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Best 22 LR barrel length?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BruM, Feb 4, 2010.

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  1. BruM

    BruM Member

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    I have an old bolt action 22 with a 24” barrel. That has always seemed a long barrel for a 22. Does anyone have any info on what barrel length the 22 begins to slow down due to length??
    Is there any length vs. accuracy information?
     
  2. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

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    There will be no difference in accuracy whatsoever. 18" is a typical length for a .22 LR Bbl.
     
  3. TargetTerror

    TargetTerror Member

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    Many competition guns (think Anschutz and Remington 40X) have long barrels, but that is more for side benefits than for any accuracy or velocity issues. Longer barrels lengthen the sight radius, and more weight out front can make the rifle steadier in off hand shooting. Some people use a "bloop" tube to get these advantages without the extra weight/etc of a long barrel.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    There are too many variables in barrels, and ammo, to say what barrel length is going to give the highest velocity. Generally it will be somewhere between 18" and 22".

    I agree that accuracy would not be a factor one way or the other.

    Except, the longer barrel will balance better on most rifles, and you will be able to hold tighter without wobbling all over with the longer barrel.

    They just hang in there on target way more steady when shooting off-hand.
    Shooting off a bench-rest it would not matter, and the shorter stiffer barrel might maybe shoot smaller groups. Or not.

    rc
     
  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Most 22's reach max velocity in 16"-18". Beyond that they start to slow down. Individual guns and brands of ammo can vary a bit, but that is a pretty good guide. A longer barrel gives a longer sight radius with iron sights, but is no help with a scope.

    The shorter barrels are generally more accurate because they will be stiffer and because the bullet spends less time in the barrel there is less chance of movement while the bullet travels down the barrel
     
  6. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Quite a lot longer than 24". However, the gains in velocity in barrels longer than 18" are pretty negligeable. No point in having an ungainly 30" tube if it's only gonna get you another 50 or 60 FPS over a 20 incher.
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I bet there are quite a few Model 52 Winchester and Anschulz Target rifle owners with 26" barrels who might not agree with you. :D

    rc
     
  8. LemmyCaution

    LemmyCaution Member

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    A caveat to all the above-

    The Aguila 60gr subsonic round likes a fast twist to stabilize in shorter barrels, but I've found that it generally will also stabilize in a 1:16 twist, if the barrel is >20" long.

    A longer barrel will also dampen the report of a .22lr round, as compared to a 16" barrel. Subsonic rounds out of the 24" tube on my Mossberg 320b sound like a pellet gun.
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    back when i was a serious .22lr shooter, one of my instructors said that the main advantage of longer barrels, on bullet performance, was that it slowed them down.

    it's not that slower bullets are more accurate per se, but that they are more consistent...that's why match grade .22lr ammo is usually loaded slower.

    i also talked to a competitor who said their test had shown that .22lr ammo stops accelerating after 14"...that's why you don't lose velocity between a 14" Contender and a 16" 10/22
     
  10. Offfhand

    Offfhand Member

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    "The shorter barrels are generally more accurate because they will be stiffer and because the bullet spends less time in the barrel there is less chance of movement while the bullet travels down the barrel"

    Couldn't help laughing when I saw this post from above. No wonder the serious firearms industry chuckles and rolls their eyes when they see comments like this on the "gun net." Ask our best smallbore target shooters, especially our Olympic team, the length of their .22 RF barrels. All are well over 24".They shoot three positions, including standing. Barrel movement? Gimme a break, will'uh? And get real.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
  11. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Your instructor was an idiot. Trust me, the .22 LR still gains velocity from 16" to 24". Just not very much.

    Slower bullets are actually less accurate because their lower velocity allows that much more time in flight for environmental fators to act on them. The reason that .22 match ammo is subsonic is because standard .22 LR is barely supersonic, and will transcend the barrier a short ways down range. That creates a phenomenon that disrupts the bullet in flight, thus reducing accuracy.

    Basically, you either want your bullet to start subsonic, or stay supersonic until it reaches the target. The latter is preferable, but really not possible with .22 handguns and iffy with a rifle, depending on distance to target. So they just make the match stuff subsonic.
     
  12. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I believe tests have shown that barrels in the 16-18" range are optimum for velocity. But you will notice that many of the best 22 rifles have barrels longer than 18".
     
  13. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

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    I chuckled and rolled my eyes upon reading this post.

    The longer 24" bbls, yes they are steadier when shooting offhand and are easier to shoot accurately. (as noted by rcmodel) Are the mecahnically more accurate than an identical rifle with a shorter bbl, no...no they are not.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The longer barrels are more accurate when using iron sights because they have a longer sight radius. There is a very good reason why longer barrels are used for this type of shooting.

    When using an optic sight there are advantages to having a shorter barrel. That is why the shooting sports where optics are used have gone to shorter barrels. If the longer barrels gave them an advantage they would use them.

    I stand by my origonal post.
     
  15. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    Wow!!! so much here is both right and wrong, so I will not comment on any of that stuff!!!!
    In regards to speed, unless you are shooting some really fast 22 ammo, 16 inches on a bbl is going to max out velocity. Period.
    Just to compare, a 17 mach 2 rifle, firing Eley ammo, which goes about 2300 fps, maxes out between 19 and 20 inches of bbl, with just very minor differences in speed, down to 16 inches, and up to 23 inches. And those are doing about double the speed of a 22 round.

    http://www.shootingtimes.com/ammunition/stmach2_032706/
     
  16. husbandofaromanian

    husbandofaromanian Member

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    Uh, dude! You might want to go bury your head in the sand about now. Because you are wayyyy wrong. I hit an 11" metal target at 300 yards consistantly with my 10.5" BULL match barrel.

    What is your .22lr experience?
     
  17. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    kudos to you husbandofa... yep, depending on your ammo, once you get to a 10 or 12 inch bbl, there is not much diff in speed all the way up to 16 inch bbl.
    then you have little drop off up to 20 or 22 inches, again depending on ammo.
    once you get past that, velocity starts dropping at a more noticeable rate.
    So sir, with a rifle, to be legal, it must be 16 inches long, and that is all you need for a 22; as far as purely a mechanical/physics thing, with no shooter/person involved, a longer bbl has nothing to do with increasing accuracy.
     
  18. dom1104

    dom1104 Member

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    My 22lr has a 24 inch barrel, I have tried a 16, 18, 20, and 26.

    I think a slight increase in speed for a 22lr is kinda like a "slightly faster" snail, or trying to figure out which midget is the tallest.

    For a 22lr my advice would be to go for what balances the best for you, and also, the longer barrels are quieter to the shooter. Which is my primary reason for choosing one.

    Peace out.
     
  19. husbandofaromanian

    husbandofaromanian Member

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    I've learned that past 200 yards velocity inconsistency will cause wild verticle stringing. Therefor, past 200 yards, I only shoot Eley Tenex Pistol.

    As for quietness, I have a Tac-65 silencer on the end of my barrel. My host weapon is a TC G2 Contender.
     
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