18 Months and 15,000 rounds later, I’ve leaned quiet a bit about an 11.5” SS barrel and how it will handle hard use. After over a year of weekly, if not daily hard use(including a classes with Hackathorn and Super Dave), numerous other shooting events, and adding a steady amount of sustained full auto, Its time to see what’s left of this barrel. A few weeks ago I spend some time testing the Geissele select fire trigger burning through over 1500rds of his ammo almost as fast as we could load and swap the 10 mags we brought; definitely the hardest day of its life. I shot it one more time at 50yds, and was easily still hitting golf balls, but made the decision to take it apart and see how it looks.
Think back 18 months to when the upper $tainless $teel barrels were the must have because of the “extended life”, and “increased” muzzle velocity, and whatever hype was being spouted at the time. I compared several different barrels – and yes for some reason the SS barrels do produce more muzzle velocity than chrome lined barrels. Regardless of the rifling, or brand – SS barrels of the same length, by different makers, will produce the same muzzle velocity as the others.
This is the first barrel I played with the idea of moving the gas port 1” forward-as it would be shot suppressed almost all the time. It began life as a Wilson, SS 1:8 16” CAR barrel I purchased from Rock River. My shop guys cut it down, threaded it, plugged the gas port and drilled a new hole 1” forward.
It was mostly shot semi auto, but did see a significant amount of full auto use – most all just burning through mags for fun – so it was sustained full auto. I always cleaned the barrel after every use with Hopped #9 – wet patch dry patch. Every 5K rounds I’ll spend 30 minutes with copper remover, wet patch dry patch until the patches came out white.
From day one it was an easy 1MOA shooter, - last time it was sandbagged and shot for “groups” was around 12k rounds, and it shot great. It was shot out to 600yds once, 330yds a few times, and the extent of its consistent longer range work was smacking a 6” plate at 250yds. (To this day that plate is a piece of cake with ball ammo). The majority of the rounds impacted targets at 50yds and closer.
Overall the last 18 months have been boring. Clean or dirty – and shooting suppressed makes EVERYTHING dirty. Semi or full auto, rounds fed and extracted like clock work from the Wylde chamber. The unpainted parts of the barrel are now gold/copper colored by the excessive heat. Last March when it was below freezing, M855 was clocked at 2718fps, 3 months later at 50 degrees 2752fps, and recently at 75degrees 2780 fps. I’ll lump those variances into temps and different lot numbers.
According to a GI TE gauge – it has worn so that 2” of the rod enter the rifling – the gauge has another 1” before the reject line. I’m not sure what, if anything the reject line means, because the gauge was made for 20” chrome lined 1:12 M16 barrels? But there is measurable wear.
A big surprise came when I measured the land/throat erosion with my stony point gauge. I checked when new, and never remembered to check again until yesterday. After all that use, the OAL of the cartridge to seat into the lands increased by 50 thousandths. That’s almost nothing for that much use.
I’m not sure what I expected from this barrel. I understand how barrels last and SS barrels wear, leading to long range accuracy loss, but I had never known first hand of a hard use SS carbine barrel. There’s not much to say, the barrel has held up fine, and is still a good barrel for that application today. If SS barrels that cost twice much last as long, under the same circumstances, I’ll be amazed. So yes, a SS barrel is more than good enough for a fighting gun.
About 10K rounds of carbon build up
As shot for groups at 12K rounds. 5 shots on paper and done. 100yds.
As configured for the Super Dave class
I shot a perfect score on an M16 qual course – 50-300 meters
And who would believe it handled all that full auto without “M4 cuts”!testing trigger/endurance for suppressor vid