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Old December 27, 2019, 11:55 PM   #1
reynolds357
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Ideal .30-06 barrel length?

The shortest .30-06 I have ever owned is 24". I am about to rebarrel one and am thinking about dropping to 22", possibly 20". It will be a deer hunting rifle with max range of 600 yd. (please dont go into ethics of 600, enough threads about that.)
Sierra 165 Gamechanger will be the bullet, assuming barrel likes it. How much velocity loss between 24" and 22"? 20"?
(In advance, I dont want to build a .30-06 AI or a 308 Win, or a .300 WSM, etc.....)
The rifle is bolt action.
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Old December 28, 2019, 12:39 AM   #2
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I e been looking at 30-06 a lot lately....24” is the standard, obviously 26” is better for long range, but I would much rather have a 22”......maybe 24”, but I like the 22” for its handiness and point ability in the woods.

To me, 22” in a 7-8lb rifle, add 1.5lbs in optics and mount.....that’s a shooter.
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Old December 28, 2019, 04:05 AM   #3
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I've used a Tikka T3 lite in 30-06 for hunting several years now and was reluctant at first to buy it because it had a 22" barrel. After shooting and zeroing it at 200 yards I was impressed as it shot 165 grainers sub-moa. You will be more than fine with a 22" inch barrel. Velocity lost will be about 25 fps per inch. If you are reloading be advised that you may not be able to achieve the desired velocity you seek with the barrel lengths you want with out you possibly doing max loads so be careful.
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Old December 28, 2019, 07:12 AM   #4
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There is no guarantee that rifle "A" with a 24" barrel will shoot any faster than rifle "B" with a 22" barrel. In fact some 22" barrels will be faster than some 24" barrels with the same ammo. There is far more difference between 2 individual barrels than 2" of barrel makes. Your decision should be made on what length looks and balances best to you.

I have two 30-06 rifles, both with 22" barrels. The Winchester is consistently 90 fps faster than the Remington with any load I shoot through them. I shot a buddies 22" barreled 30-06 over my chronograph once at the range and his gun was 130 fps slower than mine with ammo from the same box.

My Tikka 308 with a 20" barrel is the fastest 308 I own, shooting faster than either of my 308's with 22" barrels. And my Winchester with a 22" barrel is always 25-30 fps faster than the 22" Kimber. The 18" Ruger 308 is only about 30 fps slower than the 22" Kimber and about 50 fps slower than the Winchester.

Over the years manufacturers have toyed with 24" barrels on 30-06 class cartridges occasionally, but I've seen far more at 22" than 24". That is the sweet spot for me. I've owned one with a 20" barrel and my brother had one of the Ruger compacts in 30-06 with an 18.5" barrel. The 20" barrel I could have lived with, but muzzle blast from a 30-06 and an 18" barrel was just too much.

If you were to cut an existing barrel down by 2" I'd expect you to lose no more than 50 fps. But if replacing a barrel it is hard to say. You could go to a 22" barrel and pick up velocity compared to your old barrel. Or if you already had a "fast" barrel and the new one happens to be a "slow" barrel you could lose 150 fps.

But for what you want to do it wont matter. Even from a 20" barrel a 30-06 is faster than a 308.
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Old December 28, 2019, 11:21 AM   #5
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22" is what I like, but I wouldn't be afraid to go as short as 18".
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Old December 28, 2019, 12:11 PM   #6
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All other factors being equal.... the 24'" will give muzzle velocities "about" 60fps faster using nominal bullets (150-175gr)/nominal powders (medium/slightly-slower)
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Old December 28, 2019, 12:28 PM   #7
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22" and 24". I've had both.

Built a 'suppressed hunter' '06 on a 700 action that started with somebody's take-off Sendaro barrel. The barrel was recontoured, then cut, crowned, and threaded at 18" for a .30-cal can.

Put the barrelled action in a Magpul Hunter stock and added their bottom-metal system for running detachable 5-rd ('06-length) mags. Torqued the action screws to spec, mounted a scope, and zeroed it with the can.

Easily my best shooting '06 bolt gun.
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Old December 28, 2019, 01:24 PM   #8
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The 1903 Springfield has a 24" barrel. The 1917 Enfield has a 26" barrel. The M1 Garand has a 24" barrel. For a long time the 24" barrel was considered the standard "rifle" length.

