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Barrel length

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by WayBeau, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. WayBeau

    WayBeau Well-Known Member

    Just wondering what the shortest length you would go for a barrel is? I was toying around on the E.R. Shaw site yesterday and noticed that you can get a rifle with a 16" barrel. In my, very limited, experience that seems awfully short unless you're shooting an AR of some sort, but I truly don't know. There would definitely be several advantages in the thick cover of the deer woods I hunt, but I'm not sure of the affects on accurracy.

    So I'm curious to know how short you all would go. I was 'building' a 6.5x55.
  2. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Well-Known Member

    Shortest I would go on a 6.5x55 is 22". I wouldn't even consider anything shorter than 20", but if I had a choice 22" or 24"
  3. helotaxi

    helotaxi Well-Known Member

    It all depends on the cartridge and the range that you plan shoot. You lose velocity as you shorten the barrel. The amount that you lose depends on the particular cartridge and load. Whether that velocity loss makes a difference or not depends on what you're using the rifle for. In the thick woods, it essentially isn't going to matter since your shots are going to be at close range. Having a really compact rifle more than makes up for the inconsequential velocity loss in that scenario.

    The other thing to consider is the increase in muzzle blast with the shorter barrel. That, again, may or may not matter to you.
  4. mtrmn

    mtrmn Well-Known Member

    Also, "they" say shorter barrels flex less and are "more accurate." I do know that at 100 yds, I have a 16" AR that will consistently shoot tighter groups than my 20" HBAR.
  5. WayBeau

    WayBeau Well-Known Member

    I was under the impression that longer barrels produced better accurracy.
  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Not necessarily. Longer barrels will universally give you more velocity from a cartridge, but shorter barrels are stiffer (for the same wall thickness anyway) and tend to give an accuracy bonus.

    Of course, that's trying to compare two barrels that are perfectly identical in every other way, and that doesn't actually exist, but short barrels can be quite accurate, and shortening a barrel can sometimes improve its accuracy.
  7. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    I hadn't thought about short barrels being stiffer before. Does this concept translate to pistols as well, or are their barrels already so short that it doesn't really matter?
  8. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Google for "Secrets of the Houston Warehouse". It's a worthwhile read about barrel lengths and accuracy.

    My 19" Sako sporter in .243 is a sub-MOA rifle. My 26" Wby '06 is a sub-MOA shooter. Go figure.
  9. WayBeau

    WayBeau Well-Known Member

    Would a muzzle break take care of, or greatly reduce, this?

    I didn't realize how little I knew about rifles.:eek:
  10. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    WayBeau, a muzzle brake reflects the gases back, so it would make the blast worse. I'm not really sure how flash hiders work so I can't comment on that.
  11. Revoliver

    Revoliver Well-Known Member

    A linear compensator (like a Troy Claymore for example) would help reduce muzzle blast to both you and anyone around you that is behind the muzzle end of the barrel.
  12. WayBeau

    WayBeau Well-Known Member

    What is the purpose of one then? I would think reflecting the gases back towards the shooter would be the last thing anyone would want, but like I said earlier, I'm beginning to realize how little I know.
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    But, a 16" 6.5x55 will still be to loud to comfortably shoot without hearing protection.

    And who wears hearing protection when deer hunting??

    Best stick to 20" or 22".

  14. WayBeau

    WayBeau Well-Known Member

    Believe it or not, I actually put in ear plugs right before taking a shot.
  15. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    It affects the recoil, but just like anything in the gun the advantage comes at a cost.
  16. DanTheFarmer

    DanTheFarmer Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I use hearing protection while hunting.

    I picked up a pair of those earmuff/amplifiers before the hunting season. I tried them out and they work great. They shut off instantly on loud noises and are effective hearing protection. You can turn them on as amplifiers and a squirrel rustling the leaves sounds a moose approaching! I got my pair for $20.00 on sale. The expensive ones are thinner and lighter and probably have better battery life. I think they are worth checking out.

  17. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    A muzzle brake's purpose is to reduce recoil by redirecting some of the escaping gas and "ejecta" in a direction other than straight out the bore.

    Because that gas is now traveling in a direction more toward you (and/or the other shooters on a firing line) muzzle brakes are notorious for buffeting the shooter and bystanders with heavy muzzle blast. Some of the more innovative and progressive designs have mitigated this effect quite a bit, but everything's a trade-off.

    Ironically, a silencer (aka "suppressor") is usually the best kind of muzzle brake, and flash-hider as well -- both taming the concussion, noise, flash, and perceived recoil as well. However, the fact that they are still a heavily controlled "Title II" device (requiring government registration, background checks, and a $200 tax) makes them a whole lot less popular than a simple unregulated muzzle brake.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  18. WayBeau

    WayBeau Well-Known Member

    Thanks Sam.
  19. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Well-Known Member

    To me short barrel back woods gun = lever action .30-30. A 16" barrel on a 6.5x55 would be a waste....not to mention it might not be long enough to stabilize the high sectional density bullets of the 6.5 caliber
  20. helotaxi

    helotaxi Well-Known Member

    Tha has nothing to do with barrel length unless the bullet was so long and the barrel rate of twist so marginal that the slight difference in muzzle velocity kept the bullet from spinning fast enough to be stable. Most 6.5mm barrels are a 1:8 twist which is more than fast enough to stabilize the 6.5mm bullets on the market (barring some special custom jobs) from a 14" barrel at 6.5TCU velocities which are well below what you'd get from the Swede and a 16.5" barrel.

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