Alternatives to Criterion?

SkepticalTiger

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Looking into building a RECCE AR15 using a 13.9" Criterion. Have been recommended Roscoe, BA, and Proof Research on the high end. Would like to keep the rifle barrel between 13.7 - 14.5" and looking to get under MOA at 100y with 77gr factory ammo it likes. Plan on taking it out to 600 yards max. I understand CL barrels aren't as accurate as nitride or SS, but looking to run this hard suppressed 50% of the time and live in humid Texas so corrosion resistance is a concern. That and I'll be using this in classes, and some light competition.

Big question here is, what am I gaining by going with Proof Research at 3x the cost for a CF 14.5" besides saving sub 4oz and what am I losing by going with BA, Roscoe, {insert other barrel brand} by saving 1/3 the cost? Criterion's CORE model jumped out to me for the gas port size, weight and people here have been getting good results.
 
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TonyTheTiger

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Get the Criterion, it's what you really want and it fits your criteria best.
I've got barrels from all the companies you mentioned except for Proof and they all work as advertised. Proof is more likely to get hair splitting accuracy than the rest, but since you mentioned 600 yards and <14.5" barrels in the same sentence I'm guessing this is not going to be an F class rifle.
Also, everyone I know with one exception that has used a Proof CF barrel for competition/barrel burning activities has reported shorter than average lifespans.
 

rlsmith1

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Get the Criterion, it's what I did and pinned a Dead Air flash hider and haven't looked back
 

SkepticalTiger

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Get the Criterion, it's what you really want and it fits your criteria best.
I've got barrels from all the companies you mentioned except for Proof and they all work as advertised. Proof is more likely to get hair splitting accuracy than the rest, but since you mentioned 600 yards and <14.5" barrels in the same sentence I'm guessing this is not going to be an F class rifle.
Also, everyone I know with one exception that has used a Proof CF barrel for competition/barrel burning activities has reported shorter than average lifespans.
Appreciate the input. Why I ask here instead of reddit. Lot more people who really love the hobby and have a lot more wealth of information. Ideally I'd go proof or a higher end barrel if I was opting for an 18" to shoot at 1k or more with something around the 6mm range. 556 / 223 with 77gr from what I calculated should have a nice frag range out to 300 and a hit range out to 600 if I do my part right. 55gr within cqb distances or sub 100 - 150 if I recall right.
 
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TonyTheTiger

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Ideally I'd go proof or a higher end barrel if I was opting for an 18" to shoot at 1k or more with something around the 6mm range. 556 / 223 with 77gr from what I calculated should have a nice frag range out to 300 and a hit range out to 600 if I do my part right. 55gr within cqb distances or sub 100 - 150 if I recall right.
Yeah, in a perfect world we'd all have Bartleins on every gun we own, but sometimes you have to balance realistic expectations vs actual use vs budget and you come to the conclusion that not every rifle needs a premium barrel.
FWIW I've had my Rosco 13.7" out to 830 yards on a 16" plate with better than 60% hits in significant wind. My 14.5" Core has only been to 725 on calm days but the same 16" target is easy peasy. So your 600 yard hit range is within reason.
 

TacticalPlinker

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What kind of groups are the Criterion CORE users getting and what's the preferred FACTORY ammo selection to get the results ?
 
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SkepticalTiger

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Yeah, in a perfect world we'd all have Bartleins on every gun we own, but sometimes you have to balance realistic expectations vs actual use vs budget and you come to the conclusion that not every rifle needs a premium barrel.
FWIW I've had my Rosco 13.7" out to 830 yards on a 16" plate with better than 60% hits in significant wind. My 14.5" Core has only been to 725 on calm days but the same 16" target is easy peasy. So your 600 yard hit range is within reason.
Precisely why I'm trying to hit that balance. I use a lower with a fixed stock 13" LOP and only get access to long distance at my range with rifles. Pistol braced ARs, bullpups and PCCs are restricted to 100 yards max. I've heard from some guys say 16" if you aren't going suppressed and something like an 11.5" or 12.5" if suppressed. 13.7 / 13.9 to me seems to hit that happy balance balance and not all shots have to be lethal at 200 - 300+ yards if SHTF did occur.

