OK, last year I bought a 7mm08 SPS Varmint with a 26" barrel. I changed out almost every part on the gun to make it what I wanted and shot it. Originally I had intended to have the barrel taken down to 20" in order to make it more maneuverable in the deer stand. After I shot it, I decided not to, it was way too accurate and I didn't want to mess up a good thing.
I've kept my eyes open and bought another SPS Varmint in 7mm08 to experiment with. I will "build" this one the same way with the same components as the last one but I'm taking the barrel down on this one. However I have a dilemma, do I take it to 20" or can I go as far as 18" without too much velocity degradation. Most of my deer stand shots for this gun will be 200yds and under.
My load is a 150grn Nosler BT over 45.5grns of H4350 and a Win LR primer. Out of the 26" barrel I get 2700fps in the 700 and 2675 or so out of the same load in a Sako 75 with a 22 3/8" barrel that I own. I know all rifles are different but this is an exercise to find out if anyone has any similar experiences. It is flat out devastating on whitetails and accurate in the two that I already own. Hopefully it will be in the new one as well but who knows.
Why would I want to cut down a heavy barreled gun? I have a Savage 10 PC in .308 with a 20" barrel that shoots lights out, I just prefer the 7mm08 as a cartridge. I like to be different. I also like a heavy barrel over a light one if for nothing else but personal choice. Also I may have it threaded so that one day I can add a can were the option available.
What say the masses?