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Posted: 10/18/2004 4:59:29 PM EDT
I'm about ready to order my first AR, can't wait. Still can't decide between the 14.5 + FS or the 16" barrel Bushmaster for both. I know extra length is always better for distance, but I'll only be shooting 200 and closer. Are there going to be any noticable differences between the lengths at 200 and under, or is it going to be ME that's the lowest common denominator? I'm leaning toward the M4 setup with the 14.5 right now, but I'm still not sold either way. My FFL didn't help either way. He said he can get them both in about the same time, so there goes that deciding factor. Let me have it with your experiences, I know many of you have both out there so I'll mooch off your knowledge. Thanks
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 5:09:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2004 5:10:03 PM EDT by Azalin]
If ballistic effectiveness is a factor for you then get the 16" barrel. The extra 1.5" of length will extend the fragmentation range of an M193 spec round by 15 yards or so. The increased fragmentation is more dramatic with heavier rounds should you decide to use them.

The ability to change flash hiders/suppressors is a nice option should you want to add a sound suppressor at some point.

Also consider that some rail systems require the front sight base be removed.

Consider these factors then make your decision.

Link Posted: 10/18/2004 5:12:34 PM EDT
I have both. I think the 14.5 has slightly better balance with a collapsible stock compared to the 16. Other than that, I do not see any difference.

I would not agonize over this decision, you are eventually going to have both and a 20 inch.
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 5:17:04 PM EDT
I have a 16". Actually I have 3. I'm getting rid of the 16" M4 upper and going with the 14.5" with Gemtech Bilock FS. I'm more interested in a compact and lightweigt weaon right now. YMMV
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 8:24:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2004 8:25:58 PM EDT by Onslaught]

Are there going to be any noticable differences between the lengths at 200 and under,

ABSOLUTELY no noticeable difference whatsoever.

Unless you're in the military or MAYBE LEO, the fragmentation discussion is WAAAY overblown. Very VERY few of us could even have the REMOTEST possibility of defending themselves beyond 100 yards, and even then, the 5.56 doesn't magically go from explosive megaprojectile to pinhole punching wussy bullet at 2699fps.

Azalin's points about the flash suppressor and free float handguards are valid. But if you get a flash suppressor you like, that's one down already. There are several options for railed handguards that don't float the barrel and don't require any disassembly for installation, and there's even a couple of free floating ones that go on without removing the FSB.

I had a 14.5", and replaced it with a 16" mid-length. I'm very happy with my middie, but I should have listened to the age-old ARFCOM advice.... "GET BOTH!"

I personally like the 14.5" in a carbine, and a 16" in a middie... Looks, ya know?
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 8:41:57 PM EDT
I prefer the short length and look of the 14.5. With a Phantom or Vortex (a must on a carbine, IMO) the 14.5 really does seem shorter than the 16, much shorter than the 1.5 inches it really is.
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 10:07:25 PM EDT
I would have preferred a 14.5", but I didn't want anything "permanently" attached on my rifle, since I can't have an SBR in my state. That extra 1.5" hardly makes a difference to me in terms of balance or handling.
Link Posted: 10/18/2004 10:44:34 PM EDT
The 1.5" makes a difference in handling and weight and looks to me EVERY DAY. The extra fragmenting range will never be used. Easy decision.

To me the only valid reason to go 16" is to avoid the SBR hassle and have the ability to swap your FSB and FF rail system if thats required.

If you plan on using your factory FSB and get an RAS2 or Troy MRF then there is no reason not to go 14.5" and if you get a rail system you like you will never need to replace the rail system if you install it befreo the flasj hider though ou bett3er like it because its a permanant modification after the flash hider is installed if its the DD, LT, KAC type of FF rail.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 5:20:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/19/2004 5:22:22 AM EDT by SSeric02]
I just went through the same dilemma while building my M4gery. I chose 16 because (1) you do get a little better ballistic performance, (2) the barrel stays threaded so I can change out the FH in the future, (3) that <1.5" really isn't that much. I'm not sure how having a 14.5 vice 16 barrel affects the FSB? Duh! Perm FH prevents removal of said FSB for rail installation...its still early!
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 5:22:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SSeric02:
I'm not sure how having a 14.5 vice 16 barrel affects the FSB?

You can't remove it unless it's a registered SBR and has the threaded on flash supressor.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 5:32:26 AM EDT
Not sure why everyone gets all worked up about perm. attaching a Phantom to their barrell. It is not like you can't ever have it removed. It is not really permanently attached as it can be removed by any gunsmith, you would just have to spend a whole whopping $25.00 for another one.

If you build your own rifle or get it build like you want it then it is not a big deal, just get the FF railed handguard you want and then get the FH you want and you shouldn't ever need to change it, unless you are one of those quys who must have the newest and most popular thing.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 5:42:23 AM EDT
Actually having to send it to a 'smith, wait for them to fuck it up, send it to another 'smith, wait for them to get it right....

Being able to completely detail strip your firearm on your own with relatively few simple tools is a good thing. For some of us it's a good thing that's worth trading off, but it's still a good thing.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 12:13:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/19/2004 12:15:33 PM EDT by Morpheus32]
Why not look at an armalite 16 inch with midlength gas system? You get an improved site radius, and the barrel profile in front of the FSB allows for the mounting of a bayonet.

Link Posted: 10/19/2004 2:50:51 PM EDT
I bought a 16" first because I liked the option of being able to screw on different muzzle devices as well as having all options for Free float handguards. I didn't care about the minimal ballistics difference. Plus there really is only a 1" difference between a pinned 14.5" (16.1" ovl) and a 16" (~17" ovl) with an A2 birdcage.

That being said, I'm about to order a LMT 14.5". Just because.
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 3:01:10 PM EDT
it has to be a 16inch barrel any ways, why not just have 1.5 inches more. and try to get the 1/7 twist .
but i do have a post ban bushy with 14.5. 1/9 its good but the 16 inch colt with 1/7 is better
Link Posted: 10/19/2004 3:15:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Morpheus32:
Why not look at an armalite 16 inch with midlength gas system? You get an improved site radius, and the barrel profile in front of the FSB allows for the mounting of a bayonet.



also check our the RRA & ADCO in the Idustry. I put a A3 w/ a midlenght chrome barrel for my fun toy. I know that the gun grabbers shivered in their skin when the bayonet was put on for the first time.

Good luck,

Link Posted: 10/19/2004 5:40:47 PM EDT
Wow..a 14.5" vs 16" barrel thread.. ain't seen one of these for awhile........
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