What's the cheapest way into a lighter AR barrel?


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benEzra
October 21, 2013, 11:49 PM
I shoot a Rock River AR with a 16" barrel (it originally came as an "Elite CAR A4", and I sprung for chrome lining and a 5.56mm chamber). It's accurate, but quite nose-heavy, even without a light on it; I'm not sure if it'd be considered an HBAR or just "medium weight", but it is quite a bit heavier than it needs to be for my purposes (HD, recreational plinking out to 200 yards, and local USPSA carbine matches).

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=129320&stc=1&d=1287541080

Since this isn't a bench gun, I'd really like to put it on a diet. What would be involved in buying something like this:

http://www.del-ton.com/AR_15_16_Mid_Length_LW_Barrel_p/bl1088.htm

and having it fitted to my current upper receiver, and what's the going rate for assembly? (Or is that something that can be done with an inexpensive tool?) Does anyone have experience (good or bad) with Del-Ton chrome lined barrels? I know it's 1:9, but I am OK being limited to shooting 69gr and under since my current barrel is also 1:9.

Of course, I'd prefer a BCM (http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-BFH-16-Mid-Length-LW-Barrel-Stripped-p/bcm-brl-s-mid-16lw%20bfh.htm)or Daniel Defense 1:7 barrel, but the Del-Ton is $154 and the only lightweight BCM 16" middy I see is $309 (ouch) and is out of stock to boot. Are there any other good options cheaper than the BCM/DD that I'm missing?

Advice is much appreciated!

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MrWesson
October 22, 2013, 12:28 AM
I had my Lothar walther 16" barrel reprofiled locally.

Was only around $70 and took off about a pound(midweight contour to lightweight).

The before and after bench shooting results were pretty much identical(it can outshoot me) 5 shot groupings were under 1moa @ 100yds.

Jackal
October 22, 2013, 12:53 AM
While I'm unsure about cheapest, this is an option I can vouch for: http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/upper-parts/barrels/psa-16-cmv-5-56-nato-mid-length-pencil-profile-chrome-lined-mp-premium-barrel.html

This barrel is a 5 shot 1 MOA (or less) shooter in my experience. Never let a person tell you than a light barrel is "less accurate" than a heavy barrel. Quality is everything.:cool:

henschman
October 22, 2013, 01:00 AM
Barrels are easy to switch out. All you need is a $20 AR armorer's tool and a vise.

ugaarguy
October 22, 2013, 01:05 AM
What's the profile under the hand guards? Adco will turn down the bbl either in front of or behind the gas block, and refinish the bbl for $60. Or they'll turn it down in front and behind, and refinish the whole thing for $110. That's a good base point for comparison, and you can probably find a local smith or machinist to do the same work.

After you take off the hand guards, getting the bbl off requires drifting the roll pin out of the FSB so you can very carefully remove the gas tube. Once the gas tube is out of the way you unscrew the bbl nut (it stays on the bbl) and take the bbl off the receiver. Of course remove the BCG and CH first. You'll need an AR15 bbl wrench, and a set of AR15 upper receiver vice blocks to do it.

adelbridge
October 22, 2013, 01:54 AM
[Barrels are easy to switch out. All you need is a $20 AR armorer's tool and a vise.
add a torque wrench and some pin punches.
Changing a barrel is simple on an ar, YouTube has all the videos.
Ditch the flash hider to shave a few ounces and inches. Put on a low profile gas block and a carbon fiber free float tube. You can sell your old barrel to recoup some of your outlay.

Coal Dragger
October 22, 2013, 02:44 AM
If it were me I would spend the extra $$$ on a Daniel Defense barrel as the one I have is an excellent shooter (18" S2W) and hold consistent 5 shot groups .5-.75" at 100 yards even with my dumb ass running the trigger.

