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Thread: Barrel length!

  1. #1

    Barrel length!

    Another barrel length question..

    After seeing RPA rifles at the CLA a few weeks ago, especially the woodland stalker with a 16'' heavy barrel, i was wondering what the down sides to this are? The man was saying that it was good out to 500yds.. In terms of accuracy i assume he means, but is he on about acceptable accuracy from a match rifle or from a stalking rifle? I would be rarely shooting out to 500yds and at crows etc if i was.

    If i were to chop the barrel on my rifle down to say 16", what noticable difference would it make if i chopped it down to 16'' from 26''? i have heard that velocity can be lost, but no other problems? Also, i have heard that with a short, heavy barrel, it is more difficult to find the sweet spot due to the resonance being over a shorter period? Im asking this as i have no experience of it and wondered whether i was being taken for a ride? It sounds sensible, what he said that a longer, thinner barrel is a lot easier to find a sweet spot?

    Im going to keep my R700 PSS barrel but have it shortened, to reduce weight and make it easier to handle.. im wondering how much to chop off!!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingfisherman View Post
    Another barrel length question..

    Im going to keep my R700 PSS barrel but have it shortened, to reduce weight and make it easier to handle.. im wondering how much to chop off!!
    Doubtless, an expert will provide a fuller answer but in essence, the ammount of hassle you might encounter varies with; the calibre you're talking about, the bullet you wish to propel and the powder you might choose to propel it. The problems in no particular order, can be, increased blast/noise/recoil and depending on the condition of your barrel, either a small gain or total loss of accuracy coupled with an allmost certain reduction in muzzle velocity/energy.

    What makes you feel that a shorter barrel will necessarily handle any better?

  3. #3
    I had my 260rem cut to 20", it was a huge improvement (in handling terms) on the previous 22.5" barrel length. A friend also has a 260, his is chopped to 19" and handles very well. I have to admit, his is a bit handier than mine. His barrel is also lighter in profile. Both these rifles wear ASE Utra cans.

    I lost no more than 50FPS for the 2.5" of barrel (Chrono'ed). I suspect, but don't know for sure, that you will really start to bled velocity below about 18" of barrel length.

    I would get it cut down to 19-20" (19.5" seems a compromise...) and live with it a while to see how you get on with it. You will see a huge improvement in handling losing 6" of barrel, taking 10" off in one go seems a bit drastic.

    Edited to add, you can minimise the velocity loss by a judicious mixture of bullet and powder. I have become a big fan of lighter charges of faster powders in short barrels - Benchmark is my particular favourite, should work well in the 308.
    Last edited by Claret_Dabbler; 08-08-2010 at 18:08.

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

  4. #4
    Ogive - RE handling, i mean carting it around and not having a massive lever arm for the moderator to hang on. Just carrying a rifle with a 26'' barrel plus the mod is a little unweildy at times without thinking of the weight!

    I wasnt seriously thinking of a 16'' barrel yet and was thinking more 19-21'' but if there was little to be lost between a 20" barrel and a 16" barrel, then i would start to consider it more. Its a .308 if that makes any distance, i would hope that lopping 5'' off the barrel wouldnt increase recoil? wouldnt it reduce pressure and muzzle velocity? Having a mod on it, i would hope that would get rid of the muzzle flip.. The RPA woodland stalker handled very nicely, i just cant afford one! Maybe i will win the BDS draw in Oct!!

    Does anyone in the NE/N Yorks area have a chrono i could borrow? I dont really want to buy one but could supply beer for a loan of one!
    Last edited by flyingfisherman; 08-08-2010 at 18:36.

  5. #5
    My .30-06 has a 20" barrel (sako optional shorter threaded barrel) which is probably on the shorter end of the limit for a .30-06 but it's nice and light and handles well even with a Predator 8 on the end.

    I've not got round to chrono'ing it so I'm not sure of the velocity and obviously being a factory barrel I have no 'before' to compare it to unfortunately. I worked up a load until I found one that was sufficiently accurate and which also happened to be on the 'stiff' end of the load range so I am pretty satisfied that there is plenty of poke coming out of the dangerous end. I am also lead to believe that a moderator will act almost like a barrel extension and add some FPS back on.

    In retrospect maybe my choice of powder (H4350) might not have been the best choice for a short barrel (relatively slow burning), the moderator definitely gets hot quick and there is quite a muzzle blast when shooting without the mod, but the load works so I'm sticking with it for the time being at least! This is something you need to think about if you have a short barrel. 6 foot flames coming out the muzzle would not be a good look.

    The rifle only weighs 6 1/2 lbs (bare, without scope) so there is a bit of kick being a .30-06 but nothing you'd notice in the field and in any case I'd rather take one punch to the shoulder than lump the extra dead weight around all day, or trade off the pointability and fast handling.


  6. #6
    Now, I don't see the need for a 26" barrel to begin with so lopping a few inches off of that tube seems fine to me; especially for woodland hunting. I would not consider chopping the barrel to 16" however... at least not in one shot. I would cut it to 22" and then decide after a year or two of shooting. I have a 30-06 FN Supreme with a 20.5" barrel due to some muzzle damage from a previous owner. I consider this a minimum for a case of this capacity and would rather have it back at the original, undamaged twenty three inches. Accuracy is still fine, though. I don't think the weight of the rifle changed by more than the weight of a ham and cheese sandwich.~Muir
    Last edited by Muir; 08-08-2010 at 19:21.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Muir View Post
    I don't think the weight of the rifle changed by more than the weight of a ham and cheese sandwich.~Muir
    Fair comment , however if you have a moderator on the end the extra leverage from the weight of the moderator does come into play so the 'felt' weight can be significant.


  8. #8
    thanks for the info csl and Muir, both are appreciated. At the moment with a 26'' barrel and the P8 on as a mod, it puts the overall barrel length to something near 30''. If i were to chop it to 21'' then the overall barrel length would be somewhere near 25''. So would it be better if i were to do so, to change to a fast burning powder or just wait and see how it shoots current loads?

  9. #9
    between 20-25 inches your talking 25-30 fps per inch loss or gain . my tikka is 17" ...243 .it shots sub inch groups at 200yds ,if i do my bit ..

    16" is not giving you any room for recrown or new thread job if you have a prob at some stage .as i know my tikka was 18" i rethread it .

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by flyingfisherman View Post
    So would it be better if i were to do so, to change to a fast burning powder or just wait and see how it shoots current loads?
    Personally I wouldn't mess around with different powders until you've tried it, however losing inches off the barrel is going to alter harmonics etc so you might find yourself working up the load in steps to find the sweet spot again.

    From a safety point of view I can't see a problem with trying the same load because, if it even changed at all with the shorter barrel, the pressure could never be higher could it?


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