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Stainless steel barrel vs chrome lined

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by ajstrider, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. ajstrider

    ajstrider Silent Warrior

    Apr 17, 2005
    Western Kentucky
    I am researching my first AR still, and am looking at barrels. What are the benefits of the all stainless steel barrel versus the chrome lined barrel.
  2. Reb 56

    Reb 56

    Mar 12, 2007
    South Texas
    SS barrels are usually more accurate than the chrome lined.

  3. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    Chrome lined is more durable, but can be slightly less accurate. Chrome lined is generally cheaper than a match grade stainless.

    MAJINKONG Sr. Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Free Flood
    Go with the chromeline.
    It will take better your abuse and neglect (cleaning).
  5. fodder1

    fodder1 Just a Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    Northern Virginia
    It will depend on what you're expectations are. Durability = chrome lined, accuracy = stainless. However, both will last 000's of rounds.
  6. marvin

    marvin sci-fi nut

    Mar 26, 2001
    greentown ind.
    not all stainless barrels are match grade, but even the normal stainless should be more accurate than a chorme lined barrel.

    i think that stainless barrels make a good compromise between CL barrel and non CL, stainless should be more accurate than CL and more durable and easier to clean than the non CL.
  7. mstennes


    Nov 25, 2010
    Most all my builds are stainless, that said though a good cl barrel from a known good barrel maker will out shoot 90% of AR owners.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  8. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

    Nov 24, 2005
    Stainless for accuracy, chrome lined for durability.

    On a side note, I have a FN SPR that has a 20" chrome lined barrel.
    It will shoot sub 1" groups all day long. A quality barrel chrome or not will
    be more accurate than most shooters.
  9. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Mar 13, 2001
    Not a chance
    A recent test with a quality chromelined barrel and a quality stainless barrel showed no appreciable difference in wear/longevity when both were used in high volume full auto use.. the stainless barrel kept it's accuracy longer...
  10. BBJones


    Mar 2, 2010


    This goes against conventional wisdom. Not saying conventional wisdom is right just nice too see this test and what the parameters were.
  11. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Mar 13, 2001
    Not a chance
    I have to dig and what conventional wisdom?

    Benchrest shooters use the best barrels available for accuracy and longevity and they choose Quality stainless steel.

    The barrel in the test was LW50 .. anyone with real time behind an AR will tell you (quality) stainless barrels keep their accuracy longer than CL barrels and they don't require much in terms of maintaining them...

    here is ONE and I have seen others.. Stainless is your friend..
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  12. BBJones


    Mar 2, 2010
    Bench rest shooters are not interested in longevity at all. They also replace barrels frequently. Depending on caliber could be as little as 1000 rounds. They are not good sources for tests that go into 10's of thousands of rounds.

    Most barrel makers will tell you cl lasts longer. I think noveske estimated cl being 50% to 100% more durable.

    So I am very interested in your source and what the parameters of the test were.
  13. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Mar 13, 2001
    Not a chance
    Sorry had to throw the BS flag on that one NOVESKE said no such thing and there is no proof to that whatsoever....CL being 100% more durable cite that source.....

    Benchrest shooters do replace barrels frequently they also want longevity and accuracy..

    I have seen no real world difference in the longevity of Stainless vs CL barrels my current duty gun has a Stainless LW50 10.5 inch barrel i'm at 8K rounds now, about 30% full auto and it still groups under an inch at 100 yards 5 shots.
    The colt 11.5 it replaced was at 13-15K and never shot better than 2moa, and I never needed more it had horrible throat erosion when replaced, the current barrel at 8k looks to be just fine i will check it again a the end of the year should be around 10k then. the 5.56 and even better the 6.8 are not that bad azz of a round to eat up a good stainless barrel anyone who says they will has not had a good stainless barrel...
  14. BBJones


    Mar 2, 2010
    BS flag on your test that you can't site or even reference.

    Here is what I was referring to:

    You are correct he didn't say what I said above. I apologize for remembering that incorrectly. Here is what he did say:

    Crane: And how many rounds are you gonna’ get out of that (referring to a Noveske SS barrel)?

