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Thread: Shorten .338 barrel..Murph?

  1. #1
    Member barrowdave's Avatar
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    Default Shorten .338 barrel..Murph?

    I have a Ruger M77 MK II in .338 win mag. I am not very tall, 5'8" and was thinking about having the barrel shortened 2". Not very knowledgeable about this. Would this affect acheiving the right spin on the heavy bullets, and/or accuracy. Thank you all.

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    Default shortened 338 barrel

    I have a Win MD 70, that I had the barrel shortened to 20" many years ago. Yes I did loose some velocity, but it is a lot easier to handle in close quarters. When I was shooting 175X Branes, I was still get almost 3100 FPS and could clover leaf three shot at 100 yards. I have since switched to 225 X's and the group has opened a little. Being that most of my shots have been under 300 yards, I have no regerts about shortening the barrel.
    I would say that it depends on what you expect to do with your rifle with a long barrel compared to a shortened one.
    Good luck and good hunting.

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    I might as well add a few comments.
    Generally speaking the shorter the barrel the MORE accurate it will be because the barrel becomes stiffer and the vibrations are lessened.
    As long as the barrel is the minimun length required by law (16 inches) I can not see how the rate of twist would be affected unless the caliber you were shooting required a very slow rate of twist, something on the order of 1 in 18 or slower.

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    Member barrowdave's Avatar
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    Bearcat and Snowwolfe,

    Thank you for the information, I really appreciate it.

    Dave

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    I cut a .338 Ruger 77 down to 20, it did make it handle nicely, however I did loose a lot of speed which in my opinion turned it into the equivalent to a 35 Wheelin or 338/06. I sold it, Ill never cut one so short again.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i've got the same ruger and i cut it to 21 inch and that made a big difference in handleing but it still shoots good, i'm glad i did it. i'm five foot seven as well and really enjoy having a shorter gun.

  7. #7

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    The spin (or twist) will be un-affected. Accuracy depends on several variables, but shortening the barrel 2" will not likely change accuracy any significant amount, as long as the barrel is cut and crowned correctly.

    So called "magnum" cartridges (those that have a large case capacity when compared to bore size) typically have barrels at least 24" long. This is to take advantage of the extra powder they burn. If the barrel is too short, the extra powder is unburned and simply blown out the end of the barrel. More moderate case sizes (such as 30-06, or 338/06 or 35 Whelen) typically do not need the extra length and can efficiently use a 22" (or so) barrel.

    It is true that if you cut your magnum barrel down much, you lose whatever velocity gain the magnum was supposed to give you in the first place. Magnum cases need extra barrel length to burn the extra powder they hold.

    If you only cut the barrel from 24" to 22", you will lose a little velocity and the muzzle blast will be more, but you are not likely to notice much difference in effectiveness on game. A chronograph can measure the difference, but that's about all.

    If properly done, cutting the barrel a couple of inches will likely not affect the accuracy to any noticeable degree. But, there are no guarantees in specific situations when it comes to accuracy.

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    Default 338 Shorty loads

    I'm not sure how my name got at the top of this but it makes me feel important so I'll comment here.

    I have done a lot of loading for short barreled rifles over the years and most of that was to find a powder that would boost performance with shorter barrels.

    A recent project was for the 338 Win Mag and I made comparisons between two rifles. One 19.3" carbine and another 22.5" rifle.

    Normally with the 338 WM the best performance with standard barrels would be with H4350, IMR 4350 or RL-19 powders or those in that burning rate. This allows the case to be filled with most bullets and promotes low velocity variations and the best velocity.

    With short barreled guns that slower powder doesn't get fully burned before the fire goes out and more unburned powder is expelled from the barrel than is with longer barreled rifles. My theory is to use a step faster propellant to get a more complete burn and get higher velocity, better efficiency and less muzzle flash.

    I don't know that I proved any of my theory except that more consistant velocity can be achieved in shorter barrels when using faster burning powder.

    These two loads are typical.

    250 grain Kodiak bullet, CCI-250 primers, Winchester brass.

    72.0 grs RL-19, 22.5" bbl Vel. 2740, SD=11, 19.3" bbl. Vel. 2647 SD=19
    62.0 grs RL-15, 22.5" bbl Vel. 2670, SD=03, 19.3" bbl. Vel. 2631 SD=07

    In both rifles, RL-15 gave more consistant velocity and better accuracy and left a cleaner barrel in the carbine. With the faster powder the velocity loss when loosing 2" of barrel was only 39 fps but with the max load of RL-19 there was a loss of 93 fps. Also the RL-19 powder gave inconsistant ignition in the short barreled carbine.

    Your mileage may vary and if you only use factory ammo the velocity loss when cutting just two inches from the barrel could easily be 100 fps in the 338 WM.
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