ARC Shouldered BarLoc review

Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#1
It'll be a couple weeks before I have the time to really devote a day to test the repeatability of the BarLoc so I figured I'd go ahead and post my initial impressions and results. I have tested the BarLoc out on three range trips, between 6.5CM and 5.56.

I am using a Vortex AMG with the micro adjustment zero turrets. I zero the 6.5CM barrel with the micro adjustments and then just used the turrets to adjust for the 5.56 offset.

Day 1 (Hand tight)
I simply tightened the barrels down hand-tight. While doing this I noticed that the barrels started to get "hand tight" around the 10' Clock mark. 10-10:30 provided the best bolt feel, but the barrels could be tightened down even further to 11-11:30.

With this range from 10-11:30 in barrel tightness (~45deg) the zero shifted considerably every time a barrel was changed. In the range of anywhere from 0.5-1.5mils on elevation and windage. I did not take good notes during this time as there was a lot of swapping and adjustments being made.

Day 2 (witness marks)
On the second day I used witness marks, made with paint pen, on both sides on the barrel, referencing the chassis. I could not reference the action because of the BarLoc. I could not reference the BarLoc because it's orientation shifts ever so slightly every time.

6.5CM Zero 8.8E, 9.1W
5.56 Adjustment +1E, -0.4W


I switched back and forth a couple times and the zero on the 6.5CM was within +/- 0.5Mils. The 5.56 was within +/- 0.2Mils.

Day 3 (witness marks, bolt feel, level break)
On the third day I still used the witness marks but adjusted (within the thickness of the witness marks) based on bolt feel. I also used a bubble level to make sure the breaks were level as another point of reference for repeatability.

6.5CM Zero 8.4E, 9.1W
5.56 Adjustment +1.1E, -0.2


I only switched from 6.5CM to 5.56 and back to 6.5CM as I wanted to get good dope out to 1k on the 6.5CM before the rain came. 6.5CM was still within +/-0.5Mils. The 5.56 was still within +/- 0.2Mils but I added a muzzle break and suspect this had something to do with it.

Conclusion
The system works well and is much easier to change barrels as opposed to a barrel nut or conventional action wrench. Some of this error could easily be attributed to me as a shooter. The 5.56 barrel does seem less susceptible to shifts in zero. The only additional procedure I may try is using Go/No-Go gauges when swapping barrels. I will also try leveling the BarLoc after every swap, although I think this will be difficult due to the notch on the bolt end of the BarLoc. Besides that I would suggest using witness marks and re-zeroing the larger calibers after every barrel swap.



 
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LawnMM

Harbinger of Sarcasm
Jul 5, 2009
1,767
170
63
Colorado
www.accuracy-tech.com
#2
Nice, I would think a rezero will always be necessary, it's not really designed to be all that repeatable given the variables involved. It does however make swaps at the range possible with minimal tools and that's something only the AIs and DTs have been able to do.
 

The_Count

Found It....
Nov 13, 2012
530
69
28
Land of Spanish Moss
#3
Great write up. I look forward to your longterm review.

BTW, Did you request the logo be engraved on the barrel? Looks don't effect function, but that looks terrible. Is there a reason they had to mill it out so deeply to put that in?
 
Jun 19, 2008
266
88
28
47
CO
#4
Great write up. I look forward to your longterm review.

BTW, Did you request the logo be engraved on the barrel? Looks don't effect function, but that looks terrible. Is there a reason they had to mill it out so deeply to put that in?
I'll put some money on "It was to get rid of an older engraving".

I was just going to post a question about this very topic. Thanks Bennet for the pics and write up. It seems to me the shouldered barrel is the way to go? What is the downside, or the upside of the nut version?
 
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#6
BTW, Did you request the logo be engraved on the barrel? Looks don't effect function, but that looks terrible. Is there a reason they had to mill it out so deeply to put that in?
I did not request it, this is standard for this gunsmith, but to my understanding chambered barrels must have the origin located on them somewhere.
 
