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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know nothing about them. I know what I'm looking for for CMV and BFH, but stainless steel eludes me.

410 vs 416? Lifespan? Picky about ammo (i.e. cheap Russian Crap I feed all my firearms)? Etc? Somebody School me b/c Google isn't helping. It's also nice to have a firearms discussion with all the "safe" things happening around the world (buh dum tss).
 

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This is a very broad issue so there is no one single best answer.
I think it is best if you consider this:
- True Goals
- Budget
- Expectations

But I try to suggest that people keep it real in the true goals and expectaions and put the budget aside for a second.
Because in the end one should buy what is needed and appropriate for the goal regardless as the budget is secondary once expectations are to be met and goals fufilled.

With this said hammer forged barrels are not necessarily better than other alternatives. They are cheaper to make and those who make them can make
them well as the machinery is very expensive aimed for mass production. Also the chambering and treatment of the barrel is important, even more than the method of manufacturing or the precise metalurgic composition.

A good hammer forged barrel with a nice chrome treatment is going to be a good barrel like many used in mil spec type of AR and AKM carbines.
But are those going to be the most durable and the most accurate? probably not. They are a good value though.

for durability one should consider nitrocarburization (also known as melonite) that has been proven superior in surface protection w/o adding any thickness
to the material therefore retaining all internaling dimensions from boring to chambering. 5R CMV with melonite treatment are known to be more durable and accuarte than the clasicc mil spec barrels.

Now when it comes to stainless manufactures are all over the place but top shelf barrel makers like krieger, LW, rock and schneider among others use
superior steel that is harder to cut and more expensive.

for example Lothar Walter LW50 barrel lasts longer than many other barrels. I use them as well as high end krieger. Also rock barrels have a reputation to
outlast several other steels.

Those are expensive barrels but they are also the most accurate barrels one will find. Noveske poligonal barrels are also top notch the only issue is they come cut with 1/2 threads that is a big negative against accuracy principles.

So if you want extreme accuracy you have to pay but in any case is a small fraction of the investment considering what one spends in quality ammunition.
For shooting Russian puffins and steel then any budget barrel is good for that. Consider the cheap ammo with the hard metal jackets is harder on the barrels but yet again a small fraction of the total investment. If accuracy is not a concern then that might work.

So again, goals, budgets and clear realistic expectations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Budget is important, but so is durability. I am specing my future rifle to be durable enough to use in NY winters and want more then a non chrome/nitrate 4140 m4 profile. I want the barrel to outlast my stay in NY. Also, I might shoot cheap Russians now, but I'm not crossing out some better match ammo later.

I've heard stainless barrels have problems in the cold, any truth to this? How does barrel profile impact stainless durability? Any information is good information.
 

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stainless barrels having problems in the cold is a unfunded and ignorant statement.
Any material and ammunition might be impacted by cold. Bullets in flight are affected by cold. Even ourselves are impacted by cold.
So I am not sure how cold could significantly impact a barrel specially considering all the other elements that are actually impacted by cold
and are well known.

The barrel profile should not impact durability at normal rates of fire however it can have an impact in accruacy in several ways:
A) Length
All things being equal a shorter barrel is a more accurate barrel. But a shoter barrel heats faster. Excesive heat weakens barrels.

B) section.
A thicker barrel will have more mass. More mass means it will take longer to heat and can be more accurate with the proper profile.
Also means it can be very heavy wtih longer barrels.

C) Special cuts
A good fluting job can help retain rigidty and accuracy and at the same time assist with cooling. Again is extreme heat that messes
with accuracy and reduces the life of a barrel.


D) Crown.
Poor crown jobs can reduce the "accuracy life" of a barrel. This can be fixed but the best thing is to start with a solid crown and stay away
from think threads like 1/2 threads that result in crown swelling or other poorly done crown jobs. The bore might be perfect but w/o a good crown
it will behave as a expired barrel.

Of course chambering and finishing coatings have an important role in barrel accuracy and barrel life. If you are going to shoot russian loads
then get a nice mil spec barrel such a FN barrel and be done. Also look into ARP that tend to be more accurate and durable with melonite
treatment. not a lot more for a better barrel. Many good others to choose from.
Lothar Walter is running a sale on AR barrels with matched bolts. This is best for folks who like accuracy and do not mind to invest a bit more.
Good prices though.
Skip model1, stoner, PSA and all other OEM garbage specially SS and unless they specify the mill or manufacturer who cut the barrel.
Mossberg melonite units seem better than average too and cannot beat the deals if still can be found.

again lots of great options. might want to toss a coin too.
 

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Like any barrel material, SS barrels can be anywhere on the quality scale. They tend to be better quality, not because of the SS itself, but because they are made with a material that requires a bit more care finishing, they tend to get produced by better quality manufacturers. IMO the best reason for SS is corrosion resistance. Here in NY that is not so much an issue, but if you live on a salt water coast it really matters. SS also has a reputation for being less prone to fouling and slightly easier to clean, but I am not sure how much that is rooted in truth.

You want the barrel to outlast your stay in NY, but how many rounds do you plan on shooting, and how fast? Even if you dump rounds out of your neutered 10 round mags and get 5-10k out of your barrel, you can just buy another. It is not like rebarreling an AR takes an engineering degree and a CNC machine shop.
 

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One factor might be durability of stainless but for many this is not as important as extreme accuracy.
The most accurate barrels are cut in hard stainless steel with perfect chambers and lapped bores.
If any other materials were superior you will see them in every single firing line in every competition but you don't.
Melonite finish is also preferred by those picky about extreme accuracy.
If extreme accuracy is not your concern then look for budget options.
In the end the barrel is just one more piece in the assembly of quality equipment.
 
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