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View Full Version : Is the Hammer-Forged FN barrel from PSA worth the extra $60?


newglockster
03-01-2012, 10:53 AM
Pretty much just what the title states... Is the Hammer-Forged, double-chrome FN barrel from PSA worth the extra $60?

It probably will see just a few hundred rounds through it every year, but if the extra cash will get me a much better barrel, then I might go for it. Would if have any affect on accuracy or just a longer barrel life? (if those can really be separated...)

I am kinda on a budget build, and the extra $60 would get me a nice carry handle sight...

Thanks!

Bartin
03-01-2012, 11:08 AM
save the money, you'll likely never notice a difference

MrPlink
03-01-2012, 11:23 AM
It will have a longer life, but if you are barely using it it wont matter.

RONIN.
03-01-2012, 11:33 AM
For high round count rifles, I would recommend the hammer forged barrel.. but as you said your only gonna shoot a couple hundred rounds a year.. you will be just fine with the standard barrel.

ronin.

G38xOC
03-01-2012, 11:47 AM
If she's a keeper I would go for it

cabinetguy
03-01-2012, 11:52 AM
i doubt you will see the difference, but it a really nice barrel

russ69
03-01-2012, 12:14 PM
The accuracy of individual barrels varys so much it's hard to guess if one barrel is more accurate than another but a GOOD hammer forged barrel is worth the extra money.

liv4spd
03-01-2012, 12:17 PM
The accuracy of individual barrels varys so much it's hard to guess if one barrel is more accurate than another but a GOOD hammer forged barrel is worth the extra money.

This is more or less my sentiment - suffice to say, I went ahead with the Hammer Forged when I ordered mine.

newglockster
03-01-2012, 12:33 PM
Well, if I spread out the $60 over 30 years, then maybe I should just spring for the HF barrel.

gun toting monkeyboy
03-01-2012, 12:41 PM
If you are keeping the rifle long term, you may as well.

newglockster
03-01-2012, 12:42 PM
If you are keeping the rifle long term, you may as well.

Yes, it will be long term

therza2071
03-01-2012, 12:43 PM
Go for it. It's only $60.

liv4spd
03-01-2012, 12:44 PM
$2 a year...if you can't afford that, well, might want to pick up a new hobby.. :68:

Seriously though, FN makes a great piece of kit - it was a no-brainier for me to step up to a HF barrel. To each there own!

Wodsworthy
03-01-2012, 1:18 PM
$2 a year...if you can't afford that, well, might want to pick up a new hobby.. :68:

Seriously though, FN makes a great piece of kit - it was a no-brainier for me to step up to a HF barrel. To each there own!

It might have be even less than that. He can always pass it on to his kids :P

TBH, if you want to build a rifle, you might as well pay the piper now. Don't get me wrong, the more value price point AR's and Ar parts are a great deal, but if you intend to have the rifle a long time, you might as well buy a great gun that is exactly what you want now. Its better to get what you want now then buy it again later :P

newglockster
03-01-2012, 1:30 PM
TBH, if you want to build a rifle, you might as well pay the piper now. Don't get me wrong, the more value price point AR's and Ar parts are a great deal, but if you intend to have the rifle a long time, you might as well buy a great gun that is exactly what you want now. Its better to get what you want now then buy it again later :P

Thanks everyone!

I think the HF barrel makes the most sense now. :gunsmilie:

Caseless
03-01-2012, 1:35 PM
No, IMHO. I just finished zeroing my friend's PSA non-HF 20-inch complete upper build last week. 0.5 - 1 MOA benched with PMC and Fiocchi 55gr FMJ ammo. It's like winning a small lottery to get such an accurate barrel on his first try. With my luck, I bet I need to buy 30 complete uppers before getting this kind of accuracy.:43:

Hammer forging is supposed to cut down the per unit manufacturing cost. It really should cost less than the button rifled barrels. Maybe FN is still recouping the initial HF equipment investment cost.

