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Posted: 9/21/2005 11:45:25 AM EDT
Everywhere I look, I see the biggest offerings in AR style rifles are 16" barrel variants. Doesn't the 20" barrel produce the best terminal effect with 5.56 - the highest velocity, and thus bullet fragmentation? If so, then why are the 16" barrel carbines so much more popular? "Cool factor"? Or do most people not know?
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 11:59:34 AM EDT
My guess would be size efficiency. Plus 16" is the minimum legal limit without registering it as an SBR. You give up a little velocity but gain better balance and lighter weight. I'm sure for some the "cool factor" also plays a major role.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:02:41 PM EDT
Sub:

It's kinds like the old M1 Carbine thing. 65 years ago back in WWII and later Korea everyone bitched about what a big heavy mother the Garand was. A lot of guys wanted Carbines because they were light and handy. Then again, after a few negative encounters with teh enemy and shitty terminal performance some knowledgeable fellas said "screw it, gimme that big heavy sumbitch".

Everyone wants a 16 inch. many people are paying good money to have barrels shortened ever farther and then having permanently installed flash hiders that bring tehm to minimum legal length. its all about having a nice neat little handy light package.

Of course velocity sucks. And when people start pushing teh heavier 62 grain bullets at these lower speeds, and they do not fragment, there is all kinds of crabbing about shitty terminal performance (sounds like an old issue don't it). Instead of going to a 20" barrel and/or lighter, faster, easier to fragment 55s, the gubbermint has to go teh expsnive route: Lets design a whole new cartridge!!! welcome 6.8 SPC..........
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:05:07 PM EDT
it's a compromise between long and bulky and insufficient velocity. I personally like 20" rifles myself...
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:05:30 PM EDT
probably every one wants the M4 style, I admit it, I got a couple 6920's. but I also had a Colt Sporter Lightweight which I put a collapsible stock on it way back in 1993. Colt made SP1 carbines since the 70's at least, not sure if they made them in the 60's
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:10:44 PM EDT
I have a 16" bbl, its just long enough so i dont always bang it on things, and its still a little more accurate than a 14" or 11" you mentioned cool factor, and that is probably a part of it, I like the shorter barrel look a lot better than the 20", yet I still wanted to shoot tighter groups than an 11 or 14 inch bbl, so I chose in between, for a shorter and more hansome weapon that is quite accurate out to 3-400 yds... the CAR setup is better IMHO, than the M4 or M16 setup because its a cross between the two, combining attractive features of both configurations.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:11:20 PM EDT
Do the 16" barrel carbines cause bullet fragmentation with the lighter bullets (55 grain)?
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:17:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/21/2005 12:18:50 PM EDT by BB]

Originally Posted By Subconscious:
Do the 16" barrel carbines cause bullet fragmentation with the lighter bullets (55 grain)?



Yes.

"The ideal barrel length is 16". This length is long enough to extract the necessary performance from the ammunition and to provide the accuracy desired, while remaining short enough to be easily maneuvered in close quarters.

Twenty-inch barrels are a bit long, and don’t offer the performance increase over a 16" barrel to justify their length and additional weight. Anything above 20" detracts from the rifle’s "all purpose" use, and is for more specialized applications."

from The Ideal Rifle
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:18:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/21/2005 12:24:28 PM EDT by BB]
Required reading:

The AR15 Ammo Oracle
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 12:58:59 PM EDT
Versatility that you dont get with a fence post size AR.

Link Posted: 9/21/2005 1:19:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BB:
Required reading:

The AR15 Ammo Oracle



Thanks, that answered questions I hadn't thought of yet!
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 1:24:52 PM EDT
It's also been said and posted many times on this board that barrel length does not affect accuracy.

My 11.5" is just as accurate as my 14.5", or 16".

Velocity in the shorter lengths is what is lacking. And less velocity equals less range at which the type of ammo is effective.

I think I got that right.

Danny
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 1:26:43 PM EDT
COOL Factor!!!
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 2:20:07 PM EDT
I got a 16" because anything shorter is A.) permanently attached muzzle device B.) Pistol C.) illegal.

I would have a 7.5" and 11.5" if I could, but I can't.

