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Broncos79

Help with 3 Gun Rifle Barrel Selection

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All - Novice 3 gunner here ... I currently have an Aero Precision 16” 223 Wylde 1-8 twist barrel in my build - accuracy is not really that impressive 2MOA at 100 yds with 69 Gr SMK Hand loads 

 

Considering upgrading their Barrel and seeking suggestions 16” or 18” and what are top notch barrels I should consider?

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2 MOA will be fine. Tighter is good but that accuracy won't limit you in the average 3 gun match. I'll add that 18" barrels are going the way of the dinosaur. Even 16" is starting to seem rare.

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, TonytheTiger said:

2 MOA will be fine. Tighter is good but that accuracy won't limit you in the average 3 gun match. I'll add that 18" barrels are going the way of the dinosaur. Even 16" is starting to seem rare.

So Tony what barrels are becoming the norm in 3 gun?  

Edited by usmc1974

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Thank you for the quick response - it would seem like 16” is more maneuverable. 
 

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As far as accuracy I haven't been disappointed in any of the mid-upper range I've used.  I would think that weight, balance, and gas system would be a fair bit more important for most.  Love my stretch 16, have a lilja that shoots great but is a bit heavier (not fluted), wilson combat that works great, and a few from ballistic advantage that were bargain barrels. Just got a faxon pencil barrel 16" that is showing good signs of life and love the weight/balance of that rig, and cost! If it really is for 3 gun I wouldn't go above 16 personally, but if it's a multipurpose rig and you're not making a living off the sport a longer barrel compromise may be fine.

 

As tony said 2" is great accuracy for what you'd need, when moving and shooting offhand or in less than ideal situations that's as good or better than most will do, but if you're anything like me you just want to know your gun will do better than that, so I understand. Also play with ammo - For example my lilja will shoot .3 moa with 69 grain sierras, less than 1 with about anything I shove down the tube.  My faxon will spray a few inches with a lot of 55 grain - but tightens up to .75" with 62gr fiocchi.  Play around with brand and weight and you may have a winner in there.

 

If you're looking to invest in your rig I'd start with gas, bolt, and buffer system - and ammo - then a barrel is an easy swap down the road and you won't have wasted anything assuming gas journal diameter stays the same. Love my JP low mass system and have a couple iron city/taccom buffer systems that treat me well. 

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18” fan here, I prefer the rifle length gas system.  16” with intermediate length gas is good also.  2” difference in barrel length doesn’t really have an impact one way or the other.  
 

Proof Research, Rainier, JP, or Stretch are all good options.

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2 hours ago, usmc1974 said:

So Tony what barrels are becoming the norm in 3 gun?  

Ever since Armalite struck gold with their 13.5" rifle and most people realized 90% of 3 gun is bay stages, 16" or shorter has really taken off. Tons of 14.5" p&w guns at matches.

An acquaintance of mine talks about it in this video, and while I dont share all his opinions the current trends seem to say he's onto something.

 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah but at the end of the day your rifle barrel has to be 16 in minimum. Whether you have a 16 inch barrel with a 1-inch compensator that really works or 14 inch rifle with a permanently attached compensator that really works. I personally don't like anything "permanently" attached to the end of my rifle.imho.

Edited by usmc1974

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48 minutes ago, usmc1974 said:

Yeah but at the end of the day your rifle barrel has to be 16 in minimum. Whether you have a 16 inch barrel with a 1-inch compensator that really works or 14 inch rifle with a permanently attached compensator that really works. I personally don't like anything "permanently" attached to the end of my rifle.imho.

Yeah I get that, and even though I have 3 rifles with brakes pinned on I don't particularly like the permanence of it. But there's no denying it's the cool thing to do right now.

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3 minutes ago, TonytheTiger said:

Yeah I get that, and even though I have 3 rifles with brakes pinned on I don't particularly like the permanence of it. But there's no denying it's the cool thing to do right now.

It really depends on style of match, bay stages, sure it’s cool.  Long range stages with wind, not quite as cool.

 

16” is safest bet, and it affords the ability to easily change comps, which a new shooter is likely to experiment with.

 

I used to be a short barrel fan for 3gun, I ran. 13.7” mid length gas barrel with pinned comp are a while.  A couple things I learned along the way.  1) it was nice in confined space like a car, but that’s a rare situation.  2) longer gas systems really do shoot nicer.  3) shorter barrels have shorter handguards, which suck on some props like rooftops when you can’t go mag over.  

 

No matter what you choose, you’re not wrong.  

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, TonytheTiger said:

Yeah I get that, and even though I have 3 rifles with brakes pinned on I don't particularly like the permanence of it. But there's no denying it's the cool thing to do right now.

Yeah, well cool is very important.😌 I love my 10.5 -inch AR pistol with carbine length gas system very cool

Edited by usmc1974

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1 hour ago, CharlieD said:

It really depends on style of match, bay stages, sure it’s cool.  Long range stages with wind, not quite as cool.

 

16” is safest bet, and it affords the ability to easily change comps, which a new shooter is likely to experiment with.

 

I used to be a short barrel fan for 3gun, I ran. 13.7” mid length gas barrel with pinned comp are a while.  A couple things I learned along the way.  1) it was nice in confined space like a car, but that’s a rare situation.  2) longer gas systems really do shoot nicer.  3) shorter barrels have shorter handguards, which suck on some props like rooftops when you can’t go mag over.  

 

No matter what you choose, you’re not wrong.  

