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What barrel length 223/5.56 AR rifles do you have the most of? Login/Join 
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted
This is about rifles, including formal SBRs, and not pistols, even if they have braces. It’s also about the barrel itself, not any muzzle devices, permanently attached or not.

As noted, it is also about AR-type rifles chambered for 223 Remington or 5.56mm, not other rifles or cartridges.

If you have the same number of two or more different barrel lengths, please answer for the barrel length you’d keep if you could have only one. For example, you have two 14.5" and two 16", and would keep the shorter, answer 13 to 15 inches. If you mostly have barrels of some length not listed, such as 23 inches, round up to the closest length listed (in this case to 24). If it's a nominal length like 16", but you've measured it and it's actually 16 1/16", pick the nominal length (i.e., 16").

Thanks for all replies.

Question:
Which length do you have most of?
.

Choices:
7 to 9 inches
10 to 12 inches
13 to 15 inches
16 inches
18 inches
20 inches
22 inches
24 inches
Longer than 24 inches

 




6.4/93.6
 
Posts: 47422 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Both of mine are 16s
1, a self-built mid-length [BCM pencil bbl]
The other, the 12131 karma rifle, carbine length gas. [FN CHF bbl]




The Enemy's gate is down.
 
Posts: 15405 | Location: Spring, TX | Registered: July 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I almost didn't vote, because I thought I couldn't. I have four ARs; three are used regularly, and one lives in the trunk of a vehicle. If it wasn't for trunky, who I initially forgot about, when considering the poll, I wouldn't have more than one of any given length: 11.5, 14.5 and 16. Trunky makes my 16 a x2.
 
Posts: 2212 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of m499
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Most of mine are 14.5" with P/W'd flash hiders to bring them to 16". The SBR's are 8.5"-10.5".
 
Posts: 2682 | Location: OH, USA | Registered: January 30, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of myrottiety
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Surprisingly only have x3.
x2 @ 10.5 (wife and my SBRs)
x1 @ 16" scoped for longer range steel plinking.




Train how you intend to Fight

Remember - Training is not sparring. Sparring is not fighting. Fighting is not combat.
 
Posts: 8860 | Location: Woodstock, GA | Registered: August 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What prompted the survey?
 
Posts: 1809 | Location: Spokane, WA | Registered: June 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Mr. Nice Guy
Picture of BucFan
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Voted 16". All of those are mid-length.



Sig P229R 9mm - Sig P365 NRA
Sig P320C 9mm - Sig P320 FS .40
 
Posts: 1054 | Location: FL | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by Stlhead:
What prompted the survey?


I watch many videos of tests of different types of ammunition, including their performance in gelatin media. Very often, though, the tests are conducted with everything except 16 inch barrels. Sometimes the barrels are longer, 20 to 22 inches, but it seems more common for them to be shorter. I don’t get too excited if someone wants to use a 14.5" barrel with pinned and welded muzzle device (and I suspect that length makes up most of the 13 - 15" responses). Subtracting or adding 6 inches from/to 16, however, makes a big difference in velocity, and large differences in velocity can make significant differences in terminal ballistic performance.

And then there’s something as simple and common as trying to find an appropriate rifle case. Time and again I’ve found cases advertised that were too short for a 16 inch barrel with muzzle brake, and with no alternatives offered in the same lines. Is the market for SBR cases really that big that they feel no need to cater to the rest of us?

One YouTuber who otherwise does a good job with his gel tests almost never uses anything except a 10.5 inch SBR. Sometimes he attempts to justify that by saying it’s to see how ammunition would perform at long ranges. Yeah, okay: That’s fine, but how many AR owners anticipate using their rifles to pick off home invaders at 250 yards? Sometimes it’s, “If it performs okay out of an SBR, it will perform better from a longer barrel.” Probably true, but I would like to know how it performs beyond “okay.”

My question was therefore prompted by Why? Why do so many ammunition reviewers and accessory manufacturers ignore what is obviously the most common barrel length as is just evidenced by the preliminary results of this survey? It can’t because 16" is an exotic, hard to find length. In fact, of course, many people in the country cannot legally own anything shorter. Very often long range precision shooters prefer longer lengths, but thus far no one who has only long-barreled ARs has responded to the poll.

But the purpose of the survey is to determine for me if I was right in my assumption that 16 inches is the most common barrel length, and I wasn’t just going on the basis of my personal experiences and observations. And regardless of the answers, I do appreciate the people who take the time to respond.




6.4/93.6
 
Posts: 47422 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've got Pinned 14.5s and 16 inches. Most of the folks I known use similar barrel lengths. I rarely see a 20" on the range.
 
Posts: 4592 | Location: Where ever Uncle Sam Sends Me | Registered: March 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of powermad
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I only have two, a 14.7" and an 18" with no plans on adding any more at the moment.
Started with a 16"
If it was down to either or, I'm not sure which one I'd choose.
 
