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Posted: 1/8/2016 10:53:41 PM EDT
Accuracy Evaluation of a Bravo Company 14.5” Barrel






The focus of this article is the cold hammer forged (BFH) version of Bravo Company’s 14.5” barrel with a mid-length gas system.  As can be seen in the pic above, this barrel has a government profile.  This is a chrome-lined, NATO chambered barrel with a 1:7” twist.  Bravo Company states that these barrels have been high-pressure/magnetic particle tested according to the current mil-spec.

I conducted an accuracy (technically, precision) evaluation of the Bravo Company 14.5” BFH mid-length barrel following my usual protocol.  This accuracy evaluation used statistically significant shot-group sizes and every single shot in a fired group was included in the measurements. There was absolutely no use of any Group Reduction Techniques (e.g. fliers, target movement, Butterfly Shots).

The shooting set-up will be described in detail below. As many of the significant variables as was practicable were controlled for. Pictures of shot-groups are posted for documentation.

All shooting was conducted from a concrete bench-rest from a distance of 100 yards (confirmed with a laser rangefinder.) The Bravo Company 14.5” barrel used in this evaluation was free-floated during testing using a Daniel Defense Omega free-float railed handguard. The free-float handguard of the rifle rested in a Sinclair Windage Benchrest, while the stock of the rifle rested in a Protektor bunny-ear rear bag. Sighting was accomplished via a Leupold VARI-X III set at 25X magnification and adjusted to be parallax-free at 100 yards. A mirage shade was attached to the objective-bell of the scope. Wind conditions on the shooting range were continuously monitored using a Wind Probe. The set-up was very similar to that pictured below.












For this evaluation, I used one of my standard match-grade hand-loads topped with Sierra 55 grain BlitzKings.  When fired from my Krieger barreled AR-15s, this load has produced ½ MOA 10-shot groups at 100 yards.











Three, 10-shot groups were fired in a row from the Bravo Company 14.5” barrel from a distance of 100 yards with the resulting extreme spreads:

1.58”
1.96”
1.50”

for an average 10-shot group extreme spread of 1.68”.  The three, 10-shot groups were over-layed on each other using RSI Shooting Lab to form a 30-shot composite group.  The mean radius of the 30-shot composite group was 0.49”



The smallest 10-shot group . . .






The 30-shot composite group . . .





….
Link Posted: 1/8/2016 11:00:03 PM EDT
[#1]
Pretty much mirrors my "BCM" 14.5" BFH mid barrels. They're typically 1.5-2 MOA - even with 77 grain SMKs.

I've never been too impressed with their accuracy, but they are damn smooth shooters, and crazy light paired with one of their KMRs.
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 12:09:08 AM EDT
[#2]
That is much better than the Mil-spec standard, and typical of what I have seen from them as well.  I have very high hit probability out to 400yds with M193 and M855 on IPSC sils using RDS and no magnification.
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 1:39:07 AM EDT
[#3]
Wow, I would have expected much better groupings than that. I have no doubt in your data at all. I don't want to start any wars but I have experienced much better accuracy than that with just a standard Colt SOCOM barrel and my 65 grain Sierra GK loads. It would routinely shoot sub moa with these loads. I am sure that BCM barrels are very high quality, but for they type of shooting I generally do (precision and hunting), I think that I will pass on them. I know that BCM makes barrels designed for combat accuracy, not precision shooting, so I am in no way bashing them.
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 2:15:39 AM EDT
[#4]
The day you stop doing these threads is the day the community becomes worse off.
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 2:47:46 AM EDT
[#5]
Thanks for posting.

I'd love to see a review of their stainless 18 inch barrel if you ever get around to doing it.
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 3:14:21 AM EDT
[#6]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
The day you stop doing these threads is the day the community becomes worse off.
View Quote



Agreed, like I said in the thread about the Winchester 5.56 FBI training loads, we should all donate $3 or something to Molon for ballistics gel testing media. Add that to the data he already collects and compile it all in one place/ excel file or something.
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 5:05:23 AM EDT
[#7]
Thanks for the information, Molon, and good to have you posting again. You are a great resource/asset to this board.

As for the results, that's about what I would expect for a barrel of that type. But, I bet, there's probably a load out there that that upper will really like; however, it may not be the load that you may want for SD. That's just how it goes.
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 8:10:24 AM EDT
[#8]
Excellent thread!
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 8:59:12 AM EDT
[#9]

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


Wow, I would have expected much better groupings than that. I have no doubt in your data at all. I don't want to start any wars but I have experienced much better accuracy than that with just a standard Colt SOCOM barrel and my 65 grain Sierra GK loads. It would routinely shoot sub moa with these loads. I am sure that BCM barrels are very high quality, but for they type of shooting I generally do (precision and hunting), I think that I will pass on them. I know that BCM makes barrels designed for combat accuracy, not precision shooting, so I am in no way bashing them.
View Quote
Colt barrels will generally outshoot BCM and the majority of other rack grade barrels.

