“Precision Carbine” barrel selection

Nathan Mack

Amateur
Network Support II
#1
I am assembling a PRS gas gun division legal AR15. This build will likely motivate a second build in an AR308 configuration down the road.

I am (im)patiently awaiting Ridgeline Shooting to drop their line of SPR/DMR pattern barrels, but they aren’t available yet, so I may have to get something else. I am not going to (at this juncture) have a custom Bartlein, Brux, Krieger, etc barrel turned. So I am looking for turnkey options.

I have made a list of a few that include: Rainier Arms Ultra Match, Criterion, BCM and a couple of others, but I’d appreciate some input on barrels members have experience with—particularly barrel life, ammo favorability, accuracy and velocity.

I will be buying and/or loading 77gr SMK (I have a lot of it), so any input regarding this bullet performing in a 16” and 18” barrel would be great, too.

-Jason
 
#2
I like BCM, but their SS precision barrels have a lengthy history of users being disappointed with their accuracy (but many of the reports are with factory ammo).

I currently am down to 2 "match" SS barreled AR's and they are both Centurion/Douglas barrels. One is 16; the other 18.5. With Black Hills 77 SMK (mk 262), it drops about 75-80 fps going down to 16. Both absolutely LOVE the Black Hills load and it's coming out of the 18.5 at about 2770 fps. I'm sitting about about 2500 rounds of full-strength 5.56 on my 18.5". Both guns are easily MOA guns.

I had a VSeven weapons barrel (Joel formerly of Noveske) and that was probably the tightest shooting AR barrel I've owned, but it was a bit more touchy with extended strings of fire and heat compared to the Centurion/Douglas barrels.
 

bkelly47

Newbie
Network Support I
#3
Bartlein Mk12 or Recon barrels with the CLE Match Chamber with a 7.7 twist with matching bolt from Compass Lake Engineering. My second choice would be a JP 18” medium contour barrel.

I have a CLE Bartlein Mk12 and it consistently prints sub 1/2 MOA 10 shot groups with black hills factory 77 grain.

If you are going to be using it for PRS the faster the better so if you can go 20” or longer go for it.
 

nightchief

Fighter of the Daychief
Network Support I
#4
I have a LaRue Stealth barrel, 18" mid-length. I'm able to consistently get 1 1/4" groups at 100 yds when shooting 10 rd strings with Hornady and BH factory loads. Slightly under 1" groups when shooting 5 round strings. I am NOT a great precision shooter by any means, I think the barrel is capable of better, but I am not. I am consistently able to hit an 8" gong at 500 yds when there is no crosswind.

The barrel likes Hornady 223 75 gr OTM, BH 556 77 gr OTM/SMK and BH 556 77 gr TMK. I have not hand loaded for this barrel, so its very possible tighter groupings are possible with a good load load worked up for it. My experience with this barrel is in Texas shooting in 25-100 degree weather, fairly level, from the prone.
 

Nathan Mack

Amateur
Network Support II
#5
Bartlein Mk12 or Recon barrels with the CLE Match Chamber with a 7.7 twist with matching bolt from Compass Lake Engineering. My second choice would be a JP 18” medium contour barrel.

I have a CLE Bartlein Mk12 and it consistently prints sub 1/2 MOA 10 shot groups with black hills factory 77 grain.

If you are going to be using it for PRS the faster the better so if you can go 20” or longer go for it.
It won’t be longer than 18”. I’m keeping it “duty rifle” in size.
 

BooneGA

Moderator
Moderator
WARLORD
Network Support IV
#6
I have a LaRue Stealth barrel, 18" mid-length. I'm able to consistently get 1 1/4" groups at 100 yds when shooting 10 rd strings with Hornady and BH factory loads. Slightly under 1" groups when shooting 5 round strings. I am NOT a great precision shooter by any means, I think the barrel is capable of better, but I am not. I am consistently able to hit an 8" gong at 500 yds when there is no crosswind.

The barrel likes Hornady 223 75 gr OTM, BH 556 77 gr OTM/SMK and BH 556 77 gr TMK. I have not hand loaded for this barrel, so its very possible tighter groupings are possible with a good load load worked up for it. My experience with this barrel is in Texas shooting in 25-100 degree weather, fairly level, from the prone.
Is it one of the newer larue barrels of the old ones made by Lothar Walther? I have an 11.5 LW barrel (larue branded) that is excellent but no experience with the 5.56 Larue barrels made in house.

Rick
 

nightchief

Fighter of the Daychief
Network Support I
#7
Is it one of the newer larue barrels of the old ones made by Lothar Walther? I have an 11.5 LW barrel (larue branded) that is excellent but no experience with the 5.56 Larue barrels made in house.

Rick
It’s a newer one, 2015 purchased, made in house from “Rearden Steel”...
 

Nathan Mack

Amateur
Network Support II
#8
Bartlein Mk12 or Recon barrels with the CLE Match Chamber with a 7.7 twist with matching bolt from Compass Lake Engineering. My second choice would be a JP 18” medium contour barrel.

I have a CLE Bartlein Mk12 and it consistently prints sub 1/2 MOA 10 shot groups with black hills factory 77 grain.

If you are going to be using it for PRS the faster the better so if you can go 20” or longer go for it.
So far I’m liking what CLE has to offer. The Bartlein 7.7 twist 16” barrels look solid.
 

Anderhammer52

Newbie
Network Support I
#9
BCM has their KD4 spec complete uppers ae well as barrels. I've been super impressed with the accuracy often shooting inch to inch and half groups with various factory loads such as black hills 75 gr, hornady 73 and 75, federal 75, I even shot a few inch and half groups with reman 55gr. All of which are totally limited by my shooting ability.
 
#10
I am having good luck with the KD4 upper. I roll my own 77s. With Varget, I get 2550 FPS with an ES if about 16 FPS with the 16” KD4 upper with a silencer attached.

I also have a load with TAC that I can reload on the progressive press. I get 2730 FPS but the ES is around 30fps.

Worrying about “groups” at 100 is amateur hour stuff when talking things like PRS. You just need to keep that ES down. A minute does ya for groups.


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