Posts: 1483 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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sadly most of this is driven by the silly NFA rules. with 16" (or pinned and welded 14.5) you have a rifle not regulated in most jurisdictions as easily transportable, with less you have an SBR with all the silliness that you get with that. I have multiple examples of every barrel length you have listed except 7-9 which I think would be terrible in this caliber (10.5 is awful enough). Absent some specific reason for choosing I want something short(er) but suppressed with a good overall length. That seems to work out best for me in the 12-14" range and that's mostly what I shoot.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 11021 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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I have a 16" and a 20" in 5.56. Each has a specific role, but I must admit that I'd keep the 16" if I could only have one, as it's more versatile. I don't really have much interest in a shorter-barreled 5.56, although SBRed ARs in a few other calibers have some appeal.
 
Posts: 8689 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Caught in a loop
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I had 2 24", 1 20", and 1 16", with a spare 24" barrel on the floor next to the safe. I sold the 16 to a friend in need, so I have just the 3 longer barrels left.

For my planned use (target shooting at 300+ yards, perhaps some light hunting if I can get my back injury under control) I tend to gravitate toward the longer barrels. I do plan to get a 16" upper one day, but not any time soon. Don't need it morphing into a fourth rifle.
I want a silencer. When I do that I'll probably SBR an AR lower so I can put a 14.5" barrel on it along with the silencer.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 3356 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of IrishWind
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Currently have 4 uppers. About to sell one. But all are different lengths.


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Posts: 25075 | Location: NoVa | Registered: May 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by IrishWind:
But all are different lengths.

If you haven't voted, please pick the length you would keep if you could have only one.

I know that was a possibility I didn't address, but it's similar to having two (or more) of one length and the same number of a different length.




6.4/93.6
 
Posts: 47422 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of powermad
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I went with the 14.7"
Seems to be the most versatile to me.
 
Posts: 1483 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with hrcjon. The NFA steers this poll, for most people. To say that a 14.7 is the "most versatile" is very likely to say that a 14.7 is the "shortest I can have a pin/weld job without a somewhat weird long FH". People, myself included, who used to like shorter barrels, seem to be gravitating toward longer guns nowadays, in the interest of performance. I have been using a 16 more than anything else lately, because it gives me a performance advantage over the 11.5 I used to use most, but also because it happens to be the shortest that is permitted without registration. I am no stranger to SBRs, but there are still legal advantages of the 16", even when compared to silencers. I don't make a habit of travelling, but I am twenty minutes from a state line, and I can go over there with my 16 or 14.5 p/w, if I want to, without being in violation of anything. I am not saying that powermad was being dishonest in his comment; it did prompt my train of thought though.

As always, use-case drives the gear choices, and other aspects of the build can make things odd too. For example, I had the 14.5 done the way I did so it could play host to a OCM5 silencer. My 16 wears a TREK-T. The 16 works out to be only 1/2" longer than the 14.5. The 14.5 doesn't necessarily offer any performance advantage over the 16, in comparing the different silencers (other than the OCM5 being "QD"), so why wouldn't I opt for the extra velocity gained by the extra 1.5" of barrel, with only a 1/2" OAL penalty?
 
Posts: 2212 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of powermad
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My context was what would I choose to keep.
Not what I'd like to have or what would be best overall.


For between the two the 14.7" makes the most sense in that regard.
If I do end up putting another one together it would probably be another 14.7"
 
Posts: 1483 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are pretty much just two camps here, NFA and non-NFA.

16” is probably most popular for non-NFA simply because of availability. I think 14.5 is slightly less popular because there are more guns made with 16” barrels than 14.5” with P&W muzzle devices, which some people don’t like because it’s more difficult to change out the muzzle device for something else. 20” is more for long range/accuracy shooters, or people wanting clones of military rifles (A1/A2/A4, etc.) versus carbines.

Most NFA ARs are 10.5” - 11.5”, again mostly because of availability. Those lengths are commonly used by the military, and a decent tradeoff for accuracy, reliability, length, and ballistic performance against excessive blast, excessive gas, and stress on components.

In other words, the common barrel lengths of 5.56 ARs have been pretty much decided long ago, and manufacturers unsurprisingly make, and sell, more of those lengths than others. Are those common lengths 100% optimum for the round? Probably not, but they are available and for the vast majority of AR buyers, they’ll simply buy a gun or upper as it comes rather than trying to find (or make) a barrel length that they decide of optimal for them (and even than decision can vary between individuals).
 
Posts: 3343 | Location: South FL | Registered: February 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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16 is the most common in the hands of the people because 16 is the most common in the industry, because of the NFA. That seems to be the bottom line, as Dwill said. If the NFA never was, maybe 14.5 would be the most prolific, due to the military M4 influence. But the IAR may have instigated a drift, in that alternate universe. Fun to consider.
 
Posts: 2212 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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