16" is just as short as I want to go as I don't want a perm. FH.

I do love the mid-length gas system in 16", though.

WIZZO
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 2:32:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 2:36:24 PM EDT
Everyone wants 16' cause a 12' would be illegal.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 2:42:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/21/2005 2:42:24 PM EDT by scottryan]
The only reason why a 16" barrel exists is because of the NFA.

Nobody at Colt said... "Lets make a 16" barrel, it is the best compromise between length, terminal performance, etc...."

14.5" with extended FH or SBR is the way to go for a carbine.


Link Posted: 9/21/2005 2:48:57 PM EDT
My favorite barrel lengths, in order (most to least)

10.5 (Noveske)
11.5 (Colt)
10.5 (LMT)
12.5
14.5
16
18
20

I doubt I will ever buy a 20" gun again, and would NEVER own anything longer (in AR15s, at least).

I do believe I have fired every barrel on that list except the Noveske.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 3:24:12 PM EDT
Actually... I thought the 14.5" with permanent FH was becoming the most popular (CDI Factor) with 16" coming in Second. I'm very Happy with 16" as it is very versatile, good terminal Ballistics for my needs and very manueverable in tight spaces. I'm to old to sweat the 1.5" difference. I'll take a 16" carbine anyday over the fullsize 20" "FencePost"
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 4:09:11 PM EDT
I love my 20" rifle. That's the one I shoot the most, and if I had to choose, that's the one I'd have by my side. It's not that big, it's not that heavy, it's not that awkward, and I get more velocity and a longer sight radius. So there's that.

So why do I have a 16" barrel carbine also? It is a compromise between a rifle and a handgun. I get performance that is nearly like the rifle in a handier package. With the collapsing stock, I can tuck it unobtrusively away almost anywhere (it mainly rides in the trunk of my car), and moving around with it is easier than with the 20" rifle.

So if I had to choose, I would take the 20", but since I don't have to choose (hot diggety), I have both.

Someone made a comparison with the M1 carbine. It's a good comparison. From the Modern Firearms and Ammo website: "The M1 carbine is an interesting little weapon. The original request for a compact and lightweight shoulder arm to replace service handguns for second-line (non-fighting) troops was first issued by US Army in 1938. The idea behind this request was that a shoulder arm, such as carbine, firing ammunition of moderate power, will have more effective range and will be much simpler to train the users to fire it accurately, than the standard .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol or revolver. The cartridge, officially named the "cartridge, ball, .30 caliber, M1", was developed by the Winchester company. It was a straight-case, rimless design with round-nose bullet weighting 110 grains (7.1 gram) and muzzle velocity of 1860 fps (~ 570 m/s). Muzzle energy was about 2 times more than of .45ACP pistol cartridge but still almost 3 times less than of .30-06 rifle cartridge." Sweet. I plan to get one of these little jobbies some day, too. But that is a good description IMO of where the 16" AR comes in. Not that I have that much trouble firing my 1911, but I would rather have a long gun than a handgun if given a choice.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 4:49:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/21/2005 4:50:16 PM EDT by BB]

Originally Posted By Brerarnold:

Someone made a comparison with the M1 carbine. It's a good comparison.



Ah, no. It's not. The M4 shoots the same cartridge as the M16. Might as well compare an M4 to an AR10.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 5:24:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/21/2005 5:25:16 PM EDT by mcgrubbs]
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 5:29:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 5:36:46 PM EDT
.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 5:43:07 PM EDT
Because you don't need a 20" barrel to shoot someone who's <40 feet from you.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 5:51:55 PM EDT
16" is "the most bang for the buck"
Ballistic and balance wise
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 6:25:58 PM EDT
McGrubbs,
A Noveske CQB is on my list. Been around them, never been behind one. Maybe I'll see one next time I take a class.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 6:35:36 PM EDT
Well, as someone who only likes 16" in mid-length, and prefers 14.5" in carbine length, I can say that the 16" is more than adequate for "fragmentation" at any reasonable and conceiveable distance that anyone not engaged in WAR would encounter, PLUS the 16" is more than capable of accurate fire at paper targets at 500 meters. Suits me just fine at both ends of the spectrum.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 6:41:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BB:

Originally Posted By Brerarnold:

Someone made a comparison with the M1 carbine. It's a good comparison.



