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spearedum
09-22-2010, 10:15 AM
I built my lower, but now I want a good upper for range shooting- some coyotes and other long distance shooting.

I'm thinking a 20" barrel, but will an 16" bull be adequate?

Is a stainless steel barrel a better option?

What twist ratio and bullet weight is best for longer distance shooting?

Thanx Dante' NRA CRPA 100% Disabled vet

Army
09-22-2010, 1:26 PM
Well, the US Army does just fine out to 300 with open sights, and the Marines do well out to 500 with irons too....so what is your criteria for "long range"?

Any 20" barrel will easily fill your 300yd needs, with a decent scope. Stainless is nice, but not really necessary for varminting. You could simply go all out with a heavy match barrel and free-floated handguard from many of the sources tagged at the top of these pages.

Twist depends on your bullet weight of choice, same with range. The heavier the bullet, the longer it is. The longer the bullet, the faster you need to spin it. For 50 to 55gr bullets, stay with 1-9". For 62gr and heavier bullets, 1-7" will meet your needs. For anything under 50gr, 1-12" is good.

cmace22
09-22-2010, 1:36 PM
We talking group size here. Cause I can hit a man sized target at 300 all day long with my 14.5" 1x7 with 55gr FMJ's.

Now if i wanted to shoot for groups...

An 18" SPR build with a 1x7/1x8 twist, and wylde chamber. Low powered variable scope and lots of match ammo would work.


IMO a 16" bull barrel is overkill. Its already more ridged than a 20" at the same thickness.

3GunFunShooter
09-22-2010, 1:40 PM
JP has a 18" 1/8 twist, excellent set up. I can hit 10" plate at 350yd with the right ammo.
77gr Black Hill excellent ammo, but to shoot long range you will probably need to reload to find the best load for your gun. So far XBR powder and 77gr Sierra's are looking good for me,
still tweeking the right powder charge to get the sweet spot.

Droppin Deuces
09-22-2010, 1:41 PM
As I learned on Monday, a 16" 1/9 carbine shooting 55gr .223 is capable of a lot more than 300 yards with just a 1-4 scope.

Solidsnake87
09-22-2010, 1:41 PM
16" will take you to 600 yards just fine but you'd be better off with a 20" for the velocity. Velocity is a .223's friend, since wind really pushes it around. Any AR can do 300 yards, you need nothing special for the job unless you want extreme accuracy. However, extreme accuracy requires reloading premium ammo and shooting it out of a premium rifle with a quality sighting system.

I'd recommend RRA uppers for you. They offer MOA or better guarantees on all their rifles and uppers. They are quite a bang for the buck and their warranty simply rocks--no pun intended. :p

foxtrotuniformlima
09-22-2010, 1:47 PM
20" barrel from someone who will sell a head spaced bolt with it - like White Oak or Compass Lake Engineering.

Free floated handguard like a YHM or JP Rifles.

And even though you said you already built the lower, I will add 2 stage or a match type trigger.

Capita159
09-22-2010, 1:57 PM
I would stick with a 1X9 twist on a 20" barrel. A 1X9" twist will give you great accuracy results from 55-69gr. bullets.
16" bull or heavy barrels are good for burst fire or automatics. If you plan on shooting a round per second or slower, then heavy or bull barrels are not needed.

My old DPMS 20" heavy barrel is one of my best accurate barrels that I ever owned. It was a 1X9 and non chromelined.

Solidsnake87
09-22-2010, 2:43 PM
How far do you want to shoot? And will you actually be motivated to shoot that far? This is very important.

If you mostly shoot at 100 yards and will occasionally shoot out to or past 300 yards, a standard factory upper will be your best option and will be cheaper. Keep in mind, when shooting distance, you will want to use match ammo or make hand loads.

If you know you will be motivated to shoot often past 300 yards, then you will want a custom upper, quality telescopic or mechanical iron sights, and hand load ammo. This route is definitely more expensive.

