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Posted: 12/25/2002 5:38:22 PM EST
hello all and merry christmas!

i was wondering what the consensus was among the wide array of expertise (new-arguy, smg-lee, devl, freefalle, wes, canadian-tactical - just to name a few) that we are all fortunate to have here in our kick-ass AR community about the functionality differences between the 14.5" vs the 16.1" barrels. which barrels are preferred? i'm guessing the standard answer revolves around what application you'd be using the carbine for, but i'd like to know if given the choice between one or the other, which one?

also, what exactly is the difference in length between a 16.1" with an A2 FS and a 14.5" with a Phantom (Vortex)?

and yes, if you haven't already figured it out yet...i am a newbie.

Link Posted: 12/25/2002 6:28:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2002 10:30:44 PM EST by CANADIAN_TACTICAL]
Well since I am obvious a bigger loser than the others you mention [%|](as proven by me sitting in front of my computer on ARF.com during Christmas) I will get on to it. Firstly I come do as you had guessed to what you want to do with it. My primary (non professional) objection to the 16 is it is ugly all the barrel out in front of the handguard just seems wrong. If you can get a mid length handguard and mid lenght gas block and tube etc it looks a lot better - IMHO The only problem is until this system becomes more of a standard is replacment parts. 16" bbls will however give extra velocity - speaking from one who has used the 75 and 77gr bullets in a 14.5 they tend to drop off around 400 and sink like a rock. The 16 gives a little bit of useful range. Currently I would choice a 14.5 - since I have no SBR garbage. but a little bird told me a very nice package in a 16" systme might be out and civilian available some time in 2003. When it does come available I would look to many transitioning to it for it will combine functionality with aesthetics. -Kevin
Link Posted: 12/25/2002 8:19:01 PM EST
Kevin, Don't be mean, tell us what the the little bird told you :~)
Link Posted: 12/25/2002 9:52:41 PM EST
Ariel I would love to but... Until I get one I am not saying nothing :). If I can get one 1) It gets made 2) I can get it out of the US, due to your mean and suspicious guys at the State Dept. I will do my damnedness to do a 10-20k eval and get back to you all. Telling you who to send your money too. I'd hate to jump the gun, and then not have it work out. It seems others are hard at work too [url] http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=12&t=145974[/url] I agree with SAR3K that this type of system would be a good option, as to the M16A4.
Link Posted: 12/25/2002 9:55:23 PM EST
Hahaha, jeez, I feel like I am fooling someone or something. I am no expert... Im simply a waiter with a somewhat unhealthy passion for AR15's and gear that is driving me to the poor house. I am certainly more qualified to tell you how your beef is best prepared, what appetizer will go best withyour dinner selecton, and which wine will compliment your choices. Anyhow, I put a lot of thought in to the same question you are asking. Here's what I came up with. On a preban, you have the advantage of being able to get a flash suppressor. If you have that advantage, take advantage of it. get a good flash suppressor like the Vortex or the Phantom. Each of these are awesom suppressors and they wrok VERY well, but they are a little long. These long flash suppressors on a 16" barrel but the over all barrel length at close to 18" and thats a little long. Almost eliminates the advantage of having a shorter barrel carbine. So, on a preban, I take a 14.5" barrel with a Vortex (or Phantom). With that choice, you still get good velocity from the round, with awesome flash suppression 100% of the time. If you have a post ban, just go 16". You cant have a flash suppressor and you dont really need a muzzle brake. So why not have the full 16" be barrel? Doing so will get you the above mentioned extra velocity. With the extra velocity, you get a little more effective range using some of the very good velocity dependant ammo. Why do I choose to sacrifice a little velocity for a shorter overall barrel and better flash suppression? Well, for me and my circumstances, I figure I will probably make more use of the shorter overall length and better flash suppression over the advantage of a little more velocity/range. Another person, say someone who lives in a rural area instead of an urban area, might have the opposite needs. I dont know. As always, YMMV.
Link Posted: 12/25/2002 10:37:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2002 10:38:19 PM EST by CANADIAN_TACTICAL]
new-arguy - LOL, You reminded me on some points I always tend to gloss over, as I use the A2 FH or the KAC QD - due to accessory attachemnt issues[;)] , I tend to forget Vortex's and Phantoms even though they work well for there intended purpose. Also Remember I am the guy that has to have one of everything just to see if I can break it, and thus complain about it failing (I bought two SIR's, just so I could break the second one too). - so I am bad person to give If I only had one advice.
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 12:18:48 AM EST
Originally Posted By CANADIAN_TACTICAL: My primary (non professional) objection to the 16 is it is ugly all the barrel out in front of the handguard just seems wrong.
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dude, i'm glad that you at least mentioned this because i know the "function over form" rule is always valid when discussing tools of this trade, but aesthetics mean a lot to me too. i mean, look cool - shoot cool, right? lol!
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 12:44:25 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 4:01:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By new-arguy: Hahaha, jeez, I feel like I am fooling someone or something. I am no expert... Im simply a waiter with a somewhat unhealthy passion for AR15's and gear that is driving me to the poor house.
