Need schooling on AR free float tube


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Corpral_Agarn
May 8, 2013, 01:22 PM
Hello THR!
I have been tooling around Midway USA and came across this free float tube for my 16" AR 15 Carbine.
I have heard that free float can improve accuracy and I don't like to decorate my guns with tacticool gear so I have no need of a battle rail or the like. The most I put on it is a simple scope for varmints and such. I use my modern sporting rifle for just that: Targets and varmints.

So the questions are these:
Would it be capable of significantly improving the accuracy of my 16" AR Carbine?
Right now i have the standard handguard from DPMS. Would it goof with my current setup in a negative way?
Are there any drawbacks to replacing the standard with a free float tube?

I appreciate any help i can get here!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!

... Love THR... best gun forum on the net. :D

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Orion8472
May 8, 2013, 01:56 PM
A free float tube can help improve accuracy. "Significant"? I guess that would be determined upon what you would see as "significant". What are you normally getting at 100 yards, benched?

Warp
May 8, 2013, 02:06 PM
Hello THR!
I have been tooling around Midway USA and came across this free float tube for my 16" AR 15 Carbine.
I have heard that free float can improve accuracy and I don't like to decorate my guns with tacticool gear so I have no need of a battle rail or the like. The most I put on it is a simple scope for varmints and such. I use my modern sporting rifle for just that: Targets and varmints.

So the questions are these:
Would it be capable of significantly improving the accuracy of my 16" AR Carbine?
Right now i have the standard handguard from DPMS. Would it goof with my current setup in a negative way?
Are there any drawbacks to replacing the standard with a free float tube?

I appreciate any help i can get here!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!

... Love THR... best gun forum on the net. :D

For you, and your uses, I wouldn't spend the money on a free floating handguard/rail. I think that money would be better spent on ammo, range time, and training. And more ammo.

Free floating doesn't necessarily actually increase accuracy, per se.

Here is a currently active topic I suggest reading through:

http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=130585

adelbridge
May 8, 2013, 02:21 PM
Would it goof with my current setup in a negative way?
you would have to change your barrel nut and probably take off your front sight post. You will most likely gain some weight unless you went with a carbon fiber tube. It isnt hard but you would need a torque wrench and a barrel nut wrench and some roll pin punches. If you are seriously chasing sub MOA you will want to replace your trigger and probably your barrel while you are wrenching. I am guessing your gun is around 2 moa. It could potentially be .75moa but easily cost you $700 to get there before you buy optics.

Warp
May 8, 2013, 02:23 PM
you would have to change your barrel nut and probably take off your front sight post. It isnt hard but you would need a torque wrench and a barrel nut wrench. If you are seriously chasing sub MOA you will want to replace your trigger and probably your barrel while you still have it off. I am guessing your gun is around 2 moa. I could potentially be .75moa but easily cost you $700 to get there before you buy optics.

There are some very nice free floating handguards that do not require any changes to the stock GI barrel nut, and do not require removing the FSP or the muzzle device, either.

Also, same link I suggested earlier, in case you missed it:

http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=130585

adelbridge
May 8, 2013, 03:28 PM
not trying to get in a wee wee match but there is a reason the top builders choose a true free float setup. As far as I am aware the delta ring free float only exists in the aftermarket.

Warp
May 8, 2013, 03:32 PM
not trying to get in a wee wee match but there is a reason the top builders choose a true free float setup. As far as I am aware the delta ring free float only exists in the aftermarket.

The main usefulness of free floating the barrel is to avoid/mitigate POI (point of impact) shifts from things that apply a force onto the handguard/rail. Hand pressure, sling pressure, bipods, shooting from cover/off barricades, etc.

We are talking about the aftermarket here, right? Doesn't he already have a rifle?

And I never said anything about using the delta ring. ;) There are very good free floating handguard/rail options that use the stock GI barrel nut and do not require removal of the FSB or the muzzle device. And that do not use the delta ring, either.

The Centurion C4 is but one such option. It's well worth checking out.

