really hard look at the Predator Pursuit barrel. My first build utilized a RRA heavy varmint, 18" bull barrel. It's a tackdriver. However, a friend bought a Predator Pursuit last year, and it's also a tackdriver...might outshoot my bull barrel, and it sure is a lot easier to lug around! Here's my Varmint. I've moved the scope forward since the pic was taken. Also using a collapsible stock now.

June 21, 2012, 12:21 PM
I couldn't find a good answer on what the PP looked like under the handguards (what profile it was) but it appears to be an hbar. lighter than a bull barrel for sure, but not exactly a featherweight.

June 21, 2012, 12:26 PM
Its 1 pound lighter than the uses ther match stainless hbar barrel..its full sice under handgaurd then just past the gas block it gets a little thinner

June 21, 2012, 12:28 PM
My dad uses 68 grain seirra match it shoots consistent .5 inch or less out of a bushmaster match hbar 1:8 twist

June 21, 2012, 12:31 PM
Also be careful. Some of the real heavy stuff wont fit in the clip and has to be single loaded like the hornady 75 g AMax

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