A quality barrel can make or break a firearm.

It impacts accuracy, durability, and corrosion resistance. Choosing a barrel that’s right for you can be challenging, so here are some of the main factors to consider.

1. Chrome lining vs. Nitride treatment:

This is a debate that is ongoing: Which is better chrome lining, or nitride treating a barrel? Both options are good but offer different features.

A chrome lining process will offer excellent corrosion resistance, will last a bit longer with heavy abuse, and is the current standard used by the U.S. military, but those features come at a higher price tag. It is also generally considered slightly less accurate than a nitride barrel, but not by a significant margin. A nitride barrel, on the other hand, will cost you less, be slightly more accurate, and offer great corrosion resistance, but might not last as long under heavy use.

2. Rifle twist:

There are three rifle twist rates that are most common in an AR-15 – 1:7, 1:8, and 1:9 twist rates.   In general, the 1:7 twist rate performs with greater accuracy with a heavier ammo load, such as 62 grains and heavier, but loses a bit of accuracy with 55 grain loads.

A 1:8 twist rate is generally a good “middle ground” barrel, that tends to handle lighter loads and heavier loads well, while a 1:9 twist rate will favor lighter loads, but will lose accuracy with loads of 62 grains and higher.

3. Chamber:

  1. Which one to choose 5.56 or .223? They’re not interchangeable. A 5.56 chamber can deal with the higher-pressure load of the 5.56 round, and is thus able to fire both .223 and 5.56 calibers. A .223 chamber is only designed to handle the lower pressures of a .223 round. While you may be able to fire a few shots of 5.56 ammo through a .223 rated chamber, you’ll likely cause damage to the rifle over the long haul, and potential self-injury due to rifle malfunctions. In general, the best bet is to stick with a 5.56 chamber, and not worry about which round your rifle can handle.

4. Cold Hammer Forged (CHF):

A top quality barrel will generally be cold hammer forged. This increases the density of the material which significantly increases the amount of abuse a rifle barrel can take, to improve the longevity of the rifling. In addition, they will  resist corrosion better, a benefit that is especially helpful if you’re shooting a lot of rounds at a rapid rate.

5. HPT/MPI Tested:

HPT stands for High Pressure Tested, while MPI stands for Magnetic Particle Inspection. This ensures that your barrel will not explode or crack under heavy use. A barrel that is high pressure tested,  receives 70,000 PSI worth of pressure, which far exceeds  the pressure that either a 5.56 or a .223 round create, thus making sure that it’ll handle those higher pressures without a problem. Magnetic particle inspection  ensures that there are no micro-cracks or fissures in the barrel, thus ensuring that it can stand up to the use and abuse thrown at it.

Want to see what a high-quality barrel looks like in person? We carry many top-end brands, such as Daniel Defense and Smith and Wesson. Stop by The Gun Cave at Lake Charles Tackle (https://lakecharlestackle.com/lake-charles-gun-shop/) , and we can help you select a rifle that will fit your needs and last you for years to come.

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