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dude, i've seen pics of your AR here on this site (sa-weeeet-ah!!), and have read the extensive thought and t/e that you've done on your various gear choices, so as far as my concerns go you are quite the expert.
...I figure I will probably make more use of the shorter overall length and better flash suppression over the advantage of a little more velocity/range.
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yeah, i figure that my 14.5"-upper-to-be would be configured strictly for CQB (thunder ranch UR HIT, storm mountain CQB, blackwater's bushmaster carbine). alright, so the answer, i guess, is to get both! i'll use the 16.1" to patrol, er...uh, my suburban neighborhood (ARMS#45 SIR/M, ARMS#40 BUIS, PRI Flip-up Front sight, TA31, KAC forend grip) and the 14.5" to kick anybody's ass who wants to try and make an adventure out of coming into my house late, unannounced and uninvited (KAC M4 RAS, ARMS#38S-EX, Trijicon RX01NSN with ARMS#15 mount, Surefire M900A). whew!! looks like i'm gonna have to drop some cash, boys!
...As always, YMMV.
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YMMV? anyway, thanks for the input fellas. once again, i have not been let down by my gun enthusiast (gear queer) bretheren. out here.
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 4:31:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/26/2002 4:32:15 PM EST by CANADIAN_TACTICAL]
YMMV You Mileage May Vary Rather than the RAS and SIR - look into the RASII it goes on easily and freefloats. Plus it does not have the (IMHO) annoying full-length support bar that raises the Optic (other than the AImpoint) overly high. If you are in the market I suggest giving Wes and PaulE a shout at MSTN - they frequent the board and in addition to being a tremendous wealth of info about weapons equipment, they build top notch systems as well . Edited cause I need to slow my mind down to the speed of my two fingered typing [:D]
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 4:39:18 PM EST
thanks for the recommendation, C-T. you canadian dudes are alright! LOL! yeah, i just fired off an email to good ol' wes with some questions. YMMV... i thought he meant,"you make me vomit"!?!
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 4:55:32 PM EST
troy, thanks for the input. i think i will go with the 14.5/phantom combo when i get the funds together to make the purchase. now i just need to decide on a ~$600-ish bushmaster or a ~$1000-ish colt. i am leaning toward the bushy, but am completely smitten with the idea of a purebred colt (i have a two colt preban lowers, 1 blue, 1 green). i do like the look of the RRA 16" 14.5-look-alike barrels. i might have to get one of those for my postban lower...some day...$100,000 from now (i intend to outfit my prebans first). anyway, thanks again.
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 7:48:14 PM EST
There is less than 1" differance in length between a RRA or Armalite midlength with a A2 flash hider and a 14.5" with a Vortex. You would greatly appreciate the increased sight radius. Muzzle velocity is increased, and the physics of operation are much improved over the 14.5 too! I've carried a m4 of one variety or another for 10 yrs, and am underwhelmed, especially with recent production. Colt=Crap. My money goes to the middie. The only parts differance is the gas tube and handguards. I've never heard of these being replaced, but I do get a new one every year. Check your gas key and replace your bolt every 10-12K you'll be fine.
Link Posted: 12/26/2002 11:30:52 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/26/2002 11:33:14 PM EST by new-arguy]
Originally Posted By Troy: use the stronger Phantom over the Vortex.
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I'm not so sure the Phantom is that much stronger than the new style Vortex to make this a factor in ones decision. They are a new style, so only time will tell. But the new Vortex is a rock for me so far, and I've put it through quite a bit in a short time (6 months now).
Originally Posted By SAR3k: You would greatly appreciate the increased sight radius... The only parts differance is the gas tube and handguards...
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It sounds like he is going with some very nice optics and handguards, which in this case, seems to make the midlength much less apealing. With optics as your primary sighting system, the longer sight radius will rarely, if ever, do anything for him. The ARMS SIR nor the RAS II will work will with a midlength upper either. There is a mid lingth FF RAS, but again, he will be using optics, so I dont see how this would be an advantage.
Link Posted: 12/27/2002 4:51:46 AM EST
I'm not an expert but I am going to weigh in with a different opinion. I have a preban, so I can use any flashhider/muzzle brake I want but I still choose the 16" Since I am in the U.S. I am hamstrung by the National Firearms Act of 1934. If I bought a 14.5" barrel, I have two options - permanently attach something that makes it 16" so I don't have to file NFA paperwork or pay the $200 tax and paperwork for the shorter barrel. Here are the things I like about the 16" option: 1) No permanently attached muzzle device means the front sight tower can be removed for working on the gun and adding some accessories 2) The A2 flash hider doesn't equal the Phantom or Vortex in hiding flash but it also doesn't create the downblast signature these do when fired from the prone. 3) Few more FPS in velocity and 5.56mm needs its velocity. 4) One day, I will be adding a suppressor. A threaded barrel without a permanently attached device simplifies this process and increases the options available to me here. I can always have a permanent device cut off and the barrel rethreaded; but to me that seems like a lot of extra work for a 1.5" reduction in barrel length. Things I dislike: 1) With A2 flashhider, barrel is a little less than an 1" longer than 14.5 with permanent device.
