View Full Version : Selecting an AR-15 Barrel

02-17-2012, 8:16 PM
I just ordered a lower for my first AR-15 build. It's time to start thinking about upper parts or a complete upper. Before I make any decisions though, I need to get schooled on barrel choices. Length, material, weight, twist, etc. Here are my criteria:

My primary use for the rifle will be target shooting. I'd like to be as accurate and consistent as possible. That said, the weakest link in my plan probably isn't the barrel. :D My shooting frequency will probably only be a hundred or so rounds a month, so I don't know how big a factor durability is, but certainly I'd like it to have a reasonably long life. Since I don't plan to hunt with it, weight isn't a major concern, but I'd still like it to be as light as possible to avoid fatigue. Cost is certainly a concern, but I'm willing to spend a reasonable sum if it helps with accuracy/consistency.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

02-17-2012, 8:27 PM
So a dedicated range gun with accuracy as a primary concern? Go with a SS bull barrel and a free floating handguard. 18"-20" should serve you fine.

ETA: As for twist rate I would look into 1:8, its a hybrid twist rate but it does a good job stabilizing both light and heavier loads ( assuming you go 5.56 as your post did not specify caliber)

02-17-2012, 9:06 PM
Thanks for the reply. Yes, it pretty much would be a dedicated range rifle. And yes, I am leaning toward 5.56 because of the price of ammo. I have been wavering back and forth between 5.56 and 7.62. I guess that's the subject of another post.

Am I correct in my understanding that a SS barrel may not last as long as other materials, but has a more uniform bore and therefore potentially better accuracy? Given the small number of rounds that I plan to put down range is the lifespan of SS even a concern? Thanks.

02-17-2012, 9:16 PM
Given the small number of rounds that I plan to put down range is the lifespan of SS even a concern? Thanks.

Not really, while a SS barrel will have a shorter life span than say a CHF barrel the amount of rounds most people put down range makes this almost a non issue.

02-18-2012, 4:49 AM
check out JP rifle,

CIV Tactical
02-18-2012, 7:51 AM
SS is going to have better protection against the elements. I would suggest something In 18" inch or 20" , non chrome lined with a fluted heavy type profile, this will offer you the happy medium between weight and steadiness. Bull barreled or braked is up to you. As stated before the 1/8 twist is a great hybrid twist rate. check out JP enterprises, wilson barrels and black hole weaponry. These manufacturers Make great target profiled barrels and can offer you a more custom type look.

02-18-2012, 8:46 AM
I got my barrel from DEZ Arms. I can't yet vouch for accuracy, though I have shot it, and it looks nice. Last time I went I wasn't prepared to measure groups. Hopefully Sunday will be a bit different. I'll be shooting iron sites at 25 and 100 yards. Anyway they make supposedly match-grade barrels for pretty low prices. I got mine for 220 with gas tube shipped. I would recommend that you get the gas-block from them as well... My barrel measured exactly to .75 at the point where the gas block goes, and NONE of the ones I tried at various AR stores fit. Had to order from them, but their customer service is EXCELLENT!.

My barrel is 20", 1/7 twist, fluted and blued. I believe it's chome on the inside.

More info here:

Good luck with the build!

02-18-2012, 9:11 AM
Thanks guys. I really appreciate your input.

02-18-2012, 9:28 AM
If you don't want rails and don't care about weight just get a 16-20" varmint upper. It will be super accurate and probably 500 or so (make sure it's 1:8 twist). Otherwise look at barrels from White Oak, Fulton and Bravocompany. Also to get build ideas look in the rifle gallery on this site and google search for "Varmint" "DMR" "Recce" and "SPR" to see how others are spending their $$$$.

edit: if you want to spend real money douglas, lilja, hart and krieger all do drop-in AR barrels. Shilen too (I have a shilen and I had a douglas and have had white oak they are all good to go).

02-18-2012, 10:06 AM
not sure what is meant by "hybrid twist rate", as in a gain twist barrel?

02-18-2012, 12:34 PM
Hybrid usually refers to a Wylde chamber, which will chamber and fire both .223 and 5.56 equally well. I think a hybrid twist is just something that's halfway between the 1-9 and 1-7; 1-8. First time I've seen hybrid twist, it's always been hybrid chamber in all of the other stuff I've read about AR15 barrels.

To the OP, high power rifle guys are shooting 20", SS, 1-8, Wylde chamber. That is about what you are wanting to do. I'd look for one of those.

02-18-2012, 1:19 PM
wow, 8 is between 7 and 9, who would've thought....

02-18-2012, 5:29 PM
Cant go wrong with anything from White oak. some of the best barrels money can buy for accuracy. Figure out what style rifle you like and order your barrel


02-18-2012, 5:29 PM
Glad you asked the question phish. I didn't know what the "hybrid" was referring to. Now I know :^)