Precision Reviews: 7+ Best AR-10 Barrels for STABILITY [2022]

Last Updated on August 11, 2022.

The whole point of an AR-10 is to get more power and more long-range precision from the AR platform. It just makes sense to put an excellent barrel on your AR-10.

The right barrel delivers the precision you demand

With that in mind, I’ve compiled all the best AR-10 barrels I know of, based on my observations in the gunsmithing shop and on the gun rental range.

Best Choice

CMMG 308 Winchester Barrel

Specifications:

Barrel lengths:

16” – 24”

Material:

416 stainless steel

Finish:

Black nitride or bead blasted

Pros:

  • 416 stainless steel – to put the focus on consistent long-term precision.
  • Mildly tapered profile– that retains much of the rigidity of a heavy barrel, but with less weight.
  • Finished in black nitride – on both the bead blasted and black nitride finished models.

Comparison Table

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Table of Contents

What is the best AR-10 barrel length?

An AR-10 barrel length of 24” to 27” produces the most optimal precision and ballistics. However, a shorter barrel gives you a lighter, more balanced rifle. Barrels between 16” and 24” still deliver strong ballistic performance and precision, but can make your rifle easier to handle.

What is the longest AR-10 barrel?

If you get a custom barrel, it’s possible to get almost any AR-10 barrel length. However, the longest AR-10 barrel from most manufacturers is 24” or 28”. A barrel longer than 28” may give an increase in ballistic performance, but it will be heavy and tough to handle.

AR-10 barrel reviews: What is the best AR-10 barrel brand?

CMMG, Faxon Firearms, Ballistic Advantage, and Criterion Barrels are some of the top AR-10 barrel brands, with strong reputations for quality and performance. However, there are other manufacturers that produce excellent AR-10 barrels that may be a better fit for you, based on your shooting context.

However, regardless of which brand of barrel you get, you’ll be most satisfied if you get a barrel that meets these AR-10 barrel specs:

CategorySpecifications
Barrel length16 inches or longer
Barrel steel4150 CrMoV or 416 stainless steel
FinishBlack nitride, phosphate, or bead blasted

These are my impressions and experiences with these and other brands. I’ve worked on many of them in the gunsmithing shop and had the opportunity to see how they perform over the long-term on the gun rental range.

Overall

1. CMMG 308 Winchester Barrel

Key Specs:

  • barrel lengths

16” – 24”

  • Material

416 stainless steel

  • Finish:

Black nitride / bead blasted

Pros:

  • Manufactured to maintain consistent precision for the life of the barrel
  • Tapered profile delivers an excellent balance of performance and weight
  • Black nitride finish protects barrel extension from corrosion

Cons:

  • Jack-of-all-trades performance sacrifices context-specific performance
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Other Options

CMMG is one of the premier manufacturers of mil-spec AR-15 and AR-10 parts. The CMMG 308 Winchester Barrel definitely reflects a dedication to precision manufacturing.

CMMG uses 416 stainless steel to put the focus on consistent long-term precision. These barrels will give you consistent precision for a long time.

Additionally, these barrels are cut with a mildly tapered profile that retains much of the rigidity of a heavy barrel, but with less weight.

It’s not quite as strong for long-range precision as a true heavy barrel. It’s a good middle ground between precision and lightweight.

Lastly, the barrel extension is finished in black nitride on both the bead blasted and black nitride finished models. The black nitride on the barrel extension is a nice touch because it helps prevent corrosion from heat and gasses at the point where the barrel gets hottest.Overall, these are a really sturdy all-around option for any AR-10 rifle.

Versatile barrel

2. Faxon Firearms 308 Winchester Big Gunner Profile Barrels

Key Specs:

  • Barrel lengths

16” and 18”

  • Material

4150 CrMoV steel

  • Finish

Black nitride finish

Pros:

  • Gunner Profile maximizes precision and heat resistance while keeping the weight down.
  • Black nitride finish is thick and durable.
  • Exceptional quality control ensures that you never get a lemon.