Last edited:
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#7
I'll put some money on "It was to get rid of an older engraving".

I was just going to post a question about this very topic. Thanks Bennet for the pics and write up. It seems to me the shouldered barrel is the way to go? What is the downside, or the upside of the nut version?
I am not sure if Rock Creek barrels come with an engraving.

I honestly think the shouldered version is the way to go as it is quicker, requires less tools, and you don’t have to remove the scope or the chassis.

The only benefit I could see the nut having is that it is a hard stop (you can set it with loctite or a set screw) as opposed to hand tight or witness marks. Therefore the zero has less shift. I do not know this for certain and is speculation. Even if that is true I do not think this benefit outweights the aforementioned three pro's of the shouldered version. At max it took 6 shots to re-zero; 3 shot group to confirm offset, 3 shot group to re-zero.
 
Last edited:
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#9
Is that how they do all there barrels? Just asking.
There have been a couple I have seen that do not have that, but I think they are non-Rock Creek barrels. Both my Rock Creek barrels have that.

Y'all are a tough crowd to please, if it shoots well, who cares what it looks like. I think it looks pretty slick and gives a good point of reference for the BarLoc.
 

BoltGun6

New Hide Member
Mar 21, 2018
3
0
1
#10
It'll be a couple weeks before I have the time to really devote a day to test the repeatability of the BarLoc so I figured I'd go ahead and post my initial impressions and results. I have tested the BarLoc out on three range trips, between 6.5CM and 5.56.

I am using a Vortex AMG with the micro adjustment zero turrets. I zero the 6.5CM barrel with the micro adjustments and then just used the turrets to adjust for the 5.56 offset.

Day 1 (Hand tight)
I simply tightened the barrels down hand-tight. While doing this I noticed that the barrels started to get "hand tight" around the 10' Clock mark. 10-10:30 provided the best bolt feel, but the barrels could be tightened down even further to 11-11:30.

With this range from 10-11:30 in barrel tightness (~45deg) the zero shifted considerably every time a barrel was changed. In the range of anywhere from 0.5-1.5mils on elevation and windage. I did not take good notes during this time as there was a lot of swapping and adjustments being made.

Day 2 (witness marks)
On the second day I used witness marks, made with paint pen, on both sides on the barrel, referencing the chassis. I could not reference the action because of the BarLoc. I could not reference the BarLoc because it's orientation shifts ever so slightly every time.

6.5CM Zero 8.8E, 9.1W
5.56 Adjustment +1E, -0.4W


I switched back and forth a couple times and the zero on the 6.5CM was within +/- 0.5Mils. The 5.56 was within +/- 0.2Mils.

Day 3 (witness marks, bolt feel, level break)
On the third day I still used the witness marks but adjusted (within the thickness of the witness marks) based on bolt feel. I also used a bubble level to make sure the breaks were level as another point of reference for repeatability.

6.5CM Zero 8.4E, 9.1W
5.56 Adjustment +1.1E, -0.2


I only switched from 6.5CM to 5.56 and back to 6.5CM as I wanted to get good dope out to 1k on the 6.5CM before the rain came. 6.5CM was still within +/-0.5Mils. The 5.56 was still within +/- 0.2Mils but I added a muzzle break and suspect this had something to do with it.

Conclusion
The system works well and is much easier to change barrels as opposed to a barrel nut or conventional action wrench. Some of this error could easily be attributed to me as a shooter. The 5.56 barrel does seem less susceptible to shifts in zero. The only additional procedure I may try is using Go/No-Go gauges when swapping barrels. I will also try leveling the BarLoc after every swap, although I think this will be difficult due to the notch on the bolt end of the BarLoc. Besides that I would suggest using witness marks and re-zeroing the larger calibers after every barrel swap.



Is this the Switch Lug from MPA (saw your chassis) or done by another company?
 
