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Thread: Barrel length on a medium bore

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    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Question Barrel length on a medium bore

    I've been saving up toward a 9.3x62. I've wanted one for years.

    Now that I'm getting close, I'm starting to look at specific rifles.

    I'll handload for it, and I'm wondering how much difference in muzzle velocity the barrel length is going to make in this cartridge? It's a pretty efficient cartridge design, and there's a lot of data for moderately fast powders, so I can't imagine it will be a very big deal, but I thought I'd check in.

    If I were to get, say, a Sako 85 carbine, with a 20" barrel, what would I be likely to give up in muzzle velocity vs. a CZ 550 American with 23.6" tube? (Let's assume a 286-grain bullet, for sake of consistency).

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 Mauser View Post
    I've been saving up toward a 9.3x62. I've wanted one for years. . . If I were to get, say, a Sako 85 carbine, with a 20" barrel, what would I be likely to give up in muzzle velocity vs. a CZ 550 American with 23.6" tube? (Let's assume a 286-grain bullet, for sake of consistency).
    I've no reloading experience with the 9.3x62, but I've significant experience with its slightly (ever so slightly) smaller cousin the 35 Whelen. I'd expect about 75-100 fps with a 3.6 inch decrease in barrel length.

    I doubt you can make 2400 fps with a 286 grain bullet in the 20 inch barrel without exceeding C.I.P. pressure standards, of course the standards are fairly low for the 9.3x62 (approximately 49,000 CUP max. average). Whether the difference in velocity is significant is another question. Personally I like the longer tube on a bolt action rifle. I'm a little taller than the average guy and so I run a LOP or 14-14.25; the extra barrel length "looks" more balanced IMO. If you like the 85 I wouldn't make a fuss about the decrease in velocity--YMMV.

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    I like the CZ 550 with the 23.6 inch barrel over the 20 inch Mannlicher. And CZ's just shoot and for the money they are hard to beat. I'm sure there is some velocity difference between the two barrel lengths - just not sure exactly how much. I've studied some ballistic tables with this cartridge with varying fps loads and out to 300 yds the difference you might see in a short vs. long barrel might only be a couple of inches. And to me 300 yds is a long shot for the 9.3 in my opinion but others might disagree. The 9.3 is a great classic cartridge and I think you'll be happy with it.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    For barrel lengths between 18 and 24 inches you can generally figure 25 fps to 30 fps, per additional inch. After 24 inches the additional barrel length gains you less per inch. Under 18 inches more...
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  5. #5

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    I'm not very worried about velocity changes with barrel length, but I have definite tastes in handling and balance. Most of my rifles are the 20-22" barrel length. Anything shorter feels noticeably short, and anything longer starts feeling unwieldy. That certainly reflects the way I hunt and shoot, but also it's a question of what a rifle is "supposed to" feel like to my pea brain. Hunting open country I like them a little longer and in tight country I like them shorter, but that's more about the way my brain rattles than any scientific fact.

    My SHORT traditional muzzleloaders have a 24-26" barrels, and they don't start feeling exceptionally long till they get over 32". Somehow 28-32" feels about right to me. I've got one with a 39" barrel, and though long, it just goes with the style and feels the way I want it to. Heck, I'm even thinking of building one with a 42" barrel, which matches an original I admire.

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    I can't help you with velocity, but with a round such as 9.3x62 I cannot imagine that barrel length would make a great difference.

    Short barrel comes in handy when hunting in a thick brush. Short carbines make nice scouting guns. As far as accuracy, one of the most accurate rifles Remington ever made was the model 788 where the carbine had only a 18 inch barrel.

    With that said… I love CZ rifles and would pick them over anything. Great value for the money and their Mauser actions are legendary. Especially in 9.3x62, CZ has more experience than anyone as they were making their rifles in this classic caliber for Africa for decades. Go with the CZ.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Search in accuratereloading.com for posts by "Ganyana." He is a PH in Africa and has written several articles in Sports Afield about Cape Buffalo hunting with the 9.3x62. I believe he likes the 20 inch barrel. The caliber is all about a heavy bullet at moderate velocities (a 286 grain bullet at 2200-2400 FPS). Bill Ruger was a huge fan of shorter barrels.

    Go with what you like for balance, velocity differences are minimal with this caliber.

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    I've not shot and chronographed a lot of diffferent cartridges, with diffferent barrel lengths, but my thinking is that you should decide according to the velocity.

    If it's a cartridge that has velocities of 3000 fps, on up, a longer barrel is needed to get it's full potential.

    If less, around 2700 fps, a shorter barrel, 22" or 20", shouldn't result in a great loss,or as great a loss in velocity.

    My 338 now has a 21" barrel, but I haven't chronographed my existing loads yet.

    I've read that velocity loss, from a shorter barrel, is effected somewhat by the particular load combination.

    Personally, if I choose a cartridge because of it's performance, a 100 fps loss is significant. And, for modern high pressure cartridge a 20" barrel is the absolute minimum, and 22" is more to my liking.

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    Pick the length that balances well. Velocity is almost always highly overrated. A drop of a 100 fps will have no signifigant effect on trajectory or terminal performance out to the range you'll use a 9.3X62.

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