Are shorter uppers better than standard?

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by opsshadowninja, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. opsshadowninja

    opsshadowninja New Member

    I would like to shorten the length of my ar. Just wondering if shorter uppers will bring me the same accuracy for fairly long distance shots? Like 300 yards and closer. I'd like the maneuverability in tight places like my home, but I don't want to compromise my longer range capabilities. Thanks
  2. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter


    First of all are you talking of physically shortening your present barrel or getting a shorter barreled upper. We need a little more information. Do you presently have a 20" Barrel? Is it chrome lined if you are going to shorten that barrel? Info and pictures would be nice then we can address the effects of a comparison between long and short barrels and the 300 and longer shots.:)


  3. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

    How short are you talking ?
  4. JonM

    JonM Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    My bcm 16" midlength does just fine getting hits on goblin sized targets out to 300yds open sights or with the acog using everything from 55grain fmj to 79grain bthp

    Shorter than 16 has real issues with power levels at 300yds. The military 14.5 barrel is in my opinion too short for much more than 200yds. Its accurate enough just lacks the oomph to get the job done with thatshort a barrel.

    So if your shtf self defense or trying to take a shot to drop any edible critter at longer ranges short barrels just dont get it done. Im into the nfa stuff and i see no use for a shtf rifle with a super short barrel. I think 16 is a great compromise between usable length velocity wise and terminal effect.

    Just my non-proffessional opinion.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  5. opsshadowninja

    opsshadowninja New Member

    The barrel on my ar is approx 17 in. I was planning on buying a whole new upper. I'm nowhere good enough to start physically altering any firearm nor do I gave the proper tools for the job. Lol um I was thinking about a 14 in barrel for tight spots. I'd like to take those tactical AR courses at some point n just thought it would b fun till then. Another quick question, how do I change the front sights or can I? Like I'd like an mp5 style front sight. U kno? Kinda looks like an upwards facing crescent moon with a vertical line down the center. Here's the pics u wanted. Thanks for halls help

    Attached Files:

  6. oldpapps

    oldpapps Member

    A few thoughts first.
    Comparing a short/shorter barrel to a long/longer barrel.
    The longer barrel will give greater velocities. The longer barrel will have greater accuracy with iron/hard sights. Longer barrels some times appear to be more stable when sighting.
    The shorter barrel is lighter. The shorter barrel is easier to maneuver. Optic sights don't care what the length of the barrel might be. Accuracy is not dependent upon barrel length.

    I am not a lawyer.... But, cutting a barrel down to shorter than what ever arbitrary length is set (16 inches) could very well get a long term reservation at my expense in the 'cross bar hotel'. Check the present legalities first, then think hard about just how much you think shortening may improve what ever.

    Oh, I'll bet that your barrel length is closer to 16 inches, not counting any attached and removable flash hider.

    I think you would be better off by going the legal 'Short Barrel Rifle' route.

    Take great care.
  7. opsshadowninja

    opsshadowninja New Member

    Ya I don't want to chop my gun up I just want a new and separate upper that is shorter.
  8. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    If you REPLACE an upper, then it should have the correct gas tube to make your rifle function.

    If you SHORTEN a barrel, by cutting it yourself, then you will likely have (a) a bad crown on the barrel that will screw up accuracy, and (b) a gas system that no longer cycles your rifle.

    A barrel that is shorter than 16 inches on a rifle (including a non-removable flash suppressor/ muzzle brake) moves your rifle into a Class III group- short barreled rifle. Regulated much like a machine gun- if not registered with the BATFE and the $200 tax paid before hand, good for 10 years in a Federal prison, $10,000 fine, and loss of your girlish laughter.

    Not that you asked for my opinion, but I think you might be trying to do too many things with one firearm. For the cost of trying to make a Swiss Army knife out of your AR, you can buy a decent pump shotgun. As far as agility of use, unless I am inside of an armored vehicle, MY plan is to get to where I need to be in the house, and WAIT.
  9. opsshadowninja

    opsshadowninja New Member

    True that. Lol you sound like a close friend of mine. He also likes wolves. Thanks for your input. I had no clue about those laws. I guess I'll stick with my 16 in barrel
  10. AgentTikki

    AgentTikki Active Member

    Here's the thing that most people don't really understand. They think that a shorter barrel is less accurate.

    All else being equal, a shorter barrel is less flexible. Less flexible means more consistent. More consistent translates to better precision/accuracy. So quite the opposite of popular newbie belief, shorter barrels are inherently more accurate than longer barrels.

    So why do people us longer barrels for long distance shooting?

    The longer the barrel more time the expanding gases (created by the ignition of gunpowder) has to push the bullet. The faster the bullet the more energy it has on impact. The faster it travels, the less effect gravity and wind have on it, so its easier to reach out for longer distances. But since longer barrels are more flexible, you'd have to compensate by making the barrel thicker to make it stiffer, and more consistent.

    A 25/300, zero will make 300 yard shots a breeze. A 14.5 or 16 barrel will do this easily. Hitting the target that is. As for the terminal ballistics of a M193 5.56 55 grain round at those distances, well that's an entirely different topic.