View Full Version : AR Barrel Selection

12-05-2009, 7:21 PM
I'm in the process of building a new upper. My only dilemma is figuring out what barrel to get. I either want a 16" or 18", but am leaning towards the 16". I may get into some informal matches in the near future. Will a 16" CL barrel be adequate out to 800 yards? Will I see an improvement in accuracy with a stainless barrel shooting bulk .223 like PMC, or is it pointless unless I reload or use match ammo?

As of right now, my options for 16" barrels are:

BCM HF Midlength
Daniel Defense HF Midlength
Centurion HF Midlength

As for an 18" barrel, I would go with a WOA rifle length.

If you guys have any other suggestions as to what barrel may fit my needs, feel free to list them. I do plan on taking carbine classes regularly in the future when my funds allow me, which is why I only list 16" hammer forged barrels. If I go with the WOA, I will end up building another upper later down the line for my carbine classes and just use the WOA as a bench setup and for matches.

Ooh the options...

12-05-2009, 7:27 PM
If you go with the Centurion, Sub-MOA on AR15.com has them in the old EE section for $335 shipped. I got mine promptly during the Thanksgiving weekend from him, good guy to deal with. I haven't used it yet as I am still getting parts slowly for the build. If you get it from Centurion it is about $375+tax and shipping.

12-05-2009, 9:55 PM
Good luck being competitive with a 16" chrome lined barrel shooting bulk grade ammo at 800 yds......

If you're going to shoot accurately at anything much past 300 yds with the .223, you'll need to shoot heavy match bullets from a non-chrome lined barrel. The AR15 just couldn't hold its own against the larger calibers (like .308) at long range until the Sierra 80 gr. MK was developed.

I'd suggest that the carbine is good for shorter range "action" type matches. If you want to shoot at longer range competitively, you should set up your rig for that purpose. Of course, if it is just with your buddies (who are also shooting carbines) for bragging rights or beers, use whatever. If you are setting up a long range rifle, I'd go with at least a 20" and perhaps a 24" barrel. Krieger, Lilja, and Satern are well respected barrel makers.

I'm reading this book right now: http://www.zediker.com/books/ar2/ARII_main.html. Lots of good info, more diverse than his first one. I can't wait for the Builders Guide he's working on!

12-06-2009, 5:33 AM
With my 16" N4 topped with an N4, I can pop the 385 Meter steel Turkeys at Sac Valley pretty easily... Hitting the 500 Meter Rams get to be a serious challenge in hitting them and knocking them over with even a 75gr bullet, so I'd go with a heavier caliber in a Sub-MOA setup with serious glass and match ammo to shoot out to 800 yards.

12-06-2009, 8:31 AM
Oh, man, check out this site: http://www.accuracysystemsinc.com/ar15_conversion.php. That might give you some ideas......

There are just too many choices with the AR15. As Zediker says, it truly is the Mr. Potatohead of rifles. Put the parts in the right places and you can pretty much make anything short of an elephant gun.

12-06-2009, 9:02 AM
You need two uppers.

16" CL barrel to 800 is probably wishful thinking.
55gr. PMC in a SS match barrel is retarded. Why buy a sub-MOA barrel if you're only going to shoot ammo that's only 2-3 MOA capable?

12-06-2009, 9:17 AM
I'm not only going to shoot PMC. I just asked because it's what I mostly use for plinking.

I've decided to go with the 18" WOA and wait for the lightweight Centurion barrel for another build.

12-06-2009, 1:19 PM
I'm not only going to shoot PMC. I just asked because it's what I mostly use for plinking.

I've decided to go with the 18" WOA and wait for the lightweight Centurion barrel for another build.

Good choice.

800yd is still going to be tough, even with 80gr loads.