What is a Bull Barrel – Bull Barrel Variations and Benefits

what is a bull barrel

Guns have all kinds of different parts. There is the grip, trigger, barrel, and even others. These parts can generally be switched out with other parts of the same type to customize the gun to the way you want it.

In this article, we are going to focus on the barrel and talk about a kind of barrel that is different than a normal barrel. The barrel we will discuss is the bull barrel. After reading this, you will know what a bull barrel is. You will also understand the benefits of one and have an idea of when to use one. Read on to learn everything there is to know about a bull barrel.

What is a Bull Barrel

Before getting into the effects of a bull barrel on a gun, we will look into what it is. The bull barrel is a term to describe any barrel that is heavier than a standard barrel on a gun. Usually, bull barrels are thicker than a stander barrel, and this is where the extra weight comes from. One thing to remember though is that there is no standard size for a bull barrel. The bull barrel is just a term that has come about in the gun world, but there are no specifications for a bull barrel.

Another thing to remember is that bull barrels can be used on any gun and what is a bull barrel on one gun may not be considered a bull barrel on another. For example, if you put the same barrel on a shotgun and an AR15 on the AR15, it might be viewed as a bull barrel, but on the shotgun, it might not be depending on the size of the barrel.

How did it get its name?

So, if a bull barrel is just a barrel that is heavier and usually thicker than a standard barrel for a particular gun, then how did it get its name? Well, the answer to that is that it most likely got its name from a machinist named Freeman R. Bull in the 1800s. He worked for Springfield Armory and started experimenting with barrel thicknesses. He was a great sharpshooter and learn the benefits quickly of a heavier barrel.

This is why some say how this is how the name came about. This is a short version of the story and is just a story. Another explanation for why they are called bull barrels is because they are stouter than a regular barrel and bulls are also stout. This is more likely to be the reasoning behind the name. Some people also call bull barrels heavy barrels because they are indeed heavier. The two names can be used interchangeably and be correct.

Effects of a Bull Barrel

So, now that you know what a bull barrel is and the history behind the name, we can get into the impact a bull barrel has over a standard barrel. The first effect is since it is thicker it can absorb heat better. This means that it takes longer for the barrel to heat up. On a thin barrel, it takes fewer shots to warm the barrel up than it does with a bull barrel.

The reason it is essential for the barrel not to heat up is that metal expands when it gets hot. This means that the opening gets ever so slightly wider, so a hot barrel can affect how the bullet comes out.

Another effect of having a bull barrel is that it vibrates less. This makes sense because it is heavier and it takes more force to move something more massive. Also, since the barrel is thicker, it is stiffer.

This stiffness is another thing that helps absorb the small vibrations. The heavier barrel also makes it stronger, so the barrel is less likely to get damaged. It is less likely for the barrel to warp or become out of round from a dent.

These two things put together means that a bull barrel will generally be more accurate. Accuracy is affected by how well the bullet comes out the same way every time and since the bull barrel doesn’t expand as fast from heat and it doesn’t vibrate, the bullet is more likely to come out in the same place every time.

Also, the barrels riffling on the inside affects accuracy and bull barrels are preciously rifled to help them be accurate. A bull barrel needs to be well made though to get the most benefits in accuracy though.

Bull Barrel Variations

Some bull barrels have flutes to help take away some of the weight while keeping the stiffness. The flute is some grooves that are cut into the barrel. The groves remove some metal, but the barrel is still thicker and more substantial than a typical barrel. A barrel does not have to have flutes to be a bull barrel though. Also, some bull barrels are made of plastic, but this is mostly for show. That is because being plastic they don’t add much extra weight, even though they are thicker. The good bull barrels are metal.

Other Benefits

Outside of being more accurate than a regular barrel for ar 15, there are a few other benefits of a bull barrel. One of those is less recoil which each shot. That is because the extra weight helps to keep the barrel down since it would take more force to move a heavier barrel up. This should make, and the lower recoil helps keep consecutive shoots accurate.

The other benefit of a bull barrel is that they are easier to shoot with your off hand. Most people get comfortable shooting with one hand over the other. It usually is there dominant hand like anything else. When off-hand shooting, people frequently have a harder time keeping the gun stable and balanced. The extra weight of the bull barrel helps with this.

You would think more weight would make you more wobble since your off-hand muscles aren’t as strong as your main hand, but this isn’t the case. The extra weight moves the balance point of the gun towards the end of the muzzle, and this makes it easier to balance for offhand shooting.

When to use.

So, when to use a bull barrel. Well, there is no right time per say to use one, but there is no wrong time either. You can use a bull barrel whenever you want, and some of it has to do with what you are comfortable with. If you want to get top accuracy, then a bull barrel is recommended, but if you are going to be shooting the gun a lot or carrying it a lot, then the extra weight can take a toll on you over a long day. When to use a bull barrel is up to the person.


The great things about guns are that you can customize them any way you want. If you want top accuracy, less recoil, or want to show off with off hand shooting, then a bull barrel is for you. If you don’t need high accuracy though or are going to be shooting or carrying your gun a lot, then you might want to cut down on weight and not use a bull barrel.

The nice thing is a bull barrel can go on any gun, and there are no technical specifications of what makes a bull barrel. A bull barrel is just a barrel that is heavier and thicker than a normal barrel for that particular gun. After reading this you now know what a bull barrel is, what it does, and the effects it has on your shooting, so you can decide if you want to use one or not.

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