View Full Version : shorty AR-15's

October 18, 2004, 02:13 AM
What, if any, virtures does an M4 barrel with a pinned flash hider have over a standard 16" AR-15 threaded barrel? or should I get a Bushmaster M-4 with the IZZY brake or a superlite model?

October 18, 2004, 03:57 AM
No advantage having a 14.5" barrel whatsoever, ballistically. The only benefit whatsoever is cosmetic and overall length of the gun....that's it. Unless you want a shorter gun or an M4-look, get a 16".

As for what to get? That's up to you. Do you like a heavy barrel? Like the looks of the Izzy on one? The superlite will not be as heavy, but won't look quite as menacing as the M4/Izzy. Me, I like my rifles with some heft so lightweight doesn't bug me but that's just personal preference.

Double Naught Spy
October 18, 2004, 05:55 AM
If you get the 14.5" barrel, then you are going to want to shoot lighter ammo so as to get the velocity needed to cause tumble if you are planning on using the gun for SD or HD. At 14.5" the normal 55 gr ammo will be coming out at 2700 fps or less, as I recall. 2700 fps is needed for tumble. If coming out over 2700 fps, it probably isn't maintained for very far. This is why you might want the lighter ammo.

October 19, 2004, 09:27 AM
In my eyes (since I won't be mounting an M203), the only real advantage of the M4 profile barrel is that it's slightly lighter than an HBAR barrel of equivalent length. For someone looking for an ultra-light carbine, though, the skinny barrels seem to be becoming more and more common, and those are lighter than the M4 bbl.

I was going to mention handling, balance, etc, but I think that's pretty subjective from person to person. While I like the feel of the 14.5" M4 bbl, the next person might like a 16" skinny bbl.

October 19, 2004, 12:24 PM
I got the M-4 bbl with the mini-Y comp b/c that's what my gunstore had in stock when I wanted an AR. I, personally, would rather have a 16" barrel.

October 19, 2004, 04:37 PM
I had the same problem the other month. Had a bushmaster AK carbine. 14.5 inch barrel with the 3 inch AK MB. I was going to have it cut down to 11.5 and add the 4.5 inch MB, and a 6 position stock. Then everyone I know started to talk about the decrease in MV, and when SHTF I would be sorry.

Well I decided to keep the current barrel unchanged and just add a 6 position stock. I let the MV guys get to me. Who cares about the MV on a carbine?
We're not going to war, we're not going hunting with it, all we're going to do is target practice with it, maybe shoot small animals painted on beer cans with it. So the MV is 2500 fps, just drop to a 36 grain and the MV goes up.

So, am I wrong here?

October 21, 2004, 01:23 AM
This always turns ugly fast on AR15.com... But here goes

Having owned both, I will tell you that you CANNOT tell the difference between the two barrels at the range. Both are just as accurate, for just a far.

The whole "2700fps" issue is moot. The 55gr military projectile (like Lake City or XM193) will stay above 2700fps out to around 100 YARDS with 14.5" and 140 YARDS with a 16" barrel. Number one, almost NONE of us civvies would EVER have the potential to defend ourselves at 100 yards. Number two, the 5.56 bullet does NOT go from explosive megaprojectile to pinhole punching wussybullet at 2699. It still tumbles, yaws, deforms, and EVEN fragments to some degree even around 2500fps. So let's say that this one just ISN'T an issue.

What IS an issue?

1. Well, you can't go changing your flash suppressor every time a new uber-cool tactical super Flashbuster comes on the market.

Solution? - Don't change flash suppressors

2. You can't add many of the free-floating, four railed handguards available Like Daniel Defense, Knights Armament, Larue, etc.

Solution? Buy handguard replacements, or one of the FF rails that don't need FSB removal like Troy, YHM, Surefire, etc.

Looks. The 16" barrel on a carbine looks funny to a lot of folks.

Solution? Get a Mid-length gas system. Looks great, slightly softer recoil, and a full 16" barrel.

A 14.5" barrel feels SLIGHTLY lighter and SLIGHTLY shorter, while the 16" has SLIGHTLY more velocity... Neither way is enough to matter. Really, it boils down to getting what YOU want based on your preference. Aside from looks, there's just NOT much difference.

October 21, 2004, 07:19 AM
And that's pretty much why I haven't spent the $ to change my barrel out. :)

October 21, 2004, 09:49 AM
Hi Folks,

Let me preface this by saying I am not an expert nor a professional that uses a weapon day in day out. Ok, from what I have gathered with some of the newer ammo that's out, you can extend the fragmenting capabilities of the 5.56 out to roughly 200 yards out of an M4 maybe 250 for the 16". Going against some of the advice suggested here, if you use some of the heavier loads such as the mil-spec Black Hills 77 OTM, Hornady has a 75 grain something or other as well, they fragment reliably up to 2300 fps and so so up to 2100 fps. Out of a 20" barrel they fragment out to roughly 300 yards. Unfortunately, they are considerably more expensive. Again, this is all from reading on various boards such as AR15.com and tacticalforums.com. Apparently, the military units that use these newer rounds like them a lot.

October 21, 2004, 06:37 PM
i doubt the slightly less velocity will out weight the much greater ease of handling. if i were to go short it would make much more sense to go from 16" to 10" rather than 14". imagine the handling aspects of a 10" barrel.

NH AR Shooter
October 24, 2004, 12:39 AM
My 2 cents, I'm going with the 16" for one reason, because after 10 years of being told I'll be arrested if I thread my barrel, and put on a flash hider, I'll be damned if I'm going to give up that option now, by going with a 14". A bit of extra velocity doesnt hurt either. :)

October 24, 2004, 04:04 PM
Lucky that I buy guns to please me, and I just don't worry what the gear whores on AR15 think of my choices.

I am very happy with my Bushmaster XM15 E2S and its AK brake.
I am also very satisfied with my Armalite short also.