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6 Best AR-10 Barrels: Our Favorites For Builds

Looking to build a new AR-10? We cover the different patterns, interchaneability with the AR-15, and our favorite AR-10 barrels for accuracy and budget.

If you’ve built your own AR-15, and it just wasn’t enough for you, you may be looking for something even bigger and better to try your hand at.

If so, the AR-10 is calling your name!

PSA AR-10 .308
PSA AR-10 .308

While the AR-15 and AR-10 can share some parts, one of the things they can’t share is their barrels.

The barrel of your gun is incredibly important, but you know that.

Sure, it can determine the velocity of your ammo, and the accuracy of your weapon, but it can also change how the gun handles and even the legality of your firearm.

Let’s look at a few diverse barrel options and talk about why, who they’re for, and where you can get them.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best Overall Pick

    Faxon Firearms Match Series 20" Heavy Fluted, .308 WIN AR-10 Barrel

    Faxon nips at the heels of barrels costing hundreds more, all while offering a wide variety of options that all boast excellent performance.

  2. Best Budget 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel

    PSA 20" 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10 Barrel & BCG Combo

    If you want to try out a 6.5 Creedmoor AR build on a tight budget, PSA has you covered with a barrel that won't break the bank and won't disappoint at the range.

  3. Best High-End Barrel

    JP Enterprises Supermatch .308 WIN Barrel

    Exacting tolerances, extreme build quality and QC, and an individually matched bolt make the JP king of this list.

  4. Best Short AR-10 Barrel

    Ballistic Advantage 12.5" .308 Tactical Govt. Carbine Length AR-10 Barrel

    If you are looking for a shorter more tactical build and aren't focusing on hyper accuracy at distance, Ballistic Advantage has you covered with quality barrels at or under $200.

  5. Editor's Pick

    Criterion 308AR Hybrid Barrel, 6.5 Creedmoor

    Criterion represents a sweet spot; getting you high-end performance without the extreme price tag.

Table of Contents

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The AR-10: Big Brother to the AR-15

Do you guys remember that show Tool Time with Tim Allen? It was a staple of my childhood, and the main character’s catchphrase was always “More power!”

I bring all this up because, for some reason, I can’t help but picture Tim Allen screaming MORE POWER when describing the AR-10.

we-just-need-more-power-tool-time

In reality, the AR-15 is the AR-10 with less power because the AR-10 came first.

The AR-10 was the original Stoner Armalite design and was a product of its time. Full-powered battle rifles were still the NATO standard for weaponry, and the powerful 7.62×51 was the round to rule them all for infantry rifles.

Couple of AR-10s
Couple of AR-10s

The AR-15 has always been a bit more popular with everyone. Militaries, police forces, and civilians all love the AR-15, but the AR-10 is starting to see a resurgence.

A lot of guys have built or bought AR-15s en masse and are beginning to look at the bigger brother for something new.

This is especially true with the success of rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor and the rise in long-range shooting (see our reviews for the best precision sniper rifles for beginners!). 

Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor
Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor

The Many Patterns of an AR-10

AR-10s are tricky animals.

For the most part, there are two different patterns, DPMS and Armalite. This essentially means there are two different ways to build a gun via magazines, receivers, etc.

The DPMS pattern is way more common and likely makes up about 90% of the AR-10 market. DPMS patterned rifles have cheaper magazines, a ton of different manufacturers producing receivers, and a much wider aftermarket.

Aero M5E1 with DPMS LR-308
Aero M5E1 with DPMS LR-308

For that reason, I could only find barrels for DPMS guns across the market. The oddball Armalite pattern is here or there, but I doubt many people use the pricier and harder-to-find Armalite pattern. So keep that in mind when shopping for any AR-10 pattern part.

PSA AR-10 Gen 3 Upper and Lower
PSA AR-10 Gen 3 Upper and Lower

We’ve rounded up a collection of our favorite options for just about every budget and need. You’re pretty sure to find something that will work great for you and your AR-10.

Let’s take a closer look.

Best AR-10 Barrels

1. Faxon Match Series

Do you want to build a gun capable of hitting the hat off a mockingbird at 100 yards? We got you covered!

