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Posted: 4/18/2016 12:45:10 PM EDT
Hello,

I was emailing John Holliger from WOA about what barrel to buy. I was talking to him about Shilen vs. Wilson and he kept saying they were the same and there would be no appreciable difference in accuracy. Maybe understandable. But then he kept trying to convince me to buy a complete upper from him for a lot more than I could build one. Since I have already built AR-15's, I want to build this upper. He then said that the person who assembled the upper is MUCH (he emphasized the "much") more important than who makes the barrel. Is there any truth to this?

Thank you,

John
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 12:53:49 PM EDT
If you own a torque wrench, a bench vice, and some grease there's no reason to think the results would be all that different from one builder to the next given the same parts.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 1:04:11 PM EDT
Thats what I was thinking. I own all those tools and feel confident in my builds. How could it be less accurate than WOA's upper, which aren't even assembled by John Holliger (I've read he only assembles WOP uppers).
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 1:11:29 PM EDT
As long as you have the correct tools, take your time to make sure things are correct on the build, then there is no reason the one you build will be any worse than one you buy.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 1:19:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2016 1:21:48 PM EDT by PopGunner]


IMO, building an upper is much simpler than building the lower.....but both are easy enough for most people given they have the proper tools.  Actually, building an upper requires fewer tools than the lower.






I think Mr. Holliger was blowing some marketing smoke up your ass.

















 
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 2:13:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2016 2:14:26 PM EDT by beavo451]
You called contacted a manufacturer. Of course they are going to push their product.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 2:25:42 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By beavo451:
You called contacted a manufacturer. Of course they are going to push their product.
View Quote


Tried and true.
Any barrel manufacturer is going to tell you their barrels are the best. Just like car companies and mid size sedans.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 2:42:42 PM EDT
Yes but he was that the shilen is not better than the standard Wilson barrel and that the only reason is costs more is because the blanks cost more. Definitely true but why wouldn't he push the Shilen barrel that is $50 more?
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 2:47:07 PM EDT
Just because a barrel is more expensive does not mean his profit on it is more
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 2:54:37 PM EDT
I think he was referring to resale value. 99% of the joe shmoes out there, that dont have a clue what theyre buying will want a factory rifle. I am more than confident in my abilities as a Colt certified armorer, and as a Veteran Marine Corps armorer. I have assembled around 10,000 complete rifles in my lifetime as a Marine and a civilian combined. Still Im not associated with a company building for them, my credibility as some guy they know does good work and got sent to me by a friend isn't like buying a factory high end product. I have all the specialty tools, equipment, have access to lathes and CNC eqipment and Aeroshell 33ms on tap. Still not built by the factory in peoples eyes.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 3:57:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2016 4:17:10 PM EDT by cttb]
The WOA folks are opinionated. I use and really like their products, and I ask them lots of questions. The good thing is, you will always get a straight answer to your question. You might, however, disagree with their answer. They won't get all bent out of shape if you go against their advice, though. It's also easy to get to speak with one of the shop workers instead of one of the order takers.

I assembled my own upper with a White Oak barrel and bolt. Recently, I thought I was going to send the barrel in for threading. I was also going to have White Oak take it down and re-assemble it just to see if it shot better. However, whoever I talked to (I think it was John) didn't want me to thread the barrel.

OP, if you would like to pay for the cost to have White Oak reassemble my upper so we can test John's theory, I'll be happy to share the result with you.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 4:03:02 PM EDT
I'll have to kindly decline paying for your upper's reassembling

Since WOA did not help me, do you think getting a threaded barrel would be good?
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 4:05:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2016 4:07:43 PM EDT by bfoosh06]
No offense to anyone... but the man must be doing something right ...

There is a real good chance that he doesn't just slap together AR uppers... but, through his experience, knows what to look for  ( any known accuracy effecting issues ) and how to easily fix it properly.

We all can simply assembly an AR upper, but he has earned a reputation for making accurate uppers.

So what is it about his uppers that has earned so much "respect".....  

It can't just be that he simply throws them together....So he knows what he is talking about.

As for the comment "in appreciable difference in accuracy" between the two brands of barrels... he is correct in a vague way... ultimately, No one can say either barrel is head and shoulders better then the other.... if that was the case, one would not even be in the running.


Myself... if I was looking for a VERY accurate AR upper.... I would actually prefer a person that has years of successful experience doing it....





