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Discussion Starter #1
Just got my standard 16" AR 556 early this year and it shoots great at 100 yards!
The question is about the barrel finish of this AR.

Some people asked this question before at other forums but it seems there is no clear answer, some say it is nitrided while some say not. The description in the website just says "cold hammer-forged alloy barrel" and "matte black oxide finish to reduce glare and provide corrosion resistance".
(8500 model in ruger website)

Interesting thing is "nitrided" is mentioned in the 18" MPR or "freefloat handguard" version:
"Cold hammer-forged 4140 chrome-moly steel barrel with ultra-precise rifling" and
"matte black nitrided finish provides corrosion resistance."
(8514 model in ruger website])

Some say non-treated barrel will last about 6k, 6k seems not high for average shooter? Of course it is easy to buy a new upper after that :D
Most of major manufacturers either choose chrome-lined or nitrided barrel and advertise it clearly , why Ruger doesn't do the same thing given its rugged reputation?
 

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The barrel is cold hammer forged, but is neither chrome lined nor nitrided. If that matters to you, there are now quite a few similarly priced options out there for with nitrided bores. Still, tne AR-556 has been out for a few years now, and I don’t think I’ve seen any complaints about bores being shot out prematurely. Also, such barrels tend to outshoot treated and lined barrels.

The Ruger’s most direct competitor, the S&W Sport II, does have an “Armornite” barrel finish. Usually the two rifles are about the same price.
 

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If I understand your post correctly, I think you’re referencing two different characteristics of the barrel. The hammer forging is cutting the rifling inside the barrel . The finish is how the outside of the barrel is treated. The outside coating is used to prevent corrosion. Some barrels are lined inside. Chrome has been used in some barrels. The debate on chrome lined versus no lining has been going on for some time.
 

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I have the same question on my side too.
I’m from Bulgaria, bought AR556 last November. I’ve ask the same question, but from other perspective!
I’ll explain below why.
Here is not so easy to change the upper with new barrel. The firearms law lets say it’s pretty “generous”. If you are former LEO, like me it’s easy to buy a firearms- doesn’t matter the category. In our country are few categories, but the most common are for self defense (need to provide evidence that you need a gun for that), for hunting and under sport permit. I’ll not gone to describe the procedures for all of them, but the the thing is that we need to apply for any firearms and provide evidence and explain why and for what reasons you need it.
When we have the license in our pockets we go to official dealers shops and buy the item/s that we want.
Usually it’s long and time consuming procedure - last time it took me 5 months.

Then we switch to the next topic. The regime and application process of buying ammo is pretty much the same.
The issue here is that we don’t have such of option as a choice that you guys have in a matter of “what kind of ammo”.
We do have something like 15 different brands of .223 on the market. The price (respectively quality) variety between 0.50 and up to 3$ per round - FMJ, HP etc etc.

Additional my interest is going deep by professional side.
First of all I’m sport shooter. By the law I need to prove at least 2 competitions per year in order to hold my firearms license and to give explanation where are the ammo that I’ve bought. For example last year I’ve shot 4K rifle 7,62x39 in competition, pretty much the same will be with.223 this year.
Second - I’m working in “Arsenal” JSCo, the biggest privately owned firearms producing factory in Bulgaria. I’m company marksman and demo shooter, and I’m shooting a lot ... different systems, different platforms, different calibers ... a lot brass are staying behind me :-D
Our products are based on Kalashnikov platforms, some of you might knows them under the brand “SLR” sold in USA by “Arsenal” Inc.
The barrels are chrome plated ... and the factory quarantined at lest 15K rounds before the chrome in the barrel to initiate compromise. For “duty reasons” last year I shot something like 50K 7,62x39 with 3 different rifles. And I know what happens when chrome platted barrel it’s compromised.

