.25-06 and barrel length


January 24, 2012, 07:47 PM
I was thinking about getting a new rifle chambered in .25-06 Remington but the specific rifle that I would get it in only has a 22'' barrel. Based off this quote from Glenn Harmaning from a Chuck Hawks summary on the cartridge, I got a little worried.

"The worst that can be said about the .25-06 is that it realistically needs a 24" barrel to reach its full potential. I've had 22" barreled .25-06 rifles and the muzzle blast was pretty severe, but it still outperformed a 257 Roberts +P."

I was just wondering what this "full potential" was and why the 24'' barrel offered it over the 22''. The rifle I would like to get it chambered in has a 1:10 rate of twist. Also, what would be the overall advantage/ disadvantage to having this caliber with the 22''. Would I really know the difference between the two barrels and would I really notice the difference?

Thanks for your input,


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January 24, 2012, 07:49 PM
I've had both 22" and 24" rifles in 25-06...either will do the job, but if you're a ballistics junky (by the numbers)...get the 24".

January 24, 2012, 08:06 PM
.25-06 already burns a lot of powder for what it does....with a 22" barrel, you are wasting powder. Might as well just get a .270 at that point

January 24, 2012, 08:50 PM
I know from experience. I have a 22" barreled .25-06. You will loose 70 fps per inch.

If I shoot a 115 grain CT BT from my 22" barrel the velocity at 15 feet from the muzzle is 2890 fps. The listed velocity from a 24" barrel is 3030 fps.

I would like the extra velocity, but everything I have shot with the .25-06 has fallen dead, or completely been destroyed. Unless of course I was shooting paper. :)

Art Eatman
January 24, 2012, 09:48 PM
All the somewhat-overbore cartridges do better with longer barrels. .25-'06, .270, .30-'6. 24" or 26". For such overbores as the .264, 7mm and .300Win magnums, a 26" is preferable.

January 25, 2012, 12:15 AM
24-26" tube. Depends if you have room for the extra 2". The 26" will do a good job for you. Load it up and let it go. JP

January 25, 2012, 12:39 AM
personally Id also be looking for a 26" barrel, tho a 24 would work fine also. The 22" is too short IMO, not that it wont work, but I would prefer a longer tube (obviously).

Lloyd Smale
January 25, 2012, 07:15 AM
I allways chuckled at the fact you cant find a 2506 anywhere without at least a 24 inch barrel but you can find 270s and o6s with barrels as short as 18-20. I doubt youd loose much more then a 100fps with a 22 inch barrel and youd see the same loss cutting off a 270. Another thing that makes me chuckle is guys have no qualms about reaming out a 257 roberts with a 22 inch barrel to 257 improved but again will tell you a 2506 absolutely has to have a 24 inch barrel to work.

January 25, 2012, 08:56 AM
My Cooper Model 52 Excalibur in .25-06 has a 24" barrel. It is very well balanced. It burns 52 grs of H4831SC powder perfectly.....very little fouling.

January 25, 2012, 12:53 PM
I think it depends on how much you're going to shoot the rifle and what kind of bullets you plant to shoot. I've had several 25-06 rifles with 24 and 26 inch barrels and all have been excellent shooters. If you're planning to shoot 100 grain bullets at high velocity such as 3300 fps I would'n even consider a 22 inch barrel. On the other hand, if you are wanting a light deer rifle shooting 120 grain bullets a 22 inch barrel should work fine. Where a 25-06 really shines is for a light scouting rifle that is easy to carry, shoots great, and will take any deer with one shot. I shoot 270 winchester and 30-06 rifles with 22 inch barrels all the time and have see no reason why a 25-06 with a 120 grain bullet at 2900 fps wouldn't be a good set-up. BW

January 25, 2012, 02:45 PM
I prefer 24s on my .270s and 06s also, I actually LOOK for guns with atleast a 24" barrel in all long actions. I dont think the 06 and bigger get a huge boost in performance from the extra 2+ inches, but i DO think the higher intensity (even the .280) 270, 6.5-06, 25-06 all get some extra velocity from the longer tube....ive also found that 24" .270s BANG alot less then 22-20s (i passed on a ruger RSI Mk2 in 270 because it had a 20" barrel).

January 25, 2012, 03:08 PM
With 25-06 or any overbore cartrage I would perfer 24" minimum. Though with the mild factory loads 22" should be OK.

January 25, 2012, 03:09 PM
On the other hand, the Garand M 1 has a 23 inch barrel. The Mosin 91 30 has about 29 inches shooting non magnum loads. And the 303 Brit Lee Enfield No 4 has 25 inch barrel. Even the Swedish 6.5 Mauser has 29 inches and Finn M 39 at 27 inches.

January 25, 2012, 03:22 PM
Very old bolt rifles were designd for the very old powders of the time. Hence the longer barrels. Modern powders and barrels are a whole different anamal vs 100 year old rifles.

