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A2 20” chrome or not opinion

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JCSC, Mar 31, 2020.

  1. JCSC

    JCSC Member

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    I would like some input on a 20” A2 clone I am building.

    I have read up on the chrome barrel vs non chrome. It seems chrome can be less accurate, but certainly more corrosion resistant.

    Is it worth messing with for a build that will not see a ton of range time, but on the flip side, my plan with the build was to have a AR platform gun that was basic and bulletproof. No worries about optics damaged, red dot batteries dying. Basically run it over with the car and still pick it up and fire.

    just curious on opinions.
     
  2. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

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    Modern hard chrome is pretty good. I’ve got a couple of ARs with chromed barrels that will shoot just over 1MOA with decent ammo.

    BSW
     
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  3. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    If you are trying for a "correct" A2 clone, this won't be pertinent, but, for a budget-friendly, accurate, durable barrel, I would recommend a Faxon nitride barrel. I built a DMR with one, fit and finish were great, and accuracy was much better than I was expecting. All for under $200.
     
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  4. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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    If you want to get it as correct as possible, then chrome lined is the way to go. If being absolutely correct to the original is not of absolute importance, then I'd look at melonited/nitrided barrels. You get similar (though not QUITE the same) projected round count and corrosion resistance with a slightly better accuracy potential for likely lower cost. They aren't inherently more accurate, but it is easier to produce an accurate melonited/nitrided barrel than a chrome lined one.

    Personally, I'd look at Ballistic Advantage if you go the nitride/melonite route.

    https://www.ballisticadvantage.com/20-inch-556-gov-rifle-cmv-modern-barrel.html
     
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  5. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    Check out the ballistic advantage barrels. They actually guarantee moa or better with good ammo. I just ordered a 10.5 inch for under $100. This will be my first from them so can’t say how good it is, but according to reviews they are good barrels. I ordered mine from MAS defense on Saturday and just got the notice that it shipped. Mine took longer because I asked them to put the barrel on the upper. Quarantine means I can’t get to my fixtures.

    I wouldn’t worry about chrome vs non chrome. I’ve had examples of each that we’re both stellar and not fit to be used as paperweights. Just get a good barrel.
     
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  6. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Since you can't really see the chrome over-flash at the muzzle due to the hider and you have to look exceptionally hard to see it at the breech - I wouldn't worry any more about your *clone* not being chrome-lined than I would about it not being select-fire.

    Since the application of chrome is so well done anymore, the average and even above average shooter won't see a difference in returned accuracy and most especially if not firing premium ammunition as well.

    Strong arguments can be made (whether proven or not) for less accuracy when all factors are at the premium end of the scale but then again, if it's to be a *clone*, do you care to significantly outshoot an already quite accurate weapon as the M-16A2?

    When the A2 came along and the M855/SS109 became standard - we also received Hensoldt scopes and I was truly amazed at how accurate every single one of our M16A2s were on our Team. We only had 8-9 guys on the Team - instead of 12 - at the time and shot each rifle to pick the best for deployment and saw no discernible difference between them. All outstanding in accuracy with GI chrome bores and GI ammo.

    Todd.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
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  7. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    Don't over think it. Chrome lining might cost you 1/4 MOA or so. (My chrome lined 14.5 & 11.5 inch Colt barrels are 1.25 MOA or less with good ammo. Less than 2.5 with bulk blaster ammo.) Not worth sweating over for your intended use. Considering quality, durability and cost of modern barrels, just get the one you like. If you're not going to use match ammo, there's no reason to get a match barrel.
     
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  8. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Chrome was the answer to a problem that doesn't exist for civilians in the US. Besides which there are much better treatments available now.
     
  9. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I know that Henderson Defense in Las Vegas has posted a lengthy thread on another forum about AR rifles with over 100,000 rounds. For those that do not know, Henderson Defense runs a rental range that you can rent full auto firearms at. Needless to say, Nitride coated barrels have as well as chrome lined barrels with daily full auto use. Another surprise was that some less expensive uppers have done as well if not better than more expensive uppers.

    I won't cross post the link to the site without the mods' permission. Needless to say the 37 pages are worth reading.

    And yes chrome was needed for military rifles back in the day due to two main factors - crappy powder used and the equally crappy environment that the rifles were used in.
     
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  10. JCSC

    JCSC Member

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    Thank you all for the input and recommendations. I was not aware that some of the other methods hold up as well as chrome.

    good to know for sure.
     
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  11. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    No barrel coating or finish will hold up any better than another to being ran over by a vehicle.

    If you’re cloning, clone. If you just want a tough rifle, don’t bother cloning.
     
