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Spare barrel for your .223.


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#1 mancat

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Posted 28 June 2015 - 11:00 PM

If you guys have $100 to spare, now is a great time to pick up a spare barrel for your Saiga .223. Since these rifles are no longer imported this is pretty much it, and the barrel is the heart of your rifle.

 

Both AK-Builder and Arms of America have in stock right now AK-74 profiled 5.56 barrels that are compatible with the Saiga .223 - these are complete drop-in replacements. The barrels are available in non-CL, CL, and nitride treated. All are made from Montana Rifle Company blanks, which are known to be pretty accurate.

 

I've had one of the non-CL barrels for some time from AK-Builder, and was just about to press it in to the trunnion on my Ak-74 build, then at the last minute I ordered one of the nitride treated barrels from Arms of America. This barrel appears to be one of AK-Builder's barrels that was simply sent off for treatment. The two barrels are identical placed side by side.

 

Rather than selling the non-CL barrel I'm keeping it on as a spare for the Saiga. I may never even need it, but I feel better knowing that it's there.

 

Guys these barrels are all about $100, that's cheap insurance for some of you that have put serious time and effort into modding your rifle. Compared to 7.62x39, 5.56 is a barrel burner and will eventually wear out the factory barrels - it may take over well 10K rounds but it can still happen.


Edited by mancat, 28 June 2015 - 11:01 PM.

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#2 Pyzik

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 10:20 AM

In the grand scheme of things 10k rounds isn't even all THAT much.

Thanks for the heads up.  I may just do this (though, I really should have a bolt too).


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#3 mikebaker1129

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 08:19 AM

Which one do you recommend? The nitrided barrel or the CL lined unit ?
Are these 22 or 23mm ? Sorry for the lame question ,the nuianses of barrels is something I have not yet mastered.

Edited by mikebaker1129, 04 July 2015 - 08:22 AM.


#4 mancat

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Posted 04 July 2015 - 10:56 AM

They are 22mm AK-74 type barrels.. Unfortunately now that I've made the post I remember that the Saiga 223 has used both a "heavy" and standard AK-74 barrel profile. The later dimpled receiver models typically seem to have the standard barrel.

 

The new fad is nitrided over CL, I went with a nitrided barrel for a build I'm doing.


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#5 mikebaker1129

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 08:30 PM

Thanks mancat !

Edited by mikebaker1129, 05 July 2015 - 08:30 PM.


#6 Unknown Poster

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 09:48 AM

I thought the chrome lined ak barrels lasted for 100 to 200k rounds?

#7 GunFun

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 12:05 PM

There's last and there's last. The barrel will work and be safe for a long time, but if you care about accuracy, erosion at the chamber throat and at the muzzle cause degradation long before the barrel is unsafe.

 

Nitriding is popular for a few reasons:

1) Chroming requires etching and plating after a barrel has been cut or formed to a true standard. This introduces two tolerances of irregularity. It will always be a little less perfect than it was before the etch. So naked steel generally is capable of slightly better accuracy.

2) Nitride process alters the surface and near surface steel itself without removing any. Thus it lacks those two added tolerances.

3) Nitride seems to be very resistant to a lot of stuff and arguably as resistant as chrome and easy to clean.

4) EU and now US regulate the chemical processes that used to make chrome cheap. Now chrome is extremely not cheap, and possibly not as good as it used to be. Thus every manufacturer has a huge incentive to convince you anything else is better. This ain't just for guns. A bumper re-chrome you used to be able to get done for ~$2k will be more like $25K now. I have a friend who works at one of the places that makes landing gear for Boeing. Hydraulic pistons are ditching chrome for other surfaces for the same reasons. Companies are spending a lot of money to replace it. They are getting better performance, but at much higher cost. The nitride processes used on firearm parts are cheaper and nearly as good.

5) It's just as easy to nitride the whole barrel at the same time. So a chrome barrel for an AK might be chrome on the inside, but the rest could be bare, painted, blued, blued and painted, parkerized, parkerized and painted. Nitride is superior to all of those for corrosion and scratch resistance.

 

This is the stuff on grade 8 bolts and glock slides, etc. There are a lot of different methods to acheive it, with slightly different final properties. Really, most of it is old old tech, but it took a long time to be picked up in the firearms industry. I think of bolts i've wrenched that moved with industrial components through multiple boats, in a multi decade salt immersion, spray and heat cycle. They have specks of surface rust, but are basically fine. Sometimes grade 8 stuff is holding up nearly as well as stainless.



#8 mancat

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 03:08 PM

I thought the chrome lined ak barrels lasted for 100 to 200k rounds?

 

depends on what caliber and what you're doing with them.

 

My S223 has some throat erosion that is visible with the naked eye. I lost track of round count but I probably have around 7-8k through it, pretty much all steel-case/bimetal Russian .223. That is getting close to the point where, for example, US Army will perform a thorough inspection of any issued rifle when it gets close to 10k round count, for possible replacement of barrel, barrel extension, and bolt - and that is with generally higher-quality ammunition being fed through those barrels.

 

Arsenal of Bulgaria only lists the expected lifetime of their barrels as around 15K rounds, anything past that seems to be not guaranteed by the manufacturer. 

 

5.45 and 5.56 are both fairly high velocity/high pressure rounds compared to 7.62x39, they will wear a barrel much faster than the slower-moving, low-pressure 7.62x39. There was a widely circulated post from Henderson Defense in Las Vegas a few months back, where they stated that most of their CHF 7.62x39 barrels seem to last forever - especially the Romanians. On the other hand they have had some AK-74 rifles only go around 50K rounds or so before they start keyholing.

 

That being said if you only expect 4-5 MOA accuracy from the rifle, it may continue to give that sort of accuracy even when the throat is noticeably worn. My S223 still shoots exactly where I aim it with iron sights, and that is usually how it gets shot, so I have no issue with that. 

 

One major advantage of nitride treated barrels over CHF/CL barrels is bore consistency, as the nitride treated barrels are generally "as is" dimensionally before and after the process, whereas chrome lining can impart some dimensional inconsistencies on the bore due to varying thickness of the applied chrome lining.


Edited by mancat, 23 October 2015 - 03:13 PM.

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#9 Unknown Poster

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Posted 29 December 2015 - 01:11 AM

Thought,,, on the yugo sks's the bores can measure as big as .3115" I'm thinking they rifled the bores to the chrome line specs. But had no industrial hard chrome to line the bores and chambers. If I'm right the bore should be .3085"/.309" when chromed. That's around .0015" on a side for a total of .0030" left for the chrome. I'm not sure how much metal is removed for chroming.

We did chroming on screw machine spindles I think it was .010" thickness by the time we finished center less grinding the spindles to size. That's .005" on a side.

Edited by Unknown Poster, 29 December 2015 - 01:14 AM.





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