For the past half century or so, most sporting makers have used 22" barrels on their 06 rifles (18.5" on most carbines).

Generally speaking, longer barrels give higher velocities, BUT, individual rifles can be exceptions to that rule.
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Old December 28, 2019, 02:04 PM   #9
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"...velocity loss..." That was tested in one of the gun rags years ago. The guy tested the velocity after cutting off and crowning 1" at a time. He got about 100 FPS per inch velocity loss. And the assorted Internet forums have been arguing about it ever since.(It was long before there was an internet though). Usually quoting assorted ballistics programs as being gospel.
"...as short as 18"..." Will give you a lovely, great, big, muzzle flash with the corresponding muzzle blast.
"...Sierra 165 Gamechanger..." A 165 is a 165. Out of a 24" barrel at 2800 FPS MV it'll have insufficient energy(~963 ft-lbs) and be 53.2" low at 500 with a 200 yard sight in.
"...ethics of 600..." Isn't the ethics. It's the ballistics. Most typical deer bullets will drop like a brick past 300 yards. Then you add the wind and loss of energy.
"...sporting makers have used 22" barrels on their 06 rifles..." Because of the demand for lighter weight hunting rifles.
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Old December 28, 2019, 02:51 PM   #10
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SAAMI tests show a 25 fps change in velocity for each inch of barrel length at 30-06 velocities.

I'd get a 1:12 twist 22" barrel for bullets up to 180 grains if best accuracy is important.
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Old December 28, 2019, 02:57 PM   #11
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If I was building a 600 yard .30-06, I would use a 26 inch, "heavy sporter" barrel.
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Old December 28, 2019, 03:56 PM   #12
reynolds357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart B. View Post
SAAMI tests show a 25 fps change in velocity for each inch of barrel length at 30-06 velocities.

I'd get a 1:12 twist 22" barrel for bullets up to 180 grains if best accuracy is important.
Have you found better accuracy with 12 twist than 10 in 175gr and under?
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Old December 28, 2019, 04:04 PM   #13
reynolds357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
"...velocity loss..." That was tested in one of the gun rags years ago. The guy tested the velocity after cutting off and crowning 1" at a time. He got about 100 FPS per inch velocity loss. And the assorted Internet forums have been arguing about it ever since.(It was long before there was an internet though). Usually quoting assorted ballistics programs as being gospel.
"...as short as 18"..." Will give you a lovely, great, big, muzzle flash with the corresponding muzzle blast.
"...Sierra 165 Gamechanger..." A 165 is a 165. Out of a 24" barrel at 2800 FPS MV it'll have insufficient energy(~963 ft-lbs) and be 53.2" low at 500 with a 200 yard sight in.
"...ethics of 600..." Isn't the ethics. It's the ballistics. Most typical deer bullets will drop like a brick past 300 yards. Then you add the wind and loss of energy.
"...sporting makers have used 22" barrels on their 06 rifles..." Because of the demand for lighter weight hunting rifles.
A 165 is not a 165. B.C. matters and matters a lot.
I used to shoot a 308 Win at 1000 before switching to the 6.5x284 and now 6x284. I understand the drop and drift.
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Old December 28, 2019, 05:05 PM   #14
Bart B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reynolds357 View Post
Have you found better accuracy with 12 twist than 10 in 175gr and under?
Yes. It's a bullet spin rate situation.

So did Frankfort arsenal developing the 7.62 NATO round for M14 rifle's 22" 1:12 twist barrel shooting 30-06 weight bullets 100 fps slower than 24" Garand 30-06 barrels do. 308 Win commercial barrels had 1:12 twist.

If 150's are shot 2950 fps or more from a 30-06, a 1:13 twist is ideal.

Then there's the 7.62 Garands shooting 190's over 2550 fps in 24" 1:12 twist barrels that was the most accurate mid and long range match round.

Last edited by Bart B.; December 28, 2019 at 05:37 PM.
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Old December 28, 2019, 06:04 PM   #15
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An acqaintance of mine had a Husqvarna rifle in 30-06 years back. It had a 20" barrel. It was accurate, but it was LOUD! And the muzzle flash looked like he was trying to start a forest fire. So understand that while shorter barrels can be just as accurate as longer barrels, they can also be uncomfortable to shoot.