Well, not us, but Faxon Firearms has you covered with their match series, 20-inch, heavy fluted barrel.

Best Overall Pick
349
at Faxon Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The Faxon Match Series barrel is a very heavy-duty design, and one made for those demanding a high-quality barrel without worrying too much about the cost. While this isn’t the cheapest barrel, you are getting a lot for your money.

The barrel fluting will help reduce weight, and the 20-inch, stainless steel barrel weighs only 2.4 pounds — which is very nice. The barrel is 416R stainless steel, which makes it a better option for precision shooting.

Faxon Firearms Match Series- 20" Heavy Fluted, .308 WIN AR-10 Barrel
Faxon Firearms Match Series 20″ Heavy Fluted, .308 WIN Barrel

The rifle has a salt bath nitride finish and is button rifled with a 1:10 twist rate. The barrel is a magnetic particle inspected and sports an 11-degree polished target crown. The fluting not only reduces weight but helps the barrel cool a bit faster between strings of fire.

The barrel extension is DPMS LR .308 compatible and has a nickel Teflon-coated finish. It’ll last just about forever in the most common AR-10 platform out there.

Faxon has created an excellent barrel for those looking to build a high-powered, accurate, semi-automatic gun in the traditional, hard-hitting .308 Winchester. It’s almost a shame to put a handguard over it with it being as pretty as it is.

Popular .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm Ammo
Popular .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm Ammo

What’s your take on the Faxon? Rate it below.

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (819)

Your Rating?

2. Palmetto State Armory

Palmetto State Armory makes a variety of different guns, and they often do it at a great price. These are great for a first AR-10 or if you are on a tight budget. For those looking to try out 6.5 Creedmoor instead of the more standard .308, a cheaper option to dip your toes in the pool is never a bad thing.

PSA AR-10 .308
PSA AR-10 .308

The barrel is made of stainless steel, which will enhance accuracy a smidge. Of course, stainless steel will wear out sooner, but not everyone is Daniel Horner, so I’m sure stainless steel will work fine for most applications.

Best Budget 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel
349
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

PSA uses a heavy-profile, rifle-length 20-inch design. They are also threaded, so you can top it off with a muzzle device of your choice.

The PSA 20″ 6.5 Creedmoor barrel has a 1:8 twist rate, so you stabilize rounds in the 139 to 142-grain well. This barrel sells for a hair over $200, or you can snag the combo that includes a BCG for $350. We’re a big fan of the PSA 6.5 Creedmoor upper, which includes this barrel.

3. JP Enterprises Supermatch

If you are looking for the absolute best barrel on this list, it’s right here with the JP Enterprises Supermatch.

JP Enterprises LRP-07

These are top-of-the-line 416R stainless barrels that are lead-lapped, button-rifled, air-gauged, and then cryogenically treated. All of this means that you will have better consistency from your very first cold-bore shot all the way to your last.

And if that isn’t enough, each Supermatch barrel includes an individually matched and headspaced JP EnhancedBolt. This takes out any of the guesswork when it comes to making sure your bolt and barrel are working to get you the most out of your gun.

Best High-End Barrel
569
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

JP Enterprises is sitting near the top of the heap when it comes to everything AR these days, and their barrels are no exception. These are in the same league as barrel offerings from companies like Bartlein, Shilen, LMT, and other high-end manufacturers.

4. Wilson Combat Super Sniper

Wilson Combat is known for making some of the most excellent firearms on the market.

From their finely tuned 1911s to their always excellent shotguns, they do a bit of everything. The Wilson Combat Super Sniper barrel lives up to its reputation of being just fantastic.

Pure Accuracy King
335
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Wilson Combat’s Super Sniper barrel is best found in 6.5 Creedmoor and is purposely built to shoot longer and heavier rounds. These rounds are what is commonly used in long-range shooting.

The barrel is made from stainless steel and has a 1:8 rifling twist rate. The rifling is a right-hand twist and is precision button rifling.

It is a long barrel at 24 inches, but it maximizes the 6.5’s velocity and allows the shooter to reach out and touch their target. The barrel is long and made of stainless steel, so you can expect it to be a beast.

