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AR question

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by phorvick, May 16, 2006.

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  1. phorvick

    phorvick Member

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    I am totally new to the AR world...hope to get my first one "soon". There seem to be an infiniate variety of possible configurations, but I have narrowed some choices down and now have a question about barrels.

    Some manuf. have models with whatever is their regular barrel and then they have some with the "heavy barrel".

    What plusses/minuses exist in the difference? Is it more then weight distribution? Is there a reliability or longevity component here in this choice? Heat issues? Acuracy potential?

    Any reason to NOT consider Armalite, Bushmaster or DPMS ?
     
  2. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    Well, there are a number of barrel profiles.


    1] Standard profile.

    (aka "pencil", "superlight")

    This is a .625 diameter barrel, it was what the M16 originally had. It is light, does the job. Today, you can get this type of barrel from either Colt or Bushmaster (actually a little thinner), and a couple of other places in 16" length.

    2] M16A2

    (aka "government")

    This is the 20" barrel profile of the M16A2. It is rare as the commerical market doesn't make many of these. These are thin under the handguards, then .750 from the FSB on out.

    3] M4

    These are 16" barrels (assuming commerically made), thin under the handguards, then .750 outside the handguards. Has a cut out for grenade launcher attachment.

    4] HBARs

    These come in many different lengths. They are all .750 from the front sight base to muzzle, but they vary in thickness under the handguards. 99.9% of them are much thicker than .750 under the handguards, which makes the barrel heavy and the rifle muzzle heavy. These are purely a commerical concoction that exist solely to save manufacturers the cost of having to turn down a barrel to a smaller diameter. Less lathe time, less tooling, less waste. They are so popular, that most people have considered these to be the "norm"..and thus why other barrels listed above have nicknames like "pencil" or "superlight".

    5] Bull barrels.

    These are usually your 1" thick diameter barrels that people use on precision rifles. They want the thickness for stiffness. Often, these are scoped rifles with bipods meant for bench shooting or precision work.




    There are a few commerical hybrids, and a couple military variations I didn't mention, but those are the main ones.


    My recommendation. Go with the standard "pencil" barrel. There's absolutely no need whatsoever for the extra weight of a stupid HBAR barrel. You will hear every single justification for HBAR's, like:

    1] They are more accurate. - this is false.
    2] They resist heat better - this is false.
    3] They balance better - this is opinion, and I'd say a really poor one.
    4] HBAR's are ok, after all, you're a wimp if you complain about their weight.
    5] Be a man, and carry the extra 1lb.
    6] Makes the AR "feel like a real rifle"


    Hbars are not more accurate, they take longer to heat, but they also take longer to cool - their resistance is the same, about the only thing they are good for is absorbing more recoil, but on a .223....yeah, exactly.

    Most people need to justify the HBARs because they already bought one. I owned one and sold it. Once you go standard, you won't go back. Save yourself the trial and error, and go with the winner from the start. The standard barrel will do absolutely anything the Hbar will do, and do it with less weight. There's a reason Stoner invented the rifle with a .625 barrel.....


    HTH
     
  3. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    Basically agree with the prior post, but want to point out that the weight difference between the A1 profile ("pencil") and real A2/M4 (skinny under the HG, heavy forward of that) is not all that great. I would avoid HBAR profiles of any length like the plague, though.

    I'd also avoid 14.5" M4 profiles with a permanently attached brake. The brakes generate really significant muzzle blast and since the performance of the 5.56 bullet depends on velocity you are usually better off keeping the full 16" of barrel rather than having the last 1.5" as brake.
     
  4. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    Whatever you get, spend the extra $30 on chrome.
     
  5. Don't Tread On Me

    Don't Tread On Me Member

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    Oh yes. 1000% agreed. GET CHROME LINED.


    *Note, some manufacturers like to say "chrome moly" in order to sucker people into thinking it is Chrome lined. They are NOT.


