Bigger and meaner than an AR-15, the AR-10 is a beast of a rifle and one of the last true Battle Rifles still in service today. Getting the best AR-10 barrel you can find is a key part of having a really badass rifle.
But with different patterns, brands, and dozens of options — finding that perfect barrel can be a real pain.
We’ve tested loads of barrels and have a great list of our favorites, why we love them, and why we think you will too!
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AR-10 Vs. AR-15
Just in case you’re not sure, an AR-10 is the larger and older brother of the AR-15.
While the AR-10 in .308 Winchester came first, it failed to get adopted by the US military.
However, not long after the army started looking for a smaller combat rifle. Armalite downsized the AR-10 into the AR-15 and helped develop the .223 Remington to go with it.
The AR-10 did win some government contracts outside of the USA, Cuba, and Portugal being two of the largest.
It wouldn’t be until a few decades later in 2007 when KAC won the M110 contract that the AR-10 would make a comeback in American service.
Since then, a variant of what is effectively a slightly modernized AR-10 has served with distinction.
Why the AR-10 Instead of the AR-15?
Basically, more power.
The AR-10 is larger in every way and can chamber much larger cartridges than the AR-15.
While the AR-15 is normally in 5.56 NATO or maybe something long-range like 6.5 Grendel or something silly large like .458 SOCOM, all of them pale in comparison to an AR-10 in .308 Winchester or 6.5 Creedmoor.
If you want to reach out really far and hit with a lot of force, you need a bigger cartridge. The AR-10 is the platform that can deliver.
DPMS Vs. Armalite Pattern
Armalite was the first and is the pattern that rifles like the M110 use. But that isn’t the most popular style.
While they are basically the same gun, there are some critical design differences that make them incompatible with each other.
Neither rifle is better, they just have different ways of doing the exact same thing.
In the end, DPMS won out for civilian shooters and has a lot of compatibility cross-over with the AR-15.
Something that might surprise you, the DPMS “AR-10” isn’t an AR-10, technically. Technically, it is an LR308. Why? Trademarks and such, that’s all.
A true AR-10 is the Armalite pattern of AR-10.
However, unless you’re buying a complete AR-10 from a brand that actually makes a true AR-10 like KAC, then I strongly recommend getting an LR308 or DPMS pattern “AR-10.”
Armalite pattern AR-10s are 2 or 3 times the cost and offer zero benefits other than being “real” AR-10s.
All of the barrels listed here are DPMS pattern barrels.
They can technically be made to work in Armalite rifles, but I really don’t recommend it because there are so many variables that can mess it up. If you want to switch from Armalite to DPMS, consult a gunsmith.
Best AR-10 Barrels
Aero Precision / Ballistic Advantage
I’m listing these together because Aero Precision owns Ballistic Advantage and uses them as their barrel OEM. However, you wouldn’t know that if you buy a barrel directly from Aero Precision.
Depending on the day, one brand might have a sale or have something in stock that the other doesn’t.
So while they are the same, their options can be different. Check both!
That out of the way, these are great barrels for their price. They won’t be one-hole-shooting barrels at 1,000 yards, but they get the job done.
With solid ammo, I’ve always gotten around 1 MOA with all of my BA barrels.
They also come in a boatload of options so you can pick exactly what you want.
I highly recommend their Hanson profile barrels as a wonderful balance between weight and mass.
Palmetto State Armory
While they are a total budget brand, their barrels never get the respect they honestly deserve.
Made in-house, PSA’s barrel people are some of the best in the business and they turn out huge volumes of barrels. This makes them fairly inexpensive and quality shooters.
I’ve shot a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle from PSA out to 1,100 yards with consistent hits on steel and friends of mine have shot them out to a mile accurately.
These are good barrels, period.
They aren’t fancy, they don’t have a lot of options, and they might not be pretty — but they work. Hugely underrated, these are low-key one of the best AR-10 barrels for the price that you can get.
War fighter durability and reliability with match-grade accuracy, Criterion is one of my absolutely favorite barrel makers and I hugely recommend them.
All of my Criterion barrels have been sub-MOA shooters in both my AR-15s and AR-10.
The owner and guy in charge of Criterion is also an absolute barrel genius. And not one of those fake geniuses that sling computers from that fruit company.
Some of the best customer service and barrel techs I’ve ever dealt with, Criterion is hands down a great option for any project.
They also come in at a fairly decent price.
Options range from match-grade heavy barrels to pencil profile barrels and while those match-grade heavies are good — Faxon is really known for their Gunner and pencil profile barrels.
One of the first brands to really perfect the lightweight barrel for the AR-10 and AR-15, Faxon turns out an amazing product in both forms.
Their Gunner profile is slightly heavier than the pencil profile and is my preferred style.
Lightweight to shed a lot of weight off your total but still enough meat to handle heat decently well, the Gunner profile is a smash hit middle-ground option.
If you have some extra money lying around, anything Wilson Combat is an amazing choice.
Their barrels are great and look amazing also. With loads of options, you can really trick out a rifle with these.
Sub-MOA groups are not uncommon at all with a good Wilson Combat barrel and are well worth the cost for a long-range or precision build.
Oh man, I’ve got rifles that cost less than these barrels.
But if you want the best, and I mean the best — Shilen is what you need.
Getting close to half-MOA with a gas rifle is hard, and I’m not talking 3-shot cherry-picked groups, I’m saying half-MOA 5×5 groups or 2×10 groups. Real groups.
Not even with a barrel as good as a Shilen are you guaranteed to get groups that small. But if you want the chance, then you need a Shilen.
These are the best. Hands down. They aren’t cheap though and are really best suited for an all-out precision long-range gasser.
No matter what barrel you pick, you’ll love any of these. I’ve tested them personally and stand by each of them.
If you’re watching those pennies, Palmetto State Armory is a great barrel for a great price.
For a weight-sensitive build, Faxon Firearms is the ticket.
For the best balance of durability and accuracy, Criterion is where it is at.
And if you want the very best, Shilen is the only choice.