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16" .308s: Feedback

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Nightcrawler, May 6, 2005.

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  1. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Okay, here's the sitch. I've got at home a DSA STG-58A FAL, with the full 21" barrel and big chunk o' steel Stoll-style muzzle brake.

    It's 43" long and weighs in at around ten pounds, loaded (with the bipod removed).

    I've now been lugging an M16 around every day for 10 months. Lighter, and not awkard feeling when simply carrying, but 40.5" OAL is a bit much when you have to do other things (like search vehicles, pull heavy steel arm-bars back and forth, stepping in and out of tiny guard booths, etc.).

    So that got me to thinking, perhaps I'm being stubborn on my rifle desires. The range I belonged to only goes out to 200 yards, and for my purposes I think a 16" carbine would be handier.

    It'd have an OAL of, what, 38"? That's about the same as a typical shotgun with an 18" barrel, and that's good enough for all of your "entry", "CQB", or "urban" (or whatever the buzzword of the week is) work.

    It's also handier for field carry, but when you're outside the overall length of the weapon generally becomes less of an issue (weight is still there, though).

    So who here has a 16" .308 carbine of any make? What kind do you have, how does it handle, and how does it shoot?

    How bad is the muzzle blast? Mine WON'T have a muzzle brake. If anything, I'll get the L1A1 style flash hider...adds an inch or so of length, but you get the bayonet lug, and it weighs hardly anything.

    More importantly, how badly are your ballistics hurting? What's the muzzle velocity difference, in standard NATO 147 grain ball, between 21", 18", and 16"? Does it matter? Would a badguy even notice the difference (okay, dumb question). Is your effective range significantly reduced? (It's all in the sub-600 meter realm anyway, practically speaking.)

    Here's my dreamy-carbine, in the mental works:

    -DSA Type I receiver, no carry handle cut
    -DSA lightweight alloy lower, NON-extended selector
    -DSA para-style, windage-knob rear sight
    -Penguin non-bipod-cut handguards
    -Penguin humpback buttstock
    -Ergo G3-style grip
    -DSA/Badger 16.25" stainless steel barrel, re-threaded, finished black
    -L1A1 flash hider
    -DSA Scope Mount
    -Compact Optic (yet to be determined, but quick-release)
    -Specter SOP Sling
     
  2. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    I've just read on the subject; but what I have read indicates you lose a lot of long-range ballistics performance going to 16" in .308. It appears 18" is the optimum compromise between handiness and performance in this caliber.

    Just to give an example, the SOCOM 16 is reported to launch 150gr FMJ at about 2200fps. This means that you have to zero it around 15" high at 200yds for it to even be capable of reaching out to 600yds. By contrast, the M1A Scout Squad with 300fps more muzzle velocity has a much flatter trajectory (3" high at 200yds).

    Although if you are limiting yourself to less than 200yds, it is a moot point either way.
     
  3. Bobarino

    Bobarino member

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    i don't know much about the ballistics but it sounds like the JLD Enterprises PTR-91 series comes pretty close to your criteria. not a perfect match but they are offering a 16" version with flash hider and collapsing stock now called the PTR-91 KP. www.jldenter.com

    Bobby
     
  4. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Forget the actual barrel length of the Winchester Model 88 .308 lever gun I fired, but it must have been just over 16, maybe 18 tops. No more noticable bark or blast... in fact, muzzle brakes/flash hiders make MORE noise.

    Not a pussycat by any means compared to a 10 pound military ready rifle in terms of recoil, but not unpleasent to shoot. Accuracy of that rifle was under 2 inches at 100 yards on my FIRST try with it... the owner got 1 inchs groups with good consistancy, though I think he only fired Federal premium 150 gr softpoint through it. Out to 300... no problem with accuracy.

    For longer stuff I'd want more barrel, and more bullets.
     
  5. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    [​IMG]
    Heres my "Congo" FAL shorty, with a 17" barrel, short combo device, SAW grip, Penguin premium buttstock, Argi fiberglass non-cut handguards, chromed bolt and bolt carrier, adjustable para-style rear sight, metric semi-only selector, mid sling mount, folding cocking handle.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    I much prefer a full length barrel for a .308 .

    Less than 18" really does have an effect, though if this is just a "range gun" or close in carbine that won't be shot more than 100 to 200 yards it won't matter.

    20" is a good barrel length for 600 yards and less, even with an 18" barrel you can end up with suprisingly low muzzle velocities.

    Keep in mind that a lot of surplus ammo, including "NATO spec", may not give you 2700 fps at the muzzle regardless of barrel length.

    Accuracy can still be quite good, however.
     
  7. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    I chrono'd my m1a scout squad, 18" barrel. I don't recall exactly what the muzzle V was with milsurp, but it didn't raise any eyebrows, which means I probably lost the expected 100-150 or so fps.

    Everything I've read suggests that 16" is too short, and that 18's the right length for a handling/weight compromise. Down at 16, I start to question the role of the gun: .308 in a 9 pound stumpy rifle strikes me as a whole lot of gun for cqb, but leaves too much on the table for use "at range".
     
