Help Me Pick an AR15 Barrel 😂

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I think I’ve narrowed down my criteria to be pretty much:

-16”
-mid-length gas
-weigh in the 1.75 to 2 pound range or close to it
-223 Wylde chamber

Pretty open other than that but I’d probably prefer stainless instead of chrome lined.

Background info if you care but unnecessary haha:

Up to this point, I’ve always bought factory but Decided to bolt together an ar15 for the hell of it. I just put together my parts list and I’ve got analysis paralysis again on Barrel choice.

Basically, I’ve already got a light weight 10.5” pistol and I love it. I still want to keep this under 7 pounds for the bare rifle but I want it to be as accurate and repeatable as I can get away with for that weight. Want to be able to use it for getting into 3 gun, carbine classes, coyote hunting, and accurate enough to be interesting shooting long range steel and groups as well as something light enough I can carry around if I wanted to on my timber land, deer land, farm, etc.... it will have a leupold 1-6 vx6hd multigun on it.

These two are pretty close to what I’m wanting and will probably pull the trigger on one of them:



Kind of leaning towards the Wilson since I’m literally buying everything I else for this from them almost except the newer Seekins adjustable gas Block and bcm stock
 
Last edited:

wyld3man

Send It
Belligerents
Aug 18, 2017
151
96
34
FL
I have a JP barrel, White oak, seekins and a Raineir arms on my AR’s. For the money and how well it shoots I would say take a look at Rainier Arms Barrels. They have some fluted ones that would cut down on some weight.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

TonyTheTiger

Like a Boss
Belligerents
Feb 14, 2017
1,551
1,536
119
Sounds like you want one rifle to do it all. Thats admirable but I don't think anyone's ever been completely satisfied by a jack of all trades rifle because it's never as great at any one aspect as they were hoping even though it's decent at everything.

You mentioned 3 gun, which is my jam so I'll touch on that. A good 3 gun rifle can also be a good do it all rifle. But a great 3 gun rifle is a specialized machine that generally has a smaller operational window with regards to ammo preferences. Mix ammo your not tuned up for with environmental extremes and maybe a filthy BCG and suddenly your super reliable match gun is out of it's element and in single shot mode when a more standard set up rifle would still be just fine.

Light triggers are great for 3 gun and long range but not a woods gun, lighter overall weight is great for most things but not really for the long range shooting you mentioned, a 1-6x scope is very versatile but falls short of being good at long range, you're kinda asking for a lot of one rifle.
 

TonyTheTiger

Like a Boss
Belligerents
Feb 14, 2017
1,551
1,536
119
Oh and this thread has plenty of good 3 gun rifle info if you'd like to know more.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I’m good with not having a great purpose built 3 gun machine for now haha.

My thinking on that was basically with the Seekins Gas block, I can get it dialed in for my match ammo, then that gas block has a tool less little lever I can use to increase the gas when not at the range or a comp.

Basically, for a weight budget of 7 pounds bare rifle, how heavy of a barrel could I get away with and it still be well balanced.

Got lucky on a great deal on Wilson combat forged receiver set, wc 15” mlok handguard,
Wc Np3 bolt, wc two stage trigger, wc lpk. So just trying to figure out what Barrel, gas block, and stock basically to complete it. Already have the leupold multigun 1-6 and trijicon 1-8 accupower but I’m wanting to keep this one lighter weight so I don’t dread picking it up when I’m headed to the da haha and the leupy is only like 13.5 ounces.

Sounds like you want one rifle to do it all. Thats admirable but I don't think anyone's ever been completely satisfied by a jack of all trades rifle because it's never as great at any one aspect as they were hoping even though it's decent at everything.

You mentioned 3 gun, which is my jam so I'll touch on that. A good 3 gun rifle can also be a good do it all rifle. But a great 3 gun rifle is a specialized machine that generally has a smaller operational window with regards to ammo preferences. Mix ammo your not tuned up for with environmental extremes and maybe a filthy BCG and suddenly your super reliable match gun is out of it's element and in single shot mode when a more standard set up rifle would still be just fine.

Light triggers are great for 3 gun and long range but not a woods gun, lighter overall weight is great for most things but not really for the long range shooting you mentioned, a 1-6x scope is very versatile but falls short of being good at long range, you're kinda asking for a lot of one rifle.
Oh and this thread has plenty of good 3 gun rifle info if you'd like to know more.
That thread I think is sort of what have me this idea in the first place haha.
 
