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Thread: Barrel Length Question...

  1. #1
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Question Barrel Length Question...

    Can some one explain to me what the advantages and disadvantages of having a 22"- 26" barrel?

    A friend of mine is looking at buying a new gun, and asked me...I have no idea.

    Thanks in advance!

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    A longer barrel in a small caliber will generate a little bit more velocity. A shorter barrel in a large caliber will have very little affect on velocity differences. A 277 caliber barrel will get more velocity from a 26" barrel than it will from a 22" barrel. A 375 H&H will lose very little velocity from a 26" barrel to a 22" barrel. It's called expantion ratio.

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    Default Thanks Allen,

    So...when you are shooting a Rem 700 in 300 Win Mag, the difference between the 24 and 26" barrel should be very little? (Mag vs. Ultra Mag)

    Thanks for the timely response!

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    Talking Barrel length

    AK Archer,


    Magnums hold more powder. Magnums need more barrrel in which to burn more powder to create more velocity and thus more energy.

    A Magnum with a short barrel is a loud standard caliber, because with less barrel, can't burn extra powder, can't get extra velocity.

    The practical side is a 300 Win Mag looses about 35 fps per barrel inch from 26" down to 22" and more after that.

    Are you sure you don't want to talk about the Savage Alaska Guide Gun?

    Murphy

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    And... the shorter the barrel is, the louder is the shooting, especially with magnums...

    Well, in my opinion there is always a good decision for each caliber which makes sense or not. For my .30-06 I prefer 22" barrels, my .375H&H Mag has a 24" barrel. If I would take a magnum, it will be a 24" barrel, taking an UltraMag or something like that: even a 26" barrel...
    And it is also a question of the cartridge: European metric calibers are getting rid with shorter barrels - most of it. So the 9,3x62 or the 8x57IS...

    Good shooting!

    Klaus

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    Talking Murphy...

    ...you're getting sassy! =^)

    Dave

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    Aside from the ballistic question, the advantage of a shorter barrel is that you can move through thick alders much more nimbly without that extra few inches of steel hanging up on every branch.

    Of course, when moving through thick alders, 'more nimbly' isn't all that meaningful a distinction...

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy
    AK Archer,

    I'll guess by your name you don't shoot a rifle much.

    A rather esoteric question.

    Did you ever notice that Magnum calibers have longer barrels than standard calibers?

    Did you also norice that Magnum calibers have larger cartridges than standard?

    Did you ever notice on an ammo box that Magnum calibers give more velocity than standard calibers and/or handle heavier bullets?

    Murphy
    Thanks for the response Murphy....

    Actually I do shoot quite a bit. I shoot my 300 Win. Mag when anything will do, and then I step up to my 330 Dakota when I need some "umph"... I have just never dug into to all the factors of barrel length etc...

    I am a Computer/Network Engineer...ask me a question in this field, and I can rattle on and on.... I knew you would do the same with this question.

    AKArcher

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    Default .300 Wsm

    My father-in-law has the Savage Stryker (not the guide gun!) in a .300 WSM which sports a 14 or 16" barrel (don't remember exactly). I know this won't perform like a full length barrel'd rifle but I have heard the ballistics are similar to that of a full length 30.06. Is this about right?

    Any opinons on this rig?
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  10. #10

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    Can't remember which author (my bet is Bob Hagel) did an experiment back in the 70's, whacking an inch at a time off a standard and a magnum rifle, then chronographing again. Did it all the way from 28 or 30 inches down to 16 inches, as I recall. If I can dredge the article out of my files, I'll provide more detail and a reference.

    As I recall, the standard caliber lost about 25 fps per inch, while the magnum lost 40 or 50 fps per inch.

    I've only had a few barrels clipped. One, an 257 Roberts 3-inch that RCBS built for me in the 70's had a 26 inch Shilen barrel, which I had clipped to 22 and restocked recently. With my top 100-grain loads it dropped from an average of 3175 fps to just under 3100 fps.

    I also had a 24-inch 375 H&H clipped to 20 inches. It lost almost 150 fps with 270 grain bullets and a little less than that with 300's. No animal on earth would notice the difference on impact.

    I notice the difference when packing them, however.

    Four inches may not seem like a lot until you move into thick brush. Remember that most of that 4" is sticking up over your head on a rifle hanging from your shoulder a sling. Clipping it down to head-high cuts tangles a whole lot more than you might imagine. Ducking under a branch takes the end of the shorter barrel down far enough that it clears along with your head, while a longer barrel forces you to duck a whole bunch lower.

    It probably depends more on how tall you are and how long your sling is, but the dividing line on my 6'4" frame is between 20 and 22 inches for barrels. Longer than that seems to tangle a lot more, while shorter doesn't seem to help much. I probably won't clip any more barrels shorter than 22 inches, but I need a very good reason to every have any longer than 22 for Alaskan brush.

