What is a Fluted Barrel?
Fluted barrels are firearm barrels that have had a portion of the outside of the barrel milled away in a consistent pattern. There are many types of fluted barrels available for AR-15s and other rifles including spiral flutes, straight flutes, diamond flutes, bear claw, and more! Not only do these types of barrels look amazing, but they also offer several benefits to the shooter.
Advantages of a Fluted Barrel
The first major benefit of a fluted barrel is weight saving. Since fluting involves removing material from the barrel, it can noticeably reduce its weight. Depending on the length and contour of the barrel, barrel fluting will typically lower the weight of the firearm by about a pound or more. While this may seem negligible, any weight savings can be very helpful when hunting, hiking, or using your rifle for extended periods of time. Different types of fluting can save slightly more weight than others; for example, our diamond fluted barrels have more material cut away than spiral and straight fluted barrels.
While most barrel flutes aren’t sufficient to act as “fins” like you’d find on a heatsink, the reduction in barrel mass speeds up the dissipation of heat. Less material to cool and more surface area means faster heat dissipation for your firearm. This will not only improve your per-shot accuracy, but can also increase the lifespan of a barrel considerably. The downside is that less mass increases heat accumulation, so it can be a trade-off, but most shooters find the increase in heat dissipation worth the price. A popular option to obtain both the benefits of a thicker barrel profile and more surface area from fluting is fluted heavy barrels; the heavy barrel profile has more mass than an M4 contour and the flutes help lower the weight from the extra steel.
Setting aside heat negation, a lighter barrel also means less fatigue and can also increase accuracy. Additionally, lighter guns are easier to shoot consistently, especially after many rounds of fire. If you’re a plinker, maybe that’s not as big of a deal to you, but hunters or those training for many hours will appreciate the lighter weight at the same barrel length and profile.
Finally, and to some most importantly, a fluted barrel simply looks cool. Whatever the flute pattern, it’s hard to deny the aesthetic appeal of fluted barrels. And practical benefits aside, that in itself might be a good enough reason to buy one. Our stainless steel ar barrels or distinctive Bear Claw rifle barrels are popular options for those looking to add some style to their firearm.
Problems with Fluting?
While some worry that fluting will lower the rigidity or accuracy of the barrel, this is not the case if fluting is done correctly and meticulously by a reputable barrel manufacturer. It is recommended that fluting be completed during the barrel manufacturing process and not after by a third-party gunsmith.
Should You Get a Fluted Barrel?
Barrel fluting has risen in popularity in recent years, with even the US military working on a spiral fluted heavy barrel design to aid in cooling. Whether you're looking to reduce your AR's weight, better deal with heat, improve accuracy, or just stand out at the range, fluted barrels might be a great fit for you. The only con of fluting can be the higher price tag from the extra machining it takes to make, but if you're in need of the many benefits that a fluted barrel offers, it is definately worth the investment.