View Full Version : Pros/Cons of the different barrel profiles?
For a 16" rifle what is your favorite barrel profile and why? Seems like the vast majority are M4 profile, and then you have your HBAR which looks to me like the same diameter as the M4 just without the cutout, and then the pencil or lightweight.
Beyond looks and the rarely used option of actually using the m4 cutout to attach something, what is the advantage of this profile? I've had someone tell me that the cutout is positioned at a harmonic balancing point so that it doesn't affect barrel accuracy, but I'm calling BS, I think it's where it is because that's where it needs to be to attach an M203. Not saying it affects accuracy that much if at all over an HBAR, but other than being a tiny bit lighter, why would I want one?
I'm seriously considering a lightweight profile. Those that have shot lightweight/pencil barrels on ARs, how much stringing do you experience with warming?
I like them all, lightweight is nice and I havent noticed any accuracy issues but I dont try to shoot 500rds a minute. I just ordered one in the govt profile just because my last 4 AR's had M4 barrels. I dont think their is enough weight difference to really worry about unless you are going bull barrel etc.
In a 16", I like the BCM mid length light under the handguards. The superlights are tempting too...
I never really put my superlight to much of a test since it wasn't meant to be a machine gun by any mean... but it's interesting that the "superlight" profile on an AR15 is what many other guns have as the standard profile.
I like my lightweight. AR15Performance has what they call a "SOCOM" profile. It looks to be a medium profile. I liked it as well. I notice a bigg difference b/w the lightweight and my others. Lightweight is the way to go.
The lighter the better on a fighting AR15. I've attended and taught a lot of carbine classes, and I've never seen a rifle perform better in that role due to a heavier barrel. I have seen more shooter fatigue with it though.
I prefer mid-length gas system and LW profile. Any gains from a gov't profile are minimal and easy offset by the weight loss.
I like the recce contour for a 16" barrel. I'm not particularly weight sensitive when it comes to my rifles. My AR weights around slightly over 8lbs with optic and light. For comparison, my loaded FAL weighs in close to 10lbs (so does my recently purchased M1A). I don't find any of them overly cumbersome, but I frequent the gym. also, I'm not in the military, so I have no need or desire to carry my rifle long distances. However, my wife has trouble shooting my guns off-hand because of the weight.
The lightweight contour is usually about 6-7 oz lighter than the recce, so if weight of the rifle is a big concern, then the lightweight will most likely be a better choice. Better yet, jump through all the hoops and make an 11.5" SBR. At that point you're taking over half a pound off the front of the rifle.
There is no benefit for an AR-15 to have an M4 profile barrel aside from historical accuracy (but even then, it needs to be a 14.5" barrel). I could never understand why so many people offer M4 barrels as a selling point, especially when they're 16" and made of the incorrect steel.
I've never had any rifle string on me (even my FAL). Of course, I don't "blaze" or bump fire.
The M4 profile bbls are also thinner under the handguards while HBARS actually get thicker.
I don't see much benefit or use of the M4 barrel profile unless you got the M203 to go with it. I much prefer the bull barrel for heat resistance and accuracy or the pencil government profile barrel for lightweight. The M4 offers neither... really. It just happens to be the most popular or prolific offering right now so I am stuck with a few that has that profile, even though it wouldn't be my first choice. I don't even like the aesthetics of it in comparison to the other two.
I really like my Noveske N4 Lite barrel. Any future 16" or shorter ARs I get will have lightweight barrels, only way to go.
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