Cons:

  • Slightly less precise than a bull barrel, but significantly lighter.
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Other Options

That’s why the Faxon Firearms 308 Winchester Big Gunner Profile Barrels are some of the most beloved AR-10 barrels on the market.

The two standout features about this barrel are the profile and the finish.

First, the profile is a proprietary profile that puts more metal near the chamber, where there’s the most pressure, heat buildup, and blast erosion. This extends the barrel life and enhances the precision of your AR-10.

Additionally, the profile is thinnest out toward the muzzle, where you don’t need so much weight. This reduces the overall weight of the barrel and makes it easier to handle since the swing weight is lower.

Overall, this barrel is an outstanding blend of a lightweight barrel and high precision barrel. It’s not quite as precise as a bull barrel.

However, it’s much lighter. This barrel is still precise enough for any type of AR-10 shooting.

A good finish might seem like table stakes.

The finish on this barrel is perfect, though. It’s a super smooth black nitride finish that’s exceptionally thick and durable. It’s a significant upgrade over a mil-spec phosphate or a parkerized finish.

Last thing: Faxon performs quality control on every barrel that leaves their factory, rather than doing batch inspections. I’ve never gotten a lemon from Faxon. I suspect you won’t either.Ultimately, these barrels are an amazing value for the money. All but the most critical precision shooters will be more than satisfied with one of these barrels.

Budget

3. Ballistic Advantage Modern Series .308 AR Rifle Barrel

Key Specs:

  • Barrel lengths

16” – 20”

  • Material

4150 CrMoV steel

  • Finish

Black nitride

Pros:

  • Guaranteed to shoot 1 MOA or better.
  • QPQ corrosion resistant coating looks better and lasts longer than a mil-spec finish.
  • Very affordable.

Cons:

  • Tactical government profile retains some of the harsh contour lines (like the gas block shoulder) of a standard government profile barrel.
  • Tapered heavy profile is a tad less precise than a full bull profile barrel.
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Other Options

Ballistic Advantage is another company that produces remarkably high quality and well-priced barrels. So the Ballistic Advantage Modern Series .308 AR Rifle Barrel is an awesome barrel for anyone who’s blasting on a budget.

This barrel comes in 2 profiles: tactical government and heavy.

The heavy profile is exactly what you’d expect: a heavy profile barrel.

However, it’s a tapered heavy profile. It’s thicker near the chamber. Then it gets thinner toward the muzzle to reduce the overall weight and keep the swing weight low.

So you can maneuver your rifle more easily. The precision is still just about as good as a bull barrel.

The tactical government profile is unique, though. It still has the gas block shoulder that you find on a standard government profile barrel.

However, the tapering near the chamber isn’t as severe as a standard government profile barrel. Additionally, the muzzle end is slightly thinner than a standard government profile barrel.

All this means that you get the same performance—maybe even better performance—as a standard government profile barrel with less overall weight and a more maneuverable rifle.

One more thing: these barrels are finished with a QPQ corrosion resistant coating, which is both better looking and more durable than a parkerized or phosphate finish.Ballistic Advantage barrels are one of the barrels that I recommend most often. There just aren’t many other barrels that offer such excellent performance for the price.

Durable

4. Nemo Arms AR .308 Steel Barrel

Key Specs:

  • Barrel length

  • Material

4150 CrMoV steel

  • Finish

Black nitride

Pros:

  • Stainless steel produces consistent precision throughout the life of the barrel
  • Black cerakote finish is incredibly durable and looks great.
  • Single-point 5R rifling delivers better ballistics and longer barrel life.

Cons:

  • Only available in 16-inch length.
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Other Options

The Nemo Arms AR .308 Steel Barrel is, on its face, a pretty standard stainless steel AR-10 barrel, and a good 416 stainless steel barrel is nothing to scoff at.

However, Nemo Arms goes the extra mile in a couple areas…

First, this barrel is finished in black cerakote. It’s one of the more durable finishes in existence, and it looks great.

Nemo Arms is the only manufacturer I know of that finishes their barrels in black cerakote.

Additionally, the rifling is single-point 5R rifling. Without getting too technical, this rifling deforms the bullet as little as possible.

