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michael1778

14.5" versus 16" barrel upper for 300 yards and less

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My monthly match here in NC is great. But 11 of the 12 months are at a range that cannot handle more than 280 yards or so on rifle targets. I enjoy my current 18" rifle (Loki with a Satern barrel) but its weight is more than needed for the type of rifle shooting most of the year. The June match gets the 18" barrel, for sure (and a bipod too since I shoot Open). It's a fine rifle for longer work.:devil:

I'm considering a "lighter and faster" upper from Loki to match up with my billet receiver set on the original rifle build. Naturally, I will ask for mid-length gas, but on a 14.5" barrel or a 16" barrel? Are people using 16" more often since match-quality barrels are not often made in 14.5"? The lower has a Magpul PRS stock (balances out the heavy 18" barrel nicely) and AR Gold trigger (has allowed me to shoot better than I have any right to since I'm such a rifle novice). I am considering how to keep the investment in the lower components while speeding up my rifle times with a lighter upper. I use a Syrac adjustable gas block also. What are your thoughts on using one on the proposed mid-length gas upper? My thinking is "yes" but I'm open to other opinions.

For information, my backup rifle is a forged 16" Carbon Arms upper (non-adjustable gas) on a S&W M&P lower (stock trigger & ACS stock), but no optics on it currently. On a lighter upper, I'd try lower power optics to save space and possibly weight.

Perhaps I end up doing nothing, but I would appreciate some community feedback and opinion. Thank you in advance for your time and ideas.

-- Mike

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You don't need a match grade barrel to shoot sub-300 yards at 4MOA targets (standard-ish 3 Gun size) IMHO. Especially since this sounds like it's gonna be your club gun upper, I'd suggest a barrel which won't wear out on you and that you can shoot the crap out of ...Loki offers a 14.5" Nitrided Barrel which I currently use in my "class gun"/"tactical" setup and it's worked as advertised and I'm achieving 1.5/2-ish MOA accuracy with it (obviously other factors apply here not just barrel but point is, that specific barrel is acceptable for accuracy)......I'd say the reason you don't see many 14.5 setups in the gaming community is that we typically like to change out parts a lot, especially muzzle devices and gas blocks.....14.5's need to have a pin/welded brake due to NFA regulations (unless you have a NFA Registered Lower) making part alteration very difficult...not to mention you are losing some velocity with the shorter barrel (whether that truly is a big deal or not is something people vary with opinion on but shouldn't effect you shooting out to sub-300).

You can use the lower you have with whatever upper you want, but note that the PRS stock is going to feel different in terms of balance from your 18" to your 14.5". An adjustable gas block, from what I've tried them on, makes a lot of difference on carbine and middy setups, so I'd say include it if you get the new upper, especially if it's an upper built for speed and hosing.

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You don't need a match grade barrel to shoot sub-300 yards at 4MOA targets (standard-ish 3 Gun size) IMHO. Especially since this sounds like it's gonna be your club gun upper, I'd suggest a barrel which won't wear out on you and that you can shoot the crap out of ...Loki offers a 14.5" Nitrided Barrel which I currently use in my "class gun"/"tactical" setup and it's worked as advertised and I'm achieving 1.5/2-ish MOA accuracy with it (obviously other factors apply here not just barrel but point is, that specific barrel is acceptable for accuracy)......I'd say the reason you don't see many 14.5 setups in the gaming community is that we typically like to change out parts a lot, especially muzzle devices and gas blocks.....14.5's need to have a pin/welded brake due to NFA regulations (unless you have a NFA Registered Lower) making part alteration very difficult...not to mention you are losing some velocity with the shorter barrel (whether that truly is a big deal or not is something people vary with opinion on but shouldn't effect you shooting out to sub-300).

You can use the lower you have with whatever upper you want, but note that the PRS stock is going to feel different in terms of balance from your 18" to your 14.5". An adjustable gas block, from what I've tried them on, makes a lot of difference on carbine and middy setups, so I'd say include it if you get the new upper, especially if it's an upper built for speed and hosing.