Are you unsure? Then take a middle ground! Buy a mil-spec upper, bolt group, and float tube, then buy a white oak match rifle barrel and put it together yourself. You will spend about $650 this route. Whether you shoot match ammo or hand load, this will get you where you want to go and ALWAYS get a 1:8 twist barrel because the top highpower guys supposedly have trouble getting faster twist barrels shooting at competitive accuracies. Slower twists, like the 1:9 are great barrels to but when shooting distance they have trouble stabilizing heavier bullets for long range accuracy. Solution: Get a LONG 1:8 twist barrel like the WOA one I mentioned :)

ExtremeX
09-22-2010, 3:03 PM
I also have some questions that may relate to the OP.

Stainless vs Chromelined vs chromoly

If you are building for long range target shooting / groups. In general, is the stainless going to produce better results?

If its a dedicated bench gun, and weight is not an issue, does a bull barrel really help?

I use off the shelf box ammo, american eagle 55 grain. Im too cheap to buy match ammo lol.

killshot44
09-22-2010, 3:25 PM
Solidsnake has nailed it.... Get a WOA barrel in a 1/8 twist with a Wylde chamber and you're done................

This combination is used by most experienced "F T/R-class" .223 shooters.

If you are building for long range target shooting / groups. In general, is the stainless going to produce better results?
USUALLY, BUT THERE ARE SOME CRAP MAKERS PUTTING OUT SS, TOO

If its a dedicated bench gun, and weight is not an issue, does a bull barrel really help?
YES, THICKER BARRELS ARE THE NORM FOR MATCH BARRELS; HEAT BUILD-UP IS SLOWER, RIGIDITY, ETC

I use off the shelf box ammo, american eagle 55 grain. Im too cheap to buy match ammo lol.
THAT'LL BE A PROBLEM AT LONG RANGE

ExtremeX
09-22-2010, 3:48 PM
Whats WOA?

RaiderNation
09-22-2010, 5:37 PM
WOA - White Oak Armament

Twinspool
09-22-2010, 5:43 PM
Can't go wrong with WOA, it's what Killshot44 uses to great effect.

My 1:8 Stag model 6 hangs in there very well too.

I wouldn't go slower than 1:8. You might lose a little velocity with lighter bullets but it's just as accurate.

ExtremeX
09-22-2010, 5:52 PM
Ive been considering the Stag model 6 upper. I like it, but im starting to re-think the whole bull barrel thing.

If you are NOT using match ammo, bull barrel vs standard profile. Is there really an advantage when using box ammo like American Eagle 55 grain?

On top of all that, length; im starting to hear 24" really doesnt gain much for you, except for a little extra velocity that may or may not even make any real world difference.

Solidsnake87
09-22-2010, 10:27 PM
I just wanted to reiterate, if you want to shoot past 300 you MUST shoot match ammo or reload if you want to do well. Also, ranges like Sac Valley require you to "qualify" in order to shoot past 100 yards. You have to show them your 100 yard target to prove your competence at accuracy before you can advance to any other range. Most commercial ammo makes 300 yards very easily but you will probably have 12-15" groups at that distance with any commercial stuff. With groups like that, ranges might not let you shoot at those distances because they don't want you destroying their wooden target supports. Bottom line, if you are not willing to reload or pay for match ammo then stick to a factory upper.

Masterdebater
09-22-2010, 10:42 PM
since were on topic of ars, how many round can u put through a decent upper before things go bad?

Solidsnake87
09-23-2010, 9:06 AM
Definite going "bad"? As long as you replace the bolt with the barrel every 10,000 rounds, a quality upper should run indefinitely. If you rapid fire a lot, I'd recommend replacing the bolt at 5K rounds as a good preventative maintenance task. Target uppers should not rapid fired, at least that is my recommendation. Its a waste of premium barrel life. A .223/5.56 barrel will last with decent accuracy for about 10,000 rounds but you loose the extreme accuracy edge after 5-6K rounds

ExtremeX
09-23-2010, 11:31 AM
Definite going "bad"? As long as you replace the bolt with the barrel every 10,000 rounds, a quality upper should run indefinitely. If you rapid fire a lot, I'd recommend replacing the bolt at 5K rounds as a good preventative maintenance task. Target uppers should not rapid fired, at least that is my recommendation. Its a waste of premium barrel life. A .223/5.56 barrel will last with decent accuracy for about 10,000 rounds but you loose the extreme accuracy edge after 5-6K rounds


How would you define a "Target Upper"?

