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Efficient Cartridges for Short Barreled Hunting Rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Scout21, Jul 3, 2022.

  1. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

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    Just brainstorming what I might want my next hunting rifle to be chambered in. In reality I have no use for another one and likely won't get another anytime soon, so I'm really just daydreaming.

    I'm thinking a short barreled bolt gun in a relatively common and relatively light shooting cartridge. I can't think of any cartridge, other than the .308, that would do well enough in a 16" or 18" barrel. It seems like the .308 would be perfect for this role, but I'm trying to think of other options.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
  2. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    338 federal or 358 winchester also come to mind
     
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  3. slicksleeve

    slicksleeve Member

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    .243 Winchester
    .260 Remington
    7mm/08
    .358 Win
    Just to name a few.
     
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  4. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I hunt with a 10.5” 6.5 Grendel and a 15” 6 creed.

    You can base your decision on cartridge performance, or cartridge efficiency. It seems never between do people meet. Big bores with small expansion ratios are claimed to be “efficient,” so those guys like things like 308win or 338 federal. Alternatively, they’re abysmal performers, because they’re slow even in a long barrel, and in a short barrel they’re super slow. The other camp to choose is cartridge performance. We tolerate extra blast from a high muzzle pressure to keep ahold of speed. I LOVED the 300wsm Stryker pistol I had, and I LOVE my 6 creed now. Effectively, all I have lost is a hundred and fifty or so yards at the front of my trajectory, where I’m eventually hitting velocity parity, so my performance is still superb. Loud, sure. But I get what I want out of the barrel.
     
  5. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

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  6. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    @Varminterror is right, ultimately.

    You might not get quite the same velocity numbers, but even a 16" 243Win will still sling the bullets out there with some authority. Blast will be significant though.
     
  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    When I think of efficient and short barrel, I go immediately to big bore straight wall cartridges. 45-70, 444 Marlin, 450 Bushmaster to name a few. They adequately use the short barrel length with little compromise on velocity loss.

    At that point it all depends on your range.

    Then, you mention soft shooting. Hmmmm, someone is trying to have their cake and eat it too. In this instance I think you need to look toward AR cartridges. 6.8 SPC comes to mind as something that will have at least a little clout for hunting.
     
  8. Roverguy

    Roverguy Member

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    277 Fury in the Sig Cross. 150 grs, 2,900 fps, 16” barrel.
     
  9. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Member

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    I don’t own a .308 any more, but an older Remington Model 7 with an 18.5 inch barrel in that caliber would fit the bill. My go to hunting rifle for a lot of years.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
  10. mcb

    mcb Member

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    338 Lapua is fun from a 14-inch barrel... :neener:
     
  11. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    A short barreled rifle (16 to 18 or so) is not much fun to shoot w an overbore magnum round. Whatever velocity benefits it had are blasting you face off. Much more efficient with something like a 308, 300 savage, 7x57 etc. Lots of old militery rounds work very well for that role.
     
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  12. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    I bet!
     
  13. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

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    I thought about the .358 after I posted the question. It seems like it would work pretty well. I could load it down to take some rearward thump out of it while still having a pretty large diameter bullet to work with.
     
  14. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    It'd be a good candidate for cast bullets too, even if just to cut down on plinking costs.
     
  15. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

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    Considered the .243, but I figured it would be seriously blasty. A silencer would smooth it out and make it a perfect candidate for my uses.
     
  16. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    A 308 will lose 10-15 fps/inch between 20-24". A bit less if comparing barrels longer than 24", a bit more if comparing barrels shorter than 20".

    A 30-06 will lose 20-25 fps/inch between 20" to 24". Once again, the numbers do change a little for longer or shorter barrels.

    A 300 magnum, (any of them) will lose 25-30 fps/inch between 20" to 24". Ditto on barrels longer or shorter.

    Yes, a 308 is more efficient. But a 30-06 starts about 200 fps faster. A 300 magnum about 400 fps faster. From a 20" barrel both 30-06 and 300 magnum are going to be faster than 308 with a 24" barrel. Much faster than 308 with a 20" barrel.

    And that assumes you're cutting the same barrel shorter to collect the data. Individual barrels vary quite a bit. I've seen 2 different barrels of the same length come up over 100 fps different with the same ammo. I've seen 20" barrels shoot faster than 22" barrels.

    The next question is; How much speed do you really need. I have no trouble getting 2850 fps with 150 gr 308 loads from a 22" barrel. A hot load could go 2900+ fps. My 2850 is 150 fps faster than WW-1 era 30-06 loads from a 24" barrel. Fifty FPS faster than WW-2 era loads from a 24" barrel.

    If we assume 30 caliber as a sort of middle ground, cartridges burning similar powder charges that are larger than 30 caliber are a bit more efficient. If you go smaller than 30 caliber they become less efficient. So 338/Fed or 358 would be more efficient. 243 would not be as efficient.
     
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  17. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    This R700 SPS slings a 308 pretty good out of its 18" barrel.

    [​IMG]

    Another caliber good for shorter barrels is the 7.62x39.
     
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  18. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

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    It seems that my initial guess of .308 is probably the best cartridge to go with. A .358 would work well, but I'm afraid it'd be a little more recoil than I'd like to deal with considering I'm thinking about a lighter weight rifle. .338 Federal would be a good middle ground, but with it's comparable lack of availability I'm leaning towards .308. I don't think I've ever seen .338 ammo or cases locally.

    Talk about blast, Jesus.
     
  19. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    What stock is that? I kinda like the look of it.
     
  20. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

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    Very good candidate, didn't think about x39. Gives you the diameter of a .30 cal with less recoil than .243.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
  21. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Its an AICS 1.0 thumbhole chassis with the thumbhole delete rear panels. Then rattle can camouflaged with natural foliage as the actual template.
     
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  22. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Be mindful that it’s kinda hard to find a 6 creed/243win SBR compatible can. High muzzle pressure.
     
  23. JDeere

    JDeere Member

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    Ditto...Still shoot my old model 600 .243 with 18" barrel to this day. It is very accurate with my loads and has taken many a deer. What is this blast we speak of? The rounds mentioned above are tame...
     
  24. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    My short rifle is a RAR Ranch in 7.62x39.
    I'll admit that it is more of a pinker than a dedicated hunter, although it has been on a couple of hog hunts.
    20200321_173450.jpg 20200321_171601.jpg Snapchat-1897619724.jpg
     
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  25. Scout21

    Scout21 Member

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    How's it do on pigs? What load do you use?
     
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