Ranking available semi auto precision grade guns

GhostFace

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Barrel, start with good barrel....it’s the heart of the system. All of the ones with a good barrels will shoot about the same. The rest of it comes down to features, find the one with the features that you like and then pick a good SS barrel. I would avoid the ones with these new start up barrel companies but that’s me.
 
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EDELWEISS

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Barrel, start with good barrel....it’s the heart of the system. All of the ones with a good barrel will shoot about the same. The rest of it comes down to features, find the one with the features that you like and the pick a good SS barrel. I would avoid the ones with these new start up barrel companies but that’s me.
Yeah "I get that". I was just wondering what folks thought about the different brands; but since you brought up barrels--who uses "good barrels"?
 

GhostFace

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Larue, LMT, KAC, GAP , Noveske and Armalite rifles with match barrels are all going to shoot about the same, period. Some a fraction tighter then others but all will be under MOA.

I know others will come in here and say they get under MOA all day with their $200 match barrel and that could be true for now but for how long? . I know I can get my barrels hot and dirty with no flyers or vertical stringing and I have 4,400 rounds on one barrel. I know can shoot over 500 rounds suppressed before things start to open up.

I have read of CS issues with one of these new companies that alot of guys recommend on Arfcom. A couple of guys can’t get their calls or emails returned in regards to their bad barrels.

When it comes to my money I still go with the big names and the best that I can afford.

ETA I think those companies that have spent money in R&D are the ones to go with. They will be reliable. Now those that have cloned or just started up I would avoid. KAC, Armalite and LMT share a lot of DNA. A lot of people don’t know the Karl Lewis worked a lot on the AR-10 project for Armalite. We all know LMT has made parts for KAC so...
 
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padom

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What caliber are we talking? If 5.56 probably JP otherwise a complete AR15 built by Keystone Accuracy, Craddock Precision, Compass Lake or White Oak will be your most consistently accurate AR. These guys are building there precision AR's with Bartlein or Kreiger blanks that just flat out shoot. There's a reason why most of the top shooters get their AR's from these shops and have won many world records with them.
 

EDELWEISS

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Does any company make a good 556 rifle and a bad 308?

...and since we're talking barrels, any thoughts on Black Hole Weaponry. Im sorta liking the idea of their polygonal rifling but only because it reminds me of the HKs
 

rth1800

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I once did a lot of testing on the 5.56 AR platform. Over 50 rifles. Due to being subsidized, budget was very high. (Basically unlimited)
I tested multiple models of the best brands.
Long to short is that Les Baer barrels are hands down the best. His features suck and Les can be an absolute ass. If I wanted a sub .25 moa AR I would not know who would be my second choice but my first would be Baer. Barrels are expensive.

Most of the better makers will get you sub MOA for 10 shot groups with a good trigger.
Douglas barrels as set up by Alan Brown are excellent for heavy bullets (77 SMK).
I don’t know if he is still doing them.

I have had good luck with Proof barrels so far. Recommend getting a top end AR accuracy builder to assemble. I know you (and I) can do it ourselves but the cost is small for having a pro do it. I can bolt a motor togather as well but if I’m running top fuel I would hire the best mechanic I could get. The cost is lower than the time and ammo you could spend diagnosing a home build problem.

I like KAC PARTS. My few remaining rifles are mostly built on KAC uppers and lowers with Geissele triggers. Doubt that makes much difference. I like them and the budget was high. You will encounter a lot of KAC hate. Mostly from hater types not based on facts. I have sold dozens of KAC rifles and parts. Folks scramble for them. (Sometimes it’s the same folks who are the haters) I’m guessing a lot of the hate is budgetary constraints being vocalized.

I like JP stuff and if buying today I would strongly consider a JP set up to my specs. 18” barrels are far superior to 16” for killing IMO.

I have no data on ranking the other rifles. Once they failed I moved on. My project was simply to find the best, not rank them. Nor will I list the models tested etc.

A last note, Noveski had nice features but accuracy on the 3 tested was not acceptable. I’ll get some hate there. Might have been a fluke. My impression was they were tank strong and accuracy was a distant second priority. Noveski with Baer barrel would get high marks no doubt.
 

MontanaMan

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Baer is now out of the AR business, as I understand it..............saw something a month or so ago, as I recall.

Agree on KAC; I have one with a Kreiger barrel, very accurate, consistent & gassed perfectly w/o an AGB.

MM
 
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rth1800

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I spoke with them last week. They still have parts and will sell rifles. Just not on website. Orders were slow was reason stated
 

ShooterwithNoName

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True, Les Baer has gotten out of the AR game. I think, like you said, lack of features vs. other rifles at the same price point is what slowed their sales.