  8. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Member

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    I don't know nothing about .308 rifles,

    But I'm pushing a 165gr bullet at just over 2500fps out of my Striker with it's 14" barrel.
     
  9. Crosshair

    Crosshair Member

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    IMHO if you are going to go with barrels shorter than 19 inches then there is little point to .308. You will be better served with a 7.62x39. Going from 22" to 20", you don't loose much. Going from 20" to 18" you loose quite a bit. 18" to 16" you might as well use 7.62x39
     
  10. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    I can assure you a 16 inch .30-30 is NOT a 16 inch .308.
     
  11. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    I've been wanting a FAL, and DSA seems to make the best. Looking at DSA's site, however, it seems that they offer barrel lengths of 11 and 13 inches (restricted NFA SBR's, of course), 16.25" (carbines) and then 20+" on standard rifles. I didn't see any 18" barrels offered. Am I missing something?

    I've got an HK 91 clone (PTR-91) with a 20" bull barrel for medium to long range work. I was thinking of building an FAL with a shorter barrel and folding stock for short to medium range work, but from what I'm hearing it sounds like if want a carbine size battle rifle I shouldn't be considering a FAL.
     
  12. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I just checked my Speer and Hodgdon reloading manuals.

    Mr. Speer used a 22" barrel; 150-grain bullets run mostly some 2,900 ft/sec. Hodgdon loads seem a bit milder, getting the same general range of velocities but from a 26" barrel.

    All the tests of which I've read indicate that a .308 loses about 40 ft/sec to 50 ft/sec per inch of barrel cut off from some base length such as 22" or 24".

    GI ammo isn't loaded as hot as max handloads. The muzzle velocities seem to run some 100 to 200 ft/sec below handloads.

    Based on all that, I'd expect a .308 from a 16" barrel to send a 150-grain bullet out at around 2,500 to 2,600 ft/sec.

    On my 500-yard steel plate, Argentine GI-type ammo from a Savage Scout will knock off some paint, but not put any noticeable dent in the steel. My max-load handloads from my 26" '06 are another story entirely, particularly the 180-grain.

    FWIW,

    Art
     
  13. montyh

    montyh Member

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    for the sub 600m (in the origional post) the 16" .308 will be fine. this is espicially true if optical sights are not used. not many people will be able to tell the difference from field positions anyway. i've seen some very impressive work by an experienced rifleman with a 16" scout. the shooting bench has led a lot of people down the "long range" road that honestly will never take a shot at a living target at over 200 yds. don't get me wrong, i, too have a long range weapon, and have a lot of fun with it. but i carry and use the carbines a lot more, and will always grab the scout rifle first when things go south.

    monty
     
  14. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    200 yards is the longest range I have access too. Practical range depends on where you live. Here, in Qatar, for instance, you can often easily see for ten kilometers.

    Naturally, though, I'm not going to be here much longer. 59 days!

    In any case, I've been batting this back and forth for awhile. The 16" FAL carbines seem to be very popular these days, and I'm wondering if they're not onto something.

    On the other hand, I'm wondering if perhaps I'm not being suckered in by flashy ads and such. IN truth, I'm not going to be doing a lot of house clearing. (In any case, I've practiced room-to-room movement with my big heavy FAL; it's doable, you just have to give yourself a little more room to manuver.)

    I've thought about, instead of buying a whole new rifle, simply having my existing rifle chopped to, say, 18", flash hider installed, and replace the lower with a lightweight alloy one.

    So, let's here some more opinions. Should I go 16", stay at 20+", or split the difference and go 18"?

    DSA does make 18" barrels. If you call DSA, you can order a rifle in nearly any configuration you want, it'll just take longer for you to get it. The only production 18" they make is from their "collector series", the Congo Model:

    [​IMG]


    Hmm...perhaps the smartest thing to do is to simply stick with what I've got and modify it to suit me better? I'll bet that it handles better once I get that damned 2-pound Stoll brake off of there. What a big heavy waste of steel!

    In any case, overall length...38", 40", 42"....how much does it matter in the field? Is a 20" pump shotgun like the Mossberg 590 considered too long for Close Quarters Battle?
     
  15. natedog

    natedog Member

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    I'd imagine in open ground OAL is less of an issue indoors.

    An M-4 is about 36" with stock completly extended, 30" collapsed. What's interesting is that a handgun in a proper shooting position has about an OAL similar to that of an M-4. While it seems that 2-4" can't make a big deal in handling, it really does. There's a world of difference between my Para SKS and a standard 20" SKS. Part of it is weight, but a large part is the shorter length.
     
  16. CPS1

    CPS1 Member

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    FWIW I have one of the SA58 carbines (16.25inches). I'm not going to make any claims to accuracy or velocity, because it's new and I haven't had a chance to take it out to the range yet. However, I can say that I really notice a difference in weight and handiness when compared to my friend's full size FAL. Really night and day. The FAL is super long to begin with and every inch you can knock off the front makes a huge difference in handling. I find the balance is much better in the carbine version as well (probably because DSA uses and aluminum lower, thus reducing weight in the back, which is then balanced out by the shorter barrel). I did some research before plunking down my cash for the carbine. The majority of reports I read showed velocity in the 2,400 fps range. So for me the trade off in handling vs. bullet speed was worth it but YMMV. If I were you, I would go to the range or gun store and try to handle both before making a purchase. Admittedly you might have to travel some distance to find a store or range which has both FAL types, but considering how much money you're about to spend it's probably worth it. I was going to buy the regular FAL orginally (STG 58) but after handling it, I knew I wanted the carbine.
     
