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Posted: 9/13/2009 7:02:40 PM EST
What do you think are they worth the extra$$
Link Posted: 9/13/2009 7:07:14 PM EST
No, but it's what's in and they will sell.
Link Posted: 9/13/2009 7:10:37 PM EST
Here's a little read on the subject: http://www.rifleshootermag.com/gunsmithing/RSgunsmith1/

It is the barrel marketing buzz word of the day.
Link Posted: 9/13/2009 7:19:28 PM EST
Originally Posted By MMcfpd:
Here's a little read on the subject: http://www.rifleshootermag.com/gunsmithing/RSgunsmith1/

It is the barrel marketing buzz word of the day.


You know, I remember buying Krieger Barrels for their cut rifling. Savage being the 800 lbs gorilla in the factory bolt gun world because of buttoned rifling. And Lothar Walther the only company in the world who could make a match grade CHF barrel. Everyone else using CHF did it to turn out more barrels for a lower cost. That's why only big manufacturers could afford the expense of the machines, because of their volume, not the inherent advantages of CHF.

We have many more barrel options now than ever before, but I think CHF is a new word not everyone understands. Maybe even me.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 12:26:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By WorstCaseScenario:
Originally Posted By MMcfpd:
Here's a little read on the subject: http://www.rifleshootermag.com/gunsmithing/RSgunsmith1/

It is the barrel marketing buzz word of the day.


You know, I remember buying Krieger Barrels for their cut rifling. Savage being the 800 lbs gorilla in the factory bolt gun world because of buttoned rifling. And Lothar Walther the only company in the world who could make a match grade CHF barrel. Everyone else using CHF did it to turn out more barrels for a lower cost. That's why only big manufacturers could afford the expense of the machines, because of their volume, not the inherent advantages of CHF.

We have many more barrel options now than ever before, but I think CHF is a new word not everyone understands. Maybe even me.


Didn't realize Lothar Walther uses CHF, but I have a custom build with one of their barrels and it will make a 5 leaf clover at 100 yds if I do my part. It is in .308
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 10:05:17 PM EST
IMO there are no additional benefits over button or cut rifled barrels if all three are chromed lined.

When we are considering non chromed lined barrels like in hunting rifles, ect. the CHF barrels do have an advantage in service life.
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 10:16:48 PM EST
i like em
Link Posted: 9/14/2009 11:08:12 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 2:07:47 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 2:38:44 AM EST
What do you think are they worth the extra$$ Yes
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 4:43:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By bigbore:
Originally Posted By SWMP15X:
What do you think are they worth the extra$$


NO, but I still use 4140 barrels on my carbines, which have held up fine for several thousand rounds and lots of full auto..


Thanks for the info, I just purchased a DD barrel and it has a cut rifle barrel. Guess I went against the new trend.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 3:51:47 PM EST
CHF like button rifling or polygonal rifling are simply tried and true designs for there purpose. To each there own.

I have a older Steyr .308 with polygonal rifling that is sub MOA. Had to add a custom trigger and a good scope to get it there. My glock 24 in .40 was the same way polygonal rifling and would cluster a 15 round mag super tight when my brother AKA Cool Hand Luke shot it off the bench.

I used to wonder why every manufacturer did not go this route till I watched how they did it. Costs a fortune and the price reflects it.

Link Posted: 9/15/2009 5:10:48 PM EST
Originally Posted By Nichonator:
CHF like button rifling or polygonal rifling are simply tried and true designs for there purpose. To each there own.

I have a older Steyr .308 with polygonal rifling that is sub MOA. Had to add a custom trigger and a good scope to get it there. My glock 24 in .40 was the same way polygonal rifling and would cluster a 15 round mag super tight when my brother AKA Cool Hand Luke shot it off the bench.

I used to wonder why every manufacturer did not go this route till I watched how they did it. Costs a fortune and the price reflects it.



What Steyr had Polygonal rifling? My SSG PII has a Hammer Forged barrel, and I've been told by some of my German friends that it's a Lothar Walther barrel with 4 grooves and a 1/12 twist, but nothing Polygonal.

BTW, I believe the SSG was the only rifle of it's time capable of superior accuracy with a CHF barrel. Now more European manufacturers are using them, but the cost to re-tool the machines regularly is built into the huge pricing we see form those systems.

