Short-barrel (16") .30-06 loads?


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Inebriated
April 5, 2013, 04:56 PM
So, I've come across a Savage .30-06 for a steal of a deal, and I'm thinking about cutting it down from 22" to 16". My goal for the rifle is a gun that is short, light, and easy to get around in the woods with. Game would primarily be whitetail, but I wouldn't mind it being a hog or black bear rifle either, if I can get some good loads going. The biggest concern I have is velocity, and bullet performance at velocities lower than that of which the typical .30 cal bullet is designed. I've read velocity loss can be 25-75 fps/inch of barrel removed, so if that's accurate, there is going to be a considerable drop in velocity.

Now, I know .30-06 does best with slower powders and a longer barrel, so I would guess that going with a lighter bullet and faster powder would make up for a lot less barrel, but I don't know. Can anyone give me some input on this? I'd really like to hear from you guys with a lot of experience, and if you have a guess at a powder/primer/bullet combo, I'd love to hear it. My goal is at least getting a 150gr bullet moving 2300 fps. Also, what bullet style would you recommend, if I were to get a 2200-2400 fps load? Soft points?

Thanks!

OH, and I'm sure someone will suggest another cartridge or gun, but I want to focus on what I can do with this cartridge, and this gun. It's going to cost me very little to give this a go, where any other option would increase the cost significantly (another rifle, bullets, brass, dies, etc). I'm aware that there will be a louder report, more flash, more recoil, and more bullet drop, but I'm really not concerned with any of that. There's a way to remedy all but bullet drop, and since it's not going to see shots past 150 yards, bullet drop is of no real concern either.

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Walkalong
April 5, 2013, 05:16 PM
Sounds loud, but no reason it won't work. I would load it just like for any other barrel length.

Inebriated
April 5, 2013, 06:16 PM
Well, I guess that would be the logical first step, lol.

45lcshooter
April 5, 2013, 06:36 PM
I would just load it up like a normal load. Yes it will be louder, if you want to direct to bang, you could thread the barrel and put on a flash hider with ports. It would redirect noise to the sides.

Haxby
April 5, 2013, 06:56 PM
A 16" 30-06 should be good for 2700 fps with 150s and 2500 with 180s.
A 19" 308 will do that without straining too hard.

Edit, add:
The Hodgdon site has data for a 15" '06 in their pistol section.

Inebriated
April 5, 2013, 07:11 PM
Thanks guys. I'll do as normal, and see how it does. I was just planning for worst case as far as velocity loss. I'll get the barrel cut tonight or tomorrow, and HOPEFULLY get my buddy's chrono this week.

And .45lc, that's the plan if its too obnoxious. Lol

Texan Scott
April 5, 2013, 07:24 PM
I seem to recall a review of a Shuff's Mini-G (a cut-down garand) a few years ago in which the author reported a roughly 9% loss of muzzle velocity compared to the standard length.

He shot old and/ or milsurp 30-06 and I believe most of his chrono'd vels were mid 2600 range.

I would expect a lot more muzzle flash but still rely on it to take down anything with hooves.

ranger335v
April 5, 2013, 08:46 PM
"...30-06 for a steal of a deal, and I'm thinking about cutting it down from 22" to 16"."

It's your rifle do what you want but if you cut it shorter than 20" for a game rifle you WILL regret it; if you haven't fired a short barreled cartridge like .30-06 you have no idea of a muzzle blast that will peel chrome off a truck bumper 20 years away. If you want a short barreled deer rifle find one of the short lever guns that has a smaller volume, lower pressure cartridge like .30-30.

Anyway, chamber pressure peaks at about 3-4 inches of bullet travel so whatever powder and charge works best with a 22" barrel in any caliber will work best with a 16"...if you can stand it.

IF you do try it, be sure to come back and - hopefully - say I'm wrong!

Ken70
April 5, 2013, 09:18 PM
What??? I can't hear you.

Tolkachi Robotnik
April 5, 2013, 09:29 PM
There will be a lot of unburnt powder to flash fire at muzzle. You might like it toward evening when you can see it well. There is a large difference in muzzle flash between the M44 carbines and 1891/30 full length rifles, probably 20 and 28 inch barrels. They shoot same cartridge with about .308 volume, a 7.62X54R.

