Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

AR's with Bull Barrels - what's your opinion?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MyRoad, Feb 14, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MyRoad

    MyRoad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    Oregon
    Just curious how many of you own an AR with a bull barrel, and if you think it's a good idea for this platform. I'm looking for a very steady "varmint rifle", not something for clearing houses or SHTF scenarios. At first I was planning on getting a Remington 700 in .223 (because I already stock that caliber), but then thought, what the heck? I'm not taking shots over 200 yards -- most would be around 150 or less -- so why not have the quick follow up capability of a long barrel AR? I'm thinking RRA Varmint A4 20".

    Any thoughts? Any reason NOT to get a bull barrel?
     
  2. rust collector

    rust collector Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,049
    Location:
    Pierre, SD USA
    I've got that critter and I love it. It's way more accurate than me, loves BH blue box, and the trigger is fabulous for a semi. I got it for high volume varmint work. What it isn't is readily portable. Who needs 10 lbs + to tote over hill and dale? Luckily, I've got my M77 ultralite in 223 for low volume expeditions.

    I've thought about a different upper too, but I'd probably want different grips and stocks for different applications.

    You'll have a blast, but if you're planning to hoof it, you might think about a less meaty barrel.
     
  3. mattf7184

    mattf7184 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Messages:
    479
    Location:
    South FL
    I have a 16" Bull. Very accurate, but if you start adding rails, lights, etc, it would be way to barrel heavy imo. But if you dont plan on using it for SHTF or anything you may still want to try one out before getting it to make sure it isnt too heavy or barrel heavy.
     
  4. BrightFlashlights

    BrightFlashlights Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Messages:
    6
    Matt brings up a valid point, the add'l weight of a bull barrel (especially a 20") tends to feel a bit unbalanced with the AR's. To be honest, if you're willing to spend just a bit more and go with a good 'std.' profile barrel you can out perform the bull barrels.
     
  5. AFhack

    AFhack Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    NM
    I've got a 20 incher with a bull barrel and I also agree that Matt brings up a very good point. I use it in service match competition and it's not a very well balenced rifle. I've put 3lbs of lead in the stock and that balences it out nicely, but it is a heavy rifle (a little over 12 lbs unloaded).

    Don't get me wrong, it's a great shooter and I enjoy it very much! But it's not a walkabout gun, or a good tool for 3-gun competitions. It's a great gun for competition and bench shooting :)
     
  6. MyRoad

    MyRoad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    Oregon
    Thanks for all the feedback. I would plan to put a bipod on it, and expect to shoot it from some sort of rest. It's first 'service' would be varmint hunting, probably balanced on the railing of my brother's deck, overlooking his property. I hadn't thought about the overall imbalance of the gun, and how that could make it awkward. I don't think I would add any lights to a gun like this, just a scope (obviously) and a bipod. I have yet to have the opportunity to hold one, let alone shoot one, but if I choose to go this route, now I have a much better idea of what to expect.
     
  7. Beetle Bailey

    Beetle Bailey Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Messages:
    1,240
    Location:
    California
    I got a chance to briefly shoot a RRA Varmint just the other day, but it was a 24" barrel. The owner had it set up with a bipod and scope (a variable-power set at 14x) as a dedicated paper puncher. As you may already know, the RRA website promises 3/4 MOA with this rifle.

    Well, it was near the end of the day and I still had 15 rounds of Black Hills 55 grain FMJ remanufactured ammo (blue box) so I asked if I could shoot it out of my buddy's RRA Varmint to see how it would do. Even though it had a bipod, I kept it folded up and used my front sandbag instead. The first group was 1.5", but if you discount the called flyer, it was 1". Not great, but not horrible either. I knew it was supposed to be a 3/4 MOA rifle, so pride was on the line and the first four shots of my next group measured 3/4", but I threw a flyer again, this time on the last shot :banghead: to make a 1.25 inch group.

    The last five rounds I let another friend shoot and he put three of them into a 1/4 inch pyramid :what: but we won't mention where the other two shots went (hint, we didn't bother to measure the entire group).

    Before I shot the rifle, I questioned the wisdom of building an AR into a varmint gun since I figured a bolt-action would be a better platform, and less expensive to boot. Now my opinion is "That's a really cool gun, and that's all the reason anyone needs!" :D

    If this is gonna be a dedicated varmint gun, or if you are gonna be changing uppers, I say "Go for it!"

    One note: I don't hunt, but I talked to a friend who does and he said when he built his AR varmint gun, he special ordered the upper with a barrel with
    1 in 12" twist rate because that is a better twist rate for the lighter bullets he would use for varmint hunting. However, I've heard the RRA with 1 in 8" twist seems to shoot well with a variety of bullet weights and types. YMMV of course.
     
  8. 1911user

    1911user Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,078
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    they're heavy.:D Make darn sure you have a good reason for a heavy barrel on an AR before buying one.

    My first AR upper was a 20" HBAR and I knew quickly that it was going to be replaced with something lighter. I think the companies that only sell HBARs as the standard barrel on 20" ARs are doing a dis-service to the rifle series.
     
  9. TheEgg

    TheEgg Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    1,363
    Mine is a 24" fluted bbl. varmint gun. Works just fine, see no reason to go the heavy bbl. route.
     
  10. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    9,037
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO, USA.
    Hbar is even heavier than needed on AR15's.
     