Link Posted: 9/15/2009 5:18:21 PM EST
No there not.. but plenty of noobs who don't know any better who will spend the money and never reap the benefits because they will never shoot enough, and if you can afford to shoot that much.. then you should have no problem replacing barrels........
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 5:27:57 PM EST
It seems most agree that the extra $$ is because they are harder to make, does that extra $$ make a better barrel? Have any test etc. ever provided any any concrete evidence? I have not been able to find any. More longevity out of it? debatable. I dont think accuracy even comes into play most rifles can outperform the shooter if set up right. Not sure I can justify an extra $200.00 for what maybe benifits I will never notice. Kinda like 4140 and 4150.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 6:56:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/15/2009 6:57:09 PM EST by WhiteBuffalo]

Originally Posted By SWMP15X:
It seems most agree that the extra $$ is because they are harder to make, does that extra $$ make a better barrel? Have any test etc. ever provided any any concrete evidence? I have not been able to find any. More longevity out of it? debatable. I dont think accuracy even comes into play most rifles can outperform the shooter if set up right. Not sure I can justify an extra $200.00 for what maybe benifits I will never notice. Kinda like 4140 and 4150.

That's actually backwards. They're easier to make. You can bang out many more barrels in the same amount of time it takes to button rifle and I'm sure the rejection rate is lowered a bit. There's actually no good reason I can think of as to why CHF barrel's should cost more, unless you are helping pay for the start up of the operation..... the machines cost alot.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 7:06:54 PM EST
Originally Posted By WhiteBuffalo:

Originally Posted By SWMP15X:
It seems most agree that the extra $$ is because they are harder to make, does that extra $$ make a better barrel? Have any test etc. ever provided any any concrete evidence? I have not been able to find any. More longevity out of it? debatable. I dont think accuracy even comes into play most rifles can outperform the shooter if set up right. Not sure I can justify an extra $200.00 for what maybe benifits I will never notice. Kinda like 4140 and 4150.

That's actually backwards. They're easier to make. You can bang out many more barrels in the same amount of time it takes to button rifle and I'm sure the rejection rate is lowered a bit. There's actually no good reason I can think of as to why CHF barrel's should cost more, unless you are helping pay for the start up of the operation..... the machines cost alot.


Thanks for correcting me, you are right I should have mentioned the cost of start up.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 7:21:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By WorstCaseScenario:
Originally Posted By MMcfpd:
Here's a little read on the subject: http://www.rifleshootermag.com/gunsmithing/RSgunsmith1/

It is the barrel marketing buzz word of the day.


You know, I remember buying Krieger Barrels for their cut rifling. Savage being the 800 lbs gorilla in the factory bolt gun world because of buttoned rifling. And Lothar Walther the only company in the world who could make a match grade CHF barrel. Everyone else using CHF did it to turn out more barrels for a lower cost. That's why only big manufacturers could afford the expense of the machines, because of their volume, not the inherent advantages of CHF.

We have many more barrel options now than ever before, but I think CHF is a new word not everyone understands. Maybe even me.


I'm with you. It confused the heck out of me when I first started seeing posts on this site spouting off the advantages of CHF. I used to hang out on some benchrest shooting forums way back when, and the conversations were exactly opposite. They considered CHF barrels to be at the bottom of the list in terms of accuracy with button-rifled above that and cut rifling even higher. Take Remington for example: Their bottom of the line rifle barrels are CHF whereas their custom shop benchrest rifles are cut (at least the last time I was shopping around for one). Of course, barrel longevity isn't your primary concern when going for accuracy.

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 3:08:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By WorstCaseScenario:
And Lothar Walther the only company in the world who could make a match grade CHF barrel.


I would add at least Sako and HK. Of course not all Sako and HK barrels are match grade, but they make match grade CHF barrels. And you can not buy neither as separate barrel, so there is where Lothar Walther niche is located.

BTW HK recently went from polygonal to land and grooves in their match grade barrels for small caliber (5.56).

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:14:16 AM EST
Lothar Walther are button rifled.