I believe you should leave the 22 inch barrel as is. You will have to crown it and the accuracy is unknown until you are through. You won't be able to trim any farther to fix it if it doesn't work for you.

A 30-06 could use a barrel 24 inches. I believe a 22 inch barrel is already short.

Haxby
April 5, 2013, 09:44 PM
muzzle blast that will peel chrome off a truck bumper 20 years away
It'll blow the chrome off bumpers that haven't even been made yet? That is severe.

You could load or with 4198 or 4759, and duplicate a 30-30 load.

Inebriated
April 5, 2013, 11:09 PM
I seem to recall a review of a Shuff's Mini-G (a cut-down garand) a few years ago in which the author reported a roughly 9% loss of muzzle velocity compared to the standard length.

He shot old and/ or milsurp 30-06 and I believe most of his chrono'd vels were mid 2600 range.

I would expect a lot more muzzle flash but still rely on it to take down anything with hooves.
Well that's good to hear. Also, thank you for the urge for a mini g now.

It's your rifle do what you want but if you cut it shorter than 20" for a game rifle you WILL regret it; if you haven't fired a short barreled cartridge like .30-06 you have no idea of a muzzle blast that will peel chrome off a truck bumper 20 years away. If you want a short barreled deer rifle find one of the short lever guns that has a smaller volume, lower pressure cartridge like .30-30.

Anyway, chamber pressure peaks at about 3-4 inches of bullet travel so whatever powder and charge works best with a 22" barrel in any caliber will work best with a 16"...if you can stand it.
IF you do try it, be sure to come back and - hopefully - say I'm wrong!

I've fired several short-barrel Mosins and a .308 that was 18". None of them were that awful. I hunt with electronic ear pro, and like I said... if it's too awful, it'll get either a brake or flash hider, depending on which it needs more. Also, I don't have the dies, bullets, brass, or gun to do .30-30. As I said in the OP... This is what I have, and I'm gonna run with it.
There will be a lot of unburnt powder to flash fire at muzzle. You might like it toward evening when you can see it well. There is a large difference in muzzle flash between the M44 carbines and 1891/30 full length rifles, probably 20 and 28 inch barrels. They shoot same cartridge with about .308 volume, a 7.62X54R.

I believe you should leave the 22 inch barrel as is. You will have to crown it and the accuracy is unknown until you are through. You won't be able to trim any farther to fix it if it doesn't work for you.

A 30-06 could use a barrel 24 inches. I believe a 22 inch barrel is already short.I don't want to admit, but I am kind of looking forward to the fireballs. And I'm going to cut at 16.5" or 16.75" to keep a safe buffer for both ATF appeasement and any necessary corrections. I'm not worried about my abilities to crown the barrel (I've done a Mosin), but if I DO end up unhappy with the result, I still have enough barrel to send to a 'smith to do it.

You could load or with 4198 or 4759, and duplicate a 30-30 load.

I actually read about that a few minutes ago... using 4198 and a 150 grainer to get what is essentially a .30-30 load with a better bullet. Worst-case scenario, that's probably what I'll do.

X-Rap
April 5, 2013, 11:47 PM
I have a cut down 760 in 30-06 that my oldest boy shot his first elk with when he was about 13, he is neither blinded nor deaf and still has all his chrome and that was about 12 years ago.
It is the finest brush gun I have used, its light, compact, packs a punch and can comfortably reach out well beyond the typical short lever gun.
I wouldn't advocate cutting every gun in the rack down nor would I go to the trouble of an sbr tax stamp but I also wouldn't be without a high powered carbine that is just north of legal in length. I don't believe you will be disappointed but let us know.