    Must say Chrome lined chamber/bore.


    Bushmaster/Colt is an excellent start.
     
  6. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Member

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    heavy barrel / HBAR is a code word for:
    Spent less time on the lathe, but has the same price

    HBARs are needed in FA M-16s to combat destructive barrel heat

    get a Bushmaster

    i like A2s cause you can't loose the sights

    some folkes like the flattops for scoped DMR duty
     
  7. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    Chrome - yes yes yes.

    Upper - I have A1, A2 and flattop. I actually prefer A1 with a forward mount for a 1x optic like an Aimpoint. The A1 sight is basically foolproof (but you want the square A2 front sight post). YMMV on that, though.
     
  8. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    +1 heavy barrel not required.

    A good start for a new AR-15 shooter is a 16" Mid-length from someone like Rock River, Stag Arms, etc.


    I disagree on chrome. It is not required.

    -z
     
  9. Dacoda

    Dacoda Member

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    I'll be posting some info that I learned today... everyone probably already knows this, but there may be a few lost souls like myself (until today). it'll be in the Colt AR-15 thread.
     
  10. Schleprok62

    Schleprok62 Member

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    I'm no expert, and these guys definitely know their stuff... However.... the chrome lining isn't "necessary" :scrutiny: and I have read that the chromemoly barrels, if taken care of, will work just as well as the chrome lined. I recently bought my first AR, and I love it... it's a great little weapon.

    I personally went with the Olympic Arms Plinker Plus model with the 16" barrel. I can't say it's the best one out there, but it is the best bang for the buck!! :neener:

    for about $600... you're in...
     
  11. Freddymac

    Freddymac Member

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    Chrome lined.

    I might be mistaken on this, but the chrome lining was origionaly used to battle the corrosive military primers of the Nam era.
     
  12. amusthj

    amusthj Member

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  13. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Member

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    ar15s are not typically deployed in the same manner as bolt action paper punches
     
  14. blackhawk2000

    blackhawk2000 member

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    Get a 16" mid length, flat top, pencil barrel. Very good starter AR.


    ETA: go chrome or go home.
     
  15. amusthj

    amusthj Member

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    Doin' the math

    Barrel diameter is a mathematical function of barrel stiffness, and it cannot be denied that a stiffer barrel will shoot more accurately than a limp barrel, all other factors being equal. The Hbar's larger diameter offers an accuracy advantage over the standard or M4 diameter barrel style.

    Consider a 16" fluted Hbar as it is a great combination between an accurate heavy barrel and a light "pencil" barrel.

    Check out Bushmaster's barrel weight chart here;

    http://www.bushmaster.com/faqnew/content_by_cat.asp?contentid=205&catid=103
     
  16. Lebben-B

    Lebben-B Member

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    What's the point of sending an infantryman to Ft S
    Chrome-lining a barrel makes clean up a little easier and adds logevity to the barrel. Unlined barrels are more accurate, but only about 1/8th of an MOA or so. The vast majority of shooters won't notice it or miss it. The advantages of chrome lining a barrel outweigh the disadvantages, IMO. If your budget allows, go for the chrome lining.

    As to barrel profile, it depends on what you want the rifle to do. Most M16A2-style ARs come with a 20" "government profile" barrel. Most M4-style ARs come with a 16" barrel that has a notch cut into it for the addition of a grenade launcher. A heavier barrel has more rigidity and is therefore "more accurate," although accuracy is more a function of the shooter than the rifle. Balance is affected somewhat because of the added weight of barrel, but that also depends on the type of stock on the AR to counter balance it. (M4 w/collapsible stock and shorter buffer tube weighs less than an M16A2 stock/buffer.)

    All three companies you mentioned make a good product and stand behind their warranties fully. Another quality company I should mention is Rock River Arms. They, too, offer a wide variety of AR rifles and carbines.

