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Posted: 9/16/2002 11:58:53 AM EDT
If it's a post-ban lightweight barrel?

Even if I'm in an "Oh My God" situation firing semi-auto?

I took the rifle to Thunder Ranch for Urban Rifle and the front handguards got warm, but that's about it.

Are they really necessary?
Link Posted: 9/16/2002 12:02:13 PM EDT
Not really for semi-auto.

Some people like the "look" though.

Av.
Link Posted: 9/16/2002 12:02:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/16/2002 12:03:26 PM EDT by Forest]
I don't know how much ammo/how quickly you fired at Thunder Ranch.

At the team stages of our tactical matches I've burned a few hundred rounds in less than 10 minutes.

YES they were needed for that kind of shooting (or else you had either wear a glove or grab on by the magazine). The handguards were way to hold with bare hands (I had the standard single shields around my M4 barrel).

I'd suspect a forward pistol grip would work as well but I've not tried it out yet.

But if you don't shoot alot of ammo quickly then its not really needed.
Link Posted: 9/16/2002 5:37:27 PM EDT
Actually I pondered that myself for a while, until I actually put on a pair of "fatties."

They are alot more comfortable to hold, and I'm not talking about the heat aspect. I feel the fatties give a more comfortable grip than the skinnie carbine handguards. The M4 handguards are that much wider, that I just rest the weapon in my hand, where with the regular carbine handguards, I found myself squeezing.

Eventually I'll eliminate the problem and get a RAS with a Vertical Grip, but for now I like the M4 handguards.
Link Posted: 9/17/2002 5:53:00 AM EDT
Whether they are necessary is something only you can decide based on how you plan to use it.

Thunder Ranch recommends 1,200 rounds of ammo for their 5-day course. That sounds like a lot to some people; but 1,200 rounds fired semi-auto over a five day time period is less than 300 rounds a day - and 300 rounds fired over eight hours isn't going to heat up an AR much.

I would also respectfully disagree with those that feel a semi-auto is somehow immune to heat issues. Taking time to carefully aim at our target and firing only when we had a good sight picture, some friends and I ran 240 rounds through my AR in 20 minutes (80F air temp).

That is only 12 rounds a minute; but it was more than enough to smoke the CLP off the barrel and make a magwell hold impractical.

You can make the single-heat shield handguards hot enough that it is unpleasant to hold them with that type of semi-auto fire.

On the downside, while the M4 handguards will protect you better from that heat, they are also trap the heat inside the handguards and prevent the barrel from cooling as rapidly.

I'd take a look at what types of firing rates you anticipate, how long you plan to maintain that rate, and then make a decision based on your past experience with the regular handguards.
Link Posted: 9/17/2002 1:30:02 PM EDT
All you need is food and oxygen, what do you want?
GG
Link Posted: 9/17/2002 2:12:16 PM EDT
Fat handguards just look that much better.
Link Posted: 9/17/2002 2:23:11 PM EDT
you went to TR and you have to ask this question.

something sounds fishy...

define a "Oh My God" situation where you will need to fire that many rounds.

Link Posted: 9/22/2002 7:25:13 AM EDT
TR, 1200 rounds in 5 days comes to 240 a day

Average day at TR is about 8 hours or 480 minutes.

Total averaged firing rate is one round every two minutes. At that rate, you could hold the barrel bare handed.

TUMOR, if you are in a SHTF situation, whether your barrel gets hot or not is going to be the least of your concerns.

I have noticed that if I start with a cold barrel and run the first 30 rounds through in 30-40 seconds, the barrel gets to be hot, but I could hold it with a leather glove and no hand guard. If I blast through 100 rounds or so at that speed, then the handguards become necessary. After 200 or so, I don't want a bare hand anywhere over the top of the hand guard as the heat risint up an out gets very uncomfortable.

I don't know of any home defense situations where a person has blasted through and entire mag, reloaded, and kept fighting. Cops and bad guys fighting the cops may do this once in a while, but generally speaking, if you get to the point where you need a mag change, the fight is already over.

By the way, don't confuse shooting in semi-auto as being somehow limiting to heating up your gun. Granted, it isn't as fast as full auto, but a buddy of mine (and I am sure many people can do this) can empty a 30 round mag in 8-10 seconds while firing semi-auto. At that rate, the barrel heats up quick.

308wood is right. If you took the carbine course at TR and don't know if you need heavier duty handguards or not, then something isn't right. Either you missed some key points of instruction or you have not spent any significant amount of range time outside of TR practicing what you learned. From the sounds of it, you may or may not need fat handguards, but what you DO need is to spend a lot more time firing your shorty so that you can make an informed decision on what safety-related parts you wish to keep or change.
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