Best AR10 Barrel: Top 5

Though the AR-10 never gained as much traction as its younger brother, the AR-15, it’s still in use by many who appreciate its place as the predecessor to the M16. However, rifle parts don’t last forever, and barrels especially may need to be replaced.

There are a lot of barrels out there and picking a good one can be tough if you don’t know how to go about it. Lucky for you, we went through the products and did the research to help you pick the best AR-10 barrel.

Read on for more information on what to look for in a barrel and our reviews of the best 5 we could find.

ProductOur RatingScenario
BROWNELLS 308 AR BARRELS4.7/5Best Overall
DPMS – 308 AR SASS BARREL4.4/5Budget Friendly
CRITERION CHROME LINED BARRELS4.7/5Editors Pick
CRITERION HYBRID BARRELS4.8/5Alternative #1
FAXON PENCIL PROFILE BARRELS4.0/5Alternative #2

Why Upgrade Your AR-10 Barrel?

Obviously, if your barrel is worn, it needs replacing. But if your barrel is working fine, do you need to upgrade it?

Do you need to? Probably not. Should you? For sure.

Not everyone uses the AR-10 in the same way, but finding the barrel that matches you can go a long way to improving the effectiveness (and fun) of using the rifle. New barrels can also have some following benefits when compared to factory parts:

  • Better accuracy and precision
  • Longer barrel life
  • Better heat disbursing
  • Nicer looking style
  • More effective long range
  • Easier to carry and use
  • Lighter overall weapon
  • Increased resistance to weather and dirt

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already interested in a new barrel. Now read the next section on what to look for.

Features of Rifle Barrels

Material

Rifle barrels can come in a variety of metal materials. You typically don’t see them in synthetic because the barrel is the main conduit for the energy from firing and synthetic barrels of rifle just can’t handle it long term.

The most common material is some type of steel. Stainless steel is the most common because it’s durable and offers natural protection in its finish. Blued steel and chrome-moly steel are also available, but some believe the chemical finishing affects the accuracy to a small degree.

The main alternative to steel barrels are ones made from aluminum. Aluminum is a much lighter metal which makes the rifle much easier to carry and use especially with longer barrels. The main downside with aluminum is that’s its softer than steel and that makes it more vulnerable to damage and deformities.

Length

You should also check the barrel’s length before you buy. Longer barrels result in a longer range and a more powerful shot because the energy is contained for a longer period. The downside of longer barrels is that they put the balance more towards the front of the rifle, and they add to the weight. 

Contour

A barrel’s contour refers to the shape on the outside of the barrel. There are different types that don’t only affect the look of the rifle.

Specific contours can more effectively disburse the heat that comes from firing. Heavier barrels can also absorb some recoil, but they do become more awkward to carry. Take note of the different contours/styles for the barrels below, and we make sure to discuss its impact.

Here are some common contour choices:

  • Lightweight
  • Magnum
  • Target
  • Bull
  • Heavy bull
  • Fluted

Barrel Life

The barrel life largely comes down to the combination of the contour and the material used in construction. Barrels aren’t expensive, but neither are they cheap. You don’t want to have to replace the part you just bought because it started to warp from the heat and was poor quality.

While some manufacturers do put a number for barrel life on their products, the best way to tell how long the part lasts is to hear what actual users have to say. Pay attention to the user recaps in our breakdowns below where mentions things like this.

Keep in mind that a barrel’s life also depends on how you use your AR-10 and care for it. Make sure to clean the gun regularly. Also, if you use the gun only for hunting or occasionally at the range, it’s going to last a long time. But if you go to shoot competitively or you go to the sportsmen’s club and put hundreds of rounds through it in one afternoon, you want a very durable barrel.

Price

Shopping can be dangerous if you have no idea what you’re willing to spend. Think about what you want in your AR-10 and which barrels on our list can do that for you. Then pick the one in your budget.

Don’t give up because the “best” one is high priced; you may not need all that it has included as features. Look at our reviews and find the one that best fits you, including your budget.

Review Of The Best AR-10 Barrels

best ar10 barrel

This is the section where we break down the features of the barrels and how they may apply to your use of the AR-10. These barrels are meant for the .308 caliber round which is a common and powerful long-range bullet. Keep the features from above in mind while you read to help find the best AR-10 barrel for you.

Brownells Premium Barrels – 308 AR Barrels

This higher priced barrel by Brownells comes with some nice specs and good materials. Top start, Brownells built the barrel out of strong 416R steel. This particular alloy is of higher quality than most other steels out there which adds to the barrel life and the cost.

On the steel, this barrel has a black nitride finish which protects the metal from dirt and moisture. Brownells also says the finish adds to the lubrication of the barrel which makes the round retain more energy as it travels out the barrel.

One premium feature of this barrel is its rifling (grooves inside the barrel that give the bullet its twist). It has a 1:10” twist which is a common rate effective on many specific types of rounds. But the rifle uses a 5R rifling design.

5R rifling is considered to be superior to the standard rifling because of its slanted grooves and cohesive lands which don’t oppose each other. If this seems confusing, the layman’s version is that the 5R is more effective at creating twist without losing the power from the shot.

The barrels are available in  20” and 24” lengths with a medium contour for balancing weight and heat disbursement. They designed the barrel to fit well and securely with most standard AR parts.