Link Posted: 4/18/2016 4:35:05 PM EDT
OP, to get back to your original question, White Oak finishes barrel blanks. I think Hollinger was trying to say that in terms of a finished White Oak barrel, whether they start with a Wilson or Shilen blank doesn't make a difference in the quality or accuracy of the finished product. I believe that. I think Hollinger's also saying that you assembling the upper is a bigger potential variable for how the rifle will ultimately shoot than whether he starts with a Wilson or Shilen blank. I also believe that. Things can go wrong with upper assembly. It's more likely that they will go wrong with a home-based amateur doing the work than a highly skilled shop.

Link Posted: 4/18/2016 5:23:32 PM EDT
I've known John since 1999.  He knows a fair bit about building rifles (in fact I'd offered him a job but he was branching out on his own -- and good for him).

Here are some of his credentials:

SHOOTING AWARDS

15 Time Presidents 100
Distinguished Rifleman Badge (1988)
2000 CMP Pershing Trophy winner
2002 National Civilian Service Rifle Champion
2002 NRA Coast Artillery Trophy winner
2005 NRA Crescent Cup winner
3 Time Illinois Open Highpower Champion
8 Time Illinois Service Rifle Champion
6 Time Illinois Short Course Champion
High Master Classification HP and Long-Range HP
Holder of team and individual national records
View Quote
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 5:30:13 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SilenceThis:


Tried and true.
Any barrel manufacturer is going to tell you their barrels are the best. Just like car companies and mid size sedans.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SilenceThis:
Originally Posted By beavo451:
You called contacted a manufacturer. Of course they are going to push their product.


Tried and true.
Any barrel manufacturer is going to tell you their barrels are the best. Just like car companies and mid size sedans.


You mean pick up trucks, car companies have very low margins on cars, SUVs and trucks is where the money is made.


As far as the OPs question who ever you emailed is trying to sell you their product of course they want you to pay them for the labor. No with standard rifles the maker can make the difference when you glass bedding etc.., but with ARs that are completely modular and don't require the custom fit in a stock or glass bedding they are full of it.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 6:17:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2016 6:17:52 PM EDT by PopGunner]


Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RogueSpear2023:





As far as the OPs question who ever you emailed is trying to sell you their product of course they want you to pay them for the labor. No with standard rifles the maker can make the difference when you glass bedding etc.., but with ARs that are completely modular and don't require the custom fit in a stock or glass bedding they are full of it.
View Quote


I agree.



Your basically talking about six main parts (not including BCG and charging handle)....an upper receiver, a barrel, a barrel nut, gas block, gas tube, and a handgaurd.  Since the barrel extension indexes in a gap on the receiver, it's hard to screw anything up, unless you can't figure out how to properly screw the barrel nut on, or how to index the gas tube .





I've built several uppers and the one I built for myself (an SPR-ish build) is a moa rifle.  It's not rocket science.  Now, if I were going to compete in some sort of high-falutin' National Match....I might be inclined to have a reputable AR armorer/gunsmith build my upper. Maybe.





If the OP is just looking to build an accurate (sub -moa) rifle, he should be able to build it himself using quality part....and I'd say Shilen and Wilson barrel blanks fall into that category.




 




 
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 6:36:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 6:57:53 PM EDT
I think we can assume the OP is aware of all of this since he did say he has built AR's before and he wants to build this upper.
Nevermind the expertise of this shop guy.  Nobody doubts what he says and his credentials. But there is something that really irks many of us about a salesman who won't listen and respond accordingly to the needs of his customers.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 7:09:49 PM EDT
I'll take my build over anyone else's factory build.
But then I have built a bunch.

I'll pay attention to details more so than a factory builder would.

Dave N

Link Posted: 4/18/2016 7:19:17 PM EDT
Maybe try a Lothar Walther barrel if your not happy with your response.
Will probably get a better barrel from Walther anyway in my opinion.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 7:23:21 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By PopGunner:
IMO, building an upper is much simpler than building the lower.....but both are easy enough for most people given they have the proper tools.  Actually, building an upper requires fewer tools than the lower.

I think Mr. Holliger was blowing some marketing smoke up your ass.
 
View Quote

There may be more processes for the novice when building a lower, but the upper is where I focus most of my effort, doing things most people have never heard of.

There are a lot of little nuances that can bite you if you are trying to wring the most accuracy out of a rifle.

For those of you who have just a few years or less experience with the AR15, to include assembly, don't assume you know all there is to know like I made the mistake of doing many years ago.