Peter M. Eick
January 25, 2012, 07:59 PM
On my 25/06's is 26" one is 24". The velocities really show the difference between the two. The 24 will go to 26" once I burn the barrel out.

February 11, 2012, 02:49 PM
My Weatherby Vanguard is chambered in .257 Weatherby Magnum but came with a 24" barrel. It's not a big thing but, for many of the same reasons already posted, if I had my druthers, the rifle would have a 26" barrel.

February 11, 2012, 03:58 PM
No point owning a 25-06 with anything but a 26" barrel. The chrono doesn't lie... 25-06 is one of the exceptions to the rule of thumb that you only lose 20-40fps per inch. I've got 6 rifles chambered in it one is a 22" 2 are 24" and 3 are 26". The 26" barrel launches all bullet weights nearly 250fps faster than the 22 and about 150fps faster than the 24s.

This cartridge is not forgiving of barrel length. Same with ANY of the Weatherby magnums.

February 11, 2012, 04:16 PM
In .25-06 you loose approximately 70 fps per inch of barrel length.

I am looking to replace my 22" XL-7 barrel with a 24" or 26" barrel. If anyone knows of someone who can do it. Please let me know. I am not hurting for money, and I am a huge supporter of the .25-06, but if I cannot find a replacement barrel. I will be selling the XL-7, and buying a T/C Encore or Pro-Hunter with a 26" barrel very soon.

I can shoot the 115 grain CT/BT out of my 22" barrel at 2900 fps. I have zero problems with killing deer with it, but it is basically a .257 Roberts. I don't want a .257 Roberts. I want a .25-06.
I bought the rifle on a whim because I was placed on a pasture hunt. The gun did its job out to 300 yards. I guess I really can't complain, but I am not fully utilizing the cartridges ability.

February 11, 2012, 04:41 PM
Decided on a 25-06 replacement for the old '03. Going with a 26" barrel in medium heavy contour. Question is: what twist should be used , which manufacturer, and how do you recommend it be bored? Thanks for any help.
Oh yes, will be used for hunting mostly at various longer ranges.

February 11, 2012, 04:45 PM
The twist should probably be 1:10. I think a member here named joed just had his .25-06 re-barreled with a Krieger match barrel.

You might could contact him for more details.

February 11, 2012, 06:15 PM
I have the Remington 700 rebarreled with a Krieger match barrel. I had them duplicate the factory barrel that came on the gun which was 24" and 1:10 twist. The .25-06 really likes a 26" barrel but mine came with a 24" from Remington.

I was never disappointed with the 24" and I'm sure I gave up some velocity. But, I shoot mostly 87 gr bullets in mine and see 3400 fps using IMR4350. Recently switched to RL17 with this bullet and get just below 3600 fps. Whatever I'm giving up I can live with.

Don't know about a 22" barrel, never seen one that short on a .25-06. That may give up too much velocity for my liking.

February 11, 2012, 08:47 PM
As others have noted, the .25-06 is a mildly overbore cartridge that uses a heavy-for-caliber charge of slow powders.

It is an absolutely wicked round in 26"+ barrels. However, for a sporter, 26" is annoying in the woods. That extra 2" snags every dang branch in the forest in my experience.

22" makes for a nice compact rifle, but it hurts cartridges in the .25-06 class. My sister's .280 is a 22". We were still able to coax very respectable velocities out of it with heavy charges of IMR 4350, but the .280 is another that needs 24" or more.

24" makes for a nicely balanced rifle that doesn't stick up above your head walking through the woods, but still obtains the velocities that the cartridge is noted for.

Mine is a 700 BDL 24". My go-to load is a 117 gr. Sierra at 3,195* FPS average. My hottest load is a 100 gr. TSX-BT at 3,585 FPS*. You give up a little velocity compared to a 26" or longer, but it still performs very well from a straight 2 footer.

In a single-shot break open/falling block, however, I'd go at least 26", as a 26" SS is still shorter than a 24" bolt rifle.

*When chronographing, I average no less than 10 shots and round the number in increments of 5.

February 11, 2012, 09:03 PM
25-06 is one of the exceptions to the rule of thumb that you only lose 20-40fps per inch.Nearly every cartridge is an "exception" to that "rule". That holds true for the .308 within a certain range of barrel lengths. As soon as you change the ratio of bore to case volume, or get outside that range of barrel lengths things change.

The only rule that holds true is every cartridge behaves differently and gains and loses velocity with changing barrel lengths at different rates. In general, the larger the ratio of case volume to bore, the more more velocity change you see with each incremental change in barrel length. With every case you'll find a barrel length that the incremental gain in velocity with an increase in barrel length begins to decrease. That's the optimum length for efficiency. You'll also find a length where velocity losses with each incremental decrease in barrel length begins to rapidly increase. That should be considered the minimum barrel length.

Programs like QuickLoad can be very enlightening in this area.

February 11, 2012, 09:41 PM
Don't know why but I have always preferred 24" barrels over 26", they just seem to balance better. I own a few 26" but don't like carrying them. I'd want at least 24" on the .25-06.

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