Ken70
May 8, 2013, 05:48 PM
OP, the Armalite float tube is the one I'd get. You'll need the tools to pull the FSB and the barrel nut. If you monitor the DCM shooting sites, hanging a float tube is the first thing they do. Moving the barrel .001" will move the POI quite a bit at 300 yards. I have a lathe, so I'm going to buy some DOM tubing and make it myself.

Warp
May 8, 2013, 06:11 PM
OP, the Armalite float tube is the one I'd get. You'll need the tools to pull the FSB and the barrel nut. If you monitor the DCM shooting sites, hanging a float tube is the first thing they do. Moving the barrel .001" will move the POI quite a bit at 300 yards. I have a lathe, so I'm going to buy some DOM tubing and make it myself.

Is there a reason you recommend a tube that requires removing the barrel nut and FSB?

Ken70
May 8, 2013, 06:15 PM
Is there a reason you recommend a tube that requires removing the barrel nut and FSB?
You must know of one that doesn't; care to disclose it?

lpsharp88
May 8, 2013, 06:26 PM
See post #7

Ken70
May 8, 2013, 06:52 PM
Centurion C4. $314 from BCM. I don't think so...The armalite is $135, plus $50 in tools. Which you can use on other projects.

I wanted something DCM legal, triangular hand guards and all. Not a cheese grater..

Warp
May 8, 2013, 07:02 PM
You must know of one that doesn't; care to disclose it?

There are many.

I already specified one of them in this thread.

Sometimes reading the thread before replying can be beneficial, and make you look smarter. ;)

The Centurion C4 is one such example. I mentioned it above. I mention it specifically because it gets great reviews, and because I have one I personally installed myself. It is very nice, it is free float, and you do not have to remove the muzzle device, barrel nut, or FSB. It is easier to install if you tap out two of the taper pins and slide the FSB forward about an inch to make cutting off the handguard cap easier.

Here is a link to them in stock at BCM:

http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/SearchResults.asp?searching=Y&sort=13&search=c4&show=100&page=1&cat=7

----------
ken, if you want to have an in depth discussion about what handguard you personally want for your rifle, and why, maybe you should start a thread about it?

---

yzguy87
May 8, 2013, 07:17 PM
Just out of curiosity what DPMS do you have? I have the AP4 and I have a Burris Fulfield 2 mounted on it and I shoot out to 200 yards. With Federal 223 55 gr fmj I shoot about 2-3" at 100 and about 4-6 at 200. I havent put any quality ammo through it yet but I have some federal fusion and gold medal match to see what it will do in its stock form with the scope.

Ken70
May 8, 2013, 07:54 PM
Warp,

I guess you didn't see lpsharp88's post about post #7, where I saw your mention of the C4. I actually googled it, found it at BCM for $314. Before your post...so sometimes READING the thread before replying can be beneficial, and make you look smarter....I don't need to discuss what I want, I already did. DCM legal, I'm a retro style kind of guy. Mall ninja cheese graters with a laser, flashlight, BUIS, vertical handgrip, and whatever else they hang on them. No thanks.

Warp
May 8, 2013, 08:09 PM
Warp,

I guess you didn't see lpsharp88's post about post #7, where I saw your mention of the C4. I actually googled it, found it at BCM for $314. Before your post...so sometimes READING the thread before replying can be beneficial, and make you look smarter....I don't need to discuss what I want, I already did. DCM legal, I'm a retro style kind of guy. Mall ninja cheese graters with a laser, flashlight, BUIS, vertical handgrip, and whatever else they hang on them. No thanks.

I guess you didn't click the link I provided.

Yes, there is one model of C4 rail that costs $314.

There is also one that costs $218.

And there are several in between.

But please, feel free to misrepresent what I have provided and then throw out baseless ad hominem attacks/personal insults. It really helps your image.

Ken70
May 8, 2013, 08:48 PM
I guess you didn't click the link I provided.

Yes, there is one model of C4 rail that costs $314.

There is also one that costs $218.

And there are several in between.

