Tag Archive for barrel

Toughen Up your AR15


In the world of firearms people usually fall into one of two categories, AR15 fans and AK47 fans and while this won’t be an article comparing the two, knowing the differences gives us a better understanding into why toughening up an AR rifle might be a good choice for you.

In many people’s eyes, the AR15 style rifles are a little lacking in the durability department for hard duty use and training. The reasons for this are mostly due to the gas operating system and certain areas of the design.

Now I personally don’t look down on the AR the way some do (although I do love my AK) but if your looking for a way to add a little durability to your AR then here are a few tips.

1) First lets start with the barrel. Now this is one of the two areas of an AR style rifle that are the most important parts of the gun and need to be good quality. So to toughen it up the best option is to go with a chrome lined, cold hammer forged barrel either in a government or heavy barrel profile. This will make extraction easier, even with the dirtiest of ammo and will increase the life/round count of your barrel. Buy from companies with a good reputation for quality CHF & chrome lined barrels.

2) Next we look to the bolt carrier group. One sure way to toughen it up is to go with a chromed plated or nickel boron coated BCG. This will give you much greater shooting time before having to break down and clean your rifle. There are several companies making chrome and nickel boron coated BCG’s and most are of good quality.

3) Next we look at the trigger pins. These hold your hammer and trigger in place and can on occasion back out and cause malfunctions. The easy solution for this is to pick up a set of Anti Walk Pins, you can pick them up just about anywhere and they’re easy to install and they prevent the pins from backing out of the lower receiver.

4) Finally we look at the gas system. This is the biggest complaint from AK fans in that the gas system fouls up the action by blowing hot gas and carbon back into the receiver. The easiest way to fix this is to go with a piston system for your AR. It eliminates this particular issue but do make sure the piston kit you install is a quality kit.

So there you have it, if you want to bring the durability level up on your AR style rifle, there are four ways to toughen it up.

Choosing a Home Defense Shotgun


Alot of people are looking towards the shotgun as their “go to” home defense firearm and for good reason. A shotgun has alot going for it in a home defense situation ….. it’s simple to use, uses a highly effective round which is very versatile and just the look and sound of a shotgun is a very menacing thing, sometimes that alone can end an situation.

So it’s easy to see why alot of people choose to go this route. But what are some of the things you should look for in a home defense shotgun? Well the answer to that question varies depending on your personal situation …… things like the size and design of your home along with how close you are to other homes and how much property your home sits on are all things you’ll want to take into consideration since those things can have an affect on things like barrel length and what load your using.

All that being said there are some basics that I’ve found useful and a good place to start when choosing a good defensive shotgun.


First is barrel length. A good all around length for a defensive shotgun is about 20 inches or less. Now if your defensive situation involves you home sitting on a larger area of land that you’ll want to defend then you might go for a longer barrel but most people just looking for a defensive shotgun for in home use will find the shorter barrel just makes more sense.

Next you’ll want to make sure you comfortable with your stock setup. I’ve found that having a pistol grip makes more “tactical” style shooting easier. Now this doesn’t mean you should do away with your shoulder stock, in fact having a setup that uses a pistol grip and shoulder stock usually gives you the most control over the gun.

You’ll also want to make sure you have a reloading system in place somewhere on the weapon. Now what I mean by this is that you’ll want extra ammo somewhere on the gun. Some options for this are stock mounted shell carriers, side saddles shell carries that sit on the left hand side of the receiver and slings or bandoliers that hold several rounds of spare ammo.

Another things you’ll want to look into is getting a good mount and flashlight on your shotgun since just as with any defensive weapon you never know what time of day or night it will be when you need to use your weapon.


You’ll notice that two things that you might otherwise think I’d mention were left out ……. those being choice of Gauge and what particular Brand to look at. The reason those were left out is because I feel they are less of a necessary factor and more of a personal choice.

The question of gauge really comes down to preference and choosing shotgun loads that compliment your weapon in a defensive situation …. an example would be that if your shotgun is a .410 gauge then I’d definitely recommend using proper defensive ammo as opposed to bird shot, whereas in 12 gauge many times birdshot might be enough to take care of the situation.

As far as brand goes …… a shotgun is a shotgun and its petty hard to screw it up, especially if its not a semi-auto. So go for the model and brand you prefer.

So those are the basics as I see them. Choosing a shotgun doesn’t have to be too complicated and usually doesn’t have to require too much of an investment, just remember to choose wisely.

End of the World Guns

What is an “End of the World Gun”?

There is a pretty simple answer to that question.

An” End of the World Gun” is a firearm that is so simple & basic by design, so reliable & durable, so easy to use, that it could survive the “End of the World”.

Chances are that as a gun owner you probably already have at least one such firearm sitting in a closet or safe. Probably something that you rarely take to the range and probably don’t think about too much.

The reason you don’t think about them too much is because most “End of the World Guns” are older, more basic designed style firearms, things so antiquated by today’s standards that they are inherently simple and reliable by design.

Some features you’ll want to look for in an “End of the World Gun” are non-semiauto, bolt action, break action, single shot and even lever or pump action and lever action.

Some great examples of “End of the World Guns” are, Mosin Nagant, or any good solid bolt action rifle, single or double barrel, break action shotguns, most of your standard double and single action revolvers, Rossi or H&R break action single shot rifles, Marlin lever action rifles and any pump action shotgun.

So there you have it. You’ve probably got one or two “End of the World Guns” already in your collection and even if you don’t most of ’em are pretty cheap to pick up.

