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Free float vs standard handguards

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by njl, May 29, 2011.

  1. njl


    Sep 28, 2000
    I was at the range today with a friend who just got a new AR with a free floated barrel. After sighting it in at 25yds, we moved to longer ranges and finally to the 200M range. At 200M, his POI was about 3ft above POA. Being somewhat familiar with the trajectory of 5.56, I knew that couldn't be right. Then I noticed the way he was shooting, he had the barrel (not the handguard) resting on a shooting rest. I reasoned this was totally defeating the purpose of his FF tube and torquing the barrel up. He adjusted his shooting rest to be under the handguard, and his shots started falling where they should have been.

    This got me thinking though, all my ARs have standard A2 handguards. When I shoot from a rest with the rifle resting on the handguards, what stops the barrel from torquing up? Is it the stiffness of the handguards, and the fact that they're attached at the delta ring and front end of the barrel? Does it torque the barrel, but just not nearly as much as an improperly used free floated one? I suppose it might be important when using A2 handguards and a rest to make sure the rest is as close to the delta ring as possible?
  2. Shooting the A2's out to 300 meters I never had a problem with shooting off bags, hand etc. Course I never shot for target groups only torso groups. Didnt think it would make that big of a difference resting on the barrel. For inside of 200 yards where I normally shoot my BCM 14.5" and my Noveske 16" the free floated Noveske doesnt do that much better then then non free floated BCM. At farther distances I know it can make big differences. But again I shoot torso and coyote sized targets, could care less bullseye stuff.

  3. Randy from Kansas

    Randy from Kansas

    Mar 3, 2009
    You are correct he was totally defeating the purpose of the free floated hand guard
    does he have a light weight barrel and was he using his off hand to hold the hand guard down. Excessive pressure on the forearm could cause such a problem.
  4. njl


    Sep 28, 2000
    Not sure about the barrel, but I think it was an M4-style. I don't recall what he was doing with his off hand. I was mostly watching the targets through the spotting scope while we tried to figure out where his shots were going.
  5. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

    Jan 20, 2004
    Alaska, again (for now)

    It can affect the barrel, but because of the way they're attached, they spread the weight that is resting on the hand guards out, quite a bit more.
  6. nipperwolf


    Oct 3, 2002
    Did he rezero after moving to longer ranges?
  7. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    Odds are he was not torquing the barrel, but if the barrel was resting on the rest itself, it was affecting the barrel harmonics and changing his zero.
  8. njl


    Sep 28, 2000
    I don't think so...but I was also doing some shooting, so I could have missed it.