Last edited:

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I guess my most specific question is: is there any reason not to get a fluted Barrel when you’re trying to get the most repeatability for a set weight?
 

jwknutson17

Big Game Hunter
Belligerents
Apr 29, 2017
1,426
651
119
Colorado
I guess my most specific question is: is there any reason not to get a fluted Barrel when you’re trying to get the most repeatability for a set weight?
When going for weight savings I personally haven't had an issue with fluting on Carbines. My preference is ball mill dimpling from Marvin Pitts. Nefarious Arms. He was a former KAC guy if you have seen the ball mill dimpling on the KAC guns.. that's what you get from him.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

TonyTheTiger

Like a Boss
Belligerents
Feb 14, 2017
1,551
1,536
119
Basically, for a weight budget of 7 pounds bare rifle, how heavy of a barrel could I get away with and it still be well balanced.
I'll recommend what I did in that other thread. Something like the Stretch16 or the Odin 16.1". I think the straight .750 contour is the best compromise that gets just under 2lbs but still handles sustained fire without big POI shifts. They also both happen to have the perfect gas system for a 16" barrel.
 

stilesg57

Private
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 4, 2007
138
43
34
NRA Headquarters
I’d get this for those requirements, or maybe their Hanson variant:

Ballistic Advantage Premium Fluted .223 Wylde Stainless Barrel

I’ve also had good luck with Odin and Faxon barrels, though the latter may be too light for you.

But first I’d re-read Tony’s post very, VERY carefully. It’s not just about 3gunning, it’s about the pitfalls of a do-anything AR. I don’t own an AR with a 16” barrel and never will again, because I’d rather have a couple purpose-built rifles/pistols than one that does everything just ok (to me, an 18” with rifle gas is more of a do-everything than a 16”).
 
Last edited:

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I’d get this for those requirements, or maybe their Hanson variant:

Ballistic Advantage Premium Fluted .223 Wylde Stainless Barrel

I’ve also had good luck with Odin and Faxon barrels, though the latter may be too light for you.

But first I’d re-read Tony’s post very, VERY carefully. It’s not just about 3gunning, it’s about the pitfalls of a do-anything AR. I don’t own an AR with a 16” barrel and never will again, because I’d rather have a couple purpose-built rifles/pistols than one that does everything just ok (to me, an 18” with rifle gas is more of a do-everything than a 16”).
I don’t think I will ever shoot well enough as far as split times to ever realize the benefit of rifle length over a mid length gas system especially when an adjustable gas block is being used or miss the extra 50 fps for the extra 2 inches imo. I debated a reduced weight bcg and buffer and buffer spring but I want to keep things simple for my first one that I'm assembling myself and those things can be added later if I decide I want more gamer parts. I’ve already got a carbine buffer and spring laying around anyway and got all this Wilson combat stuff for a song.
 
Last edited:

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I’d get this for those requirements, or maybe their Hanson variant:

Ballistic Advantage Premium Fluted .223 Wylde Stainless Barrel

I’ve also had good luck with Odin and Faxon barrels, though the latter may be too light for you.

But first I’d re-read Tony’s post very, VERY carefully. It’s not just about 3gunning, it’s about the pitfalls of a do-anything AR. I don’t own an AR with a 16” barrel and never will again, because I’d rather have a couple purpose-built rifles/pistols than one that does everything just ok (to me, an 18” with rifle gas is more of a do-everything than a 16”).

I’m really tempted by that chrome lined criterion Barrel. I mean with a 1-6, as long as it’s under 1 moa I should be happy. More accuracy is always better but I won’t have more than 6x on this one much except for testing ammo and accuracy with a 5-25x scope and the chrome lined is sort of calling my name for the increased Barrel life. I was adding up the 5.56 ammo I’ve shot this year and it’s way more than I thought. Some of those stainless steel 5.56 barrel manufacturers only advertise like 4K Barrel life and I’ve shot more than that already this year.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: stilesg57

Rant Durden

Private
Minuteman
Mar 18, 2018
64
55
24
I didn't see what "long range" means, but past 400 yards you might need a little more scope and a little longer barrel. I've shot a few long range competitions with a heavy barrel ar and have done well. That said, it's not a boat anchor, but definitely not a woods gun. For what you want to do, there will be a compromise somewhere. Why not just build two uppers? The actual parts are pretty cheap and you would have no drawback when switching from one job to another.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I agree with that. I think my next project will be a 6.5 Creedmoor upper for my ar10. I don’t know why, but I’ve just never been into the overly heavy or long small frame ar’s.
 