Wilson Combat Urban-Super-Sniper1190
Wilson Combat’s Urban Super Sniper AR-10 build

While the barrel is fluted, it still tips the scales at 63 ounces. However, if you are shooting long-range targets, you are likely in a prone position, and this isn’t a big deal. This barrel is designed to be as accurate as possible.

This is the go-to option for reaching out to 1,000 yards with consistency. This will undoubtedly give you an edge for hitting targets far away and producing teeny tiny groups. Wilson Combat also does a body good, or a receiver good, and they don’t slack here.

5. Ballistic Advantage 12.5 .308 Tactical Government Carbine

Oh my…who doesn’t want an AR-10 with a 12.5-inch barrel? Seriously? It’s a tiny powerhouse that is perfect for an SBR or a pistol build.

I know what you are thinking…a 12.5-inch AR-10 in .308 seems mighty uncomfortable.

Best Short AR-10 Barrel
210
at Ballistic Advantage

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Admittedly it’s not as smooth as a 24-inch barrel, but it is entirely controllable. I had some time with a 12.5-inch barrel at a SHOT Show Range Party, and it was quite comfortable with a good muzzle device.

Even with a linear comp, the flash is still pretty damn bright — but, man, is it cool.

The Ballistic Advantage 12.5-inch barrel is a 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium barrel that will resist the heat and pressure put on it by tons and tons of rounds fired downrange. With a barrel this short, you have a fun build, and I’m sure you’ll be putting plenty of rounds downrange.

Ballistic Advantage 12.5" .308 Tactical Government Carbine AR-10 Barrel
Ballistic Advantage 12.5″ .308 Tactical Government Carbine AR-10 Barrel

The Ballistic Advantage 12.5-inch barrel also has a QPQ finish for increased corrosion resistance and a nice strong finish. This little fellow is an interesting choice and will allow you to maintain a compact rifle when using something like a suppressor.

Ballistic Advantage is known for its outstanding performance for the price. They make barrels for many other companies, including their sister company Aero Precision. This barrel will get you a compact gun that is quite fierce in a very light and small package, all at great value.

Otherwise, BA does have some nice 6.5 Creedmoor barrels recently as well.

Ballistic Advantage 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel
Ballistic Advantage 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel

6. Criterion Barrels

If you need the best precision for a price that won’t buckle your knees, Criterion is one of our top picks.

AR-10, David (3)
PPT Editor David’s custom Aero Precision AR-10 using a 22″ 6.5 Creedmoor Criterion HBAR Barrel

While the extras on David’s rifle have gone through some changes, the Criterion barrel has been outstanding from the first shot.

The AR-10 is an inherently accurate platform, and sub-MOA groups aren’t uncommon. However, a tuned gas system and a quality barrel can really push the accuracy envelope of the platform. Getting half-inch groups or less at 100 yards isn’t unheard of for a well-equipped AR-10.

Several factory loads are sub-MOA with this rifle and most of that is due to having a great barrel.

Sig Match 140gr 6.5 Creedmoor
Sig Sauer Match 140gr 6.5 Creedmoor — .64 MOA at 100-yards

We really recommend Criterion!

301
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Final Thoughts

The AR-10 is an excellent gun.

With modern parts, accessories, and more manufacturers, we are seeing the AR-10 continue to rise in popularity. What was once considered heavy and cumbersome is quickly becoming the handiest option for a full-powered semi-automatic rifle.

Aero Precision M5 AR-10
Aero Precision M5E1 AR-10 Complete Rifle

The AR as a platform is extremely easy to modify and change, like its younger sibling, the AR-15, and one of the most significant components is the barrel. Long-range, close-quarters shooting, and hunting all have different requirements, so choose one that best fits your mission.

Have you tried out any of these barrels? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below! Interested in more best upgrades for the AR-10? We’ve got a bunch:

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22 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Dan A.

    I'm 95% of the way thru a "hot rod" 6.5 Creedmoor build - I've homeworked my way deeply into it, over the past 3 years, and concentrated my time, energy and cash on the barrel.