I neglected to mention that I have an NFA trust. However, my competition lower has not been registered and I'd rather not bother. That leaves me with the issue of not easily changing muzzle devices. For me, that's not a big deal since I don't like fussing with them.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences. Thank you.

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Carbon builds up an the crown of most muzzles with including those with muzzle devices and it will ruin accuracy. I am wondering how difficult it is to get this stuff off if you have a pinned and welded setup.

Tar

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Carbon builds up an the crown of most muzzles with including those with muzzle devices and it will ruin accuracy. I am wondering how difficult it is to get this stuff off if you have a pinned and welded setup.

Tar

Nearly impossible to clean...very dependent on what muzzle device you are using though...if you have access to the crown, you won't have trouble.

I haven't noticed any real degradation of accuracy in my 14.5 gun...has about 2K through it.

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Josh and Tar, thanks for the comments to this point. This is why I asked. I thought I might be overlooking some important concepts in this situation.

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I'm considering a "lighter and faster" upper from Loki to match up with my billet receiver set on the original rifle build. Naturally, I will ask for mid-length gas, but on a 14.5" barrel or a 16" barrel? Are people using 16" more often since match-quality barrels are not often made in 14.5"? ... What are your thoughts on using one on the proposed mid-length gas upper? My thinking is "yes" but I'm open to other opinions.

For information, my backup rifle is a forged 16" Carbon Arms upper (non-adjustable gas) on a S&W M&P lower (stock trigger & ACS stock), but no optics on it currently. On a lighter upper, I'd try lower power optics to save space and possibly weight.

Perhaps I end up doing nothing, but I would appreciate some community feedback and opinion. Thank you in advance for your time and ideas.

-- Mike

16" barrels with mid-length gas system are easier to find and don't have to deal with the short-barrel issue. Stick with mid-length gas if you can find it for the 14.5 otherwise carbine gas length would work just fine.

With regards to velocity difference between 14.5 vs 16, since you are planning to use it in local match at a fixed range, meaning this upper will only see a specific distance (like your local club) then velocity isn't a big deal, just zero it for the 250-300 yds and it is good to go for anything in between.

If the objective is to have a light carbine, another option is to put the $ in a similar/or same trigger for your backup rifle plus a 1-4x optic on it to save weight. Better to have two rifles with the same trigger IMO.

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Some shooters actually find that they are 18" or 20" rifle is faster than a 16" or 14.5" inch rifle. I hope your changes result in the results you are looking for, please share your results.

Cheers!

:cheers:

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As long as the rifle is balances right and not too heavy then I don't think barrel length really matters for speed. Now a longer barrel helps for longer shots and the rifle length gas is definately softer. I say 18 with a rifle gas system.

Pat

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You already have a 16" Middy with a Carbon Tube?

Yes, but the only forged lower I have is a stock trigger. I'm thinking I could put the same type of trigger I have in my 18" rifle on the S&W M&P15 lower. That seems to be the cheapest additional cost to get to a lighter rifle for short range stuff.

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Somebody should tell Daniel, Kurt, Keith, Kalani, Jerry, Kelly, Clint, etc etc that there guns are too long and slow.

If you want to build a short gun by all means build one. But to be honest there is very little gain that can be shown on the clock. If you are just starting out your money and time will be much better spent on ..................

everyone say it with me

PRACTICE!

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Somebody should tell Daniel, Kurt, Keith, Kalani, Jerry, Kelly, Clint, etc etc that there guns are too long and slow.

If you want to build a short gun by all means build one. But to be honest there is very little gain that can be shown on the clock. If you are just starting out your money and time will be much better spent on ..................

everyone say it with me

PRACTICE!

Oh come on now, like most of us, the OP just want an excuse to get a new upper :lol:

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Less a good trigger, the 16" gun already exists. My initial question was about leveraging the billet lower AR Gold trigger, Ergo grip, and PRS stock with a different upper. The forged upper is not dimensionally compatible with the billet lower. But the cheapest way to a lighter match rifle seems to be sucking it up and getting another AR Gold trigger for the forged lower. Long-term, that doesn't seem like a bad thing. To be clear, shorter means squat to me. It's all about the weight. I don't want it too light, but the current rifle is clearly on the heavy side. The lighter profile 16" barrel and lighter stock take care of that. I think I have a solution now. Thanks every one for your feedback.

