Rifle barrel fluting is a popular method of reducing the weight of a rifle barrel while also increasing its stiffness and thermal dissipation properties.
This is achieved by removing material from the barrel in a specific pattern, creating a series of grooves, or “flutes.”
This process can be done in a number of ways, including CNC machining, hand lapping, and even water jet cutting. The most common types of flutes are spiral, helical, and straight.
Spiral flutes are the most popular, as they are the most efficient at removing weight and increasing stiffness.
Helical flutes are also popular, as they create a unique aesthetic and can be used to improve accuracy.
Straight flutes are the least popular, as they do not provide as many benefits as spiral or helical flutes.
Ultimately, the choice of flute pattern will depend on the intended use of the rifle and the preferences of the shooter.
Fluted vs Non Fluted Barrel
If you were to compare a fluted vs non-fluted barrel, you would find the fluted option will be stiffer. This stiffness has an advantage in accuracy.
Although you can’t see that stiffness with the human eye, when you shoot ammo from your rifle, the barrel is placed under a high level of stress. It’s so much stress that the barrel begins to vibrate.
The complexity of energy transfer with respect to accuracy can be difficult to describe, but we generally accept that the stiffer the barrel is, the more accurate it will be. Therefore, many shooters believe having a fluted barrel increases the accuracy of their gun.
Aesthetic appeal is another factor that is considered an advantage of fluting…because looking cool matters. It’s hard to argue the aesthetic appeal of a fluted barrel.
What is the benefit of a fluted barrel?
The first major benefit of a fluted barrel is weight reduction. Since barrel 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. These weight savings can be very helpful when hunting, competition shooting, or using your rifle for extended periods of time.
Different types of barrel fluting have varying effects on weight reduction.
While barrel fluting doesn’t necessarily act as “fins” on a heatsink, the reduction in barrel mass speeds up the dissipation of said heat.
Less material to cool means faster heat dissipation for your barrel. 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 the rate at which the barrel heats up, so it can be a trade-off, but most shooters find the increase in heat dissipation worth the price of admission to fluted barrels.
A popular option to combine the benefits of a heavy barrel with that of a fluted barrel. A heavy barrel has more mass than other barrel profiles. Adding the flutes to the heavy barrel profile help to lower the weight of the extra material.
A lighter weight barrel also means less fatigue which can increase accuracy.
Additionally, lighter guns are easier to shoot consistently during extended range sessions or competitions. Hunters alike will appreciate the lighter weight at the same barrel length and profile.
Is a fluted barrel better than a heavy barrel?
Fluted barrels provide a weight advantage for a given barrel diameter without affecting the rigidity of the barrel composition.
Barrel fluting dissipates heat faster due to the increased surface area, and less mass. If the barrel is properly fluted there will be no loss in accuracy.
To ensure accuracy, it’s best to get a fluted barrel from a reputable barrel manufacturer such as Faxon Firearms, vs having an existing barrel fluted by your local gunsmith.
Does fluting weaken a barrel?
As stated above, having your existing gun barrel fluted by a gunsmith can reduce its resilience. For example, fluting a barrel that you’ve had for years can create weak spots that may crack or break during shooting as the barrel heats up.
Avoid these issues by buying barrels that have been fluted by the manufacturer or buying a firearm that comes with a fluted barrel.
Most Accurate Fluted AR15 Barrels | Faxon Firearms
Faxon Firearms barrels are the pinnacle of value. Manufactured 100% in-house from cradle-to-grave, these barrels are fully stress relieved, air-gauge tested, and 11-degree target crowned to ensure superior accuracy.
Quality is imbued into its barrels from the start. They start with the best materials, either certified 4150 Mil-Spec steel or 416-R Stainless. From there, each barrel goes through a battery of tests at each operation until finished in Nitride and final inspected.
All barrels are individually checked for headspace by precision custom-hardened gauges.
Faxon’s MATCH SERIES of barrels takes our renowned performance and value up a notch.
Manufactured in-house from gun-barrel-quality bar stock, the Match Series starts with 416-R in 5R rifling. 5R is a hybrid rifling, with lands opposite grooves and reduced sharp angles that reduce jacket deformation increasing velocity and easy cleaning.
Faxon chambers its Match Series barrels in a hybrid chamber that the 5R rifling takes full advantage of. Better accuracy through less bullet jump, but fully and individually MPI tested for your safety. After rigorous testing, the barrels are Nitride treated inside and out, locking in the bore, improving barrel life, and keeping the elements at bay.
The extension is coated in Nickel Teflon which maintains incredible dry lubricity, and corrosion resistance, and with the coating, tightens up the fit between the extension and receiver – again improving upon accuracy. Combined, the Match Series of barrels are ready for when duty calls or the buzzer beeps with unrivaled performance value.
Whether you’re looking to reduce the weight of your rifle, dissipate heat faster, improve accuracy, or just look cool on the range, a fluted barrel might be your ticket.
The only real downside of barrel fluting is the higher price tag. That higher price tag is due to the additional machining required to properly mill the barrel.
If you’re a serious shooter and in need of the benefits that a fluted barrel offers, it is definitely worth the investment.
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