From my research regarding 556 and what I intend to use this SHTF build for, with the barrel length suppressor combo I'll be just a hair longer than a 16" with a birdcage while keeping enough ballistics with common 55gr ammo at reasonable engagement distances sub 100 - 150 while being able to extend that out to 300 with 77gr that has a frag velocity of around 1900 if I recall. I've heard it could go as low as 1700 which'll put me around 500~ effective range.
 
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RUTGERS95

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Looking into building a RECCE AR15 using a 13.9" Criterion. Have been recommended Roscoe, BA, and Proof Research on the high end. Would like to keep the rifle barrel between 13.7 - 14.5" and looking to get under MOA at 100y with 77gr factory ammo it likes. Plan on taking it out to 600 yards max. I understand CL barrels aren't as accurate as nitride or SS, but looking to run this hard suppressed 50% of the time and live in humid Texas so corrosion resistance is a concern. That and I'll be using this in classes, and some light competition.

Big question here is, what am I gaining by going with Proof Research at 3x the cost for a CF 14.5" besides saving sub 4oz and what am I losing by going with BA, Roscoe, {insert other barrel brand} by saving 1/3 the cost? Criterion's CORE model jumped out to me for the gas port size, weight and people here have been getting good results.
centurion arms gets stellar accuracy results
obviously criterion
wilson combat?
 

n2ishun

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    I've had lots of barrels in that length range.
    One of the best shooters I've had is a FN 14.7" 1:7 CHF chrome lined.
    Lights out was how it shot almost everything.
    3/8"-1/2" was the norm and it loved cheapo Fiocchi 223A.
    Try shooting quail on the wing with a scoped AR, it's possible, it just ain't easy.
    quack.jpg

    20160306_131238.jpg
     

    r.tenorio671

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    ...based on my personal experience with BA barrels over the years, I keep going with them as I haven't had a bad tube from them yet for 300BO, 556 NATO, 223 Wylde, .308Win and now 6mmARC. The new 6.5 Creedmoor upper is pending assembly, but the 6mmARC performance has me rethinking that....I prefer the lighter, handier AR15 format. With BA's introduction of their Black Series (SS Nitride) I'm hopeful that the nitriding imparts enhanced longevity & durability. My 10.1" BA Hanson SS in 300BO is my most used & abused tube and recently got my Teslong to check my barrels, it has firecracking developing yet is still just as accurate as before after all these years. I use LilGun, which is purportedly higher temp burning and allegedly impacts barrel erosion/firecracking so it is what it is, but barrels are "consumable". I intend to wait until all the ATF hoopla over "pistols" is finalized before I consider replacing barrel. Under current federal law, IIRC, converting "rifle" to "pistol" is ok, the reverse direction either isn't or too damn many hoops to hop thru.

    ...to answer the OP, any of the brands you mention will meet your criteria; pricing & availability will most likely be the deciding factor as I doubt seriously there is significant difference between the actual performance of the brands.
     
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    MJC

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    Criterion's chrome lined barrels are done with more uniformity that the average cl barrels done by xyz. I had an 18" .308 gas gun barrel that shot very well. If they have the contour you want I would not hesitate to go with a Criterion.
     

    r.tenorio671

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    Criterion's chrome lined barrels are done with more uniformity that the average cl barrels done by xyz. I had an 18" .308 gas gun barrel that shot very well. If they have the contour you want I would not hesitate to go with a Criterion.
    ...Criterion states they lap the barrels before chrome lining. IMHO that can't help but improve on the accuracy potential of their CL tubes.
     

    TheHorta

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    I got a brand new 14.5” Proof CF .223 1/7 Wylde from a Hide vendor for $800. That seems cheap.
     

    just browsing

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    Fwiw I ordered an 11.5” Core last week and it already shipped, if that’s weighing in your decision at all. Website says 1-2 months out.
     
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    r.tenorio671

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    You won't be disappointed with any Criterion barrel.
    They make a great product
    ....I don't doubt it, they have a well established user base and the resultant reviews. Although I have been using Ballistic Advantage barrels the most AND having excellent results to date, I don't have an absolute loyalty to ANY brand. When I want or need a new tube, I go with the one from a list of reputable barrels/sources that I can get my hands on at a cost I can live with.
     

