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chrome-lined barrels vs. stainless steel.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by againstthagrane, Jul 8, 2010.

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  1. againstthagrane

    againstthagrane Member

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    I hear a lot of people talk about how a non chrome-lined barrel is unacceptable in a serious rifle. So am I to believe that a bushmaster chrome lined barrel ($150ish) would be more reliable than a noveske recon 16 inch stainless ($450) in a similar build?

    I'm confused. please keep the responses topical, i used the previous two brands for basis of price more than the actual brand
     
  2. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    Chrome lining may be a plus if you like to go awhile between cleaning, or shoot corrosive surplus ammo (though not likely with a .223). Otherwise I'm not convinced it has any significant advantage, and accuracy wise I'm pretty sure it is more likely a slight disadvantage. It seems to me that most target grade AR barrels are not chrome lined but I could be wrong. My AR rifle does not have a chrome lined barrel and it's never skipped a single beat but I clean all my guns regularly.

    I do understand why CL is specified on a GI rifle given field conditions, high round counts and potentially longer cleaning intervals while in combat, but for the average civilian shooter I just don't see the benefit. Hunting rifles are typically not even available with chrome lining and it doesn't seem to be a problem.

    Just my opinion of course - chrome lining seems to be a big deal with the AR crowd but I'm not convinced either. I also tend to prefer standard chrome moly to stainless.
     
  3. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    Stainless barrels will last a LONG time before they lose much accuracy. If you can afford to shoot out a stainless barrel (20k plus) rounds then you can afford to buy a new one. Chrome lining is for high volume rapid fire shooting. Even then, the stainless ones seem to do that just fine as well.

     
  4. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Barrel quality really matters more than type of material, ultimately.

    In general, chrome lined barrels will be less accurate. There are exceptions, for instance FN makes some very accurate bolt rifles with chrome lined barrels. And in general, chrome lining will last longer than unlined, if it's done really well - if not the chrome plate can strip off and useful life can actually be shorter than an unlined barrel.

    All the most accurate barrels (< .5 MOA) are unlined, and can be either carbon or stainless steel.

    Chrome lining was originally introduced because of corrosive ammo. It remains in use largely because of military inertia, but also because the chrome lining helps resist throat erosion in full-auto fire as the barrel gets really, really hot. This is not an issue for most of us civilians.

    As others have posted in other discussions on this topic, if a worn-out stainless barrel shoots 2 MOA and a new chrome-lined barrel shoots 2.25 MOA, is there really a durability benefit to the chrome-lined barrel?
     
  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Most of these are Mil Spec fanatics. They don’t understand why things in are in Mil Specs but believe mil spec means perfection.

    At the time the M16 was adopted there were very few stainless barrels on anything. Plus the military is extremely conservative. Given their conservative nature, and the fact that change, even good change, requires paying the Contractor big bucks, they stick with what they are familiar. Chrome lined barrels.

    I will say that modern chrome lined barrels are a lot more accurate than they used to be. I have one on a FN PBR and it shoots great, another on a Armalite M4forgery, and it also shoots great.
     
  6. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    The original Stoner design was not chromed. That came later as full auto fire showed more throat erosion than expected, especially combined with the Vietnam environment.

    Chroming requires the initial cut rifling to be oversized, then the plating process builds the chrome back to spec dimensions. Getting that done uniformly in a mass production environment leads to some plating inaccuracy. The contract requirements for military accuracy are based on effectiveness in combat, which means a great military chrome-lined barrel is 2MOA, not 1/4 MOA. Ammo is the same, too.

    A stainless barrel, or even chrome moly, can be held to a tighter MOA requirement and even given a guarantee, as the process can be done more precisely.

    The military also tests with a ten shot group size to determine mean radius, which is a more accurate and realistic indicator of ammo and barrel consistency. For many shooters, it's a big letdown over three shot groups, which is why so many get selective about how they quote their accuracy. :neener:
     
  7. nathan

    nathan Member

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    The stainless steel is definitely more accurate and grps consistently. The chrome could be accurate but can be spotty . Both have its advantages and disadvantages.
     
  8. TonyRumore

    TonyRumore Member

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    If you have lot of sand running through your gun, that stainless chamber will not last more than about 3 mags and then it will be scratched to the point, you'll have empties getting stuck in the chamber. You'll have to polish it in order to get it back running again. The chrome chamber can take a lot more grit through it before you'll get any empties stuck in it.