flipajig
April 6, 2013, 12:32 AM
I shoot alot of Contenders and Encores with 15"and 14" tubes and depending on the powder that you choose makes a difference in the amount of muzzle blast.
One of my barrels is in 223 and with H335 is unpleasant but with IMR 8208 the blast is greatly reduced and it's still running at 2800fps with a 55 grain pill.
As for bullet selection I use a Nosler BT in my 7mm hunting rig. So for your 06 a 150 grain BT would be my choice as for valosity it wouldn't suprise me one bit to see 2600 fps with a 150 grain bullet. Be shoure to stay over 16" with your Short Barreld Carbine.
Flip

MSgtEgress
April 6, 2013, 05:03 PM
I'm a big fan of shorter barrels they are amazingly accurate but you do give up muzzle velocity and get flash. but I would consider 18" instead of 16" you lose a lot of velocity with those 2 extra inches. If you are only going for whitetail only you could go to lighter bullet and keep your velocity higher. The most modern bullets will still hold up well on whitetail especially a bonded or monolithic bullet. Something like the 130g Barnes Triple Shock or 125g Hornady Interlock or even a 125g Nosler Ballistic Tip. Using faster powders will help keep the muzzle flash down. IMR 3031 would be my powder of choice. Its about the fastest burning you can use with lighter bullets. Go for it!!!

ranger335v
April 6, 2013, 06:23 PM
"muzzle blast that will peel chrome off a truck bumper 20 years away"

It'll blow the chrome off bumpers that haven't even been made yet? That is severe.

No ya dummy, I meant 20 years old! Or did I mean 20 yards?

Ah well, a full pressure load from a sub 20" barrel .30-06 has to be experienced to believe. And it isn't from 'unburned' powder, it's the release of powder gas from what was burned and while the pressure is still unusually high; unburned powder gets quitely blown out as unburned powder.

Modifying a servicable big game .30-06 bolt rifle to 16" and loading it for .30-30 performance just so it can be fired without shredding ear drums seems a strange path to me but that's fine, I ain't the one doing it.

sage5907
April 6, 2013, 07:46 PM
My wife used to watch Dr Phil when he first came on TV and I couldn't stand him. But he did have one phrase that fits a 30-06 with a 16 inch barrel. "What the hell were you thinking?"

joeschmoe
April 6, 2013, 08:01 PM
Thread it for a flash suppressor.

MSgtEgress
April 6, 2013, 08:14 PM
Thread it for a flash suppressor.
Joe the reason he wants to cut it so short is ease of carry in the thick stuff. Why cut off 6" and then add a 3" flash suppressor?

gamestalker
April 6, 2013, 08:26 PM
I've shot Contenders in .270 win., 30-06, 7mm RM mag, 300 WM and although they were beastly to shoot, but they didn't burn my eye brows, or peel any chrome off of bumpers of the future. I say go for it if you if you feel confident doing the job.

GS

Inebriated
April 6, 2013, 08:50 PM
Joe the reason he wants to cut it so short is ease of carry in the thick stuff. Why cut off 6" and then add a 3" flash suppressor?

I probably would just use a birdcage hider I've got from an AK, so not too much extra length. About 1.5".

I've shot Contenders in .270 win., 30-06, 7mm RM mag, 300 WM and although they were beastly to shoot, but they didn't burn my eye brows, or peel any chrome off of bumpers of the future. I say go for it if you if you feel confident doing the job.

GS
I'm about to cut it in a few, so I'll post up pics if it's worth seeing. lol.

MSgtEgress
April 6, 2013, 09:05 PM
Get a professional to do it unless you have a re-crowning tool. A botch on the crown will do more to screw up accuracy than damn near anything

Inebriated
April 6, 2013, 10:02 PM
I have an 11* crowning tool available to me. A friend of mine has one, so I'll be using that whenever I get it from him. Just planned on actually cutting it today.

Jim Watson
April 6, 2013, 10:19 PM
Note: A muzzle brake will make a loud short barrel louder.
A flash hider might, too. If by some rare chance it made it quieter that would make it a silencer which requires all manner of regulation.

If you don't like it, at least a Savage is easy to rebarrel.

joeschmoe
April 6, 2013, 11:27 PM
Joe the reason he wants to cut it so short is ease of carry in the thick stuff. Why cut off 6" and then add a 3" flash suppressor?
To make the flash more reasonable. That's what FH's do. They do make smaller FH's, and if pinned/welded in place then he can make the barrel even shorter to equal 16.5".