But please, feel free to misrepresent what I have provided and then throw out baseless ad hominem attacks/personal insults. It really helps your image.
You mean the one at M4 whatever? I did, it was 3 or 4 pages long, I wasn't that interested. I did see your doggie avatar tho...woof! Give it a rest, I just suggested the old school deal. You like the new stuff.

Robert
May 8, 2013, 09:10 PM
Let's get back on topic.

OP do you need a ff tube, only you can answer that. What groups are you getting? For the casual shooter a ff tube may not be the best thing. Honestly I'd get a good trigger first before a tube. Though a good trigger is not cheap. Then ammo and range time. If you start competing and find yourself rest the barrel on barricades a float tube will be a big help. If you are just punching paper or cans on the odd weekend not so much.

I run a Troy 15" Alpha tube on my AR. It covers my gas block and that makes it slick for going through ports and not having to worry about snagging the block.

4v50 Gary
May 8, 2013, 09:13 PM
How does a free float tube improve accuracy? Well, it basically removes the element of variable tension on the barrel. It doesn't take much to bend a barrel .001" and .001" will throw your bullet off. Put more pressure and the barrel can be bent .002" and your consistency is even worse; and so on and so forth. By free floating a barrel, you allow the barrel to shoot up to its potential.

Warp
May 8, 2013, 09:16 PM
Let's get back on topic.

OP do you need a ff tube, only you can answer that. What groups are you getting? For the casual shooter a ff tube may not be the best thing. Honestly I'd get a good trigger first before a tube. Though a good trigger is not cheap. Then ammo and range time. If you start competing and find yourself rest the barrel on barricades a float tube will be a big help. If you are just punching paper or cans on the odd weekend not so much.

I run a Troy 15" Alpha tube on my AR. It covers my gas block and that makes it slick for going through ports and not having to worry about snagging the block.

How does a free float tube improve accuracy? Well, it basically removes the element of variable tension on the barrel. It doesn't take much to bend a barrel .001" and .001" will throw your bullet off. Put more pressure and the barrel can be bent .002" and your consistency is even worse; and so on and so forth. By free floating a barrel, you allow the barrel to shoot up to its potential.

Exactly. And well said.

These things were just discussed yesterday/today in the thread I linked. Since some posters didn't feel like reading it, I'll just copy/paste my posts from that thread, as well as some other posters posts:



The trigger won't increase the inherent/mechanical accuracy of the rifle. It will make your job of pressing the trigger without disrupting the rifle/barrel easier, which can and usually does increase your real world actual practical accuracy.

Free floating the barrel doesn't necessarily really increase accuracy either, so much as it reduces or negates the effects of some forces. For example, hand pressure, sling pressure, bipod pressure, heat, bracing on a barricade, etc, etc, are more likely to shift your point of impact (POI) if your handguard/rail is not free floated.

Which one first depends on your intended usage for the rifle and your personal preferences, I think. Will you be mounting anything to it that is easier with a rail? Will you maybe end up spending more money in the long run by, for example, buying an MOE handguard + a mount-n-slot light mount, which you then have to replace with a different mount when you get around to changing the handguard?

So I'd think of it that way. What other changes and expenses will be associated with the rail. Because the trigger/FCG is just a stand alone drop in, usually, and nothing else is affected. Handguards/rails, however, will affect other things.

I put a Geissele SSA into my (first/only at the time) AR awhile before I got a free floating handguard.

Now that I am planning changes to my second rifle I think I'll go with the handguard before the trigger, so that I can do all the 'other stuff' without having to think about "will this light mount work when I change rails?" or "will this VFG work when I change rails?".

This.
From a practical perspective, the HG will be of more immediate performance improvement if you use the gun for things other than just group-shooting.
If you are more worried about group-shooting, the priority would go toward the trigger, though the base system you are discussing is not really built for that.

Correct.
Real application of a rifle involves barricades, support, and positions other than the standing. In recent years the focus has been on close-range application of the carbine, and while that is an essential skill, it is not the be-all end-all of carbine skills. Practical performance with the carbine from 50 to 300 meters (it's true strength over other options) benefits when pressure on the handguard in different positions/support does not effect POI.

