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Ideal barrel length for a 22LR

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Frohickey, Dec 28, 2002.

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  1. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

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    Anyone know what the ideal barrel length is for a 22LR before you start losing velocity from the bullet-barrel friction?
     
  2. 444

    444 Member

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    I believe I remember reading 16" but it has been many years since I read that.
     
  3. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    444 is right. In general, it's about 16 inches.
     
  4. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Member

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    Correct. The shortest you can get is 16.5" I think. Laws.
     
  5. Southla1

    Southla1 Member In Memoriam

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    Maybe I am not as old as I thought LOL.................IIRC it WAS 16 inches before you begin to get a friction loss.
     
  6. labgrade

    labgrade Member In Memoriam

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    Maybe a better question/answer would be "why would it matter?"

    You got a ~40gr slug going at about 1200 FPS or so.

    What real difference would a shade +/- make?

    Nothing snide intended, but really.

    Why even care?

    & that's a serious question.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2002
  7. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

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    It matters because there are manufacturers out there that sell 16.5" barrels, 18" barrels, 21" barrels, and 24" barrels.

    If the extra barrel length is not giving you added velocity why pay for it, unless you want it for the extra sight radius. But if you are using a scope anyway, might as well save the money.
     
  8. labgrade

    labgrade Member In Memoriam

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    Yeah, I'll buy that, but far as anything pratical at all ... ?

    a .22 rim fire goes through the sonic barrier "somewhere" & that appears to be a bad thing target-wise. Betcha velocities would matter within lots rather than barrel length moreso - maybe not.

    Barrel length would matter quite a bit depending on what ammo you shot. Might have been a more definative question.

    Not trying to ne smarmy, just my way of asking the question & learning a bit more about it all myself.

    Understanding the why of the question is as important to me as the answer.

    Frankly, for a .22LR-shooter, give me the shortest barrel, best accuracy. The bullet will do the rest.

    Fact is, that'd go for anything I shoot.

    [/smarm] ;)
     
  9. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Sixteen inches is optimum. It's a shame that ALL manufacturers of 22lr don't offer that length.

    For my personal taste, a sixteen inch barrel is perfect for most calibers. (High velocity stuff excluded, of course.) They sure are handy. Try an old Colt "Colteer" carbine sometime. They were great. A Winchester Trapper .30-30 with sixteen incher is also very handy.
     
  10. 444

    444 Member

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    Years ago, I bought a book that had nothing but articles about .22s and I believe that I read in there that max velocity was obtained with a 16" barrel, but as I said, I could be wrong. There are a couple nice things about this IMO. First of all a 16" barreled long gun is a very handy package. That is certainly my faviorite in an AR15. I just seems to balance nice, it feels good in the hands, and does not get in the way. It is easy to manuver in and out of tight places whether it be through heavy brush or through thick trees, in and out of a vehicle or whatever. IThe thing I like best about it is that I can walk along holding the rifle in one hand, straight down at my side and the muzzle doesn't come anywhere near the ground and it is easy to control (where it is pointed). Secondly this also happens to be the minimum barrel length allowed by law without registering it as a SBR. So, it would seem that everything works out great; other than the fact that most .22 rifle barrels are longer than that.
     
  11. labgrade

    labgrade Member In Memoriam

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    Sorta part of my question - perhaps & albeit ineptly put - was "who cares velocity as long as it still works really good."

    I've a dandy 14" Contender-thing. It's a handgun, but would shoot just as well, likely a tad better, with a shoulder stock. Only difference is "somebody else's" rules.

    Regardless, within the limitations of what a rim fire .22's for, you put the bullet where it's supposed to go & things get done.

    Works the same for bigger stuff = adequate enough bullet in the right place ... "fast enough" is usually so much slower than anyone "knowledgeable" would even consider it to be a bullet.
     
  12. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    Let's see if I can summarize some of what I've learned recently.

    Supersonic speed is bad for .22 accuracy - if the bullet slows back below the speed of sound before it gets to the target (and it does) and is destabilized by the turbulence as it passes through the trans-sonic zone. So benchrest .22 target shooters shoot subsonic ammo. (Centerfire starts out supersonic and stays there.)

    Target rifles don't have long barrels just because of sight radius. Slowing the bullet a little by using a long barrel helps guarantee that the bullet does not reach the speed of sound.

    I just copied this definition and lost the URL, but a Google search will turn it up if you want to find a speed of sound calculator:

    "Officially, the speed of sound is 331.3 meters per second (1,087 feet per second) in dry air at 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). At a temperature like 28 degrees C (82 degrees F), the speed is 346 meters per second."

