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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 07-04-2011, 8:56 AM
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Default Long range AR15 20" or 24" barrel?

I'm shopping for a good complete upper and it's for my first AR15 lower build. I want it to be a long range rifle with a scope and bipod. Should I go with stainless barrels; 20 or 24 inch barrels; fluted or not? What brand is recommended?

Thanks for our input.
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:05 AM
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.........
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It makes it bigger and longer.

Last edited by BigBamBoo; 08-11-2011 at 7:45 AM..
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:10 AM
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Kinda an old saying, "long range, long barrel, short range, short barrel". If you are going to stretch out the legs on a cartridge, you might as well get the best ballistics out of it you can. Now it is possible to have a barrel so long that you reach a point of deminishing returns, but within reason, the saying applies.
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BigBamBoo View Post
What do you consider long range? 300 yards? 600 yards? 1000 yards?

Do you plan on packing the rifle around...hiking with it,etc.? If so then a fluted, lighter profile barrel would be less weight and better for packing.
If it is strictly a range rifle...shooting prone or from a bench...then weight is a moot point.

Same as above for barrel length. If it is something your running aroun in the hills with then a 20" is fine. If a range rifle then get a 24" and you will gain a bit of velocity and it will help with the longer shots.

I have shot my 20" AR to 1000 yards. It is NOT the ideal caliber for that range. But folks do it all the time.

Any of the top barrel makers will be fine for a barrel..Krieger, Bartlein, Pac-Nor, or any of the AR makers barrels...JP,White Oak, etc.

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  #5  
Old 07-04-2011, 9:18 AM
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Thanks Stan - This will just be a range gun - I won't be back packing with it. I originally wanted something that is capable for a 1000 yards, but you got me thinking now about the .223 round and maybe I should save the long range rifle idea for something in .308. I think this AR15 build will be for something like 300 yards, so I think I'm siding on something in 20 inch.
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  #6  
Old 07-04-2011, 9:18 AM
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i have heard that people get better results with 20" and under. or better results with an 18" than a 20"? i read that somewhere not too long ago in this forum or something of that nature. does that sound familiar?
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:20 AM
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Well my first 15 was 24 inchs long..... it sucked, it was really heavy and while it may have sent the round a hair faster, it wasn't any less accurate once I had it cut to 20" since then I've replaced that barrel with just a heavy barrel and its even lighter and still just as accurate as the 20 inch bull barrel.
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:24 AM
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Not that I could hit anything at 600 yards never mind 1000 yards, just knowing that in capable hands and practice it could.
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:27 AM
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Go with 20" over the 24" and you will be glad you did. 20" is great for bench shooting.
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:31 AM
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I'd go 26" in white oak or equivalent for Long range "bench" type shooting.
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Old 07-04-2011, 9:39 AM
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Additionally, for the really far .223 shooting you are going to want a barrel that can stabilize the heavy projectiles. 1/8 will do you for 77 gn. and some of the 80 gn, but you will need something like a 1/6.5 for the 90s and a chamber designed to shoot those longer bullets. Single loading will also be necessary for anything above the 77 class.
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  #12  
Old 07-04-2011, 9:41 AM
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..............
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
It makes it bigger and longer.

Last edited by BigBamBoo; 08-11-2011 at 7:44 AM..
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  #13  
Old 07-04-2011, 10:05 AM
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nice shooting
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Old 07-04-2011, 1:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPGunner View Post
I'm shopping for a good complete upper and it's for my first AR15 lower build. I want it to be a long range rifle with a scope and bipod. Should I go with stainless barrels; 20 or 24 inch barrels; fluted or not? What brand is recommended?

Thanks for our input.
Look no further. http://www.whiteoakarmament.com Get the Match or Varmint barrel.

You gain ~25fps with every inch, which is important to get those 77-80s through the wind. (the 90s have fallen out of favor)
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Old 07-04-2011, 2:28 PM
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I went with White Oak Armament as killshot recomends . It was my first AR and I will use it at long range matches.
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Old 07-04-2011, 2:29 PM
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An 18" 1:7 is good to 700 yards, easy. Beyond that, no matter how long your barrel is, spotting the splash gets really difficult. It's such a small bullet with so little energy at that point.

