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Old November 9, 2012, 12:46 PM   #1
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Carbine or rifle length AR15, which do you like?

It's not very often I see people with a full length AR15, the vast majority seem to invest into a carbine setup, other than the ease of maneuverability, and compactness, is there any other reasons ya'll seem to prefer the carbine over the rifle setup?

Personally, I like the long sight radius of the rifle length systems, and I like being different for the most part. Not to say I won't eventually own a carbine length AR15, the look of the "M16" always was more attractive to me for some reason.

I'd like to hear some of the opinions ya'll have.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:56 PM   #2
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My Colt Hbar has a 20 inch barrel. I shoot with the iron sights exclusively and like that longer sight radius.
Not only are most of the ARs that I see at the range carbines but virtually all of them have glass and or electronics mounted on them. Different strokes.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:58 PM   #3
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Mine is more or less a carbine type weapon.

It's lighter and more maneuverable. The sight radius doesn't matter because I use a holographic sight.

The muzzle velocity will be lower and the effective range slightly less than a something with a full length barrel, but that isn't as important to me as the size advantage.

I do, however, still think that the M16A1 was the best looking of the bunch.
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Old November 9, 2012, 02:29 PM   #4
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If someone would make a rifle that wasn't a HB monstrosity, I would love to have one.

But most of them have full length Heavy Barrels that make the rifle nearly as heavy as a M1A or AR-10. If I am going to lug/swing around that much weight, I would just as soon have a bigger boom.

I used to have a A2 rifle and empty it was nearly as heavy as the M1A that I had and it was actually more nose heavy. The M1A was better balanced.

I have also grown accustomed to having an adjustable stock. It makes it much easier to keep the same eye relief. I have a Colt 6724 that has a A2 stock on it. I have the magnified optic (1998 vintage Leupold Vari-X III 4.5 X14) set so that I have the right eye relief at 14X from prone, but moving to sitting/standing/heavy clothing I have to move my head back or crane by neck forward at times.

I have other rifles with magnified optics and collapsible stocks and it is much easier to just adjust the stock.

I wish Colt would produce some M16A3/4 type rifles for civilian purchase instead of just HB Match Target rifles.

Are you listening Colt?
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Old November 9, 2012, 03:32 PM   #5
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Were we ever spoiled!

Awhile back on another thread Kraig said something to the effect that for humping around in the boondocks, the lightweight A1 like in RVN or SP1 Colt made sense, and I totally agree. For shooting with irons while cruising around they are very comfortable, especially for physically challenged old timers such as myself. For range duty, a NATO barreled SP2 helps with accuracy. M4s get you back to the A1 weight. It's not easy to get glass to sit on the carry handle of A1 or A2. I like the Sig 556 for that, and it's not light either. I guess none of us appreciated the luxury that was extended us in Nam!
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Old November 9, 2012, 03:39 PM   #6
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Mid-Length is the best compromise in my opinion. Even with a 16" barrel you get a longer sight radius and a slightly better gas system. I really see no advantage to the carbines with the short handguards.

I've had rifle versions, but rarely used them. Seems I always reached for one of the carbines. Sold one of the rifles and the upper to the other which I replaced with a mid-length.
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Old November 9, 2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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Carbine or rifle length AR15

I like both which is easy to do with an AR.
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Old November 9, 2012, 08:26 PM   #8
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I like my carbine length...

Can't really think of a true "reason" why though, maybe its just because thats what I have so thats what I like.

I like the looks of a carbine length alot better but looks don't mean much...

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Old November 9, 2012, 09:45 PM   #9
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I think the reason you see more carbine is thats whats at the stores and on average will be less money . Rifle length ARs tend to have better heavy/bull barrels , free floated hand gaurds and that will push up the price .