A barrell thats made out of Stainless, any barrel thats a heavy barrel or bull?

From what I understand, stainless is more accurate, but does not last as long, and is harder to maintain?

Solidsnake87
09-23-2010, 1:34 PM
How would you define a "Target Upper"?

A barrell thats made out of Stainless, any barrel thats a heavy barrel or bull?

From what I understand, stainless is more accurate, but does not last as long, and is harder to maintain?

I don't know where you are getting your facts on that last part. Stainless and chrome moly steel barrels last just as long and, IF THEY ARE MATCH QUALITY, will perform essentially the same. Most target and competition shooters simply prefer the stainless because: 1.) its very attractive 2.) the added chromium resists corrosion or rusting better. I hope that helps. :)

Just FYI, bad and poor quality barrels can be stainless, chrome moly, and chrome-lined. Its not the barrel thats important so much as the maker! When quality barrels are compared, chrome moly and stainless are more accurate than chrome lined because its difficult to control the thickness of the chrome lining when its applied. This is not to say that chrome-lined are not accurate, they certainly can be. The FN SPR has a chrome-lined barrel, and I can shoot 10 to 15" groups at 1,000 yards when I do my part with my FN. The FN also comes with an accuracy guarantee.

Essentially what I'm saying is, always buy a premium barrel OR buy a varmint upper with an accuracy guarantee. RRA makes some amazing products, I highly recommend them for target use. Bushmaster's varmint special is also VERY accurate. I love mine, however, the 1:9 twist might make longer distance hard for me when I eventually hand load for it.

A competition shooter or a shooter going for the most accuracy wants a "target upper". As far as ARs go, a target upper usually is a mil-spec top receiver and bcg, a free float handguard of the shooters choice, and a premium match grade barrel. Depending on your type of shooting, barrel length and thickness varies. An F class guy will want the longest barrel imaginable to push bullets at max BC at further distances. He will also want a super thick barrel for shooting stability and reduction in heat build up--which can affect performance. A service rifle guy will want a 20" competition legal barrel (generally a thin or thinner profile, at least past the gas block). Some people may buy the "national match" receivers and bolt groups but most of the competitors I've run across use everyday mil spec parts with premium barrels.

Nathan Krynn
09-23-2010, 1:47 PM
I wouldn't get a Wylde chamber unless you are making your own ammo with super high BC 80+ grain. I'd stick to .223 chamber if your going to shoot .223 ammo. 5.56 factory ammo is 2-4 MOA so I wouldn't even bother with a 5.56 chamber.

Of course this is for a target upper like my Krieger 1:7.5 twist .223 20". My normal uppers are 5.56.

killshot44
09-23-2010, 2:02 PM
I wouldn't get a Wylde chamber unless you are making your own ammo with super high BC 80+ grain. I'd stick to .223 chamber if your going to shoot .223 ammo. 5.56 factory ammo is 2-4 MOA so I wouldn't even bother with a 5.56 chamber.

Of course this is for a target upper like my Krieger 1:7.5 twist .223 20". My normal uppers are 5.56.

This is sound advice, the .223 chamber should provide better accuracy with factory ammo (that is often loaded to a COAL of less than the standard of 2.250") as the "jump" to the lands is far shorter than that of the 5.56 chambering.

That said, most match barrels used in competition are chambered in Wylde for the reasons SolidSnake mentioned above.

As for the Stag Model 6 (Super Varminter), I've seen what those can do out to 800yds; very very well.

The 24" heavy barrel provides additional velocity which keeps the round supersonic farther downrange which means less drop and drift which equals better accuracy. Caveman explanation, but simple.