Now I need to find a good 1-4x in stock. I have been considering it and now is the time.

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Some shooters actually find that they are 18" or 20" rifle is faster than a 16" or 14.5" inch rifle. I hope your changes result in the results you are looking for, please share your results.

Cheers!

:cheers:

The next match in my area is a so-called "Tactical Two Gun" match at a LE-style training center. Two of the stages will be completely dark shoot houses. That was influencing my thinking on rifle configuration. But my wallet gets a say also! It says leverage as much existing investment as possible and don't buy stuff off the future plan already in place.dry.gif

For this first foray into this style of shooting, I will use my existing 16" match barreled Carbon Arms upper on the S&W M&P 15 lower. I will be attaching a single point sling point to the back of the receiver and will use a Magpul MS3 sling. I'll try replacing the stock trigger spring with a set from JP. It's a good stock trigger, smooth but heavy. The upper is essentially an optics-only affair, so I am considering an EOtech XPS2 that I will then transfer to my SBRs I'm about to order. The tax stamp on the new lower will take until 2013, certainly. This means I get the EOtech a few months earlier than planned, but it *was* planned and budgeted. Next year it should be fun to take the SBR w/ EOtech to the planned offerings of this style of tactical match. :D

The match is Nov 10th, so I'll have to let you all know ow it goes the next day. The following weekend is the more traditional 3-gun match and I'll use all my Open gear then. It should be in interesting comparison. November should be a fun month.

Thank you again for all of your replies and comments.

-- Mike

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I know it's late to the party, but my vote is for a 14.5" middy.

Funny you should post that. I recently started competing with a 14.5" BCM with the JP 12.5 handguard. I switched from my 18" 3G1 and have found that for me, I'm noticeably faster the with shorter/lighter rifle and my scores have improved.

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I know it's late to the party, but my vote is for a 14.5" middy.

Funny you should post that. I recently started competing with a 14.5" BCM with the JP 12.5 handguard. I switched from my 18" 3G1 and have found that for me, I'm noticeably faster the with shorter/lighter rifle and my scores have improved.

What do you use on the muzzle? The extended A2-style cage from BCM or something else?

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I know it's late to the party, but my vote is for a 14.5" middy.

Funny you should post that. I recently started competing with a 14.5" BCM with the JP 12.5 handguard. I switched from my 18" 3G1 and have found that for me, I'm noticeably faster the with shorter/lighter rifle and my scores have improved.

What do you use on the muzzle? The extended A2-style cage from BCM or something else?

I have an AAC QD Brakout mount on it since I have a can for it. I don't shoot suppressed for most matches except night matches since I don't like the extra weight/length up front.

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I currently have

1 18" rifle length gas gun

2 16" mid length guns

1 14.5" mid length gun

All of them have the PRI QC Brake.

The 14.5 gun has an Eotech XPS2 on it and its my favorite gun to shoot. Its lightweight and shoots super soft.

I use a 16" mid length for 3 Gun because it has a Trijicon TR24 and works good for short and long range stages

My 18" is put away and I havn't even seen it in a few months. I keep telling myself to change the handguard on it and sell it off. I just havn't gotten around to it.

You can compensate for velocity loss from a shorter barrel with ammo selection. We chrono the different lots of ammo we get. The ammo that is higher velocity gets set aside for long range stages, the softer ammo for hosing. You would be amazed by the velocity changes of different lots of ammo from the same manufacturers.

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IMO, i would go with a 16 ultra light, a free flot tube and your choice of BCG. a SS or chrome lined would be fine. i build a buddy 16 ultra light just for the fun using a barrel from Bravo company and when we benched it, it was MOA all the time. comparing it with my CTR or JP15, ehh, no comparison,one would see the accuracy of this custom guns on paper

but on a match wherein the farthest target was 250, hits on steel all the time.

so it can done and you will like the weight savings of this setup. heck you can use a 14.5 and suppressed it if you wish and still get the accuracy you need

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