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Thread: Barrel Lengths and Accuracy

  1. #1
    Top Member Remington 5R .300 Win Mag's Avatar
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    Barrel Lengths and Accuracy

    We've all probably heard that, the longer the barrel, the greater the velocity! I've heard it referred to as approximately 50fps gained for every extra inch of barrel length, however, what about accuracy? Surprisingly, I've recently heard it said (without explanation) that, the longer the barrel, the 'less' accurate your rifle is! I always thought that, as long as you could practically 'tote' the thing, the longer the barrel the better off you are in both velocity 'and' accuracy!

    What's your thoughts and comments on that?
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  2. #2
    OPCz Rushy's Avatar
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    I think that as long as the rifle is zeroed to then it doesn't matter.
    deer243 and Micky Duck like this.
    It takes 43 muscle's to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger pull.
    What more do we need? If we are above ground and breathing the rest is up to us!
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  3. #3
    Member Ryan_Songhurst's Avatar
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    If it's shorter it's more stout thus has less "whip" and should be more likely to be consistent, and barrel length can have an affect on speed to a certain degree but that's all dependant in your load also, a faster powder that burns completely in a shorter barrel is going to be more efficient than that same load in a long barrel where it burns out half way down and then pressure starts to drop
    7mmsaum likes this.

  4. #4
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    Shorter barrel = less dwell time in the barrel for the projectile = less time for rifle to move off intended target

  5. #5
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    All the theory is good, but when you look practically, benchrest shooters are getting excellent accuracy with their ppc's with barrel length of around 21", varmint for score shooters are using 24" barrels in their 30 br, medium and long range benchrest shooters are achieving excellent performances from 600 tp 1000 yrds using 28 to 32" barrels ( we are talking under 2" and 4" respectively for the best ones).

    Jumping to the lighter rifles department, if you take a look at the regular posts from kiwi greg and what groups he can achieve with the light rifles he gets built ( including magnums with long skinny fluted barrels) and good reloading techniques, the "short barrel = more accurate" theory become a bit of a myth.
    dogmatix and 300CALMAN like this.

  6. #6
    Member Marty Henry's Avatar
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    Apart from getting you closer to the target, I've read that longer barrels are considered more accurate as the nodes are further apart. Also gas turbulence at the crown is reduced as the bullet is no longer accelerating when it leaves the barrel and has entered its stable gyroscopic phase.

  7. #7
    Member MDub's Avatar
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    I had my 7mm-08 tikka cut down to 18 inches and suppressed and now I can consistently shoot half moa groups with it using factory ammo.
    I used to average 1 moa groups and it was a bit fussy on ammo.

  8. #8
    Member rossi.45's Avatar
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    this question comes up from time to time . .. and the answer is . .. it doesn't matter.

    you build or buy a rifle for its handling characteristics, its a total package, with compromises to do a job.

    enough accuracy with enough velocity for the job

    beware simple answers to all questions about anything, no exceptions !

  9. #9
    Member zimmer's Avatar
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    As per previous runs of this thread, the long barrel equals accuracy is a hang over from iron sight days when the the longer sighting radius minimised sighting errors.
    Short stiffer barrels are potentially more accurate than long wippy barrels. Having said that my 284 has a 33" barrel which allows me to use a full case (best load density) of the slowest burning powder possible to achieve my desired velocities without excess pressures. Also the Yanks for years have shot, very accurately, extreme long range events using specialised pistols. Loooong barrel 22s are also a thing of the past as it has been shown that the 22 bullet will actually start slowing down b4 exiting the barrel. Again, long barrels meant less iron sight sighting radius errors.

  10. #10
    Member Tombi's Avatar
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    The answers are all anecdotal. the only way you'll ever know would be to do a proper experiment, and why would you when most rifles be it 16" or 32" will go sub MOA
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  11. #11
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    Regarding 22lr, the most accurate bench rest rifles are built with about 24" long tube and they use muzzle tuners.
    Yes the 22 bullet needs only 16 to 18" to burn all its powder, but the longer flexible barrel makes barrel tuning much easier.

    By the way the reason tuners are used with 22 lr, is because the amo can not be tuned by hand loading, the variation of speed between each bullets is compensated by the different angles positions the muzzle takes when releasing said bullet, so that they all end up on the same area of the target.( hope that makes sense)
    PERRISCICABA likes this.

  12. #12
    OPCz Rushy's Avatar
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    Not to me Friwi.
    It takes 43 muscle's to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger pull.
    What more do we need? If we are above ground and breathing the rest is up to us!
    Rule 1: Treat every firearm as loaded
    Rule 2: Always point firearms in a safe direction
    Rule 3: Load a firearm only when ready to fire
    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt
    Rule 5: Check your firing zone
    Rule 6: Store firearms and ammunition safely
    Rule 7: Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushy View Post
    Not to me Friwi.
    By moving the tuning device along the barrel you cam 'hange the resonating frequency and thus change the nodes in the wave of the barrel to time them for when the projectile is exiting the barrel

  14. #14
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    Here is a bit more information :
    Smallbore accuracy

    Using barrel vibrations to tune a barrel

    Enjoy the reading
    ebf and PERRISCICABA like this.

  15. #15
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    this one always puzzled me same with seating depth to some degree saw it explained differently the other day and it kind of made sense
    barrel flexes a bit like a good fly rod if you shake the shit out of it,these nodes, that people talk about are the points along barrel length where barrel moves the least. if your get your muzzle at that point in theory the "whip" factor is minimalized eg the muzzle will be at same place each shot
    you do it one of three ways
    barrel length
    seating depth
    or tuning load with powder charge
    or combination of last two eg tuning a load properly
    back when just had factory a few different loads were tried till you found one that worked
    benchrest shooters have used BIG THICK HEAVY barrels for years.some as fat as truck axles!!!! by making it heavy it CANT flex around bugger all as its too fat to flex and to heavy to jump (bit like this overweight truck driver really)
    by shortening you sporter weight barrel it CAN POSSIBLY make it fatter and stiffer so like above target barrel more steady and less fly rod like.
    hope my long winded ramble makes sense???

 

 

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