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Thread: M4A1 "heavy" barrel...useless?

  1. #1
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    M4A1 "heavy" barrel...useless?

    Is there any practical role for the M4A1 barrel? This is called a "heavy" barrel by the military, but to civvies it is more of a "midweight" barrel.

    Does it have much utility in military service? It was adopted in part because certain special operations units experienced failures with their Government profile M-4 barrel, but part of the reason for this might have been due to the RAS; use of a free-floating handguard takes some of the stress off the barrel.

    So, does the M-4A1 barrel have any practical advantages over a lightweight barrel? Are there situations where carbines might have to be fired full-auto at maximum rates, or would the SAW or medium MG be enough to do the job, and the extra weight of the M-4A1 barrel be nothing more than an un-needed burden?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by wild_wild_wes View Post
    Is there any practical role for the M4A1 barrel? This is called a "heavy" barrel by the military, but to civvies it is more of a "midweight" barrel.

    Does it have much utility in military service? It was adopted in part because certain special operations units experienced failures with their Government profile M-4 barrel, but part of the reason for this might have been due to the RAS; use of a free-floating handguard takes some of the stress off the barrel.

    So, does the M-4A1 barrel have any practical advantages over a lightweight barrel? Are there situations where carbines might have to be fired full-auto at maximum rates, or would the SAW or medium MG be enough to do the job, and the extra weight of the M-4A1 barrel be nothing more than an un-needed burden?
    If you're specifically talking about the SOCOM barrel is a lil heavier, yes. It was originally intended for specops use. The practical advantage, if you want to call it that, has to due with sustained or cyclic ROF. Barrel shouldn't heat as quickly, but doesn't cool down as quickly either like a gov't profile does. Yes, cyclic & sustained ROF's are employed in certain situations. Any M4 with FA capability will never be able to fairly compete with a M249 or MG, however, if the unit in contact or trying to break contact doesn't happen to have a LMG or MG in possession then the FA M4 will serve the purpose with what's available. My CMMG medcon accepts a KAC RAS with no probs.

    Weight is an issue with specops & line infantry ops, but I wouldn't & don't complain about having the SOCOM barrel. Some operator's opinions differ, however. It's really not that much heavier considering most of the rifles it's installed on are tricked out with other weight adding accessories, toys, goodies or whatever you want to call 'em.
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." --George Orwell--

  3. #3
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    You are only talking about 4 ounces heavier than a govt. profile barrel. I personally prefer the medium contour for most purposes.

    Billy
    Billy

    US Army Retired
    NRA Life member
    Long time student of "The Modern Technique"

  4. #4
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    It's good for sustained full auto fire.........like if you're a US Army Ranger doing 'break contact' drills. This was why it was designed. For the other 99.999% of the world it's just useless weight.

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    Some may think the heavier barrel is useless. Just depends on your application.

    The reason I chose the Colt 14.5" M4 SOCOM barrel (heavier profile) is due to point of impact change when using a suppressor. The shorter and stiffer the barrel is, the less point of impact change you will experience once the suppressor is installed on the barrel.

    When using a suppressor, you will experience a point of impact change. All of my guns are sighted in at point of aim / point of impact at 50 yards. Here is what I expereince using the M4-96D and the G5 suppressor using both Colt 16" M4 profile barrels and the heavier Colt 14.5" SOCOM barrels:


    When I was using the M4-96D in conjunction with the Colt 16" M4 profile barrel, my point of impact was low and to the right (between 4 and 5 o'clock) and approximately 4" - 5" low at 50 yards.

    After the M4-96D was converted to the G5, the G5's point of impact shifted to approximately 3" low at 6 o'clock using the same barrel at the same distance (host guns were 2 Colt LE6920's).

    After switching to the Colt 14.5" M4 SOCOM barrel with the Gem-Tech G5, the groups are only approximately 1/2" between 5 and 6 o'clock at 50 yards.

    Semper Fi,
    Jeff

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    True Jeff. But at that price point ($495 from SAW) a mid-length Noveske 14.5" Afghan barrel (w/pinned GB) would accomplish the same thing, and be quite a bit more accurate and for less ($430 and IMO would be better still).

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    Quote Originally Posted by gotm4 View Post
    True Jeff. But at that price point ($495 from SAW) a mid-length Noveske 14.5" Afghan barrel (w/pinned GB) would accomplish the same thing, and be quite a bit more accurate and for less ($430 and IMO would be better still).
    $495 Wow

    I picked up unfired Socom barrel for $290 here.

    I agree when buying new Noveske would be my choice.

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