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Discussion Starter #1
My nephew is wanting to build a "tack driver" AR in 5.56 but when I sent him to the White Oak Armament, Noveske and Compass Lake Engineering sites with recommendations his reasoning was he could buy an entire rifle for what they charged for barrels and three rifles for an upper. I am going to build his upper for him then advise as he as builds the lower himself. Afterwards will help him get the gas system tuned with proper buffer. Since I seldom buy lower price 5.56 barrels but all my ARP 6.8 barrels shoot exceptional for price range and my ARP 22 Nosler barrel has impressed me sent him to ARP for their 18" 223 Wylde stainless fluted 3 Gun barrel with 1:8 twist 5R rifling. Have three ARP 6.8 5R barrels and all are fine shooters so figured if he would not go with a tube I know shoots 1/2 MOA or better to recommend the ARP tube at $239. He told me ordered it day before yesterday so is inbound with all other parts on list I gave him. Anyone used this barrel here? Assume it will shoot sub MOA easily but just wondering what accuracy others are getting with it.
 

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I built an upper for a friend with the same barrel but the melonited version and it is extremely accurate. When I function tested and zeroed it for him I was shooting match grade 77gr OTM was 1/2" MOA, 5 round group at 100 yards. Hornady Full Boar 62gr GMX was also under an inch. I was extremely impressed. I do not think you'll be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Building a Mk12 Mod H clone with PRI carbon fiber forearm, #34 ARMS Rail, every single part to exact Staff Sgt Hollands original specifications. Except person doing the upper for wants a spiral fluted barrel so figured the ARP would be as good as he needs and send some money to a strong supporter of us 6.8 and other odd cartridge folk. Ordered all his lower parts minus lower receiver which are correct Mk12 Mod H parts as well. Going to look a bit odd but it may give the rifle a bit of character.
 

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Finished the Mk12 Mod H clone using the ARP 18" 5.56 spiral fluted 5R barrel and took to range this morning. Ran several types of factory ammo through it in process of tuning and breaking in. Ran a patch down the bore after first few groups then got gas block tuned without a suppressor and found proper number of clicks for proper operation with suppressor. Sat down before leaving due to heat and ran several groups with ammo I always have good results such as Tubbs 69 grain DTAC loaded with Sierra Match Kings, Black Hills 69 grain OTM and one ofmy hand loads that likes a wice rage of rifles. Managed to squeeze three honest under 0.500" five shot groups from the magazine before the heat would not let barrel cool enought to just keep running rounds as it needed a good cleaning before it goes back to the range.

Need to go over the rifle, make sure all fasteners are snug, give it a proper cleaning and take it back later in the week as supposed to cool off a bit. Have enough rounds down the bore that after a good examination for open grain structure around throat with the bore scope will know if need to lap the throat to tighten close up any open pores or not then set in to see how well it actually shoots. Am fairly sure it will shoot 1/3 MOA with right ammo if not 1/4 MOA with a bit of luck from the driver. Usually I am the weak link in a rifles actual accuracy but if shoot one enough will usually get a few decent groups that indicate it's true ability. Still have to put an appropriate camouflage finish on it as Mk12s usually have a rattle can finish applied by armorers or in field by operators based on best colors for terrain. Rattle can painting a $400 PRI carbon fiber forearm plus ARMS #34 rail, Leupold scope and pile of other high dollar parts seems wrong when have over a half dozen colors of Cerakote, professional spray guns and paint booth but that's how a Mk12 is done. Looks like I will be trying some more ARP 5.56 tubes.
 

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I am in the process of building an AR with a friend and I am really trying to get him not to skimp on the barrel. He's coming around to the idea, but hasn't quite bought off on the "buy once, cry once" method. He loves shooting my rifles though!

Glad to hear you've found such success.
 

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I am in the process of building an AR with a friend and I am really trying to get him not to skimp on the barrel. He's coming around to the idea, but hasn't quite bought off on the "buy once, cry once" method. He loves shooting my rifles though!

Glad to hear you've found such success.
There are only a couple of areas on an AR you should spend $$$$, ir at least get quality parts. The barrel is #1. BCG is #2 IMO, and #3 is the trigger. Get 3 quality (quality doesn't mean the biggest name or most expensive) parts in those areas and you will be happy.
 

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Wise choices. ARP barrels are made to the demanding specs of Harrison. I have always been very satisfied with his fine accurate barrels. Comparably accurate barrels cost considerably more...for same results. Customer service is 5 star+. Buy American
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Actually ARP barrels are the most inexpensive barrels I usually buy but have found they out shoot their price point making them a bargain. I have more White Oak Armament, Noveske and similar price point barrels than any. Many of my White Oaks are profiled from Shilen and Krieger blanks. I even have a pair of White Oak profiled Kreiger single point cut rifled 26" AR 10 barrels in 6XC from a very limited run they did back when dabbled in the AR 10 market. Also have Bartlein profiled by both White Oak and Compass Lake Engineering. ARP are the most inexpensive barrels I buy and if they shot like other barrels in their price range would not have many but they shoot as well as barrels that cost $70 to $100 more than their everyday price so now have them in 22 Nosler and 5.56 in addition to 6.8 and some wildcat cartridges. If someone is hesitating on the price of an ARP for a cheaper barrel odds are they will end up with a rifle that I would not want except to strip for parts unless they cheaped out on every part.

