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Thread: Cutting Rifle Barrels

  1. #1
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    Default Cutting Rifle Barrels

    I recently picked up a Savage 116 weather warrior in 338. I am planning on having sights put on it plus a quick release scope but have had friends mention shortening the barrel (it's 24 inches now). I like the feel of the gun but it is definitely a LONG arm, and have hesitancy regarding packing it in the brush and am asking you shooting gurus (which I certainly am not) what you think of shortening this barrel....to what length...possible drawbacks and benefits....effect on accuracy etc. Thanks for the info in advance.

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    As long as the crown is properly done the accuracy should only improve if it is changed at all. Expect a minor loss in velocity with each inch removed but no animal you shoot will ever know the difference.
    Tennessee

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    Default A Shorter Shooter.....

    I have found that in general accuracy improves when shortening a barrel as long as we don't gop crazy with it. 20" barrels on a 338 Mag are generally very accurate, if they were ever any good to begin with, as it makes them more rigid. I would see no need to cut shorter than 20" on any magnum rifle, or anything that can burn 60 grains of powder or more. (30-06, etc) due to loss of ballistics and greater noise.

    Murphy
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    Default Some answers

    After talking with several folks in the know, it sounds like what I can expect is:

    1. Potentially increased accuracy (if crowned right)
    2. Slight increase in noise (perhaps not noticeable)
    3. Reduced Velocity to the tune of 20 to 40 fps.
    4. Little or no increase in recoil, muzzle jump.
    5. A gun that is easier to carry in the brush and points faster.

    All in all, it seems like I have more benefits than detractors on this one, I am planning on putting the gun on a chronograph before and after the cut of 4 inches (24 down to 20) and will hopefully have some numbers if you folks are curious as to how this experiment turns out.

    Thanks to those that did reply

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    After talking with several folks in the know, it sounds like what I can expect is:

    1. Potentially increased accuracy (if crowned right)
    2. Slight increase in noise (perhaps not noticeable)
    3. Reduced Velocity to the tune of 20 to 40 fps.
    4. Little or no increase in recoil, muzzle jump.
    5. A gun that is easier to carry in the brush and points faster.

    Thanks to those that did reply

    I think you are going to be quite surprised with the increase in noise and especially the muzzle flash. That will be memorable the first time.

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    That sounds about right, other than you'll likely loose 100-120 fps by lopping off 4". I'd also agree muzzle blast from a 20" 338 will be noticeably increased, though this is dependent on the powder.

    Personally I think 22" is a better length for that round, 20" tubes are more akin to rounds burning less powder, ie those based on the .308 case or smaller.

    I toted a 24" bolt gun in some really thick stuff on Montague and found the length wasn't an issue, it was the weight that had my arms dead after a week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    After talking with several folks in the know, it sounds like what I can expect is:

    1. Potentially increased accuracy (if crowned right)
    2. Slight increase in noise (perhaps not noticeable)
    3. Reduced Velocity to the tune of 20 to 40 fps.
    4. Little or no increase in recoil, muzzle jump.
    5. A gun that is easier to carry in the brush and points faster.

    All in all, it seems like I have more benefits than detractors on this one, I am planning on putting the gun on a chronograph before and after the cut of 4 inches (24 down to 20) and will hopefully have some numbers if you folks are curious as to how this experiment turns out.

    Thanks to those that did reply
    To cut a 338 from 24" to 20" will be about 120 fps. You will notice the noise. I think I can get by with 22" in a 338. If you handload you can better the performance of short barrels with powder selection.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    I wouldn't cut it off at all.
    You don't have to cut off the barrel to get it re-crowned.
    It's not going to be enough easier to carry in the brush to notice.
    You can't count on increased accuracy, and it'll probably be harder to shoot.
    You can probably count on decreased velocity, but you can't count on how much, and that will vary with the load/powder etc.
    You can count on increased noise, and you will think it kicks more, even if it didn't.
    BUT, if you do, 22" is the minimum.

    Whatever you do, I betcha it'll be a Humdinger.

    Smitty of the North

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    Wink Sure, now everyone's got an opinion

    Indeed, 20 to 40 fps per inch so around 120 fps loss in Velocity (I forgot the per inch part.)

