View Full Version : what should a match grade AR kit barrel look like?

May 28, 2010, 08:12 PM
a couple of weeks ago i bought a ar 15 kit that was suppose to have a match grade barrel. unfortunately the first barrel they sent me had burs and reamer marks throughout the majority of the barrel. the second barrel they sent me looked better under a bore scope, but it still had a bunch of reamer marks. i guess my question is what should a barrel that is tagged match barrel look like when i put a bore scope in it? my gun smith friend said my barrel looked a little worse than a average winchster riffle barrel looks like. I know I didn’t pay for a a Krieger or a hart barrel but should I expected to see all those reamer marks in my barrels or im I just expecting to much.

May 29, 2010, 02:08 AM
Lots of companies offer "Match Grade" barrels and for the most part they do shoot well. Few people ever look down the bore with a scope and could not tell you what the lands & grooves look like in an average barrel under magnification. I had been fortunate to work in a rifle shop that actually used a scope on a regular basis to check the barrels that were manufactured in house. Reamer marks are the norm for barrels...... it's just a fact of life. The depth of the marks just depends on how fast the reamer was driven down the bore, how sharp it was prior to use, oil flow, change in density from area to area of the material being cut, etc.
One other thing, on "Button Rifled" barrels, allot of what you may be seeing could be chatter marks from the button being pulled through.

From what I have seen, the only real way to eliminate reamer marks, etc. is to hand lap the barrel before it is chambered & installed. Lapping after the fact by the end user is not the answer cause of the fact that you will wash out the throat as well as the muzzle (Crown) of the barrel and that just causes more work to correct. I only performed hand lapping once and don't consider myself an authority on the subject, the guys who did do this in the shop were very good at it, it is something that you have to developed a feel for over time.
I was walking by the bench one day and Gale (McMillan) grabbed me and said take a look at this, I peered down the scope and saw railroad tracks. He then informed me it was a Krieger barrel (which kind of surprised me), from time to time he would order in a competitors barrel just to take a look at the bores for comparison, over the years that company did spoil me when it came to expectations for quality and accuracy.

Unfortunately few companies offer hand lapped barrels anymore cause it is a time consuming process, so you are kind of stuck when it comes to AR barrels. About the only way to get one is to buy a lapped blank and then have it manufactured into the barrel you want.

When it comes to AR's, I kind of got stuck on Wilson barrels.
I had the opportunity to build several shorty AR's for a PD and ended up with 11.5" Wilson heavy barrels. The fit and finish were excellent, threads were perfect, the finish of the chambers looked fantastic, unfortunately I didn't have a scope to check out the bore but they shot better than allot of match rifles and we were using generic federal ammo.
For myself, (when money permits) the only barrel I have considered for the next purchase is a Wilson due to the quality of what I saw previously.

Wow....this turned in to another long post......sorry about that.
Hope it helps.

May 29, 2010, 01:26 PM
Since there is no industry standard for a "match grade" barrel, anyone can sell any barrel as "match grade" and claim that it meets their standard for a "match grade" barrel. If you look at various web sites, you will see match barrels selling from less than $100 to well over $1000. Since most people accept that "you get what you pay for", if you want the best, buy the best.

Premium barrel makers (Krieger, Shilen, Bartlein, Bulberry, McGowen, etc) differentiate between their "standard grade" barrels (light-years ahead of factory "target" barrels) and their "match grade" or "premium" barrels (and charge accordingly), but someone just throwing kits together may or may not really know or care if there is a difference (and there may not be).

May 30, 2010, 09:09 AM
thanks 4 the insight yal. i was kind of afffraid "match" barrel was just a catch fraise anymore. i guess i will just shoot this riffle 4 the time beeing and save up 4 good one in the mean time.