In an AR varminting platform, does barrel length affect accuracy?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BringHomeTheBacon, Jun 16, 2022.

  1. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Everyone knows that 556 will bounce off a woodchuck if you use less than a 16" barrel. Tough little varmints.

    Joking aside, not really. If you want something that does both: 4 and 2 leg varmints, 16 will do the job. Longer barrel from a quality maker will make varmint hunting easier but a longer barrel is less ideal for a home defense rifle. It is the whole reason why the M4 was made, handier carbine for CQB fighting. Twist rate will determine what weight ammo will typically work best in your rifle. FWIW I have dispatched more than a few critters with the same ammo I keep in my rifle for HD.
     
  2. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    That's not hard. There's no reason to choose the 1/12. You already know you don't want a 24" barreled rifle

    The cheapest ammo you can find will be European and not accurate enough to shoot in that platform, unless you plan on missing a lot.
     
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  3. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Labeling something “varmint-grade” doesn’t make it so any more than my RRA labeled “Operator” makes me a door kicker.

    Aero makes decent quality, decent accuracy components. Using their Ballistic Advantage (a partially owned partner who labels for Aero) I’m getting around 1.3” groups for 5 rounds at 100 yards with my basic 55gr Win. HP jacketed bullet with BL-C(2) at near max charge. That’s with a 16” pencil barrel and a 3-9x scope.

    BCG and charging handle are swappable, preferable to keep 1 for every upper, and not difficult given the $70 price. CH can be as simple as a $15 GI style to a $200+ unobtanium model. I use Phase5 or Radian handles, about $70 and comfortable. A Strike Ind can be had for 1/2 that and still provide good ergos.

    No, I wouldn’t consider the PSA trigger to be “varmint grade”. I’ve shot them, bought several; they aren’t horrid but I would recommend an upgrade. The RRA comes with their own NM Varmint 2-stage, the same trigger I have in all 3 of my personal ARs. These are $75 on sale and considered base quality for what you’re looking for. Many better can be had for under $300.
     
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  4. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    You would end up with something looking like this, plus an additional 16” complete upper. All for even money vs the RRA you are currently looking at. The rifle below has fired some .7xx” 100 yard groups with a Hornady 60gr V-Max and Varget but not enough groups to declare it a 3/4 MOA rifle. It’s got a 3 lb Jard single-stage flat trigger.


    A2892D1B-DFC3-4724-898B-B2A66E008CD1.jpeg
     
  5. BringHomeTheBacon

    BringHomeTheBacon member

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    Will Chinese 5.56 even cut it for 200 yard chucks or 100-yard gophers? I just might get a 24" barrel. I can choose an 8 twist or a 12. My plan now is to get a separate m4 style carbine 16" upper for home defense anyway as suggested by others here. I would not do a lot of carrying in a varmint field. At a prairie dog town, a varmint station is more like a fixed artillery emplacement.

    What is the minimum price per shot one (a non-handloader) really needs to pay for .223 or 5.56 for 100-200 yard squirrels or 200-300 yard chucks? Who wants to spend more than 50 cents a pop to kill one lousy rodent?
     
  6. BringHomeTheBacon

    BringHomeTheBacon member

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    Sounds like ammo not quite that cheap. I might have to set my sights really low if I want to varmint on the cheap. Don't some good rifles make up for what cheap ammo lacks in accuracy?
     
  7. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I’m not certain why RRA would call a 16” rifle a “Varmint rifle” just because it has a 2 stage trigger and a bull barrel, but I guess some people are believing it.

    That .920” muzzle is going to balance like garbage on the 24” rifle, and really not even balance well on a 20” rifle. It adds a ton of forward weight, and makes rifles handle like sledgehammers, rather than balancing properly. On a 24” bench gun with 3lbs of lead added to the stock, great. For a hunting rifle, hard pass.
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    No. **** ammo is **** ammo. A great rifle might shoot a little smaller than a cheap rifle, but putting pond water into the gas tank of a Ferrari won’t turn it into high octane fuel.