    I'm definitely going to put some rounds through it before sending off to the smith so I'll take all info given into account and then decide if it is worth some of the detractors versus the potential positives. (i.e., if it hurts the ears and shoulder already....why ask for more right?)

    I guess the other question I have is whether the noise and xtra belt will even be noticable considering the size of this gun. I'm not sure with protection for my ears I will be able to tell "wow, loud" from "wow, really loud"...or the same thing with the kick.

    Smitty..."humdinger"? would that be a good or bad thing....and in what way would it be "harder to shoot" I'm not doubting....just curious as in how it would be harder....i.e. balance, recoil, jump...what? Please inform, since I can't weld four inches back on it, if it ends up being more than I want to sacrifice.


    Bein a lefty, I've normally shot levers, singles and pumps....so this puppy feels like carrying a pole axe so far....I think I'll definitely notice a difference in how it feels to carry it.....but then again, this round is much larger than the others I've owned so perhaps it is part and parcel with owning a magnum large bore rifle.

    Thanks again guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    Indeed, 20 to 40 fps per inch so around 120 fps loss in Velocity (I forgot the per inch part.)

    I'm definitely going to put some rounds through it before sending off to the smith so I'll take all info given into account and then decide if it is worth some of the detractors versus the potential positives. (i.e., if it hurts the ears and shoulder already....why ask for more right?)

    I guess the other question I have is whether the noise and xtra belt will even be noticable considering the size of this gun. I'm not sure with protection for my ears I will be able to tell "wow, loud" from "wow, really loud"...or the same thing with the kick.

    Smitty..."humdinger"? would that be a good or bad thing....and in what way would it be "harder to shoot" I'm not doubting....just curious as in how it would be harder....i.e. balance, recoil, jump...what? Please inform, since I can't weld four inches back on it, if it ends up being more than I want to sacrifice.


    Bein a lefty, I've normally shot levers, singles and pumps....so this puppy feels like carrying a pole axe so far....I think I'll definitely notice a difference in how it feels to carry it.....but then again, this round is much larger than the others I've owned so perhaps it is part and parcel with owning a magnum large bore rifle.

    Thanks again guys.
    Catch It:
    By "Humdinger", I mean a "good thing", Having a rifle customized to your own preferences, rather than those of someone else, or just a regular factory rifle.

    By "harder to shoot", I mean harder to hold steady due to the shorter barrel and/or lighter weight.

    A 338 wouldn't be considered an overbore capacity cartridge, like a 300 Magnum might be, so it shouldn't suffer too greatly from a shorter barrel. Certainly, not at 22 inches.

    It will recoil more, and the noise from a very short barrel will add to the perceived recoil, on those occasions you aren't wearing ear protection, like when you hunt with it.

    To handle the recoil, just hold it snug, not tight, to your shoulder. You won't be able to stop it from moving, but it won't be bumping you, just pushing you.

    When you shoot it from a bench, make sure you are sitting upright, and not leaning into it. Get a lower seat.

    A soft recoil pad, like a Limbsaver helps too.

    Have fun with it, and good shootin.
    Smitty of the North

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    Default Chronny Update

    WEll, I got the gun put together....and put a few rounds through it this weekend. Shooting Federal 250 grain noslers I had four readings of 2564,2545,2954 and 2659 fps. Average 2680 or 2589 with the fastest one tossed out of the calculation. So, with a four inch cut off from 24 to 20 inches and an average of 30 fps lost per inch (120 total approximately) this puts me at 2560 or 2469 fps respectively.

    It shot well, and the limbsaver I put on it made a great impact (or lack there of) from what I expected for recoil. (I love the accutrigger)

    So, to all the knowledgable shooter types on this forum..(which I ain't)..will a 338 bullet at between 2469 and 2560 still do a number on moose/bear at 200 yards or less? (my personal maximum for a multitude of reasons) Also, why the one super fast bullet....a chronny issue, normal load variations....what?
    And, if I wanted to hop it up with handloads....will increasing charge and thus hopefully fps, ultimately decrease accuracy after a point or is it not worth fiddlin with...
    This gun should be at the smith for sights and cut and crown by the end of the week, so prompt replies or admonitions or encouragements requested.