All valid points, you're preaching to the choir here. I've got 10.5, 13.7, 14.5, a pile of 16's, an 18, 20 and 2 22 inch barrels currently, with a Stretch15 on the way. I've experimented with tuning all of them with all the normal high speed low drag stuff and a 16" intermediate or rifle gas is my favorite. But I was surprised how close a well tuned 13.7 mid was to a longer gas system.

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Great video - informative and gave me a perspective I did not have 

 

can anyone comment on the Venom defense muzzle breaks

 

thank you 

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7 hours ago, usmc1974 said:

Yeah but at the end of the day your rifle barrel has to be 16 in minimum. Whether you have a 16 inch barrel with a 1-inch compensator that really works or 14 inch rifle with a permanently attached compensator that really works. I personally don't like anything "permanently" attached to the end of my rifle.imho.

 

You could SBR it. 

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4 hours ago, Matt1911 said:

 

You could SBR it. 

Yeah I could, but do you know the b******* you have to go through if you do ? Also you got to get permission to take it out of state. if you take it to an out-of-state match. 

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Posted (edited)

So the same folks that say short barrels are the best for these Bay stages are the same ones that say you need at least a 26" long shotgun barrel with a 12 round tube sticking out 6-8" past the barrel, and I have yet to have any one tell me that their shotgun is unwieldy. I run 20" barrels on my ARs and I have yet to feel that it is too long on any stage.

Edited by kurtm

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Posted (edited)

It's 100% personal preference.  Where I shoot 3 gun, 99% of it is under 40 yards - only 1 stage area has the ability to go out to 100 yards, and that's max.  It depends on how far you're shooting really.  If I were doing 400+ yard stages, I'd go 18" all the way.  Anything else is just preference.

 

For the ease of legality, 16" is a no brainer, especially if you don't want something permanently welded to the end.

 

A 2" group at 100 yards is just fine if you're shooting 10 yards with it most of the time.  See what I'm getting at?  Every person will have a different need depending on what they do with it.  Your AR is a tool, just like any saw.  If you're cutting pine, anything will work.  If you're cutting steel, then you need something special.

 

I'm going to agree with most and say take your money and put it in a lighter bolt carrier group and adjustable gas block.  You'll notice that difference most of all, along with a good brake and you'll be set.

 

But again, there is no 1 right answer.  

 

All that said, I have a 16" 223 wylde ballistic advantage barrel and I love it.

Edited by Snausages32

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9 hours ago, Broncos79 said:

can anyone comment on the Venom defense muzzle breaks

I'm as much of a brake nerd as I am a barrel nerd. After thousands spent on brakes I'll tell you that any dedicated brake (not a flash hider/brake hybrid) is gonna get you most of the performance available. You can squeeze a tiny bit more out by chasing the latest best brake but it'll probably add a lot of money, some weight and size, and most people won't notice the slight difference.

Get the Venom, or any other decent brake, and then never worry about it again.

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30 minutes ago, kurtm said:

 I run 20" barrels on my ARs and I have yet to feel that it is too long on any stage.

It would be unwieldy for me. Not because of any stage design, just because I'm vertically challenged and a 20" barreled rifle would be as long as I am tall!

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Posted (edited)

FWIW the lightweight 14.5 Faxon pencil and gunner barrels with their dedicated comps will put one of the comp ports behind a 15" Aero Atlas Handguard. Axe me how I learned this? Still haven't shot it to know what it will do to the handguard, suspect it's just cosmetics. I'll be satisfied with 3 MOA with 55 gr and under 2 with better ammo. The weight savings is significant (1.2# barrel). 

 

My rifle collection has grown but all the 223s are running JP SCS with the Brownells lightweight TIN-coated BCGs (probably Tool Craft) and adjustable gas. Working great and not too expensive either. 

Edited by Frankly

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kurtm said:

So the same folks that say short barrels are the best for these Bay stages are the same ones that say you need at least a 26" long shotgun barrel with a 12 round tube sticking out 6-8" past the barrel, and I have yet to have any one tell me that their shotgun is unwieldy. I run 20" barrels on my ARs and I have yet to feel that it is too long on any stage.

Boy, you are so right on this post. when I first started shooting three gun and saw that 26 inch barrel with a 29 inch tube. I had to keep asking myself how in the hell is that Tactical? No way a law enforcement officer could wheel, that getting out of his Cruiser. or you would use it, in the middle of the night when something went bump. But for three gun. I use a 20 inch barrel with a 19 inch tube so I can hold 9 rounds 8 in the tube and One in the Chamber. My gun sure does look short on the loading table to 3-gun matches.lol

Edited by usmc1974

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47 minutes ago, Frankly said:

Still haven't shot it to know what it will do to the handguard, suspect it's just cosmetics.

Have a few setups like that, it'll be fine.

Those Toolcraft BCG's are great too.

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1 minute ago, TonytheTiger said:

Have a few setups like that, it'll be fine.

Those Toolcraft BCG's are great too.

 

Thanks. Fricking half an inch....

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Posted (edited)

When I first started shooting my 10.5 AR with the short brace, it didn't take long for me to figure out you don't put your hand too far forward on the handguard you will feel the heat of that dragon breath compensator. lol.... did not burn me but I didn't have to do it anymore. Put the little knob on the end so that I knew in my hand was. I don't believe I'd want any of the compensator holes underneath to handguard

Edited by usmc1974

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Dont know about 3gun with different handling requirements but for what its worth the world champions in IPSC Rifle seem to be using 18-20" barrels.

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