Carbon Wrapped Barrel Pecking Order?

Unckebob

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If one was looking to buy a carbon wrapped barrel, is there some sort of tier/cost pecking order I should be considering when I start looking at a new build. My wife and I drive a Toyota and an Accord if that gives you an idea of what tier products I typically look for. Even if I had the cash, I would not buy a Supercar.

Tier 1: No Budget
Tier 2: Luxury buy
Tier 3: Honda quaility
Tier 4: Value buy
Tier 5: Chines crap quality
 

TxLite

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They are pretty much all tier 2 or 1 imo.

I did see an eBay listing for a factory tikka barrel that someone did a diy carbon wrap on. I’d put that in tier 5.
 

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Unckebob

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They are pretty much all tier 2 or 1 imo.

I did see an eBay listing for a factory tikka barrel that someone did a diy carbon wrap on. I’d put that in tier 5.

What peaked my interest was a look at X-Caliber barrel's website. Their CF barrels are less than I expected.
 
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What peaked my interest was a look at X-Caliber barrel's website. Their CF barrels are less than I expected.
By the time you add on the muzzle threading and everything they aren’t as cheap as you think. But they’re 20% off right now. We’ve ran a bunch of them and all but one
Shoot under 1/2. It got warrantied. Smith is Getting ready to do another build on one for me specifically very soon. I’d buy one at the 20% off price but like I said make sure it’s threaded if you want one done Because they don’t leave shank on there for you to thread it if not.
 

ddowning

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Light contour, fluted steel, or lighter contour steel will be more consistent than carbon and cheaper. There is no weight savings with carbon when you look at it like this. Carbon barrels look cool, but they cost a shitload, and your chances of getting a lemon are higher.
 

gbflyer

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My one and only is an X-Cal. It’s a good barrel. 6mm. I had them chamber it because I didn’t want any excuses. They probably aren’t the lightest. I got it because all the cool kids have one and it looks good.
 
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Unckebob

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Light contour, fluted steel, or lighter contour steel will be more consistent than carbon and cheaper. There is no weight savings with carbon when you look at it like this. Carbon barrels look cool, but they cost a shitload, and your chances of getting a lemon are higher.

Because I have hearing issues, I only shoot suppressed.

Consequently, I cannot use the really light contours.
- Some of barrel sellers want me to use their Heavy Sporter Contour if I want it threaded for a suppressor. I have two 2” heavy sporter barrels and they aren't really light and they look strange.
- At least some of them willl not flute barrels on sporter contour barrels.

At the end of the day, I figure I might as well get a threaded carbon barrel if the weight is going to be high anyway.
 
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ddowning

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Because I have hearing issues, I only shoot suppressed.

Consequently, I cannot use the really light contours.
- Some of barrel sellers want me to use their Heavy Sporter Contour if I want it threaded for a suppressor. I have two 2” heavy sporter barrels and they aren't really light and they look strange.
- At least some of them willl not flute barrels on sporter contour barrels.

At the end of the day, I figure I might as well get a threaded carbon barrel if the weight is going to be high anyway.
If you like the looks, go for it. For me, barrels are like tires. I hate having shitty ones when I need good ones, but I hate paying for them. I place a lot of value on cost vs precision and very little on looks. If I was worried about looks like you, I would probably spend the extra on a bartlein carbon in mod bb and be content.
 
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Because I have hearing issues, I only shoot suppressed.

Consequently, I cannot use the really light contours.
- Some of barrel sellers want me to use their Heavy Sporter Contour if I want it threaded for a suppressor. I have two 2” heavy sporter barrels and they aren't really light and they look strange.
- At least some of them willl not flute barrels on sporter contour barrels.

At the end of the day, I figure I might as well get a threaded carbon barrel if the weight is going to be high anyway.
A fluted bartlein 3b, benchmark #5? And an ace whatever they call in the same diameter are all going to weigh the same or within less than 2 Oz of a carbon, and cost less.
You can run supressors just fine on steel barrels.
My next gun is getting a fluted steel, and it's gonna have a supressor. Carbon looks great but it's not gonna be better for the extra cost

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
 
Joined
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Because I have hearing issues, I only shoot suppressed.

Consequently, I cannot use the really light contours.
- Some of barrel sellers want me to use their Heavy Sporter Contour if I want it threaded for a suppressor. I have two 2” heavy sporter barrels and they aren't really light and they look strange.
- At least some of them willl not flute barrels on sporter contour barrels.

At the end of the day, I figure I might as well get a threaded carbon barrel if the weight is going to be high anyway.

I bought 2 carbons because I thought if I wanted to hit a certain weight and have 5/8 threads a carbon was the only way. That is not the case, especially at normal barrel lengths desirable for suppressed use.

Depending on bore size, a guy can use 9/16 or 1/2" threads and still maintain 0.100" shoulder on most sporter contours without issue. Further, there are ways to thread 5/8" on contours with insufficient shoulders and then add an adapter or shoulder onto that barrel so it works with 5/8" threads without making barrel really thin on larger bores. I don't know what barrel maker would argue these points? PVA says their bartlein #3 or brux #4 (same exact contour but both listed on their website) are "not compatible with muzzle threads" which is nonsense and i'm sure you could get them squared away. That contour has 0.725" shoulder (frequently quoted min for 5/8 threads) at a 21" finish length and .662" shoulder for 9/16 threads (which TBAC who is conservative on this says is good for .264-.308 bores) @ like 27.5" finish length.

That said, I'm not a fan of aggressively fluting sporter barrels either and even a bartlein #3 contour is still heavier than many carbons. The main issue with lots of these aftermarket barrel contours is they taper slowly from the breech compared to many factory sporter contours. Benchmark is better with their contours at tapering faster at the breech and getting a company to match the idea of PBB's hybrid lite contour is ideal for light barrels with threads IMO.

