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AR 15 barrel life

This is a discussion on AR 15 barrel life within the Ruger Semi-Auto forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Originally Posted by mykdee I was in the Marines from 95-03 and when I was first in we had M16A2's that were from the late ...


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Old October 28th, 2019, 08:00 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by mykdee View Post
I was in the Marines from 95-03 and when I was first in we had M16A2's that were from the late 80's and had the original barrels, a lot of them were full auto and we used the crap out of them! Easily 1,000's of rounds every year they were issued, so you start doing the math and each barrel easily had 10,000+ rounds down the barrel!! We also had to qualify with that rifle out to 500 meters and I had no problem qualifying expert every time!

I personally think barrel life is over hyped, they last a lot longer than people say and I have seen it.
I have to agree. Barrels can be shot out but it takes a lot of shooting. If you are shooting some sort of high intensity round like a 257 Weatherby and you let the barrel get really hot and you keep shooting and do this a lot then barrel life will be shorter. The military has 5.56MM SAWs that seem to do fine. I would not worry. If you are like me and just have to worry, then purchase a new barrel as a spare. ARs aren't hard to gunsmith which is a great thing.



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Old October 29th, 2019, 02:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mykdee View Post
I was in the Marines from 95-03 and when I was first in we had M16A2's that were from the late 80's and had the original barrels, a lot of them were full auto and we used the crap out of them! Easily 1,000's of rounds every year they were issued, so you start doing the math and each barrel easily had 10,000+ rounds down the barrel!! We also had to qualify with that rifle out to 500 meters and I had no problem qualifying expert every time!

I personally think barrel life is over hyped, they last a lot longer than people say and I have seen it.
Agreed, have friends that are SF guys and they have told me of budget time coming up, and them taking 50k rounds or more to the range to expend, so the next year they can acquire the same amount in the budget. This is over a week or weekend period, never heard of them burning out a barrel, even under that kind of torture, and these are not semi only rifles.

OP
I own several, well more than several bottom feeders and do a lot of shooting, never had a barrel lose accuracy yet. I will admit I have seen some rifles and wondered how long it would take to burn it out, like a 224 Valkyrie, 204, or other hyper velocity rounds. Have not read of them being shot out yet, but I could see pushing round to 4000 fps could do that, the 5.56, and .223 is not close to that speed. I wouldn't worry.

Beside you can buy an ar barrel on the cheap at $75 to $150 depending on your tastes. Some can cost $100 to $650 for a custom barrel if that's what your after, like shilen or kreiger, or douglas.

Last edited by Tacky; October 29th, 2019 at 02:04 PM.
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Old November 8th, 2019, 06:37 AM   #18
 
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Grandyland,

If you still have questions on .223 barrel life, take a look at this thread and the article that I posted. While the subject is brass vs steel cased ammo, it gives the reader a good look at barrel life of the .223 using a couple different projectile materials as well. And in the article, they were getting the guns hotter than any of us would probably reasonably get them, hot enough to cook off rounds if they sat in the chamber for 10-15 seconds.

https://rugerforum.net/ammo-dump/381...-vs-steel.html
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Old November 9th, 2019, 06:56 AM   #19
 
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For me, the bottom line on that excellent Lucky Gunner test was that AR-15’s last a long time. Parts for them are cheap and are easily replaced without needing a gunsmith to do it.

Buy the rifle you like. If you somehow manage to shoot out your barrel, get a new barrel.

I don’t know much about the Saint. But the Ruger and Smith rifles are kinda like Ford vs Chevy pickups. Both will get you there. Ford guys like Ford trucks and Chevy guys like Chevy trucks. Ruger guys will like the AR-556 and Smith guys will like the Sport II.

If the Sport II had been out when I got my AR-556 I would have given it a long hard look, and maybe would have bought it had it been cheaper. But all things being equal I’d likely have still gotten the Ruger because I have had good service from them and my experience with Smith & Wesson customer service has not been good.
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Old November 9th, 2019, 09:04 AM   #20
 
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When you’re considering barrel life, you have to define your expectations from the barrel. Any AR barrel will go bang and send rounds down range for - effectively - an unlimited round count, but that doesn’t mean you can do anything with the rifle with that many rounds down it.

I have a Bushmaster Hbar with about 15,000 rounds on its second barrel, and went over 20,000 with the first barrel. It still goes bang, and for simulated door-kicking, it works well enough - but it’s not winning any precision competitions.

Alternatively, I expect 3,000-5,000 rounds of usable barrel life from a Service Rifle barrel - 3k for button rifled barrels, 5k for cut rifled barrels. By 3-5k, the barrels aren’t going to hold 1moa any longer and I’m going to drop points, drop points just for being too cheap to replace the barrel.

The 223/5.56 is pretty barrel friendly. Comparatively, I have an LFAR in 6 creedmoor built for precision rifle competition, which is only going to make it about 1200-1500 rounds before it tanks. I’ve only made it 1200 rounds with my last two bolt gun barrels in 6 creed. Beside it, I have a 243LBC (6mm Grendel) precision gas gun which will only make maybe 3000 rounds. I shot a 243AI for 600 & 1000 yard Benchrest for a while, which would only last about 700-800 rounds before it couldn’t be used. Any of these would still deliver “huntable groups,” but were a long way from competitive any longer. Either accuracy slipped, or velocity was falling off fast enough that the long range trajectory was no longer reliable. My 6 creed match rifle last season was losing ~35fps per 100 rounds at the end - which meant in a 2 day PRS match, my bullet would drop 14” more at 1,000 yards on the second day than it did on the first. Not acceptable.

So again, it all depends what you ask of the rifle. If 2-4moa is your tolerable standard, and you’re not shooting far enough for varying bullet drop to matter, an AR barrel will last forever. If you’re expecting itty bitty groups, and shooting long range, then you’ll need to plan on a new barrel every year or so.
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Old November 10th, 2019, 07:23 PM   #21
 
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Thank you guys for all the replies. Really learning a lot about firearms and happy to be a owner of a Ruger 556. It truly is a statement of commitment to the 2nd amendment. I highly doubt that I will ever shoot out the barrel and my wife best friend husband is a quality blacksmith.In fact he’s told me he owns 2 Ruger AR 556 for hog hunting. Mine is basically SHTF weapon that won’t see to much action.
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