The 77gr SMK is excellent if you can get it to about 2700fps. Anything larger cannot be mag loaded and honestly, at that point you should move up to a .260REM or .308WIN anyway.
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Old 07-04-2011, 2:39 PM
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I did a SDMR type build based on a stainless WOA fluted 20" barrel. Shoots 1/2MOA with little effort.
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Old 07-04-2011, 3:28 PM
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The boys out at Cuyama shoot the 5.56 out to 1,000 yards with 20" Service Rifle uppers using the 80 grain bullets single loaded because the COAL is too long for the magazine but the 24" barrels would make life a lot easier.

Go with White Oak Armament or get the top of the line Krieger barrel.
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Old 07-04-2011, 3:36 PM
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20", any of the top manufacturers will be fine.

The philosophy behind getting a 24" AR seems obsolete to me. Why try squeezing that little bit of velocity out of a 4" difference in trade for horrible balance and zero practicality? Honestly, instead of a 24" AR you're better of with a 20" or even 18" .308 rifle. Instead of trying to lengthen the pipe just switch calibers.

I have a 20" SS416 stainless 1/9 upper and shooting 55gr M193 I can hit the 600 steel at Angeles easy. Get a 20".
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Old 07-04-2011, 3:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1fabweld View Post
I did a SDMR type build based on a stainless WOA fluted 20" barrel. Shoots 1/2MOA with little effort.
Yeah mine looks a little like that too.
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  #21  
Old 07-04-2011, 3:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jcaoloveshine View Post
20", any of the top manufacturers will be fine.

The philosophy behind getting a 24" AR seems obsolete to me. Why try squeezing that little bit of velocity out of a 4" difference in trade for horrible balance and zero practicality? Honestly, instead of a 24" AR you're better of with a 20" or even 18" .308 rifle. Instead of trying to lengthen the pipe just switch calibers.

I have a 20" SS416 stainless 1/9 upper and shooting 55gr M193 I can hit the 600 steel at Angeles easy. Get a 20".
Shoot a lot of high power matches? If so how many of your competitors using a match rifle prefer a 20" barrel?
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Old 07-04-2011, 3:50 PM
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BTW, keep in mind I do love the short 18" and 20" barrels. I'm not knocking that.
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Old 07-04-2011, 4:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcaoloveshine View Post
20", any of the top manufacturers will be fine.

The philosophy behind getting a 24" AR seems obsolete to me. Why try squeezing that little bit of velocity out of a 4" difference in trade for horrible balance and zero practicality? Honestly, instead of a 24" AR you're better of with a 20" or even 18" .308 rifle. Instead of trying to lengthen the pipe just switch calibers.

I have a 20" SS416 stainless 1/9 upper and shooting 55gr M193 I can hit the 600 steel at Angeles easy. Get a 20".
If I were shooting Match Rifle with an AR platform in NRA High Power, I'd definitely be using at least a 24" or 26" barrel. Not only is the extra muzzle velocity desirable, I also want the extra length on the sight radius.
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  #24  
Old 07-04-2011, 4:23 PM
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24 or 26" AR would be good for NRA High Power, but that's a very very specific niche of shooting.

This is his first AR, dude will probably be shooting a lot of factory ammo, so 20" is probably a better choice. Lot of guys probably do have 24 or 26" ARs on the firing line in those matches, but not many when you go to a general shooting range or in any type of precision/long range rifle classes.

He's gonna scope it anyways, so sight radius doesn't matter.
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Old 07-04-2011, 4:48 PM
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Mentioned above, and more critical than barrel length is the twist necessary to stabilize long heavy bullets required past 600 yards or so.

Over on 6mmbr.com an Englishman has posted regarding his 5.56 nee .223 in competition at 1,000 yards. He has won matches .. .. .. The benefit is almost no recoil.
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Old 07-04-2011, 5:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcaoloveshine View Post
24 or 26" AR would be good for NRA High Power, but that's a very very specific niche of shooting.

This is his first AR, dude will probably be shooting a lot of factory ammo, so 20" is probably a better choice. Lot of guys probably do have 24 or 26" ARs on the firing line in those matches, but not many when you go to a general shooting range or in any type of precision/long range rifle classes.

He's gonna scope it anyways, so sight radius doesn't matter.
My point is that 24 or 26" barrels on an AR in a .223 variant aren't obsolete. People target shoot (competition or casual) or shoot varmint, irons or scopes and still desire the extra muzzle velocity.

OP wants a target shooting gun, so a 24" isn't out of the question.

But I guess if you want to stick with what's the 'norm', go with a 20".
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Old 07-04-2011, 6:27 PM
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Thanks. This is awesome feedback. I got a wide variety of feedback. I will be shooting alot of factory ammo at the range and I do plan on scoping it. I'm going to go with a 20" and will check out white oak.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:58 PM
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OP - what did you end up going with?
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Old 08-29-2011, 5:23 AM
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I have a 22" and love it!
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Old 08-29-2011, 7:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motorwerks View Post
Well my first 15 was 24 inchs long..... it sucked, it was really heavy and while it may have sent the round a hair faster, it wasn't any less accurate once I had it cut to 20" since then I've replaced that barrel with just a heavy barrel and its even lighter and still just as accurate as the 20 inch bull barrel.
This is due to barrel whip. Just like when you were a kid and waved that pencil up and down and it looked like is was rubber. Same for barrels.

A 20" will be more accurate then a 24" due to this and the velocity gain is not really worth it. Heck I use 18"ers personally.

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Old 08-29-2011, 7:46 AM
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If you want to shoot 1K you will more than likely be reloading, so why not get your barrel chambered in something that will hit 1K better than .223 Rem but still work in the AR15?
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Old 08-29-2011, 9:34 AM
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If you want to shoot 1K you will more than likely be reloading, so why not get your barrel chambered in something that will hit 1K better than .223 Rem but still work in the AR15?
Still cheaper to reload .223. And some people enjoy a challenge.
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Old 08-29-2011, 9:37 AM
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Still cheaper to reload .223. And some people enjoy a challenge.
I can try to shoot 1K with my .22 LR. It's challenging but I wouldn't call my 10/22 a 1K rifle.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:36 AM
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I can try to shoot 1K with my .22 LR. It's challenging but I wouldn't call my 10/22 a 1K rifle.
If you use the scope to sight in the target and then call in air support or artillery, you could still call it a 1k rifle...

I have an 18" White Oak on an SPR build and it's pretty accurate; probably more so than I am. I shot about 350 yards out in the desert near Barstow and could consistently hold groups on a 10" steel plate. It's interesting, though, how little force a .223 round (55 grain XM193) has at that distance. Compared to 7.62x51, which was putting a decent dent in 4340, the .223 was just leaving black marks on the white paint. At 100-120 yards, the same round was creating dime sized pockets in the same type of steel plate.

18-20" will probably do well for any range shooting unless you're really stretching what the .223 will do.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:38 AM
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I would go with a 24 or 26
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  #36  
Old 08-29-2011, 10:55 AM
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Is there much of a difference in "challenge" to hit 600~1000yds between a 20" std-barrel and a 20" h-barrel using factory match loads?
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:03 AM
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Is there much of a difference in "challenge" to hit 600~1000yds between a 20" std-barrel and a 20" h-barrel using factory match loads?
Equally well made barrels will shoot the same but the heavy barrel will be able to stay cooler and shoot tighter groups longer.
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:35 PM
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Longer barrels are not more accurate, but they allow the bullet to be driven faster.

If you're shooting short-medium range (less than 600 yards) then it doesn't matter. But if you're shooting long range, high power, varmint hunting, you'd be surprised how much an extra 100 fps matters when your bullet starts dropping.

I don't have the reloading skills for this, but people shooting Palma or F-Class regularly shoot rifles with 30"+ barrels.
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Old 08-29-2011, 9:05 PM
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I'm pretty sure that 26" is the maximum for most 5.56x45mm ammo, meaning that, if the barrel's longer than that, you're actually losing velocity. Don't go longer than 26" (not that I can imagine why you would).
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Old 11-19-2012, 8:57 PM
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I know this is a REALLY OLD THREAD, but I'm stuck in doors and can't go shoot. A 20 inch barrel will let a 75 grain bullet cross the 600 yard line supersonic, stable, and accurate. A longer barrel will get you some more speed but it will not get you any more accuracy. I am sure that by now you have long since made up your mind, but I'm stuck in doors and necroposting again.
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