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Ultimate Guide to Buffers, Buffer Tubes, and Buffer Springs

May 22nd 2020

Any firearm and weapon enthusiast should have complete knowledge about each part and the functions that they perform. Having an in-depth knowledge of your weapon and its working can be beneficial for multiple reasons. Having a good knowledge of the parts, like buffer, buffer tube, buffer spring, and their functions can help you in choosing the right kind of variants which are the most suitable for your firearm.

Some of the most important parts of a firearm, buffer tube, buffer stock, and buffer spring ensure that the yielder of the weapon stays safe from the powerful recoil action caused as a result of firing a bullet. The type and variations of these parts differ based on the type of firearm that you own. Let’s know how these parts work.

As a shot is fired, it creates a rearward push for BCG which then comes in contact with the buffer. Buffer spring is placed behind the buffer which is further pushed back by the buffer due to recoil from the shot. The spring, when pushed to the maximum, pushes back forward and pushes back BGC ahead in the receiver (or buffer tube) preparing another round of shot from the magazine. So, in simple words, the most basic function of a firearm is overseen by the buffer, buffer tube, and the spring.

What to consider when choosing?

Buffer weight
The right amount of buffer weight will keep your rifle functioning smoothly as well as will increase the life span of other parts. Buffer weight can be variated to adjust the recoil impulse of your firearm. The most common variant is 3 oz. carabine that uses 3 steel weights. The other options from the line include, H Buffers made with 1 part tungsten and 2 parts steel, H2 buffer with the same making but heavier weights, H3 buffer made with 3 tungsten parts, and rifle buffer with 5 steel parts for rifle-length buffer tubes.

You get 3 options when it comes to material – Aluminium, Steel, and Tungsten. Aluminum is the lightest followed by steel and tungsten. Although Steel and Tungsten are still the top choices here due to their heavyweight and density, steel buffers offer an exceptional kind of value for AR-15.

Length of the Buffer
There are two types of buffer length available – carabine length and rifle length. Carbine length buffers are more suited for collapsible stocks housing carabine buffer tube and rifle length buffers are ideal for fixed stocks with standard A2 buffer tubes because they are longer and hence will successfully fill the extra space inside of your A2 rifle buffer tube.

Mil-spec and commercial are the two options for you to choose from when selecting your buffer stock. The main difference between these two variants is the size – mil-spec buffer tube is 1.146 in. in diameter and slightly smaller than the commercial buffer tube. So, both mil-spec and commercial stocks will fit over this tube. Commercial buffer tubes have a diameter of 1.17 in. and can only be combined with commercial buffer stock.

Choosing Buffer Springs
Standard rifle spring is 12.75 inches long and features about 41 to 42 coils while a standard carabine spring will be 10.5 inches in length and will have 37 to 39 coils. You can easily choose either of the two options depending on the type of firearm you possess. the important thing to look out for is a “twang” kind of noise when you fire a shot. That is caused when the spring is receiving too much friction from the internal surface of the buffer tube. This can be avoided by choosing a spring with a special finish or smoother surface.