Mwalex

Private
Belligerents
Jun 8, 2011
1,375
2,343
219
52
I currently own barrels by Noveske, JP, VSeven, BattleArms, Proof and Lilja. The fellow that started VSeven worked and learned at Noveske. My only real suggestion is to not skimp on the barrel.
 

VegasHKShooter

Always Learning
Belligerents
Feb 28, 2013
401
227
49
Las Vegas, Nv
I’ve shot MOST barrels out there. The two that continue to knock my socks off are my 18” on my KAC LPR, and my buddy’s Compass Lake with CLE chamber. That gun is a real deal sub MOA AR-15. Compass Lake spins up Bartlein’s and Kreiger, and several others. I would ABSOLUTELY call them if I was in the market for a no shit barrel.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I’ve shot MOST barrels out there. The two that continue to knock my socks off are my 18” on my KAC LPR, and my buddy’s Compass Lake with CLE chamber. That gun is a real deal sub MOA AR-15. Compass Lake spins up Bartlein’s and Kreiger, and several others. I would ABSOLUTELY call them if I was in the market for a no shit barrel.
I think that's the way to go after pretty much a day of this preoccupying my thoughts hahaha, which is sort of embarrassing just to pick out a damn ar barrel haha.

I like it that there's no guess work about the quality of the blank, I can get a Bartlein which is what I've got on several of my bolt match rifles and no complaints at all on any of them so the blank should be more than good enough for a small frame ar. CLE seems to have their shit together, so a top quality blank combined with top quality machine work is good enough for my dumb ass haha.

I also like the idea of the chrome lined criterion to have something lighter that should be able to withstand a lot of abuse while still maintaining reasonable accuracy that I can use when I don't want to put extra wear on a match quality barrel when not shooting match ammo.

So, I guess all you ar addicts out there won out after all with all the different tools for different jobs comments haha.

Looks like it will be a mid weight upper with the 16" criterion chrome lined hybrid and a heavier CLE barrel of some flavor, most likely the Bartlein CLE chamber spr barrel.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VegasHKShooter

USMC_JA

Private
Belligerents
Dec 13, 2010
65
42
24
45
If you want a do-it-all rifle that you can both run hard and count on to be surprisingly accurate, my $.02 is to look to any of the CHF barrels made by FN. Noveske's CHF barrel is made by FN (although finished in house by Noveske). I suspect Rainer's is as well but do not know with certainty. PSA has an FN made CHF barrel. And there are more out there. Most are reporting consistently less than 2 MOA from these barrels with quality ammo. That is more than good enough unless you are target shooting.

By way of example, I shot 3-gun for 3+ years with a 16" CHF Noveske rifle. That rifle would consistently shoot 1-1.5 MOA 5-shot groups at 100 yards with match ammo. Accuracy and reliability were never anything that held me back in that game. Other factors were more limiting. But that type of performance and weight was PERFECT for a do-it-all rifle. That rifle has killed hogs in addition to 3-gun and been shot frequently both suppressed and unsuppressed. It just flat out works. I clean it when I feel like it (generally after 5-700 rounds) and it has never once malfunctioned. It is flat awesome.

In some ways it comes down to what your ultimate priorities are. If accuracy is more important than longevity and withstanding abuse, look to a stainless barrel. And there are plenty of good ones out there. If the converse, consider a CHF barrel from a reputable company.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

Triple D

Trigger Monkey
Belligerents
Aug 22, 2011
541
79
34
Georgia
My Rainier Match and Ultramatch barrels deliver Sub MOA results on command with factory ammo, and go closer to half moa or better with handloads.

FWIW, I chamber my own bolt guns, but there’s no reason for me to chamber an AR currently with what Rainier is turning out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Belligerents
Jun 5, 2011
3,942
2,282
219
43
Pierce County, WA
Lilja sells the recce barrel the Navy uses. It's a very well designed barrel, not too heavy, not too weak, accurate... Lilja is IMO one of if not the best button rifling mfg. Sub-MOA should be expected.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Belligerents
Aug 10, 2001
6,023
1,268
219
73
Arizona, good place for me...
I bought this, and I am satisfied with the purchase. I believe it could serve your purposes.