Still, I would go for the M249 SAW type HF barrel if I have the money to shoot a couple hundred rounds a DAY.:)

Bartin
03-01-2012, 1:46 PM
if you are keeping it long term, why are you making it a budget rifle? If you want a long term rifle, spend more on every part of the rifle not just the barrel because over a lifetime the cost becomes insignificant on everything. If it's a budget, it makes no sense to splurge especially since the regular barrel is already a pretty high quality barrel that you will likely never wear out

h0use
03-01-2012, 2:09 PM
depends on how much you shoot. if you can spend the extra 60 go for it.

BAGunner
03-01-2012, 2:10 PM
No, IMHO. I just finished zeroing my friend's PSA non-HF 20-inch complete upper build last week. 0.5 - 1 MOA benched with PMC and Fiocchi 55gr FMJ ammo. It's like winning a small lottery to get such an accurate barrel on his first try. With my luck, I bet I need to buy 30 complete uppers before getting this kind of accuracy.:43:

Hammer forging is supposed to cut down the per unit manufacturing cost. It really should cost less than the button rifled barrels. Maybe FN is still recouping the initial HF equipment investment cost.

Still, I would go for the M249 SAW type HF barrel if I have the money to shoot a couple hundred rounds a DAY.:)

Picture of five 5-shot groups (25 shots total) or one 10 shot group or it didn't happen.

PMC and Fiocchi are known for 1.5-2 MOA.
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h3/Cody47/CalGuns%20Range%20Tests/45PMC55grFMJPic45.jpg

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h3/Cody47/CalGuns%20Range%20Tests/28-Fiocchi55grFMJPic28.jpg

You can read Cody's extensive 223/556 ammo test right here on calguns (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=272805).

Part One @ ARF (http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_16/490278_.html)
Part Two @ ARF (http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_16/500993_.html)
Part Three @ ARF (http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_16/552542_Range_Report____223_5_56_Ammo_Test_Part_3__ Pic_Heavy_.html)

Omega13device
03-01-2012, 3:34 PM
It's a waste of money IMO. No one has proven HF barrels have a longer life.

But hey it's your hard-earned dough, buy what you like. :)

CHS
03-01-2012, 4:00 PM
It's a waste of money IMO. No one has proven HF barrels have a longer life.

Whatcha smoking there buddy?

It's science. Harder barrels = longer life. This is why chromoly barrels last longer than stainless. This is why 4150 will generally outlast 4140. And this is why HF barrels will outlast an equivalent cut or button-rifled barrel of the same alloy.

The forging process makes things harder and tougher. This is why the receiver of your AR15 is made of forged aluminum.

The HF process is a forging process that leads to a harder and tougher barrel.

icenix
03-01-2012, 4:03 PM
I ended up paying the extra $100 (I think) on my Bravo Company upper for the HFB. I didn't really know the difference. Right after I bought it, I had wished I hadn't because that money could have gone towards something else, like an optic, scope, or bipod. However, here I am a couple of months later and if it does give a longer life to my gun, then ehhh, big deal. I didn't end up missing that $100 and I love my gun, so whatever.

Fear the beard!!!

Revolver Ocelot
03-01-2012, 4:39 PM
I went with the HF version for my 14.7 carbine upper. Figured $60 bucks for a long term investment wasnt bad.

glock7
03-01-2012, 4:39 PM
If you want to spend the extra 60 and you shoot a lot then yes, if not then spend the 60 on something else. Happy shooting.

daybreak
03-01-2012, 6:21 PM
I did. FN hammer forged barrel is what sold me on PSA over BCM.

Omega13device
03-01-2012, 10:54 PM
Whatcha smoking there buddy?

It's science. Harder barrels = longer life. This is why chromoly barrels last longer than stainless. This is why 4150 will generally outlast 4140. And this is why HF barrels will outlast an equivalent cut or button-rifled barrel of the same alloy.