AR15 Basics – Choosing A Barrel

Lets take a look at some of the differences and options you need to consider when choosing what barrel to go with for your AR15 rifle.

First let go over the different types of barrel steel and processes used to make the barrel. These will be CMV, Stainless & CHF

Chrome – Moly – Vandium (CMV)
This is the most common type of barrel steel used. It comes in mainly two forms.

4140 – carbon spec. 0.43 – Some say this mat be more thermally stable?
4150 – carbon spec. 0.48 – Some say this may be better for full auto?

Most shooters (even heavy shooters) will never notice a difference between 4140 & 4150 CMV barrels

The US military uses 4150 CMV

Stainless Steel
Stainles barrels are heavier

They can also be more accurate because the alloy is more maliable and allows for finer precision during the manufacturing process, if manufacturer takes time to do so.

Buy from a respected manufacturer to ensure barrel was precisely made for better accuracy

Cold Hammer Forged (CHF)
Cheaper cost per unit for manufacturer but manufacturing equipment is much more expensive making it harder to profit unless many units are produced and sold, which is why so few companies produce CHF barrels compared to those companies that produce CMV barrels.

CHF barrels are usually chromed lined.

Unlike standard barrel manufacturing, where a barrel blank is placed on a lathe and a machine drills the rifling into the barrel blank, with CHF a barrel blank is placed in a CHF machine and a mandrel with reverse rifling on it is placed in the barrel blank and the machine presses the steel onto the mandrel to press the rifling into the steel.

This process has the potential to make for a more durable and longer lasting barrel if done correctly, otherwise it offers no more barrel longevity than standard manufacturing processes.

Buy from respected manufacturer to get the benefit of a more durable barrel. FN is the manufacturer of choice for many shooters as they manufacture this same barrel for the US military.

Chrome Lined vs Non-Chrome Lined
Chrome lined barrels tend to be better at extraction and corrosion resistance and cleaning but tend to be slightly less accurate than standard non-chrome lined barrels, but this difference is so nominal that most users will never notice a difference.

If there is a difference it is probably more likely due to poor manufacturing than the chrome lining.

If you’ll be shooting steel cased or dirty ammo often chrome lining might be a better option for you, otherwise it really makes no difference and chrome lining is more expensive (by about $50 to $75 for a barrel), so if you don’t plan on shooting that type of ammo don’t waste the extra money.

Barrel Twist Rate
The barrel twist rate basically means how many complete revolutions does the rifling make inside the barrel.

For example a 1:7 twist rate means that every 7 inches the rifling makes one complete revolution around the inside of the barrel. So the smaller the second number, the faster the rifling spins the bullet.

The most popular are 1:7 and 1:9 (although a newer 1:8 twist rate is becoming more popular).

Basically the twist rate breaks down like this – the heavier/longer the bullet is the more spin is needed to stabalize that bullet, so for instance a 62gr 5.56 would have much better accuracy and range out of a 1:7 twist barrel than a 1:9.

The best overall twist rate will be 1:7 because it’s accurate with the widest range of bullet weights and lengths (although some people claim that a 55gr bullet can be overstablized in a 1:7 twist barrel and loose some accuracy, the percieved accuracy loss is still negligable and most shooters wouldn’t notice a difference)

All in all 1:7 is going to be your best bet although it can be slightly more expensive, it is fast becoming the industry standard. However if all u plan on shooting is 55gr loads then you might be better served just getting a 1:9 twist and saving a little money.

Chambering
Chambering is pretty simple, make sure your barrel is chambered for 5.56mm ammo.

This allows you to fire either 5.56x45mm ammo or the cheaper .223 ammo.

If you purchase a .223 barrel you should not fire 5.56 ammo out of it.

Most AR barrels are 5.56 but there are still a few manufacturers out there making .223 only rifles, so be aware.

Barrel Lengths
There are many options for barrel lengths, 8.5″ – 10.25″ – 11.5″ – 14.5″ – 16″ – 18″ – 20″ and a several others.

We’ll only be discussing the most popular lengths 14.5″ – 16″ – 20″

16″ is the most popular as is suites most types of shooting including long range, CQB, defensive shooting & just having fun at the range.

14.5″ is basically the same in function and purpose as the 16″ except due to laws a 1.5″ muzzle device must be permanantly attached to the barrel to ensure the length is at least the 16″ legal limit

20″ is usually religated to longer range shooting and range use and generally considered to be less desirable for CQB or defensive situations where a shorter barrel would be more useful.

Barrel Contours
Your standard barrel contours are Lightweight (pencil) Barrel – M4 Contour (government profile) Barrel – Heavy Barrel – and many other barrel designs, many of which are custom or fluted designs that each offer their own unique advantage and disadvantages. We’ll discuss the most popular.

Lightweight (pencil) barrel is very popular for a lighweight easily manuverable rifle design. If your doing a lightweight build this might work for you, but keep in mind that it does have a shorter life than other barrels and should not be choosen if your a heavy shooter who puts alot of rounds through your rifle.

M4 contour (government profile) is pretty much the standard in most carbine length rifles. It offers good weight with good barrel life. Great for most shooters.

Heavy Barrel is a considerably (in barrel terms) thicker barrel adding life and heat resistance to your barrel but it does so in exchange for more weight.

So thats it, the basics of AR15 barrels. Hopefully this article will hep you in choosing a barrel for your next AR purchase or build.