Let’s go back to the question. I don’t know what level of usage will hold my Ruger barrel, due to the fact of missing info what type of barrel I have - “black”, chrome plated or nitrated.
For one year on competition, training session and (forgot the therm in English) “fun shooting generally I manage to “destroy” one AK. But here is easy - in the factory they just replaced the barrel and everything else required.
It’s not the same with my Ruger! If I know that my barrel will live 6K corrosive ammo (the most available on the market) then I need to start application prices now!

That’s why for me is important to know the status of my barrel (and the rifle in general)

Sorry for the long post folks, but need to explain some things. Hope that everything is clear and without significant typing and grammar errors :-D



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #5
From ditto1958 and Ruger's website, the standard AR556 is neither chromed-lined or nitrided. I kind of believe this now after doing so many searches.

Some people say hammer-forged barrel is more durable because of the forging process.
Either Ruger thinks people will use 556 for fun or CHF barrel does have similar strength compare to nitrided non-CHF barrel

It is really interesting that SW nitrides non-hammer-forged barrel for MP15
while Ruger chooses hammer-forged barrel without either chrome-line or nitride process for the standard one. ( ruger does have nitrided CHF version for some free-float handguard versions)


So, tojito, non chrome-lined barrel may be more accurate, so it is good for competition I believe. In term of durability, I don't know if it can shoot over 6k for competition purpose.
I probably will buy another complete upper years later and compare both.
In US, a quality complete upper with nitrided barrel from PSA costs no more than $400.
 

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Thanks for the answer.
Complete upper with new barrel are not sold separate from the entire rifle in Bulgaria. In that case procedures are harder, longer and higher prices ... so need to apply now :-D


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just found out a old post saying AR556 passing 10k rounds!
So, maybe 6k is worst case scenario!

rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-auto/179801-just-broke-10-000-rounds-ar556.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just found out a old post saying AR556 passing 10k rounds!
So, maybe 6k is worst case scenario!

rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-auto/179801-just-broke-10-000-rounds-ar556.html
But looks like it's a free-float handgurd version, so its barrel may be nitrided :D
 

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Nahh barrel will be the same ... only the “furniture” it’s different


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I did a Google search and everything I could find said the barrel is made from chromoly steel and treated (not a finish) with a process similar to Melonite. Here's only one of the places I looked:

RugerForum.com ? View topic - Ruger AR-556 Barrel Coating/Lining/Protection?

Unless you're going to go rapidly shoot 1000 rounds at a time I wouldn't worry too much about the barrel, everything eventually wears out if used often enough.

I'm going to enjoy my AR 556, along with the PSA I recently built.
 

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I don't buy into to the barrel life crap! I work as a gunsmith part time for a guy who has been a smith for 30+ yrs and the only time he has ever seen one wear out was because of extended full auto use!
ALSO, while in the Marines for 8 glorious yrs 95-03, we had M16A2's issued to us and they were from the 80's, issued countless times, god knows how many rounds fired through them (we fired a couple thousand a year, start doing the math) and they had the happy switch!!! Guess what, they were still accurate enough to qualify expert everytime all the way out to 500 meters!
 

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I don't buy into to the barrel life crap! I work as a gunsmith part time for a guy who has been a smith for 30+ yrs and the only time he has ever seen one wear out was because of extended full auto use!
ALSO, while in the Marines for 8 glorious yrs 95-03, we had M16A2's issued to us and they were from the 80's, issued countless times, god knows how many rounds fired through them (we fired a couple thousand a year, start doing the math) and they had the happy switch!!! Guess what, they were still accurate enough to qualify expert everytime all the way out to 500 meters!
Excellent point. OP, your barrel is unlikely to wear out any time soon. Also, at about $.40 a round, firing 6,000 would cost you $2,400. If you’ve got that kind of money to spend on ammo, you could easily afford a new barrel every now and then.
 

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Excellent point. OP, your barrel is unlikely to wear out any time soon. Also, at about $.40 a round, firing 6,000 would cost you $2,400. If you’ve got that kind of money to spend on ammo, you could easily afford a new barrel every now and then.
BINGO!!! Although tojito says he shoots a lot for his company and I can understand where he is coming from.

