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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?

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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--

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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
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    Long time student of "The Modern Technique"

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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.
    FFL/SOT armorer

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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).
    FFL/SOT armorer

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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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    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).

    I got all (3) of my SOCOM barrels from a guy the Equipment Exchange on ARFCOM in early 2006. The barrels were brand new and I paid just over $300 per barrel (can't remember the exact price, but it was just over $300).

    All of my 6920's already had LaRue 7.0's on them. For me the SOCOM barrels were a more logical and economical route. Had I gone with the Noveske I would have had to purchase a LaRue 9.0 or 12.0, paid approximately $100 more for the Noveske barrel, purchased a LMT or Troy Ind. front back up iron sight, rail pannels, etc.


    The SOCOM barrels are more than accurate enough for my use. I don't know that I would be able to tell much a difference in accuracy between the Colt SOCOM and Noveske using an Aimpoint or Short Dot and 55 grain ammo.




    Semper Fi,
    Jeff

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    Damn those were some killer prices.
    FFL/SOT armorer

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    skich on TOS sold them. They were $325 shipped IIRC. Brand new with the packing wick still in them.

    The M4 SOCOM barrels also have the flats milled in the side of them for fitting of the M203.

    I know I would need a special adapter to fit one to my "gov't" profile barrels with M203 cutouts. I'm sure they make an adapter, but the M4A1 SOCOM's have the flat already there under the handguard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVAN View Post
    skich on TOS sold them. They were $325 shipped IIRC. Brand new with the packing wick still in them.
    I built quite a few uppers for people with skich provided M4A1 barrels...
    That was a good deal for a good barrel.
    Randall Rausch
    AR15 Barrel Guru
    California Precision Rifle Club founding member

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVAN View Post
    skich on TOS sold them. They were $325 shipped IIRC. Brand new with the packing wick still in them.

    Same barrels I was refering to.





    Semper Fi,
    Jeff

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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).


    I myself prefer fixed FSBs on carbines...Id opt for the SOCOM barrel.
    NOT in training for combat deployment.

  14. #14
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    I ran a 16" HBAR for over 10 years.. Some of the characteristics I liked about it vs the Gov profile were.

    - accurate for longer periods when using sustained rate of fire.
    - Heavier barrel kept muzzle climp and recoil to a minimum. This was an advantage on rapid follow up shots/Hammers,etc .

    When I got my M-4 Gov profile barrel, I did notice a sligh incread in muzzle jump and recoil.

    I believe there are some advantages to the heavier profile, but it's up to each individual to decide on the trade offs.

    I never sweated the Gov. profile vs. HBAR weight difference as I never had a problem with the sligh increase. pick one that satisfies a need or a role and drive on....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpy196 View Post
    I myself prefer fixed FSBs on carbines...Id opt for the SOCOM barrel.
    Well - Grant can get FSB installed on a Noveske barrel. He did my 10.5" that way.

    Came out awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulinski View Post
    Well - Grant can get FSB installed on a Noveske barrel. He did my 10.5" that way.

    Came out awesome.
    Yes those were some badass barrels.
    FFL/SOT armorer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulinski View Post
    Well - Grant can get FSB installed on a Noveske barrel. He did my 10.5" that way.

    Came out awesome.
    I have done a few FSB installs on Noveske barrels as well.
    It's not rocket science...
    Randall Rausch
    AR15 Barrel Guru
    California Precision Rifle Club founding member

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    On TOS someone made the claim that the SF M4A1s sit in the armories, since no one wants to carry them around due to their greater weight. So, I had hoped someone here could confirm/refute this claim.

    I jumped on the mid-weight bandwagon and got one of Denny's 16" "Operator" barrels; just wanted to know if there was any real reason for the heavier barrel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wild_wild_wes View Post
    On TOS someone made the claim that the SF M4A1s sit in the armories, since no one wants to carry them around due to their greater weight. So, I had hoped someone here could confirm/refute this claim.

    I jumped on the mid-weight bandwagon and got one of Denny's 16" "Operator" barrels; just wanted to know if there was any real reason for the heavier barrel.
    I don't know if thats true at all (the claim from TOS). I doubt that all SF arms rooms have both M4s and M4A1s in their inventory. Like someone said earlier it's only 4oz heavier.

    From what I understand:

    (safe-semi-burst) M4s still get original Gov't profile M4 cut barrels.
    and
    (safe-semi-auto) M4A1s get the heavier SOCOM barrels.
    FFL/SOT armorer

  20. #20
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    I have not seen a "non-SOCOM" profile barrel since 2002 in any SOF unit. We do not have the option of carrying the lighter barrel, we only have heavy M4 barrels in our arms room. When I shoot out one barrel, I get another heavy barrel. I don't get to pick at that point either.

    TOS is stupid (again)

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