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[Review] Ballistic Advantage Barrel: Premium Hanson

I review Ballistic Advantage's Hanson barrel after 3 years and 3000 rounds for accuracy, fit & feel, and bang-for-the-buckness.

Looking for something accurate, light, and won’t break the bank?

The Ballistic Advantage Hanson series of AR-15 barrels might fit the bill.

Ballistic Advantage Hanson Barrel
Ballistic Advantage Hanson Barrel

I’ve been shooting a BA barrel for over 3 years, 2 seasons of rifle competitions, and an estimated 3,000 rounds.

Here’s my experience…and of course accuracy tests!

Table of Contents


Review at a Glance


  • Great bang-for-the-buck in terms of price and quality
  • 1.0 – 1.5 MOA tested
  • Shoulderless “Hanson” profile


  • Sometimes specific barrels are out of stock

The Bottom Line

Can’t go wrong with a BA barrel (especially in a Hanson profile) for a general AR-15 build.

Faxon Pencil, Ballistic Advantage Hanson, PSA Stock
Faxon Pencil, Ballistic Advantage Hanson, PSA Stock

Background: Ballistic Advantage & Hanson Barrels

Aero Precision (manufacturers of my favorite stripped uppers & lowers) acquired Ballistic Advantage in the end of 2014.

That put it on the map for me…and I was happy to get my hands on one of their Hanson barrels after.

Hanson Barrel Profile
Hanson Barrel Profile

In a regular “Government” profile barrel there’s a “shoulder” that arises near the gas block.  Theory is that by removing the shoulder lump it reduces barrel whip and makes it easier for follow-up shots and overall accuracy.

There’s a lot of Hanson barrels…but the specific one I chose was this one:

All-Around Barrel
at Ballistic Advantage

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons
  • 16″ to avoid short barreled rifle regulations
  • .223 Wylde for increased accuracy (and still ability to shoot .223 and 5.56)
  • Mid-length gas system for a softer shooting impulse

My complete build is documented in How to Build an AR-15 Upper.

AR-15 Upper Receiver Parts
Ballistic Advantage Upper Build

To make it a little confusing…there’s two models of 16″ .223 Wylde Mid-length Hanson barrels.

One with a .750″ gas block (27 oz) and one with a .625″ gas block (22 oz).  I went with the smaller one for the weight savings.

Who Is It For?

In my opinion, a BA Hanson barrel is perfect if you are building a lightweight AR-15 but still want it to be accurate with the .223 Wylde chamber and shoulder-less design to minimize barrel whip.

Fit, Feel & Install

First off…it’s really light!  22 oz for a 16″ barrel is great…especially when regular Government profile barrels are in the 27 oz range.

I also like the bead-blasted stainless look that is different from traditional black coatings…but isn’t too shiny or a black hole for fingerprints.

Ballistic Advantage Hanson .223 Wylde
Ballistic Advantage Hanson .223 Wylde

Everything from the barrel nut, gas block, and muzzle brake installed normally and easily…and it’s still chugging along 3 years later.

Torque Wrench Barrel Nut
Torque Wrench Barrel Nut
Tighten to 35 in-lb
Tighten Gas Block Screws to 35 in-lb
Install Muzzle Device
Install Muzzle Device

And of course the finished product:

Ballistic Advantage Hanson Barrel Build
Ballistic Advantage Hanson Barrel Build

Check out the bleed-off from my favorite adjustable gas block after all these rounds!

Superlative Arms Gas Bleedoff
Superlative Arms Gas Bleedoff

How It Shoots

What you’ve been waiting for…

All I can say is that it shot super light.  Especially when I set the adjustable gas block to just the right amount of gas.

Editor's Pick
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

One negative of going lightweight is that there’s less mass to absorb recoil…but when you lower the gas to prevent your upper from sending the BCG back too fast…it kind of cancels out.

Movement between targets also sped up since there’s less metal to physically move around.

I say it definitely improved my rifle shooting game.


It can be the lightest barrel around…but if it’s not accurate it doesn’t matter.

How does the Hanson fare?

I didn’t break in my barrel initially and I haven’t copper cleaned it either in the thousands of rounds.  Keep in mind mil-spec M4 barrels are around 4 MOA.

I went with my standard testing equipment setup:

BA Hanson .223 Wylde Testing
BA Hanson .223 Wylde Testing

I shot at a slow-ish pace of around 1 shot per 10 seconds.  100 yard target.  And I let the barrel cool down to being able to be comfortably grabbed between each group.

BA Hanson Accuracy Results
BA Hanson Accuracy Results
  • Surprisingly good accuracy for Wolf Gold which is the cheapest brass cased stuff (I pulled those bottom two shots), I’d estimate 1.5 MOA (1.5 inches at 100 yards)
  • PMC and American Eagle opened up a little bit, estimate of 2 MOA
  • Gold Match was the tightest group at around 1 MOA with one flyer

Not surprising though…is how my build let me hit 400 yard targets during competitions when I did my part and had a good scope (Best 1-6x Scopes).

I’d imagine better groups if I cleaned it up and reloaded my own ammo.  But with 1.5 MOA using the cheapest brass cased ammo out there…I’m very happy.


