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Is a Middy THAT much better?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by .Scarecrow., Dec 28, 2011.

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  1. .Scarecrow.

    .Scarecrow. Member

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    I want to first clarify that I am a new guy to this site. So bare with me please, Thank you.

    I am planning on getting a DD M4 when I can afford it. I really like the look of a Carbine length rifle. Most Mid-lengths look ugly to me but I am concerned about the differences. I don't want to buy the gun that I really like the looks of then down the road think I wasted my money and should have gotten a Middy. I'm going to use the rifle for fun tactical shooting and home defense. The standard carbine platform when done right seems to do a great job, but some people would tell me otherwise. They make the Middy look like it blows the carbine right outta the water. I've also heard that Mid-lengths recoil less, but I'm not sure. So really my question is, Is the Mid-length SO much better that it is more worth buying one over a carbine?

    Once again Thank you.
     
  2. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    welcome to THR

    just to be clear, you realize that "carbine length" and "mid-length" refers to the gas system only.

    both are (typically) 16" barrels. the difference is that one scoots the gas block out about an inch or two further. Regardless of which gas-length you use, you can get the handguards in any length you want from carbine to mid to rifle (~7", 9", 12") (assuming a low-profile gas block)
     
  3. gearhead

    gearhead Member

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    Assuming you're getting it in 5.56mm, the carbine length recoil is negligible enough that it's not a good reason to avoid it. There is a slight loss in velocity but the ballisticsbytheinch website predicts it to be only on the order of 50-100 fps between a 16" and an 18" barrel. That's within the range of the lot to lot variation in the same type ammo.
     
  4. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I don’t think so, IF the carbine length is put together properly.

    The middy compensates for the short gas system on the carbine, which some say “over-gasses” the system when used with a 16” barrel causing early wear and parts breakage. I’ve seen all kinds of reasons for buying one, to include some guys even like them because the front sight and bayonet lug are in the correct distance from the FL so you can mount a standard bayonet.

    I’ve owned a Colt LE6920 for a while now, shot it in a couple 500+ round a day classes, and now have about 6K through it and I’ve never experienced a problem.

    Chuck
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I own them from 7"-24" and can tell you there is no "ideal" just ideal for "X" job.
     
  6. helotaxi

    helotaxi Member

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    Assuming that we're talking mid-length gas vs. carbine length gas on a barrel of the same length...

    The mid-length effectively opens the gas port later and has less dwell. The net effect is that pressure has dropped slightly compared to the carbine length system when the gas port is pressurized adn that combined with the longer, higher volume gas tube and lower dwell, means that the bolt carrier isn't sent rearward with as much energy. While the 2nd recoil impulse (the buffer and BCG reaching the rear stop) on the carbine system isn't much, it is less on the mid-length. Not tht big of a deal for a typical shooter, the lower impulse means less upset in the sight picture and quicker follow-up shot.

    90% or so of shooters won't care about the difference and a carbine setup works just fine.
     
  7. henschman

    henschman Member

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    Well it's like this: the military has them in 2 main configurations -- a 14.5" barreled one with a carbine length gas system, and a 20" barreled one with a rifle-length gas system. They both use the same gas block with the same size gas port, and they both have the same amount of barrel past the gas block, which gives them pretty much the same "dwell time" (which is how long the bullet is in the barrel past the gas block). The longer the dwell time, the more pressure is put on the gas system.

    Well, in this realm it is illegal for a common subject to have a barrel shorter than 16" without jumping through some hoops, so when the mfg's started making carbines for sale to civilians, they just slapped the already-available carbine-length gas system on a 16" barrel. That gives it a longer dwell time than the military rifles, which puts more gas pressure on the bolt carrier. This puts a little more wear on the parts, and causes a little greater recoil than a rifle with the original dwell time.

    After AR carbines got more popular, the mid-length gas system was invented, which is the proper length to give a 16" barrel the same dwell time as the military issue rifles.

    As long as you buy a quality rifle, a carbine gas system on a 16" is fine and can be plenty reliable. But if you want what the original designers determine to be the optimum dwell time for mil-spec ammo, the middy is where it's at. It also gives you a bit longer sight radius if you're using the standard gas block front sight, and a bit longer handguard, which a lot of people like. Of course you can use longer handguards on any AR if you get rid of the original front sight though.

    Another option if you want to have the "optimal" dwell time is to get a 14.5" barreled rifle with the carbine gas system, with a permanently-attached flash hider that brings the barrel's overall length over 16". Lots of mfg's are selling uppers/rifles in this configuration now.

    My personal preference, and that's all it is by the way, is a 14.5" carbine gas system for a carbine, or a 20" rifle length gas system for a rifle.
     
  8. minutemen1776

    minutemen1776 Member

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    In a 16-inch barreled AR15, the midlength gas system offers slightly less recoil, as well as slightly less wear on the firearm. Will you notice the difference? Likely not. The midlength also offers a slightly longer sight radius because the front sight is pushed out a bit closer to the muzzle. Will that give you an accuracy advantage? Maybe, but only if you use irons. The midlength also allows the use of a bayonet on a 16-inch carbine, if you're into that. In the end, I think the midlength is objectively better for a 16-inch AR15, but only slightly so. I have two, and I like them. I also like them better than the two carbines I had before them, though the length of the gas system was not my primary reason for changing the ARs I have. All that said, I doubt any benefit from the midlength gas system is enough to choose one is the carbine-length just feels "right" to you. Having a rifle that fits you and feels natural is worth more than all these other factors.
     
