Originally Posted by RustyDaleShackleford
Well, I completed my lower receiver with nothing but the tools I found in the garage. Actually everything but the bolt catch, because I accidentally got my bolt catch roll pin (permanently?!) stuck on the punch I was using, but I've got two extras on the way right now for around $1.
I also ordered most of the rest of my parts. On the way:
- 16", 1:7, chrome-lined, 4150, midlength barrel
- full chrome RRA BCG
- midlength gas tube
- stripped upper receiver
- upper parts kit, including charging handle
- x2 bolt catch roll pin
I purposely didn't order some parts yet, like a FSB and handguards, because I'm not sure yet if I wanna free-float, etc.
People have told me that since I went with a chrome-lined barrel, there's no point in free-floating. True? Because I've also heard that your rifle's accuracy isn't made or broken on any one thing (except maybe the barrel), and that accuracy is more like making up $1 out of a dime here, a couple pennies here, etc., and that free-floating would be like adding another nickel or dime to my "accuracy dollar".
A couple of years ago I bought an upper with a 16" CL barrel made by Lothar-Walther (very good reputation.) I've been very happy with the accuracy (near 1 MOA with quality ammo.) That carbine has a free-float handguard.
I recently purchased an upper from Spikes that has a 16" CL barrel made by GMP. I bought it as a relatively inexpensive KISS carbine, and put a Magpul MOE on it - not a free-float handguard. This upper suprised me by being more accurate off the bench than my LW carbine.
Conclusion: free-float handguards are great - especially if you are using a sling - but they are not all that important to have if you are looking for decent accuracy.
A sling helps stabilize the rifle when firing from a supported position, like sitting, kneeling, or prone. A sling attached to a non free-float handguard puts pressure on the barrel, since the handguard is rigidly attached to the barrel. A free-float handguard eliminates sling pressure on the barrel, allowing it to vibrate in its own harmonic pattern. Accuracy is all about repeatability, and a sling on a non free-float handguard introduces variability in barrel harmonics.