So I am getting alot more into rifles lately. One thing that keeps popping up is heavy barrels. Every gun store clerk and fellow shopper can't help but tell me how heavy a barrel they have on their gun at home or how such and such rifle has a nice big heavy barrel.
Am I the only one who wants a barrel as thin and light as possible? Maybe its because when I shoot my rifles I don't use bags or bi-pods and my arms get tired, or maybe I just like all of my guns to be 'handy'. I don't know why but I just don't have any love for HBs.
What do you guys think about HBs? Like them? Love them? Indifferent?
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March 11, 2008, 01:19 AM
None of my guns are bench rest or stationary varmint guns. All are for hunting or plinking, or some targets shooting, none have heavy barrels. If I did much of that type of shooting it would be a different story. Nothing against them just not for my type of use. Several of my sporters will do MOA or better, which again is good enough for what they are used for without the unneeded extra weight.
If I was into serious target or long range sooting I would want heaver than I own. Different tools for different applications
March 11, 2008, 01:41 AM
Different tools for different applications
Says it all. :)
March 11, 2008, 02:18 AM
Thin light barrels are good for firing a single shot or for cartridges like the .22LR that don't produce a lot of heat. Heavy barrels are better for sustained fire and are easier to hold steady from a bench or bipod. The heavy barrel is more ridged and takes longer to heat up.
It all depends on what you want the rifle for. For accurate target shooting, the heavy barrel gives you a serious advantage. For hunting, the thin barrel is easier to pack around. Trying to target shoot with a barrel that opens up when it heats up is a PITA. You fire a shot and then hang around for 5-10 minutes while the barrel cools down, then fire another shot, etc... Two hours later you might have gone through a box of ammo.
I've got both types, but I tend to prefer barrels a little on the heavy side.
March 11, 2008, 02:24 AM
You have to look at the advantages and disadvantages to both. Personally, I have many of both. I prefer heavy for bench or shooting off the hood of my truck, but I don't like lugging a 12.5 lb rifle around much.
March 11, 2008, 02:53 AM
I have one heavy bbl rifle an AR Varmint / Target Rifle. Makes it real sweet for that role but wouldn't want to hump it around for long!
March 11, 2008, 02:57 AM
I have a heavy barrel .30-06 (like you say, if you don't have to carry it far), and a lighter barrel .30-06.
The heavy barrel weighs 13.5 lbs w/scope and the "light" one weighs 9 lbs w/scope.
I still don't have anything that could be called "featherweight", but the 9 lb one isn't all that bad. At least, as long as I don't try high altitude sheep hunting...
March 11, 2008, 03:14 AM
U guys all keep saying "heavy barrels" isn't that the same as a bull barrel or just a little different?
They're much better for long range though and very fun.
March 11, 2008, 03:23 AM
They're much better for long range though and very fun.
Not so fun when you got to haul them up and down mountain sides, though. ;)
My primary use for rifles is for hunting, so I don't want a heavy barrel on them. However, I don't like having too thin of a barrel, either. Any extra weight shaved off the barrel to make it thinner could be shaved off my midsection, as well, and it would probably be cheaper and not negatively effect accuracy. :neener:
chris in va
March 11, 2008, 05:38 AM
A handgun, I know...but I had a Ruger 22/45 with the 5.5" stainless 'bull' barrel. Honestly it just took the fun out of shooting 22. Way too top heavy.
March 11, 2008, 06:32 AM
That is all I have in centerfire rifles is some type of heavy barrel rifle. One is a 20" barrel and is not that much heavier than some longer barrel sporters. I don't carry my rifle around all day. Depends on what you are doing. My use is target shooting. If I did carry a hunting rifle I too would include some type of sporter rifle as well.
With 22lr I have sporter barrel rifles and a few aftermarket heavy barrels.
March 11, 2008, 10:16 AM
It is my considered opinion that the "heavy barrel" trend is a new one.
I have a JC Higgins M50, built right after WWII. It is a very light bolt action rifle, in 30-06. Kicks too. In all respects it is built lighter than today's bolt action rifles. This got me pondering.
I asked one of our Grey beards, a guy who has an outstanding collection of rifles, all periods. I asked him, "are older rifles lighter than today's rifles?", and in the main, they are.
Of course ignoring blackpowder era stuff, but once you get to smokeless, and post WWI, rifles were built light. Lighter stocks, thinner barrels, a lot of weight reduction.
I believe this is due to the fact that in today's society you drive everywhere. Folks don't walk, they don't carry stuff. That was not true that long ago, four wheeler's and a lack of four wheel drive vehicles meant you parked your car on the side of the road and walked in. People were thinner back then too, you never say so many obese people even in the 70's.