  9. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    No.

    Its just that some "middy" owners are so excited about the fact that their gun is different from the other guns at the range, that they will demand that you acknowledge its superiority.

    Most people who buy AR-15's have no idea what they really want, so they just buy something. Then they imagine that the something they just bought could be somewhat different, and they sell themselves on the idea that the different thing will be better. This is how gun safes are filled to overflowing and gun parts end up littering every horizontal space in the man-part of the house.

    If your specific NEED (hah! -- like any of us really have one) for a particular configuration dictates a middy, then that's the configuration for you. Otherwise, I expect you to fall in like the rest of us and get different guns until you have multiple times the number of guns than you could possibly utilize in the context of the "regular guy" who has to work and pay bills, all the while paying over a buck just to fire that fancy rifle three shots.
     
  10. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

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    I've shot both back to back. I'd rate the original rifle as being the smoothest, the mid-length, with the carbine gas being the harshest.

    If I were buying a AR today I'd get another mid-length gas system setup. I don't care much about looks, it's just the mids always worked better for me.

    BSW
     
  11. Captains1911

    Captains1911 Member

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    Is the middy SO much better.....no. But it does offer advantages over the carbine as others have mentioned. The biggest advantage to me is the extra 2" of rail that allow further forward mounting options and support hand placement. So as the middy isn't SO much better, it does have advantages, so I see no reason to choose the carbine other than if you just like the looks of it better.
     
  12. henschman

    henschman Member

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    You asked if it is so much better that it is worth buying over the carbine length gas... If you already had a good carbine model that you like, I would say that it is not worth it to sell it just to buy a midlength. But if you're trying to decide which to buy, I say why not go with the midlength? If the prices are the same either way, there is really no reason not to. Sure the advantages are slight, but there are no disadvantages, so why not?
     
  13. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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    Would I pick a Middy over a Carbine? Yes?
    Would I pass up a good rifle because it was a carbine instead of a Mid length? No.
     
  14. mokin

    mokin Member

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    Captains 1911 +1

    From what you describe about how you will shoot it, the biggest difference you will probably notice is the extra space to put your forward hand.
     
  15. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    not this.
     
  16. Zach S

    Zach S Member

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    My feelings as well.
     
  17. .Scarecrow.

    .Scarecrow. Member

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    Thanks guys. From what I have read, it appears the advantages are Almost negligible. But they are there nonetheless. I guess you could kind of compare it to if I was trying to choose between a Rifle and Carbine. Yeah the rifle has better accuracy, lower recoil, and is less harsh on parts. But I like the way carbines look.
     
  18. kwelz

    kwelz Member

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  19. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    If you get the carbine and DO have problems, you can always install a heavier buffer and/or spring, which is fairly cheap and slows the action slightly and it won't be so "harsh" etc.
    I have a couple of Delton carbine builds that are marked 5.56 but they don't like the high pressure loads. Tore the rim off the brass and left it in the chamber, but I could poke one out of the chamber with no effort at all with a cleaning rod. Installed H2 buffers and Wolf extra power springs and they work fine now.
     
  20. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Member

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    I'm one of the few who doesn't notice any difference at all in the recoil impulse between the two gas system lengths. There's theoretical advantages to the midlength that stem from the lower gas port pressure, but they haven't really been proven out at this point in time; it will be a while before that happens. I now am down to owning two midlenghts and no carbine lenghts, but only because I really liked the ways the middies were set up (overall) and I was able to trade my carbine towards something a little more exotic that I really desired. In retrospect, I think a carbine may actually be the best way to go, as the "harsh cycling" that everyone is quick to call out just might be a beneficial attribute in pushing the BCG in dirty conditions (due to environment or high round count).
     
  21. .Scarecrow.

    .Scarecrow. Member

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    That last bit about the rifle in dirty conditions does make some sense. I think I am going to go with a Carbine length. I'll never shoot my gun enough to REALLY notice any problems with it. It's mainly a SHTF (Heaven forbid) gun and to have Tactical shooting for fun. Carbine it is! Yay! I can get the gun I think looks the coolest! haha.
     
  22. .Scarecrow.

    .Scarecrow. Member

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    Well in these cases. Since I am getting a Carbine. What upgrades would you fellas recommend to ensure slightly longer reliability. The rifle I want comes with an H-Buffer, need I change that? What do you guys think.
     
  23. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Have you considered a Dissipator? I've been a Rifle Loony since I was a little boy, or 40 some years, but just got my first AR ever, a kit, that I built myself. I wanted a 20", but all Midway had in stock was the Dissipator so I bought it. I'm glad I did. You get the handiness and length of a 16" barrel with the long sight radius as a 20" barrel.
    I know they're somewhat ugly and not very popular, but from a practicality standpoint and for someone like me who won't be mounting any sort of optics, I think they're a great compromise.

    35W
     
  24. .Scarecrow.

    .Scarecrow. Member

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    I will be mounting Optics, But thank you for your input
     
  25. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    Harsh cycling and being overgassed is a problem not a benefit. It is one of the reasons they had to go to stronger extractor springs and inserts and heavier buffers.

    If you go middy you won't need those fixes for having a suboptimal gas system.
     
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