The real hunter will never calm down and stop making his or her equipment better. So, today we'll think of which AR-15 barrel is best to buy on the market. The purpose of this thing is to give precise direction to the bullet. It can have a lot of differences in construction, length, inner part surface, materials and other features.
Trying to find best option for the money you might get worse things. Among the types of barrels there are also some ideas which are not of the best quality. Among top makers which produce such weapon parts you could see dozens of producers which offer their own decisions in materials, construction and quality. It's not always easy to choose.
But choosing the brand isn't as hard as you could think of it. Take the highest price range and choose the best producer in that area. You better refuse buying bad quality options for your AR-15 with no markings and license. It's illegal, not safe at all and very unpredictable. And one more thing - I shouldn't say what's the best barrel to buy on the market. It's fully individual choice, so I'll just give you some ideas for choosing.
AR-15 barrels length comparison and describing
In different reviews you can see absolutely different data about best length for a barrel in hunting or sport rifle. One would say that the best AR-15 ideas for accuracy are the longest things in the assortment. The other would argue that only profiles mean much and it's better to choose the shortest thing ever. One more hunter would say it's always better to find golden middle. You can purchase such ideas of AR barrels in length:
- 20" - reliable and consistent thing for your rifle which shows great accuracy, is thought to be best length for long distance shooting;
- 16" - great combination of compact nature and very good technical features to imply them in different conditions;
- 14.5" - classical barrel for M4 Carbine, not the most accurate but very compact and comfortable in use for lots of purposes;
- 18" - special purpose and military barrel which is provided in nearly all best AR makers' assortment and is quite popular;
- 10.5", 11.5", 12.5" - the shortest barrels which are very comfortable if you are constantly moving while shooting.
There are different types of hunting and different purposes of weapon. So, you can't say that short barrel types are bad and long ones are really good. If you run across the forest, you will appreciate 10.5 inches long part and will be glad if it's light, too. Profile comparison in this case play no major role. Choosing the best manufacturer you could just look at the money on the price tag. And trying to find the best length lots of hunters buy at least three different ideas and use the when appropriately. Also look at my review of buffer construction in AR-15.
Materials and construction - let's look at it simply
We now can have wonderful argument choosing best AR-15 barrel for the money and for materials, construction and quality. There are too many factors which we need to think of. Though, I won't go into technical details and try to give you general overview of best rifle parts material. Should it be chrome lined or not, would the life of stainless steel be long enough, will the chromoly decision make you happy... All these questions are really hard to answer.
And here you should also remember differences between classical AR-15 and M4 carbine as well as M16 model. When buying a new barrel, take into account the nature of the gun you have. Only then you could decide who makes the best parts for your rifle and for your hunting type. And now let's look closer at all material options which producers give us today.
4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Nearly all basic non-military guns will have 4140 steel as the main material. It's optimal for shooting in hunting conditions or taking targets during sport shooting. It's presented in different types of length and inner part patterns. It's also interesting that the thing is quite cheap which is very important for nearly all potential buyers. So, I would call the 4140 options the most popular because of the simple construction and price.
4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel
Chrome Moly stays for Chrome Molybdenum alloy with some addition of Vanadium steel. 4150 CMV is usually referred to the military material. The only difference in 4140 vs 4150 steel types is the temperature range. The latest can withstand 100 degrees more than the first. So, it's used to fire continuously in military trainings and in real conflicts around the world. But I don't know any hunter who would need such thing in armory.
You can ask what is 4340 Chrome Moly? It's actually the same as 4150 but with some changes in characteristics. It's also of no interest to those who aren't going to visit war spots.
410 and 416 stainless steel options
There are lots of reviews which view and compare stainless steel vs chrome moly and find some differences. First of all, it's very accurate. Then I should say about long life because the barrel resists rusting and is very easy to clean and maintain. So, comparing chromoly vs stainless steel you can get a lot of wonderful specs of 416 option. And also I would add that 416R stainless steel suite any type of purpose. It's light and very comfortable to use.
Talking about comparison of 410 vs 416 stainless steel options I can say that a hunter won't see any difference. So, you can buy the thing which you see as the best one.
Chrome Lined barrel and non-chrome lined - what's the difference?
Like in Shakespeare's most popular work, lots of hunters and sportsman ask themselves one question - chrome lined or non-chrome lined. If you compare chrome moly vanadium vs chrome lined series of barrels, you certainly will see the difference. The option is made with simple 4140 or 4150 barrels with lining their inside using chrome. It gives wonderful possibilities:
- chrome lined accuracy goes up, it appears to be more targeted;
- the barrel is easier to clean, so it probably will last longer;
- the lifetime of thing goes up, too;
- price is much lower than that of stainless steel option;
- there is no need to worry about inner of the barrel while shooting;
- it also raises the maximum temperature, so you can shoot with no stop.
But if you compare stainless steel vs chrome lined, you probably will buy stainless steel option. It's more accurate, always wonderful in shooting with any kinds of optics. Though, you'll notice it only if you're a sniper or sport shooting competitor. In other ways you won't notice any difference in all this large collection of AR 15 barrels.
How to choose the best AR15 barrel for all purposes?
You'll never find it easy to choose the best option on the market. It's better to test the things with different length and different materials. You can get dozens and even hundreds of options and you probably won't like testing them all. So, at first choose the range of lengths you want to try out. Then find out all about materials and compare them. And in this case you'll get a couple of barrels to test.
If you ask me who makes the BCM barrels best or which of them you should buy, I won't give clear answer. You need to prioritize it with your own experience. Personally, I would invest money in middle length 416 stainless steel barrel and would use it in all condition as I actually do now. But sometimes I also turn to 4140 12.5 inches option to get mobile and flexible shooting with possibility to move around. So, the choice depends fully on your ways of using the AR-15.