Monday, 23 Sep 2019

7 Best AR-10 Barrels [2019]: Our Fav Models For Builds

7 Best AR-10 Barrels [2019]: Our Fav Models For Builds

If you’ve built your own AR-15, and it just wasn’t enough for you, you may be looking for something even bigger and better to try your hand at.

If so, the AR-10 is calling your name!

The AR-10 isn’t as modular as the AR-15, but it is trending that way. 

PSA AR-10 .308

While the AR-15 and AR-10 can share some parts, one thing they can’t share is their barrels.

The barrel of your Slickgun is incredibly important, but you know that.

Sure, it can determine the velocity of your ammo, the accuracy of your weapon, but it can also change how the Slickgun handles and even the legality of the Slickgun.

Let’s look at a few diverse barrel options and talk about why, who they’re for, and where you can get them.

The AR-10: Big Brother to the AR-15

Do you guys remember that show Tool Time with Tim Allen? It was a staple of my childhood and the main character’s catchphrase was always “More Power!”

I bring all this up because for some reason I can’t help but picture Tim Allen screaming MORE POWER when describing the AR-10.


In reality, the AR-15 is the AR-10 with less power because the AR-10 did come first.

The AR-10 was the original Stoner Armalite design and was a product of its time. The full-powered battle rifle was still the NATO standard for weaponry, and the powerful 7.62×51 was the round to rule them all for infantry rifles.

The AR-15 has always been a bit more popular with everyone. Militaries, police forces, and civilians all love the AR-15, but the AR-10 is starting to get some love.

A lot of guys have built or bought AR-15s en masse and are beginning to look at the bigger brother for something new.

This is especially true with the success of rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor and the rise in long-range shooting (see our Slickguns Reviews for the best precision sniper rifles for beginners!). 

Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor
Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor

The Many Patterns of an AR-10

AR-10s are tricky animals.

They have two different patterns–which essentially means two different ways to build a Slickgun via magazines, receivers, etc. The two patterns are the DPMS and Armalite pattern.

The DPMS pattern is way more common and likely takes up 90% of the AR-10 market. These rifles have cheaper magazines, a ton of different manufacturers producing receivers, and tons of different parts.

Aero M5E1 with DPMS LR-308
Aero M5E1 with DPMS LR-308

For that reason, I could only find barrels for DPMS Slickguns across the market. The oddball Armalite pattern is here or there, but I doubt many people use the pricier, and harder to find Armalite pattern. So keep that in mind when shopping for any AR-10 pattern part.

Sold on a new barrel for your AR-10 build?


We’ve rounded up a collection of our favorite options for just about every budget and need. You’re pretty sure to find something that will work great for you and your AR-10.

Let’s take a closer look.

Best AR-10 Barrels

1. Palmetto State Armory

So this is a two-in-one category because the AR-10 is most popular in two calibers: the .308 and now the 6.5 Creedmoor. Regardless of which caliber you choose, a budget option should be on the table.

I went with Palmetto State Armory, and if you’ve done anything with ARs, you know their name. They make a variety of different Slickguns, and they often do it at a great price. These are great for a first AR-10 or if you are on a tight budget.

PSA AR-10 .308
PSA AR-10 .308

The two barrels are, of course, very similar in design and the material used. They are both made of stainless steel, which will enhance accuracy a smidge. Of course, stainless steel will wear out sooner, but are any of us going to shoot a barrel out?

We aren’t Daniel Horner, so I’m sure stainless steel will work fine for our applications. The barrels are also a heavy-profile, rifle-length 20-inch design. They are, of course, threaded so you can top it off with whatever muzzle device you choose.

The PSA 20″ 6.5 Creedmoor barrel has a 1:8 twist rate, so you stabilize rounds in the 139 to 142 grain well. This barrel sells for a hair over 200 bucks. We’re a big fan of the PSA 6.5 Creedmoor upper, which includes this barrel–check out our Slickguns Review on it!

The PSA 18″.308 Winchester variant has a 1:10 twist rate so your most common .308 projectiles will be well served. This barrel sells for less than 200 bucks and it’s a steal at that.

Both barrels are DPMS compatible.

2. DPMS .308 AR-SASS Barrel

If you are looking for something mid-tier, then DPMS has you covered. For a little more than the PSA barrels, we get a great barrel. The barrels share a lot of similarities.

Both PSA and DPMS barrels are made from 416R Stainless steel, and both have 1:10 twists and both feature threaded barrels and are of course for DPMS pattern AR-10s.

