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AR-15 Handguards

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Bjg0082, Feb 22, 2011.

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  1. Bjg0082

    Bjg0082 Member

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    I've got rifle length handguards on my 18" cmmg heavy barrel ar-15 and it is kinda front heavy. They're just the stock a2 handguards that came with the upper. Could I go with any other handguards to save weight or should I just deal with it?
    A free float is something I would be interested in. Quad rails don't really appeal to me but any advantage over the standard handguard weight is what I'm after. Does anyone know of lighter handguards?
     
  2. nipprdog

    nipprdog Member

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    It's front heavy because of the barrel, not the HG.

    If you try to free float with a tube, it will get heavier.
     
  3. henschman

    henschman Member

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    It is not the handguards that are making the rifle front-heavy. They weigh next to nothing... especially the factory plastic ones. It is that big fat heavy barrel that is making the rifle front-heavy. Heavy barreled AR's are just front-heavy, and that's the way it is.

    You can cut down on it somewhat by getting a big heavy stock, like a Magpul PRS, to balance out that big heavy barrel, which gives you a big heavy rifle (but one that is more balanced); or you can get a lighter-profile barrel (or have yours turned down by a machinist), or just learn to deal with it if you really have to have that big fat barrel.
     
  4. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

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    You're not going to get lighter than standard AR-15 handguards.
     
  5. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    Yep, the only thing lighter than stock plastic handguards is no handguards. YeeeOuch!
     
  6. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    A free float in rifle length weighs as much as issue handguards.

    Barrel contour is the #1 source of weight, second is the forged FSB. Compensators can add more. That's the myth of bull or HBAR guns, they promise more accuracy, but are just heavy for benchrest or range use. Not so good in the field, as the original Stoner design made clear.

    For light weight, it's a pencil barrel or forgeddaboutit. You can spend $250 for a new barrel and get light, or spend $250 for a free float, and get nowhere. There are weight charts for AR15 parts, plenty of posters total up their ultimate grail gun and realize it's a 10 pound boat anchor without scope, light, ammo, and VFG.

    Free floats aren't free, and only float the barrel. All those CNC flutes and holes are shaving off dead weight as best they can.
     
  7. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    Listen to what everyone is saying about the barrel profile - that is where your weight is coming from.

    You can, however, actually get lighter than the stock handguards. The stock A2 rifle length hanndguards weigh 14.3oz when you include the installation hardware (Barrel nut, delta ring, handguard cap). There are a number of free-float tubes that will beat that - most of the Daniel Defense line, the Troy Extreme and VTAC Extreme being a couple of them.

    However, short of going full-on custom with something like an aluminium barrel nut and a carbon-fiber float tube, the most weight you are going to shave by going to a rail system is about 5oz. And if you end up putting rail covers on the rail, you can easily end up adding more weight since a single Knight's 11-slot panel weighs about 2.7oz.

    By comparison, an 16" HBAR weighs about 2.7lbs - so I would guess an 18" HBAR is probably over 3lbs (48oz). On a 16" barrel, just going from an HBAR profile to an M4 profile will shave off half a pound. So if you really want to trim down the front heavy feeling, the place to do it is the barrel profile.
     
  8. Ithaca37

    Ithaca37 Member

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    Magpul MOE rifle length handguards weigh 12.13oz. The chart says that standard rifle length handguards weigh 14.3oz. so you could save 2oz, but that really isn't much.
     
  9. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    If you're going to replace the standard hand guards, definitely install a float tube. Even though it won't save you any weight, it will likely make the rifle more accurate, especially if you shoot from field positions.
     
  10. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    Like everyone else has said, it's 99% your barrel profile, not the handguards.

    The 2oz is comprised of the barrel nut, delta ring and weld spring. There is no meaningful difference in weight of the plastic handguard options.

    You could install a marginally lighter FF tube, and save another couple ounces with a tiny gas block instead of the A2 sight base (assuming that's what you have), but it really wouldn't be worth it financially. Far better off to either replace the barrel with a lighter profile, or send your barrel to ADCO to have it lathe turned to make it somewhat lighter.
     
  11. Bjg0082

    Bjg0082 Member

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    Thanks for the quick replies fellas. So if understand right and I switch it to a hbar 16" it will be front heavy, but not as bad. Or if I switch to an m4 profile it will be less heavy and more balanced?

    The goal is something that can make up to 200-300 yard shots easy, also being useful for a house gun.
    Maybe also a hog gun?
     
  12. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Member

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    You want either a USGI profile (thin under handguards, 3/4" out front) or a "pencil" profile (0.625" almost the entire barrel length). Either one will drop a lot of weight, and both are available in 16" and 20" barrels. If you go 16", get a midlength gas, the M4 or carbine gas setup is effectively obsolete on a 16" barrel.
     
  13. wnycollector

    wnycollector Member

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