20" heavy or light barrel? Opinion

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by james_black, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. james_black

    james_black New Member

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    Guys:

    I have a 20" ar15 with a heavy barrel with it. I have been thinking on selling it and get myself a lightweight pencil barrel one. Share your knowledge with pros and cons. :rolleyes:

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    What is the goal for the rifle?

    If it's for SHTF yard defense purposes, a bull barrel 20" is not the correct application.

    If you want to use it for shooting out to 300 or 400 yards, then the bull barrel is the best choice.

    Instead of selling off one complete upper, and buying another, have you thought about just getting the bull barrel fluted to save on weight and still allow a much stronger barrel profile?

    JD
     

  3. Gus556

    Gus556 New Member

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    Yeah...what he said^^.
     
  4. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    What type of shooting will you be doing most? Are you going to be using this for home defense/range/varmint? What weight of ammo do you typically use? When you go shooting, how many rounds do you usually shoot? Hmmm...I'm sure there are more ???'s

    In the meantime, the 20" heavy barrel you have, is it a bull barrel? Target crown? what twist rate?

    Reason i ask, you will be giving up some accuracy from the longer barrel to go to the pencil/lightweight barrel. expect the thin barrel to heat up faster, specially if you are shooting a lot, and that will throw your accuracy off. the heavier barrel will be better for prolonged shooting, target, varmint shooting than the thin barrel.

    but the heavier 20" barrel will be a little more cumbersome in tight quarters (ie- in your house), unless of course you set up in your safe room and wait for them to come to you, or your have wide hallways and stairs. not impossible, just more gun to move around corners, etc.

    The thin barrel, lighter weight, less weight to carry, easier to swing around in tight quarters, less fatigue to you - but then it will have more recoil, too.

    Keep in mind what rounds the barrels are chambered for, too. A lot of the heavy bull barrels out there are chambered in .223, not all, but a lot. the pencil weight will most likely be 5.56. So you'll be able to shoot both 5.56 and .223 in the pencial weight. most pencil weights i've seen lately have been 1:9 twist. this means you'll be able to shoot up to 69, maybe up to 75 gr bullets. the heavy barrels, again depending on twist rate, you'll be able to shoot those same bullets, heavier if your twist rate is tighter, say a 1:8 or 1:7

    then again, you could keep the heavy barrel for longer ranges, target and varmint shooting, and buy a lightweight to keep on the gun for home defense, etc. ;)

    Slo
     
  5. james_black

    james_black New Member

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    Alright let's answer some of this.....

    -- a3 20" barrel/ hbar/ 1-9 twist/ a1 stock/ (grunt rifle)
    -- Purpose? Home defense/ no varmint/ shtf kinda rifle
    -- I owned for the last 3yrs. I only shot 100 rds through it for zeroing in and couple of 3 gun matches.

    -- I have a 30.06 for long range. I'm keeping a 20" for @ least 150-200 yrds to mantain reliable stopping power.

    -- I zero it @ 50yrd with 62 grain sp.
     
  6. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    Any particular reason you can't keep the 20"HB? A 16" pencil barrel isn't all that much and if you wanted to you could use the 20" for range/hunting duties.

    Good luck. :)
     
  7. RMTactical

    RMTactical New Member

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    I hate the HBAR for all purpose use. I got one as my first 20".

    Ended up ditching the HBAR for a govt profile, it shaved a whole pound. It was amazing how much better the weapon balanced after that as well.
     
  8. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    Ok, so you aren't gaining or losing anything in the twist. Are you thinking about a pencil thin barrel in 20", too? Or going down to 16"?

    You might consider the govt profile if you want to keep the 20", just for sake of keeping accuracy longer if you are doing a lot of shooting. You would still save a bit on weight, not as much as dropping to a pencil barrel, but less than a heavy. Now if you drop down to a 16" pencil barrel, you'll be saving probably close to 2 pounds from that heavy barrel. The shorter length would be more ideal for close quarters/home defense, than a 20" barrel. Now if you are going to be taking it out shooting/plinking and putting a few rounds thru it, expect to see a drop in accuracy after 100 rounds or so, and maybe get steadily worse as the barrel heats up. (kind of like the issue that Mini-14's have had for a while) But to get around that, pace your shooting. It's not the type of barrel that you'll be out there bump-firing 200 round C-mags thru.;) But for what you are thinking, a lightweight home defense piece, maybe with a tactical light on the end, it would be ideal.

