Hodge Defense 14.5” Barrel Accuracy: A Quick Look

Molon

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Feb 26, 2020
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Hodge Defense 14.5” Barrel Accuracy: A Quick Look






For decades after the AR-15 was first introduced to the “civilian” market, shooters basically had three choices for barrel contours/profiles in factory-built AR-15s: government profile, HBAR (heavy barrel) and the original “pencil” profile. (Not even John Wick slayed as many bad guys “with a pencil” as our soldiers did with the pencil profile Colt AR-15 barrel).



government profile






HBAR






John Wick profile






In the early 2000s, innovators such as John Noveske began offering alternative contours/profiles for their AR-15 barrels. These new contours were designed to offer improved weight distribution, with the attendant benefits, compared to the previously mentioned three profiles. For example, the Noveske medium-contour stainless-steel barrels offer reduced weight compared to an HBAR profile, while maintaining much of the accuracy of the HBAR profile.




Noveske 16” medium contour






Noveske’s N4 “light” contour barrels maintain the same weight as a government profile barrel of equal length, but with an improved contour. As an example, the 16” Noveske N4 light barrel has a stripped weight of 1 pound 12 ounces, the same weight as a stripped 16” Colt government profile barrel (6920).



Noveske 16” N4 light profile






Colt 16” government profile






In keeping with the approach to barrel contours of maintaining the same weight as a government profile barrel, while improving the weight distribution and in conjunction with additional improvements, Hodge Defense developed their own vision of such barrels and is now offering these barrels for sale to the general public. The stripped weight of the 14.5” Hodge Defense barrel is 1 pound, 8.5 ounces. For comparison, the stripped weight of a standard Colt 14.5” M4 barrel is 1 pound, 9 ounces.


14.5” Hodge defense







Colt M4 barrel (not stripped)








The 14.5” Hodge Defense barrel is manufactured by Fabrique Nationale, to secret-squirrel specifications, for Hodge Defense. This barrel is cold-hammer-forged and has a 1:7” twist. The barrel employs a mid-length gas system and has a 0.75“ gas block journal. The gas port on my barrel gauged at 0.075”.









This barrel does not come with the gas block journal pre-dimpled, so if you plan to use a free-float hand-guard that covers a low profile gas block, you’ll want to dimple the barrel yourself (or have a competent gunsmith do it for you.) I used the SLR Rifleworks dimpling jig for this task.










A rather unique aspect of this barrel is found in the chamber. Located in the neck section of the chamber, is a ring of six triangular shaped “flutes“. The base of the triangle faces towards the breech end of the barrel.











I assembled the Hodge Defense barrel in a Bravo Company upper receiver and BCM MCMR 13” free-float hand-guard. I rounded-out this build with a JP Enterprises bolt, a Young Manufacturing bolt carrier and a BCM charging handle.
















Shooting off of sandbags at a distance of 100 yards using match-grade hand-loads and a high-magnification scope, the Hodge Defense barrel produced a 10-shot group that had an extreme spread of 1.24”.









Barrel Profiles Matter



…..
 

B_TheJedi

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Jan 5, 2020
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Nice write up. I'm running a 12.5" Hodge barrel in one of my guns and love it. Searching for a 14.5" now.
 

UpSideDown

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Sep 24, 2019
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For as ridiculously expensive as Hodge's stuff is, that group would be beyond disappointing if it continued with other loads. Were you 100%? Is their barrel as expensive as other stuff? I think their lower parts kit costs more than most match stainless barrels.
 

DevilDoc602

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Mar 17, 2019
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For as ridiculously expensive as Hodge's stuff is, that group would be beyond disappointing if it continued with other loads. Were you 100%? Is their barrel as expensive as other stuff? I think their lower parts kit costs more than most match stainless barrels.
If you purchased everything in the “kit” separately it would cost more, Walt combines the parts at a discounted price compared to individual pricing.
 

bfoosh006

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. Were you 100%?
Molon has proven, repeatedly, he is "100%" in every thread I have seen for years. I don't think he would even consider posting results if "he" wasn't 100%.

I would have also "liked" to have seen the Hodge produce wonderfully tiny groups... but...

As far as the barrels accuracy ... it may be as simple as the barrel is "new", or doesn't happen to like that specific load. Hard to say.... and time will tell.

Molon posts his unbiased results as they come.
For me, Molons results are much more of a excellent base line, with him trying to be as consistent as possible with his testing methodology.
Providing specific info as to his consistent testing parameters, and his results.

I can't think of anyone else that is so consistent in his testing.

I am curious about the "ring of six triangular shaped flutes" in the neck area of the chamber.... and to the purpose of them.

Molon, are the flutes "aligned" specifically with the lands or grooves ? ... or offset ?
 
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UpSideDown

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Sep 24, 2019
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Seeing their LPK sell for $430, I presumed their barrels were comparably wildly priced. That same price for a quality barrel is legitimate though, I did not expect that.

I didn't see the ammo specified so yes that is a big part of it, per my comment.

Great points.
 

Merle

Mr. Air Force
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Larue Stealth barrels feature a fluted chamber. They aren't as deep as HK flutes but they are there. The spent brass has very light stripes on it and it seems to get dirtier a little faster then my other ARs when shooting suppressed.
 

GUNNER10

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10 shots in 1.25” from a lightweight fighting barrel is disappointing?
I wouldn't say disappointing, but doesn't really come across as anything note worthy. Its a good barrel, being shot by a very good shooter with hand loads and a good optic being evaluated in a vacuum.

Molon has some great threads but Just pulling some random data from his older threads on ARFCOM, he was able to print the following
1.3 MOA groups with a Colt A1 Barrel
1MOA groups with a Colt Socom Barrel
.48 MOA with a Krieger Barrel

The FN barrels that Hodge sell preform on par with other quality pencil barrels produced over the past 30 years, but for some reason, people are blown away by them.

Hodge comes across as the 2020 version of Larue Texas Spec. They make good stuff and i can and do respect Hodges attention to detail, but I think that much of there reputation has been built by some pretty well respected people in the community that basically feel that putting together an AR is practically the same as rebuilding a transmission.

I have rifles from, FN,KAC,LMT as well as PSA.

Hodge does absolutely nothing for me.
 
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R.O.U.S.

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This is a great post!

It would be nice if Jim Hodge would provide some information to the public other than "If you get it, you get it."
Hodge barrel's get advertised on some instagram pages. Many people have asked what makes it special, and the reply is that they can't talk about it because of a NDA.

I have a 12.5" "suppressor optimized" Hodge barrel. I tried looking for the flutes using a bore scope, but my barrel is dirty, and can't see anything like it. The only thing I can note is that the gas port is centered nicely.
 

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dms416

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This is a great post!



Hodge barrel's get advertised on some instagram pages. Many people have asked what makes it special, and the reply is that they can't talk about it because of a NDA.

I have a 12.5" "suppressor optimized" Hodge barrel. I tried looking for the flutes using a bore scope, but my barrel is dirty, and can't see anything like it. The only thing I can note is that the gas port is centered nicely.

Had heard that this might be part of the special sauce. 0/3 of my Hodge barrels have the port centered in the goove. Schatz always said that HK did this with the 416...I've seen some that are, some are not.