That way you get (slightly) more muzzle velocity and better organic precision. The rifling also lasts longer because there’s less friction wear on the bore.

Unfortunately, this barrel is only available in a 16-inch length. It’s a good all-around barrel length. Though, it would be nice to have 18 and 20-inch options for long-range AR-10s.Even with the limited length options, though, this is an outstanding barrel that will last a long time and deliver consistent performance over the entire life of the barrel.

Value

5. Criterion Barrels Inc. 308 AR Hybrid Barrels

Key Specs:

  • Barrel length

16” and 22”

  • Material

416R stainless steel

  • Finish

Phosphate

Pros:

  • Relatively lightweight
  • Very thick, durable parkerized finish that’s a nice deep black
  • Chromed target crown

Cons:

  • Parkerized finish isn’t quite as nice as a nitride finish
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Other Options

Criterion Barrels is basically a precision rifle barrel maker that happens to also make AR-15 barrels. Criterion Barrels are incredibly high quality.

The Criterion Barrels Inc. 308 AR Hybrid Barrels are surprisingly affordable, considering the performance.

These barrels use a hybrid profile which is tapered all the way from the barrel extension to the muzzle.

This hybrid profile maximizes the precision and heat resistance, and it reduces the swing weight and overall weight. So you get a reasonably light barrel that’s still superbly precise.

These barrels aren’t exactly lightweight profile barrels. The precision is almost as good as a bull barrel. It’s about as precise as you can get without going to a full profile.

Additionally, as the name states, these barrels are chrome lined.

The chrome lining is thick and super polished. The target crown is also chromed. You can see how nice the chrome lining is when you check the muzzle.

The finish on these barrels is parkerized, which might be the weakest aspect.

I prefer a nitride finish. Though, I have to admit that the parkerized finish on these barrels is impressively durable.

It’s a nice deep black, rather than the slightly gray finish that some parkerized barrels have.

Also, you can get these barrels in a stainless steel finish. The Criterion Barrels Inc. 308 AR Stainless Steel Barrels are an excellent option if you want the performance and aesthetics of stainless steel.

Overall, the only reason I call these value barrels is because they’re really well priced, but there’s nothing budget about the performance of Criterion Barrels.

These are excellent barrels for even long range precision shooters.

Fluted

6. Wilson Combat AR 308 Recon Barrel

Key Specs:

  • Barrel length

16”

  • Material

416R stainless steel

  • Finish

Bead blasted

Pros:

  • Fluting improves cooling and reduces the weight without giving up precision.
  • Slightly slower twist improves performance with lighter, tactical ammunition.
  • Semi-polished steel finish looks super cool.

Cons:

  • Not the most ideal barrel for long-range precision AR-10 rifles.
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Other Options

The Wilson Combat AR 308 Recon Barrel is an excellent all around barrel. But it’s especially nice for AR-10 battle rifles.

First, this barrel is 16 inches long.

That’s a couple inches shorter than many AR-10 barrels, which tend to skew toward 18 inches and up to capitalize on the higher muzzle velocities and terminal ballistics of the .308 round.

However, 16 inches is long enough for good performance at most typical distances. However, it’s short enough that it keeps your AR-10 easy to maneuver in tactical contexts.

Additionally, this barrel is fluted. The fluting improves cooling and reduces the weight. The fluting also keeps the barrel rigid, despite the low weight.

So you get a nearly full profile barrel that weighs about as much as a medium profile barrel, and this barrel is almost as precise as a bull barrel.

One unique feature about this barrel is the twist. It’s a 1 in 11.25 rate of turn.

It works well enough with all bullet weights. However, it does offer a bit better stabilization for lighter bullets, which is nice for light, tactical loads.

Lastly, this is a stainless steel barrel.

The bead blasted finish is remarkably nice. It’s matte, but it looks just slightly polished. It’s a very high quality look, as you’d expect from Wilson Combat.

This isn’t exactly a budget barrel. However, the fit and finish are excellent, and the precision to weight ratio is almost unbeatable.

This barrel is definitely worth the price.

