Barrel length on a bolt gun

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My go-to deer rifle for many years was an older Remington Model 7 in .308. It had an 18.5 inch barrel. It worked just fine.

Depends on the balance and if you wear ear protection. I see little reason to go shorter than 16". Some people are pushing really stubby "pistols" these days. You don't gain much for each inch going longer than the typical 22-24" either.
Although I’m not an expert I still believe in defining a mission, so hunting probably 22 in on a non magnum like 308 maybe 24-26 on a Magnum or Varmint rifle , my BR target rifles are 28 in. I can’t comment on F class but I’ve heard talk of 30 ish
I have a Persian Mauser which I think has a 30" barrel, I forget. Maybe 28-29" for sure. I got some 220 grain Woodleigh bullets for it, but still have not run the loads over the chronograph. I believe the ballistics will be impressive. When that's done, not sure how the mission will be defined. Maybe Moose at 500 yards. (just kidding, I don't shoot game over 200) :)
Oh, heck, I am not a real 308 fan just personal preference, but since it is a short action, and if I could get the Length of pull at no longer than 13.5", I would go with a 24" barrel. I would shoot an accurate 165 gr. bullet loaded to max. safe levels.
And I would top this with a VX-6 HD
in Leupold backcountry mounts.
I certainly agree with the 165 gr. bullet advise. The Hornady 165 grain BTSP sure is a jewel of a bullet. Two of them recovered from a deer my son shot with his Savage 99/.308 showed the most perfect expansion/mushroom you ever saw. I put two through a medium size Cougar (three year old male) at 30 yards (on the ground no dogs) out of a single shot .30WCF (.30-30 for you city guys) which I didn't recover, but the exit holes were just a little bigger than a silver dollar, which tells me perfect expansion. And yes, it's accurate too. I hope I get paid for this advertisement.

Edit: Actually, the holes in the hide are half-dollar. Just went and looked at them. :)
For a bolt action I like 20" and 16" for an AR. FWIW, the USASOC sniper match at Ft Bragg has been won a couple of times with 16" AR10 type rifles.
Powder will still be burning past 16" if that matters. I have a 20" and find it a nice compromise.
Depends on your uses. I think 22" is about the sweet spot of velocity/portability. If it was solely a long range/bench setup 26" would be great, but if it's going to be use for much else 22"-24" is a little more convenient without losing much velocity.
I had a short action model 700 308 with a 22" barrel. It felt very handy in comparison to my 30-06 22" long action.

Being a lefty I always wished Remington would come out with a LH model 7 with a 20" barrel in a good synthetic stock.
I'm getting to like 27" barrel for some of my hunting rifles and 26" is good for one of my 30-06. My shortest hunting rifle is 270 with 24.6" barrel and if I rebarrel it be 27" maybe 270x280AI.
I had a short action model 700 308 with a 22" barrel. It felt very handy in comparison to my 30-06 22" long action.

Being a lefty I always wished Remington would come out with a LH model 7 with a 20" barrel in a good synthetic stock.
Have you checked in a youth model?
The shortest barreled .308 Winchester I have is 18.5 inches. My records show a 150 bullet makes around 2750 fps with less than maximal loads. Seems suitable.
Longer barrels are handier. By the way, what makes a long gun ungainly to handle is from between the hands (when normally holding the arm) to the muzzle. Cutting off the butt might make the arm easier to store, but it doesn't make it any easier going through doorways, brush or up a flight of stairs and I presume a ladder.
Longer barrels are normally 'faster' in muzzle velocity.

From my standpoint, end use and goal is more important than maximum theoretical efficiency.
On the other hand, what do I know? I've never even seen a tree stand except in pictures.o_O

If you watch the Lord of the Rings movies, you'll not only see trees standing, but actually running and attacking a fortified tower. Not sure why that's being brought up in a hunting-rifle thread. :rofl:

I'd go with 22" or longer. One of my favorite guns is a 7x57 w/ a 20" barrel that I really wish had another 4 inches on it. It's very accurate but that extra 80-100 fps from 4 more inches would be nice occasionally.

Consensus in this thread seems to be that it’s purely personal preference, but that ballistically it probably won’t matter much in the real world, assuming you’re hunting a deer. Assuming you’re using a scope, the extra barrel length doesn’t buy you a longer sighting plane like with iron sights.

Personally I like longer barrels (24-26”) just because they seem to hang a little better on target, and there’s slightly less muzzle blast. But there’s no denying that if it’s a rifle you plan on carrying for miles, a shorter length saves a lot of weight, seems to snag less (this may be just perception though assuming you’re not carrying a full on musket) and basically sacrifices little in trajectory and nothing in terminal effect.
I have a 16" .308 (M1a) and a 24" Savage .308 bolt gun. I don't know if I would go as short as 16" out to 300yds, nor would I want a boat oar up in the tree stand... 20-22" would be my choice. Having said that, I have a 22" Savage 99 lever-action in .308 that I think would be primo for that purpose...
Through almost two decades of war, we have finally been able to have real-world terminal ballistics experiments with barrel length variations. 100-300 yards? 16" does the job--period. Old school shooters will argue but the evidence is there. At the end of the day, though, if you are just sitting in a deer stand and not carrying it around all day, get the one you like and are most comfortable with because they will all perform satisfactorily for your intended application. The deer won't know the difference. We tend to over-analyze things these days.

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