I do not have a rifle length AR all mine are carbine or mid lenght 16" barrels . I can tell you this my carbine flings my brass farther away then my mid lengths do .I belive all the carbine length gas system was made for is to get a higher rate of fire . The carbine will cycle the BCG much faster then the rifle length. There is how ever some math involved when it come to where the gas port is in relation to the length of the barrel and how efficient the gun opperates .
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Old November 9, 2012, 09:54 PM   #10
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Mine are 20-24" and have A2 stocks. I have no use for anything shorter. YMMV
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Old November 9, 2012, 11:43 PM   #11
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I've always had a "thing" for max velocity, so I like long barrels. My main set-up for my AR is for varminting, so that upper is a 1:14 twist 20".
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Old November 10, 2012, 11:14 AM   #12
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For me it came down to the choice of optics or conventional sights. I thought of going with a 20" barrel National Match rifle with sights but as most of my shooting is with optics these days I went with a 18" Varmint barrel with no sights.
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Old November 10, 2012, 11:23 AM   #13
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I do like the rifle length on this one for its accuracy and softer recoil impulse:

But I do like my carbine for defense and as a work gun:

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Old November 10, 2012, 01:28 PM   #14
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I like my 16" carbine for a SHTF rifle. I'm building a 20" A2 and I've already fallen in love with it. I like all the variants, but it depends on the intended purpose. I'll just take a couple of each.
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Old November 10, 2012, 03:04 PM   #15
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I have a carbine, wish it was a traditional rifle.
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Old November 11, 2012, 11:49 AM   #16
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With the AR type rifles, barrel thickness is USUALLY conducive to improved accuracy. I have carbines with very lightweight profile barrels up to rifles with HBar profiles and one bull barrel. Each has it's place. The carbine I carry most has an HBar profile 16". I tolerate the slight addition of weight since it makes the rifle easier to shoot. The thin barrels are nicer to carry but may be slightly lacking in the level of accuracy I require.
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Old November 11, 2012, 12:24 PM   #17
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I prefer the 20" barrel. I'm tall, with long arms, so even an AR "rifle" isn't a big gun, though for "tactical" applications, negotiating doorways and such is going to be more difficult. My main concern is ballistics. My impression is that you really need 2700fps to get good terminal ballistics, and shooting 75 grain bullets in something like a M4, means your muzzle velocity isn't much more than that. I use iron sights almost exclusively, and the longer sight radius is a benefit, too.
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Old November 11, 2012, 12:46 PM   #18
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To me the only thing that the gas system affects cyclic rate and recoil impulse. I could get the same sight radius out of a 16" barreled gun via handguard mounted BUIS as a 20" barreled gun. Even rifle length handguards don't go a full 20".
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Old November 11, 2012, 12:58 PM   #19
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I prefer the 20" barrel AR15 while out-of-doors. For indoor work, I prefer the carbine. I spent a heck of a lot money having a custom built 20" upper which is for long distance work where accuracy is more critical. I spent much less for the Bushmaster carbine where accuracy is less critical for my purposes.

The 20" rifle has free-floated custom barrel and a Wilson TTU 2-stage trigger.
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Old November 11, 2012, 03:40 PM   #20
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Mid-Length is the best compromise in my opinion. Even with a 16" barrel you get a longer sight radius and a slightly better gas system. I really see no advantage to the carbines with the short handguards.

I've had rifle versions, but rarely used them.
I agree. I like the old 20" pencil barrel but really today's 16" midlength offers a lot. I now have three and no 20" nor 16" carbine gas.
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Old November 11, 2012, 05:00 PM   #21
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I own both. As long as they function 100% and more acurate than I can shoot, then it does not matter what the length.

I did build my M16 A4 clone for iron sights. I may eventually build an A2 for that purpose too.
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Old November 11, 2012, 05:26 PM   #22
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After I got my 6933, everything else seemed too long.
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Old November 12, 2012, 10:58 AM   #23
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My personal preference is for the M4 style of AR with telescoping stock and 16 inch barrell.. For target shooting I normally use the stock extended but if needed for clearing a building or house, and HD just collapse the stock and it's very easy to maneuver around.
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Old November 12, 2012, 04:25 PM   #24
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It depends on what you're using it for

For "minute-of-comrade" shooting out to 300m while running an optic, I think an M-4 type is fine. If you intend to use it for target or varmint hunting, probably a full length version is where it's at.

Generally, though, I don't think you miss what you give up for the handiness of carbine length.

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Old November 12, 2012, 05:26 PM   #25
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As others have said, depends on the use. I have a RRA National Match A4 rifle that I use for service rifle matches. When not competing, the handle and iron sights come off and a Burris 3x9 scope, with quick-detachable mount/rings goes on and the rifle, with its 20" long, "Air Gauged Heavy Match Stainless Steel, 1:8" twist barrel, goes with me chuck hunting.
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