    You’d be better served to spend half as much on the rifle and buy better ammo with the difference.
     
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  9. BringHomeTheBacon

    BringHomeTheBacon member

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    These aren't the best of times for shooting gophers just for fun. Gas prices, ammo prices, ammo shortages, food prices, COVID, Ukraine, Putin and you-know-who in the White House. Happy gopher, chuck and coyote days for working stiffs might return when the likes of Donald Trump return to Washington.
     
  10. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    If times are lean, don’t chase the rabbit for fun. But, if you’re going varminting in a lean era, it sure makes sense to NOT use rot-gut ammo which yields greater miss ratios than simply spending a bit more for more proper ammo.
     
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  11. Demi-human
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    All ammo is expensive. Missing five times is worse. Many areas do not allow FMJ ammunition for hunting, even for a lousy rodent.
    Full Metal Jacket bullets have a greater chance to ricochet than other types of bullets.
    It’s obviously much less chance to ricochet if one doesn’t miss.;)

    Buy a soft point Hornady load and don't worry.

    I personally find the 12 twist dead. Marginally stabilized bullets are not a thing anymore. All my seven twists run 50 grain just fine.
    If you are attracted to the RRA for nostalgic reasons that’s fine, but a faster twist is more versatile, especially with heavier Home Defense and larger animal hunting ammunition.

    Get a 20” in a1/8” in a more reasonable barrel profile and be set for both sides of your coin.
     
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  12. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    @BringHomeTheBacon ill relay my boring AR ownership story to you. RRA being local(ish) to me, I’d seen plenty around at the range so I figured they were something special.

    When I decided to finally buy an AR they were my go-to and I wasn’t disappointed with the $1,100 I spent. I had a nice rifle, sub-MOA with my hand loads and the Fiocchi ammo I bought for brass. Life was great.

    Once I chose to delve deeper, I discovered a world of possibilities that simply made more sense than my “hard fightin carbine”. Since then, I’ve assembled nearly a dozen, many tailored to specific shooters (kids/wife).

    More than being better suited to the shooters, they run just as well while displaying similar accuracy, which of course could be made better with better barrels. Furthermore the costs are controlled piece by piece which makes budget a choice. FWIW, nothing I own save that Rock River cost me $1,300 despite some costly bling worthy options.


    5 1/3 lb rifle for my daughter. Short, comfortable, fun.
    9D254204-E706-492E-9377-D6D7E0012335.jpeg

    10 1/2” pistol for HD.
    BA413FB0-F652-4DE5-AA7A-B963EFC19A09.jpeg

    7 1/2” mobile SD pistol.
    9051E7D0-FB31-49EB-8C14-814733087FFE.png

    My original AR (bottom), RRA Operator.
    E59E4CDC-F300-4BAD-B89A-F7EE322368FE.jpeg

    My reimagined RRA.
    BDD361F7-2EC5-4D76-A990-32978D442817.jpeg
     
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  13. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    @Skylerbone, I like your HD pistol. I have an 11" similar setup.
     
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  14. BringHomeTheBacon

    BringHomeTheBacon member

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    I'm attracted to Rock River because it's a cool-sounding name. The $1,000+ price suggests that is going to be better quality than any AR by Smith & Wesson, Ruger or even Palmetto.
    A cheaper alternative to an AR for routinely killing rodents is an airgun, I think. What does a GAMO .17 or .22 caliber pellet rifle generally cost a pop, per pellet to shoot? I think the air rifle will severely limit one's range to under a football field. How much does "varmint-worthy" rimfire ammo generally cost a pop? I believe that has a range limitation under a football field also.
     
  15. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Accuracy of the rifle is not affected by length, accuracy of the shooter is though. An unbalanced gun is hard to shoot well. Also a heavy gun is hard to shoot well after packing it long distances. My 6.8 ar is the most accurate rifle I own, but it’s too heavy to shoot well in the deer woods unless I’m sitting all day in a stand without moving around much, so on days where I move around I carry a marlin 336 which is far less accurate of a rifle but is one I can hit better with under the conditions.