    This isn't a carbine or battle-rifle, it's a long shooter/sniper in a DPMS platform...and after much deliberation, I cast my lot with x-caliber barrels - the custom options afforded in length, profile, rifling, gas system, fluting, etc allowed me to essentially engineer my barrel, and have them execute it; flawlessly, I might add.

    Is it budget-friendly...hellz no! But, it was important enough to ME, to drop over $800 on the barrel alone. Mind you, I'm trying to push the platform out to 1500m, and perhaps a tad beyond.

    That having been said, I'm dropping an additional couple of hundred on metallurgical work, to stem the dreaded "throat burnout" that undoes 6.5 CR long shooters, and drastically diminishes their precision, when approaching and once past a couple thousand rounds.

    I recommend them highly, if one is considering something similar - not that they don't also produce OEM compatible barrels for bolt actions and lighter fare (plinkers, carbines, hunters, and such.) BUT, if you KNOW what you want, and want it JUST so...they're a go-to.

    My two cents, adjusted for Bidenflation. Cheers.

    September 22, 2022 6:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    S of Noil

    So how much can you really improve accuracy of an AR-10 with the barrel? Your article suggests AR-10s are finicky and seems to say barrel alone isn't the only factor. For example, the Pew Pew write up on Aero Precision M5 doesn't seem to give it a consistent sub moa or even moa performance. If you take that same aero build and put on a different barrel, would you confidently say it would become sub moa?

    April 13, 2022 12:38 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Dan A.

      I would confidently say...that, if one minimizes shooter error by shooting from a bench rest/bags/lead sled, with a quality barrel and match grade ammo (very important for consistency - can't use the cheap all-over-the-map junk) one could dial in their optic and punch the same hole all day long at 100 yds - provided one makes an effort to pace the frequency of their shots so as to avoid overheating the barrel.

      Definitely.

      Sub-moa is *all* about barrel and ammo.

      September 22, 2022 7:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Stephen

    Aero Precision barrels? They tell me they use Ballistic Advantage barrells, so what exactly is an Aero Precision barrell?

    August 22, 2021 8:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Get Freight

      You are correct Stephen and thank you for the info. I would not have looked as I thought all Aero parts including barrels were made in house. Found the following in their FAQ's

      Q. Do you make your own components in house?
      A. We manufacture most parts in house, including upper receivers, lower receivers, handguards, scope mounts, and various other pieces. Our barrels are manufactured at our partner company Ballistic Advantage.

      I recently built an AR-10/SR-25 in .308 with all Aero parts. 18" CMV (Stainless was a little difficult to find at the time). I added a Luth-AR stock and a Magpul MOE. Everything else 100% Aero. Only have done a rough zero with 6 rounds (time and ammo constraints at the time). Need to do my part and try some different ammo as well. Looks promising. Here's to hoping but not opposed to switching out if needed or a second upper hell, eventually maybe three. Two - .308 (18" CMV maybe 20" Stainless) and one - 6.5 (24" Stainless). I'll start saving for those now and the ammo too.

      February 7, 2022 7:31 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin

    I understand putting Criterion on here, and even the BSF. But why is every article on parts seem to be based on budget builds? Do they sponsor these articels? No mention of krieger, Bartlien, Douglass, rock creek, brux, lother walther, literally any top 10 barrel maker. Yes they are somewhat expensive, but no more than the BSF.

    January 16, 2021 9:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Troy Sutton

    I have a 24" Criterion barrel chambered in .308. I paired it with all Aero Precision parts that include a Magpul PRS stock and JP Silent Captured Spring and finally a Superlative Arms tuneable gas block and that rifle is simply the softest shooting and most accurate Rifle I have ever seen! Much less shot! Super Impressed! It definitely out-shoots me haha

    December 14, 2020 3:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tony

    I wouldn't be so quick to say CMV barrels will outlast stainless... I have 3000+ rounds through an 18" Aero CMV barrel and groups are starting to open up. Another strange thing was how much jump it has before the rifling and this was from day one. Monitoring the wear shows that the jump is getting longer too... Pretty sure that is the reason for accuracy falling off. I really want a Wilson Combat barrel for my 308, have two Wilson's in smaller AR's, a Blackout with over 10K through it and a 7.62x40WT with 5500 down the tube and both of those are still sub moa guns.