    I'm currently putting together a similar piece for the wife. 16" superlight barrel from bushmaster, on an A2 upper receiver (she doesn't want any red dot scopes or anything else on it - just pure and simple) with magpul moe handguards, a2 stock, and 20 rd mags. I figure the whole thing will weigh around 6-6.5 pounds when done, so perfect for her, easy to swing and get on target, and excellent for home defense - something I hope we never have to prove.

    Slo
     
  9. RMTactical

    RMTactical New Member

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    You may want to consider a Cav Arms MKII lower. They save a pound of weight as well. I recently put one on my wife's superlight AR15.

    Had been thinking about getting her an M1 Carbine, but with the superlight AR15, she gets a light gun, a better round, and most parts are compatible with all of my other AR15's.

    AR15 Pro - Defensive Carbine: New Lower for my Superlight AR15
     
  10. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    I have a 20" bull barrel setup and a 16" HBAR setup and there isn't that much difference in the weight of the guns with a loaded mag in them. The HBAR setup is quicker to shoulder and aim but they both shoot equal to 300yrds. After that the 20" bull will leave it in the dust.
    I have carried both rifles on long hunts,and both get heavy after awhile,but nothing I couldn't handle,they are a piece of cake compared to my 14+ Lb Savage 110FLP setup.

    [​IMG]

    If the weight or barrel length is a problem for you,I'm sure you could find someone here to sell or trade your upper to for a lighter shorter barrel.
     
  11. slowryde45

    slowryde45 New Member

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    Thanks RM,
    I did look at those, too. Only prob, none of the local gunnies stock them, and didn't want to pay transfer fees. Plus I had a few lowers and uppers on hand, that were kind of 'orphaned', just sitting and waiting to be fondled. She likes the A1/A2 uppers w/ built in handle, because the sight is built in and less to go wrong with them. And her eyes are still better than most, so she like the iron sights. Props to her, mine used to be 20/15, but the mileage has made those numbers not so good anymore. But I can still keep them in the 10 ring, so not complaining. She shoots the lights out anytime, anywhere, with pistol, rifle, or shotty, so I'll put together what she is comfortable with.

    But the Cav Arms lower is a really good idea for those trying to keep it lightweight.

    Slo
     
  12. RMTactical

    RMTactical New Member

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    What part of the NW are you from? I ordered my Cav Arms Lowers from JC Weaponry out of Vancouver, WA.
     
  13. Gutpile

    Gutpile New Member

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    I consider all AR variants light, even the match heavy barrels. The great thing about AR's is that because of their modular design the sky is the limit with different barrel lengths with one lower. This platform is unsurpassed by any other i know about. The ergonomics and ease of loading in a stressful situation make it a top choice for any military/LE units.
    I'll take a 20" barrel over any other, especially because if a rifle can't shoot up to the 300m with a fist size group, I have no use for it. A mid length 16" is about the shortest i find useful in .223/5.56. With the short carbine lengths I find the muzzle blast too much(where the propellant energy is being released into the air rather then pushing the bullet). I ended up with a 8" 9mm AR for my close up and personal scenerios and the muzzle blast is non-existent and the ammo is cheap.
    The whole "SHTF" stuff is silly...it really doesn't matter what you have in a situation, but rather an abudance of ammo, rations and the proper mindset. Most seasoned hunters i know would give anyone with an AR a run for their money with their boltguns.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  14. FCross7

    FCross7 New Member

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    My AR-10 weights over 13 pounds with a 4-round mag. I would consider it a little on the heavy side, and it's only got an 18" barrel. I'm sure the ones with the 24" barrels are fairly heavy.

    -Fred