I've got a few old rifles from WW2 and post WW2 and I'm sure those saw plenty of bullets whiz out the barrel. I'll find out soon how well they've held up...I recently joined a shooting club that has a 100yd range so now they get to stretch their legs :D
 

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First, barrels don't "wear out" suddenly. They gradually eroded at the throat and accuracy gradually declines.

When a barrel is considered worn out also depends on what level of accuracy you require. A benchrest shooter may consider a barrel worn out when it will no longer hold 1/4-MOA and that may be as few as 1000 rounds for a centerfire round. A long range target shooter may consider a barrel worn out when it will no longer hold 1 MOA and that could be 5000 rounds. Casual shooters may be perfectly happy with 1-1/2 MOA and for most of them the barrel will outlive them.

Finally you can often restore some accuracy in a worn barrel by loading ammo a bit long to reduce the bullet jump to the now further away rifling.
 

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I agree with GP
When are you shoes worn out? I walk hard and wear shoes out quickly, so I wear them until I can't. If I were a track star, I would replace performance shoes more often. Since I only walk in my shoes, I can wear them until far past what someone else would say are "worn out".

Your barrel is "worn out" when it no longer meets your needs. If your needs are high, buy a high priced barrel. If your needs are low, any barrel will do.

As far as REALLY worn out, meaning a barrel is no longer safe to shoot? Unless you are doing mag dumps with stacks of loaded mags lined up, your not gonna do it. I have watched enough videos of guys shooting these to failure where they have 20 - 30 round mags loaded and shoot the thing until the gun melts around them. They then put the barrel on another gun (after cooling) and the new gun will usually fire. How much you've lost? Who knows unless you've tried it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I emailed Ruger and here is their response

Thank you for your inquiry. The AR-556 barrel has a melanite nitride treatment on the inside and a black oxide coating to provide corrosion resistance. There is no other coating on the rifling of the barrel.


Nitrided barrel should be applied to whole barrel, inside and outside, right? not quite believe what he/she said. 😛 Anyway Ruger probably does something to the CHF barrel, I believe they know what they are doing to compete with other companies with nitrided barrel.
 

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I don't buy into to the barrel life crap! I work as a gunsmith part time for a guy who has been a smith for 30+ yrs and the only time he has ever seen one wear out was because of extended full auto use!
ALSO, while in the Marines for 8 glorious yrs 95-03, we had M16A2's issued to us and they were from the 80's, issued countless times, god knows how many rounds fired through them (we fired a couple thousand a year, start doing the math) and they had the happy switch!!! Guess what, they were still accurate enough to qualify expert everytime all the way out to 500 meters!

Military M16A2s/M4s and the equivalent ARs are chrome lined.

Melonite is a chemical hardening process that does not build a coating, it treats the underlying steel. It makes the steel harder and more corrosion resistant.

I have done a fair amount of research on this and from what I gather.

Chrome>Melonite>hammer forging>cut rifling in order of durability. Then reverse the order for accuracy. I doubt most will shoot out any of them.

There is a great thread on ARForum.com "high round count M16/M4s" or something close to that title, where a full auto range in Las Vegas has sent many of the common ARs to failure. What breaks, whose AR breaks, and when it breaks is quite interesting.

Spoiler alert, the expensive ARs do not fair much, if any, better than cheaper ones. PSA in particular has held up very well. Another interesting fact, the expensive piston guns fail much quicker than the good old DI guns.
 

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Was Ruger in the mix?
I assume you directed this at me?


Not that I recall. All of them were converted to full auto.

Colts, PSA, Daniel Defense, LMTs......others I am sure I missed. Lots of classic firearms to.

Shotguns - only Benelli M4s held up, Remingtons and Mossbergs fell apart.

Glocks - held up very well.

1911s - fall apart pretty quickly.
 
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