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Thread: Barrel configurations - Standard/Varmint/Fluted?

  1. #1

    Barrel configurations - Standard/Varmint/Fluted?

    Hi folks,

    Just been browsing the various Sako’s and Tikka’s etc and have been looking at the different barrel configurations available and have a few Q’s if you guys don’t mind?

    First up,
    With respect to Deer Stalking in general, is there a specific advantage, if any, when using “varmint” type barrels over a standard barrel?

    Any Pros / Cons ie Accuracy? Heat dissipation? Weight? Etc etc

    With respect to the Fluted barrel options, again I’m after the pro’s / con’s compared to a standard barrelled rifle just to get an idea of their specific uses and capabilities?

    If you were to choose a specific barrel for mainly Deer but with the odd night out on the lamp for some foxes, would you guys deem a “standard” barrelled rifle as more than sufficient?

    I may be reading too much into the different configs and getting a bit bogged down with them here but it will be intersting to me to find out what you guys preferences are?

    I suppose the standard barrelled rifles have stood the test of time and always will, but with the various options out there it's good to know what's what.

    Cheers guys


  2. #2
    Hi There,

    This is my take on it and I admit up front that I don't do Foxing as such, I only shoot them when asked to or we have a problem Fox. Now for a stalking rifle you have to decide on what weight your comfortable carrying, remember to allow for the scope, mounts, sound moderator and bi-pod if using one. You might be surprised how much it adds to the basic rifle. For instance I acquired a Parker-Hale 1200C (Super Clip) rifle in 25-06 with a normal sporting weight barrel of 24" length. The barrel diameter at the muzzle just behind the 1/2" UNF thread measures 0.600" (13.3mm) not what one would call a heavy barrel.

    The wood stock on this one is dense so it weighs quite a bit more than the makers catalogue claims as it weighs 8 1/2 lbs add the scope and mounts, bi-pod and sound moderator and it weighs just over 12lbs.

    Now a heavy or Bull barrel as they used to be called will add another 2-3 lbs in weight. Fluting is not new as Steyr offered this feature on their target Martinis and schuchzen rifles at the turn of the 20th century however it has only become fashionable again in the last decade or so and the punters seem to think it's a new idea Oh Hum . Also bear in mind the problems Berretta had with some fluted stainless Tikkas that split like banannas along the flutes . It adds stresses and weak points.

    Now Bull barrels were originally for steadying the rifle and allowing more stable barrel as it heated up. We don't often shoot long strings in stalking nor foxing that I am aware of. In the US they do shoot a lot on Prarie Dog Towns which is where the Varmint barrel tag became used for the Bull Barrel.

    Myself I will stick with a std weight barrel for my stalking and use when required for foxes. Barrel wall thickness on a standard weight sporting barrel seems to run between 0.150"- 0.175" depending upon calibre while a Bull barrel is more likely to about 0.250"-0.280". The heavier barrel heats up more slowly but also takes longer to cool down. If I was to have it threaded and then equip the bull barreled 6mm I have it would weigh about 14 1/2-15lbs not exactly a rifle for hill stalking.

  3. #3
    Thanks for taking the time to reply Brithunter,

    It’s good to know some background to what/why/where the other barrel types originated & it was more out of curiosity on my part as to what people prefer and the reasons behind their choices. Both good and bad.

    Personally, I will be going for a standard barrelled model myself as this design has stood the test of time and will be more than “fit for purpose” for my stalking and/or odd night foxing needs as I can't imagine a barrage of closely timed shots ever being fired during either pursuits.

    Thanks again


  4. #4
    Looks like Brit covered all the bases. 8)

  5. #5

    Oh how I wish that was so

  6. #6
    Heavy weight bull barrels are really for use on target rifles - especialy for shootig off slings rather than a bipod - the weight steadies out any movement / muscel tremor etc.

    Heavy barrels are stiffer and heat up more slowly (but also cool down more slowly) than a thin barrel.

    Flutes - do allow a thicker barrel profile, and do take some of the weight off and do look quite cool.

    But for stalking use - especially for hill stalking - a standard sporter weight barrel is more than sufficiently accurate for the one / two or three shots you normally take. As for foxes - I have shot more than a few with my sporter weight Heym at ranges of up to 200yds.

    If you are going to Moderate the rifle I would also have a look at some of the lighter weight mountain barrels as by the time you put on a mod you have a lot of additional weight out forwards.

    Almost more important than weight per se is how the rifle balances and fits, both on the shoulder when carrying and in use. IMHO moderators can really mess up the balance of a rifle and unless the barrel is shortened to 20 inches or less they also make the rifle too long and cumbersome.

    Choice of rifle is very much a personal thing - my one bit of advice is before spending your hard earned penies is have a god look at as a many rifels as you can - indeed try to use as many different rifles as you can before committing. What feels good in the shop may after a five hour climb feel bloody horrible.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the reply Heym SR20,

    Very helpful indeed!

    Certainly helps get my head around it all!



  8. #8
    Fluting also offers an increase in structural rigidity of the barrel, according to some makers.

    The end game on barrel configuration is how many shots do you fire consecutively and what caliber is in question. Any good quality standard weight barrel will group ammunitioin it likes closely for three shots from a properly bedded rifle; meaning no adverse bedding issues. Would you need more than that for deer or fox hunting?

    I have never found that barrel configuration made a huge difference in accuracy. One of my most accurate rifles is a CZ Hornet with a thin barrel. One of the most disappointing rifles I've owned was a bull barreled .308 target rifle that wouldn't group with that Hornet any day of the week. ~Muir

  9. #9
    hi i have the teka hevey bareled supper varmint with a scope mounts sling silencer bypod magasine waight 18pounds good points very acurate at silley distances very stable on the bypod barrel never heats up you can put a lot of rounds down the bore without afecting acurase and if you onley get one shot you know you will hit it bad points waight no good for freehand shooting if you have back problems not recomended if on the other hand you like a good work out get one your fitness levels will be high in saying that i would not get a lighter gun yes its going to be lighter but if you want bug hole acurase general a stalking rifle is not up to it 2to 3 inch is what most stalking guns do so the manufacturers say not my opinyon hence i always purchase varmint guns generaly they are for smaller targets and fast fire and shooting ground scwirels at 600yards so they have to be stable reliable consistent but as most shooters shoot deer to a maximum 200yards supose the light barrel will do at that distance but if your in to longer shots get a hevier barrel and dial in your shots bulit strike is important to me another reason i like hevey barels you can keep your eye on the target better when shooting

  10. #10
    Don't worry about profiles, unless you are going to shoot on ranges and put a lot of rounds down range a normal sporter barrel will more than suit you. Here is a link you might enjoy;

    Most of the aftermarket manufacturers make fluted barrels, some even hexagonal. But a sporter or semi-match barrel 20" to 22" of any profile will do any normal game/vermin shooting you want to do.

    I bought a Sako Finnlight that has a fluted 20" barrel, but I really wanted a de-luxe with a normal profile. I just bought the best value rifle I could at the time.


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