I've only ever owned one AR by Les Baer. Believe it or not, I found it in a pawnshop hanging among other mix n match ARs. They didnt know what it was, i looked it over and made sure it was complete, it was. $850... i just lucked into it. It was a 20" bull barrel, it was in good shape. I never even fired it, I flipped it for $1K and an old Egyptian Hakim 8mm...

That is one i wished i wouldve hung on to, or at least tried it out. So does Les Baer make their own blanks? Or do they just turn good blanks themselves? Just curious as to why the Les Baers were so consistent? The one i had in my hands, you could tell it was built top notch. Fit was perfect, I now really regret selling it... lol.
 

rth1800

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I think they make them. With a bore scope they are unmatched in finish. No idea where they could buy them that good.
They give a new meaning to the term Mirror Finish.
 

The King

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I build ar15s exclusively as Radian Model 1s for small frame and JPs as large frame.

Both with proof carbon fiber barrels.
 

MontanaMan

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I think they make them. With a bore scope they are unmatched in finish. No idea where they could buy them that good.
They give a new meaning to the term Mirror Finish.
Rock & Lilja button barrels are fully the equal, w/o doubt. Also there is such a thing as being too smooth & becoming a copper fouler, just sayin'.

I am not positive, but I really don't think Baer rifles his own AR barrels either.

MM
 

rth1800

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i state expirence and state exactly what that expirence is.

You state opinion and what you think someone else does,

I have only pulled off and trashed a few new barrels out of hundreds. Two of them were Lilja. I would not take one as a gift.
 

The DFC

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Precision Reflex has complete Mark 12s and uppers with Douglass barrels per the informative post above.

My personal experience-all sub moa with match ammo:

KAC LPR with Krieger barrel.

LMT sharpshooter .308 ss 16".

LMT MWS 24" ss 6.5cm.

All from concrete bench, bipod, and rear bag. I'm an average shooter. When I say sub moa I mean just under an inch on most days-I definitely have above moa days. None of this 1/4 moa all day BS I read here from time to time. Maybe in the hands of a more capable shooter who knows?
 

flyer

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Im just looking for opinions but Id your like reasons. Are there any bargains?

So lets see what you think. HK DD LMT LaRue AERO (is the enhanced upper really better)
I like Aero Enhanced. They work for me and the price (when on sale) for receivers and handguards is about what you would spend on anything decent which let's you spend money on your barrel, trigger and other parts that have an impact on accuracy.

Personally, I would rather build 4 Aeros than buy one KAC so I can have some variety.
 

MontanaMan

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I think they make them. With a bore scope they are unmatched in finish. No idea where they could buy them that good.
They give a new meaning to the term Mirror Finish.
I did some further digging & you are right, they do appear to make them. Found a reference that says he bought the equipment & does the drilling, reaming & both cut & button rifling in house.

That's a pretty serious investment to not be using much if they are going to downsize the AR business.

I'm also surprised at your experience with Lilja; I've had several on bolt guns over the years & they've all been good, with no issues, no fouling either.

When you say some guns failed & you moved on, what was the failure mode(S)? Or are you just referring to accuracy?

MM
 

rth1800

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DFC,
I bet you could get 10 shot groups under .3 MOA at 100 yards with my Baer bull barreled .204 once you fired a few rounds to get accustom to the trigger. I have had a few friends try it and all have done so. You might do much better. I don't group shoot much but once in a while it is fun to shoot one or two. Normally I just verify zero at various ranges. When three shots go into one hole that looks just like the first shot it's tempting to fire another 7.
 

samnev

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I have most of the big names mentioned. My Les Baer Match Sniper is the most accurate 308 I own. I've talked to Les a few times. He was always polite when we spoke and answered all my questions.:)
 

rth1800

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Les can be friendly. Bet he is a nice guy. Like many very intelligent and skilled people he is very set in his ways and is never wrong.

Here is a Les story.

I ordered a 24" bull barrel for a .223 AR. It came in in a perfect box. No damage. Internally, no damage. Well packed.
When I pulled the barrel out it looked like it had been swung against a sidewalk on the muzzle. Into the rifling. Just a big skid mark.

Not a big deal to me at all. I was going to cut and thread it anyway. I called Les to inform him and sent pictures of box, barrel, packing etc. I politely told him what had happened. Told him, no big deal, just wanted him to know. I wanted nothing from him. He got upset, said it would not be shipped that way and that I had done it. He did say he would re crown to fix but I would need to pay shipping.

The damage was so great that I could see no other way than intentional sidewalk abuse that it could happen. I thought he might have a problem employ that he would want to know about.

That barrel shot amazing! (Once Fixed but not by Les)

That is what dealing with Les can be like.
 
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wildcats

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Barrel, start with good barrel....it’s the heart of the system. All of the ones with a good barrels will shoot about the same. The rest of it comes down to features, find the one with the features that you like and then pick a good SS barrel. I would avoid the ones with these new start up barrel companies but that’s me.
What he said ,barrel is everything in the AR world.
 