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#11
Is this the Switch Lug from MPA (saw your chassis) or done by another company?
Patriot Valley Arms did the work. It is American Rifle Company's Shouldered BarLoc and all that has to be done is the barrels cut appropriately for the BarLoc. There is no lug on this version, it is just a collar/clamp in between the barrel and action. There is no work done to the chassis or action, unlike WTO's switchlug system.
 
May 4, 2011
46
7
8
#15
There have been a couple I have seen that do not have that, but I think they are non-Rock Creek barrels. Both my Rock Creek barrels have that.

Y'all are a tough crowd to please, if it shoots well, who cares what it looks like. I think it looks pretty slick and gives a good point of reference for the BarLoc.

@blbennett1288 of that flat was on the other side of the barrel too, would it be flat for a wrench to hold?

Since I can’t use a barloc with my XLR Carbon maybe I’ll ask PVA to flat both sides if it’s marked the same way.
 
May 4, 2011
46
7
8
#17
The flat part is solely for engraving. There is no barrel wrenches involved with the shouldered BarLoc.
I understand that. I was looking forward to a Barloc also but have learned it won’t work with my chassis.

I was simply asking if that flat for the engraving was on both sides of a barrel could you fit a wrench on it.

Unless I switch chassis I will have to stick with simple shouldered barrels or a nut type system.

Thanks for the help. Great looking rifle.
 
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#18
I understand that. I was looking forward to a Barloc also but have learned it won’t work with my chassis.

I was simply asking if that flat for the engraving was on both sides of a barrel could you fit a wrench on it.

Unless I switch chassis I will have to stick with simple shouldered barrels or a nut type system.

Thanks for the help. Great looking rifle.
Thanks. The entire area is recessed so you could not get a wrench on it, look at the first picture closely and you will see what I mean. @reubenski has a guy that puts two flat spots on the muzzle end of his shouldered barrels so he can change barrels with a wrench. Maybe contact him asking for his smith? Below is a picture of his rifle. reubenski TL3 switch barrel 2.jpg
 
May 4, 2011
46
7
8
#19
Thanks. The entire area is recessed so you could not get a wrench on it, look at the first picture closely and you will see what I mean. @reubenski has a guy that puts two flat spots on the muzzle end of his shouldered barrels so he can change barrels with a wrench. Maybe contact him asking for his smith? Below is a picture of his rifle. View attachment 6906897

Thanks that is sweet! I’ll bet Josh can do that for me. I’ve been waiting a long time a little longer won’t hurt if he can make it happen.

That or I sell for an MPA.
 

Bradu

Full Member
Aug 24, 2011
1,928
226
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#21
What do you mean adjust by bolt feel? I can't see how you are going to feel the difference in a shouldered barrel? Are you usuning brass that the shoulder hadn't been bumped on?
 
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#23
What do you mean adjust by bolt feel? I can't see how you are going to feel the difference in a shouldered barrel? Are you usuning brass that the shoulder hadn't been bumped on?
In the 45 degrees you have between the 10-11:30 position the bolt cocking in the 11-11:30 position is noticably more than the 10-10:30 when working the bolt.
 

bohem

PVA's HMFIC
Jan 6, 2009
7,244
703
113
Southeast, PA
www.patriotvalleyarms.com
#24
BTW, Did you request the logo be engraved on the barrel? Looks don't effect function, but that looks terrible. Is there a reason they had to mill it out so deeply to put that in?
It was cut that way to get the customer his barrel, meet federal requirements for marking the barrels and not wait the next 3 weeks for our Fiber Laser to show up.

The laser is here now, so future barrels are being burned.
 

bohem

PVA's HMFIC
Jan 6, 2009
7,244
703
113
Southeast, PA
www.patriotvalleyarms.com
#25
Thanks that is sweet! I’ll bet Josh can do that for me. .
You guys must have a camera up in the shop... I'm in the midst of updating the muzzle threading programs for the new lathe to allow us to cut a hex on the barrel for shooters to order exactly that.