A "nicer" trigger can permit the shooter to more precisely release the shot, but that doesn't mean a whole lot if handguard pressure variations that the shooter isn't aware of is sending the shot to the wrong place. If a shooter can manage a stock Glock trigger adequately to consistently place shots within the "9" ring of a B8 target at 25 yards then they have sufficient trigger control to hit torso sized targets at distances 20x further with a carbine with a stock trigger.

As far as the rifle itself goes; it's built to be a practical carbine. I'm sure it can get in the 1-2 MOA area if fed match ammo, but a precision gun it is not. If your focus is on a high degree of precision there are better ways to get there. Precision-focused tasks generally eschew close-range benefits to squeeze the most out of the system. If the goal is utmost precision the path is generally to remove the human-induced variables and inconsistencies as much as possible. Part of this is the trigger, as is the handguard/barrel. I'm not intending to imply that precision does not benefit from removing handguard-pressure sensitivity (and freedom of barrel oscillation) but rather that in the arena of practical shooting it makes more of an immediately noticeable benefit than a trigger upgrade will.

Further, getting a handguard that provides more available space for accessory mounting and hand placement will benefit the shooter more than a trigger upgrade (unless the trigger is completely unserviceable to start with). There are several options available for numerous sources.

A good trigger is nice, don't get me wrong, but they make the biggest difference to the precision-oriented or specialized-application user. A good free-floating handguard is a benefit to every user.

Trigger. YOU drive the gun and determine when it shoots. A ****ty trigger will hold you back.

A standard "A1" trigger trumps a 3-round burst group. Neither is even in the same league as a Geissele.

The HUGE majority of rifle and carbine owners will NEVER be able to exploit the difference between a standard and floating barrel.

Spend the money you'd spend on a rail on ammo.

Corpral_Agarn
May 9, 2013, 01:56 PM
Thanks for all the replies everyone.
This is quite a bit more involved than I figured it would be...

I would be using fence posts and other items to rest the rifle on when taking long shots, so I am thinking that a FF tube may actually be helpful.
The Rifle is still a Carbine so I don't really expect amazing accuracy, i just figured that a free float might help a bit.

... I don't know what kind of groups I am getting yet as i haven't benched it yet. for the most part, i find it hits pretty nicely at 100-150 yrds with the open sights.
Also, i wanted to keep the front site blade if at all possible. I like having the option for irons and it would mean less changes for me.
If I have to buy tools and remove my front sight then it sounds like more work than it is worth. I am no smith, just a guy who enjoys shooting.

Warp: I don't think I am gonna buy that fancy pants $314 dollar tube or the $218. I was thinking more along the lines of this $89 job (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/167756/dpms-free-float-tube-handguard-ar-15-vented-aluminum-black).
Also, comments like "Sometimes reading the thread before replying can be beneficial, and make you look smarter" are not really helpful and seem to be intentionally condescending. Please don't do that.

Rob: thanks for trigger suggestion. That might be something for me to look into.

yzguy87: I am sorry i don't know the model but i built the lower on a S&W receiver and bought the complete upper from DPMS. The upper receiver has a rail on it but the barrel still has the front sight. I kinda like that.

4v50 Gary: Thanks for the explanation!

New Question: would i need special tools for this kinda tube? http://www.midwayusa.com/product/167756/dpms-free-float-tube-handguard-ar-15-vented-aluminum-black
And is there anything wrong with it that i am not seeing? I am not a fan of the "battle rail" types as I don't have anything to decorate it with.

Thanks everyone!

Warp
May 9, 2013, 02:14 PM
Most rails allow you to keep the front sight post on the rifle.

Many rails require that you temporarily remove the front sight post and the muzzle device in order to install them. I believe you will need tools, and the removal/re-installation of the FSB and muzzle device to install what you linked. Also make sure you get the correct length. For this type of rail it will need to match the gas system you have on your rifle, which is probably a carbine length system that will use a 7" rail.

cfullgraf
May 9, 2013, 02:22 PM
New Question: would i need special tools for this kinda tube? http://www.midwayusa.com/product/167756/dpms-free-float-tube-handguard-ar-15-vented-aluminum-black



A standard AR multi tool will install the DPMS hand guard. You will probably need other tools depending on how extensive your tool kit is to remove the front sigh and muzzle device on you existing set up. You will also probably need a barrel vice to remove the muzzle device.