    From what I've read, ammo that's rated at 1061 f.p.s. like this box of Eley TENEX Ultimate EPS I'm looking at, or Wolf MT at 1085, might be affected beginning at a speed as much as 10% under the speed of sound. So 1085 minus 11 = 1074...making the Wolf MT sort of iffy for BR depending on the barrel length, actual bore dimensions, elevation, temp and humidity.

    Remember, the crack of a high speed .22 is a shock wave that can upset a bullet in flight.

    John
     
  13. DrDremel

    DrDremel Member

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    Sound Technology, a Suppressor manufacturer tested this by cutting a barrel 1 inch at a time and recording velocities. 14" was the optimum. The 16 inch only slowed the bullet by 15-20 fps.
     
  14. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Assuming the same wall thickness, a shorter barrel should be relatively stiffer also.

    Unless you are using open sights, I can't see any benefit to the "traditional" 24-26" barrel. Just use standard velocity ammo to keep it subsonic.
     
  15. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    thank you drdremel...

    i thought i was going crazy, i was about to post "14 inches", then started reading all the responses of 16", i was starting to doubt my memory.

    so...the contender with a 14" bbl should better the velocity of a 16.5" rifle
     
  16. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    What if you're running a hotter load?

    Stingers, Yellowjackets, Velocitors, etc? Still only 16 inches of optimal burn time in those loads?

    BTW, centerfire rifles don't HAVE TO start out supersonic. 500gr .45-70 blackpowder loads start out relatively slow to begin with, and still do a fine job at Quigley-style steel buffalo matches way out there to 1000 yards. But then again, what's a little shock wave to a big honkin' slug even if it does transition from supersonic to subsonic? :D
     
  17. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Member

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    John BT, your conclusions

    High velocity ammo does not slow past the sound barrier at distances of less than 25 yards from most barrels. At distances of 75 yards or more, the trans-sonic turbulance is more than made up for in accuracy by the higher velocity/momentum of the bullet.

    This is my opinion only. See the attached photo of a group I shot at 100 yards with a factory-barrelled 10/22T and Winchester High Velocity Super-X.

    Wolf MT shoots as well as any ammo I've tried in my 16" Magnum Research-barrelled 10/22. (But not at 100 yards.) I just bought two cases.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2003
  18. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Member

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    oops. Is the file attached yet?
     
  19. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    The 26 to 28 inch barrels of match target rifles seemed to win most matches,maybe thats changed but I like their muffled discharge of subsonic bullets. Like a legal silencer IMHO.:D
     
  20. firestar

    firestar member

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    I have a CZ-452 with a 24" (I think BBL) and it shoots PLENTY accurate for me. It is also a lot quieter than my Ruger 10/22.
     
  21. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    Ledbetter,

    Not a bad group for 100 yards, but not an inch group since a quarter is nearly an inch in diameter. I have never found an HV .22 that would shoot terribly accurately at 100 yards. Good enough for hunting, but not for trying to make all of the shots touch - not out of my rifles anyway.

    We could expand the discussion of hypersonic vs. subsonic ammo to include factors such as actual bore diameter, actual bullet diameter, lube, humidity, temperature, barometric pressure and whether we're shooting into the wind or with it, but I'm a novice at this ultra accuracy stuff and would likely embarrass myself :)
    I really need to stop reading Precision Shooting and lurking at benchrest.com and get out in the cold and shoot more.

    I like the Wolf ammo too. I bought more than a case of WMT when it was going for $15 a brick and then a case of WME because I found it at the gun show for a reasonable price. So far so good, but I'm going to try some of the good Eley in my Finnfire when the weather warms. I only have one box left of the old Federal UMB1 and need to find something really good if I'm going to start shooting benchrest this year.

    Oh, speaking of benchrest. Most of it is shot at 50 yards and that's what I think in terms of when talking ammo.

    I'll check in later - time to work.

    John
     
  22. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Hyper velocity 22 (like Velocitors and QuickShocks) stay above the sound barrier up to 50 or 75 yards, High velocity transition around 25 to 50 yards and Sub stay below from the start?
     
  23. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Member

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    DMK is right

    Post corrected to state HIGH not HYPER velocity. BTW, seven (7) of those holes fit under the quarter. Seven.

    Proudly:evil: ,
     
  24. sasnofear

    sasnofear member

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    dont bother with .22LR get a .17 HMR, the ruger M77/17 sports 24" barrel with 1/4MOA @ 100 yrds!
     
  25. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    You got a good .17. The two I've seen barely shot that well at 50 yards.

    Ledbetter,

    Yes, most of them are right there together, but the fliers ruined the roundness of it all. Hint: close-up lens :) Or trim the strays away and take a picture of what's left. Sort of like holding a fish at arm's length out in front of you to make it look a lot bigger.

    I've got to stop reading all of this benchrest stuff. They don't care how good the first 24 shots are. It's only where the last one landed that matters.

    John
     
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