Ah, no. It's not. The M4 shoots the same cartridge as the M16. Might as well compare an M4 to an AR10.



Picky, picky, picky.

If you know your M4 history, the Colt 720 was adopted in 1994 by the US Army as a "behind the lines" weapon, superior to a handgun, but easier to carry and deploy than a full-size rifle. That is the part that is comparable to the M1Garand/M1 Carbine duo. This thread is not about cartridges.

Smart ass.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 6:46:47 PM EDT
I believe the SAS chose 16" over the 14.5" barrel. They know a thing or two.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 6:53:09 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 6:53:47 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 7:04:10 PM EDT
I have a 20", but would like a 24" barrel, so i can reach out and "touch" something w/ a little bit of energy left in the bullet and a flatter trajectory.

I still dont understand the whole, lets get a 14.5" barrel and add a big permantly attached brake to it, mine as well just get a 16" barrel and enjoy the extra velocity and lower muzzle blast.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 7:22:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 8:24:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By StealthyBlagga:
I believe the SAS chose 16" over the 14.5" barrel. They know a thing or two.



Last SAS gun I saw as a 10.3. It's in the thread about the to SAS guys who got captured in Iraq.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 8:25:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Meat3rz:
I have a 20", but would like a 24" barrel, so i can reach out and "touch" something w/ a little bit of energy left in the bullet and a flatter trajectory.

I still dont understand the whole, lets get a 14.5" barrel and add a big permantly attached brake to it, mine as well just get a 16" barrel and enjoy the extra velocity and lower muzzle blast.



As a civilian, I am more likely to engage on the 7 yard line than the 700. Even most military units are more concerned with shooting to 30 meters.
Link Posted: 9/21/2005 8:26:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By StealthyBlagga:
I believe the SAS chose 16" over the 14.5" barrel. They know a thing or two.





The SASs needs arent mine.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 6:28:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/22/2005 6:57:30 AM EDT by BB]

Originally Posted By Brerarnold:
Picky, picky, picky.

If you know your M4 history, the Colt 720 was adopted in 1994 by the US Army as a "behind the lines" weapon, superior to a handgun, but easier to carry and deploy than a full-size rifle. That is the part that is comparable to the M1Garand/M1 Carbine duo. This thread is not about cartridges.

Smart ass.



The M4 came out of the M16A2 Carbine (lots of model numbers, very similar rifles at the time, 720, 727, 723, etc); a weapon that was used by Delta (723) and NSW (727) in the late 80's early 90's. While the Army has designated the M4 for several uses, including "behind the lines" usages as you've stated, the weapon was also intended for SPECWAR (how many cooks need M203's?); and in it's SOPMOD form thats how SOCOM uses it. That the design can be employed in so many roles is a testament to the versatility of the AR platform.

And yes, I am.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 7:31:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Subconscious:
Everywhere I look, I see the biggest offerings in AR style rifles are 16" barrel variants. Doesn't the 20" barrel produce the best terminal effect with 5.56 - the highest velocity, and thus bullet fragmentation? If so, then why are the 16" barrel carbines so much more popular? "Cool factor"? Or do most people not know?


I disagree with your assumption that there is a big trend for 16" barrels.

16" barrels in AR-15 has been around for a long time. I got my first Sporter 2 carbine in the mid 80's.

In the late 80's I got my former A2 sporter lightweight carbine and in the last couple of months I bought a 16" LMT M4 style carbine.

The good feature of the 16" barrel is that it's very handy and easy to carry around but still effective at close combat range. I also have a 20" gov't profile A2 rifle.

I was just lucky to get stuck with my lightweight carbine during the '92 L.A. riots when I was living there at the time. At that time I also have a 20" gov't profile and HBAR rifles.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 9:20:30 AM EDT
I've got a 20" AR and a 16" AR so I'm happy. If I had to choose which one to use on a daily basis it would be the 16".
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 9:32:30 AM EDT
Fragmentation argument is valid. However, that's only valid based on the ammo we choose to shoot. Get away from M193 or M855 and the muzzle velocity to max range for frag become less of a concern (heavier weight bullet, hollow point, soft point, etc.)