I bought it with 2-Gun Combat Matches in mind and IMI 77gr Razor core.

I later settled on my Ruger American Pistol 9mm and the Ruger PC Carbine, which can be configured to use the same pistol magazines. But the PC carbine doesn't allow for the truly longer distances, so I also like this Upper.

While building Uppers is something I've done (twice); I particularly like the idea of buying them complete. They tend to be far less prone to parts compatibility and cycling issues for me. My first build was as an experiment, and my second, this past week, was a Grendel.

I would choose to build if what I want can't be obtained as a complete Upper; otherwise, I just buy the Upper. I have seven Uppers at this point, and two Lowers. In nearly every case, I find that I can't build my chosen upper any cheaper than I can buy it outright.

I can appreciate the desire to build on a sophisticated barrel. But when I get the build into action, I find that the contexts of the situations largely negate what advantages the extra money I spent can buy me. The more mundane and common barrel pretty much achieves the same performance under stress. My two builds employ a Stag barrel, and an AR Stoner barrel.

When you add stress to the situation, it's the shooter that counts most, rather than the implement.

Greg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Belligerents
Jun 5, 2011
3,942
2,282
219
43
Pierce County, WA
Shit, guess I'm late but I was gonna recommend the Lilja Navy Recce rifle barrel --it hit every single point you requested. It's also a subMOA barrel and it's fairly light. Probably the best button rifle barrel out there. Or at least one of the best. They ain't cheap but they're worth it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
I decided to go with a 16" mid-gas 223 Wylde 1:8 Criterion Chrome lined just because I'm curious how much abuse it can take as far as the round count it can take and still hold whatever accuracy it starts off at and I'm weird like that. As far as practical accuracy, I'm hoping it's at least as accurate that the barrel is more accurate than I am with a 1-6 optic. I've always bought factory assembled stuff in the past and I've got a completely bone stock Daniel Defense that I'm not going to let my dumb ass tinker with but sometimes you get bit by the bug just to see if you can do something because you can and I wanted to tinker with this one.


I'm pretty happy with the weight, comes in at less than 6.5 pounds for the bare rifle no optics completely assembled with the 16" hybrid contour criterion and the optics should add a little over a pound since the leupold multigun is so light.


I'm going to play around with an adjustable gas block, lightweight bcg, and one of those super light taccom3g buffers and buffer springs with the 16" upper to see if it tunes up nice and is reasonably reliable before picking out the other parts for the upper on the 18" CLE barrel.


I've also got an 18" CLE chamber Bartlein from CLE coming in but I haven't bought any of the other parts for the upper I'll need yet.
 
Last edited:

TonyTheTiger

Like a Boss
Belligerents
Feb 14, 2017
1,551
1,536
119
Lilja sells the recce barrel the Navy uses. It's a very well designed barrel, not too heavy, not too weak, accurate... Lilja is IMO one of if not the best button rifling mfg. Sub-MOA should be expected.
Shit, guess I'm late but I was gonna recommend the Lilja Navy Recce rifle barrel --it hit every single point you requested. It's also a subMOA barrel and it's fairly light. Probably the best button rifle barrel out there. Or at least one of the best. They ain't cheap but they're worth it.
No, you weren't late, you've already arrived, left, then arrived again.
 

USMC_JA

Private
Belligerents
Dec 13, 2010
65
42
24
45
I decided to go with a 16" mid-gas 223 Wylde 1:8 Criterion Chrome lined just because I'm curious how much abuse it can take as far as the round count it can take and still hold whatever accuracy it starts off at and I'm weird like that. As far as practical accuracy, I'm hoping it's at least as accurate that the barrel is more accurate than I am with a 1-6 optic. I've always bought factory assembled stuff in the past and I've got a completely bone stock Daniel Defense that I'm not going to let my dumb ass tinker with but sometimes you get bit by the bug just to see if you can do something because you can and I wanted to tinker with this one.


I'm pretty happy with the weight, comes in at less than 6.5 pounds for the bare rifle no optics completely assembled with the 16" hybrid contour criterion and the optics should add a little over a pound since the leupold multigun is so light.


