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Free Float Front Ends And Slings

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Still in my long-term planning for a .308AR. One thing I'm struggling with is to free-float or not to free-float the barrel. Most of my rifle shooting is with a 1907 leather sling, cinched up as tight as I can get it. I've never shot a free-floated AR style rifle but I hefted a few at a LGS recently. The movement was minor, but there was enough movement in them to make me think free floated front ends aren't going to take a tight sling very well. Besides, the stove pipe free floated handguards are ugly (okay, to me.) Is there a free float handguard for the .308ARs that will stand up to a sling?

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With a free float tube your barrel does not flex when you sling up or rest it on sandbags.

It does not matter if the tube moves, the barrel and sights are still aligned.

The National Match shooters use free float tubes that fit under the handguards, to keep it looking like an issue rifle and stay within the rules.

With a little work these can be fitted to a .308AR

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I would say the threaded types would not be a problem , not sure of the clamp on ones , only because I have not tried the one I have yet, I have a Troy Battle rail  & I don't really see a problem with it ether .

I have a JP's VTAC on my 16" 308 & since it only has had MBUS sights , I use the sling a lot when off the bench (which is most of the time ) & I feel no flexing  or movement , very solid .

I have one of the stove pipes you talk about from Fulton's Armory & its on my 20" & its pretty much a bench gun , so not going to try off hand much , but its solid also . Hell I have a Versa Pod attached to it & it surely doesn't move .

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As stated by the others, the flexing of the FF handguard shouldn't effect the barrel. If your running a scope mounted on the upper receiver, the handguard is essentially isolated from the rest of the gun, that was the original intent of free floating barrels. I'm of the opinion that different free float hand guards/rails are going to exhibit different amounts of flex depending on the design (and how tight you choose to sling up). If you utilize BUIS mounted on the upper receiver and front of the FF handguard, it could effect your POA, but keep in mind that unless you can sling up the same every time, you'll have the same effect with a sling attached to a non FF barrel. If you really want to eliminate any possible problems in this regard, maybe you should consider going with a monolithic free float upper receiver from someone like Mega?

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As survivalshop stated, depending on the brand you use, that should not be an issue. IMO, some  defenitely have better mounting designs than others. The Daniel Defense Lite series being one of the strongest I've seen. Once you've narrowed it down, post what your thinking about and I'm sure someone here who has one will be happy to give his opinion on the design. As I mentioned, if you go with a monolithic this will not even be someting to worry about.

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  • 6 months later...

In high power matches, all service rifles are equiped with a free-float tube under the handquard.  The sling is attached to the FF tube and not the barrel.  Sling tension and it corresponding flex is isolated to the FF tube and not the barrel.  Since the barrel is isolated from the sling tension, sight alignment is consistent from shot to shot.    If you are going to be shooting optics mounted on the upper receiver, iron sight placement is not an issue.  If you are shooting iron sights, the front sight must be attached to the barrel and not the FF tube.

Hope this helps.


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