Anyway as our butts have gotten bigger, so have the barrels!!! :D
March 11, 2008, 10:22 AM
All but one of my M14s have standard profile barrels, the lone exception is a medium heavy barrel.
March 11, 2008, 10:49 AM
You don't mention where you hail from, but if your hunting grounds offer lots of up and down hill or mountain hiking, I for one can fully appreciate your taste for a light barrel rifle.
The problem with most light barrel guns is that they do not do well as target rifles.
For hunting they are usually more than sufficiently accurate.
For putting five shots into one hole at 300 meters, they don't do so hot.
March 11, 2008, 11:38 AM
I'm more of a hunter than a target shooter. Carrying a heavy barrel all day at 11,000 feet in the Rockies will make you wish for a much lighter rifle, I guarentee.
March 11, 2008, 12:51 PM
As was said, it all depends on the use. The only rifles I have where barrel weight is an option (lots o milsurps) are my ARs, and none of them run heavy barrels. Now, if I had an AR set up for varmit hunting or precision target shooting, I probably would have a heavy barrel. But all of my ARs are combat-style carbines, so they wear (at heaviest) a M4-profile barrel.
March 11, 2008, 01:03 PM
Depends on the purpose of the gun. For an AR15, or any other type of defensive combat weapon, I generally hate them.
They are only useful in a machine gun, sniper, or target rifle.
March 11, 2008, 01:20 PM
Since I hunt more than I target shoot, I don't like heavy barrels.
March 11, 2008, 01:36 PM
I only have them on competition rifles.
March 11, 2008, 02:50 PM
There are a lot of different barrel contours. If a heavy or bull barrel is too much to lug around there are lots of others to choose from. You don't have to go just 'heavy' or 'light'. Read up on it here:
March 11, 2008, 03:06 PM
With the exception of target or varmint guns, I like 'em as short and light as I can get. My dream hunting rifle is a ULA M-20 in .257 Roberts with a 16 1/2" barrel and peep sights. I'd like it to weigh no more than 5 pounds with a sling and full magazine...
March 11, 2008, 10:17 PM
But heavy barreled sniper rifles are tacticool.
Myself I would have one on a target rifle but anything I had to carry around I wouldnt want one. Most of my guns have a light conture barrel.
March 11, 2008, 10:30 PM
I have a savage 12fv .223 with 26" barrel a BSA 6-24-44 mil dot scope all together it weighs 10lbs its a heavy S.O.B. if you have to pack it. Bought it for coyote hunting originaly not knowing how heavy it acctualy was and now can't hunt with it cause its to friggin heavy. Love the gun to death great shooter but its now my ride on the 4-wheeler with me gun. If I see some thing i don't have to pack it anywhere I can just shoot at it. NOT ACTUALLY ON THE 4-WHEELER, OFF IT ON A REST. Its great for that but not much else if had to do it over again i'd buy a smaller barrel.:cool:
March 12, 2008, 09:49 AM
IMO,a heavy barrel is fine for range use, but if you are going to have to carry that thing out in the woods all day, the gun should be as light as possible (personal experience and preferance) and still not break your nose to shoot it. unfortunatly, my uncle went to an extreeme lightening a rifle so much that it gave him a nose bleed whenever he shot it. i dont remember what it was, but he lightened everything as much as he could, then ended up pouring lead into some of the holes just so he could shoot it. i think it was before we knew about muzzlebrakes, or i am sure he would have done that (more holes!). i would love to be able to take 1&1/2 pounds off my remington 700, but i do not know how without ruining it.
March 12, 2008, 10:03 AM
Balance is the forgotten key to rifle making. Heavy barrels usually throw that off.
March 12, 2008, 01:19 PM
Nope! However, balance is important, as Cosmoline pointed out. All my rifles have heavy McMillan stocks, so the balance point is at or near the forward receiver bolt, as it should be.
March 16, 2008, 12:01 PM
Now I have some heavy barrels that are fluted that are very well balanced. I also have some heavy, short barrels that are just fine - especially on AR's. But on a typical bolt action hunting rifle... I like a lighter profile to hump around all day, except on dedicated varmint rifles.
March 16, 2008, 12:14 PM
I don't like them on a hunting rifle that will be carried for miles. On a range gun or bench rest rifle then yes I like them.
March 16, 2008, 01:53 PM
I have no use at all HB on a hunting rifle. They are ok on benchrest and p-dog rifles.
March 16, 2008, 03:12 PM
I have a heavy barrel on a varmint rifle. It is set up for bench shooting or whacking rats from a long ways off and a good rest.
In a walkaround rifle, or a combat rifle.... lighter is better. I would prefer an M14 to my AR... but since I have an AR... I want one that is light.
Moving through a three gun match with a heavy barrel is pure silliness unless it is to balance the gun properly.