AR Barrel Length

Discussion in 'AR15/10 Rifles' started by Bike Effects, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Bike Effects

    Bike Effects Member

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    I am building a Varmint AR in .223. I need to decide between a 20' and 24' barrel. I am a handloader and have done a lot of accuracy loading for bolt guns but never did anything with an AR. What considerations do you see about these two barrel lengths, considering I reload. I doubt that this rifle will see long range use as I have some .22-250's and 6mms that would be more up to that task. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Putting a 24" barrel on an AR is like jamming a square peg in a round hole. Ballistically, you gain little with the extra 4" of barrel if the shots are 400 or closer. As a result, go with 20" for that matter 16" would work just fine too.
     

  3. Bike Effects

    Bike Effects Member

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    Well, I'm not sure I understand the round hole, square peg analogy, but thanks for your thoughts.
     
  4. dust

    dust Well-Known Member

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    I think he means answer to a question that wasn't asked.
     
  5. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    It means that putting a 24" barrel attempts to put the rifle into a role for which is was not intended. Gas operated AR's cannot produce a consistent ES. As a result, its longrange capabilities are not great. For that reason, my advice is to use the AR for the role in which is was intended which is to shoot 300 and less yards. For that kind of distance, there is little ballistic difference between a 16 or 20" barrel and just no need for a 24".
     
  6. rdsii64

    rdsii64 Well-Known Member

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    I will be the one weirdo in the group. A lot of these comments about not much difference between 16 and 20 inch barrels and 24 inches just not needed is assuming you are chambering your rifle in 223 and even then I somewhat disagree.

    With that said, the AR15 can be an excellent platform at any range if you define its purpose and chose the correct caliber and components before you start spending money. With todays components, it's not hard at all to build a consistent autoloading rifle that can be a bolt guns equal in terms of accuracy .
    so before you can decide on proper barrel length you have to define the rifles purpose and the round which you intend to use.

    I chose a 20" 8 twist barrel for my rig. It works very well for my needs
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  7. kansas45

    kansas45 Well-Known Member

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    I have both 20" & 24" AR15's. Both are equal out to 300 yds, with the 24" holding a better group beyond that. The 20 incher dosen't give up much, but there is a difference.
     
  8. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Well mine is not for shooting game but it will drive tacks at 300M with 77g SMKs. It is a 20" gov profile 1-7 twist. I would not even consider goining longer than 20" and I'm contimplating having this one choped to 18"

    [​IMG]
     
  9. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Your assumption is correct, that my assumption is that the OP's rifle is chambered in 223/5.56 and generally, I agree with rdsii. You need to clearly define the role the rifle will fulfill then build from there.

    That said, I don't think that the AR is the best platform for a longrange shooter. (longrange defined as >600 yards).
     
  10. jasonprox700

    jasonprox700 Well-Known Member

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    Go with the 20", you'll be much happier. My first AR was a Bushy Varminter with the 24" barrel. After using it for a couple of years, I started looking around for something shorter and lighter. I ended up building a 16" barreled AR for hunting purposes. It carries great, swings nice, and is very light to carry. For comparison, I also have a 20" .243 WSSM that I also use for hunting. This is by far the longest I want to go for hunting. This gun has a bull barrel, so it is front heavy, but with the 20" barrel, it still swings good and is easy to maneuver in the thick stuff.

    To make a long story short, go with the 20", you'll be much happier in the long run!
     
  11. rdsii64

    rdsii64 Well-Known Member

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    next time around, try a national match profile barrel. At 20 inches its a pound lighter than 20 inch full bull barrel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  12. Bike Effects

    Bike Effects Member

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    I did order the 20". Thanks all for your replies.
     
  13. simon445

    simon445 New Member

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    Being as the OP has already decided on his barrel choice, mind if I ask where a guy should look for a match grade non bull barrel?


    Thanks!
    Simon
     
  14. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Everywhere....Midway, Wilson Combat, Bravo Company USA, Hart Rifle Barrels. The list just goes on and on and on.

    Midway has an entire section of their website devoted to AR15 parts...

    Find - MidwayUSA