  11. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    4,286
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    I've got the colt accurized "HBAR":
    http://www.colt.com/law/car.asp

    It isn't nearly as big in diameter as some of the bull barrels, but it shoots. I've handled the rock river varmint rifles and they are very heavy. I got a sweet deal on the colt, but I think bushmaster also make a similar profile varmint gun.

    I'm sure all of them will shoot very well, but I feel like the Colt (and probably the bushmaster) balance better. This won't matter if you are driving to the field and shooting prarie dogs from a rest, but if you have to carry the gun at all and ever plan on shooting offhand I'd look for a slimmer profile.
     
  12. Stinkyshoe

    Stinkyshoe Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Messages:
    539
    Location:
    Midwest
    For varmints and target shooting a bull barrel is fine. On an actually weapon you will train with and carry, probably not.
     
  13. ALS

    ALS Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    226
    Location:
    PA
    I have Derrick Martins book "The complete guide to Ar-15 Accuracy. In it he makes a point that he saw no difference in accuracy between a light, medium or heavy barrel.Accuracy Speaks
    Something to think about when it comes from a guy that builds and shoots Championship winning guns.
     
  14. MyRoad

    MyRoad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    Oregon
    I wouldn't be hiking with it. That's the problem with spending too much time online and staring at all the pictures... It's starts out all rational, and then when I've looked too long it just turns to lust... I suppose that's my life story. :D
    (although I think I'm going to go ahead and get the 20", not the 16" pictured here)
    [​IMG]
     
  15. cidirkona

    cidirkona Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    Tucson, Az
    I've got a 16" bull .980" upper and it's nearly perfectly balanced. I bet it would shoot amazing groups if I knew how! It puts a hole in the paper right where I wiggle around the x to when I fire...

    It's a bit heavy, but the concrete bench doens't seem to complain whatsoever.

    -Colin
     
  16. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Messages:
    2,251
    OK to shoot, not OK to carry.

    With a free floating foreend real nice from a rest, the extra weight keeps it on the rest.

    For varmint shooting the extra mass will act as a heat sink, and shooting should be a bit more consistent with a hot barrel.

    Lots of fun for sure!:D
     
  17. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Messages:
    1,388
    Location:
    Kansas
    MyRoad

    I’ve got an RRA Varmint A4 with the 20-inch barrel. Mine will shoot under ¾ inch 5 shot groups easy (at 100 yards) with handloads. I was really impressed with its accuracy. I shoot off a bipod with a lead weight in the buttstock (heavy, but balances a lot better). You might consider the 24-inch barrel for more bullet speed. I’m shooting Sierra Matchkings 69gr Moly at 2950 fps. I think these (RRA A4’s) are great fun and would recommend them.

    I purchased mine here –

    http://www.rbprecision.com/

    Real nice people to do business with.
     
  18. MyRoad

    MyRoad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    Oregon
    Thanks for that info, Bullet. That's the second online source to have a price of $895 (Ordnance Outsellers is the other, and they are also great to deal with). I like to support local stores when I can, and since I found a local gunstore that would get it for me for $920, that's probably a few dollars less than $895 plus shipping and FFL transfer fees, so that's the route I'm taking.

    It'll take a few weeks to get here, but I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.
     
  19. g56

    g56 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Messages:
    716
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Here's what mine looks like, below that is how it shoots.

    J&T upper on a Stag Arms lower receiver, 5.56mm with a 24" stainless bull barrel with a 1-8 twist, JP Rifles single stage trigger
    42663724.jpg
    43513208.jpg
     
  20. michakav

    michakav Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Messages:
    25
    I just ordered a RRA standard A4 20". Thought hard and researched long about a bull. Came to the conclusion that it is not neccesary, unless you are a dedicated benchrest shooter. RRA states that a standard profile barrel will do 1" MOA. Save a little dough, and get the standard. BTW..I ordered mine from RB precision also for $710- 2 stage trigger.
     
  21. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,773
    Location:
    Illinois`
    Too much past 5/8" in diameter and the barrel starts putting excess strain on the front pivot pin area.

    Too long and too heavy and you slip while taking the gun down for cleaning and drop the upper assembly, you will run a very real risk of snapping one or both of the front pivot pin channels right off the lower receiver.

    Too many risks and problems for too little return.
    ARs-M16s shoot just fine with standard weight barrels IMHO.
     
  22. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Messages:
    20,655
    Location:
    Norra Texas
    So who makes 20" or 24" standard-weight AR barrels?
     
  23. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    4,912
    Location:
    Delaware home of tax free shopping
    [​IMG]Mine is a RRA varmint 20" Accurate and as heavy as a bull barreled bolt gun, but with the fun of large magazines and quick follow up shots. It also has a better mounting system for a scope and excellent Iron sights, which you cant get on any resonably priced (under $2000 bolt gun) non custom made bolt gun.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=28646&d=1126270155
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  24. ARperson

    ARperson Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Messages:
    742
    Location:
    Indy, Indiana
    24" Double Star for one of mine. Love it. Yeah it's heavy, but no one claimed it to be a close-quarters, hump-around-the-jungle rifle that the other variants are.

    Of course not. That's not it's purpose. It is a tool. It has a purpose, which is not to be carried around willy-nilly.

    The bipod helps a lot too.
     
  25. MyRoad

    MyRoad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Messages:
    620
    Location:
    Oregon
    How about in .308?

    Here's a whole other flavor; this summer RRA is scheduled to begin shipping a 26" .308 Varmint AR.

    [​IMG]

    :eek:
    Do you think the considerations for a .308 bull barral are any different than a .223?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page