Lightweight

7. Christensen Arms 308 AR Carbon Fiber Barrel

Key Specs:

  • Barrel length

18”

  • Material

416R stainless steel

  • Finish

Carbon fiber exterior

Pros:

  • Stainless steel and carbon fiber construction is super lightweight.
  • Carbon fiber jacket keeps bore and rifling straight to provide enough precision for long-range shooting.
  • Includes gas block and gas tube.

Cons:

  • A bit expensive, even with the gas block and gas tube.
  • Not as heat resistant as a full steel barrel.
Check on Brownells
Other Options

The Christensen Arms 308 AR Carbon Fiber Barrel is probably the most precise lightweight AR-10 barrel you can get. Christensen Arms really knows what they’re doing with carbon fiber.

This barrel might seem a bit expensive at first glance. However, it comes with a gas block and gas tube. So it’s a good value, despite the high price point.

But the big deal with this barrel is the carbon fiber construction.

The core is 416R stainless steel. Then the carbon fiber jacket puts lateral tension on the barrel to reinforce the core and enhance the rigidity.

Essentially, the carbon fiber jacket puts pressure on the barrel as if it were trying to stretch the barrel out, which keeps the bore and rifling straight, even though the core is thinner than a pencil profile barrel.

The end result is a super lightweight barrel that’s just as precise as a medium or heavy profile barrel.

It’s still not quite as precise as a bull barrel, but the precision is still excellent. It’s incredible when you consider how lightweight this barrel is.

The only real downside to a carbon fiber barrel is the heat resistance. A carbon fiber barrel simply can’t withstand as much rapid fire as a full steel barrel.If saving weight without sacrificing precision is your goal, this barrel will do it. It comes with all the hardware you need to slap this barrel on an upper receiver and go.

Long-range precision

8. Rainier Arms Match .308 Barrel

Key Specs:

  • Barrel length

12” – 18”

  • Material

416 stainless steel

  • Finish

Bead blasted

Pros:

  • Heavy profile gives you the most precision possible.
  • TiN coated receiver extension improves both mechanical precision and reliability.
  • Rifle length gas system ensures reliable cycling and produces the softest possible recoil impulse.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • Does not accept muzzle devices.

The  Rainier Arms Match .308 Barrel is literally just a precision rifle barrel that fits in an AR-10 upper receiver.

It’s a heavy profile stainless steel barrel, with a dished target crown. There’s no muzzle threading, but this barrel gives you bolt-action precision.

The barrel fits into your upper receiver with a TiN coated receiver extension that produces a remarkably tight receiver fit and smooth bolt locking and unlocking.

This ensures that you get as much precision as possible from your barrel. The TiN coating also enhances your rifle’s reliability.

This barrel also uses a rifle length gas system for reliable cycling and the softest possible recoil impulse, despite the non-threaded muzzle (which makes attaching muzzle brakes and other devices a little tricky).

Admittedly, this barrel is a bit pricey.However, the build quality and precision are fit for the absolute best precision AR-10 rifles. If you’re looking to get hits at the longest possible distances, this is the barrel to get.

The Final Shot

CMMG 308 Winchester Barrel

Key Specs:

  • barrel lengths

16” – 24”

  • Material

416 stainless steel

  • Finish:

Black nitride / bead blasted

Pros:

  • Manufactured to maintain consistent precision for the life of the barrel
  • Tapered profile delivers an excellent balance of performance and weight
  • Black nitride finish protects barrel extension from corrosion

Cons:

  • Jack-of-all-trades performance sacrifices context-specific performance
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

Standard 5.56mm precision won’t cut it with an AR-10. An AR-10 demands a bit more precision. Why shoot that big .308 round if you’re just going to spray shots all over the place?

A good barrel is key to maximizing the benefits of all that extra weight and ammunition cost.

Still on the fence? Hop down, and get a CMMG 308 Winchester Barrel. These are affordable, precise, and relatively lightweight barrels. You can’t go wrong.

Now you’ve seen all the contenders. Pick up an AR-10 barrel, and head out with the confidence that your rounds will go where you want them.

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