    Noveske: I don’t know. I know of barrels that are over 15,000 rounds still in service. So, I don’t know how long they’ll go, but I know that they’re going quite a ways.

    Crane: What about the chrome-lined barrels? Are those polygonal, too?

    Noveske: Those are strictly made to the TDP for the M249, so they’re a 6-land-and-groove MILSPEC conventional land-and-groove with a 5.56 NATO chamber.

    Crane: If you’re settin’ up an AR carbine for somebody, most of the time, are you gonna’ recommend the stainless polygonal?

    Noveske: Well, it depends. I ask them what they’re gonna’ do with it. The stainless-barreled uppers and rifles that we sell are a precision carbine. The chrome-lined light carbines are…for the guy that says he’s gonna’ beat it up, he’s gonna’ abuse it, he’s gonna’ train hard, he’s gonna’ do full-auto mag dumps, that’s the gun for that kind of treatment. The guy that’s gonna’ be sniper, counter-sniper, or anything precision…

    Crane: What if you’re doin’ a lot of…let’s say you’re gonna’ compete in 3-gun with it on semi-auto, and you’re just gonna’ do a lot of rapid fire semi-auto shooting and stuff like that, then what?

    Noveske: Either one’s fine. They’re both very accurate. I’ve got groups that people have sent me with both barrels under half an inch at 100 yards, so it’s kind of like I’m competing with myself.

    Crane: If you’re looking at both the stainless barrel and the chrome-lined barrel, what’s standard MOA on these guns, on these barrels.

    Noveske: Stainless barrels–and I’m not sayin’ this from what I’ve shot. This is reports from customers—The typical end-user report on my stainless barrels is about .6 MOA, and the Light Carbine barrels, most everything I hear is sub-MOA, and that means it can be three quarters of an inch [3/4" MOA] or half an inch [1/2" MOA].

    Crane: So stainless is gonna’ be a little bit more accurate, but not much.

    Noveske: Right, ’cause they’re both very accurate, already.

    Source: (

    So in Noveske's opinion CL are more durable. And his CL barrels are almost as accurate as his SS barrels.
  15. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Mar 13, 2001
    Not a chance
    I posted a link on the stainless test all you have to do is click it....he is currently running the piss out of a CL barrel to see how it compares..
    having owned both a NOVESKE CL barrel and a stainless Afghan I have to tell you that his CL barrels are not near as accurate with differing bullet types as his stainless barrels are, best I got from his CL barrel was just over MOA with 75 grain TAP, I routinely get .5 MOA with the Afghan and with my WOA stainless barrel as well.

    I post experiance from what I see, ask some expereinced builders and they will tell you, you have nothing to fear from a good stainless barrel 90% of you won't shoot it enough to wear it out, and if you post anything from defese review as a source it tells me to discount you as a serious individual.
    My advise get out from behind the keyboard and start popping some primers and develope your own set of facts..
  16. MajorD


    Aug 16, 2010
    the whole idea of chrome lining was to resist corrosion in high humidity environments (jungles). not too many civilian shooters I know slog thru swamps shoot then ignore due to tactical considerations rifle cleaning.
    I would not pay more for chrome lining myself.
    National match m14 barrels were NOT chrome lined as it was felt regular steel unlined barrels were more accurate and that accuracy seemed to last longer than chrome lined-technology and advances in lining since the NM M14 was the king of the hill in accurate service rifles may have changed this some. Most people don't shoot ar's for accuracy at 600 yards. If you do (think camp perry) you won't find any chrome lined barrels in the hands of serious shooters.
    On the other hand if you intend your ar to be a short range (200 yards and closer) tacticool blaster, chrome,stainless,regualr stell not going to matter much
  17. TedG

    TedG Infidel USA

    If I'm aiming at the center of a head-sized melon at 100 yds, what's the difference? 1" high, low, left or right. The job still gets done.

    If I'm shooting paper for a score, maybe, just maybe, .15" might, just might, make a difference.
  18. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Mar 13, 2001
    Not a chance
    Wanted to ad:

    The most important part of the equation is chamber dimension.. the Wylde/NOVESKE mod O or similar is the way to go the standard 5.56 and .223 are just not good for accuracy AND longevity