    Ravenworks

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    ....I don't doubt it, they have a well established user base and the resultant reviews. Although I have been using Ballistic Advantage barrels the most AND having excellent results to date, I don't have an absolute loyalty to ANY brand. When I want or need a new tube, I go with the one from a list of reputable barrels/sources that I can get my hands on at a cost I can live with.

    A lot of us use BA barrels too because they are cheap.

    There's a reason some automobiles cost $X and some $XXX.
    Your posts makes Criterion barrels irrelevant to you because you injected cost into your deciding factor from your previous post.
     

    SkepticalTiger

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    Planning on also going with a BCM Phosphate BCG since I can have Criterion headspace 2 bolts to the same barrel for peace of mind. Will be harder to clean for sure, but not too worried about that since the only real difference in coatings is just ease of clean. Function over form I suppose.
     

    SkepticalTiger

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    ....I don't doubt it, they have a well established user base and the resultant reviews. Although I have been using Ballistic Advantage barrels the most AND having excellent results to date, I don't have an absolute loyalty to ANY brand. When I want or need a new tube, I go with the one from a list of reputable barrels/sources that I can get my hands on at a cost I can live with.
    I'll also be suppressing this so the appeal is the profile and gas port. Otherwise I'd probably opt for a faxon or BA barrel to keep things simple.
     

    Ravenworks

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    I'll also be suppressing this so the appeal is the profile and gas port. Otherwise I'd probably opt for a faxon or BA barrel to keep things simple.
    You already over complicated things, believe me you are not the only person to put a silencer on the AR platform
     

    n2ishun

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    You don't have to believe anything.
    The sky is blue.
    Water is wet.
    My FN barrel outshoots my Lilja 24" and my Shilen 16".
    Maybe I just got a freak, I personally don't care.
    It shoots well enough that you can't buy it from me, you can't afford it.
     
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    Ravenworks

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    Maybe I just got a freak, I personally don't care.
    It shoots well enough that you can't buy it from me, you can't afford it.

    I don't need yours,
    Primary Arms has a sale on FN barrels once a year.
    You can get any of their barrels when they are on sale for less than $89
    That's a chrome lined barrel on the cheap.
     

    n2ishun

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    I don't need yours,
    Primary Arms has a sale on FN barrels once a year.
    You can get any of their barrels when they are on sale for less than $89
    That's a chrome lined barrel on the cheap.
    That is not the price of the CHF chrome lined barrel.
    Read the description on the site.
    The CHF barrels are usually 275-300'ish.
    The button cut barrels are the cheap line.
     

    Killer Deal

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    Precisely why I'm trying to hit that balance.

    The Criterion is the Balance point. It's a cut above in consistency over the BA and Rosco (which are still good barrels) and while it might give up some consistency to custom barrel makers and proof it'll be close to half the cost.

    Criterion has a good pedigree. And is definitely the best value to performance choice IMHO and experience. If a high level accuracy and precision is of utmost important that's the choice. If it's a high round count and burn it down barrel then I'm going Rosco. (My presumption is best value to performance ratio, are proof, kriegers and bartleins better 100%, how much better we can debate that till we're blue in the face)

    For now, I use proof just in my bolt guns because I love their prefits are hard to beat. In an AR for a small frame it doesn't make much sense to CF unless your goal was to also build lightest rifle possible with titanium forends and receivers and what not.
     
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    Forrest

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    The Criterion is the Balance point. It's a cut above in consistency over the BA and Rosco (which are still good barrels) and while it might give up some consistency to custom barrel makers and proof it'll be close to half the cost.

    Criterion has a good pedigree. And is definitely the best value to performance choice IMHO and experience. If a high level accuracy and precision is of utmost important that's the choice. If it's a high round count and burn it down barrel then I'm going Rosco. (My presumption is best value to performance ratio, are proof, kriegers and bartleins better 100%, how much better we can debate that till we're blue in the face)

    For now, I use proof just in my bolt guns because I love their prefits are hard to beat. In an AR for a small frame it doesn't make much sense to CF unless your goal was to also build lightest rifle possible with titanium forends and receivers and what not.
    I agree if you don't want to tie up a bunch of money in a barrel and have good results every time go with the Criterion barrel. I have never been disappointed. I have bought 12 of them in the past and have never had one that wouldn't group very well with good high quality factory ammo. Most were Remage barrels in 6 different calibers' and some were AR10 barrels in both 6.5cm and 308.
     
