The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Semi-automatics

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 29, 2013, 06:35 PM   #1
brickhouseblues
Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 2013
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma
Posts: 27
Stainless -vs- Steel Barrels.

In terms of accuracy and longevity in a combat scenario for an AR-15 platform (does ammo have an impact?)... How does a stainless steel barrel compare to a chrome lined steel barrel?
__________________
"I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold dead hands!"
~Charlton Heston~
brickhouseblues is offline  
Old May 29, 2013, 07:37 PM   #2
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,843
A hard chrome lined barrel is superior to stainless steel.

Stainless is superior to standard carbon steel barrels and far more resistant to erosion of the throat, which is why virtually all Match and long range barrels are stainless these days.

However, hard chrome is even more superior and lasts considerably longer. Hard chrome is also easier to clean, fouls less, and is far more resistant to corrosion.
For these reasons, the military use chrome lined barrels.

The only down side to hard chrome is that they are typically "slightly" less accurate then a carbon or stainless barrel.
However, this is not an issue on a service or defense rifle, only on a Match or long range rifle where you're trying to get the last bit of accuracy.
In a standard defense or hunting rifle, any slight loss of accuracy is not noticeable and the benefits of hard chrome far outweigh it.

Due to the much greater benefits of hard chrome, on a non-Match rifle it's hard to justify NOT getting hard chrome.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Old May 29, 2013, 08:03 PM   #3
MarkCO
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 21, 1998
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 782
With all due respect, Dfarishwheel's post would have been true for most of the history of the AR-15, but not in the last 10 years or so.

Chrome lined barrels are probably the LEAST desirable currently. There are new rifling patterns (5R and polygonal) and new surface treatments (melonite and others) that provide long life and long wear resistance. Also, our powder and primers are much better and much less corrosive pretty much eliminating the original reason for the chrome lining. The only benefit of chrome lined barrels is that they are cheaper. The base metal is typically not as good and the chrome lining process is cheaper.

Thickness build coatings, such as chrome, accentuate the metal imperfections and in many cases, the chrome lining starts to wear/tear/flake off in as little as a few thousand rounds. Spend a little time cutting and comparing barrels under the SEM and you start to see the issues. Shooting a chrome lined barrel to 30K will and a stainless barrel to 30K, in most cases have about equivalent groups sizes and hogged out throats and gas ports.

The only time I will use a Chrome lined barrel is for a cheap closet gun that won't be shot much and likely not maintained. Stainless is better for so many reasons and hardening surface treatments are yet a step or two better yet.
__________________
Good Shooting, MarkCO
www.CarbonArms.us
MarkCO is offline  
Old May 29, 2013, 09:08 PM   #4
brickhouseblues
Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 2013
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma
Posts: 27
Very interesting. I need to do more research. I own a SS barrel on my rifle and like it just fine.
__________________
"I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold dead hands!"
~Charlton Heston~
brickhouseblues is offline  
Old May 30, 2013, 07:55 AM   #5
geetarman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2009
Location: Arizona
Posts: 2,794
I have SS on a couple of rifles, DPMS, M1A. They seem to be fine. I had a regular steel barrel on a Rem 700 22-250 that I bought new in 1973 or so and replaced it in 2009 with a Douglas SS barrel. I have apparently shot out that barrel in a thousand rounds. I don't load hot. 52 gr SMK and 38 gr. H380. But the barrel is gone.

I have it at the smith now for a new barrel and will be going back to a non SS barrel. I can't say exactly why the barrel went away, but I really do not want another.
__________________
Geetarman

Carpe Cerveza
geetarman is offline  
Old May 30, 2013, 10:32 AM   #6
Fishbed77
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2010
Posts: 2,837
Quote:
For these reasons, the military use chrome lined barrels.
Except on some precision AR-pattern rifles like the SDM-R and Mk. 12 SPR, which use stainless steel barrels to gain the accuracy benefits versus chrome-lined.
Fishbed77 is offline  
Old May 30, 2013, 03:03 PM   #7
Jimro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 18, 2006
Posts: 5,759
Quote:
In terms of accuracy and longevity in a combat scenario
In a "combat scenario" chrome lined barrels will last longer, and have better accuracy after you have shot out a stainless barrel. Chrome lined barrels display very uniform accuracy across their useable lifespan, although they are not known for tack driving accuracy.

That being said, I have full confidence in my equipment. And 4 MOA with milspec ammo from a field position is more than enough to get your point across in a "combat scenario" not involving long range sniping.

