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Old January 27, 2008, 12:24 PM   #1
Walipala
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AR15 barrels -- chrome-lined vs. not?

Hi folks. I hate to ask such a basic question, but I see that a lot of manufactures offer their AR barrels in both 'plain' and chrome-lined. I assume that the chrome lining of the chamber and barrel is done just for durability, corrosion resistance, etc. Is there a situation, other than being short on cash, that a person would select the standard (non lined) bore over the chromed? Is there a difference in accuracy potential, generally speaking?
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Old January 27, 2008, 12:58 PM   #2
Mondo
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Chrome lining helps in reliability. Improves extraction.

Non chrome lined barrels have a reputation for being a bit more accurate.
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Old January 27, 2008, 03:07 PM   #3
Walipala
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Interesting. Seems overkill to me, to line the bore if it's just the chamber benefiting from the lining though.

Are the Gov't spec barrels chrome lined?
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Old January 27, 2008, 04:12 PM   #4
oldcspsarge
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For accuracy: NO for MG: Yes

The most accurate barrels on the market..Kreiger...Les Baer...Pacnor are NOT chrome lined.

Only barrels designed for M-16's..are chrome lined.

There is NO way to get a concentric even chrome lining on the inside of a barrel....So go with a chrome moly or stainless barrel for accuracy.

Lapping or interior polish...like Baer to 2.5/3 microns....makes them sweet shooters.
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Old January 27, 2008, 05:05 PM   #5
Harry Bonar
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chrome or not

Sirs:
About like the buttoned/cut rifled question.
Harry B.
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Old January 27, 2008, 08:27 PM   #6
Dfariswheel
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In rifles like the AR-15, the advantages of chrome lining far outweigh the disadvantages.

The advantages:
The bore is much easier to clean since carbon and copper fouling can't stick to the "slick" plating like it does in a plain barrel.

The bore is much more resistant to corrosion and pitting, and the barrel can survive not being cleaned as often or as well.

Extraction and feeding reliability is enhanced.

The barrel is much less affected by erosion, so the barrel lasts longer.

Disadvantages:
Cost. The plated barrels cost less. However, figure the price versus the years of use and the number of rounds fired, and the cost isn't a real factor.

Accuracy. A plated barrel is "usually" a little more accurate, but this is only a factor on a target rifle where you're trying to squeeze out the last tiny bit of accuracy.
On a standard AR-15 the average owner will see no difference between a plated and non-plated bore.

Bottom line is, on a standard AR it's kind of silly not to get the plated barrel. The long term benefits far outweigh the short term few dollars saved.
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Old January 27, 2008, 09:22 PM   #7
Walipala
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Thanks guys. That's what I was hoping to hear. Actually for me I don't think there's an option, since the type of barrel I want is a "Gov't profile" type, 20"L, with a 1:9" twist. As far as I know, Bushmaster is the only mfr that makes this profile in this twist (as a standard model), and Bushmaster chromes all their barrels.

And it's not going to be target target rifle anyway. No bipod, high-power scope, free-floated, or any of that stuff. I just read something that got me to wondering what the trade-offs might be. FWIW, I am thinking of using Tubbs Final Finish to smooth out what ever type of barrel I get. I figure it can't hurt.

--------------------------------------

BTW, that button/cut rifling thread was enlightening, but it left me with a few questions. So, button is just a method of making rifling in a barrel, and the more... uh, budget way at that? I'd swear that every .22-cal barrel I've ever read about, both rim-fire and center-fire has been described in the literature as having "button rifling". Does this really mean that the mfr is not describing the type/style of the rifling but rather just that they did it inexpensively?
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Old January 28, 2008, 08:10 AM   #8
rocket12
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I hate to tell you but Bushmaster does NOT chrome plate all their barrels, the ones that are not are either ss,or 4150 ChroMoly Vanadium Steel (non- chrome lined) as per their website. I have a Predator model,love it and as far as I am concerned chrome lining is not necessary
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Old January 28, 2008, 10:34 AM   #9
Walipala
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Well okay, not all their barrels. I was refering to all the barrels that are replacement candidates for my rifle (standard military profile). And obviously, stainless barrels would never be chrome lined.

Again, for all their high-end match barrels they say "button rifled". Is this information not telling us much?
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Old January 28, 2008, 02:18 PM   #10
Alleykat
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Quote:
Disadvantages:
Cost. The plated barrels cost less. However, figure the price versus the years of use and the number of rounds fired, and the cost isn't a real factor.

Accuracy. A plated barrel is "usually" a little more accurate, but this is only a factor on a target rifle where you're trying to squeeze out the last tiny bit of accuracy.
On a standard AR-15 the average owner will see no difference between a plated and non-plated bore.
Am I reading this wrong, or do you not have this backwards? By "plated", are you referring to chrome-lined barrels? If so, then I think you'll find that a non-plated AR barrel is less expensive than that same barrel with a chrome lining.

Also, typically, chrome-lined barrels are a little less accurate than the same barrels not chrome-lined.

My chrome-lined Bushy barrel shoots 1/2" groups @ 100 yds., with my reloads, using match (Berger) bullets. That's accurate enough for me.
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Old January 28, 2008, 04:20 PM   #11
Slamfire
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I have only one chrome lined AR, it is an Armalite M4 type carbine. And it shoots extremely well. I am honestly surprised on how good the barrel groups. I expected a 2 MOA barrel, and it will shoot closer to MOA. Maybe better, but a shorty carbine is extremely difficult to shoot. Stock weld sucks and the sight radius is very short. I only get good groups shooting off a rest. Unsupported, not so great, but it is me not the barrel that is having problems.

However I have a shooting bud that loves Colt HBar barrels. I have been told these are chromed. Last I remember he was shooting those across the course, and as he is a several times President' 100 placer, and placed 2nd in the Garand match, at least once, he is a good enough shot to evaluate quality.

For most applications I think a quality chrome barrel will provide acceptable accuracy and outstanding barrel life. I have heard a chrome barrel will last 10-15,000 rounds. That is better than the 5000 rounds a standard barrel will last.

But, on my Match AR's, I am shooting Douglas, Wilson, Walther non chrome lined match barrels.

It might make no difference on paper with me, but I ain't gonna take the chance.
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Old January 28, 2008, 08:18 PM   #12
Dfariswheel
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The plated barrels cost less

Yep, I fat fingered that. Plated barrels cost MORE, but it's usually worth it.

I am thinking of using Tubbs Final Finish to smooth out what ever type of barrel I get.

DON'T use any of the abrasive finishes or lapping systems on a hard chrome bore.
The hard chrome CANNOT be broken in because the chrome is so hard, the standard break in systems don't work.
Also, the abrasive final finish systems are for carbon or stainless steel bores ONLY. They will have not good effect on a chrome bore, and would likely cause damage to the coating.

That's one other advantage of a hard chrome barrel.
There's no "break in" necessary OR POSSIBLE.
You simple take it out of the box and start shooting it.
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Old January 29, 2008, 12:21 PM   #13
Alleykat
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According to the late Gale McMillan, no break-in is possible or necessary with any barrel.
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Old January 29, 2008, 05:08 PM   #14
Walipala
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Thanks all. I guess I won't worry about it then. And I won't waste my money on a FF kit for .223. (I might try it anyway with my .44-cal Marlin rifle. In general, I've read great things about the FF treatment.)

As I said this is not going to be a match rifle. For velocity I want to stick with a 20" barrel, and for weight savings I want the Gov't profile. It's got the A1 style upper with iron sights and for now, a simple CMO Elite 4x scope attached to the carry handle. And I will probably stick mostly with 55gr FMJs for the economy of it.
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