The frustrating part with light steel contours.. there isnt that many blanks available which has to partially be because the market is hoodwinked into paying double for carbon for those applications so they can look cool.

My input (largely based on my perception and research as I havent had that many barrels):

Tier 1: No Budget - Custom steel contour if an existing one doesn't work from Krieger, benchmark, bartlein, brux, etc - Pay to have a discerning smith chamber it.
Tier 2: Luxury buy - If you want to waste $ on carbon - bartlein, benchmark, proof.
Tier 3: Honda quaility - PVA Osprey steel custom contour
Tier 4: Value buy
Tier 5: Chines crap quality

Non-value buy - Paying more than the cost of a premium blank blank to get a 2nd tier blank but then wrapped in carbon so your 2nd tier barrel has a higher likelihood of getting messed up.
 

Article 4

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The dogging I’ve seen has been from their prefits not headspacing properly, but the ones I’ve used have all been great and shot phenomenally
I have shot many PROOF and Bartlein carbon barrels. I have no experience with benchmark or other companies due to my preference in how the barrel is wrapped and how the wrapping of a barrel affect heat movement from the SS core.

To date, I have shot somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 to 20,000 rounds through carbon bbls and have not had any issues in accuracy, POI shift, nor have i noticed any huge difference in barrel life however.

Carbon is fun, but if you are going to build a hunting rifle, may not be necessary. A #3 or #4 fluted will weigh about the same +/- 4 oz and run just fine...for about 300 to 400 less $$$
 

Ucsdryder

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I bought 2 carbons because I thought if I wanted to hit a certain weight and have 5/8 threads a carbon was the only way. That is not the case, especially at normal barrel lengths desirable for suppressed use.

Depending on bore size, a guy can use 9/16 or 1/2" threads and still maintain 0.100" shoulder on most sporter contours without issue. Further, there are ways to thread 5/8" on contours with insufficient shoulders and then add an adapter or shoulder onto that barrel so it works with 5/8" threads without making barrel really thin on larger bores. I don't know what barrel maker would argue these points? PVA says their bartlein #3 or brux #4 (same exact contour but both listed on their website) are "not compatible with muzzle threads" which is nonsense and i'm sure you could get them squared away. That contour has 0.725" shoulder (frequently quoted min for 5/8 threads) at a 21" finish length and .662" shoulder for 9/16 threads (which TBAC who is conservative on this says is good for .264-.308 bores) @ like 27.5" finish length.

That said, I'm not a fan of aggressively fluting sporter barrels either and even a bartlein #3 contour is still heavier than many carbons. The main issue with lots of these aftermarket barrel contours is they taper slowly from the breech compared to many factory sporter contours. Benchmark is better with their contours at tapering faster at the breech and getting a company to match the idea of PBB's hybrid lite contour is ideal for light barrels with threads IMO.

The frustrating part with light steel contours.. there isnt that many blanks available which has to partially be because the market is hoodwinked into paying double for carbon for those applications so they can look cool.

My input (largely based on my perception and research as I havent had that many barrels):
I always hear this but in my experience carbon always wins.

1. By the time you pay for fluting the difference in price isn’t that much.

2. The weight of carbon always seems to be less, even fluted. Guys pay a lot of money to save 4 ounces, so 200-300 for a CF over a steel isn’t outrageous if you’re saving 4 ounces (IMO).

3. Not having to deal with the pencil barrel up front with a false shoulder or a 1/2”, etc is worth a little more.

Here’s what I’d love…

Steel barrel, not fluted, with a flared end to accept 5/8x24 that weighs the same as a CF barrel for $300 less than a cf barrel. That barrel would be the cats meow but I don’t think it’s possible…which is why I keep going back to CF.
 
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I always hear this but in my experience carbon always wins.

1. By the time you pay for fluting the difference in price isn’t that much.

2. The weight of carbon always seems to be less, even fluted. Guys pay a lot of money to save 4 ounces, so 200-300 for a CF over a steel isn’t outrageous if you’re saving 4 ounces (IMO).

3. Not having to deal with the pencil barrel up front with a false shoulder or a 1/2”, etc is worth a little more.

Here’s what I’d love…

Steel barrel, not fluted, with a flared end to accept 5/8x24 that weighs the same as a CF barrel for $300 less than a cf barrel. That barrel would be the cats meow but I don’t think it’s possible…which is why I keep going back to CF.

#1: I'm not a fan of fluting either so just dont do it and then it's not a cost.
#2: Less than what? How light are you trying to go? There's a number of pictures floating around of sub 2.5# steel barrels with adequate threads/shoulder. The PBB hybrid is barely heavier than a factory tikka lite barrel. My 18" 6.5 creedmoor tikka w/ 9/16 threads weighs 36.3 ounces.
#3: Agree, the added convenience doesn't make up for much of a $300 premium though.

And there's still the performance aspect. No performance benefit but more so evidence of a performance down side.

Edit to add: I think what you asked for is definitely possible, there just has to be a market for it. There's a market for carbon blanks that are limited in their finish lengths so I'd think there could be one for steel blanks like this as well. But the the market has to understand that it would be just as good as a carbon and not be hoodwinked into thinking they are actually getting a performance benefit for their extra $300+ for a carbon. The PBB lite hybrid taper is on to something that is probably more versatile because they dont need to be finish length specific. The downfall is aesthetics - people who insist on having a tight barrel channel might not like that idea and they are likely fit the same mold as people who pay $300+ more for carbon because it "looks cool".
 
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