If your use is mostly recreational I would also ditch the A2 flash hider and get some sort of compensator. I put a Dreadnaught F2 on mine that is ridiculously loud but is also effective enough that I can spot my own hits at 15X in the scope on a p-dog town. Makes me laugh every time I shoot the thing.

taliv
October 22, 2013, 08:51 AM
the ADCO work is generally well regarded and probably the best idea. PSA used to sell a very lightweight barrel pretty cheap. iirc, it had some relation to FN. if you do decide to go with the out of stock BCM lightweight, i have one of their .625 16" middy barrels with a .625 gas block i could part with. I got it a year ago for a build that got back-burnered. I prob won't get around to finishing it until after christmas, so i could replace it when they come back in stock.

benEzra
October 22, 2013, 01:13 PM
While I'm unsure about cheapest, this is an option I can vouch for: http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/upper-parts/barrels/psa-16-cmv-5-56-nato-mid-length-pencil-profile-chrome-lined-mp-premium-barrel.html

Jackal, that looks like a nice unit...what do they normally sell for when they're in stock? (Page isn't showing a price, unfortunately.)

What's the profile under the hand guards?
I don't have it in front of me and it's been a while since I had the handguards off, but as I recall it was slightly larger than the gas-block diameter from the breech end to just shy of the gas block, then steps down to gas block diameter and maintains approximately that diameter to where the muzzle threads start. Very stiff but the rifle feels like it has a brick hanging off the FSB.

I believe the barrel the rifle came with is a Wilson...near as I can tell, it looks like this one, but parkerized and chrome lined rather than stainless, and of course mine is a middy:

http://shopwilsoncombat.com/Wilson-Combat-Match-Grade-Barrel-556-NATO-Recon-Tactical-16-1-8-Twist-Stainless/productinfo/TR-556RC16-18/

http://shopwilsoncombat.com/images/TR-556RC16-18-001.jpg

Adco will turn down the bbl either in front of or behind the gas block, and refinish the bbl for $60. Or they'll turn it down in front and behind, and refinish the whole thing for $110. That's a good base point for comparison, and you can probably find a local smith or machinist to do the same work.
the ADCO work is generally well regarded and probably the best idea. PSA used to sell a very lightweight barrel pretty cheap. iirc, it had some relation to FN. if you do decide to go with the out of stock BCM lightweight, i have one of their .625 16" middy barrels with a .625 gas block i could part with. I got it a year ago for a build that got back-burnered. I prob won't get around to finishing it until after christmas, so i could replace it when they come back in stock.
ugaarguy and taliv, having someone who knows what they're doing turn it down is an idea I hadn't thought of. How does the finished product compare to a quality new-manufacture barrel? Does the turning process negatively affect the heat treating or anything of that sort, and would I be better off (in your opinion) to do that rather than getting the Del-Ton barrel in the OP?

If your use is mostly recreational I would also ditch the A2 flash hider and get some sort of compensator. I put a Dreadnaught F2 on mine that is ridiculously loud but is also effective enough that I can spot my own hits at 15X in the scope on a p-dog town. Makes me laugh every time I shoot the thing.
That'd be a good idea, but this is also my HD carbine and I don't think I'd want a comp in that role, just in case. Yeah, comps can get your attention! I think the loudest gun I've ever shot next to at the range was a 14.5" AR with a huge brake...you could feel it shaking your insides when he fired it.

One other question...I'm assuming this would be a good time to add a free-float tube if I'm ever going to do so...what are some inexpensive but decent options that I can run with my existing FSB?

MtnCreek
October 22, 2013, 01:55 PM
.....good time to add a free-float tube if I'm ever going to do so...what are some inexpensive but decent options that I can run with my existing FSB?

Not sure about working w/ a front sight, but check out the 9" MI Gen 2 ss. I built a LW 16" carbine using the 12" model (gas block, no front sight). It's very light and sleek.

sixgunner455
October 22, 2013, 01:56 PM
I have a Del-Ton lightweight barrel. It is plenty good enough for the purposes you mentioned.

Welding Rod
October 22, 2013, 04:16 PM
I had Adco turn down a 20" RRA HBAR and was happy with everything about dealing with Adco.

