School me on barrels

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I wandered into @1stRoundAcademy 's brand new shop in walpole a week or two (nice people, nice shop with non-fudd inventory) and ended up walking out with an m4e1 stripped lower in OD green with no real plan for it. Looks like I'm doing my first full build. Last build I just bought a complete upper and lower. Also ordered the matching upper and 15" R-One handguard.

How can you not want an OD green rifle? The northeast isnt a desert, why do people have FDE stuff? GWOT's over, time to make ODG cool again!

I'm thinking of doing an 18" barrel with an LPVO or MPVO and rifle length gas since I already have a minimum length carbine. Who makes really good barrels and gas blocks at a moderate price point? Anything I should look out for? I'm probably looking for a medium profile barrel or similar.

Total budget is roughly $1250ish not including glass, $2000ish total, but I'm sorta flexible since I'm not in a rush to get it built. Only real requirement is that the rifle not get too heavy, decent mid price point parts, and it's green on black colored.

TL;DR - help me pick a good mid price point 18" ar barrel.
 
What kind of barrel? I’m assuming about $350-$400 is the upper limit of your barrel budget. Craddock or CLE if you want to splurge.

Nitrided: triarc
Stainless: jp, rainier, woa
Chrome lined: too many options. Criterion, centurion, dd, etc.
 
What kind of barrel? I’m assuming about $350-$400 is the upper limit of your barrel budget. Craddock or CLE if you want to splurge.

Nitrided: triarc
Stainless: jp, rainier, woa
Chrome lined: too many options. Criterion, centurion, dd, etc.
Yeah, $400 would be absolute upper end of the budget. Less would be great but $400 is ok if it’s worth it.

I’m not skilled enough to really need or deserve anything too crazy, but if I’m going to do an 18” I suppose it should at least be an accurate shooter.

Will do some research on those this week.
 
Yeah, $400 would be absolute upper end of the budget. Less would be great but $400 is ok if it’s worth it.

I’m not skilled enough to really need or deserve anything too crazy, but if I’m going to do an 18” I suppose it should at least be an accurate shooter.

Will do some research on those this week.
If criterion makes a 18” RL gas system that should fit your needs.
 
a good mid price point 18" ar barrel.
so, first you need to define the desired accuracy of the build. like - price, weight, accuracy - choose 2.

if you want a generic light AR15 - i would discourage from doing an 18" build. 18" is a safe minimum for an AR10 due to some possible gas complications, with ar15 it is nothing to be afraid of.

so, in this notion - you can go with 16" barrel or 20"/22"/24" barrels.

for a lightweight barrel the very good option would be a 16" faxon big gunner, in 223 wylde. you can look at them there:
that will shoot around 1moa, and with some luck under 1 moa, go with barrels that are not on the lightest side, 1.5-1.8lbs would be ok. the lightest pencil profile ones will be overheating fast and lose accuracy fast as well.

if you want a heavy long precision - then a bull profile criterion in 20"+ would be good, or larue or top odins or any other top tier heavy ass barrel.

that is why 2 ARs is a minimum - one for each type.

or you can send all this to hell and just buy a guaranteed to be good build:
 
so, first you need to define the desired accuracy of the build. like - price, weight, accuracy - choose 2.

if you want a generic light AR15 - i would discourage from doing an 18" build. 18" is a safe minimum for an AR10 due to some possible gas complications, with ar15 it is nothing to be afraid of.

so, in this notion - you can go with 16" barrel or 20"/22"/24" barrels.

for a lightweight barrel the very good option would be a 16" faxon big gunner, in 223 wylde. you can look at them there:
that will shoot around 1moa, and with some luck under 1 moa, go with barrels that are not on the lightest side, 1.5-1.8lbs would be ok. the lightest pencil profile ones will be overheating fast and lose accuracy fast as well.

if you want a heavy long precision - then a bull profile criterion in 20"+ would be good, or larue or top odins or any other top tier heavy ass barrel.

that is why 2 ARs is a minimum - one for each type.

or you can send all this to hell and just buy a guaranteed to be good build:
This one is #2. #1 is a 14.5 pin/weld sporting a simple dot. It’s very lightweight. I bought a complete aero upper for that one. Might have to ditch the dot due to mild astigmatism but that’s another subject..