Some don't want it, some have asked. I have the cutter ordered to make the undercuts in the same setup as the muzzle threads.
 

spife7980

Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
3,874
865
113
Central TX
#26
You guys must have a camera up in the shop... I'm in the midst of updating the muzzle threading programs for the new lathe to allow us to cut a hex on the barrel for shooters to order exactly that.

Some don't want it, some have asked. I have the cutter ordered to make the undercuts in the same setup as the muzzle threads.
 

bohem

PVA's HMFIC
Jan 6, 2009
7,244
703
113
Southeast, PA
www.patriotvalleyarms.com
#29
I’ve heard.

Reference, below is my PVA barrel.
We've had several variations of engraving trying to get something to make everyone happy. Long story short that doesn't work.
I tried the salt/acid electrochem etching... it's OK but not great.
Then prefits come along and I had guys return barrels because the stenciled etch mark didn't line up inside their RPR handguard and "for the money spent this should look..." You get the idea.
So we put them on the breechface such that it still meets federal regs but doesn't show outside the action and therefore the clocking of the mark is not important. This is the way that Criterion did it for YEARS... I figured there couldn't be a complaint about that because it was established in the market. I believe they're either roll stamping or lasering them now.

Then we had complaints about that because guys couldn't tell what barrel they had on the rifle while it was sitting in the safe so they had to take it out, open the bolt and look down it.
Someone actually called the ATF to bitch because he said it wasn't in compliance. That spawned a compliance check and a day and a half down in the shop so that they could check everything over engraving on barrels. Turns out it meets their requirements and we had no violations but I couldn't do anything except host the inspecting agent and showing them our process...


So then we started milling them as seen above. In some cases it lines up, in some cases it doesn't, but it meets federal regs and when we started it I couldn't afford 40+ grand for a 50W fiber laser. On TL3's we have an artifact so that I can at least clock the mark appropriately.


With the Hancocks, Nucleus barreled actions and everything else we're doing I bought the laser last month and it arrived this week. Thankfully the bank decided they would back it and so it costs us a little over 800 bucks a month to laser engrave barrels.

As I said above, the short answer to a long story is that it doesn't seem like engraving should be a big deal on a prefit barrel but yet it's proven to be one. At this point I'm marking the barrels to federal code by using a deep laser mark and we're done. There is, to my estimation, no better way to mark barrels and where it clocks up is where it clocks up for prefits. So, we're done experimenting and I've spent as much on marking barrels as I did on my first CNC lathe to actually cut them.

I can't see a better way to do it, we've sunk the cost and bought the best thing we could for marking barrels. There are lots of ways, it has proven that no way makes everyone happy. With a prefit barrel that uses a barrel nut on broad spectrum of actions there's always a roll of the dice where it will line up. Unless someone wants to send their action in for me to headspace the barrel to it and then mark it there's no way around that.
 

Bradu

Full Member
Aug 24, 2011
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#33
You say that so easily. Almost like you wouldn’t raise hell if you paid good money for a custom barrel and you one marked with an electric pen (among other issues).

Sorry for crapping on the thread, blbennet. Just curious if this was a specific request.
I have custom rifles with the electro chem etching and it doesn't bother me one bit. Also have some that look like a stamp. I don't really care what it looks like or if it's not indexed perfectly. Some people are going to bitch regardless of what you do which is why I would never own a business. You can't make everyone happy and I'm sure even with a high dollar machine someone will still bitch. My buddy had a rifle built and the Smith stamped it 6.5 creedmore. We laughed about it rather than whining about it lol
 
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bohem

PVA's HMFIC
Jan 6, 2009
7,244
703
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Southeast, PA
www.patriotvalleyarms.com
#35
You say that so easily. Almost like you wouldn’t raise hell if you paid good money for a custom barrel and you one marked with an electric pen (among other issues).