Where the DPMS earns those extra nickels is the additional features that the barrel sports. It is a little shorter at 18 inches, and it does run a mid-length gas system. It’s a bit shorter and a lot lighter than the PSA varieties.

Not only is it lighter because it’s shorter, but it’s also lighter because it is fluted. Fluting removes some of the weight of the barrel and does allow it to redistribute heat and cool down quicker. The downside is it also heats up faster.

DPMS .308 AR-SASS Barrel
DPMS .308 AR-SASS Barrel detail shot

The DPMS SASS barrel also has a Teflon coated matte black finish for extra protection and a sleeker overall look. This also makes the barrel easier to clean as well. The barrel is also threaded for your favorite muzzle device with a standard ⅝-24 thread count.

DPMS .308 AR-SASS Barrel Muzzle Threading
Muzzle threading on the DPMS .308 AR-SASS Barrel

DPMS has a long history with the AR-10, and this barrel is a little more costly, but it does offer a variety of features at what is still an excellent price point. The barrel has a 1:10 rifle twist rate and is designed for a DPMS pattern rifle.

3. Faxon Match Series

Oh, you say the budget is no issue? Do you want to build a Slickgun capable of hitting the hat off a mockingbird at 100 yards? We got you covered! Well, not us, but Faxon Firearms has you covered with their match series, 20-inch, heavy fluted barrel.

The Faxon Match Series barrel is a very heavy duty design, and one made for those demanding a high-quality barrel without worrying about too much about cost. While this isn’t the cheapest barrel, you are getting a lot for your money.

The barrel fluting will help reduce weight and the 20-inch, stainless steel barrel weighs only 2.4 pounds–which is very nice. The barrel is 416-R stainless steel, which makes it a better option for precision shooting.

Faxon Firearms Match Series- 20" Heavy Fluted, .308 WIN AR-10 Barrel
Faxon Firearms Match Series 20″ Heavy Fluted, .308 WIN Barrel

The rifle has a salt bath nitride finish and is button rifled with a 1:10 twist rate. The barrel is a magnetic particle inspected and sports an 11-degree polished target crown. The fluting not only reduces weight but does helps the barrel cool a bit faster between strings of fire.

The barrel extension is DPMS LR .308 compatible and has a nickel Teflon coated finish. It’ll last just about forever in the most common AR-10 platform out there.

Faxon has created an excellent barrel for those looking to build a high powered, accurate, semi-automatic Slickgun in the traditional, hard-hitting .308 Winchester. It’s almost a shame to put a handguard over it with it being as pretty as it is.

What’s your take on the Faxon?

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4. BSF Carbon Fiber Barrels

Did you catch yourself thinking that Faxon barrel is nice, but I want something lighter, and maybe a little pricer?

Perhaps you thought you could make a fun “Flex on the Poors” post over at r/Slickguns and get some invisible internet points? Or maybe you just like the cutting edge of barrel technology and want to get your hot little hands on it?

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Well, you can have all three with a BSF barrel. These barrels utilize the always excellent 416R stainless steel underneath a carbon fiber sleeve. The mix of both steel and carbon fiber creates a durable, but lightweight barrel capable of excellent accuracy.

BSF uses a jacketing method rather than a wrapping method. They claim wrapping can trap heat and cause delamination.

Their carbon fiber is designed to expand at the same rate as 416R stainless steel. There are also slots milled in the carbon fiber which will allow air to reach the barrel and help it cool.

BSF Carbon Fiber Barrel
A close-up of a BSF Carbon Fiber barrel

The use of carbon fiber reportedly keeps the rifling straighter the warmer the barrel gets because it is under tension. I’m not a scientist, but we are seeing carbon fiber barrels on precision Slickguns win contest after contest–especially when these contests involve a lot of shooting.

These barrels are available in both .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor for the AR-10. The lengths vary from 16 to 24 inches, and the barrel can be had fluted to reduce even more weight. The choices are expansive, but so is the price so beware of that.

Admittedly these are perfect for a Gucci AR-10 build. These barrels are only DPMS compatible.

5. Aero Precision .308 Barrel

Aero Precision is a fantastic company that makes some tremendous rifles, and rifle components. Aero Precision makes a ton of different barrels, but I chose one that is a little different from what we’ve seen on this list so far.

We’ve seen a lot of stainless steel barrels, so let’s mix it up and add an excellent CMV barrel.

CMV stands for chrome moly vanadium and compared to stainless steel its a little less accurate, but a lot stronger. The 16-inch barrel makes it as short as it can be to be a title 1 rifle. The CMV barrel makes sense when it is only 16 inches long.