Out of curiosity I purchased a pair of Midways AR Stoner two stage triggers while on sale for $79. They had an odd profile that turned out to work very well but the engagement surfaces were very rough and machine marks showed through the plating. Took both and put them in my Power Custom hammer & sear jig then went back and forth to my Power Custom fitting plate. Was able to take most of the pebble looking finish off the sear without cutting through the plating so didn't have to worry about cutting through the case hardening which is typically thin on triggers and the sears squared up nicely. The hammer notch on one was a bit more out of square than the other but got both square and slick without cutting through the case hardening as well. Swapped a JP low power trigger spring (I never use their low power hammer spring as will have trouble lighting hard military primers) into the set along with a JP 3.5 Enhanced Reliability hammer spring and used the supplied AR Stoner disconnect spring. When all squaring, polishing and springs were swapped both triggers had a wonderful 2.4 total pull weight and feel as nice as many of my $250ish Geisseles.

With a decent milspec trigger I can generally good tune them down as low as 3.75 pounds if I choose or about any weight from four to six pounds I feel is appropriate for the rifle they are going in. When Colt Competition went bankrupt CNN sold off all their inventory. Bought 24 Colt plated milspec triggers and 18 of the Colt Competition Target Triggers. The milspecs tune to a beautiful crisp 3.5 pounds with almost zero creep and just enough travel that round clears bore before trigger hits end of its travel causing pulled shots. Too little travel can cause major issues if trigger hits the stop before sear disengages, hammer falls, primer lights and bullet leaves muzzle. Too little travel and end of trigger stroke will cause pulled shots.

I own a pile of Geissels, Hiperfire 24Es (one of my favorites and when they renamed their product line adding more triggers was able to buy a dozen 24Es and a dozen 243Gs) and while I generally shy away from sealed triggers have several Timney Daniel Horners and Calvin Elite Single Stage Drop Ins. In my parts locker have well over 100 to 150 triggers (lucked out and grabbed a dozen Franklin Binaries at wholesale from one vendor and six from another the day after the Las Vegas shooting when wholesale was still $249 each) in all price ranges. What I have found are the more expensive are drop in out of package and be happy. Many under $100 clearance triggers can spend some time with using a good hammer & sear jig then find the right combination of aftermarket springs and they become as nice as trigger cost two to three times as much or more.

I have been tuning triggers for over 35 years and have about $1,000 in specialty tools to do the work. But a good hammer & sear jig with jigs for multiple triggers (I started doing 1911 triggers and Smith wheel guns almost exclusively for first ten years) but now tune 10/22, ARs, AK/SKS, M1a/M14, SIG 2022s, FN FAL, Smith/Ruger/Colt/Rossi/Taurus wheel guns and many more. Once you buy a hammer and sear jig for the cost of one trigger you can buy all the adapters and fitting plates to add another family of firearms. If a person builds more than a couple ARs per year the price for a Power Custom Jig and accessories will pay for itself after about three trigger jobs. I can take a stock Walmart 10/22 and without spending a dime on parts can make the trigger better than a Ruger BX match trigger and with a couple aftermarket parts such as hammer, sear, shims, springs, firing pin, etc can take a factory 10/22 trigger from horrid to 18 to 24 ounces if put in the effort.

Many premium triggers are same parts and geometry of inexpensive triggers but some technician in manufacturers plant hand fitted the parts on his jig, put a better choice of springs in the bag with them and only difference between some $79 to $99 triggers and $250 to $290 triggers is that person who hand fit each part before dropping them in the bag. Learning to tune triggers has a learning curve but once you have the tools, a good selection of springs, shims, etc a person can set up nice triggers in under an hour for 1/3 of the cost of a premium trigger. The triggers in my AR 10s in 6XC drop at 14 ounces and will not slam fire. Some non milspec (Chinese crap) can be so out of square and rough with thin case hardening that you better know how to heat treat a trigger after working on it or it will wear out in a few hundred cycles because of cutting down into the soft metal below case hardening.

The tricks for a great AR build is buying a good barrel, squaring the upper receiver and properly torquing the barrel to the receiver, proper fitting and torquing of all parts, proper gas system setup and either buying or tuning a decent trigger then it's all up to the driver. I have a fairly generic 6.8 with 18" ARP 5R barrel and a well tuned $59 trigger that has a dozens of first round cold bore kills on varmints such as ground hogs and coyote in the 375 to 425 yard range. Have a 20" ARP 22 Nosler that zaps varmints easily out in 550 to 600 yard range. That said when I step up to a Bartlein, Shilen, Krieger or similar single point cut rifled air gauged barrel the entire dynamics change but your starting with a $500 and up barrel based on rifle as a nice AR 10 barrel will start at $700 but like your glass or night vision. Buy once and cry once. Barrels that need a March or Nightforce quality scope to realize their potential are rifles your average kitchen table builder or price concious builder will never play with. Cutting through the mirage at distance in bad conditions takes a piece of glass that out prices most complete builds.

That said I have a pile of rifles built from OEM takeoff parts where people upgrade a barrel and abandon it. Add a free float forearm and leave the milspec forearm with me. Same with stocks and other parts to where I have a pile of builds with under $200 invEstes and some with under $100 in parts I paid for. Gave a relative two of my spare parts rifles this week. My mom comes and gets a couple per year. There is a need for every price point rifle but even if it's built from a pile of take off OEM parts it can be built to outshoot the OEM rifles the parts were removed from with care. This week's build blew my mind looking at the PRI invoice for a $367 15" carbon forearm and $198 #34 ARMS rail to top the receiver and forearm off. Basically $500 for a forearm and rail, the ARP barrel was cheap. Will post pictures when get the camouflage finish done after finish break in.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Been through full break in. Happy with or without suppressor and now just have to field strip, degrease and lay down a custom camoflauge finish.

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