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Old September 27, 2008, 10:39 PM   #1
mellow_c
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What is the standard barrel length for a hunting rifle?

Lets use a 30/06 for example, Seams you can get them anywhere between 20 and 27 inches. Whats the most common length?

If I'm going to chose only one hunting rifle, what will be my best compromise for barrel length?
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Old September 27, 2008, 11:05 PM   #2
T. O'Heir
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Where'd you see a 27" .30-06 hunting rifle? Just curious.
The standard length is 22" or 24". 24" is ideal, but 22" is a good compromise. Not too long and gives good velocities. Shorter barrels lose velocity and have an enormous muzzle flash and blast.
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Old September 27, 2008, 11:37 PM   #3
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_mm_Remington_Magnum

I was reading this link about the 7mm... and it said that "26-27 inch barrels are commonly needed to achieve the full velocity potential of the cartridge."
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Old September 27, 2008, 11:51 PM   #4
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Out west with long shots, long barrels. Here it's just the opposite and sometimes instinct shooting.
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Old September 28, 2008, 12:01 AM   #5
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Most manufacturers are making non magnum barrel lengths of 22" and magnum's of 24" a couple that are an exception to this rule that come to mind at the moment is weatherby and ruger 1b.
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Old September 28, 2008, 12:15 AM   #6
T. O'Heir
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Hi. I should have said 22" to 24" for a .30-06 is standard. As per your suggestion. You really want to handle several rifles with different barrel lengths to get the feeling of them.
"...commonly needed to achieve the full velocity potential..." For a 7mm Rem Mag, sure. A 7mm Mag isn't a .30-06 though. It runs at much higher velocities with like bullet weights. 3110fps vs 2910fps muzzle velocity with 150 grain bullets. Mind you, there's a 2" difference in barrel length and 150's aren't used often in a 7mm. A 7mm will have more muzzle blast, flash and felt recoil too. It's not really a good comparison though.
Rem 700's in 7mm RM come with a 26" barrel. A lot of it has to do with the rifling twist. A .30-06 usually has a 1 in 10 twist. A 7mm, a 1 in 9.25 twist.
Wikipedia isn't a great source for info. Anybody with internet access can post there. A lot of internet inspired nonsense gets repeated there.
Go here to compare cartridges. Compare like bullet weights and construction.
http://www.remington.com/products/am...on/ballistics/
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Old September 28, 2008, 07:24 AM   #7
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TC Barrels

Thompson Center has lots of 26-inch barrels in lots of calibers.
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Old September 28, 2008, 08:27 AM   #8
Art Eatman
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Firearms and their cartridges are all "packages of compromise".

Longer barrels = higher velocities. However, ease of manipulation in the field enters the picture, so the best barrel length for maximum bullet performance drops off in importance.

Cartridges of the general length/diameter ratio of, say, a .308 do fine with barrels in the 20" to 24" range, so it's common to find them in 22" lengths. Handy, but with good performance.

Longer cartridges, such as the '06, do better when the barrel is in the 24" to 26" range. It's an efficiency thing, as regards the pressure curve of a slower-burning powder.

So, without any planning, I've wound up with a .243 having a 19" barrel and a 7mm08 with the only available length for the model of rifle at 22". I deliberately got an '06 with a 26" barrel. They all work for the types of hunting for which I use them.
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Old September 28, 2008, 08:55 AM   #9
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Very informative, thanx everyone.

I'm considering either a 7mm or a 30/06. Not sure yet. Even a 300 win mag would be nice, but I dont think I'll go that extreme.

How about the life of the gun? Will the 7mm wear out faster than the 30/06? And if so, is that something that could happen in my lifetime with a good amount of practice?
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Old September 28, 2008, 12:46 PM   #10
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The '06 will last longer than the 7, and there are a few other reasons I plant the '06 over the 7. But on the bbl life note- When a bbl decides to go belly up, it isn't something that is seen over 10, 20, or even 100 ctgs- in other words- it's gonna take a while- likely years. When a bbl wears, it actually starts with the very first shot, but many many many rounds later, you'll simply notice groups opening up over the years. Like they say, "A man's dying process starts the day he is born." Same with a bbl on a molecular level. To shoot a 7 enough to wear out a bbl on a hunting rifle (light?) it will be expensive and well, loud and obnoxious. For target shooting- it likely won't be in organized matches. No place around here within 200 miles will let a guy on the line with one.

The '06 can be loaded from 100gr plinkers up to 200 or 220 pills. For target shooting- it's a doll because the '06 truely shows that speed does not equal accuracy. You can find a load between 2700 and 2800 fps that will perform every bit as well as a .308 IN HUNTING RIFLES. And that reduced velocity (down from 2900+ fps ballpark) only adds to barrel life. I don't know, maybe you can down load a 7- but then if you do, Why have a mag?