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wildcats

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Also a good trigger is an absolute must. do not skimp there as well.many to choose from.
For a precision AR stay withing 2.5-3lb pull.
 

YF12A

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Agree about the barrel, it's the heart and soul. Got lucky about 15 years ago and got an Armalite AR-10 upper and lower built with a Lothar Walther 22" S/S semi heavy barrel. With name brand 150gr. rounds it will hold just about 1 MOA, with 168gr. match, it's a hammer, .5 MOA or better all day long as long as I do my part. Don't know if L/W still sells these barrels anymore, was told no, but...

Yes, a good trigger is also important, I use 2 stage triggers in all my AR's so I know how all of them are going to fire.
 

rth1800

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I am not at all sure that it is relevant to the discussion. More so as the question is ask by two people with "private" settings. If you have an issue with that simply disregard my results and drive on.
 

MontanaMan

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Why so sensitive? You posted that you did it & it is an interesting set of tests / evaluations not seen everyday that had to have cost some serious $$$ to obtain the hardware for.

Why post as a source of info if if you don't want to elaborate?

And, yes, it is relevant as you are using that experience to recommend or not, various manufacturers.

MM
 
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rth1800

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Nothing top secret about it. I just find it odd that folks who won't post their name or location inquire about the financial matters of others.

It was just a few folks who wanted to know what was best accuracy, and velocity wise. ( Not best for the price, just best) Rifles were purchased 5-10 at a time. Tested, then sold or parted out. I had contacts in the industry to make suggestions and at times help with getting harder to locate rifles, parts and ammunition. I kept some rifles and parts others kept some rifles and parts. It was not a formal arrangement, contract etc. More of an off the cuff, OK, I will send you X rifles, let me now how they measure up. I have a range and ability to test and record data.

Due to getting good pricing on purchase it was actually done at a relatively low overall cost considering the quantity and quality of gear tested. Rifles that shot well were often kept for further testing or personal use. Rifles that did not shoot well were not tweaked much or at all. The less than stellar rifles were sold.

This testing happened at the time of the price increases so some groups of rifles actually sold at a profit.

I also tested scopes and mounts. All quality mounts are about equal and none made a difference except in features. (Height, QD, weight etc.)

Scopes. Very much a personal choice of course. I ended up using two. NF 2.5-10x24 and S&B 5-20 Ultra Short. NF for light set ups and S&B for ultimate accuracy without being too big.

All in all, it allowed myself and a couple of friends to get first hand knowledge and select the best shooing rifles at a fairly low overall investment.

One thing I will share it that a cheap Stag arms light 16" rifle shot with the best of them. 5 shot groups at 300 meters averaged 2.5"
That is about it. Not a big deal.


I offered to share this and get quizzed about my tax returns.
 
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MontanaMan

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I won't ask for your tax returns, but

That's interesting that a few of you would spend that kind of money, although it sounds like you recovered a fair amount, but obviously, great info to acquire.

Also, interesting about the Stags, as that mirrors what I know too............had a plain jane M4 that was good & a pard with a varmint version that is just plain stupid accurate with 10 shot groups, though you'd need a tractor to drag it out to the field.

Thanks for posting the info, anyway.

MM
 

SAMR

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I once did a lot of testing on the 5.56 AR platform. Over 50 rifles. Due to being subsidized, budget was very high. (Basically unlimited)
I tested multiple models of the best brands.
Long to short is that Les Baer barrels are hands down the best. His features suck and Les can be an absolute ass. If I wanted a sub .25 moa AR I would not know who would be my second choice but my first would be Baer. Barrels are expensive.

Most of the better makers will get you sub MOA for 10 shot groups with a good trigger.
Douglas barrels as set up by Alan Brown are excellent for heavy bullets (77 SMK).
I don’t know if he is still doing them.

I have had good luck with Proof barrels so far. Recommend getting a top end AR accuracy builder to assemble. I know you (and I) can do it ourselves but the cost is small for having a pro do it. I can bolt a motor togather as well but if I’m running top fuel I would hire the best mechanic I could get. The cost is lower than the time and ammo you could spend diagnosing a home build problem.

I like KAC PARTS. My few remaining rifles are mostly built on KAC uppers and lowers with Geissele triggers. Doubt that makes much difference. I like them and the budget was high. You will encounter a lot of KAC hate. Mostly from hater types not based on facts. I have sold dozens of KAC rifles and parts. Folks scramble for them. (Sometimes it’s the same folks who are the haters) I’m guessing a lot of the hate is budgetary constraints being vocalized.

I like JP stuff and if buying today I would strongly consider a JP set up to my specs. 18” barrels are far superior to 16” for killing IMO.