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    Talking Barrel length

    AKWannabe,

    I prefer the term Grouchy or Old Grouch. Sassy should be reserved for pregnant women and small children.

    AKmud,

    Though I'm not familiar with the Stryker per se, it must have a 16" barrel as that is the shortest we can have on a rifle due to ATF rules. Also you are probably correct about it's performance more on a par with the 30-06 in a 22" barrel.

    This seems a subject which gets a lot of attention here as most folks want a short barreled rifle for portability. And a lot of folks want to know about the effect of a shortened barrel before taking it to the gunsmith and having it whacked, I understand that. But almost always without exception when I or someone else tries to explain what the effects are of a shortened barrel to help the individual make an informed decision, someone will say they cut a barrel to 16 inches and it works great. (Which means; I pull the trigger and the bullet comes out.) Anyway that seems to satisfy and out comes the hack saw. No one really cares if the 300 ultra is now a loud 308 Winchester, all that matters is we don't get tangled in the bushes.

    What I find staggeringly odd and dangerous anyway is carrying a rifle in coastal ALaska, where bears grow large and have been known to kill us frail humans, especially through the thickest of thickets with the rifle slung over the shoulder. !#*! I have hunted in, well....about a dozen countries and twenty some states, and yes some, a lot of that was in thick jess of some kind. Now most of this was not in areas where in lurked great dangerous beasts, but even then my rifle was in my hands! And, certainly, when danger was afoot nearby, my rifle was at the ready! And,. I still got through the bush!

    Am I the only reader of this forums script that finds this ahhhh..for lack of a better term......dumb! Sorry folks. Now to make this even dumber, the rifle, in order to qualify as an Alaska rifle MUST be stainless, of course, and plastic and light weight. Not just light weight but super light weight, less than six pounds is great. And oh, yeah, lest we forget SHORT!! (The ATF rules seem to get in the way again.) Sixteen inches is way too long. So it should be very easy to carry in the hands but, it goes over the shoulder and it still gets caught in the alders. I don't get it!

    I have chronographed dozens of shortened magnum rifles here in ALaska over the past two years. They still suck! They are very loud and velocity is down to standard caliber level or less. Now I understand light, short and handy. I own many of them. Not 16" hunting rifles but 18"-20" barreled rifles. But it seems to me many hunters in this state carry this to an extreme. Judging by the troops going ga-ga over the cheap made Savage Guide Gun, makes me think nothing else matters but .....SHORT!!

    Oh, well. I'm better now that I have that off my chest. Feel free to berate me at will.

    Like I said, I own and have owned had many SHORT rifles. We call them carbines in this country. In some parts of the globe the name translates to "Handy" and central Europe has the "Battue" rifle.

    Some of my carbines are:

    Remington model 600, 308 Win, 18" bbl.
    Winchester model 70 (1956 version) 358 Win, 18.5" bbl.
    Remington model 788, 308 Win, 18" bbl.
    Sako Battue model, 308 Win, 19.25" bbl.
    Sako Battue model, 9.3x62, 20" bbl.
    Winchester model 1894 SRC (1904 version), 38-55 Win, 20" bbl.
    Savage model 1899, 358 Win, 20" bbl.
    Ruger model 77, 358 Win, 18.5" bbl.
    Sako handy rifle, 375 H&H, 20" bbl.
    Stoner Mk 23, 223 Rem, 14.5" bbl. (1968 version, this one was fun and didn't get tangled, but had a four inch gizmo on the muzzle, the terrain was very thick)

    I also have many 22"-24" barreled hunting rifles and carry them in thick brushy areas as well, kinda depends on the mood. I promise you, none of these were ever too long to get through any brush or tangle in which I hunted including Kodiak Island. There you have it, more griping by a southern country boy who has actually seen the world, and still lookin'.

    Good shootin'.

    Murphy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy
    AKmud,

    Though I'm not familiar with the Stryker per se, it must have a 16" barrel as that is the shortest we can have on a rifle due to ATF rules. Also you are probably correct about it's performance more on a par with the 30-06 in a 22" barrel.


    Murphy

    Murphy the Savage Striker is their bolt action pistol.

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    Default Stryker

    Allen,

    Thanks for settin' me straight. I said I wasn't familiar with it, I should have said I don't know jack about it. I guess it would have to have less than a 16" huh? It seems I remember seeing an add for one but have never seen an actual specimen. I Think that is the answer to a shorter rifle! A pistol!
    Why didn't anyone come up with one of them sooner?

    Geeze! I'm loosin' it.

    Murphy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy

    Now to make this even dumber, the rifle, in order to qualify as an Alaska rifle MUST be stainless, of course, and plastic and light weight. Good shootin'.

    Murphy

    Not one single SS/S rifle in my battery. Deep blued and pretty wood still rate with me. Only thing stainless I own are revolvers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy
    Allen,

    Why didn't anyone come up with one of them sooner?