These are just my opinions and observations. There are some folks here who swear by the magnums, and they certainly have their place I s'pose. But do yourself, the sport, and wildlife the favor of keeping in mind that a "magnum" is not a magic thing that will compensate for not doing your part as far as taking shots within responsible distances or shot placement. Study these threads- you will see those who seem to assume that they are manly-er or critters will be deader if they use a 'magnum'... even if they seldom practice, sight in, or use crappy glass. On the other hand, you'll also see plenty of what I call true and responsible sportsmen/women here who emply the magnum as a very effective and formidable tool the way God and Jeff Copper intended.
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Old September 29, 2008, 07:45 AM   #11
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Let me throw one more wrinkle in here. Some cartridges build velocity considerably faster than others. Take the ultra mags for example (7mm RUM, 300 RUM). They really need 24" barrels to take advantage of all that oomph. Going to a 20" barrel sacrifices velocity considerably.

On the other hand, the 7mm-08 uses a relatively fast burning powder. It generates something like 96% of terminal velocity in the first 16". That is why Ruger can get away with their 16" barrel Frontier model. Anything over 20" in 7mm-08 gets you so little in extra velocity that it just isn't worth it.
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Old September 29, 2008, 09:49 AM   #12
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If I were to own 1 hunting rifle, either a 30.06 or a 7mm Rem Mag are both good choices. Typically a 30.06 will likely have a 22" or 24" barrel. A 7mm Rem Mag will likely have a 26" barrel.

One can debate the merits of the two rounds and various barrel lengths but neither are a bad option. I'd look for rifles in either caliber and find one that works best for you.
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Old September 29, 2008, 05:23 PM   #13
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Since we are talking about barrel lengths, I have some other questions to add.. Note I said QUESTIONS, not answers.

I re-load my own ammo. With that in mind, does it make sense to load a faster burning powder in my hunting rigs that have 22" barrels? I have a .270 that I love, but since it has a 22" barrel I feel like I am losing some velocity over my 7 Mag with a 26" barrel. If I load the .270 & the 7 Mag with IMR-4350, it occurs to me that this powder would perform better in the longer barrel.

What is the general consensus on this? Say I have a pet load in my 26" barreled 7 Mag, and my buddy wants me to load some up for his 22" barreled (hypothetical) 7 mag.. Should I adjust by changing to a faster burning powder to try and achieve the same results? Or, does powder choice ultimately dictate what velocity is possible within any rifle and only range equipment can actually verify velocity at the muzzle. In short, do faster burning powders supplement shorter barrels to achieve similar muzzle velocities to longer barreled guns? That is the question.
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Old September 30, 2008, 01:42 AM   #14
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Kawabuggy, I would recommend going with the published reloading data regardless of the barrel length. The loads in all the loading manuals I have seen, a bunch, the loads are determined in a pressure test barrel. The pressures are developed in the chamber, and the difference between a 22" and a 16' barrel depending on what cartridge you a re loading for is really negligible. I read somewhere that a rifle loses between 30-50 fps for every inch of barrel length. Some rifles with tight new bores lose less and some older well broken in bores may lose more. I would not alter published loads because of barrel length. there are more variables involved here than just the # of inches of barrel.
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Old September 30, 2008, 09:22 AM   #15
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22" with 24" probably coming in second.
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Old September 30, 2008, 09:39 AM   #16
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Kawabuggy, that's a sorta tricky question to answer. To start with, the limit is of course the chamber pressure. As said, don't go beyond the book.

Okay: The burning curves are different, comparing faster-burn powders to slower-burn powders. For the slower-burn powders, the peak occurs a bit later, and the burn time lasts longer. That's why they're more effective in longer barrels; the slower-burn powder accelerates the bullet for a longer period of time.

So a faster burn powder doesn't accelerate the bullet for as long a time as does the slower-burn powder. For a given chamber pressure, then, it cannot ever match the performance of a slower burn powder in a longer barrel.

It can equal the performance of a slower burn powder in a shorter barrel, but here's the kicker: The velocity will definitely be less than either will give in the longer barrel.

I guess the primary benefit in using a faster burning powder in a short barrel would be reduced muzzle flash. I use a 19" .243 on coyotes when night-hunting. I load with 3031, which is a medium-slow-burn powder. It definitely lights things up, moreso than my 26" '06.

I hope all this makes sense.
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Old September 30, 2008, 01:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Take the ultra mags for example (7mm RUM, 300 RUM). They really need 24" barrels to take advantage of all that oomph.
Can't speak for all brands but the Rem 700 300RUM comes with a 26 inch barrel. Since barrel length is measured from the bolt face to the muzzle the effective length of rifling is somewhat shorter for the longer overall length of some cartridges. Hence the old pre-64 300 H&H and I believe the 264 mag were also 26 inch.
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Old September 30, 2008, 06:12 PM   #18
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Majority of rifles are "22

"Since barrel length is measured from the bolt face to the muzzle"

What is the "bolt face"?
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