I'm going to play around with an adjustable gas block, lightweight bcg, and one of those super light taccom3g buffers and buffer springs with the 16" upper to see if it tunes up nice and is reasonably reliable before picking out the other parts for the upper on the 18" CLE barrel.


I've also got an 18" CLE chamber Bartlein from CLE coming in but I haven't bought any of the other parts for the upper I'll need yet.
I'm not sure that chrome lined Criterion is going to shoot appreciably better than the DD. DD makes some very good barrels. Make sure you do some accuracy testing before tearing down the DD. Better yet, simply build a spare upper around the Criterion and then shoot them both on the same lower.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lawofsavage

loveha

SGT's OFP
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 31, 2018
131
62
34
NW Lower Michigan
I'm not sure that chrome lined Criterion is going to shoot appreciably better than the DD. DD makes some very good barrels. Make sure you do some accuracy testing before tearing down the DD. Better yet, simply build a spare upper around the Criterion and then shoot them both on the same lower.
Don't think he's tearing down a DD. He picked up a Wilson combat receiver set cheap from what he said early.
Think he was just saying he has a DD but doesn't want to mess with it? Hell maybe it's my reading comprehension.
 

MontanaMan

Private
Belligerents
Apr 26, 2007
158
64
34
I think I’ve narrowed down my criteria to be pretty much:

-16”
-mid-length gas
-weigh in the 1.75 to 2 pound range or close to it
-223 Wylde chamber

Pretty open other than that but I’d probably prefer stainless instead of chrome lined.

Background info if you care but unnecessary haha:

Up to this point, I’ve always bought factory but Decided to bolt together an ar15 for the hell of it. I just put together my parts list and I’ve got analysis paralysis again on Barrel choice.

Basically, I’ve already got a light weight 10.5” pistol and I love it. I still want to keep this under 7 pounds for the bare rifle but I want it to be as accurate and repeatable as I can get away with for that weight. Want to be able to use it for getting into 3 gun, carbine classes, coyote hunting, and accurate enough to be interesting shooting long range steel and groups as well as something light enough I can carry around if I wanted to on my timber land, deer land, farm, etc.... it will have a leupold 1-6 vx6hd multigun on it.

These two are pretty close to what I’m wanting and will probably pull the trigger on one of them:



Kind of leaning towards the Wilson since I’m literally buying everything I else for this from them almost except the newer Seekins adjustable gas Block and bcm stock
Just my view of the world, but Wilson Combat barrels are not in the top tier echelon of AR barrels like Kreiger, Bartlein, WOA's Wilson, Rock Creek or Douglas.

And all things being equal, a CL barrel will never be as consistently accurate as a top tier SS barrel.

Of course there is always an exception here or there & even a blind pig finds an acorn now & then......................

But betting on an almost sure thing usually pays off.

YMMV

MM
 

lawofsavage

Deplorable
Belligerents
Jul 13, 2012
623
69
54
Birmingham, AL
Don't think he's tearing down a DD. He picked up a Wilson combat receiver set cheap from what he said early.
Think he was just saying he has a DD but doesn't want to mess with it? Hell maybe it's my reading comprehension.
Exactly, my DD is completely bone stock. It's got a light, a sling, backup sights, and an aimpoint and it's staying that way.

The whole purpose of all this was to have something I didn't feel bad tinkering with and I fell into most of the parts for a song so why not. I have no idea why but the idea of an accurate chrome lined barrel is intriguing to me haha.
 

USMC_JA

Private
Belligerents
Dec 13, 2010
65
42
24
45
Don't think he's tearing down a DD. He picked up a Wilson combat receiver set cheap from what he said early.
Think he was just saying he has a DD but doesn't want to mess with it? Hell maybe it's my reading comprehension.
Ha. Clearly I had not eaten enough crayons before typing out my post.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: stilesg57

USMC_JA

Private
Belligerents
Dec 13, 2010
65
42
24
45
Exactly, my DD is completely bone stock. It's got a light, a sling, backup sights, and an aimpoint and it's staying that way.

The whole purpose of all this was to have something I didn't feel bad tinkering with and I fell into most of the parts for a song so why not. I have no idea why but the idea of an accurate chrome lined barrel is intriguing to me haha.
Even better. Test that DD CHF barrel against the Criterion and let's see what is what.