 
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 2:00:11 PM EDT
[#10]
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 2:15:34 PM EDT
[#11]
That's a little better than I've ever got one to do, but you're a helluva lot better than I am.  

My KAC and Colt barrels will toss MK262 into groups just like that with a 4X horseshoe dot ACOG.  

After owning several,I don't and won't own a BCM chrome lined barrel anymore.....
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 2:53:41 PM EDT
[#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
The day you stop doing these threads is the day the community becomes worse off.
View Quote


Link Posted: 1/9/2016 3:05:45 PM EDT
[#13]
Too bad we'll never find out who makes them...
Link Posted: 1/9/2016 3:31:32 PM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:



Agreed, like I said in the thread about the Winchester 5.56 FBI training loads, we should all donate $3 or something to Molon for ballistics gel testing media. Add that to the data he already collects and compile it all in one place/ excel file or something.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
The day you stop doing these threads is the day the community becomes worse off.



Agreed, like I said in the thread about the Winchester 5.56 FBI training loads, we should all donate $3 or something to Molon for ballistics gel testing media. Add that to the data he already collects and compile it all in one place/ excel file or something.


Agreed. And awesome report
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 7:58:34 AM EDT
[#15]
Molon, Thank you for posting these tests.


I'm curious what you would expect out of the same BCM barrel in 11.5"? Would accuracy stay about the same, just a decrease in velocity?

Have you tested or plan on testing any Larue barrels? I ask because I had a new build out yesterday with a 16'' Larue and 62gr Wolf ammo and I was blown away by it's accuracy. I don't have any official tests like you do but I had some groups that were 1 moa or better. I can't wait to try some good ammo through it.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 10:52:06 AM EDT
[#16]
Thanks for your time and sharing data. The objective information is clear and  easy to understand. Very nice equipment, setup and range.

Tell us about the range dog with the wind reading tail.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 11:13:00 AM EDT
[#17]
MOLON...

Can you take that barrel out, "bed" it with loctite, and re-shoot the test. This would settle once and for all the question of loctite and improving groups.

Maybe.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 11:25:03 AM EDT
[#18]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Wow, I would have expected much better groupings than that. I have no doubt in your data at all. I don't want to start any wars but I have experienced much better accuracy than that with just a standard Colt SOCOM barrel and my 65 grain Sierra GK loads. It would routinely shoot sub moa with these loads. I am sure that BCM barrels are very high quality, but for they type of shooting I generally do (precision and hunting), I think that I will pass on them. I know that BCM makes barrels designed for combat accuracy, not precision shooting, so I am in no way bashing them.
View Quote


In this day and age and with this competitive marketplace, is there any logical reason you couldn't have both a "combat" ready barrel with a higher degree of accuracy?

I would pass on the bcm Barrels unless they are on sale. Not that I'm under the impression that the level of accuracy present in molons test wouldn't be suitable for self defense, but with a barrel that offers more consistency and less flyers, it would permit shooters to take advantage of their AR better at both near and far ranges.

As a do all rifle, having the amount of flyers that are present out of this cold hammer forged specimen would lead to a bit of frustration in your long game practice.

PASS.

On a side note, look at the tight five rounds and then the spread. That barrel is permitting flyers, and yet then permits five rounfs of that ten round group to touch.

What's happenening here? The dispersion is weird. Something is not consistent with the gun, as I'm sure MOLON has isolated everything else. Why would the barrel have some shots so consistent, then let others fly?

I still say, if MOLON wills it, to reshoot this test after the barrel has been loctited into the receiver. I now have access to a shoot sled so I can also test a barrel that I have, a Criterion 18 inch, and see what, if anything, bedding does to its performance.

Let's see if those high power shooters know what they are talking about. :)

And thank you MOLON for posting this interesting specimen.


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 11:48:18 AM EDT
[#19]
Absolutely beautiful review. Thanks for this!!
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 12:54:39 PM EDT
[#20]
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 1:37:49 PM EDT
[#21]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
That's curious. My 16" data above shows the same pattern. I always attributed the thrown rounds to my shooting ability
View Quote


I had accuracy tested my Criterion a while.back and got a flyer so far left of the other 9 rounds I assumed it was me as well.

The gun range I joined lets everyone have access to shooting sleds and spotting scopes. Time to test everything.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 1:45:10 PM EDT
[#22]
I would like to see this test against a 14.5 DD barrel.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:00:18 PM EDT
[#23]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Too bad we'll never find out who makes them...
View Quote


FN.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:04:00 PM EDT
[#24]
wow. Definitely lacking in accuracy. Might have to change out my BCM barrel for something better.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:14:15 PM EDT
[#25]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

Molon, Thank you for posting these tests.


