Okay, so a few weeks back, FourGuysGuns wrote an article about barrel twist rates. I had some serious issues with it from a technical standpoint – it was flat out wrong on some things – and emailed them directly with my concerns. I was concerned about coming across as rude, but they were very cordial.
I wasn’t sure what would come of that in the long term – if they would write more articles in the same vein, or if they would focus on other things, including, as their description says, “gun disassembly, cleaning, holding and aiming (and) proper range safety and etiquette.” I really think that’s a worthy goal, and something worthwhile and helpful to new shooters.
Well, they wrote an article about barrels again, and my brain started to leak out of my nose. The article is titled “Chrome vs. Steel: Barrels of Fun?” It is not fun.
Why get a chrome lined barrel over a steel one?
First off, both “chrome” and “steel” barrels are made of…steel. Yes. In fact, they are sometimes made of the same exact steel. This steel is sometimes referred to as “chrome moly.” Yes, the ones with chrome lining, and the ones without.
Some people say the accuracy of a chrome lined barrel is inferior to that of its steel counterpart. At 100 meters you may notice a Â¼ MOA difference between a steel and chrome lined barrel.
A discussion of accuracy differences between the two without bringing forth any facts. Okay…great. This is simply a recitation of what is already out there, much of which is wrong. It’s not even worth talking about unless you’re going to bring something new to the table.
Chrome lined barrels allow for rapid firing in a much larger volume without degrading the quality of the rifling in the barrel…
Minor point…the throat is going to be the first thing to go, and the gas port will erode too. The rifling along the rest of the barrel will last a very long time. It’s common for benchrest shooters to shoot out a throat, then have the barrel shortened and rechambered – the rifling itself is still usable after the throat is gone. This is a minor point, but should you be taking advice on barrels from someone who doesn’t know this?
The last and most minor thing to note about chrome is that it is not susceptible to rust.
They also say that the “most minor thing” about chrome lining is that it is “not susceptible to rust.” Not only is this not true – chrome lined barrels WILL rust, they just take longer to do so – but chrome lining in barrels and bolt carriers was primarily introduced to aid in the prevention or delay of rust. It’s not “minor.”
Steel barrels are not meant for rapid fire. They degrade much faster under high heat/pressure situations
Pressures are going to be the same between the two. They later say shooters should not put “stress… on the rifling” of a bare steel barrel. I don’t exactly know what that’s supposed to mean.
The durability of chrome comes with a slight sacrifice in the overall weight of the rifle. There are many different configurations of barrels but the average weight added to a rifle with a chrome lined barrel is between five and seven ounces.
This is the part where my brain started leaking out of my ears, nose, pores, etc. Any weight differences between a bare steel and a chrome lined barrel are going to be infinitesimal! I don’t know if they confused an HBAR chrome lined barrel with an M4 profile CM barrel, or what, but this highlights the extreme lack of knowledge on the part of the author.
At this point, I don’t care if I come across as rude. FourGuysGuns’ plan is apparently to recite bad gun forum knowledge as truth and use Wikipedia articles as primary sources. People like this have no business giving advice on AR platform rifles – or any firearms, for that matter.