ar 15 barrel life..

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by icallshotgun88, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

    I know I know, theres a bajillion threads out there covering this, but none of which actually gave me an accurate round count...

    im just looking for a rough estimate (within 1†k rounds possibly) for barrel life on an AR15...maybe an accurate count on MY AR15..

    I have a 16", cold hammer forged, chrome lined, 1:7" twist barrel made by BCM...

    i shoot standard loads of 55 grain FMJ
    i clean it every 300-500 rounds
    i use proper cleaning tools
    i rarely rapid fire it

    I'm sure theres more factors that go into barrel life, but im sure thatll give someone enough info..

    now i know the next thing is for me to describe what barrel means to ME..
    a barrel thats shot out to one person may not be noticed by another person..

    so by barrel life, i mean the approximate number of rounds before accuracy drops by 2 MOA,..

    for example, right now I can easily shoot 1 MOA with my AR...about how many rounds can i expect before the best i can do with it is 3 MOA?

    ive tried to research this online...and I've gotten anywhere from 3k rounds to 20k rounds...
  2. fa35jsf

    fa35jsf New Member

    We really need a military armorer on this site to answer these sorts of questions. I bet the military is the only folks who ever wear out their barrels. If I had to guess, with your setup, it would be closer to that 20k

  3. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    about 35,000-40,000 rounds if run hard. more if your not heating up all the time. moderate to light use i would guess somewhere north of 60,000 rounds before it degrades too much.

    filthy 14...

    i check headspace every 1k rounds. or whenever i do a deep cleaning whichever comes first. pretty much anytime i detail strip the bolt. anytime a part breaks headspace should be checked.

    everything you could want to know and more about the ar15/m16, just disregard reference to full auto or 3 round burst. i did the armoror thing at unit level and we used tm-9-1005-249-23P

    relevent page on visual inspection of the barrel condition is page 2-40
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  4. fsted2a

    fsted2a Active Member

    I had a Bushmaster barrel I bumpfired a lot and it lasted about 20K before I noticed any change in MOA. It was a 20" milspec A2 barrel for your reference. As long as I can remember, I have been told a barrel can last between 20K and 35K with moderate use. Unless the ammo prices come down a lot, I may not go through that much again the rest of my life.
  5. sweeper22

    sweeper22 New Member

    20K would be a conservative number. 40K might be a more realistic number.

    The answer is: Way more than I'll be spending on ammo anytime soon. A good barrel should hold its own well beyond 20K if not abused...and you've got a very good barrel. 40K would be my honest, educated, but less-than-expert estimation.
  6. Ibmikey

    Ibmikey Active Member

    If you notice grouping larger than is acceptable to you replace the barrel. Barrels are cheap and easily replaced, also you avoid the hassle of counting the number of rounds fired. Problem solved.
  7. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    Not as great as people would like to believe. I saw a study possibly on this site, and you can figure about 10K if you are shooting American type ammo. Copper jacket does the least damage. the Russian Bi-metal jacket will give you 5K but the cost differential more than makes up for the cost of the barrel replacement. Now that was running them fairly hard to get the required number of rounds down the tube.
  8. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member


    This was that Lucky Gunner Study which consisted almost entirely of Mags dumps.
    NOT a useful guide to general barrel wear.

    They did it to accelerate wear so they could compare bimetal (russian) vs US style bullets.

    Even with this (IMO flawed) process that hevaily favored US style bullets the economics were still widely on the side of the russian style bullets
  9. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

    over the years i have seen numbers from 10K rounds to 40K rounds before a barrels accuracy was degraded to the point it needed replacement.

    IMO, it depends on the material of the barrel, the ammo, the shooting style, cleaning and other factors that factor into how many rounds before a barrel needs replaced.

    this is probably one of those questions that will vary from user to user and is no one size fits all answers.

    most people won't probably shoot enough ammo to wear out a barrel to need replacement.
  10. uanda

    uanda New Member

    when you can swap one out in less than an hour, without special tools, for $150 or less, why worry about it? I mean, a lousy 5000 rds, at 40c per shot, that's $2000.
  11. toddchaney

    toddchaney New Member

    Barrel life mostly depends on how you shoot. And it is approx. 18 months or so.
  12. fsted2a

    fsted2a Active Member

    Forgot to mention: I was shooting Wolf ammo exclusively during this period. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if your barrel made it to 100K. My usage was up there, and the ammo was not the best. Bumpfiring or full auto shortens the life expectancy of any barrel. Many of us on this forum, to include myself, have served as an armorer at one time or another, so you have a lot of knowledge here. BCM is ranked up there as one of the best, so I don't think any of us would be really surprised if their barrels were lasting 100K or higher. My point is, how you shoot can be relevant to how long your barrel will last. Sort of like the question of how many licks does it take to get to the center of a blow pop?
  13. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

    hey i saw that commercial. the answer is three!:p

    personally, ithink there are many factors that go into determining the lifespan of a barrel on a firearm. i know mine will probably outlive me on my AR.