The forging process makes things harder and tougher. This is why the receiver of your AR15 is made of forged aluminum.

The HF process is a forging process that leads to a harder and tougher barrel.

That's a reasonable theory but do you have any empirical data that support it? All I see is a lot of people running around the internet saying they last longer, but no data that supports this claim.

Let's assume for a moment that you're right though. Even then, keep in mind that:
- you don't benefit from the extra life until the end of the barrel's life. That could be years depending on your usage, so you're paying now for a benefit you don't get for years.
- most people will sell their upper before they wear it out.

So even if it's true most people are unlikely to benefit from spending the extra money.

liv4spd
03-01-2012, 11:54 PM
That's a reasonable theory but do you have any empirical data that support it? All I see is a lot of people running around the internet saying they last longer, but no data that supports this claim.

Let's assume for a moment that you're right though. Even then, keep in mind that:
- you don't benefit from the extra life until the end of the barrel's life. That could be years depending on your usage, so you're paying now for a benefit you don't get for years.
- most people will sell their upper before they wear it out.

So even if it's true most people are unlikely to benefit from spending the extra money.

As per your request: http://technology.calumet.purdue.edu/met/higley/Precision%20Shooting%20Magazine%20-%20November-%202005%20%28Vol_%2053%20-%20No_%207%29.htm

To sum it up (but I still recommend you read the article) - 3 to 6 points on the Rockwell scale are gained in bore hardness. That in and of itself was worth the $60 to me; then again, I'll probably never sell this upper..

Omega13device
03-02-2012, 12:50 AM
As per your request: http://technology.calumet.purdue.edu/met/higley/Precision%20Shooting%20Magazine%20-%20November-%202005%20%28Vol_%2053%20-%20No_%207%29.htm

To sum it up (but I still recommend you read the article) - 3 to 6 points on the Rockwell scale are gained in bore hardness. That in and of itself was worth the $60 to me; then again, I'll probably never sell this upper..

That just says it's harder, but it's not proof that it lasts longer in terms of round count. You need data from an empirical test showing round counts, when groups started opening up, and measures of throat erosion.

CHS
03-02-2012, 6:29 AM
That just says it's harder, but it's not proof that it lasts longer in terms of round count. You need data from an empirical test showing round counts, when groups started opening up, and measures of throat erosion.

Harder barrels simply last longer. Period. This is supported by empirical evidence. That you want to ignore science is your problem, not mine.

Omega13device
03-02-2012, 11:02 AM
Harder barrels simply last longer. Period. This is supported by empirical evidence. That you want to ignore science is your problem, not mine.

I'm not "ignoring science". I get why it's supposed to last longer. If you have a link to test results, please share. I'm saying "lasts longer" has to be quantified if you're going to make a judgement that it's "better" for YOU.

Is it 2x longer? Ok then the benefit is pretty obvious. But if it's 10% longer then it's not helping. Also, people who only shoot a few thousand rounds a year aren't likely to benefit.

So sure the barrel will last longer but whether it's worth spending the money is dependent on how much longer it lasts, and how much you shoot. There are too many voodoo solutions in this industry and I'm just trying to get people to think a little and not just accept it when someone says something is "better". I don't have a bias other than to ask questions and if the math works out I'll be the first to say it's totally worth spending the $60.

Peter.Steele
03-02-2012, 4:16 PM
I posted this in another thread that asked the same question, more or less, and so I'll just copypasta it over here:



Hammer forged barrels frequently offer little to no benefit in terms of accuracy. That's a myth. What they are is a way to make a lot of barrels very quickly.

The process involves putting a steel tube over a mandrel which has the rifling and chamber already cut into it. After this, hammers pound the living hell out of the tube, and then you've got a barrel that is already chambered, rifled and profiled. No further steps are needed.

The advantages:

First, the finish on the inside of the barrel may be extremely perfect, straight out of the box. Depends entirely on how worn the mandrel is.