    Mike
     
  17. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I used to wonder why the owners got so torqued up over AR's. I'm not a military rifle guy. Bolt actions, good glass, accurate shooting for me. The idea of an overpriced military semi-auto that throws bullets all over the place seemed kinda silly.

    one of my friends had a Bushie Varminter and shot some exceptional groups. I found a great deal on one at the gun shop so I decided to get it for prarie dogging. The groups it shoots are nothing short of incredible. Understand that it's got the free floated match barrel, 2 stage match trigger, 6.5x20 Leupold and I'm using handloads. We shot 2 consecutive sub 1" groups at a lasered 268 yards. I think that should answer the question about accuracy from a standard weight barrel.

    I think before anyone can give a reasonable reply, you might want to figure out what you're gonna do. Just precision targets, varmints, general blasting, HD?
     
  18. chevrofreak

    chevrofreak Member

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    Not an AR fan so I probably have little business posting in this thread..... but, why not a stainless barrel?
     
  19. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    A chrome-lined barrel will give a little more corrosion resistance, which is an issue if you take your rifle swimming and cannot clean it for days on end.

    Otherwise, SS or CM are good to go. Most barrels are vastly over-cleaned.

    -z
     
  20. P0832177

    P0832177 member

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    What do you want the AR for?

    When you buy a whole rifle you pay a FET that ups the price

    Build the lower yourself, or buy a complete lower STAG, RRA, Superior are all good.


    Varmints? I would buy a DPMS upper from Midway as they have the cheapest prices on varmint uppers. RRA is not a bad choice, but the wait time has gotten a bit long!

    Self Defense? SLR is the real deal!
    http://www.slr15.com/ plus Sully will show you how to use it as part of the price! A win win situation!

    NRA Highpower skip all and get John H. at White Oak Precision www.whiteoakprecision.com to build you one!
     
  21. SomeKid

    SomeKid Member

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    I cannot remember if my AR is chrome moly, or chrome lined. What is the difference?
     
  22. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Chrome Moly = a type of steel alloy which contains chromium and molybdenum ("chrome moly")

    Chrome lining = hard-chrome plating over a material
     
  23. SomeKid

    SomeKid Member

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    Thanks Zak.

    My knowledge of metallurgy is somewhere around non-existant. Here is what it sounds like, and if anyone knows the truth feel free to correct me.

    The moly is a slightly weaker barrel, with some resistance to corrosion. The lining is the strong steel barrel with a lot of resistance to corrosion. It sounds like the lining is better. Am I right?
     
  24. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    No.

    You basically get two choices for rifle barrel materials:

    1. chrome-moly steel, typically of the 4140 or 4150 variety.

    2. stainless steel, typically of the 416 variety.

    There are various differences in the materials' properties and the ease of doing machine-work on them.

    Military barrels are usually of the chrome-moly variety to maximize ultimate strength and ability to handle heat at low weight.

    Match barrels are usually of the stainless variety due to how heat erosion occurs in the throat area (a surface property of the material).

    Chrome-lining can be done to either type. It is totally separate and not related to the strength of the barrel of it alloy type.

    Chrome-lining is typically done to military barrels of the chrome-moly variety to decrease corrosion and increase barrel life. A chrome coating is very thin-- about 0.0005 inch (according to the Tripp Research web page).

    Chrome lining is not structural, it is purely a surface treatment.
     
  25. raz-0

    raz-0 Member

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    HBAR's, to the best of my knowledge, are the product of hi-power competitions. .223 may not be mcuh in the recoil department, but they seem to like their HBAR barrels and lead weights in the stock in that sport.


    For an all around general purpose ar, I find a 16" hbar that has been fluted or a 20" "government" profile barrel to handle nicely, not be too heavy, and have good accuracy. Both balance reasonably in a loaded rifle. The 20" is cheaper and a bit more versatile.

    Just my $0.02, it's an opinion thing as I know people who think anything that isn't beastly front heavy with a bull barrel. It's a matter of taste and application.
     
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