This one will be either a 16” or 18”, with some glass on it. Probably a 1-8 or 2-10, something like that. I suppose it’s going to end up as a sort of SPR, but also something fun to shoot off a bench.

Faxon has a fluted 18” heavy that comes in at like 1.9lbs. Seems really light for what it is? Faxon Match Series 18" Heavy Fluted, .223 Wylde, Rifle-Length, 416-R Stainless QPQ Nitride, 5R, Nickel Teflon Extension AR-15 Barrel

If we’re being honest, I’ll probably be happy with anything so long as it doesn’t end up uncomfortably heavy, and doesn’t shoot like garbage. :)
 
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This one is #2. #1 is a 14.5 pin/weld sporting a simple dot. It’s very lightweight. I bought a complete aero upper for that one. Might have to ditch the dot due to mild astigmatism but that’s another subject..

This one will be either a 16” or 18”, with some glass on it. Probably a 1-8 or 2-10, something like that. I suppose it’s going to end up as a sort of SPR, but also something fun to shoot off a bench.

Faxon has a fluted 18” heavy that comes in at like 1.9lbs. Seems really light for what it is? Faxon Match Series 18" Heavy Fluted, .223 Wylde, Rifle-Length, 416-R Stainless QPQ Nitride, 5R, Nickel Teflon Extension AR-15 Barrel

If we’re being honest, I’ll probably be happy with anything so long as it doesn’t end up uncomfortably heavy, and doesn’t shoot like garbage. :)
the larues i have are great, the 18" link i gave is a shorter version of a 20" stealth one i got, and it shoots 1/2 moa consistently. it is very good.
faxons big gunners i have on 6.5cm and 308 - both are great there, as long as it is not their ultrathin pencil profile - it works very well.

big gunner begins a bull and end as a sort of pencil, to cut weight.
 
This one is #2. #1 is a 14.5 pin/weld sporting a simple dot. It’s very lightweight. I bought a complete aero upper for that one. Might have to ditch the dot due to mild astigmatism but that’s another subject..

This one will be either a 16” or 18”, with some glass on it. Probably a 1-8 or 2-10, something like that. I suppose it’s going to end up as a sort of SPR, but also something fun to shoot off a bench.

Faxon has a fluted 18” heavy that comes in at like 1.9lbs. Seems really light for what it is? Faxon Match Series 18" Heavy Fluted, .223 Wylde, Rifle-Length, 416-R Stainless QPQ Nitride, 5R, Nickel Teflon Extension AR-15 Barrel

If we’re being honest, I’ll probably be happy with anything so long as it doesn’t end up uncomfortably heavy, and doesn’t shoot like garbage. :)
Define like garbage, if you set a standard its easier to purchase stuff.
Are tou just dumping Steel cases fodder or M193/855 through it? Are you expecting”
It better shoot under X moa with Y ammo?
Will you be testing or reloading ammo to find what runs really well and stocking up a few K rounds of that ammo.

Theres a lot to think about or not.

Looking forward to end result
 
Define like garbage, if you set a standard its easier to purchase stuff.
Are tou just dumping Steel cases fodder or M193/855 through it? Are you expecting”
It better shoot under X moa with Y ammo?
Will you be testing or reloading ammo to find what runs really well and stocking up a few K rounds of that ammo.

Theres a lot to think about or not.

Looking forward to end result

I’m still fairly new to the hobby so to some extent I guess I don’t know what I want. Just bought a lower on a whim because a) Maura doesn’t want me to b) the shop had OD green in stock, lol!

I think the build is going to be a sort of SPR rifle, hence the 18”. Unsure if I’ll go 1-8 or more like 2-12 with the glass, but either way it will be for punching paper at 100-200 mostly.

I’d like to get it zero’d for 77’s, but will probably shoot m193 through it too.

These 2 barrels look interesting. Unsure if it makes sense to go with the heavier one or not. And I could still go with a 16”.



