Looks like the barrel is shot on my favorite AR.

My favorite gun started key-holing last weekend.  It is the most distraught I’ve felt in a long time.  Like losing an old friend.  Extra kick in the nuts was that I just rebuilt the gun as I was upgrading it.

After I had issues with my first SBR I decided I’d have another built no holds barred.

I started seeing pictures of 10.5 inched barreled carbines with the 9.5 inch long Daniel Defense Lite rail.  I really liked that setup.  That rail was a predecessor to the RIS II rail.  Similar profile but the bottom rail was lower and did not detach.  I was planning to use one of those when I learned about the RIS II rails.  I liked the idea of being able to remove the bottom rail for cleaning.  And one of the Daniel Defense reps told me that ALL the RIS II rails could mount a M203.  Later I learned that was not true of their MK18 Rail.

I like this upper setup so much I decided I’d swap the old WOA upper on it with a Colt FDE upper and have one of my SBR lowers Cerakoted Burned Bronze to turn this setup all FDE.

Sort of like that, but with an FDE lower.

It was interesting pulling this old upper apart to rebuild it.  There was a little corrosion:

Along with lots of gunk.

But everything cleaned up nicely:

The barrel was part of a limited run from a company that no longer exists.  They had Douglas blanks turned down by Compass Lake Engineering with wylde chambers.  Then a small part of this batch was given an ion bond finish.

Now days I wouldn’t recommend a match barrel on a SBR.  But it sure was a fun combination.  I don’t know how many rounds I had through it, but it is somewhere around 10,000 +- 3,000.  Match ammo, m193, m855, lots of wolf and other assorted cheap ammo, some of it fired full auto on other peoples lowers, lots of rapid fire.  Only failures I had were two case head separations with Black Hills blue box remanufactured ammo.

I often drove my self nuts trying to shoot very small groups with that 75 grain boat tail open tip match Black Hills ammo.  I would shoot 5 or 10 round groups and have 3 or 8 rounds touching under half an inch at 100 yards.  Then always I would have a shot or two that opened the group up to 1.1 inches.  Drove me mad.  Later I was told by some other shooters that used the same ammo that about 1.1 inch groups at 100 yards were what they normally got out of that ammo.

For a long time this was my main AR.  It also functioned as a test bed.  If I had something new to test, try it on with this gun.  Note, I have multiple SBR lowers and I move uppers between them.  In no particular order here are a few of the setups I’ve used other the years and happened to take photos of.

I hated the UBR stock, but when I had one, it was on this rifle.

I even ran an A1 fixed stock on it for a while after I got rid of the UBR.

I’ve used many different iron sights and scopes on it.  I used Troy BUIS for a long time before finally deciding that I liked the sight picture of the KAC sights the best.

That picture is from when I was joking on a forum about having an offset ACOG for close in work when you are running your fixed 10x scope.  The ACOG was mounted to an offset rail which at the time I was normally using a Doctor sight on.

Yup, I even had an ACOG with piggyback T-1 back in the day.  I love the combo of running the Nightforce 2.5-10×24 on this rifle as the rifle is accurate and the scope makes hitting what you want to hit easy.  I sent a good number of round downrange at 565 yard targets with a Nightforce on this upper.

In the past I’ve called this gun my “Micro-Recce”.  A rifle small and handle enough for fast work, but plenty accurate enough if you needed to take a little longer shot.  But in hind sight I think everything practical that I ever did with this rifle could have been done just as well with a chrome lined barrel.  Had I started with a chromed barrel I probably wouldn’t be rebararreling it now.  While a well made stainless barrel will hold  up to a great deal, it just is not made for sustained abuse.

I’ve tried a great number of fun or odd setups with this gun.

I was debating if it was time to retire this upper and build something different but instead I decided that I am going to rebarrel it.  I’m taking a Colt M4A1 SOCOM barrel that I have lightly used and having it cut down to 10.3 inches by ADCO Firearms.  The old 4 slot Legacy Surefire mount is going to be replaced with a new Warcomp.  I know a collector who is going to give that 4 slot a good new home.  This new set up should give me a good reliable accurate barrel (but not a match barrel, which I feel is excessive on a SBR).  The Warcomp will reduce the already minor recoil.  That will give a great deal more life out of this gun.

I’m relieved to know that I am going to still be using this years to come.

5 thoughts on “Looks like the barrel is shot on my favorite AR.”

  1. 10K rounds +/- 3K, “lots of rapid fire” – I’d reckon that your throat is eroded.

    Rapid fire is what kills barrels faster than just about anything else other than mis-applied cleaning brushes.

    • No doubt, throats and crowns seem to be the first parts to go.
      I once saw a foreign gunsmith who would take old AR15 barrels and cut down the chamber end and rechamber them. Then carefully precision thread them to reuse the old barrel extension. Then they would shorten the gas tube to match.
      I thought that was a creative idea, but way more work than an old AR15 barrel would be worth doing too.

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