As many of you are aware, we at Fighting Sheep Dog are vigilant watch dogs when it comes to the protection of our Second Amendment rights. So when a thread on Facebook (as inconsequential as that may sound) gave a quasi-intellectual debate on the subject of gun control, we thought it’d be fun to hear YOUR opinion on the subject.
You will note that both parties arguing FOR gun control are former gun owners, intelligent individuals (we know them both personally and have for decades), and posed no personal attacks. Continue reading
For starters, you’ll know pretty quickly if the gas system isn’t working properly on your AR. The firearm may not cycle properly, or you may see premature wear.
In order to better understand the various types of gas lengths in your AR, we kinda need to explain what the gas system does in the first place.
Gas System Explained:
When you look at your AR barrel, you’ll see a tiny hole on one side. That’s the gas port. When a bullet is fired through the chamber of the barrel, the gas from the bullet being fired is forced through the gas port via the gas block and directed down the gas tube and into the upper receiver.
The gas is then used to power the bolt carrier and cycle the next round. This is known as “direct impingement”.
In most instances, the longer the barrel, the longer the gas system. Most 7″ barrels (and shorter) have a pistol-length gas system. Most 16″ barrels have a carbine-length gas system. Most 18″ barrels have a mid-length gas system. Most 20″ barrels and longer have a rifle-length gas system.
However, you will occasionally see terms like “SOCOM” on a barrel, typically used to describe a 16″ barrel with a mid-length gas system.
What Difference Does It Make?
The length of the gas system affects both the smoothness of the firearm’s cycling of each round, and it’s dwell time.
Dwell time is the term used for the amount of time a bullet is in the barrel after the gun has been fired.
Typically, the longer the barrel, the harder the gas system has to work in order to get enough air to cycle the next round.
It should also be noted that, the longer the gas system (for example, the SOCOM barrel mentioned above), the more air is being pushed through. The longer the gas system, the smoother the cycling. Smoother cycling can positively affect the overall performance of the firearm.
It should be noted that, as in life, too much gas is a bad thing. If your gas port has been expanded and too much gas is being pushed through the system, then recoil and premature wear will be a factor. Always let a qualified gunsmith work on your gas ports – it can ruin the barrel if you make a mistake here!
So What Gas System Should I Have?
As with most AR-related questions…it depends. It depends on your barrel length, what distance you’ll be shooting, and what you’ll be using the AR for. And anyone who tells you that they have a magical, mystical system for gas lengths without knowing all of the answers to the variations mentioned above are probably trying to sell you a barrel.
A lot of it has to do with the barrel itself (see the entire series we did on AR barrels), but remember that this is an entire system with each part feeding off the other part, so changing one piece changes everything.
The best thing to do with ANY AR is to change one piece at a time to make sure the gun does what you want. Especially if you’re troubleshooting a gas system issue and not just wanting to lengthen the gas system for smoother cycling.
Have a question for the gunsmith? Wanna know something about your AR? Submit your questions via our Questions/Comments page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answer: When the M14 gained popularity in the Vietnam Conflict, soldiers reported numerous issues with their firearms, namely extraction issues. Why? Because the 5.56 was a relatively new round. Problem was, the government was still using old ball powder leftover from WWII and the Korean Conflict. Continue reading
The only forum topic guaranteed to create more controversy and bring out every “Bro-Science” expert – other than the great “9mm vs .45ACP” debate – is asking about breaking in a new AR-15 barrel. Continue reading
When it comes to ARs, we all know that every single component of the firearm can be swapped, changed, upgraded, or traded. The trigger is no different.
But how do you know which trigger is right for you? Well, as with any other AR part-related question, the answer is, “It depends”. Continue reading
Ever wonder what the purpose of each part of an AR is?
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the purpose of various AR parts by specific manufacturers, and how they can benefit you!
This week: Leapers/UTG Super Slim Handguards! Continue reading
Most of the time, the terms “carbine”, “mid-“, or “rifle” refer to the length of the gas system in the AR you’re describing. Continue reading
Ever hear that old joke, “When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar.”
Today I want to go over the differences between an AR rifle and an AR pistol, as per ATF regulations. I thought it might help clarify some misunderstandings. Continue reading
A lot of information can be found online regarding the .223 Wylde chamber…but so can a lot of myths and misinformation! So today, we’ll examine the .223 Wyle chamber and answer a few questions along the way! Continue reading
We’ve discussed ALMOST every aspect to an AR-15 barrel…almost.
We’re down to chambering, barrel lengths, and contours. Three VERY important subjects when it comes to AR-15 barrels!
Today we’ll discuss chambering. And it’s NOT just as simple as “make sure your barrel is chambered for 5.56mm ammo”.
Put simply, the chambering of an AR barrel determines what kind of ammunition you can shoot out of it.
Yes, chambering in 5.56 allows you to fire either 5.56x45mm ammo or .223 ammo. However, there are a LOT of other calibers/chambering that AR-15s are available in!
For example (and yes, there are links to all the calibers listed below for more information on each one…)
- – .223 Wylde
- – 6.8 SPC
- – 6.5 Grendel
- – 300 Blackout
- – 7.62×39 (link coming soon!)
- – 17HMR (link coming soon!)
- – 50 Beowulf
Choosing the right barrel chambering (as always) just depends on what you’re going to be using the firearm for.
Plinking at the range? 5.56 or .223
Competition? .223 Wylde
Reloading? We love 300 Blackout
Long distance/1000 yard shooting? 6.5 Grendel
See what we mean?
Go through each of the links above (and check back for the 2 “coming soon”) to select the correct chambering for your next AR-15 build!