04-12-2011, 2:13 PM
It's probably been asked before but, what are the differences between lightweight, standard and heavy profile barrels? Aside from (maybe the obvious) weight? Do they make a difference depending on the type of shooting the user is doing? Are there benefits over one or the other or other? In shopping around for an upper it seems that the most available (still in stock) is always uppers with a lightweight barrel profile. :confused:

Lets hear opinions/experiences!

04-12-2011, 2:34 PM
The difference is the obvious. Heavy barrels are just that, large diameter barrels that weigh allot. They were introduced in M16's to help reduce warping and wear after long periods of full auto fire. The original M16 barrel were very light at about 1/2" dia. under the handguards. In a semi-auto AR heavy barrels are not necessary unless the shooter likes a heavier gun.

Today the standard AR barrel is fairly heavy but is labeled as standard because the profile gets smaller after the gas block. A "heavy" barrel will have the same large dia. typically 7/8"-1" all the way out to the muzzle. Light and med. profile barrels are thinner under the handguards, typically 1/2-5/8.

I personally like a lighter rifle. My match rifle has a standard barrel that has been fluted to reduce weight. My other match rifle has a heavy barrel that was turned down to 5/8".

04-12-2011, 2:36 PM
I currently run a lightweight barrel. Besides the obvious, I've noticed it heats up much quicker than the standard barrel.

04-12-2011, 2:40 PM

04-12-2011, 8:51 PM
Good chart at:

04-12-2011, 9:29 PM
It took me a couple of years to realize that I'm not going to shoot enough to get the barrel too hot for a Pencil Barrel. Plus if you put heat sinks on it. You can shoot an extra ten rounds.

7.62 Charlie
04-12-2011, 10:55 PM
A very cool product from JP Enterprises: http://www.jprifles.com/1.4.5_hs.php

This allows you to use a light profile barrel, but with superior cooling vs a heavy barrel. They work GREAT! I have them on both my JP upper builds.

Take care,Stan

wow that's awesome

04-12-2011, 11:21 PM
The thicker the barrel the more heat it can withstand
The thicker the barrel the less whip effects accuracy
The thicker the barrel the better crowbar it makes
The thicker the barrel the less your wife will ask to shoot it
The thicker the barrel the less heat is transfered to the rest of the firearm
The thicker the barrel the more time it takes to feel the heat radiating from the barrel.

you are trading weight for heat resistance with a slight accuracy added in.

04-21-2011, 8:19 AM
Awesome. Thank you everyone!
I particularly liked this response:
"The thicker the barrel the less your wife will ask to shoot it" :rofl2: