Shouldered vs. Barrel Nut
Shouldered vs. Barrel Nut Installs:
Are they equal? Any accuracy issues to worry about? How about ease of installation?
The simple answers for the first and second question are the same. Yes and No. They shoot the same when properly installed and barrel nut barrels are extremely accurate.
Ease of installation is slightly lower for barrel nut barrels as compared to our shouldered barrels simply because the user needs to know how to properly set the headspace with a barrel nut. Shouldered barrels come pre-headspaced and do not require gages. Just torque and go shoot.
Are they equal?
Yes and no. The cosmetics are different, and many folks have strong opinions on what the barrel installation of a precision rifle should look like. We strive to mitigate the negative feelings with our barrel nuts that we make but we’re shooters too. We know it makes a difference so we make both types of barrels.
In terms of accuracy (repeatability) the performance of both barrels is the same. If it wasn’t we would likely not make the less accurate one.
For ease of installation the barrel nut is slightly more complicated but it is still quite easy. There’s not a big difference, it’s pretty straightforward overall.
Shouldered prefits have the factor that the headspace is pre-set when it arrives. They only fit one model of action typically and this makes it simple for many owners. When we make shouldered prefits for actions like the products from Bighorn Arms, American Rifle Company, Impact Precision and Curtis Customs. We are able to do so because of the tolerances that held with each respective product. This comes from having a relationship with the companies themselves and having a strong understanding of the products that they’re putting out as well. For the companies mentioned here they are all holding the headspace and thread tolerances tight enough that we make a shouldered prefit barrel to the lower half of the headspace allowance, meaning the chambers are on the tighter side, but they are not so tight that the barrels are troublesome in cold weather or dirty conditions.