I have no data on ranking the other rifles. Once they failed I moved on. My project was simply to find the best, not rank them. Nor will I list the models tested etc.

A last note, Noveski had nice features but accuracy on the 3 tested was not acceptable. I’ll get some hate there. Might have been a fluke. My impression was they were tank strong and accuracy was a distant second priority. Noveski with Baer barrel would get high marks no doubt.
I know a local gunsmith who shoots a Les Baer and he vouches the same. His rifle is a real pig but shoots lights out. He’s built premium ARs with best parts, but the Les outshoots all of them. Unsure what the magic is, but I think I read they use Lothar Walter barrels.
 

rth1800

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Ok, you can laugh.

There are two types of folks on this site. Good shots and those who aspire to be good shots.

Both require good barrels.

If you do not, consider starting a thread on a source for crap barrels and see the response you get.
 

SuckitTrebek

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Ok, you can laugh.

There are two types of folks on this site. Good shots and those who aspire to be good shots.

Both require good barrels.

If you do not, consider starting a thread on a source for crap barrels and see the response you get.
Definitely laughing. Since MANY (not all) of the barrels out there will shoot better than most shooters
 
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rth1800

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Great, drive on. You clearly have no desire to improve and a barrel that limits you is no limit at all.
 

SuckitTrebek

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Great, drive on. You clearly have no desire to improve and a barrel that limits you is no limit at all.
nah. I just recognize that just buying a more expensive barrel doesn't mean it's better and that there are lots of quality options out there.

Bet there is a guy out there that can shoot circles around you with the same rifle you think needs to be improved.

Self improvement in a variety of ways is the best thing to work on in any discipline, marksmanship included. Great gear will get you only so far.

Best advice ever:

Work on you, not just dumping more money into your gear.
 

rth1800

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No, you are wrong and an ass to boot.

When I shoot uniformly excellent groups with some barrels and groups three to five times that size with others not a fucking soul in the world is going to outshoot me with the poor barrel. Not happening.

When you gain reading comprehension skills you will note that some of the best barrels I tested were less expensive than some of the poor grouping barrels.

If you like poor shooting barrels no one cares. Go shoot them.
 
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flyer

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I have a $200 (on sale) Criterion 6.5 Creedmoor 24" bull barrel that shoots 1/2 MOA with Hornady box ammo. I was careful assembling it and it has a nice trigger, free float tube, etc.

I probably couldn't do that with a crap barrel and that means a $200 barrel isn't necessarily crap.

Expecting one company to have the best of everything and sell at a reasonable price is not exactly realistic.

It is possible to individually find what you want without spending too much which is why I build.
 
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rth1800

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I fully agree. The Stag rifle and Douglas barrels are far from most expensive. The ones I tried simply shot. Proof is in the pudding.
 

RifleBlog

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I am not at all sure that it is relevant to the discussion. More so as the question is ask by two people with "private" settings. If you have an issue with that simply disregard my results and drive on.
Alright, I’ll bite. 13/F/Cali since it matters to you so much.

On the other hand, you’re a guy making pretty bold, assertive claims on an forum without a shred of evidence, data or even a photograph to support your wild claims. And then attacking the people who want you to prove it.

This is the Internet. Pics or GTFO.

Also, in-before “I don’t have to prove anything to you”. And for what it’s worth, I’d love to be proved wrong and that you actually did do the testing you said you did.
 

rth1800

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Sir,

13/F/cali. I have no idea what that means. Is that your name? Your phone number? Your secret agent code number?

Not at all sure why you are dwelling on this so much. If you have further interest PM me with the following information.

Complete Name
Complete Address
Land Line number
Cell number.

I will send you the same information. Then you can call and visit. I will be glad to share any information I have with you regarding testing. I really have no idea what I can show or tell you several years after the fact that will cause you to retract your baseless accusations. I do not have a "Rifle Blog" nor anything to prove. I simply offered my expirences to others in an effort to help. If I read sometihng on the internet that I thought was bullshit I would simply ignore it.

I have a feeling that your undue interest is more related to the fact that you cannot get folks to send you free crap for your "Rifle Blog" and are simply upset about that. I don't see any refutation of the facts about the rifles I tested in your post. Nor do you even mention what I posted about accuracy. You are focused on the details of how I was able obtain the test rifles, not the test themselves. You might want to think about that for a moment.

If you really want to do some sluething go back through my post on AR15.com and this site. You can find where I sold dozens items like KAC SR 15, Baer, and Noveski receivers, slightly used barrels, SR25 parts and rifle, scope mounts, scopes etc. Start about 2009 or so. What you will see is a very small portion of the rifles I parted out after testing. Much was also sold locally. Most of the rifles were sent back to the folks who provided them. I still have a few, mostly KAC rifles. I did notice 40 or so barrels in the gun room. Just odds and ends.


You are welcome to call but I doubt I can help you.