Please direct me to a Daniel Defense barrel that is cut rifled. . . . . . .
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:29:59 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:44:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2009 10:18:08 AM EST by Miale]
chf was developed as a way to make machine gun barrels quickly and cheaply which it does. as it produces a barrel quicker than button rifling, why would you pay a premium for it?
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 9:44:27 AM EST
Excellent discussion.....
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 10:10:04 AM EST
Originally Posted By Geohans:
Lothar Walther are button rifled.

Please direct me to a Daniel Defense barrel that is cut rifled. . . . . . .


http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=461614 $179.99
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 4:09:54 PM EST
I find the term funny. Ever try to pick up a part after it's forged? Doesn't take too long to look at it! It's a cost saving effort to mass produce an item.. Similar to your uppers and lowers.
458
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:00:05 PM EST
It's nice to see this conversation taking place. Ever since I've seen the sentiment ramp up on CHF ing, I've been confused. I know that if these barrels have the stress relieving done well they can be a fine/durable barrel but I was always under the impression they were a step down from a quality button rifled barrel when looking at them from an accuracy perspective. I need more schooling like this and applaud these types of threads particularly when members take the time to post additional reading material on the subjects.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:07:42 PM EST
I would like to see some of the industry partners give some of there perspectives on this, especialy those that provide both.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:35:54 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:41:17 PM EST
Okay, well, Noveske barrels are CHF. And they're pretty accurate, right? Or do they do something extra to get the level of accuracy they achieve?
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:41:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By SWMP15X:
I would like to see some of the industry partners give some of there perspectives on this, especialy those that provide both.


Yeah right!
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:46:43 PM EST
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:
Okay, well, Noveske barrels are CHF. And they're pretty accurate, right? Or do they do something extra to get the level of accuracy they achieve?


Polygonal rifling.

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:52:42 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:10:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2009 6:11:52 PM EST by badazzar15]
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:16:51 PM EST
Originally Posted By bigbore:
Originally Posted By SWMP15X:
I would like to see some of the industry partners give some of there perspectives on this, especialy those that provide both.



Most of them dont post outside the EE, and dont often say bad things about the things they want you to spend money on.


Okay, so you're saying a CHF barrel wouldn't be any more accurate than a standard service grade 4150 barrel?
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:19:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:
Okay, well, Noveske barrels are CHF. And they're pretty accurate, right? Or do they do something extra to get the level of accuracy they achieve?

I think they are made from the same barrel blanks used for the M249 SAW (squad automatic weapon), and have the thicker chrome lining. I don't know what is done to achieve the accuracy. FN makes the M249- according to their catalog, "... all major components of the M249 have a service life of over 50,000 rounds."
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:34:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By badazzar15:
Originally Posted By SWMP15X:
I would like to see some of the industry partners give some of there perspectives on this, especialy those that provide both.


CHF barrels are much easier to mass produce. The process makes them extremely durable, and most seem to be very accurate which is why they became popular. The original intention of a CHF barrel wasn't to make a super accurate barrel, it was intended to mass produce extremely durable barrels. The added cost comes from equipment and tooling cost. Do I think they good? Yeah I think they are very good barrels, some of the best on the market. That doesn't mean a cut rifled barrel can't be just as good.


Thanks for the reply, I think your last sentance is what I'm getting at. I dont think all the extra money is worth it when you can achieve the same for less. Its nice to see you and Bigbore step up to the plate and give your thoughts in everyday terms and not sugercoat it.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 6:45:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 7:44:50 AM EST by Essayons]
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:
Okay, well, Noveske barrels are CHF. And they're pretty accurate, right? Or do they do something extra to get the level of accuracy they achieve?


Only the N4 barrels, IIRC.

I think HK was instrumental in popularizing CHF barrels. Several of the claimed advantages of the HK416 over the M16/M4 were attributable to the CHF barrel.

The H&K-416's barrel is cold hammer-forged. This allows the barrel to maintain its accuracy for over 20,000 rounds, with minimal degradation of muzzle velocity. The cold hammer-forging process also allows for improved operator safety during obstructed bore occurrences or after extended firing sessions. This includes "OTB" (Over-the-beach) capability: the H&K-416 can be safely fired after being submerged in water and not completely drained.