RJTravel
April 6, 2013, 11:50 PM
Some 40 years ago I cut down my Savage 110 for the same reasons. I had used it to feed my family for a number of years, and it saw the same use after cut down. Took much big game including elk, bears, and deer. Never even noticed the difference in noise or in punch - all that I can remember were one-shot kills including 700 lb elk. No prob unless the thought of a 6 pound 30/06 scares you. It does kick but I was accustomed to it and just didn't know the difference.

jbj
April 7, 2013, 01:24 PM
There are muzzle brakes that direct the sound away from you as opposed to trying to ameliorate recoil (linear comps). If you want to go crazy, pull the barrel, cut it to 14.5" and weld and pin a comp on to bring the length up to legal limits!

Inebriated
April 11, 2013, 06:48 PM
Cut it to 17", ground/sanded the muzzle, and used an emery bit from a Dremel to get rid of the burr and edge of the rifling. The crowning tool I borrowed was next to useless, it was so dull. Came out pretty good. Shot where I wanted at 25 yards, but gonna take it to 100 yards and see how it groups. Left an inch for work with proper tools, in case I messed up with the home-grown method.

Point of this post is to say that there was no flash, no real recoil increase (recoil is sharper, but not painful by any means), and hardly even a noticeable noise increase when shooting Remington 180gr factory ammo. Has a little more of a "pop" sound, compared to my 111 with 22" barrel. Whoever said it'll blast the chrome off a car 20 years away is wrong. It's not even remotely unpleasant to shoot.

Need to get a chronograph, see where the velocity is on the 180 grainers, check groupings to ensure the crown is acceptable, and then I'll go from there as far as handloads go.

X-Rap
April 11, 2013, 07:04 PM
Heck I would have thought we would have felt the earth tilt on its axis a little when you let one off in that beast.:eek::rolleyes:
Glad you like it so far, I'm betting it will become on of your favorites.

Inebriated
April 11, 2013, 08:05 PM
That's how it would seem, just looking around the internet. But it's actually much less obnoxious than a cut-down Mosin, and just a joy to shoot. I love the way the rifle handles. You're probably right, I'm sure it'll end up a favorite, once I get the rest of the project complete (stock modifications, paint, need a good optic, etc).

joeschmoe
April 11, 2013, 09:38 PM
How did you cut it?

pseudonymity
April 11, 2013, 10:01 PM
Ah well, a full pressure load from a sub 20" barrel .30-06 has to be experienced to believe. And it isn't from 'unburned' powder, it's the release of powder gas from what was burned and while the pressure is still unusually high; unburned powder gets quitely blown out as unburned powder.

I have to say, this was my first thought also. I think it is probably pretty powder and load dependent though. I was at the range a few weeks ago when I heard (and felt) a pretty impressive round going off. I was at the 100yd line and the shooter was at the 50yd line - those lines are about 15 yds apart, and each is roofed and there is a small storage room between the two, so I could not see the shooter directly.

I expected something relatively large - maybe .338WM or bigger. This was definitely more sound level than you get from a .300RUM bolt with a 24" barrel. Even separated by the storage room, the pants legs on my jeans would actually vibrate slightly with each shot. To my surprise, when I go over to the other line, the gentleman is shooting cheap Russian ammo in a stock Saiga in .308 with the 16" barrel. I was shooting .308 that day also out of a 22" barrel, and in terms of sound pressure the two rifles were not even in the same league.

Inebriated
April 11, 2013, 11:37 PM
How did you cut it?
Used a hacksaw with a 90* guide I made up. Took about 5 minutes. 10, if you count the 5 or so I had to take to go kill a snake in the middle of the job. Followed with bench grinder to square the muzzle face and radius the outer edge. Then sanded with 60 all the way up to 400 grit. Used the Dremel bit to get rid of the burr at the end of the rifling, and the 400 grit paper to smooth it all up. 25 yard results seemed promising, but I won't really know if I did an acceptable job until middle of next week when I can get out to the 100 and 200 yard ranges. If I'm not pleased, this cost me nothing, and half of the job is done. I can always go to a 'smith to crown it properly, or just buy my own crowning tool depending on 'smith cost. Hopefully though, it'll work as I need it to.

