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Posted: 8/14/2007 6:13:28 AM EDT
Long time lurker, first time poster. Currently planning my first AR15 build and after looking around and reading (ALOT) I've decided to pick up a stripped lower and then get a kit from Del-Ton. However, I haven't been able to find any good info on what the difference between all the various lengths are. I have found info on the gas system differences of the carbine and mid lengths.. but that has been it.

Choices are:

Light Weight - Lighter barrel
M4              - Carbine gas system?
Mid             -
Rifle            -

Not sure what the differences are between the mid and the rifle kits.

Looking at a 16" kit. Seeing as this is my first AR, I'm keeping it relatively simple. Only 2 things I will putting on it are a tactical light and a sight of some sort, probably an EoTech. Will be getting used at the range on the weekends and for home defense if the need arises.

Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:01:56 AM EDT
The differences between the m4 and mid are that the mid has a longer gas system,I have heard that the midlength is more reliable. Also why buy a carbine length rifle when the barrel has to be at least 16"? You've got all that extra barrel sticking out from the front sight!I have a rifle length and a mid length. I love them both. But for running around,I will always take out my middie. It's hard to believe what a difference 4" can make,that and the collapsable stock comes in handy. Plus with a midlength,the bayonette fits almost perfectly(it won't fit on the carbine length gas system if the barrel is 16"). Go with the Del-Ton, I am very happy with mine and their customer service is second to none.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:40:18 AM EDT
try a search...this question gets asked a lot

basically, the diff bt/w the rifle, mid, and CAR lengths are on the length of the gas system (tube, how much length of bbl before the port, etc)

rifle is the longest, CAR is the shortest; mid is in the middle

imo, a 16" CAR can be (if not in almost all cases) just as reliable as a 16" middy; h/w, the middy does tend to be smoother and less stressfull overall (parts wise) and is the better system of the 2 w/ carbine length bbls

the rifle length is nice on 20" bbls
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:22:03 PM EDT
I like my middy, but be warned, some middies, like my Del-Ton have HBAR barrels. If weight is an issue, I would stick with a lightweight or M4 profile. Some manufacturers also have a Gov't profile, which is light under the handguards.

Most lightweight uppers have a carbine gas system. The handguards are around 7" like the M4.

Midlengths have around a 9" gas system/handguards.

Rifle Lengths have around 12" of gas tube/handguards.

I really like my lightweight Del-Ton due to the lightweight, but I find I don't want to put anything on it and risk making it heavy. Whereas my midlength is already heavy, so I added Troy midlength free float rails, EOTech 512, Aimpoint 3x magnifier, Pentagon light, and Tango Down VFG. I figure that adding extra will not make it seem heavier since it is already a little on the heavy side. It's all relative to the starting weight.

I put a Bushnell Holosight on my lightweight which is a little lighter than the EOTech 511, It is still pretty lightweight. I wouldn't recommend a 511 though, the battery life sucks. Get one that takes the AA batteries, and make sure they are Lithium.

If you get worried about the carbine gas system beating up your bolt, you can always put in an ISMI buffer spring and an H buffer. I did this in my lightweight rifle. People tell me that this combo will slow down the rate at which the rifle cycles and makes it easier on the upper parts. I don't know if it helps or not, but I trust that those people are correct; plus it stll works fine, so at least I didn't screw it up.

As always, most will recommend a chrome lined barrel. I have a plain chrome moly barrel in my middy, and it isn't too hard to clean. I don't put a lot of rounds through any of my weapons though.

Also, keep in mind that iron sights will each have a different sight radius. The carbine being the shortest and the rifle being the longest. I know you mentioned the EOTech, but just in case it fails and you need to go to the BUIS, it might not hurt to have a longer sight radius. You can also get a low profile gas block and a rifle length FF rail and slap on some folding front sights to gain sight radius. It's a good look.

Here is my Del-Ton Lightweight on a Superior Arms lower

Here is my Del-Ton Midlength with YHM flip front sight. I put Troy midlenth rails on instead of the standard handguards. They were a nice improvement.

Del-ton has some of the best prices in kits and uppers.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 7:30:42 PM EDT
redduck, raygixxer, thank you both for the information and pictures.

As for searching, I did do numerous searches (different terms and forums) and could not find anything within the 30 day limit, which is why I posted.

As for what I'm going to do. I'm not entirely sure yet. I really like the look of the mid-lengths but I'm concerned about the front end weight. My girlfriend has taken an interest in shooting and would like to be able to go out and shoot this build as well. Only problem is she fractured her elbow years ago and even holding up a shotgun for awhile begins to bother it.

Guess it would give me an excuse to build two! :D
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