When I do an AR build, I really like Faxon barrels. The problem is that all of those are out of stock. I am thinking about doing an AR build and would like recommendations on a quality barrel. Please let me know your thoughts in comments.

Categories: Arts and Crafts


Sarin · November 21, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Bear Creek Arsenal makes a good product.

I’ve heard good things from friends about Black Dirt Rifleworks.

One buddy in particular has built in the neighborhood of 20 uppers. He swears by Ballistic Advantage since they guarantee sub MOA performance out of all their barrels. Spoke highly of their customer service too.

    Lawrence · November 21, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    I’d advise stay as far away from Bear Creek Arsenal as possible. I purchased a complete upper from them and it couldn’t have been put together worse. If I sent you a picture, for example, of the bolt and how they “staked” it you’d know it wasn’t just that I got a 1-off bad rifle. It also closed on a No-Go head space gauge. I’m in the process of returning it.

    As a replacement for that botched rifle, I purchased a complete rifle from Special Ops Tactical which also sells barrels.

      Russell G. · November 22, 2021 at 11:31 am

      Pretty much true. Expect to ‘smith anything coming in from BCA. I usually plan on throwing away their bbls to get the complete upper at a low price (think LR308s).

millerized · November 21, 2021 at 3:39 pm

From experience, buy what you can at this point. AR barrels, like everything else in the rifle designed to be replaceable items, literally with minimal tooling if you use a set screw gas block. Get an operational gun now, buy parts as you can.
If you are looking to burn thousands of rounds on full auto, or just want fancy, find something coated, plated and forged and outside your price range…and eventually you’ll replace it with another.
I used DSA and Stag barrels in the dozens I built (if/when) they were available because they were available. Had absolutely no problems outside of undersized gas ports for the application I had them in, which were easy to drill out to my requirements.
If you don’t plan on cleaning it but once a year, look for chrome lined, or clean it frequently and buy unlined. Hundreds of rounds a year…any barrel will work. Thousands a year, you might replace it every 2-3yrs. Shooting mag dump after mag dump every day of the year, you’ll replace it every year or when ‘accuracy’ suffers.
Spend hundreds or thousands on a barrel…your choice, but my only requirement was twist rate and availability.
(and on the dozen currently in the vault, only 2 have special purpose barrels…a 24″ stainless J&P cryotreat and a 18″ National Match barrel that’s 1″ thick the whole way to the back of the threads. Everything else is plain jane either stag or DSA to include my training rifle)
Just my opinion, I’ve heard others have them too.

JST · November 21, 2021 at 3:47 pm

Criterion . Most of their stuff is heavy. But not this… https://www.fulton-armory.com/barrelfa16m4gicontourcm1x9threadedchromelined-1-5.aspx

    It's just Boris · November 21, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    Very nice.

    Glancing at the AR-15 parts weight database, that weight is pretty good for a 20″ barrel.

LargeMarge · November 21, 2021 at 4:59 pm

Father and daughter Rob and Kelsey Heller at
Saint Helens, Oregon, west of Portland a couple hours, a lovely drive along the Columbia River.
Their machine-shop has (at least three?) five-axis mills, reloading, plus custom bearing manufacturing for current and obscure machinery.
We use their uppers exclusively.
300BO, 6.5CM, 5.56 in a vast variety of weights and lengths.
We probably own a couple-three dozen.
In addition to handling everything else, Kelsey operates the laser engraver.
I highly recommend her custom work.
Each of our uppers and lowers, every scope, and some stainless-steel mugs are engraved with our logo and ‘Off-Shore Explorer Group’.
A couple-three times a year, the Heller family hosts a yuge indoor gun-show in the warehouse loading-dock at the shop.
Plenty of parking for RVs and horse-trailers.

Brass · November 21, 2021 at 5:18 pm

I’m gonna be that guy that says Noveske.

Grog · November 21, 2021 at 5:52 pm

What calibre do you want to use for the build?


Jonathan · November 21, 2021 at 7:17 pm

I’ve seen Faxon barrels mentioned in email adds recently; search and you can probably find someone with them available (can’t guarantee price or twist, though).

It's just Boris · November 21, 2021 at 7:53 pm

Faxon is my usual go-to too.

Criterion. LaRue. Perhaps OdinWorks (although I have not final assembled and shot that one yet, the fit & finish looks very good and everything looks to line up properly on test fits).

But depending on how patient you’re feeling … If this is for a 5.56 / .223 Rem, maybe get what’s available and upgrade later if so desired. Buy it from a distributor with a reputation for good customer service in case you get a lemon.

If this is any (rifle) caliber other than 5.56 NATO / .223 Rem, I’d make sure to get the barrel and bolt from the same company and if they offer a headspace check, do that. (I did this for my .308 build with Faxon barrel and bolt.). I would also invest in a set of go/no-go gauges, or borrow a set, and check it yourself. I have sets for .308 and 6.5 Grendel if you need one of those and can’t find locally, I can loan you a set.

    Divemedic · November 21, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    I have gauges. The BCG I usually go with is the LMOS from JP rifles. I’ve had great luck with it, and it seems to headspace fine with the Faxon barrel.

      It's just Boris · November 21, 2021 at 11:20 pm

      JP and Faxon both make good stuff. Glad you’re planning to check, though; I did run into a (thankfully mild) headspace issue once and it was not a fun day.

      What caliber are you building, by the way? That JP bolt you linked to lists a number of calibers.

Chris · November 21, 2021 at 9:32 pm

Larue Stealth barrel.
Get there gasblock too.
Money WELL spent

chine · November 22, 2021 at 3:19 am

At this point in time, with the shopping/shipping/heck, even finding something problems, whatever you can purchase. As others have stated, you can always change it later when purchase opportunities become better. Remember, the best rifle in the whole world ever is the one in your hands RIGHT THEN when the need arises, not the one you wish you could have.

Russell G. · November 22, 2021 at 11:27 am

ELD Performance barrels are cheap and good and the place ships pretty fast. Those are not the only ones, tho. The ELD performance 9mm barrel turned my stock Foxtrot Mike AR9 from a 6 MOA shooter to a 2 MOA shooter for 85 bucks using gargage Tula Ammo.

Others at the range have followed on ELD AR bbls. It’s their opinion because I haven’t shot em.

You didn’t want be to say Krieger or anything PSA, did you?

Shop the bbls here…If you’re bored.


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