    Thanks in advance

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    Wink how about rebarreling?

    you may want to get a price est. for getting the rifle barrel cut off and re-sighted and compare to what a replacement barrel in the same caliber costs. Savage rifles can be re-barreled with little work and this way you can always go back to the origional barrel if for any reason you do not like the shorter configuration.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    WEll, I got the gun put together....and put a few rounds through it this weekend. Shooting Federal 250 grain noslers I had four readings of 2564,2545,2954 and 2659 fps. Average 2680 or 2589 with the fastest one tossed out of the calculation. So, with a four inch cut off from 24 to 20 inches and an average of 30 fps lost per inch (120 total approximately) this puts me at 2560 or 2469 fps respectively.


    So, to all the knowledgable shooter types on this forum..(which I ain't)..will a 338 bullet at between 2469 and 2560 still do a number on moose/bear at 200 yards or less? (my personal maximum for a multitude of reasons) Also, why the one super fast bullet....a chronny issue, normal load variations....what?
    And, if I wanted to hop it up with handloads....will increasing charge and thus hopefully fps, ultimately decrease accuracy after a point or is it not worth fiddlin with...
    This gun should be at the smith for sights and cut and crown by the end of the week, so prompt replies or admonitions or encouragements requested.

    Thanks in advance
    Is this the before velocity? So this is Federal Factory loads? The 2954 fps is an error or glitch from the chronograph, it didn't happen.

    For the 2564, 2545, and 2659 if these are indicative of factory ammo, I'm glad I don't shoot it. You have almost 100 fps spread from those three shots. That is some of the worst ammo I've ever seen. In that caliber (338 Win Mag, right?) the extreme spread should be 30-40 fps at the worst. The problem here is you don't have a good base how will you actually know what the velocity loss is. Are you in Fairbanks? I'll give you a box of good ammo to shoot before and after.

    Also the 338 Wn Mag should send 250 partitions out at 2700 fps from a 24" barrel and 2550 from a 20" barrel. Funny ammo, I guess.

    After the cut if you handload you can improve velocity and reduce muzzle flash with good powder selection.
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    Default Chronny issues?

    Murphy, interesting...I didn't know the acceptable range of factory ammo velocities....but, the fella that owns the Chronny said it was recommended for 32 degrees and up...we were at 8, which made him leery. So, the order I listed the readings was the order they were shot...with an increasingly cold computer attached to the screens (we tried to do it quick to keep it at warm truck temperatures)....perhaps that's the variation in the last two....the first two are around 10fps different. I would hope for 52 bucks a box that the ammo isn't crap. So, for the sake of arguement I'm gonna say the first two readings are close to true. which gives me an average of 2555, it's not what Murphy quoted from the printouts but I don't know enough to address the issue.

    Thanks for the offer of some fine handloads but I'm quite a ways from you.

    Whateveri8....I'm going through this little gun modification gong show because I couldn't find a rifle of the config that I wanted....once I set my little heart on stainless, sights, left handed, and shorter barrel (I won't even mentioned my love of laminate stocks)....nobody showed up to play....no one even had three of the four I wanted, if I could have found a rebarrel option of what I wanted I wouldn't have to torment you guys with my rookie questions. But it is good to know that if I make a lead sprayer out of this thing...I can buy another barrel and lick my wounds.

    But, if I'm gonna have this thing ready by the onset of chasin spring brownies...It's gotta be at the smith's soon, I guess you can all look at this experiment as a chance to watch a potentially debilitating modification without sacrificing your own rifle....I'm certainly hoping for more "hmmm, don't say's" than, "I told you so's" but, as always, I'll learn something from it, and appreciate insights from folks who know what they are talking about.

    Also, talking with some knowledgable bear folks out here, they also suggested the 210 nosler as well as the 225 and said that was quite sufficient and would up my velocity without sacrificing much of anything in the wack department.

    One more for the guru's, with all this talk lately about high end bullets at low velocities....if my numbers hold true, do you think there would be any performance issues with a 250 grain nosler at the projected (post cut) speeds of 2435 fps?

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    Default Sweeeeeeet!

    My Savage is back from the smith and it's cut from 24 to 20 and the sights look pretty good....I'll post a pic later. It was already pretty end heavy so now it swings very nice and balances more the way I want it.....of course my new found love for this firearm may go away in a few hours when I pull the trigger and send lead all over the place....but then we'll talk about faster burning powders and who has used reloading presses

    Gonna play hookie this afternoon and shoot, it's 25 degrees and feels like a friggin heatwave....results later.