I'm curious what you would expect out of the same BCM barrel in 11.5"? Would accuracy stay about the same, just a decrease in velocity?


View Quote


In the state that I live in, the unwashed masses are not allowed to own SBRs.  
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:15:00 PM EDT
[#26]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
MOLON...

Can you take that barrel out, "bed" it with loctite, and re-shoot the test. This would settle once and for all the question of loctite and improving groups.

Maybe.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
View Quote


That's going to be a little difficult to do, since I no longer own that barrel.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:26:59 PM EDT
[#27]
I am a bit confused, are the results that these BCM barrels are just "ok" or is this herd mentality bashing BCM barrels?

-Bryan
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:34:01 PM EDT
[#28]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I am a bit confused, are the results that these BCM barrels are just "ok" or is this herd mentality bashing BCM barrels?

-Bryan
View Quote



I think the conclusion is that they are at least as good as, or not better than "mil-spec" in terms of expected accuracy, but not as good as a more traditional "match" barrel would be.   Given the effort Molon put into providing a statistically significant sample size (30) and minimizing the other variables, I would imagine his intent is to let the reader determine if the BCM barrel meets their expectations for precision.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:46:22 PM EDT
[#29]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I am a bit confused, are the results that these BCM barrels are just "ok" or is this herd mentality bashing BCM barrels?

-Bryan
View Quote

This is about what I've come to expect accuracy wise from all my BCM BFH barrels over the years as well.

It's why most of my CHF barrels are DD and KAC these days - they're much more accurate.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:51:43 PM EDT
[#30]
Yeah, that's about what my BCM barrel did. Really disappointing.





Thanks for posting.



I could get it a little under 2 moa with match ammo. With M193 and M855, the groups were 5-6".  Ten shot groups, of course.

Link Posted: 1/10/2016 2:55:40 PM EDT
[#31]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I am a bit confused, are the results that these BCM barrels are just "ok" or is this herd mentality bashing BCM barrels?

-Bryan
View Quote


It's just a non-objective experiment.  The opinions are left up to the viewers.

 I actually don't think the results of the barrel are horrible, it's just that the accuracy expectations have improved so much over the last five years.  Combine high expectations with lots of new companies that deliver quality barrels at a low price is why I think you are seeing such comments.  BCM still makes a good barrel.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 3:07:43 PM EDT
[#32]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
wow. Definitely lacking in accuracy. Might have to change out my BCM barrel for something better.
View Quote


It's a milspec chrome lined barrel.  If it wasn't bothering you before, why would it now?

2moa groups are more than acceptable for 99% of purposes of a carbine.  
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 3:13:45 PM EDT
[#33]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
The day you stop doing these threads is the day the community becomes worse off.
View Quote

Link Posted: 1/10/2016 4:32:07 PM EDT
[#34]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


It's a milspec chrome lined barrel.  If it wasn't bothering you before, why would it now?

2moa groups are more than acceptable for 99% of purposes of a carbine.  
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
wow. Definitely lacking in accuracy. Might have to change out my BCM barrel for something better.


It's a milspec chrome lined barrel.  If it wasn't bothering you before, why would it now?

2moa groups are more than acceptable for 99% of purposes of a carbine.  


I would expect milsurp m193 to be doing 2-3 MOA and a quality handload/ match ammo to be closer to 1 MOA.

Basically now I know the best a BCM milspec can do is 1.5-2 MOA with a good shooter, good scope, and good ammunition. It bothers me because a BCM barrel tends to cost more than say...Ballistic Advantage, yet offer no increased accuracy or durability.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 4:47:54 PM EDT
[#35]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


In the state that I live in, the unwashed masses are not allowed to own SBRs.  
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:

Molon, Thank you for posting these tests.


I'm curious what you would expect out of the same BCM barrel in 11.5"? Would accuracy stay about the same, just a decrease in velocity?




In the state that I live in, the unwashed masses are not allowed to own SBRs.  


What state would that be?  Here in CT we can do an end run around the recent bans by finding pre ban (pre 9/13/94) lower receivers and building a pistol or SBR that way.  Yes...much more expensive but there are no other options at this time.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 5:01:45 PM EDT
[#36]
Would love to see this done with a ballistic advantage barrel
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 5:27:44 PM EDT
[#37]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


I would expect milsurp m193 to be doing 2-3 MOA and a quality handload/ match ammo to be closer to 1 MOA.

Basically now I know the best a BCM milspec can do is 1.5-2 MOA with a good shooter, good scope, and good ammunition. It bothers me because a BCM barrel tends to cost more than say...Ballistic Advantage, yet offer no increased accuracy or durability.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
wow. Definitely lacking in accuracy. Might have to change out my BCM barrel for something better.