Assembled the lower yesterday, hand guard and upper are backordered a couple weeks. Will piece the rest together by summer.

Will do a drop in trigger eventually, maybe next year.

IMG_3712.jpeg
 
I’m still fairly new to the hobby so to some extent I guess I don’t know what I want. Just bought a lower on a whim because a) Maura doesn’t want me to b) the shop had OD green in stock, lol!

I think the build is going to be a sort of SPR rifle, hence the 18”. Unsure if I’ll go 1-8 or more like 2-12 with the glass, but either way it will be for punching paper at 100-200 mostly.

I’d like to get it zero’d for 77’s, but will probably shoot m193 through it too.

These 2 barrels look interesting. Unsure if it makes sense to go with the heavier one or not. And I could still go with a 16”.



Assembled the lower yesterday, hand guard and upper are backordered a couple weeks. Will piece the rest together by summer.

Will do a drop in trigger eventually, maybe next year.

View attachment 748044
You may find this stock to work best with no spacers or with only one spacer left.
 
First off, I want to congratulate you for choosing not to be a lemming and build another black rifle. ODG is cool! In New England foliage, ODG matches local vegetation far better than FDE.

From an aesthetic side of things: I think the black color detracts and mutes ODG. Perhaps you should consider an unpainted/unblued barrel. It will make ODG color pop! Alternatively, ceracoting/painting parts to match the color(especially the buttstock) might be another way to make the rifle look sorted out.

P.S. This is my opinion and my OCD. Everyone is different, which makes things not dull.
 
First off, I want to congratulate you for choosing not to be a lemming and build another black rifle. ODG is cool! In New England foliage, ODG matches local vegetation far better than FDE.

From an aesthetic side of things: I think the black color detracts and mutes ODG. Perhaps you should consider an unpainted/unblued barrel. It will make ODG color pop! Alternatively, ceracoting/painting parts to match the color(especially the buttstock) might be another way to make the rifle look sorted out.

P.S. This is my opinion and my OCD. Everyone is different, which makes things not dull.

Exactly, ODG makes more sense for anyone this side of the Mississippi. I think pictures from GWOT sold a lot of FDE gear.

My upper showed up, but turns out my lower is anodized ODG, and the upper is cerakote. Ordered the correct one, will take a month to get the hand guard in. :/

You may find this stock to work best with no spacers or with only one spacer left.

It works well for me with 2 (1 is fine as well), but I let my sister shoot my other rifle with the same length last weekend and she could not shoot it at all. She was really confused about how the stock would not retract like the rental rifles. Couldn’t shoulder it at all.

Unfortunately I had failure to feed issues with that rifle, so now I have two projects I guess. Suspect feed ramp issue but could be gas or magazine. Only tried USGI prebans, which should work ok.

Getting scratched copper from both feed ramps. Need to get to the range again to try and diagnose.


IMG_3724.jpegIMG_3727.jpegIMG_3730.jpeg
 
It looks like the right ramp has a little jump from the lower to the barrel. Could this be the reason for feed issues?
It’s hard to get a good picture of, but it seems to have a realllly small jump. I know from some google searching this can cause failures to feed, but I’m not sure what is considered in spec vs not in spec.

I’ll need to trouble shoot it a little more to make sure it isn’t anything else.
1) run the bcg wet, since it was pretty dry when I pulled it out after shooting. Mineral oil might have evaporated in storage. Will get some motor oil on it maybe.
2) check if it’s holding open on last shot to make sure it isn’t under-gassed
3)try pmags. Although this isn’t an acceptable fix since I can’t run preban pmags ofc.

If all of that doesn’t solve it then I’ll probably have to get the feed ramps polished. Not worth RMA’ing an aero product from MA, don’t think they’ll return ship it.
 

