16" or 18"

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by avenues165, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Hey everyone,

    I have a choice to make and I am hoping someone can help me decide which direction to go. I am looking for an upper for a lower I have, and I have decided on a precision upper. This upper will wear a scope. I see myself using it to shoot from ~100-500 yards, maybe a little further.

    I am fairly certain I'll use BCM for the upper, but I have not yet ruled out having Rainier Arms build me an upper or going through Centurion for the upper. Regardless of the direction I go, it will have a SS barrel. My goal is to keep the cost below $1,200 without a scope, which I feel I can do. My goal is an upper that will shoot consistently at or below 1-1.25 MOA with match grade ammo if I do my part.

    I am leaning towards an 18" barrel for the ability to take it out past 500 yards on occasion. But, I also would like to have the ability to carry it on hikes, and 18" adds weight.

    Tell me what you think. What would be better, a 16" recce style set up or an 18" upper?

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  2. I have both of these types of set ups and of these choices and for what you say your uses are, I would personally opt for a 16" set up. I would want to keep the weight down everywhere, not just the barrel. Barrel weight and length are always a factor in my mind when hiking / hunting, but keeping the overall weight down with how you dress the rifle is also important.

  3. The trace off is this: The 2 extra inches of barrel only get one about 100-150 fps of muzzle velocity, which means about 30-40 yards more range at supersonic velocity at the cost of nearly a half pound. 10-15% more weight for 5% more range under optimal circumstances.
  4. Thanks for the replies guys!

    I should say this will not be a SD or SHTF rifle. It will wear only a scope and mount, a sling, and possibly folding sites. I plan to use a freefloat forearm like a Samson, Rainier arms, Troy, MI, etc. without rails at 3, 6, or 9 o'clock. A rail at 12 o'clock is preferred for the possibility of folding sites down the road. Lightweight is the goal for the dressing.

    ETA - What uses would favor an 18" barrel? Just slightly longer range, or am I missing something?
    #4 avenues165, Sep 30, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  5. Hardly a difference. If you are going 18" might as well go 20" "standard" style.
  6. Cole125

    Silver Member

    I would consider a 20 inch barrel, medium or heavy profile for a long range AR15 setup. I have a Rock River Arms Varmint 20 bull barrel upper on my SPR build, and it will group ANY ammo that will fit into the magazine less than an inch at 100 yards.


  7. Everybody does not shoot one shot groups!:tongueout:
  8. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    I would go with the 16 inch med con barrel and a Noveske NR rail for lightweight shooter.
    Rainier, Noveske, Lothar Walther and White oak all have 16 inch barrels in 1x7/1x8 that would fit your criteria, I would suggest a wylde chamber or the similar Noveske match chamber.

    You will be able to hit out to 500, but you will be needing a nice clear glass.
  9. Again, thanks for all of the replies!

    While I appreciate the suggestion, a 20" barrel is out. I would consider a 20" if I was strictly looking for a long-range precision rifle. The best way to describe what I am looking for is to say I want easily-portable 5.56 precision. I am willing to sacrifice some precision for a lighter weight rig.

    I have considered having an upper built around a Noveske 18" lightweight SS barrel. But, based on the responses and my research I think a 16" SS barrel will be ideal.

    Plus, if I go with a 16" I have an excuse to build a 7.62 or .260 rem rifle for shooting past 500 yards:smoking:

    My choices for an upper are either a BCM SS410 16" upper, a Centurion recon upper, or a custom build by Rainier. Which would you choose and why? Any better selections for my budget?
  10. Yes sir! I have yet to select glass, but realize it is not something to cheap out on. Would love to put a Nightforce on it:supergrin:
  11. Cole125

    Silver Member

  12. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan

    BCM,.....every day of the week & twice on Sunday!
    Quality products
    Customer Service is outstanding
  13. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Have Rainier build you a 16 inch medium contour upper with one of their Ultramatch 16 inch barrels and a Noveske NR rail. You will have light, super strong upper, from a great company.

    I cannot say enough about their barrels, excellent quality, I re-barreled two agency SBRs with the 12.5 Ultrmatchs' and they shoot about 1 moa with an Aimpoint..
  14. NeverMore1701

    NeverMore1701 Fear no Evil
    Platinum Member

    I went with a 20" heavy barreled upper for my varmint build, precisely because I have no intention of ever lugging it around on foot. If I ever thought I'd be carrying it I'd likely switch to a medium contour 18" barrel, and maybe drop down to an 11" handguard.

    #14 NeverMore1701, Sep 30, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  15. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Nice looking stick!
  16. Javelin

    Javelin Got Glock?
    Silver Member

    Shorter the better.
  17. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    For your stated needs (500 yards) you'll want as much barrel as you can buy. For a self defense carbine out to 200 yards--16" is fine.

    But at 500 yards you'll want the added velocity that the longer tube buys. Its not that you can't punch paper with a 16" tube. Its the wind and the ft lb's of energy to do work required at that range. Trust me on this. 16" barrels SUCK at 500 yards and really for much beyond 200.

    You need to be running 70-77 grain match bullets and a LONG barrel.
  18. I agree, very nice! I really like the VTAC handguard on that bad boy, and it looks like a shooter! BTW, the lower I'll be putting the upper in question on will be a Spikes lower.

    All great suggestions, I appreciate the responses.

    I have considered the Rainier Ultramatch 16 and 18" upper along with the BCM and Centurion. All would be winners, but I am leaning hard towards the BCM with a VTAC Alpha handguard. Rainier is a great outfit that receives nothing but praise for their customer service, but so does BCM. The price point on the BCM is a little better, and I have read many accounts of legitimate 5 shot sub-MOA groups with their SS barrels.

    Now time to run the numbers (money) and see which direction to go. But, keep the suggestions coming, I like to hear what everyone thinks about these types of rifles (recce, recon, SPRs, SAM-Rs, etc.).
  19. NeverMore1701

    NeverMore1701 Fear no Evil
    Platinum Member

    Thanks, I'm very happy with it :cool:

    If I had the extra money to spend and patience to wait for it to come back in stock, I'd have gone with this upper instead:
    http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-...-Receiver-Group-p/bcm-urg-18 ss410 vtrx13.htm
    But I don't, so I didn't.
  20. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    The V-TAC Alpha is a solid choice in that size.
    make sure you post up some pics when you decide.

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