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    Killer Deal

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    OP, I guess if you want an a direct alternative they would be Rainier Arms Ultra Match (whatever that means) and Wilson Combat. I've had Wilson SS Barrels and they shoot really well. In the end, I definitely prefer, but more important trust Criterion more because of their barrel making process and history.
     

    tomme boy

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    Ballistic advantage has gone to shit. I have had 2 bad barrels in the last year from them. This pic below is how the throats are coming in their 223 wylde barrels right now. I am the 4th person I have seen that has got a barrel like this. This is mine. The ledge is all the way around the throat.

    And the bore and groove is oversized on mine. I was able to push a slug right through the barrel with no effort. I shoot lots of cast bullets in my rifles. I wanted to see what the bore and grove was to be able to size the bullet to what I needed. After that I asked for a replacement. I have not shot the new one yet as I was pissed off and ordered a WOA fluted SPR barrel. I put that on today.


    IPC_2022-02-13.22.54.04.8440.jpg




    Here is the WOA.

    IPC_2022-04-08.13.36.28.4490.jpg

    IPC_2022-04-08.13.33.41.1950.jpg
     

    Potsy

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    I guess I’m weird when it comes to AR barrels.

    I’ve got one buddy that bought a Bear Creek 6.5 Grendel upper . We put it together that morning and that afternoon we went through a little over a box of Hornady Black shooting 3 and 5 shot groups that were all at or under an inch.

    Have another buddy who put together a rifle with a lightweight 16” 6 ARC Faxon barrel and that has been been under MOA with everything he’s ran through it (and it gets shot quite a bit).

    Granted, these rifles don’t shot at matches, and 3 or 5 shot groups are the norm (how many times are you gonna shoot a coyote?), but there it is. Certainly not saying that they’re as consistent as other brands, I’ve only been around one of each, they both shot very well. I guess I’m a good luck charm for cheap AR barrels.

    FWIW, I bought a Black Hole a few years back (a barrel I thought had a half decent reputation) and I put at least 200 rounds through it before it went under 2 MOA (FINALLY broke in and shoots MUCH better now). I guess the luck only works for friends…..
     

    Colorado S14

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    At the end of the day it all hinges on precision expectations and caliber. I have no doubt that you can buy a Ballistic Advantage, Faxon, etc. barrel in .223 or other non-picky caliber and have a decent likelihood of getting a serviceable barrel. In some cases I’m sure you will even find one that shoots very well.

    My only experience with Ballistic Advantage was in 224 Valkyrie. They used in unworkable chamber reamer which left an incredibly long throat/lead. No matter how much fine-tuning I did through the reloading process I could not get a group that reliably shot under 1 MOA through an AR15 magazine. I swapped that barrel out for a Craddock Precision and now have a consistent half MOA gun.

    If your goal is high precision, buy once cry once.
     

    Killer Deal

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    At the end of the day it all hinges on precision expectations and caliber. I have no doubt that you can buy a Ballistic Advantage, Faxon, etc. barrel in .223 or other non-picky caliber and have a decent likelihood of getting a serviceable barrel. In some cases I’m sure you will even find one that shoots very well.

    My only experience with Ballistic Advantage was in 224 Valkyrie. They used in unworkable chamber reamer which left an incredibly long throat/lead. No matter how much fine-tuning I did through the reloading process I could not get a group that reliably shot under 1 MOA through an AR15 magazine. I swapped that barrel out for a Craddock Precision and now have a consistent half MOA gun.

    If your goal is high precision, buy once cry once.
    True story, that's really the bottom line. Is level of precision need for the intended goal. For my ARs I don't take them out past 400 yards and when I do it's intended for minute of man. Shoot even 3 moa would be acceptable for that. For shooting full size and 66% ipsc.

    Naturally, I want the best accuracy I can get, but its easy to get caught up chasing groups instead of focusing on what's adequate for task and purpose. (And yes, I understand a more accurate system also buys you more forgiveness and margin of error)

    Now for my bolt guns different story, all custom and I'm not happy with anything with more than half moa, but if it occasionally spits out 3/4 to a minute I'm not gonna pull my hair out over it. (For my PRS and hunting rigs) And with quality components it's rare to see that even happen unless it's shooter driven which let's be honest 9/10 it's user error if you're using quality stuff.
     
