Aaron Cowan takes 3 of Clint Hanson’s Ballistic Advantage barrels and put them into rifles. Quality, accurate, and affordable.
I know Clint and he knows barrels. I would recommend any of the Hanson profiles you’re interested in putting into rifles. Most of the barrels at Thunder Ranch were Hanson profile and the guns performed fantastically.
Ballistic Advantage sports a variety of calibers in both AR-15 and AR-10 style barrels with both CMV 4150 Steel and 416 Stainless Steel.
The barrels exist in different quality grades with a variety of materials and finishes taking point to give you the function you desire. 4150 CMV steel is a recognized international standard in barrel steel and is often used in military grade automatic weapons with chrome lining because it handles heat well. It’s durability is considered one of the ideal mixes of strength, heat temperance, and elasticity that will produce and accurate and enduring rifle.
QPQ Nitride is a corrosion resistant and fairly lubricious finish that has been used on steel, especially in the firearm industry, for a long time. While chrome lining was the go to answer, and still is for military contracts, chrome has disadvantages the military just accepts for scale. QPQ brings the majority of chrome’s corrosion resistant and durability benefits without the accuracy degradation. It allows more potential accuracy to be wrung from a barrel because you do not have to stack tolerances for errors under an additional layer of material (chrome). Barrel life is still impressive on QPQ treatments.
416 Stainless has similar and even more precise benefits. The premier downside for in the benefits of stainless is in overall barrel life. Stainless is understood to wear at a slightly greater rate than layer protected steels like CMV chrome lined.
Emphasis on slightly, we’re in academic discussion territory at the moment. If you were running rifles almost exclusively as machine guns for entertainment value of high fire rates you wouldn’t use BA Stainless barrels, you’d use heavy chrome lined ones for pure durability to lengthen your maintenance time cycles.
But if you were looking for a highly accurate barrel with more than acceptable general use durability (aka anything other than continuous daily tourist driven mag dumps) stainless steel will provide it in spades.
From an assembly standpoint the attention to detail and material choice there is also a blessing. Gas blocks come installed on Hanson barrels, one less irritating chore. In the premium tiers they use nickle boron on the feed ramps to make feeding even more reliable still with a little further added durability. It’s the small sensible decisions and the attention to detail.
Can’t fault the prices either.