View: https://youtu.be/2MV9JTe7MY0


The feeding is violent so cartridges will get beat up

for those who did not do it, to dremel it - there`s a danger to overdremel it easily. it may, potentially, make it a non-fixable problem - so would be probably better to go easy there and use a manual file, as it is not a lot that should be taken off, and angle needs to be maintained.

on most new guns if you want to poke at transition area - there is always some perception of an imperfection there, when it is new. but feeding ammo will work it out naturally, usually.
but as i stick to aero now - on aero products this is a non-issue, usually.

again, i am not saying it should not be done - it is just quite easy to overdo it, and then it will make it a problem.
 
for those who did not do it, to dremel it - there`s a danger to overdremel it easily. it may, potentially, make it a non-fixable problem - so would be probably better to go easy there and use a manual file, as it is not a lot that should be taken off, and angle needs to be maintained.

on most new guns if you want to poke at transition area - there is always some perception of an imperfection there, when it is new. but feeding ammo will work it out naturally, usually.
but as i stick to aero now - on aero products this is a non-issue, usually.

again, i am not saying it should not be done - it is just quite easy to overdo it, and then it will make it a problem.
I know theres a good slow motion video out there with a good close up and shows just how violently the feed action works
 
taking a closer look at rifle #1, noticed the gas block may be off center. Did my best to take the picture straight. You can see the gas block screws are not centered relative to the hand guard.

Guess I’ll have to just pull it off. I wonder if aero dimpled the barrel.

for rifle #2 the correct upper and hand guard should arrive Sunday / Monday, and I’m waiting for the return credit on the returned one. Then I’ll be ready to order a barrel, gas block, and gas tube. Will be able to build a functional rifle at that point, sans optic.

I’ve pretty much settled on going with Faxon since both the price and their barrel profiles look good to me. The heavy fluted barrels are really lightweight for what they are, and keep it under $300.


IMG_3752.jpeg
 
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taking a closer look at rifle #1, noticed the gas block may be off center. Did my best to take the picture straight. You can see the gas block screws are not centered relative to the hand guard.

Guess I’ll have to just pull it off. I wonder if aero dimpled the barrel.

for rifle #2 the correct upper and hand guard should arrive Sunday / Monday, and I’m waiting for the return credit on the returned one. Then I’ll be ready to order a barrel, gas block, and gas tube. Will be able to build a functional rifle at that point, sans optic.

I’ve pretty much settled on going with Faxon since both the price and their barrel profiles look good to me. The heavy fluted barrels are really lightweight for what they are, and keep it under $300.


View attachment 753941
You do not have to worry about perfection there on a gas block position as intake hole there always overlaps barrel outlet. If it cycles well - it is only about aesthetics.
Only important part there to make sure gas block is not in contact with the handguard.

That was a case on ruger sfar I have.
 


I’ve pretty much settled on going with Faxon since both the price and their barrel profiles look good to me. The heavy fluted barrels are really lightweight for what they are, and keep it under $300.

Be careful with Faxon. I know they used to be good for the money, but I’ve had problems with the two barrels of theirs I’ve shot. A 9” 300blk with an undersized gas port that wouldn’t cycle supers and a 6.5CM with an undersized chamber that had failures to extract.

But, plenty of people have good luck. Just know their QC hasn’t been great the past few years.

Edit: just continued reading the thread and noticed you already got the barrel in. Hope it’s a great shooter!
 
Be careful with Faxon. I know they used to be good for the money, but I’ve had problems with the two barrels of theirs I’ve shot. A 9” 300blk with an undersized gas port that wouldn’t cycle supers and a 6.5CM with an undersized chamber that had failures to extract.

But, plenty of people have good luck. Just know their QC hasn’t been great the past few years.

Edit: just continued reading the thread and noticed you already got the barrel in. Hope it’s a great shooter!

Had a little trouble getting it together due to an undersized vice and a new torque wrench that has a really quiet click. But it's all together to spec now.

Awaiting a VG6 gamma 556SL. I saw the non-SL version of the gamma at the shop that will do the weld, but I don't think they had the SL. Primary Arms has them for half the price right now anyways. Can take the gas block off with the SL version. Should be able to get to the range next Sunday to function test it.

Still havent ordered it, but I think this will end up with an Athlon 2-12 on it, with Aero ultralight mounts. Maybe an offset red dot for larp purposes.
 
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