Jimro
__________________
"Gorsh" said Goofy as secondary explosions racked the beaten zone, "Did I do that?"

http://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/
Jimro is offline  
Old May 31, 2013, 07:58 AM   #8
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 8,041
Quote:
Chrome lined barrels are probably the LEAST desirable currently.
Perhaps, for semi-auto. But, nothing beats a chrome lined barrel for full-auto fire in terms of durability. My dream is to one day find a chrome lined barrel for my AC-556....as of yet, no such creature exists.
Skans is offline  
Old May 31, 2013, 08:53 AM   #9
sailskidrive
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 26, 2008
Posts: 726
Hmmm.... I've heard that a few manufacturers are playing around with Nickel Boron lined barrel, but I haven't seen any barrels offered with it yet.
__________________
SailSkiDrive
Hk USP 45 Expert, USP 40, USP 9, SIG P226, S&W M&P9, Hk 4, Makarov, Desert Eagle 40, Beretta FS92 Centurion, Kimber TLEII 1911A1, Glock 22, SIG P225, 1943 Rem Rand 1911A1, S&W mod 64, Walther PPQ, SIG P229, Browning BDA 45 (SIG P220), Hk45, SIG P230
sailskidrive is offline  
Old May 31, 2013, 06:16 PM   #10
ThatBeardedGuy
Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2013
Posts: 86
To my way of thinking, chrome-lined has been proven for decades in the AR-15 platform. I'm cool with advances in barrel metallurgy but I think I'll stick to what's proven until I see something demonstrably better.
__________________
TXARNG: 2007 - Present

"We're gonna turn left!!" - NASCAR, in a nutshell.
ThatBeardedGuy is offline  
Old June 1, 2013, 06:19 AM   #11
sailskidrive
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 26, 2008
Posts: 726
The military has been using nickel boron in the REALLY big barrels for years... Personally, I don't give it much thought.
__________________
SailSkiDrive
Hk USP 45 Expert, USP 40, USP 9, SIG P226, S&W M&P9, Hk 4, Makarov, Desert Eagle 40, Beretta FS92 Centurion, Kimber TLEII 1911A1, Glock 22, SIG P225, 1943 Rem Rand 1911A1, S&W mod 64, Walther PPQ, SIG P229, Browning BDA 45 (SIG P220), Hk45, SIG P230
sailskidrive is offline  
Old June 6, 2013, 01:21 PM   #12
dgludwig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2005
Location: North central Ohio
Posts: 5,182
For what it's worth, all of the match configured ARs that I've seen have had s/s barrels. The RRA National Match rifle that I compete with in service rifle matches has a s/s barrel and is more accurate than I can take full advantage of. That said, I have never seen a report testing chrome-lined barrel vs s/s ones, everything else being equal, to affirm that s/s barrels are intrinsically more accurate. If there has been such a comparison (surely there must have been at least one, you'd think), I'd like to see it (them).
__________________
ONLY AN ARMED PEOPLE CAN BE TRULY FREE ; ONLY AN UNARMED PEOPLE CAN EVER BE ENSLAVED
...Aristotle
NRA Benefactor Life Member
dgludwig is offline  
Old June 6, 2013, 02:42 PM   #13
CharlieDeltaJuliet
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2012
Posts: 750
MarkCO is right about the newer AR's. that is why you pay extra or the Noveske non chrome lined much barrels and such. Hard chrome lining was used for wear purposes. It prevented wear in the AR's. Companies like Noveske,Hk and others have found out that it can cause inaccuracies when shooting. Hk has proven that with a non lined MR556 it can sustain 15,000+ rounds in one weekend of testing and retain a 1MOA group. I read the write up in one of my AR15 magazines about the new treatment in barrel life and accuracy. Another that is swearing by non chrome lining is S&W. while you can still get the chrome lined, they re using melonite also. It is testing very well also.


But Skans is correct about the fully auto. The military orders chrome lined just because of this. Full auto fire is very hard on barrels.
__________________
" The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to
keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect
themselves against tyranny in Government.
..." - Thomas Jefferson
CharlieDeltaJuliet is offline  
Old June 8, 2013, 10:47 AM   #14
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 8,041
Quote:
In terms of accuracy and longevity in a combat scenario for an AR-15 platform
Which are you looking for? Accuracy - then you can find some very accurate stainless barrels;

Longevity/combat scenario with reasonable accuracy? - then you really want a good forged steel chrome-lined barrel/bore of the same make used in full-auto M4's.

I know there are other barrel treatments out there like melonite etc. But, ask if any of these barrel treatments are being used on full-auto weapons.
Skans is offline  
Old June 8, 2013, 11:56 AM   #15
CharlieDeltaJuliet
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2012
Posts: 750
I guess it's all in the terms of if it is the KAC long range precision or a standard M4.
__________________
" The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to
keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect
themselves against tyranny in Government.
..." - Thomas Jefferson
CharlieDeltaJuliet is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09292 seconds with 7 queries