  • Length: 16″
  • Material: 416R Stainless Steel
  • Profile: Hanson
  • Finish: Bead Blasted
  • Gas System Length: Mid-length
  • Gas Glock Journal: 1″ Gas Block Seat for .625″ Low Profile Gas Blocks Only
  • Twist Rate: 1:8 inches
  • Muzzle: 1/2×28 Threaded
  • Weight: 22 oz
  • Other: HP & MPI Tested

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

No barrel based failures in my thousands of rounds.  Installed easily for barrel nut, gas block, and muzzle device.  Individually HP & MPI tested.

Accuracy: 4.5/5

Remarkably good for a pencil barrel and it ate up my cheapo ammo at 1.5 MOA.  Using match ammo brought it down to 1 MOA and I’m sure with reloads you can get it sub-MOA. The 1:8 twist is great for a wide variety of bullet weights too.  AND…there’s a 1-MOA guarantee using match ammo.

Looks: 5/5

Love the bead-blasted look that doesn’t shine nor attract fingerprints.

Bang for the Buck: 4.5/5

$250 for a high quality barrel is what I expect…but keep in mind that it does come with a gas block already.  It’s non-adjustable but if that doesn’t matter…it saves you about $30-40.

Overall Rating: 5/5


Hanson Barrel Top View
Hanson Barrel Top View

The Ballistic Advantage Hanson barrel has served me well.  I’m testing out other barrels all the time but I know I’ll be coming back to this one…especially for competition.

Lightweight, accurate, and pretty good bang-for-the-buck…it’s one of the barrels I wholeheartedly recommend in my Best AR-15 Barrels article.

Available Coupons

What’s your experience with BA barrels…or have you tried one of their other variants?  Or check out our other Favorite AR-15 Barrel Manufacturers. Let us know in the comments below!

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9 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar


    Great article. I’m planning on getting a .625 Hanson barrel in 16”, but I’m torn between the 5.56 QPQ 4150 CMV barrel and the .223 wylde 416r SS barrel you reviewed here. I’d love to get your take on what I should get. This is my first ever build and probably the only one I’ll be able to afford to do for the next several years. I want a good all around rifle that I can shoot fast for fun (2-3 round bursts through a full mag, occasional 10 round mag dumps ) but can also reach out and touch long targets at 100-200 yards, maybe up to 300 yards. I’m a pretty intermediate shooter and not competing. I do want a reliable gun I can use for many many years and that is pretty accurate and reliable if I needed it in an emergency. Which barrel do you recommend I get? Do you think it will make a difference which one I got or do you think with my shooting style either would be sufficient? Thanks!!

    September 9, 2021 1:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    B Mill

    Nice review! I am going to pick up one of these barrels here shortly but was debating between the .750 or ,625 diameter - does the ,625 start to spread 1) really fast & 2) very noticeable, like spread enough for you to notice in your matches (if memory serves me you do 3 gun matches?). It really doesn't matter because I can shed the 5oz difference in other weighs, but if I could shed the 5oz elsewhere and still get it in the barrel, I would have no problems double dipping and take my weight savings x2.

    Last, can I ask what that little piece of 1913 rail is there for? I was thinking brass catcher or camera, but it could be many things, so I will ask and not assume.

    I believe in the build version of the portion you said you took it out to 400yds, any chance you have taken it out further since the write-up and if so how did it it do (understanding running in a match is much different compared to benchrest setup, but just curious how well she did in a benchrest type of setup).

    Thanks for the website and articles, it is nice to see people using reasonably priced items instead of Geiselle, LaRue, etc (not that they are not worth their price in the environment that calls for them, so no hating on the high dollar stuff at all, just know when to spend the $$ and buy once, cry once).

    Eric, keep up the good work and the articles, they seem to be always a good read and reallistic outcomes.

    B Mill

    November 6, 2019 10:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have a 20" HBAR profile BA barrel in 6.5 grendel that shoots pretty good. I'd say it lives up to the 1 moa claim, but not much better. It's never shot that billfold group we all like to show off as testimony to a finished build, but it hovers around .8 to 1.
    1 with about anything I shot through it.
    I swapped out to a lilja AR740 20" 6.5 grendel barrel, but havent finished the break in yet, still its shot a couple .75 5 slot groups with fed GMM Berger 130s. That's all I've run through it so far.

    May 1, 2019 3:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    No review is complete without mentioning the type of rifling and not just the twist rate!

    January 29, 2019 8:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jason T

    I have the same BA Hanson Premium that you wrote about and it freaking awesome! I got very similar results as you, but I kept the factory gas block.
    I have know idea what Mo Jones is talking about as far as customer service or problems. This is my 2nd BA barrel and both have been great. Every time I sent an email or called, BA always answered my questions and gave me their professional recommendations. Personally I plan to continue using BA barrels.

    October 4, 2018 6:41 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mo Jones

    Worst customer service ever had 2 of there barrels and nothing but problems and will never buy from them again.

    September 10, 2018 4:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    sam Gevas

    hey Eric,
    I've been looking at the Hanson barrel and would really like to get one, but can't find any other instance of someone putting a 3rd party block on one.
    I will be running lightweight internals and will be using an adjustable block, but every BA hanson I've seen has their non-adjustable block pre pinned. The BA website says that the barrel is not meant to be used with 3rd party gas systems.

    So my questions to you is: 1st, where did you get a unpinned barrel?(Or did you just unpin it?)

    and 2nd, How hard was it to align and mount the superlative block?

    August 10, 2018 11:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      They come with without the gas block installed. You may use any suitable block you desire.

      August 26, 2018 11:09 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      How'd you mount the barrel without taking the gas block off?

      March 22, 2022 12:42 pm
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