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Thread: AR Varminter Questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    AR Varminter Questions

    Iv'e been saving my pennies, nickels & dimes for a nice Varmint upper for my AR. I'm eyeballing the Rock River models, and have a question regarding barrel twists. My first choice was a 20" 1/8, but then I noticed that they have a 24" barrel available with a 1/12. My primary use will be target shooting, with the occasional prairie dog/coyote hunt. Several years back I had a Win 70 Varmint model, and I used a LOT of 50 and 55 grain SX bullets with very fine accuracy and performance. I won't be shooting any 600 yard matches with this, so I'm leaning towards the 1/12 twist and lighter bullets. Am I on the right track here? Just wanting to hear other opinions...Thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    The 12" twist is my choice for varmint/shooter ARs. My bullet of choice for such is the 52 gr Speer HP over H335 5.56 spec load. Been using that combo in ARs since '75 w/o fail. Very accurate and very deadly.

    SXs and similar SPs, while my bullet choice for varmint 223 bolt guns, get beat up in the magand on the feed ramp. Many ballistic tipped 55 gr's are too long to stabilize. The Speer 52 and Sierra HPs are perfect.

    Larry Gibson

  3. #3
    Lots of guys shoot 50-55 in 8 twist barrels . I like the heavies in a 223 but thats just me, if you dont think you will shoot over 55 gr just get the 12

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks Larry, sounds like I'm on the right track. I'll also look into the Speer 52gr HP as well.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    Be advised that the RR 24" varmint barrel is heavy... I have one and I'm going to swap a LaRue 20" stealth in it's place. No way I'd carry that heavy s.o.b. coyote hunting and I use a Remington SP-10 10 guage turkey hunting and don't find it as being too heavy.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    You can get (at least you once could) a 24" barrel with the Hbar profile, just 24" long instead of 20" long. Don't remember if it was J&T or Model 1 sales. I have one, I like it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Hopefully they (RR) have worked out the chamber issue with the off center chamber. I went to the factory to get a barrel as they are local to me. I wanted a mid length stainless barrel. They went in the back and came out with one and I went home. Once home I was getting ready to put the barrel onto my upper when I looked down the bore to see a large C looking spot right at the leade. I have seen hundreds of these like this on factory Remington guns. And the chamber was bored off center.

    I went right back there to show them. They brought out 15 barrels and everyone of them were the same way. So I asked for my money back and went another way for a barrel.

  8. #8
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    Take this for what it worth. I build match rifles on the side. For my Varmint upper's I run 9 twist in a 28" barrel with the gas port moved two inches out. When I built my last one I went with a 9 twist for my rifle and I did one for a buddy with 26 inch barrel with a standard gas length in a 13 twist. In the 40 grain to 55 grain they are equal in accuracy. Both started as sub 1/2" on demand. The differences are at both end of the spectrum. My buddies 13 twist shoots 40 grain to 55 grain Ballistic Tip or V-max outstandingly. He never tried anything heavier so we don't know if it will handle anything heavier.

    My 9 twist shoots the 40 grain Ballistic Tip or V-max equally as well, but, it will blow part #4708 Speer 52 grain HP's. Same for my one and only 8 twist. That is 16" with a mid-length gas port. If you are not going heavier than 55 I would recommend the 12 twist.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 03-08-2017 at 03:45 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks M-Tecs, a 12 twist it shall be.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Uh-Oh, now I made the mistake of going to White Oak Armaments page, they have the 24" 1/12 varmint upper for less $ than the Rock River model. Anyone have any experience with White Oak? Looks like quality stuff.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    White Oak makes one of the best uppers there is.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    White Oak actually has what I want in stock...Looks like they will get the order.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    Having built and owned and bought and sold and shot more ARs than I can count right now, I can say that the hands-down happiest path you can take here is to buy, for very little extra money, a premium barrel from Lilja or Shilen or Noveske (or other premium brand) and assemble your own upper in the exact configuration you want.

    Will cheaper uppers shoot well? Sure, some portion of them will. It's common to get a good one. But buy a premium barrel and you're pretty much guaranteed a good one.


    edit: my best .223/5.56 barrel was made with a CLE blank. My best barrel of all is a 6.8SPC made by Shilen. But if I wanted a varmint upper, right here is where I'd start:

    http://www.compasslake.com/index.php...dex&cPath=4_51
    Last edited by C. Latch; 03-08-2017 at 07:46 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I'm fine with my 1-8, it will out shoot my 1-12 every day of the week with any bullet weight I care to put in it.
    it even out shoots the 1-12 with it's own pet load.
    barrel quality matters much more than twist rate does, unless your spinning them to slow.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  15. #15
    Boolit Master dkf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomme boy View Post
    White Oak makes one of the best uppers there is.
    I agree, much prefer a WOA than a Rock River. Better prices too.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Originally Posted by tomme boy White Oak makes one of the best uppers there is.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkf View Post
    I agree, much prefer a WOA than a Rock River. Better prices too.
    I will second that!
    NRA Endowment member, TSRA Life member, Distinguished Rifleman, Viet Nam Vet

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    barrel quality matters much more than twist rate does, unless your spinning them to slow.

    Disagree....OP mentioned using 50 and 55 gr SXs....at 3100 - 3200 fps they won't hold together in your 1-8" twist (you'll see a puff of greyish smoke about 30 - 50 yards from the muzzle as the bullet disintegrates) unless you drop the velocity below 2700 - 2800 fps. Neither will the Speer 52 gr HPs, the Sierra Blitz (not to be confused with the Blitz King) or several other of the very thin jacketed varmint bullets.

    Larry Gibson

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy



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    I bought the Rock River Arms Predator Pursuit about a year and a half ago. It comes with a 20" heavy stainless barrel with a 1/8 twist. I've been primarily shooting 60gr VMax, and recently tried some 65gr Sierra SBTs. Both consistently go right around or just under .5 MOA. I did fire some Sierra and Hornady 50 gr SPSX types and most of the time they never made it to the target set up at 100 yards. Vaporized along the way as they gave up to the fast twist.
    Love the RRA, very nice trigger and well set up for my needs. Primarily use it for busting tin cans, but the main reason I bought it was for coyote hunting.

  19. #19
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    If you want to go light and fast the Nosler Ballistic Tips and the Hornady V-Max hold up very well to being over spun. I don't remember what the fasts twist I have shot them in. I have done a couple of 6 1/2 twist for the 90 grain shooters and boat load of 7 twist, but I just don't remember for sure which light bullets I have shot in them. My standard load of 28 grains of H335 with a HBN coated 40 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips or the Hornady V-Max works very well in my 8 and 9 twist barrels.

    As the throat get rougher the chances of blowing a bullet go up.

    On a side note when the Speer 52 grain HP was a bulk only bullet them would work in 7 twist barrels. When Speer started the TNT line and started selling them in 100 packs the jackets became thinner. Now they may or may not survive out of a 9 twist.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    The Nosler BT have a little bit thicker jacket than the V an A Max bullets. It also depends on the type of rifling too. A friend had a custom 3 grove 6mm built and could not shoot any of the Hornady tipped bullets. They shredded even before leaving the barrel. It was a 3 grove Lilja. It was putting too much deformation into the bullet with such large bore and groove.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check