The DPMS hand guards are nice as long as you do not want any thing attached to them that needs to maintain its indexing like a sling stud for use with a bipod. Newer hand guards are easier in that respect. I like the Midwest Alpha hand guards. While they come with a rail kit, the rails do not have to be installed.

Corpral_Agarn
May 9, 2013, 02:32 PM
Most rails allow you to keep the front sight post on the rifle.

Many rails require that you temporarily remove the front sight post and the muzzle device in order to install them. I believe you will need tools, and the removal/re-installation of the FSB and muzzle device to install what you linked. Also make sure you get the correct length. For this type of rail it will need to match the gas system you have on your rifle, which is probably a carbine length system that will use a 7" rail.

That's what I needed, thanks, Warp!
I guess I am feeling a little silly for not realizing that the front sight post would be too tall to fit the tube over... Doh!:banghead:
A good dose of humility is good for the soul sometimes.:)
I always have been a "learn by doing" kinda guy anyway... :rolleyes: I would have figured out... probably...

Okay, so now I guess I will need tools no matter what I try to change the hand-guard to... or find a guy who will do it for me.

That leads me to the next question:
Lets say I get these tools to take off the front sight. Would that mean that i would need to re-adjust something to get the upper to work properly again after I put it back on?

cfullgraf: Just saw your post. Very helpful, thank you. Will take a look at the Midwest Alpha guards but am trying to do this on low budget... (more money for ammo?)

Warp
May 9, 2013, 02:42 PM
That's what I needed, thanks, Warp!
I guess I am feeling a little silly for not realizing that the front sight post would be too tall to fit the tube over... Doh!:banghead:
A good dose of humility is good for the soul sometimes.:)
I always have been a "learn by doing" kinda guy anyway... :rolleyes: I would have figured out... probably...

Okay, so now I guess I will need tools no matter what I try to change the hand-guard to... or find a guy who will do it for me.

That leads me to the next question:
Lets say I get these tools to take off the front sight. Would that mean that i would need to re-adjust something to get the upper to work properly again after I put it back on?

cfullgraf: Just saw your post. Very helpful, thank you. Will take a look at the Midwest Alpha guards but am trying to do this on low budget... (more money for ammo?)

You don't need many tools no matter what. As I've mentioned, there are rails that you can install on the stock barrel nut without removal of the FSB or the muzzle device. Even with those, though, you will want a roll punch to drive out taper pins on the bottom of the FSB, and a dremel would be nice. (I dont know if the DPMS you linked uses the stock barrel nut). You can probably get a very inexpensive nail driver from a hardware/big box store to drive the pins out. (like, for a few bucks)

The ones that don't require actual FSB removal, or muzzle device removal, are two-piece. Top and bottom halves that bolt together over the barrel. Very nifty.

The Centurion C4 I linked is one example that works like that. ;)

But removing the FSB/barrel nut/muzzle device isn't difficult for somebody with the tools, especially if they've done it before.

No you wouldn't have to adjust anything, really. It's fairly straightforward. The AR rifles are pretty easy to work on.

Outlaw Man
May 9, 2013, 03:27 PM
OP do you need a ff tube, only you can answer that. What groups are you getting? For the casual shooter a ff tube may not be the best thing. Honestly I'd get a good trigger first before a tube.

I agree. I've nearly completely rebuilt my 16" DPMS into more of a precision rifle. The only thing I lack is a new barrel. That's why I would steer you toward the trigger. With a stock barrel, I didn't notice a difference in accuracy after the free-float tube installation. Then again, I don't hang a bunch of accessories off the handguard or anything. The Geissele trigger made a much bigger difference.

I'm not saying don't replace the handguard. I'm just suggesting you direct your efforts elsewhere, first.

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