  12. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    If you want corrosion resistance or arguably longer life, get nitride or chrome. Otherwise, just get whatever fits your needs.
     
  13. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    This video has some good information about the pros and cons of bore treatments from a reliable source:

     
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  14. mustbe

    mustbe Member

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    If you are cloning check with Shark Arms. Chris has a revolving inventory of new mil surplus. I've purchased complete Colt barrels in the past for less than commercial prices. I think he has complete FN A2 upper assemblies in stock right now.

    If you just want quality that looks like the real deal, Windham Weaponry is the answer.

    IMHO, nirided barrels can range from excellent to miserable. Chrome lining is an expensive and difficult process compared to nitriding. Manufacturers are less likely to Chrome a crappy barrel. Also, if the barrel is nitrided with the barrel extension installed it can loosen due to the heat involved in the process. The quality of the barrel is much more important than the surface finish.

    Since you plan to actually use the irons, having the FSB pinned straight is important. I've received some fairly canted sights on value barrels. Also, make sure to get an A2 FSB as opposed to a "F" marked.

    The barrel extension is another consideration. Although you can get by with a M4 barrel extension it's not ideal when using an A2 upper.

    Handguards seem straight forward but they come in two flavors, injection molded and thermo plastic. Colts from brownells or Windhams are thermo and very solid. Injected are thin and squishy, often leaving gaps that will pinch when you squeeze them.

    A2s seem simple at first glance, but the devil is in the details. They have not been produced in any great numbers for some time. The majority of current manufacturers did not exist during the A2 hey day. Flat top, free float, lo pro gas block guns have turned armorers into gun plumbers. (No offense to plumbers)

    Good luck with the project. Everyone should have a proper "rifleman's" AR in the safe.
     
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  15. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    I've read that the Army's "designated marksman" rifles are built with 20-inch stainless steel barrels. This might be worth considering if you want accuracy and corrosion resistance.
     
  16. mustbe

    mustbe Member

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    The SS barrels are the most accurate but are specialized for DMR or competition due to them being the least wear resistant. Our national match barrels are replaced at give or take 3500 rds. Barrels are a consumable so very dependent on a individuals use. A Navy seal just drops his rifle off with the unit armorer for a fresh barrel. National match competitors have the expense figured into the budget.

    If one goes SS, you need to make sure the barrel shoulder is cut back far enough to accommodate the hand guard cap. If it is not, the gas port will be about 0.020" too far back. Most match barrels are intended for CMP type free float tubes.
     
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  17. BigBL87

    BigBL87 Member

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  18. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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  19. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    Just my opinion but I consider a chrome lined AR15 to be a notch above the other options. It is the hardest, most corrosion resistant option, and that can't hurt
    Right now I am building a chrome lined 20" lightweight upper on a billet upper receiver. I sourced the parts from Del-Ton. Chrome lined barrel, chrome BCG.
    The only way to upgrade is to get the Colt or FN cold hammer forged chrome lined barrel. I do not intend to shoot anything over 69 grains through mine so it will be 1/9 twist. I wish at the beginning we would have just gone 1/8 twist and that whole subject would just have not been an issue.
     
  20. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    A chrome lined barrel can be accurate. How accurate are you expecting the rifle to shoot with irons?

    Here is a Colt 6920 with over 10k rounds down the barrel.

    49605661618_46fdbe03ba_o.jpg 20200301_140051 by chase ditwiler, on Flickr

    Here is a new fairly inexpensive nitrided Ballistic Advantage barrel.

    49606421267_288be40bda_o.jpg 20200301_135936 by chase ditwiler, on Flickr
     
  21. mustbe

    mustbe Member

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    Not to hijack, but what App are you using for measuring? That looks handy.
     
  22. js8588

    js8588 Member

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    If you're going for Clone Correct, chrome all day.

    Otherwise, get a good stainless nitrided/melonited/whatever term de jure you care to call it.

    BA/Faxon/Aero would all work, but I'd personally go with Criterion here https://criterionbarrels.com/products/ar-15/ar-15-hybrid-barrel-rifle-gas-nitride/

    Why Nitride vs Chrome? It protects the outside of the barrel against corrosion better than a chrome lined barrel's phosphate finish while being practically as wear resistant as a chromed bore.
     
  23. 303 hunter

    303 hunter Member

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    Another Ballistic Advantage fan. I’ve got their government profile barrels in 5.56 and 308, and both are very accurate. They’re also very fairly priced.
     
  24. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    It's called Range Buddy. It's easy to use once you figure it out but is not very intuitive and the user manual isn't that helpful.
     
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