    Murphy

    Remington and Weatherby both did decades ago.

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    Default Striker, stryker or whatever

    Murphy,

    Here is a little info on this neat "little" gun.

    http://www.gunweek.com/2000/savagepair.html

    Take a look and give me your opinion.
    AKmud
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    Red face Striquer...

    Thanks guys for trying to keep me from looking like an idiot but it's not working.... I don't always sound that way do I?

    Yeah, I think I remember reading about the Savage pistol, and the Weatherby, but haven't seen either.

    I am pretty familiar with single shot, scope sighted pistols. I have hunted with Contenders, Wichitas and E.A. Brown falling blocks. I took an eastern Colorado prong horn at just short of 300 yards with a Brown 6.5 U.S. (Ultimate Siihuette).

    I have taken deer, hogs, sheep, javelina, cats, elk and lots of coyotes and prairie pups with single shot pistols and revolvers.

    A few of the calibers I have used include;

    357 mag, 357/44 B&D, 41 mag, 44 mag, 44 AM, 45 colt, 45 WM, 454 C, 475 LB, 30 Herrett, 357 Herrett, 219 DW and many necked up wildcats, 6mm, 6.5 mm, 7mm and such. Also my own series using the 225 Win case.

    About all of the SSK series by JD Jones on the 444 Marlin case. 308, 338, 358, 366, 375 etc. At one time I owned over 100 barrels for the old fashioned TC Contender and several frames. Many were in custom made wildcat barrels ranging from a 17 Bee to a 1.8" 458 Win Mag. We called that one the "Thumper" I dislocated my thumb shooting that one. My favorite now is the Brown falling block. I have shot many 1/2" groups with those with 12" barrels.

    I shot my first Forty in HG sillhuette with a Contender in 357 Herret. I have shot upper thirties with a half dozen different revolvers, and hit the big 40 with a couple. A ten inch Fredom arms in 44 Mag, for one I recall.

    Gosh this is fun going down memory lane...I think I had forgotten about most of this stuff. I'm not old if I can still remember when I was a good shot, right.

    Thanks, guys and good shootin'.

    Murphy

  18. #18

    Default short barreled magnums

    I have a Ruger 77 all weather in 300 win mag. I bought it at a gun show a couple of years ago just for the action. Someone had bobbed the barrel to 19 inches. Just wacked it off with a hacksaw... no recrowning or anything. A couple of guys were looking at it and laughing at it and thats what drew my attention to it. They had the poor dealer hanging his head. At this point it was shaming the good stuff he had on his table. So I looked it over and other than the obvious it looked almost new. So I offered him $250 for it and took it home with me....probably could have gotten for less at that point.

    I took it with me to the range one evening last fall and just about dusk I got it out and tripped one off. The muzzle blast was about what I expected. I'm guessing that 1/3 of the powder ignited outside of the barrel.

    I know that big case and little hole means your in need of a longer barrel. However I have been strongly concidering sending this gun to Montana and having it rebarreled to 458 win mag. I was planning on a 20 inch barrel and then have them install one of their muzzle brakes on it. Am I making a mistake with the 20 inch barrel ? Will the velocity loss in the 458 be that big of a factor?

    The way it pans out, new SS barrel with muzzle brake, fitted to this action, squared and lapped will run a tad over $600 . Put that with the original $250 that I gave for the action and throw on a Bold trigger and I'll be into a pretty nice rig for just over $900. $900 is a lot of money but not to much money if there are no regrets and this becomes one of those guns I keep for life. Will I regret the 20 inch barrel?

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up Short 458

    EKC,

    Do you need the muzzle brake?

    The 20" barrel and 2" muzzle brake is 22" (I'm good with math)

    The 458 uses fast burning powder anyway and with it's expansion ratio, won't loose too much from a short barrel, the biggest thing is the Boom! If you hand load for it and will settle mostly for something less than max loads with 500 grain bullets, it can be a good package. I would not hesitate to shoot and hunt with a 20" barreled 458 Winnie, but I would not walk the same fields with someone carrying one with a muzzle brake on it. Way too noisy for field use.
    The 458 in a 24" barrel is only about 2050 fps with the 500 grain, and you would likely loose about a 100 fps or a little more. The velocity can be about 2100 fps with 450 grain bullets, so the loss in ballistics would not be something to regret and I don't see the need for the brake for a load such as that. Without the brake it won't be so loud. You would actually give up a little recoil by using the 20" barrel. It is not the recoil of a souped up 416 Rigby. Don't make the barrel too light, drop the brake. Good shootin'.

    Murphy

  20. #20

    Default Thanks Murphy

    The Rigby's that I have shot were all 10 pounders or more. This new project should go around 8. I will take your advise and drop the muzzle brake.. may go to 22 in barrel as well! This may sound stupid but I actually like the recoil. Kinda like back in my boxing days. Getting wacked up side the head served as motivation. Same thing here I think! Ha!

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