Sorry for crapping on the thread, blbennet. Just curious if this was a specific request.
I sent you a PM. If there's something else going on with the barrel that is an issue then we'll take care of it.
As far as engraving goes, if you need it remarked then we'll change that too if the barrel has to come back for other stuff.
 
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#37
Just a lesson learned that I wanted to pass along. I have started to witness mark the Barloc set screw. I either unknowingly applied 65in-lbs (chassis screw torque) while at the range or it loosened up over the course of a couple hundred rounds (doubtful).

Long story short, I was checking to make sure everything was torqued appropriately the night before a match and let’s just say I made the decision to torque it to the appropriate 90in-lbs. Things did not go too well.
 
Feb 16, 2017
149
53
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#38
Just a lesson learned that I wanted to pass along. I have started to witness mark the Barloc set screw. I either unknowingly applied 65in-lbs (chassis screw torque) while at the range or it loosened up over the course of a couple hundred rounds (doubtful).

Long story short, I was checking to make sure everything was torqued appropriately the night before a match and let’s just say I made the decision to torque it to the appropriate 90in-lbs. Things did not go too well.
So for clarification, did things break or did your zero skip town for east bumblefuck?

I have one to put on my Mausingfield once I machine the scope rail so any issues you find helps me when my new Barrel gets in.
 
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#42
Nothing broke, tightening the barloc from whatever’s it was set at to 90in-lbs caused the zero to shift
Which is odd to me because you are not applying torque to the barrel causing the threads to engage more. You are applying torque to the BarLoc which applys tension to the threads at the same point. So to me you would not think it would not change zero much. At least that is what I thought when I did it lol
 

flyer

Sergeant of the Hide
Apr 25, 2018
1,180
494
83
#44
That is interesting because tightening the Barloc would not rotate the barrel so run out shouldn't matter.

I can't wait to get mine for testing.
 
Apr 24, 2017
965
162
43
Hoover, Alabama
#45
I spent about 3 hours on Friday testing out the shouldered BarLoc and I feel more confident in these results. I switched barrels 5 times, 6.5CM, 5.56, 6.5CM, 5.56, and 6.5CM.

6.5CM
8.65E
9W

5.56
+1E

-0.2W

Each time I switched barrels it was within 0.2mils of those numbers which is plenty acceptable and more along the lines of what I expected when I started on this build.

Picture of BarLoc


Picture of conical face


Step 1: Swap bolt faces and magazine


Step 2: un-torque BarLoc with 5/32” Allen key

Step 3: remove barrel and clean threads

Step 4: apply anti-seize to new barrel


Step 5: Torque new barrel to barrel witness marks. Apply 90in-lbs to ARC BarLoc and use alcohol wipes to erase old witness mark and make a new witness mark on the set screw.
 
May 15, 2011
156
24
18
105
#46
You guys must have a camera up in the shop... I'm in the midst of updating the muzzle threading programs for the new lathe to allow us to cut a hex on the barrel for shooters to order exactly that.

Some don't want it, some have asked. I have the cutter ordered to make the undercuts in the same setup as the muzzle threads.

Say wat? Shouldered prefits with wrench flats already milled?
 
May 4, 2011
46
7
8
#48
Working on it.
It takes a little more than just throwing it in the machine but we're getting pretty close. For TL3's I have it where I'm almost ready to cut it on a customer's barrel... almost.
How close?? I’d like it before mine is done in the shop.
 
Sep 10, 2013
718
22
18
PA
#49
Question:

Does the barloc need to be removed for each barrel swap?
I didnt think so but the pictures if it besides the barrels made me second guess myself
 

bohem

PVA's HMFIC
Jan 6, 2009
7,244
703
113
Southeast, PA
www.patriotvalleyarms.com
#50
How close?? I’d like it before mine is done in the shop.
CHances are that's not reality. We have the vast majority of the Nucleus group buy and Nucleus barreled action barrels done just waiting for the laser work. Ted is sending me a timing artifact to use for finding TDC, that's the only reason we haven't shipped the barrels yet. They are lined up along the wall.
 
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