Second, the barrel will likely be significantly harder due to the hammering process, and therefore more wear resistant than a non-HF barrel. This leads to potentially much greater wear resistance, and therefore a barrel that will last longer.

Third, since you're not drilling a deep hole, you are more likely to have a barrel that is straighter than more traditional processes.



These are the big advantages.

The disadvantages:

1. Chip forming processes - like cut rifling - do not induce additional stress into the barrel. The hammering process does. If the barrel blank has not been properly prepared beforehand, you can wind up with a barrel that is not straight. At all.

2. The quality of the bore depends heavily on the quality of the mandrel. If you get the first barrel off the new mandrel, you'll likely have a MUCH higher quality barrel than if you got the ten thousandth barrel off the same mandrel.

3. Cost. The machinery to make these barrels is stupid expensive, and that means that unless you have a market for a whole hell of a lot of them, they'll be very expensive.



Disadvantages 1 & 2 are basically overcome by having very high levels of quality control. Disadvantage 3 may be overcome by establishing a certain level of cachet to having a hammer forged barrel, so that the added cost will seem worth it.


As far as the advantages go, the first one will be - again - based on quality control. A high-end barrel maker with more traditional tools will likely have just as high quality a finish. Same for #3.

The big advantage is #2: the wear resistance. Thing is, shooting 200-250 rounds a month, your barrel will likely outlive you. Hammer forged makes a big difference for machine guns doing a lot of suppressive fire. Not so much for a semi-auto rifle.


Now, that said, the hammer forged barrels from PSA are not sold at that much of a premium. FN makes a s**tload of these things, so they can do it cheaply enough. Also, they tend to have extremely good quality control. So, the way I look at it, with PSA's prices and FN's reputation, you've got a decent chance of getting all the advantages to actually line up at once. Even if you don't, you've still got a barrel that isn't going to be any worse than anything else out there, and you'll still have bragging rights.





Full disclosure: I have a PSA upper with an FN hammer-forged barrel. I could not be in any way more pleased with it.

newglockster
03-03-2012, 7:26 AM
^^^ Thank you for that! Well-written! :)

Renntiger
03-06-2013, 11:41 PM
I found with most things in life, when you are spending money to buy something nice it is always better to spend the extra money to buy a quality upgrade. First, you will regret not doing it later as the time passes. second, the hammer forged barrel will last much longer and although you may not shoot a lot now, you may in the future. Third, should you decide on a CHF barrel in the future, you will spend 5 times more to upgrade. Look, a gun is not a TV or a phone. It is a possession for life and probably your children's lives too. I noticed that for nice things, the value is greater as time goes on so its not like you are throwing your money away. Should you ever decide to sell it, you will get more money for it. You can also know that it will be ready to go when you need it. Hammer forging is stronger and FN barrels need no break-in. Spend the extra money so you can sleep at night. You could spend $60 on a date and have nothing to show for it or you can invest in a quality, Machine-gun steel barrel and have something to tell the kids. Your choice; I went hammer forged and love it. The money will seem like nothing in 5 years from now. start with the right parts and wait on the other upgrades later. You have time to wait.

MrPlink
03-07-2013, 3:08 AM
Holy one year old necro bump!

Chatterbox
03-07-2013, 4:12 AM
Check out the latest Luckygunner (http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/brass-vs-steel-cased-ammo/)test. Hammerforged barrel (Spikes) didn't last any longer than button rifled (Bushmaster) ones under heavy-use conditions.

thefinnatic
03-07-2013, 6:50 AM
I doubt 99% of us will ever use these barrels to their full potential in order to tell the difference between hammer forged and button rifled.

That being said, $60 is not a huge price to pay for a little "peace of mind".

joeblowphony
03-07-2013, 9:00 AM
Its like spending that extra dough on the heated seats and in-dash navigation when you live in So Cal and never drive anywhere but work and the store.

:cool: