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Discussion Starter #1
I have been looking at ars both on the cheap side and some nice .308s. I think I am sick and I need at least 2. I am pretty sure I want one of the budget CMMG rebuilt/factory second or blemish ARs in flat top HBAR 18 or 20 in barrel I could go either way. Part of my problem is in the weeks I have been researching I am not seeing much talk or comparison of the long barrels versus the shorter barrels.

I have a SKS already for my HD and short range zombie and UN storm trooper killing. I want to get into some long range plinking and long range SHTF gun wouldn’t be bad either. I have a .45 XD compact and a 12 gauge Remington 870 so I don’t think a short barrel ar15 is going to do me much I can’t already accomplish with my current inventory.

Now does anyone have any links to some comparisons of different barrel lengths I can review.... its ok if its just rough comparison and not even the same exact models.

Or if anyone has any just purely personal opinion or range observations they would like to submit. Go ahead, ears open.

I am thinking 20 inch but I would go longer if it made a real big difference.

One last thing I am not overly concerned with the weight, I am a big guy and carry ladders and tools and crap around all day. I am in good shape and I am 6'4" 240 something lbs., so a few pounds extra lbs. on a gun isn’t going to slow me down much in a SHTF scenario.

Also everyone seems to want to shorten their ARs but I have yet to see a picture of a AR with a folding stock, I googled and found a manufacturer, are these crap or a bad idea for some reason on the AR, you see them allot on SKS and AK’s ?
 
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Discussion Starter #2
The reason you don't see folders on an AR besides the Olympic Arms OA93 series is because the buffer (recoil) spring is inside an AR buttstock. Without that and the gun couldn't cycle. But if you google AR collapsible stocks, vltor, magpul collapsible, etc you won't find a shortage of things to drool over.

The OA93 is specially designed around that fact though. I wasn't trying to imply they didn't work.

I have an 8.5 inch barrel, a 10 inch barrel, a 16 inch barrel and a 24 inch barrel. What would you like to know about them? What distances are you wanting to normally shoot at and I could probably help point you in the right direction, but barrels under 16 inches OAL, you'll have to apply for a special permit to own and cost an extra $200. (Federal regulations)

Normally, the longer the barrel, the longer distance you can shoot accurately, as long as you keep in mind that every bullet caliber has a limited useful range and if you can stay within that distance, you'll be alright.

And for the record, I carry a ladder, tools, gaffs and belt and junk all day too. (Utility lineman)

It'll make an old man out of you prematurely if you're not careful.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
The reason you don't see folders on an AR besides the Olympic Arms OA93 series is because the buffer (recoil) spring is inside an AR buttstock. Without that and the gun couldn't cycle. But if you google AR collapsible stocks, vltor, magpul collapsible, etc you won't find a shortage of things to drool over.

The OA93 is specially designed around that fact though. I wasn't trying to imply they didn't work.

I have an 8.5 inch barrel, a 10 inch barrel, a 16 inch barrel and a 24 inch barrel. What would you like to know about them? What distances are you wanting to normally shoot at and I could probably help point you in the right direction, but barrels under 16 inches OAL, you'll have to apply for a special permit to own and cost an extra $200. (Federal regulations)

Normally, the longer the barrel, the longer distance you can shoot accurately, as long as you keep in mind that every bullet caliber has a limited useful range and if you can stay within that distance, you'll be alright.

And for the record, I carry a ladder, tools, gaffs and belt and junk all day too. (Utility lineman)

It'll make an old man out of you prematurely if you're not careful.
Well I wasn’t looking for something less than 16" so that’s not an issue.

Just in your opinion same AR model in the same manufactures lineup same bullets, just different barrels, what kind of groupings could one expect at 600 or 700 yards, take your pick or estimate your best guess. I don’t think there are even any ranges near me (20 miles) that are more than 300 or 350 yards, but I still want the nicer long range gun if it’s only a few pounds and not much more money, all other things being equal.

My dilemma is what is the point of diminishing returns, where sure a 24" is better but how much better than a 20" at 600 yards. I can’t seem to find this sort of info anywhere.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
0-300 yards, a 16 inch will perform about the same as the longer barrels, but will have less terminal velocity behind it when it gets there.

Between 0-600 (some say 800, but I've never shot those distances) a 20 inch would be preferred.

From 0-800 (maybe squeeze a little more out of it if you're good enough), the 24 inch model.

The velocity difference between a 16 inch and a 24 inch are pretty considerable downrange. The more the better.

Groupings, I may not be the best to answer that question because 450+ yards is a long shot for me, but I expect about 5-6 inch groups at 450 yards with a broach cut rifling 24 inch barrel and do my part and have good glass with quality 223 ammo and there is no wind and the stars line up for me. When you're talking 400 yards, there is a whole lot of room for mistakes. My opinion at those distances 5 inches is pretty respectable.

The reason I don't shoot at distances much farther than 400 yards is compensating for bullet drop. Once you pass the 400 yard mark, there is a lot of it. At 500 yards, Hornady lists the 75 gr hpbt match ammo with about a 49 inch drop below a 200 yard zero. It's possible to take longer shots than that IF you're set up for it, but I don't feel comfortable at more than about 450 yards personally, but is just me.

Sorry that I couldn't answer your questions better than that, but that's the best I can answer with my knowledge on the subject.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
If the OP is looking for the proverbial "SHTF" rifle, then he'll be well-served with either a 16" or 20" barrel. You're going to lose a couple of hundred feet at the muzzle by going to 20" over 16". Can't imagine a 24" AR for use around the house. Sounds like it's a lot more likely that the OP will be taking a lot more shots at 400 yds. and under, rather than really long-range shots.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
If the OP is looking for the proverbial "SHTF" rifle, then he'll be well-served with either a 16" or 20" barrel. You're going to lose a couple of hundred feet at the muzzle by going to 20" over 16". Can't imagine a 24" AR for use around the house. Sounds like it's a lot more likely that the OP will be taking a lot more shots at 400 yds. and under, rather than really long-range shots.
well in a SHTF scenario i am in the city and 400 yards in the city is pretty dang far. We are total flatlanders in detroit there are no hills for about 30 miles from my house everything is perfectly flat. Everything is built up for 30 miles no open land just 3.5-4 million folks all door to door houses, on urban and suburban lots that are small. No big open spaces to pick someone off at 600 yards, no hills to see someone comming.

I have a SKS with folding stock for around the house and a 12 guage remington 870 and a xd 45 compact. So i wouldnt really need the AR for the house.

mercmar inyour opinion how much better would my groups be with a 20" versus a 16" all other factors being the same?
 
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Discussion Starter #7
well in a SHTF scenario i am in the city and 400 yards in the city is pretty dang far. We are total flatlanders in Detroit there are no hills for about 30 miles from my house everything is perfectly flat. Everything is built up for 30 miles no open land just 3.5-4 million folks all door to door houses, on urban and suburban lots that are small. No big open spaces to pick someone off at 600 yards, no hills to see someone coming.
You will be served well by any barrel length you choose longer than 16", as you have specified. In a SHTF scenario, you don't want to be engaging targets at long distances, you want to be hiding and evading so you don't use up your ammo for when you will need it. Why attract attention to yourself and possibly create a situation where you now have to try to survive an unfair fight?
mercmar inyour opinion how much better would my groups be with a 20" versus a 16" all other factors being the same?
I am not mercmar, but I have an opinion about this.

Your groups will be roughly the same with any barrel length you pick, because a good barrel is a good barrel no matter how long it is. What you will lose with a shorter barrel is some velocity. How much is an unknown variable until you can do your own velocity testing with two different barrels. Accuracy with a longer barrel has to do with the longer sight radius in my experience. Optics can help make up for what you don't have with sight radius on a shorter barrel.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Get a Steyr AUG/USR or MSAR STG 556 (American made). With the 16" barrel, they are the same length as a 10.5" AR w/ stock collapsed, so you get all the ballistics you need from 5.56 in a short, mean package. That combined with integral optic, quick change barrels, gas piston operation and the best mags ever built for a rifle. Out of the box, it can't be matched.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Bill,

For every 2" of barrel (after 16") you'll be likely to gain 100fps. Not much difference and load variations might average this figure out to nothing. This is my experience.

Another poster had it right, barrel length matters not for accuracy. Matter of fact, a longer barrel has more opportunity for imperfection. Float a quality barrel and you won't go wrong. Try to stay away from fluting and muzzle attachments if max accuracy is your main goal.

Fire-lapping works if done correctly.

-pWN
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I own and love to shoot a 16" Bushy Shorty. It groups as well as any 20" barreled AR that I've seen at our local range...better than most. The only advantage of the longer barrels is a few hundred fps that might come in handy for REALLY long shots.

I'd just opine, understanding what little I do about Detroit, that, should SRHTF, most of your "work" will be up-close-and-personal. If you can afford a nice AR, seems to me that you could also afford an exit visa and ticket to just about anywhere away from Detroit! ;)

I'd also opine that the liklihood of your having any AR handy when you're most likely to be attacked by uncivilized savage DemocRATs would be somewhere between infinitesimal and zero...closer to zero.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
I own and love to shoot a 16" Bushy Shorty. It groups as well as any 20" barreled AR that I've seen at our local range...better than most. The only advantage of the longer barrels is a few hundred fps that might come in handy for REALLY long shots.

I'd just opine, understanding what little I do about Detroit, that, should SRHTF, most of your "work" will be up-close-and-personal. If you can afford a nice AR, seems to me that you could also afford an exit visa and ticket to just about anywhere away from Detroit! ;)

I'd also opine that the liklihood of your having any AR handy when you're most likely to be attacked by uncivilized savage DemocRATs would be somewhere between infinitesimal and zero...closer to zero.
yeah I live in a real nice area RIGHT by Detroit we border Detroit, think Beverly hills type area (not THAT nice but Midwest Beverly hills, one of the nicest 3 towns in the state .... but like Beverly hills in that total dumpy parts of LA are just a fraction of a mile away.) I live by nice parts of detroit but some of the worst ghettos in America are but 6 miles from. If it got REALLY bad I have family in Canada, I live but a few miles from the lake st. Clair, only need to travel south a bit to get to Detroit river about 6 miles. I could paddle across the lake in a row boat if need be at the ends, I only need to go a few miles to get across the narrow parts of the lake even though it is 20-30 miles wide. I have uncle about 40 miles from Detroit out in the country on some acreage he is RIGHT by Canada I could probably swim across the st. Clair river in a few minutes to Canada. Though I would rather stay and shoot up the UN storm troopers or invading Mexicans or Chinese

Depends on level of SHTF I guess, Detroit riots I might stay, revolution or total regional chaos I am getting out in the country and earn my keep with some marksmanship picking off trouble makers from 500 yards out in the stix.

Hmm ok guys looks like I am going 16” or 18”, sounds like there is no big payoff to going longer.

Care to recommend your favorite .308 AR variant?
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Livonia?

best .308 AR would be, in my opinion, a Stoner SR-25. but those can be hard to find.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I've read, and I know this is no help, but someone mentioned folding stock AR's and I found this: LR 300.
I've seen their uppers in person (I guy at my range just bought one) and they are pretty slick.
It's been my experience that it doesn't matter much between 16" or 20" under 400 yrds or so, generally speaking. With a short barrel you'll have a lot of drop-off with heavier gr. bullets at longer distances due to lower velocities; but that's already been said, and much more perspicuously.
 
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