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Barrel Length vs Accuracy

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Old 03-02-2010, 01:36 PM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default Barrel Length vs Accuracy

I'm looking for a new .308 and I'm a bit confused over the barrel lengths available. I see most manfacturers designate a "Tactical" version usally sporting a 20" barrel. However if you get into the "Varmit" versions the barrels are usally 26" long. And finally if you are looking for just a plain jane hunting rifle the barrels are 22"-24".

So I guess my question is; Can you get the same accuracy with a 20" barrel as compared to a 26" barrel? I want to do some longer range shooting in the 300-600 yd range but just don't know which length to go with.

Thanks,

HA
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by HuntAway View Post
I'm looking for a new .308 and I'm a bit confused over the barrel lengths available. I see most manfacturers designate a "Tactical" version usally sporting a 20" barrel. However if you get into the "Varmit" versions the barrels are usally 26" long. And finally if you are looking for just a plain jane hunting rifle the barrels are 22"-24".

So I guess my question is; Can you get the same accuracy with a 20" barrel as compared to a 26" barrel? I want to do some longer range shooting in the 300-600 yd range but just don't know which length to go with.

Thanks,

HA
I don't know how much accuracy is effected by barrel length but velocity is certainly effected. I guess that didn't help much did it?
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:39 PM
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The .308 can be used with short barrels without a great loss of performance. The caliber really developed as a military replacement for the .30-06 and was designed around relatively short barreled autos (M14, AR-10).

A recent review of the Ruger M77 Compact with a 16 inch barrel revealed exceptional accuracy at about 95% of the performance of a 22 inch test barrel. There is not a deer out there that will recognize the 5% loss. However, that compact little rifle is very handy in the woods.
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:31 AM
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This gun will be a range gun primarily. The loss of energy isn't a big deal unless it affects the accuracy.

Thanks all,

HA
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:28 AM
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You have a double edge sword. The longer barrel may not be any more accurate but you'll pick up some velocity which at the distances you describe will be a big deal when you trying to compensate for drop. So it could make you more accurate.

Here is how I see the experiment going if hypothetically you'd conduct one. You have to choose a bullet, a brand of brass, a powder and a primer. Shoot a batch of bullets using the same gun with multiple barrel lengths and choose the one that had the smallest standard deviation for velocity. That would be your most accurate barrel length for given cartridge.

I've heard quick and dirty that one inch equals approximately 50fps.

The end all, go with what you're comfortable with.

Tom
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:45 AM
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You're not going to lose much in a .308. It's in cartridges with larger powder capacity that the difference is significant as the barrel shortens. Any type of magnum or WSM is going to experience significant losses. For example a 300WSM has the same bore diameter and uses the same bullets as the 308 but a lot more powder....it's intuitive that a longer barrel will help you burn it better.
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:51 AM
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Barrel Length has ZERO to do with accuracy !! The only thing is can affect and have an effect on is velocity and that's it......A short stiff barrel in one cartridge may shoot this way or that, it may vibrate correctly or it may be totally off balance.. I watch a guy at the hog matches with a 6.5X284 fairly light weight barrel and I'd say was around 30 inches long, that had so much barrel whip that you could see it with you own eyes, and it went on for 2-3 seconds after the bullet was long gone BUT it would shoot sub two inch groups at 500 yards..go figure!
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:48 AM
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All (or at less most) ballistics are published from using a 24" barrel.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Sheridan View Post
All (or at less most) ballistics are published from using a 24" barrel.
Is that right? How you figure? Boy, you come up with some wild stuff.
 
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:05 PM
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At what length does length of a barrel start to have an impact on accuracy. I would assume that a .44 magnum lever action of semi-auto carbine with a 16 or 18 inch barrel is gonna be more accurate at 100 yards than a .44 magnum pistol with a 6 inch barrel.
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