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    Default I R confused

    Waiting with abated breath for your results.

    1.
    Were the chronograph numbers you posted shot with the barrel as a 24 inch barrel or a 20 inch barrel?

    2.
    How far away from the muzzle was the chronograph mounted? Sometimes if they are too close you will get odd high numbers. I always thought it was powder particles...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    Murphy, interesting...I didn't know the acceptable range of factory ammo velocities....but, the fella that owns the Chronny said it was recommended for 32 degrees and up...we were at 8, which made him leery. So, the order I listed the readings was the order they were shot...with an increasingly cold computer attached to the screens (we tried to do it quick to keep it at warm truck temperatures)....perhaps that's the variation in the last two....the first two are around 10fps different. I would hope for 52 bucks a box that the ammo isn't crap. So, for the sake of arguement I'm gonna say the first two readings are close to true. which gives me an average of 2555, it's not what Murphy quoted from the printouts but I don't know enough to address the issue.

    Thanks for the offer of some fine handloads but I'm quite a ways from you.

    Whateveri8....I'm going through this little gun modification gong show because I couldn't find a rifle of the config that I wanted....once I set my little heart on stainless, sights, left handed, and shorter barrel (I won't even mentioned my love of laminate stocks)....nobody showed up to play....no one even had three of the four I wanted, if I could have found a rebarrel option of what I wanted I wouldn't have to torment you guys with my rookie questions. But it is good to know that if I make a lead sprayer out of this thing...I can buy another barrel and lick my wounds.

    But, if I'm gonna have this thing ready by the onset of chasin spring brownies...It's gotta be at the smith's soon, I guess you can all look at this experiment as a chance to watch a potentially debilitating modification without sacrificing your own rifle....I'm certainly hoping for more "hmmm, don't say's" than, "I told you so's" but, as always, I'll learn something from it, and appreciate insights from folks who know what they are talking about.

    Also, talking with some knowledgable bear folks out here, they also suggested the 210 nosler as well as the 225 and said that was quite sufficient and would up my velocity without sacrificing much of anything in the wack department.

    One more for the guru's, with all this talk lately about high end bullets at low velocities....if my numbers hold true, do you think there would be any performance issues with a 250 grain nosler at the projected (post cut) speeds of 2435 fps?
    I have found it difficult to keep my Chronograph warm so I put it in the truck and extend the cables out to the end (20 feet) and stand outside the truck and shoot. I've been able to chronograph loads from +15 F to -33 F this winter. You can tell you the good powder and primers from the bad, at this temperature. Your before numbers for velocity are suspect, but will have to do I guess. Did you going to shoot from the same box of ammo for the short barrel test?

    There are a few bullets for the 338 I would suggest for the 2400-2500 fps, and you should easily get 2500 fps from the 20", they are the 250 grain Partition, the 250 grain Kodiak bonded and the 250 grain Hawk. You will get better terminal performance at this velocity if you stay with round nose or flat nosed bullets.
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    Murphy et al.

    The shots posted were from the 24 inch barrel, I was halfway to the range the other day and realized that it was closed on Wednesday.....DOH!

    Anyhoo, thanks for the tip on the cables...will certainly do that. The screens were about 12 feet ahead of the muzzle (too close?)

    Yup, same box, I'm shooting Federal 250 grain Noslers. Hopin to shoot today but my Chronny guy may not be able to play hookie as well....

    Sorry for the teaser, I was just too excited to hear the thing go boom to think ahead.

    More later.

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    What area of the State are you located within???

    Your velocities seem a tad slow for a 24 inch barrel.

    12 feet is ok.

    I have a buch of 350 rem mag loads ready to go, but the way our range is set up, I will not be able to keep the chronograph in the truck.

    I mounted my Ohler 33 sky screens on a 1x 6 board. Then I mounted the little Chrony in between the Ohler sky screen. So I get two seperate reading from every shot. It helps reduce the amount of shooting to get a good idea of what is going on.
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    Default Results?

    CatchIt-
    I also recently picked up a Savage 116 weather warrior in .338. And I'm also thinknig about cutting the barrel back. What's the reults of you range tests?

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