Link Posted: 12/27/2002 6:35:55 AM EST
I chose a 14.5" barrel for my preban. I wanted a weapon as absolutely compact as possible and not have to pay the $200 for a SBR. I also wanted to be able to purchase a sound suppressor. After I narrowed down my mounting choices I knew I wanted a quick detach suppressor and that left me with the KAC and Gemtech replacement flash hiders as my options. The KAC version is not long enough to make a 14.5" barrel 16" but the Bilock flash hider is so I went with the Bushmaster 1:7 twist 14.5" barrel + Gemtech Bilock to give me the shortest overall weapon with a quick detach sound suppressor. The post ban I purchased before my preban was a 16" barrel however. You need to determine your needs. If the ability to maneuver in tight spaces is of the utmost importance you need a very compact weapon. If you are going to be using the rifle exclusively outdoors then you can select a weapon that better suits that purpose. With the right ammunition and rate of twist the 14.5" barrel will be highly effective out to 100-200 yards depending on your ammunition selection and accurate out to 400 yards or more. Thats more than enough for my needs. If you need more range than that Id step up to 7.62x51. My final comment is this. The only nice looking 16" barrel I ever saw on a postban belongs to a board member here. It has a Med length FF RAS tube with KAC front sight and a 9 Volt Millenium Surefire atttached to the bottom rail. It has green pannels, green new M4 type stock and a TA31. Does anyone know whos that is?
Link Posted: 12/27/2002 6:55:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By Bartholomew_Roberts: 2) The A2 flash hider doesn't equal the Phantom or Vortex in hiding flash but it also doesn't create the downblast signature these do when fired from the prone.
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Just to clarify, if you position the Vortex or Phantom flash suppressor with their openings or slots at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 oclock positions, you will have MUCH less problem with creating a dust signature when shooting from prone. The problem is, most folks have their Vortex and Phantoms installesd with the solid, or forked portion of the flash suppressor at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 oclock positions. This does moake for a troublesome dust signatire.
Link Posted: 12/27/2002 7:26:45 AM EST
Is a 14.5" barrel legal without a permanently attached break or FS? It would seem that since the threaded FS can be removed, then while it is off of the barrel you have a 14.5" barrel.
Link Posted: 12/27/2002 10:55:59 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/27/2002 2:52:19 PM EST
You can buy and own a 14.5" barrel but if you install it then it must be made 16" long prior to installation.
Link Posted: 12/28/2002 3:27:58 AM EST
thanks for your .02 devl. is there a web site to check out the KAC and Gemtech FS's you're talking about? i think we all know that the KAC site falls just a little short.
Link Posted: 12/28/2002 5:22:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By new-arguy:
Originally Posted By Bartholomew_Roberts: 2) The A2 flash hider doesn't equal the Phantom or Vortex in hiding flash but it also doesn't create the downblast signature these do when fired from the prone.
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Just to clarify, if you position the Vortex or Phantom flash suppressor with their openings or slots at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 oclock positions, you will have MUCH less problem with creating a dust signature when shooting from prone. The problem is, most folks have their Vortex and Phantoms installesd with the solid, or forked portion of the flash suppressor at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 oclock positions. This does moake for a troublesome dust signatire.
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I dont get it. How does having the open slot at 6 make less dust? It is because of the spiral that directs the blast to the side? I have the solid part at 6, but I never tested it in the prone. Thanks
Link Posted: 12/28/2002 8:00:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/28/2002 8:03:14 AM EST by CANADIAN_TACTICAL]
KAC's sight really is not run by KAC - they have many other things on the go as to worry about the website designed for civilian sales at this time (their focus is equipping the Armed Forces) My pics of my KAC QD did not turn out well as you can see [img]http://photos.ar15.com/ImageGallery/IG_LoadImage.asp?iImageUnq=1085[/img] Wes Grant had some nice ones around somewhere. The Gemtech one I stole off another site :) [img]http://www.impactguns.com/store/media/gem_m496d.jpg[/img] -Kevin
Link Posted: 12/28/2002 12:02:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/28/2002 12:04:45 PM EST by DevL]
you will have the dust being blown up by 2 seperate slots and to the side not just from one straight down.
Link Posted: 12/29/2002 1:48:36 PM EST
Can't find the velocity tables/barrel length tables that were published on this site awhile back. Must have been over six months ago; but as I recall, you lose nearly twice the velocity going from 20 to 14.5 inches as you lose going from 20 to 16. That extra inch and a half of "handiness", which is really only one inch if you're going to make the 14.5 incher legal, is nowhere near reason enough for me to go to the shorter length. Hell, the only reason the M4 has the 14.5 inch barrel in the first place is so the durned M16 bayonet will fit it. You think that's reason enough for you? Keep in mind tho, this message is from a guy who has had an XM177E2 clone for 25 years, so I am familiar with the "looks is everything" point of view [:D]
Link Posted: 12/29/2002 11:32:37 PM EST
I dont understnad why the velocity matters so much to you. What range of fragmentation are you wanting? Once you establish that fact you find a bullet that allows the shortest barrel to be used and then you have the minimum barrel length to give your desired result. That is the barrel length you should use. So what is your desired fragmenting range?
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