Even though the barrel is still accurate, in its new lighter profile it can not come close to competing with a HBAR for holding POI in a non-floated configuration when a sling is sometimes used in various shooting positions.

If I wanted to hold POI to a 2 or 3 MOA through various shooting positions and with or without sling use I would not use a light profile barrel that isn't floated. Of course when you float the skinny barrel you are giving up some of the lightness you achieved going to the light barrel in the first place.

I still like non-floated (plastic handguards) light barrels for shooting without a sling.

gondorian
October 22, 2013, 08:06 PM
I have that barrel on my rifle with the chrome lining and my best shooting has been with 69 gr match ammo. After getting the dope down right I was able to hit a roughly 12" by 12" rock out to 800m. I haven't ever grouped it seriously at 100 yrds so I can't tell you how well it would do from a bench. It shoots well if you give it good ammo. Overall I'm very satisfied with how it handles for an AR. Honestly I would consider getting something even lighter for balance. Maybe go with a free float carbon fiber forend with a low profile gas block.

Walkalong
October 22, 2013, 08:52 PM
This "lighter profile (http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/upper-parts/barrels/16-5-56-nato-1-7-chrome-lined-chrome-moly-vanadium-hpt-mp-mid-length-gas-light-profile-barrel.html)" barrel from PSA (FN barrel) balances perfectly IMHO. The A2 is slightly front heavy compared to it. The "pencil" or lightweight" barrels are quite a bit lighter, balance OK, and are definitely not front heavy. An AR barrel is pretty easy to change. You need to be sure the "ramps" match up well between the barrel extension and upper if using M4 ramps.

Zerodefect
October 23, 2013, 09:48 PM
IME hammer forged barrels can be a bit lighter as well. But more $$$.

ugaarguy
October 23, 2013, 11:54 PM
BenEzra, it sounds like you have a heavy profile bbl. The weight difference between a mid length HBAR and a mid length LW is 10.72 oz. A traditional govt profile will be somewhere in between, but leaning toward the lighter in between because of the length of bbl under the handguard compared to a 16" carbine.

As for handguards the MI Gen2 2 piece FF (http://www.midwestindustriesinc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=422) weighs 11.3 oz + 2.3 oz for the stock bbl nut and handguard cap that are left on after you remove the delta ring and weld spring to install it. An MOE handguard or GI style double heat shield handguard weighs 11.5 to 11.6 oz including all the mounting hardware. So, you can put on a base model semi-drop in quad rail system and only 2 oz. Or, since you'll be removing the bbl (or having it removed) anyway, you could go to something like a MI Gen2 SS Series (http://www.midwestindustriesinc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=450) one piece tube with modular rail sections. That setup eliminates the handguard cap, delta ring, and weld spring; and it comes with its own lighter weight bbl nut. That guy weighs 8.3 oz total with the bbl nut, so you're actually cutting 3.3 oz off the overall weight.

adelbridge
October 24, 2013, 01:00 AM
Turning down a barrel already stress relieved would make me nervous. You can buy a new barrel for about the same cost as gun smithing.

B!ngo
October 24, 2013, 01:08 AM
If it were me I would spend the extra $$$ on a Daniel Defense barrel as the one I have is an excellent shooter (18" S2W) and hold consistent 5 shot groups .5-.75" at 100 yards even with my dumb ass running the trigger.

If your use is mostly recreational I would also ditch the A2 flash hider and get some sort of compensator. I put a Dreadnaught F2 on mine that is ridiculously loud but is also effective enough that I can spot my own hits at 15X in the scope on a p-dog town. Makes me laugh every time I shoot the thing.
Yes. To save nose-heavy weight from my second Stag 3GL (impressive gun btw), I swapped out the 18" barrel for a DD 14.5" one with an appropriately sized but light in weight brake. Quite a difference in carrying, balance and rate of sweeping. And since I generally don't have a chance to shoot more than 200 yards, it's not a material difference.
B

ugaarguy
October 24, 2013, 09:08 PM
You can buy a new barrel for about the same cost as gun smithing.
Where are these $60-$110 AR barrels?

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