Users had this to say about the product:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • 5R rifling gives a more powerful shot
  • Strong steel material and finish result in good barrel life
  • Easy to install and use
  • Great company to work with

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Little heavier than some prefer

DPMS 308 AR SASS Barrels

The DPMS barrel is at a more affordable price point, but it’s still made with quality and solid design. To start, they made the barrel from 416R steel which is considered one of the top metals for barrels because of its durability.

They use a Teflon coated matte black finish for protection from corrosion. This finish may affect the lubrication of the barrel slightly. This means that the bullet may lose a small amount of power from the friction of the finish.

The rifling is a 1:10” twist (which is standard) with button rifling design. This is a common and effective rifling design, but it isn’t as good as something like the 5R. However, unless you’re going for long-range high accuracy shooting you may not notice a big difference.

The 18” barrel is a heavy contour, and this makes it more durable but also quite heavy. However, it’s also fluted which means that there are grooves heading down the outside of the barrel. These flutes make the barrel lighter and allow more air to contact the barrel to release the heat from repeated firing.

This product does require the purchase of a separate gas block to work. Customers who use bought this barrel reported the following:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Heavy rifle provides security for long range shooting
  • Tough steel lasts a long time
  • Compatible with .308 and 7.62 mm NATO ammo
  • Easy to install
  • Affordable price

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • Additional gas block purchase is required

Criterion Barrels Inc 308 AR Chrome Lined Barrels

The first of these barrels by Criterion is the more standard barrel you may want. That being said, it’s still a premium barrel at a higher price.

The barrel is made of steel, and the finish is parkerized with a chrome lined bore and chamber. This finish makes it well protected and smooth for efficient and powerful firing.

The barrels come in 16”, 18”, and 20” lengths to match your shooting preference. In general, the longer the barrel, the better the accuracy at long range.

Criterion designed this with their M118LR chamber. You can read the company’s explanation on the tactical chamber at this website, but the short version is that they made the chamber slightly tighter and yet longer to better regulate pressure between different types of ammo.

This dedication to versatility is why this barrel is actually designed to fit DPMS, Remington, and pattern rifles. As such, it works for a variety, but you do need to check the headspace of the chamber before using it because it made need some adjusting.

The user experience boils down to this.

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Fits a variety of types of ammo well
  • Chrome finish is high-quality and helps extend barrel life
  • Adjust to different patterns of rifles
  • Chamber design is unique and increases accuracy

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • May need adjusting to fit with every model
  • Slightly higher price

Criterion Barrels Inc 308 AR Hybrid Barrels 6.5 Creedmore

Criterion’s hybrid 6.5 Creedmoor barrel is another quality barrel at a slightly higher price point. This one, though, is designed for the AR and focuses on long-range accuracy with its features.

Like the other Criterion option, this part is made of steel. Unlike the other choice, the finish is stainless steel with a salt bath nitride. This simpler finish still resists corrosion while minimally affecting the efficiency of firing.

The hybrid contour combines the strength and long-range accuracy of heavier rifles while still being light and easy to carry. The 6.5 Creedmoor feature of the barrel adds to the effectiveness at longer ranges. It provides a flatter trajectory and higher power than standard .308 barrels and is becoming more popular.

As with the other Criterion barrel, the company advises that you get a gunsmith to check the head space of the chamber. The barrels come in 18” and 22” varieties.

Here are what the customers said about using the product:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Stainless steel and finish is tough and efficient
  • Hybrid contour combines long range accuracy while trying to be lighter
  • Looks great and easy to install
  • Noticeably more accurate and precise at longer ranges

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • No consistent customer complaints were found

Faxon Firearms 308 AR Pencil Profile Barrels

This Faxon Firearms pencil profile barrel comes at an affordable price point with some unique features not otherwise found on our list. While the other barrels seek to improve on the standard rifle design for the AR-10, Faxon goes in an entirely different direction that may just match what you’re looking for.

The barrel is made from 4150 Mil-spec steel and finished in Nitride. The combination of tough and material and quality finish gives it a long barrel life, but the finish may detract from exacting accuracy.

It comes in 16”, 18”, and 20” lengths, and they all have standard button rifling. These give the bullet a good twist rate, but it may slightly affect the overall power of the projectile especially when compared to more advanced rifling systems.

The unique feature for this barrel is the pencil profile contour. With shorter barrel length options and a thin, almost skinny, contour, Faxon is not focusing on the rifle’s long-range potential, but they are trying to design a rifle that works decently well at range but that is light and very easy to use.

If you’re looking for a way to make your AR-10 easier to carry but still be effective, this is the option you want to look into. If you’re looking for something more traditional, consider one of the other options.

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Durable steel and finish make the barrel tough and long lasting
  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to carry and use the rifle
  • Affordable price

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • Less accurate at long distances

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed reading our picks for the best AR-10 barrels. Each one has its own unique features, but if you keep in mind what you’re looking for, you should have no problem fining the part that best fits you.

I recommend going for the Brownells premium barrel. The quality is just top-notch from the material, finish, and the advanced rifling design. The length and contour add to the focus on long range accuracy and precision.

If the price is too high or you want a lighter rifle, go with the Faxon option. They also have a great reputation for quality parts.

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