  17. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Your post

    mentioned a 200 yd. range. If that's all you expect to reach out, it's well worth getting the shorter tube. Sure, you'll lose velocity and possibly a little accuracy depending on the round, but for 200 yards, there are worse things you could carry.
     
  18. 24kshooter

    24kshooter Member

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    SA Scout or JLD PTR91 are 18" ish and nice handeling rifles. SA SOCOM with muzzle break delivers big time flash at night while the PTR91K has a fairly good flashhider if you want to go shorter than 18".
     
  19. CPS1

    CPS1 Member

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    "mentioned a 200 yd. range. If that's all you expect to reach out, it's well worth getting the shorter tube. Sure, you'll lose velocity and possibly a little accuracy depending on the round, but for 200 yards, there are worse things you could carry."

    It is my understanding that everything else being equal the shorter barrels often give better accuracy than the longer barrels, as there is less barrel whip with the 16.

    As far as the para, if it's your only FAL then it might be a good option. However, if you already have a longer 21", what's the point? 3 inches is too small a difference. Go 16 or spend your money on something else. :)
     
  20. KaceCoyote

    KaceCoyote Member

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    I'd say go 16" and if your really just that worried about velocity and accuracy, spend alittle extra on what you load your mags with and get a good crown job. If I remember correctly there was an individual here who went from 21"-17" in his Rem 700 and after a quality crown job was posting better results than the original setup.
     
  21. cpileri

    cpileri Member

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    308 velocity from 16-n bbl

    Posted here:http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/tacticalubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=78;t=000956

    (from latest SGN, platform was a FAL)
    By projectile weight:

    Hornady TAP 110gr 2894fps
    Santa barbara surplus 146gr 2611
    Horn. Spire point 150gr 2635
    Black Hills Boattail 150gr 2643
    Horn. TAP 155gr 2567
    Rem. Nosler Ballistic tip 165gr 2573
    Sellier&Bellot Match 168gr 2419
    Black Hills Match 175gr 2378

    I know bullet manufacturers design bullets to perform well over a range of velocities, so perhaps this question is moot (or already covered) but:
    will the on-site recommended 155gr TAP ammo still have its excellent terminal performance at ~2567fps?

    (as opposed to the 2849fps shown for the super gelatin pics seen here:http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bin/tacticalubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=78;t=000433#000014)


    Now, what i can't get is some photographic evidence of terminal effect at that velocity. I hear, and can imagine its pretty good. But i don't have any evidence to back that up.

    But 147gr @~2600 fps still is substantially more potent than 123gr @ 2350fps.

    C-
     
  22. CPS1

    CPS1 Member

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    Wow that's a lot faster than I would have expected. Thanks for posting.
     
  23. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    cpileri, thanks for the info! Not as big a difference as I would've thought. I'm close to about being sold on the carbine... :D

    About 8,000 miles...:D

    When I was home on vacation, I handled an SA-58 carbine at Impact Guns, in Ogden, Utah. Even with the rail handguards, it handled very well.

    If the velocity loss amounts to only 150 feet per second or less (I mean, 2600+ for 146 grain ball isn't bad, considering it's only rated for 2700-ish), then this would serve my purposes well. Even out of a 16" barrel, I imagine .308 would put the hurtin' on any ne'r-do-well or water jug that crosses my path. Heh.

    Especially when I complete the spectrum. Imagine this:

    -DSA FAL, Type II receiver, carry handle
    -21" stainless medium contour barrel (finished to match the rest)
    -Penguin non-bipod-cut handguards and hump-back stock
    -Ergo G3 grip
    -Versa-Pod or Harris Bipod mounted to the handguards
    -DSA Extreme Duty Scope Mount
    -IOR Valada 6x Super M2 scope, with NATO reticule (if I can find a quick-detach way of mounting it)
    -Black Hills 168 grain Match ammunition

    There's your designated marksman's rifle right there, and would be my setup for ringing the 600 meter gong.

    If I was REALLY dreaming, I'd have the barrel fluted, twice. Once in front of the handguards, then again on the fat part under the handguards. Probably take half a pound of weight off.

    Anybody mount a Harris Bipod on a FAL? How do you do so, with the handguards being a left-side/right-side arrangement?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2005
  24. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    Sounds like you have decided to get both. :evil:

    Is there an adjustable length stock for the FAL?
     
  25. kfranz

    kfranz Member

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    I've got 2 16" and one standard length FAL's, and can tell you that what you REALLY want is a Meeper quick change barrel FAL. :)

    This allows you to choose which barrel length you want based on what/where you anticipate shooting, your mood, the alignment of the planets, or the color of your socks. If you really want to get versitle, it can also allow you to change calibers.
     
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