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    GhostFace

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    Why gamble with your money when it comes to gun stuff? Gamble at the casino, not on the range. I don't get it, this board is filled with with guys that buy $3k-$4k scopes like it's candy. But yet you have guys on here discussing $100-250 barrels that look like sewer pipes. All on a precision oriented board.
     

    Killer Deal

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    Why gamble with your money when it comes to gun stuff? Gamble at the casino, not on the range. I don't get it, this board is filled with with guys that buy $3k-$4k scopes like it's candy. But yet you have guys on here discussing $100-250 barrels that look like sewer pipes. All on a precision oriented board.
    Not so much a gamble and the reality is its a smaller minority that have pockets deep enough to spend like some are able too.

    I'm with you though in not skimping but people have to and should live within their means.

    BA/Aero aren't "bad" barrels, they're not great either, but like anything else if you know it's capabilites and limitations then you can properly employ them. Personally, I'm good with waiting a little longer and saving more money to stick with Criterion for my AR15s and Proof for my AR10s and Bolt Guns Barrels, but there is decent stuff out there for people with more limited budgets.

    I do want to acknowledge, you make an excellent point that if your willing to spend tons of money on certain parts, but skimp out on barrel that's foolishness. It goes right there with people that buy scopes and then buy the cheapest rings out there. It's foolishness.

    Just gotta focus on the right things within a spec'd out budget and task. That being said I do strive to encourage people to wait an extra month or two save that extra 100-200 dollars and step up to next best thing.

    If you are planning to reload for precision then yes it should go without saying a BA or Aero is the wrong barrel for the job you're looking for. And that goes to task and purpose. I'd be happy to shoot BA/AP barrels for CQB to 300-400ish yards with 55,62,68 grain factory ammo for minute of man targets, but task and purpose nothing beyond that otherwise its the wrong tool/system for that job.
     
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    thebolt

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    I've heard good things about White Oak Armament barrels but don't have personal experience. Can anyone comment on their quality compared to the Criterion barrels?

    White Oak Armament
     

    reubenski

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    White Oak Armament makes very accurate AR barrels but they are almost all of the heavy "SPR" longer persuasion. Not really any options for an accurate, lightweight contour 14.5" middie.

    McGowen also makes a very accurate AR barrel. And they almost never get mentioned here. McGowens are made to order so they take about 3 months to deliver. It seems like there is a large crowd that only consider buying off the shelf and miss out on semi custom barrels. You can order them in stainless or chrome moly, whatever length, 4 different contours, specify gas hole size, caliber, cartridge, muzzle thread pitch and size(5/8 24 in .223 for a direct thread Dominus CB without thread adapter?), Cerakote, polish, matte, or rough, etc. And a reasonably configured McGowen barrel order will run about $300.

    The most accurate AR I have is a 14.5" 300BO with a McGowen barrel shooting Barnes 110 Tac TX or Nosler Varmaggedon Blems 🤷. The second most accurate AR I have is a 20" WOA .223 Wylde SPR'ish build for gas gun matches. The third is. 24" Proof 6.5CM large frame. I'm going to order another McGowen barrel for a non-competition blasting AR just because. It is currently wearing a 2moa average BA Hanson profile 13.9" barrel which is fine for what the rifle was built for, but for $300....why not put a sub moa barrel on it and blast it?
     

    TonyTheTiger

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    @reubenski I love me some McGowens, I have no idea why they never get mentioned here. I have three of them, 15" and 16" 223's with intermediate gas and a 12.8" mid gas 6.5 Grendel and they all shot great. Given the options available and the reasonable price I don't understand the lack of popularity.
     

    reubenski

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    They don't turn up in Google searches. Maybe many buyers are neophytes and infrequent builders.

    I am curious to see how a Rainier match or ultra match would compare. In stock and $300
     

    TacticalPlinker

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    From my past successful builds:
    -Rainier Mountain series 1/7
    -BCM Enhanced barrels 1/7
    -Criterion 1/8 (still evaluating/so far so good)
    -Noveske N4 1/7
    -Noveske SPR 1/7
    -Noveske Afghan (6.8 spec2)

    All 1/7 were reliable with XM193 thru 77gr .
     
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