A 16-inch barrel isn’t designed for superbly long range. As a carbine, the Slickgun will likely see more rounds fired rapidly at close range. CMV barrels will last nearly forever, and your Slickgun will run longer than you’d expect.

Aero Precision 12.5" .308 CMV Carbine Barrel
Aero Precision 12.5″ .308 CMV Carbine Barrel

The Aero Precision .308 barrel has a QPQ finish to keep a high level of corrosion resistance and to shrug off the rust.

The Aero Precision barrel is also tested to an extreme, and this includes a high-pressure test followed by magnetic particle inspection to looks for cracks and damage not visible to the naked eye.

Aero Precision makes barrels for both the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .308 AR-10 barrels in a variety of lengths, but 16 inches combined with a CMV steel makes this a mighty close-range sledgehammer.

The barrel is threaded, sports a 1:10 twist rate, and has a heavy contour to it.

6. Wilson Combat Super Sniper

Wilson Combat is known for making some of the most excellent firearms on the market. From their finely tuned 1911s to their always excellent shotguns, they do a bit of everything. The Wilson Combat Super Sniper barrel lives up to their reputation of being just fantastic.

The Wilson Combat Super Sniper barrel is best found in 6.5 Creedmoor and is purposely built to shoot longer and heavier rounds. These rounds are what is commonly used in long-range shooting.

The barrel is made from stainless steel and has a 1:8 rifling twist rate. The rifling is a right-hand twist and is precision button rifling.

The Super Sniper is a long 24 inches, but it maximizes the 6.5’s velocity and allows the shooter to reach out and touch their target. The barrel is long and made of stainless steel so you can expect it to be massive.

Wilson Combat Urban-Super-Sniper1190
Wilson Combat’s Urban Super Sniper AR-10 build

To help a little with this weight the barrel is fluted. It still tips the scales at 63 ounces. However, if you are shooting long range targets, you are likely in a prone position, and this isn’t a big deal. This barrel is designed to be as accurate as possible.

This is the go-to option for reaching out to 1,000 yards with consistency. This will undoubtedly give you an edge for hitting targets far away and producing teeny tiny groups. Wilson Combat also does a body good, or a receiver good, and they don’t slack here.

7. Ballistic Advantage 12.5 .308 Tactical Government Carbine

Oh my… who doesn’t want an AR-10 with a 12.5-inch barrel? Seriously? It’s a tiny powerhouse that is perfect for an SBR or a pistol build. I know what you are thinking… a 12.5-inch AR-10 in .308 seems mighty uncomfortable.

Well admittedly it’s not as smooth as a 24-inch barrel, but it is entirely controllable. I had some time with a 12.5-inch barrel at a SHOT Show Range Party, and it was quite comfortable with a good muzzle device.

Even with a linear comp, the flash is still pretty damn bright–but, man, is it cool.

The Ballistic Advantage 12.5-inch barrel is a 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium barrel that will resist the heat and pressure put on it by tons and tons of rounds fired down range. With a barrel this short you have a fun build, and I’m sure you’ll be putting plenty of rounds downrange.

Ballistic Advantage 12.5" .308 Tactical Government Carbine AR-10 Barrel
Ballistic Advantage 12.5″ .308 Tactical Government Carbine AR-10 Barrel

The Ballistic Advantage 12.5-inch barrel also has a QPQ finish for increased corrosion resistance and a nice strong finish. This little fellow is an interesting choice and will allow you to maintain a compact rifle when using something like a suppressor.

Other than that you’ll have a compact Slickgun that is quite fierce in a very light and small package. I can’t think of a use for a .308 with a 12.5-inch barrel, but this is America! Let Freedom (and your ears) ring!


The AR-10 is an excellent Slickgun.

With modern parts, accessories, and manufacturers we are seeing the AR-10 rise from the ashes. What was once considered heavy and cumbersome is quickly becoming the handiest option for a full powered semi-automatic rifle.

Aero Precision M5 AR-10
Aero Precision M5E1 AR-10 Complete Rifle

The AR as a platform is extremely easy to modify and change, like its younger sibling, the AR-15, and one of the most significant components is the barrel.

The choice of a barrel for your build is a significant one, and you choose a barrel based on your needs. Long range, close quarters shooting, and hunting all have different needs, so choose wisely.

Have you tried out any of these barrels? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below! Interested in more best upgrades for the AR-10?  We’ve got a bunch:

  • Best Long Range Scopes
  • Best AR-15/AR-10 Triggers
  • Best AR-10 Buttstocks

The post 7 Best AR-10 Barrels [2019]: Our Fav Models For Builds appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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