View Full Version : Button rifled barrels are really that bad?
12-09-2011, 02:22 PM
I want to build a hunting rifle at a reasonable price that will be dependable out to 500 yards against whitetail, muleys and pigs. I'd like to be proud of what it does on paper, but I will not be heading to Camp Perry any time soon. I know there are folks demanding that their rifles shoot 1/2 inch groups, but i'm trying to inject realism and expectation management into my decisions, especially with a budget in mind. I will pay for what's needed and I don't want to buy twice. I am hoping some of you can lend some experienced insight into the barrel discussion with the aforementioned requirements in mind. I'm sure I'm in the same boat as some other non-match shooters.
OBTW-First post, thanx for having me.
12-09-2011, 03:04 PM
Welcome to the horde Dave: What is your definition of "really that bad". Just trying to get clarification of your expectations. Also, when you say "with a budget in mind" can you give us a rough idea what your budget is so we can narrow it down for you.
Speaking for myself, I don't care if a rifle is classified as hunting, target or both, I want the best accuracy I can get.
In fact, when I am shooting at a live animal( do zombies count here?) it's even more important to me to have the most accurate I can get. Just my personal belief.
So when I purchase a barrel, or a rifle for that matter, I end up always buying the best I can find.
With that said I also understand having to stay within a budget no matter what that budget is.
What I have personally found in my experience is that any barrel( no matter if cut rifled, button rifles or whatever) has the possibility of being accurate.
You don't know until it's shot. I've had very accurate barrels in button rifling, cut rifled and polygonal rifled. I've also had inaccurate barrels in all the mentioned.
I think the better barrel manufacturers give you a better percent chance, no matter what kind of rifling, of having an accurate barrel than those with less reputations.
Maybe they spend more time on the manufacturing, maybe they use better manufacturing equipment, etc., who knows but it seems they have a higher percentage of better performing barrels
Most of the better barrels fall in the $500.00- $600.00 price range and the others seem to fall in the $200.00- $350.00 price range.
When you are saying "dependable", to me that sounds more like how the machine( rifle) works( lack of FTF's, jams,etc.) instead of accuracy.
Hopefully some of this helps and keep those questions coming.
12-09-2011, 04:20 PM
This last year I built my Grendel for deer hunting with a Alexander Arms 16" button barrel and very happy with it. It shoots just <1MOA and that me, I'm sure the rifle could shoot 1/2MOE with a little more due diligent on my part. My AR is a basic hunter nothing high-end except for the $200 for a trigger.
With that said, I'm in the process of upgrading, bought an 18" button barrel, a better scope(hopefully) and considering a different forearm. The problem with the AR platform or the beauty, depending on how you look at it, is there are so many choices.
Define what you want, make a list and start evaluating the options out there. This forum has a lot of good guys that know there chit and are willing to share there knowledge. So, welcome aboard, good luck and have fun.
12-09-2011, 05:32 PM
Dave, I also have the AA 16" button-rifled tube that Whelenon has, and although mine isn't a MOA shooter with factory ammo and low power scope, the 1.5-ish MOA I've managed with it is more than adequate for my need for that gun. I have a dedicated target gun that'll shoot tighter groups, but that barrel was twice the cost (and more than twice the weight!). For a hunting rig, I believe a button-rifled tube will serve you just fine for a reasonably low cost compared to the high end cut-rifled tubes.
12-09-2011, 07:09 PM
There is no significant difference in accuracy based on the rifling method. Both cut and rifled barrels can be incredibly accurate. The quality and consistency of production is the biggest factor leading to accuracy, and that is why some barrels cost more than others.
Do high price barrels sometimes fail to meet that accuracy? Yes. Do cheaper barrels sometimes perform above all expectation? Yes.
We live in a time when the best barrels ever made are being produced, and we should feel lucky. Go back 30 years and read any old gun magazine, and you'll see people very happy with 2-3 MOA at 100 yards, and ecstatic about 1 MOA. Now we EXPECT bolt guns to shoot under 1 MOA, and we even expect AR's to meet that standard, and both often do!
12-09-2011, 07:51 PM
A high-end button-rifled barrel that has been hand-lapped 5-9 times, and air-gauged to less than .001" deviation from chamber to muzzle will shoot very well. Douglas and Shilen come to mind. Since button-rifled barrels are easier to manufacture with one pass of the broaching method, versus multiple passes with a cut-rifled pipe. Hammer-forged barrels have really exploded in popularity in the US as well, with several companies offering them now, like DD, BCM, & Palmetto State Armory for 5.56.
If you want an accuracy guarantee, you need to select a match-grade barrel from the maker, which will cost more either way.
12-11-2011, 02:21 AM
All though I am new to the Grendel, I have been playing with AR's since 1984 and sometime in the 90's I took a little time off from making them. But here 2-3 years ago I got back into playing again and I put togehter a 243WSSM on the AR 15 plateform.It wasn't to much time after that build I decided to do something I had never done before, and that was to build a Target AR 15 in 223 on a budget! I have never put anything on layaway, if I want something and I have the cash to buy it I will buy it NOW! So i started my budget build, only buying a part if it was a real bargin,I ended up with a Killer 24" heavy Tri Angle barrel that will shoot 5 shot groups at a 100yrds that you can cover them with a dime! Grand total less scope $540.00 Now it isn't a Grendel, and my Grendel build will be a lot more than that by a lot. Set down and right down every part that you will need for this build, so to one of the big wholesalers and get prices on each part, and then start shopping buying parts only if they are a bargin. Just like right now Midway has LPK on sale for $52.00. If I can be of any help, pm me and i will do my best to help you.
12-11-2011, 02:48 PM
i have the button riffled aa 24" barrel and it shoots 1/2 inch groups with factory hornady and slightly better with hand loads.
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