Diemaco always used CHF for the C7 and C8, but didn't hype it. IIRC the machinery is/was owned by Canada (but I'm not 100% certain).

My understanding is CHF is more capital intensive: More upfront costs, but lower unit costs given high-volume production. CHF induces more stress than other barrel making techniques and requires stress relief for the best accuracy. OTOH, CHF results in a smooth, work hardened bore, and a barrel with a longer service life that is more resistant to bursting (both claimed as advantages of the HK416 over the M16/M4).

I don't see anyone promoting CHF AR barrels based on accuracy. HK touted longevity, strength and safety, and Noveske promotes "Mil Spec M249 Machine Gun barrel steel, with heavy M249 Chrome Lining (appx. 2 times as thick as an M4 or M16)". The Noveskes just happen to shoot real straight . If accuracy is your objective, there are lots of better options.

ETA the following from BCM:

Cold Hammer Forged Barrels


This process of manufacturing barrels has been used for European small arms for generations, and it is gaining popularity in the United States because of the increased barrel life and outstanding accuracy of a hammer forged barrel. The BCM BFH™ series of barrels are made right here in the USA! (Just like all the BCM products.)


Spike's doesn't make any claims for their CHF barrels.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 7:06:43 PM EST
I I dont really care about Accuracy, yes its important but its not my basis for this. Like I said before I think most guns can outperform the shooter. Its just that all of a sudden CHF is the best and if you dont have CHF barrels your missing out. Lets face it if your a new AR guy and you do some looking thats the impression thats out. Hopefully those same people will read a thread like this and think about cost ect. and its intended use and realize its just one option like many others.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 7:12:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2009 7:13:39 PM EST by Miale]
Originally Posted By Essayons:
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:
Okay, well, Noveske barrels are CHF. And they're pretty accurate, right? Or do they do something extra to get the level of accuracy they achieve?


Only the N4 barrels, IIRC.

I think HK was instrumental in popularizing CHF barrels. Several of the claimed advantages of the HK416 over the M16/M4 were attributable to the CHF barrel.

The H&K-416's barrel is cold hammer-forged. This allows the barrel to maintain its accuracy for over 20,000 rounds, with minimal degradation of muzzle velocity. The cold hammer-forging process also allows for improved operator safety during obstructed bore occurrences or after extended firing sessions. This includes "OTB" (Over-the-beach) capability: the H&K-416 can be safely fired after being submerged in water and not completely drained.


Diemaco always used CHF for the C7 and C8, but didn't hype it. IIRC the machinery is/was owned by Canada (but I'm not 100% certain).

My understanding is CHF is more capital intensive: More upfront costs, but lower unit costs given high-volume production. CHF induces more stress than other barrel making techniques and requires stress relief for the best accuracy. OTOH, CHF results in a smooth, work hardened bore, and a barrel with a longer service life that is more resistant to bursting (both claimed as advantages of the HK416 over the M16/M4).

I don't see anyone promoting CHF AR barrels based on accuracy. HK touted longevity, strength and safety, and Noveske promotes "Mil Spec M249 Machine Gun barrel steel, with heavy M249 Chrome Lining (appx. 2 times as thick as an M4 or M16)". The Noveskes just happen to shoot real straight . If accuracy is your objective, there are lots of better options.




you've pretty much hit it on the head. while the up-front costs for chf are greater, the process provides for substantially cheaper barrels produced quicker than button rifle barrels; now machine gun barrels are generally not stress relieved or straightened whereas rifle barrels are (having personally observed the production of both at fn herstal in leige i know this to be the case), the reasons behind this are to do with the application - beaten fire zones with machine guns etc vs rifle barrels requiring more accuracy. the above noted, get the straightened rifle chf rifle barrel hot enough and it will want to return to its pre-straightened state leading to the stringing of shots.

so, a cheaper to produce chf barrel will give adequate accuracy but until i see chf barrels out-perform button rifle barrels in terms of ultimate accuracy, i take any claims the manufacturers may make to that effect with a pinch of salt.

bottom line, you are buying a cheaper barrel in every respect for more money with the only possible benefit being potentially great longevity if used in the fully automatic mode.

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 7:21:40 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 7:27:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By bigbore:
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:

Okay, so you're saying a CHF barrel wouldn't be any more accurate than a standard service grade 4150 barrel?


