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I just got a Sabre with standard hand guards, which I want to at some point replace with a quad rail. My question is what are the advantages of the free float rails over the ones that just drop in to the existing delta ring set up? I was thinking about just getting some drop in ones but I want to make an informed decision and do it right the first time.

Thanks

Nate
 

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The free floats are supposed to help with accuracy. From what I have read, it is not enough of an improvement to really be worth it if you are just plinking around.
 

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The rail does not make contact with the barrel.... there by "free floating" the barrel. This makes the rifle more accurate especially when the barrel is hot.
 

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The idea behind free-floating a barrel is the increased expectation of accuracy you can achieve with most rifles, including the AR-15 platform. By free-floating a barrel, nothing touches or interferes with the barrel from the receiver forward. Right now, the standard A2 or M4 handguards attach to the Delta Ring and the handguard cap just behind the front sight post. All of these parts touch the barrel in some way or another, so any force applied to the handguards from carrying, shooting, a sling used to support off-hand shooting, are all applied to some degree to the barrel.

Using a free-float handguard eliminated these added stressors on a barrel and should allow for more accurate shooting of your AR15. The free-float handguards also are more open than the standard hanguards, which enables better airflow around the barrel and increased cooling of the barrel. Finally, the free-float models are generally more stable than the railed handguards that just snap into the delta ring and handguard cap. This is important if you want to mount any type of laser or other optical sight on the forward rails.
 

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consider it floating and bedding a bolt rifle for accuracy

but unless your doing some serious long range shooting it will matter very little I like them for the continuous look it gives the rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So is the accuracy and cooling advantages worth the extra cost? I've got a flat top receiver to mount a red dot on so all I want the quad rail for is a light and vertical fore grip.
 

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I think so, just have to justify it for yourself.
 

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So is the accuracy and cooling advantages worth the extra cost? I've got a flat top receiver to mount a red dot on so all I want the quad rail for is a light and vertical fore grip.
from what ive seen the quad rails that drop in arent any cheaper then the free floats and sometimes even cost more. like with YHM their 2 piece ones cost about $20 more then the free float.
 

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So is the accuracy and cooling advantages worth the extra cost? I've got a flat top receiver to mount a red dot on so all I want the quad rail for is a light and vertical fore grip.
Some drop in rails will have a little bit of play. This play is very noticeable when you add a VFG to it. Just imagine, you're out shooting at the range, during all that excitement of shooting your AR, how much pressure are you putting on that VFG? That little wiggle/play will (over time) drastically change.

The light, it would not matter if it was mounted on a free float or a drop in. You're not fine tuning the light. :)

But, it all comes down to what you want and can afford. If you go ahead and buy the free float, then there's no sense in going back to a 2 piece drop in rail systems. But if you go with the 2 piece first, you could always upgrade to a free float. Then you'll have extra parts that you may or may not use.

YMMV on the wiggle/play of 2 piece handguards. My 2 piece Samson MFG. rails have no play. But my friends 2 piece Samson MFG rails has a little bit of play... Go figure!
 

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So is the accuracy and cooling advantages worth the extra cost? I've got a flat top receiver to mount a red dot on so all I want the quad rail for is a light and vertical fore grip.
This is something that you and your wallet have to reconcile. IMHO, yes...they are worth the expense. Then again, I shoot my .223 ARs at very long ranges (out to 600 or so) and the .308 AR's further and every additional bit of accuracy I can squeeze out of them...I want to squeeze. From your post that you are just putting a VFG and a light on your rifle (not a bipod, additional optics, sights, etc.), my guess is that you are configuring this rifle more for CQB, Home Defense, zombies, etc., and won't shoot it past 100 yards. The returns you get will be less in this instance than if you were building a rifle for longer ranges or precision target shooting.
 

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You can find a deal on YHM light weight Free float rails on Ar15.com. I got the Rifle legth for $110 from Cardinal Armory. At that price its hard not to get the Free float.
 

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Rails are like all the other accesories out there you can get spend a little or you can spend beyond measure

you have to decided what you want to spend on your rifle.

you can get entry level stuff from MI or YHM or you can jump up and get the Daniel defense, Larue, Troy high dollar stuff,

will one serve you better than the other probably not,

Yes there will be advantages to upper level manufactures, such as how light they are the finish they put on them ect ect ect, and yes some of the top makers may actually make a stronger mount,

but we are not high speed operators that break our rifle just by looking at it. YHM will serve you just fine

FWIW YHM also has a thread front on thier FF rails for a Screw in Cover that looks pretty dang sharp.
 

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So is the accuracy and cooling advantages worth the extra cost?
Assuming you're a good enough shot, yeah.

For me, I'm not steady enough to be able to tell the difference so... *shrug*

I make no pretenses at being an ex-sniper, delta-force operator from doom. I just like to shoot.
 

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The other thing to remember is the difficulty in installing them.

A free float rail is going to require you to disassemble your whole upper to replace the delta ring mounting point. In most cases you will have to remove the front sight base, if you have a 14.5" barrel with a pinned and welded flash hider you are in for a lot of work.

The 2 piece hand guard models you remove your hand guards and install the rails.

One of my AR's has a free float rail and the other does not. I can't really tell a difference in accuracy.

 

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I think I only paid $35-or-so for the excellent DPMS two-piece free float tube for my Bushy Shorty. I did the work myself. Pretty simple. I don't have a drop of Rambolista blood in me, so having rails on my free-float tube would be pretty silly for me, as I won't be hanging any lights, foghorns, etc., off my AR.

Note: Just checked Brownell's. Current price for the tube that I'm using is $36.
 

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Ord pretty much nailed it. But I think I would change more accurate to more consistent.

Adding a freefloater won't necessarily increase accuracy in my opinion. But what it will do is isolate the barrel from outside sources of stress and therefore likely make it just a little more consistent in hitting the intended target. That doesn't increase accuracy in my opinion. It just removes a factor that could cause you to miss what you're aiming at, and why I think more consistent is a better explanation.

Though I do like railed floaters over regular tube type freefloaters because it gives you more options.

I have had a couple of the drop in railed forends. They're no where near as sturdy as the real thing. They may often get the job done, but a true freefloat is a better alternative altogether in everything but the weight increase.
 

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The other thing to remember is the difficulty in installing them.

A free float rail is going to require you to disassemble your whole upper to replace the delta ring mounting point. In most cases you will have to remove the front sight base, if you have a 14.5" barrel with a pinned and welded flash hider you are in for a lot of work.

The 2 piece hand guard models you remove your hand guards and install the rails.

One of my AR's has a free float rail and the other does not. I can't really tell a difference in accuracy.

I think the collapsible stock needs to be on the AR with the FF. And the Pmag as well. The fixed should be on the AR with the handguards. :D Then you have a Basic and a tacticooled.
 

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Ord pretty much nailed it. But I think I would change more accurate to more consistent.

Adding a freefloater won't necessarily increase accuracy in my opinion. But what it will do is isolate the barrel from outside sources of stress and therefore likely make it just a little more consistent in hitting the intended target. That doesn't increase accuracy in my opinion. It just removes a factor that could cause you to miss what you're aiming at, and why I think more consistent is a better explanation.
John has a very valid point here. I agree that consistency is key. Most people who go with the free-float tubes will get more consistency out of their rifles by eliminating those additional stressors on the operation of their rifle's barrel which in my experience translates into a more accurate rifle (at least as a matter of perception if nothing else).

Good clarification, sir.
 
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