As far as accurate twist, the M40 A3 rifle USMC snipers shoot has a 1:11.5" twist for the 175 gr bullets they use, and I have heard they do pretty well with it.
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Old December 28, 2019, 06:47 PM   #16
reynolds357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorch View Post
An acqaintance of mine had a Husqvarna rifle in 30-06 years back. It had a 20" barrel. It was accurate, but it was LOUD! And the muzzle flash looked like he was trying to start a forest fire. So understand that while shorter barrels can be just as accurate as longer barrels, they can also be uncomfortable to shoot.

As far as accurate twist, the M40 A3 rifle USMC snipers shoot has a 1:11.5" twist for the 175 gr bullets they use, and I have heard they do pretty well with it.
I was wondering about the 175. Berger says theirs is not stable at 1 in 12.
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Old December 28, 2019, 06:55 PM   #17
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All of my 30-06s are 22" to 26". I only have one 22" and one 26". I have three 24".

The most accurate one is a 24, but the others ain't far behind. If memory serves me, all are 1:10 twist. All are bolt actions. One is left hand operated....well, they are all left hand operated, but one is a left hand action.

I am not the least bit picky with barrel length as far as carry convenience is concerned. I mean, I could give a crap if it is 2" longer. It just doesn't make that much difference to me and I hunt open fields and some thick brush. If I am walking the thich stuff, the barrel is always pointed down range and leading. It just isn't that difficult to wade thru it.
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Old December 28, 2019, 07:24 PM   #18
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I will suggest that you google up an article called “secrets of the Houston warehouse”. It is written by a couple bench rest shooters who had the ability to test their loads and rifles under perfect conditions. You are going to be surprised as to what was the the one constant that improved accuracy.
I followed their advice on 2 of my problem rifles and it made me a believer.
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Old December 28, 2019, 07:29 PM   #19
Bart B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reynolds357 View Post
I was wondering about the 175. Berger says theirs is not stable at 1 in 12.
Berger says this 30 caliber 175 is good in 1:12 to 1:13 twist rates:

https://bergerbullets.com/product/30...g-vld-hunting/
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Old December 28, 2019, 07:57 PM   #20
reynolds357
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Berger says this 30 caliber 175 is good in 1:12 to 1:13 twist rates:

https://bergerbullets.com/product/30...g-vld-hunting/
Run that bullet in their twist calculator and it scores 1.32. They consider stable at minimum 1.5.
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Old December 28, 2019, 09:20 PM   #21
taylorce1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorch
It had a 20" barrel. It was accurate, but it was LOUD! 
I agree shorter barrels are louder, that's why I've bought a suppressor! I just don't like 29" barrels when my suppressor is attached.
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Old December 28, 2019, 10:26 PM   #22
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According to Berger expect 25fps difference per inch. Aka theoretically the 22" is 50 fps slower than the 24".

Essentially not enough to matter.

For the venerable 06', i prefer a 22" barrel.

600 yards, not a problem!
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Old December 29, 2019, 03:35 AM   #23
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short 30-06

I've got a YZ, Mark X , full length stocked Mannlicher style '06 carbine that is extremely accurate with heavy bullets 180-200-220. Barrel length is 20" and the rifle is indeed loud and a hard kicker if loaded all up with the heavy slugs. Maximum heavy bullet loads do not come near to the specified velocities in the manuals either, but still kick like a mule. The rifle is a looker, and I enjoy hunting with it, and simply run it at .300 Savage velocities w/ 180 grain slugs, around 2400 fps plus, and it kills with authority and is easy to shoot.

Ideally, to realize the full advantage the '06 has over the .308, (the bigger case holding more powder) I'm inclined to suggest that I'd not want to take an '06 below 22" and might even go with a 24" if I wanted an '06 to reach it's full potential.
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Old December 29, 2019, 08:46 AM   #24
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I have one 30-06 with 26" Bartlein (1/11.25 5r twist) barrel and another 30-06 with 25.6" Shilen 1/13 Rahchet twist, 4 groove, Super Match barrel.

All my rifle are for hunting and I had gunsmith use same reamer for both but are throated little different.

I've shot Berger 168gr target bullets in Shilen barrel 30-06 just to see how it do on paper @ LR.

Might want to read this

https://www.6mmbr.com/gunweek091.html
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Old December 29, 2019, 11:25 AM   #25
Bart B.
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Quote:
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Run that bullet in their twist calculator and it scores 1.32. They consider stable at minimum 1.5.
They're not the only component maker whose data contradicts itself depending on where its published.
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