There is a lot going on under the hood that you probably have not even considered.

WOA has been doing this just a bit longer than most people in the business.  There's a reason you called them and not one of the more recent start-ups, or you buddy who slaps AR15s together and still hasn't learned how to align a gas block.
Link Posted: 4/18/2016 7:40:38 PM EDT
If AR-15 owners have a problem, it's that there are almost a dozen different premium barrel manufacturer's and they all make excellent products. What John Holliger is saying is that a properly machined and installed barrel from any reputable source is going to shoot just fine. 90+% of all customers won't be able to tell a Krieger from a Wilson. I have several Krieger barrels and they don't outshoot John's barrels. In fact my best barrel day in and day out has been a WOA 18" SPR profile 1/7.

Wilson barrels are virtually deadlocked with Douglas, Criterion, Shilen and Pac-Nor when it comes to initial quality. They are air gaged the same way Douglas does their premium barrels.

I suggest you by several barrels and compare them using match grade ammo. My experience is they all shoot great with premium bullets. All of them.

I own Shilen, Noveske, White Oak, Rainier, Pac-Nor, Douglas, Bartlein, Lothar Walther, Compass Lake Engineering and several rack grade (LMT, Colt) and every custom barrel easily shoots groups under 1" at 100. The rack grade barrels flirt with an 1", usually 1.25" Quality ammo makes the difference. I don't shoot fmj's.

I can't recommend one brand of barrel over any other and that's my experience with over thirty years participating in NRA tournaments. I hold a Master classification and started competing 1983.

I suggest you by any barrel you want based on profile and perceived value and be happy that we have such high class problems.  



Link Posted: 4/18/2016 7:47:58 PM EDT
love WOA and their products

Link Posted: 4/18/2016 8:36:38 PM EDT
Complete uppers and whole rifles from major gun makers come with warranties. They are proofed. They are assembled by skilled people who do this every day. There is hand fitting involved. Receiver noses get milled true. Triggers get worked for smoother action. Sure, you can make one yourself but you're also kidding yourself if you think you can do it as well as they can. I mean the average Joe, not guys like the armorer above who has built thousands of rifles. I've made a bunch of ARs but always used complete uppers. They always work and have no accuracy or performance problems. I say if you can afford the parts and tools to build a complete rifle, you can also afford to buy a complete rifle or upper. There's more, too - like value. Nothing flops like somebody's idea of a custom AR built by a nobody. Same with 1911s. A guy goes to a couple of classes and builds a nice 1911. He tries to sell it, finds out he's a nobody and nobody will trust a gun he made. You want to make something? Make something that doesn't have 50,000 PSI when it fires.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 8:24:02 PM EDT
I never sell my guns, I have a no sell policy and therefore resale value is of no concern for me. I would not consider myself a novice AR-15 shooter, now clearly John does not know that because I did not mention it until after his comment, but still, when I built my first AR I had no troubles and I did not think it was very difficult. It's pretty tough to make the upper "less accurate" by having a novice assemble it. As long as you have some common sense it isn't that hard...
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 8:33:04 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Shooter2675:
I never sell my guns, I have a no sell policy and therefore resale value is of no concern for me. I would not consider myself a novice AR-15 shooter, now clearly John does not know that because I did not mention it until after his comment, but still, when I built my first AR I had no troubles and I did not think it was very difficult. It's pretty tough to make the upper "less accurate" by having a novice assemble it. As long as you have some common sense it isn't that hard...
View Quote


I agree, there is a no sell policy in my family as well, and all of my guns are owned by a trust so anybody in my family that is legally able to, can take them out and shoot them, hell I still have the first gun that came into my family back in the late 1800's and my grand kids will have them when I am gone.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 8:33:33 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Shooter2675:
I never sell my guns, I have a no sell policy and therefore resale value is of no concern for me. I would not consider myself a novice AR-15 shooter, now clearly John does not know that because I did not mention it until after his comment, but still, when I built my first AR I had no troubles and I did not think it was very difficult. It's pretty tough to make the upper "less accurate" by having a novice assemble it. As long as you have some common sense it isn't that hard...
View Quote


I agree, there is a no sell policy in my family as well, and all of my guns are owned by a trust so anybody in my family that is legally able to, can take them out and shoot them, hell I still have the first gun that came into my family back in the late 1800's and my grand kids will have them when I am gone.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 8:34:40 PM EDT
Oops, somehow got a double tap!  Sorry!
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