Of all the things that make the AR platform inherently accurate, there is no way you can isolate anything to show any difference between a CHF barrel and even a 4140 barrel.

So since there is no way anyone can prove me wrong, yes, I will say "a CHF barrel wouldn't be any more accurate than a standard service grade 4150 barrel."




100% correct

Link Posted: 9/16/2009 7:29:26 PM EST
Originally Posted By 458winmag:
I find the term funny. Ever try to pick up a part after it's forged? Doesn't take too long to look at it! It's a cost saving effort to mass produce an item.. Similar to your uppers and lowers.
458


Exactly. It takes about 5 minutes to hammer forge a barrel.

The "cold" part only means the steel is cold before it gets the shit beat out of it by the hammers, because it is smoking (sometimes even glowing) when it comes out.

A cut rifled barrel takes about 40-50 passes PER GROOVE to produce a barrel.
Button riffling is faster depending on what kind of button is used.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 7:31:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By bigbore:
Originally Posted By robplumm:
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:
Okay, well, Noveske barrels are CHF. And they're pretty accurate, right? Or do they do something extra to get the level of accuracy they achieve?


Polygonal rifling.



Poly rifliing is another meaningless can of worms



Yeah. A standard groove form is a "polygon."
Ratchet rifling is a polygon. 5R is a polygon...
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 5:37:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 5:43:40 AM EST by urbankaos04]
Originally Posted By bigbore:
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:

Okay, so you're saying a CHF barrel wouldn't be any more accurate than a standard service grade 4150 barrel?


Of all the things that make the AR platform inherently accurate, there is no way you can isolate anything to show any difference between a CHF barrel and even a 4140 barrel.

So since there is no way anyone can prove me wrong, yes, I will say "a CHF barrel wouldn't be any more accurate than a standard service grade 4150 barrel."




Hmm, interesting. Thanks for the answer. But, I'm still wondering what makes the Noveske N4 light barrels more accurate than standard service grade barrels, as it appears that they tend to shoot better based on a lot of posts I've seen here.

Link Posted: 9/17/2009 6:55:03 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 6:55:37 AM EST by WhiteBuffalo]

Originally Posted By urbankaos04:
Originally Posted By bigbore:
Originally Posted By urbankaos04:

Okay, so you're saying a CHF barrel wouldn't be any more accurate than a standard service grade 4150 barrel?


Of all the things that make the AR platform inherently accurate, there is no way you can isolate anything to show any difference between a CHF barrel and even a 4140 barrel.

So since there is no way anyone can prove me wrong, yes, I will say "a CHF barrel wouldn't be any more accurate than a standard service grade 4150 barrel."




Hmm, interesting. Thanks for the answer. But, I'm still wondering what makes the Noveske N4 light barrels more accurate than standard service grade barrels, as it appears that they tend to shoot better based on a lot of posts I've seen here.



I think alot of that has to do with internet groupings.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 7:28:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 7:31:09 AM EST by Essayons]
Originally Posted By ziarifleman:
A cut rifled barrel takes about 40-50 passes PER GROOVE to produce a barrel.


If I wanted maximum accuracy, that is the way I would go. Single cut rifled. FWIW, Fulton's got some pretty interesting info re Krieger's single cut rifled barrels:

http://www.fulton-armory.com/Barrels.htm

Single point cut barrel makers (I am referring now only to Obermeyer & Krieger for this discussion) make many, many passes to cut just one groove. VERY stress free. AND, as mentioned, this method can cut the bore on a finished & fully machined barrel external! So, you get the barrel you paid for. Unfortunately, the only barrel maker that takes full advantage of this process is Krieger. He fully contours the external before he rifles it. The best of all possible worlds.


http://www.fulton-armory.com/Barrels2.htm

The Rifle Shooter article linked at the top of this thread says that Krieger cryos their barrels now, too.