    However, if you are normal american beer can shooter, you won't have a bunch of sand running through your gun.

    Tony
     
  9. unit91

    unit91 Member

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    Another big consideration for the Mil Std is humidity. Allegedly there were a lot of rounds stuck in non-chromed barrels in Viet Nam if they were left chambered over night. Appearently the extra wet climate forced folks to extract the first spent round with cleaning rods (though I wasn't there to substantiate this claim).
     
  10. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Member

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    Chrome is more resistant to corrosion (which keeps the gun reliable), aids in cleaning, maintenance, and longevity.

    Stainless can increase accuracy and is more resistant to corrosion.

    Either would be fine in a combat gun and both are an upgrade over plain Chrome Moly steel.
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    It is my perception that chrome lining will get you a longer service life with adequate accuracy for a military weapon. As said above, that seems to be improving.

    Target shooters use mostly stainless, some c.m., and change barrels a lot more frequently than Internet Lore. I watched a .308 fail to make it from 4600 to 4700 rounds. The owner said it shot fine the previous week, but when I saw him come to the line, it would not stay on the target backing board.
     
  12. againstthagrane

    againstthagrane Member

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    Ok this is all good information. If you were planning a DMR knock off would you demand the chrome lining or would you prefer stainless. I really can't afford 1000s of rounds an month in shooting, BUT I want to have something that is at least 1.5 moa and 100 with a 1-4x type scope. Mainly for punching paper and eventually 3 gun after I graduate. So weight, durability and accuracy are my main concerns.

    Any comments on your experiences with barrels of this variety?
     
  13. Hatterasguy

    Hatterasguy Member

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    Chrome is old school, nitride is where its at now. Chrome can flake off, or affect the size of the bore. IE you have to overmill it slightly to compensate for the chromes thickness.

    Nitride is a surface conversion process, it cannot chip off, and does not affect the barrels dimensions.


    Sig rates there nitride barrels at 15k rounds for heavy use and 30k rounds for regular use. They define heavy use as full auto fire.


    I would spring for the stainless or nitride barrel.
     
  14. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    I would suggest a stainless barrel for your purposes.
     
  15. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    This is true. I talked to a Retired LTC who was over there when the first M16's came out.

    It was so humid that the brass case would corrode in the chamber. He said you had to empty the chamber each night or the cartridge in chamber would corrode, and when fired, get its rim pulled off.

    Apparently the chrome plating fixed this, or reduced the corrosion issue.
     
  16. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    Noveske N4 barrels are CL and promise .5 MOA. Of course incant shoot that well but that isn't the point. :)
     
  17. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Here is an idea as to what a well made chrome-lined barrel is capable of in the aforementioned FN SPR.

    Don
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. againstthagrane

    againstthagrane Member

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    Where can I find noveske chrome lined barrels for sale? I hasn't seen them anywhere.

    What company makes nitride AR barrels? The only ones I've ever heard of where the acr barrels. But they aren't compatible.
     
  19. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    That "20k" guesstimate kind of depends on what you're shooting. HP shooters are tickled pink if their stainless is still useable at 600 yards after 4500 rounds. Most rebarrel around there or run 2 uppers and use the old barrel for short line and practice. They're usually pretty much toast at 6k rounds.
    /Bryan
     
  20. againstthagrane

    againstthagrane Member

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  21. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Are you selling something?

    Don't feel like asking a question to stimulate further discussion?

    A single "bump" is one of the most useless posts found on a discussion forum. It tells us that you don't care enough to say anything more. . .


    As far as "chrome linings", they exist simply to extend the life of a military barrel.
     
  22. againstthagrane

    againstthagrane Member

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    I DID ask a question that hasn't been addressed yet...

    next time read the post before you put your foot in your mouth...

    now you hold the honor for most useless post in this thread.
     
  23. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    So. .

    Which post content do you think will get a better response?

    "bump"

    or

    "So, does anyone know where to get Noveske chrome lined barrels?" etc . . .
     
  24. againstthagrane

    againstthagrane Member

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    is there a way to permanently ignore specific users on this forum? i'm so sick of the WORTHLESS posts when i'm trying to get real information...
     
  25. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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