    For varminting I would say that an 18” would balance well and shoot well without being overly heavy or awkward to carry under almost any circumstances but it also doesn’t give up much to being compact enough to use in the home should that need arise.
     
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  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    18” with rifle length gas in a contour somewhere between standard and NM/DCM, such it has some meat behind the gas block, and a 0.75” journal. A lightweight 18” contour with carbine gas is a very different weight and yields a very different balance.
     
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  17. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    You can get a .22LR bolt and .22 magazines for about $170. If you choose your ammo carefully, you can have a squirrel killing load zeroed in at 50 yards, and be hearing safe without ear pro. You will most probably have to manually cycle your action, though, if that's important to you.
     
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  18. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    I bought my predator pursuit with a heavy 20" barrel years ago from RRA. At the time they "Guaranteed" 3/4 moa. Mine does a little better with hand loads. I've posted targets showing loads being developed and this were at 200 yards. I think a heavy barrel makes for more accuracy as was stated before because it is stiffer and vibrations are shorter painting exiting bullet within the node, where as a longer barrel may have more of a whipping action. Anywho, I like RRA but had no idea prices were that high. I bought mine for $900 years ago and thought that was expensive. Here are two pictures of the same target at 200 yards with a 5 shot group. You can decide whether it is good for you. I'm sure there is some one in the forum that is a better shot than I am.
    IMG_2225.jpeg IMG_2252.jpeg
     
  19. Demi-human
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    Seven to ten cents. I routinely shoot my .22 at a hundred yards, and enjoy one inch groups there.
    [​IMG]
    More accomplished shooters than I fling them farther. And they are every bit as deadly.

    A dedicated rimfire upper can be made just as any other caliber. As well as a conversion bolt carrier and chamber liner to shoot rimfire through a .223/5.56 barrel. Inexpensive practice, hunting and fun.
    This one is a dedicated upper with a rimfire barrel and collar.
    It also wears a binary trigger.
    [​IMG]
    With a scope it almost hangs with the Savage.
    I have a Beyer barreled 9” pistol that is also screamingly accurate, I recommend them right along side CMMG.
    RighttoBear.com has every rimfire AR need. They just received a shipment of 4” barrels. They go fast!
    Rimfires and ARs go together like PBandJ!
     
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  20. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Was going to say the same thing. Match ammo in a $400 rifle will almost certainly produce better results than garbage ammo in $1000 rifle
     
  21. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    what bolt and upper did you use with that barrel? CMMG magazines?
     
  22. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    About a dime per shot for decent 22Lr, a quarter to half dollar for 17 HMR and 17 WSM.

    For Varminting, small ground squirrels the size of a deck of cards, maybe 200yrds with a 22LR. Around 300-350, maybe as far as 400 with HMR and especially WSM. My Bmag holds right around 1moa out to 300 - and naturally, over 2/3 of shots fall within the center 1/3 of the group, so reaching out to 400+ with these means a hit more often than a miss (anything delivering ~6” groups at 400yrds will hit a 2” target 68% of the time, and a 4” target 95% of the time).

    But as an avid LR and ELR Rimfire shooter, I readily acknowledge that even magnum Rimfires aren’t really an “almost centerfire” analogy when it comes to varminting.
     
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  23. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Well those Palma shooters don't seem to have the issues you mention...
     
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  24. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Concur.

    The consequence of low velocity is greater than the challenge of tuning loads for positive compensation. Barrels could be shorter, stiffer, and more successful if Palma wasn’t handicapped by the 308win, but that handicap is the purpose of the class.
     
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  25. Demi-human
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    All CMMG. All of RTB’s rimfire products are unbranded CMMG components. And the nitrided barrel was beautiful inside. A black, spiral mirror.
    The Beyer barrel is a sleeved aluminum tube, like the Ruger MKx Lites.
    Both have RTB’s SlickSide 22lr/9mm upper.
    One has RTB’s handguard and the other an AR Stoner. I can’t tell which is which by the machining alone, nearly identical.
     
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