There are ways to maximize the potential of the 5.56 besides barrel length changes.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 9:54:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Rkangel777:
I'm sure for some the "cool factor" also plays a major role.


heh, for me it's the only role!
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 10:05:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hardcorps1775:

Originally Posted By Rkangel777:
I'm sure for some the "cool factor" also plays a major role.


heh, for me it's the only role!



Cool and it's always nice to max out on the legal limits.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 4:23:20 PM EDT
I have a 20 A2 but if I am going to carry a reasonably full size rifle, it'll be a FAL before an AR. The AR Carbines are 10x easier and handier to use and carry around and you can adjust the stock to fit body armor, heavy clothing etc. The 16" BBL works fine for normal true combat ranges which are not all that far anyways.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 4:56:28 PM EDT
Probably the LAW. Otherwise I would be using a 10.5.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 7:32:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By StealthyBlagga:
I believe the SAS chose 16" over the 14.5" barrel. They know a thing or two.



I believe you are wrong.
Link Posted: 9/22/2005 9:39:44 PM EDT
I have no need for a longer AR. I feal the AR is best utilized in carbine form.
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 8:18:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Subconscious:
Everywhere I look, I see the biggest offerings in AR style rifles are 16" barrel variants. Doesn't the 20" barrel produce the best terminal effect with 5.56 - the highest velocity, and thus bullet fragmentation? If so, then why are the 16" barrel carbines so much more popular? "Cool factor"? Or do most people not know?


As someone new to the whole AR-15 world, I do see more variations or models of the AR-15 by different manufacturers that are sold with a 16" barrel instead of the 20" barrel. I don't know whether that is 'what is more in demand' or 'what suppliers want to push'. I just look at the 20" rifle and say that's nice... and then I look at the 16" carbine and get this crazy look in my eyes and I start drooling and foaming at the mouth... and then the salesman slowly takes the AR-15 back into his hands... you know. I think it's cool.
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 4:08:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/23/2005 4:10:23 PM EDT by boltcatch]

Originally posted by bigbore
Because for what the 5.56 is, there’s no point to a barrel over 16" for any defensive scenario.



I'd agree with that. But I do still own a 20", an A2, partly for nostalgic reasons. It's the first AR I bought -- I'm almost done building my second, a 16" middy. The 16" carbine is what I would reach for in a self defense scenario, or if I had to grab a rifle on the way out the door for whatever reason.

But, if I needed to sit in a foxhole and cover a decent length lane of fire, I'd definitely take the 20" A2. (which, of course, deftinitely does not fall under the category of civilian self defense scenario) It's a very easy shooting rifle out to 300m; it gives you very rapid and accurate fire. I wouldn't want to move up to a .308 unless I needed to shoot at soft skinned vehicles.

I also think the 20's are more fun to plink and punch paper with, but that's just my opinion.

I think the midlength system will also help increase the 16 inch's popularity a bit as opposed to the 14.5" +perm and the 20"
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 8:38:55 PM EDT
I ove the 16" bbl. It will shoot fairly long ranges great and is decent for CQB as well. Not the best for either but the best compromise of both IMO.
Link Posted: 9/23/2005 11:00:33 PM EDT
I have a 20" HBAR free-float that I use for medium range target shooting. It's basically set up as a varmiter without the bull barrell. Needless to say it has up to 16x of scope on it.

I have a 14.5" on the way for the main "battle rifle". It has an EoTech

I'm considering a 11.5" to mount a suppressor on it. That brings the length back out to 16-17" depending on can used.

They're each fun in their own way. Sniper, multi-role, and the super-fun-uber-tactical-poser-toy. Consequently, if you want a "truck gun" a shorty or SBR is the way to go. Easily stowable.

Since I live in an area with houses 6 feet apart, my "defensive" home weapon is a Saiga-12 with 9 shots of 00. Backup is a USP40. In other words, I don't bring a rifle to a shotgun fight. Just remember, a semi-auto shotgun has a firing rate of 2 shots per second of max controllable aimed fire. Using 12 pellet 00 buck (approx .30 cal), you're talking about an effective firing rate of 1400+ rpm.
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