It's a milspec chrome lined barrel.  If it wasn't bothering you before, why would it now?

2moa groups are more than acceptable for 99% of purposes of a carbine.  


I would expect milsurp m193 to be doing 2-3 MOA and a quality handload/ match ammo to be closer to 1 MOA.

Basically now I know the best a BCM milspec can do is 1.5-2 MOA with a good shooter, good scope, and good ammunition. It bothers me because a BCM barrel tends to cost more than say...Ballistic Advantage, yet offer no increased accuracy or durability.


Exactly this. It's not that 1.5 MOA is bad, but there are a lot of companies putting out parts with better results for less money.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 5:32:36 PM EDT
[#38]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Would love to see this done with a ballistic advantage barrel
View Quote

Or a Faxon
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 5:38:46 PM EDT
[#39]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Would love to see this done with a ballistic advantage barrel
View Quote


I happen to have a spare barrel from BA on my shelf.

Virgin and untouched.

16 inch melonite mid length.

Link Posted: 1/10/2016 6:05:58 PM EDT
[#40]
Would you expect a difference in accuracy from the heavier CHF barrel if you compared it to one of their ELW barrels? What about after it gets hot? I know this is just speculation.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 6:29:19 PM EDT
[#41]
Very cool and great info. Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 7:18:20 PM EDT
[#42]


Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
That's going to be a little difficult to do, since I no longer own that barrel.


View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:





Quoted:


MOLON...





Can you take that barrel out, "bed" it with loctite, and re-shoot the test. This would settle once and for all the question of loctite and improving groups.





Maybe.





Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile






That's going to be a little difficult to do, since I no longer own that barrel.







 
Do you happen to have one of their standard, non-BFH, 14.5" barrels that you could install and compare to this specimen?







That's a test I've been wanting to see done for some time now (BCM standard vs BCM BFH).  







Thanks again for posting the report. We appreciate you taking the time, and spending the money required to publish these.












 
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 7:52:11 PM EDT
[#43]
wow, never thought I'd ever hear anything but praise for BCM.  Trippy.....

Link Posted: 1/10/2016 7:58:34 PM EDT
[#44]
If I can ever get to the range I will see what I can do with a 16'' LW barrel. I haven't shot anything with magnified glass for groups in a LONG time, it should be bad.
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 10:20:46 PM EDT
[#45]
God I love these threads. Very interesting how it stacks most of the bullets in the center but the owes the wild ones out to open up the group. You'd think it would be a similar circular pattern, just larger for less accurate barrels but that doesn't seem to be the case. Thanks molon!
Link Posted: 1/10/2016 11:08:31 PM EDT
[#46]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
God I love these threads. Very interesting how it stacks most of the bullets in the center but the owes the wild ones out to open up the group. You'd think it would be a similar circular pattern, just larger for less accurate barrels but that doesn't seem to be the case. Thanks molon!
View Quote


I'm a "casual" accuracy guy granted, but I've never heard a good explanation for the proverbial "flyer" either.
Some guys write them off, some don't, they just seem to come out of nowhere.  As a pessimist I'm inclined to
think what if said "flyer" is the hit one needed to make to bag a deer or whatever cleanly, but do flyers happen
within a certain time period?  If you shot a five or ten shot group, but did so with 20 minutes between each shot,
would that be the same as shooting a group at a "normal" pace?  Temperature has to be something to do with it, but then
you have guys with the LW barrels saying meh, temp don't seem to have much effect.  Hard to know what to believe.
Other than what Molon is kindly enough to show relative simpletons like myself here in a clean format.

Edit: not sure if this is a faux pas or not but this is the colt socom version of this test, I've often used this as a
benchmark of sorts for a really precise general use AR barrel..   http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?59364-The-Colt-M4A1-SOCOM-Barrel
Link Posted: 1/11/2016 9:37:11 AM EDT
[#47]
Link Posted: 1/11/2016 10:11:33 AM EDT
[#48]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
As usual, great stuff molon,

That scope, what's it mounted in and did the same optic/mount combination shoot the small Krieger group ?  

Also, do you happen to have the sequence these 10 were shot in, i.e., say numbered 1 thru 10 ?








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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
As usual, great stuff molon,

That scope, what's it mounted in and did the same optic/mount combination shoot the small Krieger group ?  

Also, do you happen to have the sequence these 10 were shot in, i.e., say numbered 1 thru 10 ?










Do you really need to study the competition Mark?

Link Posted: 1/11/2016 10:16:39 AM EDT
[#49]
Link Posted: 1/11/2016 10:17:41 AM EDT
[#50]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I am a bit confused, are the results that these BCM barrels are just "ok" or is this herd mentality bashing BCM barrels?

-Bryan
View Quote


I don't think the results are bad at all.  I am not sure what everyone was expecting out of this barrel
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