Link Posted: 9/17/2009 3:40:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 3:41:57 PM EST by urbankaos04]
Originally Posted by sniperfrog
I think the new trend of CHF barrels came from Noveskes N4s being quite accurate for a chrome lined barrel. Alot of people assume it is the hammer forging but you don't see any benchrest shooters that will use a hammer forged barrel. An article in Precision Shooting magazine detailed CHF barrels with ARs pretty well. They used CHF blanks from Ruger and mentioned they were only 60 dollars a piece. Now Ruger is a large mfg but so is FN and so I would think the FN blanks are not very expensive either. But if people are willing to pay an extra 100 bucks just because of the rifling method than that's what dealers will charge. I've now seen a pretty big price difference with the new DD CHF barrels out there. As high as $400 and as low as $290 so I have to wonder how much the dealer cost really is.

I agree with this sentiment. People see a particular method of rifling/manufacture used in a good barrel and think that the magic is in the particular method. What makes or breaks a barrel are QC standards/attention to detail, well maintained machinery, good materials, and just general competence and pride in one's product. Button vs. broach vs. CHF is of minor importance (although, as you point out, you don't see too many accuracy-oriented rifles with CHF barrels; Noveske's N4 barrels are accurate by AR standards because Noveske's QC is high, but it's not fair to say the N4 is an accurate barrel).


Got this from a different forum. So, basically, if you start with good material and maintain good QC the way the barrel is made is not significant in determining accuracy?
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 7:35:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2009 10:56:43 PM EST by Sub-MOA]
This would make for an interesting test:

Start with a new barrel.
Fire a 200 round "mad minute schedule" with a couple of Beta Mags.
Let them cool to room temp.
Fire another 200 round nutsack in one minute.
Let them cool again.
Fire a 30 round slowfire group at 100M.
Run a borescope down the throats and compare the respective destruction.

A test like that would separate the wheat from the chaff...
Hrm. I wonder if I can find a post sample lower to borrow? (I see a bulged out magwell or a blown gas tube in its future)

<ETA>
The one thing that hammer forging does better than anything is hardness. That is surface hardness, 1/2 radius hardness and center hardness.

Take the "gold standard" AR barrel steel: 4150. (Note that the HRC center is where the rifling winds-up)
ANSI after quech is - 47 HRC surface, 43 HRC 1/2 radius, 42 HRC center
MIL-B-11595E CMV spec is a lot higher: 63 HRC surface, 57 HRC 1/2 radius, 56 HRC center
FINISHED Hammer forged MIL-B-11595E is a little better than that: 67 HRC surface, 65 HRC 1/2 radius, 65 HRC center after final quench (FNH process note that "center" is between bore and surface)
Some manufacturers then go on to additional hardening per whatever spec they are working to. M249 spec is unbelievably hard: 70-72 HRC at the bore.

So M249 spec barrels start with the best bar out there for durable barrels, MIL-B-11595E. Then they cold hammer harden it to an even harder state. Then they case harden and cold quench which not only does stress relief but hardens it to more than twice the hardness of standard 416 (34 HRC). Then they throw on a chrome lining that's twice as thick as a normal M4 spec.

So yeah, there's quite a bit of difference in barrel durability between a hammer forged barrel and a 416/4140 blank. Less so between a 11595E CMV barrel and a cold formed(hammered) 11595E CMV barrel.
Asside from the durability aspect: FNH has demonstrated that chrome lined, hammer forged barrels easily shoot quarter minute groups. (PSR, TSR, SPR anybody?)

Summary: Beyond "flavor of the month" buzzwords, at least some of the hammer forged barrels out there are WAY more durable and just as accurate as the $500+ dollar single-point rifled barrels.
Facts not fanboyism (Note that there's three manufacturers out there selling M249 spec barrels that I know of)
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:20:51 AM EST
I was watching American Rifleman the other day and they were at the FN plant watching them build the M16 A2 and A3 models that FN still has the contract for. (select fire M16 which can be fired three round burst, full auto or semi auto) the barrels they use for the M16 are button rifled.

Thought that was interesting amid all this CHF hoopla.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 8:05:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 1:16:05 PM EST by js308]
When claims are made about CHF barrels being stronger, does that mean less likely to flex under tension? Or does it mean it will last longer.
I was just thinking about a non free float rail (KAC RAS) with a bunch of equipment mounted to it, maybe it wouldn't effect a CHF barrel as much (accuracy wise) with the added weight and sling pull tension?............. any thoughts?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 8:09:02 AM EST
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