    September 13, 2020 8:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    David

    I built an AR (223) with an 18" Bison barrel last winter. Have shot it at 700 yards hitting an 18" steel target consistently with 77 grain Sierra projectiles.

    September 9, 2020 12:53 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      jim

      wow

      September 12, 2022 4:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Marion McMillan

    I'm surprised you didn't mention the Proof Research carbon fiber barrels. Admittedly, I was disappointed and underwhelmed with the accuracy of my build using the Proof 20" with +2" gas system, Aero Precision M5 lower, Geissle trigger, JP BCG and high pressure bolt, and Radian Raptor handguard in 6.5 Creedmoor. My bolt gun in 6.5 Creedmoor shoots light out (0.2-0.3 MOA) with the Christensen Arms carbon barrel on a glass bedded Rem 700 action, but the Proof/Aero not so much. I expected 1/2 MOA but could only muster 0.7 or so, and not all the time. Typically around 1 MOA was the norm, even with my best handholds, and no better than a $250 Ballistic Advantage barrel with standard rifle length gas system. I expected much better accuracy considering the $800 price tag of the Proof Research barrel. It ran perfectly, just not as accurate as I had hoped.

    August 16, 2020 7:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      CF wrapped barrels have a number of issues with them. Unless you're looking for a low rate of fire, ultra-lightweight barrel, CF wrapped is not a great choice generally. Proof Research is one of the leading names in CF barrels and even theirs can be hit and miss, which is mostly due to the nature of CF wrapping. Because of these reasons we really don't recommend them except for niche cases.

      August 17, 2020 6:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jonathan Philpott

    Why is it that CMV is a little less accurate, but a lot stronger, then stainless steel? I want to go for a 20" CMV barrel and get it cryo treated.

    April 3, 2020 8:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Paul

    Could not get my BSF barrel to shoot any better then 3 MOA. Stock PSA barrel shoots 1 MOA

    March 23, 2020 8:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kenney minter

    I got the 18" wilson combat super sniper for my aero precision m5e1 and I love it. I did have to open the gas port with a 3/32 bit because i had it armor coated and i think some of it got in to the gas port. But after that it runs beautifully! I dont regret that purchase at all.

    September 1, 2019 8:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ak-Matty

     I can’t think of a use for a .308 with a 12.5-inch barrel, but this is America! Let Freedom (and your ears) ring. I like this guy alot. Well written, and one hell of a point. DONT let the fuds miss quote you sir.

    June 16, 2019 12:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    ToddC

    Check the weight on the carbon fiber barrels. There are options that are just as light and promise the same accuracy for half the money. Faxon big gunners are affordable and very light. I have one in 308 and like it. I ordered a 24 inch Faxon heavy fluted 6.5 cm today. I thought I would buy a carbon fiber but they weren't lighter, just costlier.

    April 25, 2019 8:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Pogo

      Check the diameter on the carbon fiber barrels. You are getting a heavy barrel profile with all the benefits of a heavy barrel while being lightweight. Skinny pencil barrels heat up fast and don’t perform as well. With carbon fiber you get the best of both worlds.

      April 27, 2019 11:15 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tim

      Not to mention the chambering on the BSF barrel is not QAd so they are so far out of range that they shoot 2.5-6in minutes! I can't believe they even recommended these without trying them...they are an EXPENSIVE piece of terrible!

      April 8, 2020 9:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    dwest

    I have two firearm builds with Faxon barrels. Excellent, accurate, well worth the little extra in shekels.

    April 25, 2019 6:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Brower

    I had Dedicated Technology build an upper for me , it has a Shilen select match stainless 18 inch bbl chamber for 7.62x51 (308) on it , I put a 36 x Leupold bench rest scope on it for break in , my 20 through 23 shot measure .264. For 3 shots at 100 yards , 20 through 25 , 5 shot measured .331. That's with Varget and Berger 150 fb bullets inside Norma brass

    April 25, 2019 5:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Hilly1

    Have an LMT .308 and its literally a thing of beauty. The most accurate rifle I own.

    April 25, 2019 2:50 pm
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