Overall, was a fun project to do, even if it does end up needing correction. :D

MSgtEgress
April 12, 2013, 03:08 PM
With out a professional crown job I wager you cant keep 5 shots in a 6" circle at 100yd

Inebriated
April 12, 2013, 04:03 PM
We'll find out.

Kevin Rohrer
April 13, 2013, 10:51 AM
I'm thinking about cutting it down from 22" to 16".

So, you don't like your eyebrows? :what:

Inebriated
April 13, 2013, 12:21 PM
:rolleyes:

Catpop
April 15, 2013, 10:39 AM
I used to cut mud plugged and bulged barrels in the 70's the same way- hacksaw, machinist square, brownell cutter and pilot. One inch 100 yard groups the norm. You should have no problems if it square with the bore and the rifling is sharp! Enjoy!:)

jbj
April 23, 2013, 10:13 AM
We'll find out.

As long as the muzzle is free of burrs and concentric, there should be no issues at all.

jmr40
April 23, 2013, 06:58 PM
It will shoot fine. As to loads. The powder that gives you the best velocity from a 24" barrel will give you the best velocity from your 17" barrel. I load H4350 for my 30-06 rifles and can still get a little over 2900 fps with 150's from my 20" 30-06. You should still be able to get at least 2800 fps from your 17" gun. It will still beat 24" 308 factory loads, although it will be a bit loud.

3212
April 23, 2013, 07:52 PM
Smaller caliber, same situation.I have a Win.Model 70 24 inch barreled rifle in .243 caliber.I bought a Ruger M77 with a 16 1/2 inch barrel in .243.Its laminated and stainless.I carry it on deer drives and in wet weather.It is louder but not uncomfortable..243 is a necked down .308.I've taken 2 deer with it.I've taken 40 deer with the Winchester.At the range it is often more accurate than the Winchester.

jerkface11
April 23, 2013, 08:19 PM
The powder that gives you the best velocity from a 24" barrel will give you the best velocity from your 17" barrel.

This.

jaysouth
April 25, 2013, 11:58 PM
I hunt with a Remington 7600P. It is .308 with a 16.5 inch barrel. With full pressure factory loads it is a little noisy.

However there is a distinct advantage to the short barrel. A deer shot under 20 yards will be cooked medium rare by the time you can get down from the stand.

Sheepdog1968
April 26, 2013, 12:05 AM
For what it's worth I took a 30-30 Marlin and had the 20" barrel cut to 16.75". I lost about 3% of the velocity. It is so much handier this way. No regrets at all.

Haxby
May 5, 2013, 11:39 AM
So, how do you like it? Velocity? Accuracy?

Inebriated
May 5, 2013, 10:39 PM
I like the finished product. I put a red dot on it, and it's really become one of my favorites. Very light, very handy, and will become my new deer stand gun. Still nearly zero range time with it. Put 4 rounds down range several weeks ago to just see muzzle flash and recoil. Not much flash (caught a hint in low light), not much more recoil. Still easy to shoot with 180gr loads.

I'm really hoping to get out and do some groups tomorrow (weather permitting), but I probably won't be able to get any chrono data for a while. I'm just going to buy my own.

RPRNY
May 5, 2013, 11:52 PM
While it's true that the likes of H4350 will give you highest velocity even with a 17" bbl, you have created a handy woods rifle and no longer need those velocities or the fireballs that go with them. For whitetail and hogs, jacketed 150 gr flat base spitzers will do you well over something a little faster like 4198. For bear 180 gr and 4064 will be a good idea. I would be very very interested in developing a 30-40 type load for this rifle, something like a cast Lyman 311284 RNGC at @ BHN 12 - 15 over a starting jacketed load (for this bullet weight) of 4198. It will take some of the sound and light out of the equation and give you an excellent 200 yard thumped. Enjoy.

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