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Old December 28, 2005, 10:35 PM   #1
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Does accuracy improve with 24 vs 26 inch barrel?

Does a 26 inch barrel really improve accuracy over a 24 inch barrel in .338 Winchester Magnum caliber? Is it really that significant? Or does the added barrel length simply increase gun weight? For all practical matters, does the added length matter in hunting situations? I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has any ideas on this topic
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Old December 28, 2005, 10:43 PM   #2
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No, and it often decreases as barrel whip becomes more pronounced.

Say it with me: Barrel length has nothing to do with mechanical accuracy.

Longer barrels increase muzzle velocity, affecting range and the amount of drop the bullet will have. They also give an iron sighted shooter more sight radius. But an accurate rifle could have a 10" barrel and shoot tighter groups than anything else.
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Old December 28, 2005, 10:43 PM   #3
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Generally, magnums lose more velocity per inch of shortening than do overbores like the '06. The .308 series does best. Roughly, 100 ft/sec; 75 ft/sec, 50 ft/sec for each inch of shortening.

I doubt that accuracy would be noticeably affected. My 26" '06 commonly lets me get three-shot groups inside an inch; quite often around 3/4". Back when my eyes (and the rest of my body) were better, I commonly got ten-shot groups around 1-1/4" at 100 yards.

Me, if I were going to a .338, I'd stay with 26". It's not that much weight.

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Old December 29, 2005, 12:36 AM   #4
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Now if you'd go with a thicker barrel such as a Bull or Semi-Bull that would tighten up your groups, but would add weight to the rifle. Most of us would also use a club stock and shoot from a bench. I agree witha previous statement about barrel whip. I am looking for the term for overheated barrel throwing shots. When I shot 1000yd many years ago some of the stock Mags would start throwing after three or four shots. Mine was a 300 Win. Mag with a Douglas 32' Semi Bull barrel and a 12x Unertle scope and a club stock. Reggie
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Old December 29, 2005, 09:51 AM   #5
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Saw a magazine article a coupla years ago, where they tested this. They started with a 26" barrel and shortened it 2" at a time, down to 18". (If IRRC it was a heavy barreled .308).....And while they lost velocity each time they shortened it (as you would expect) the accuracy was virtually unchanged.
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Old December 29, 2005, 11:28 AM   #6
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Define accuracy - depends on that definition whether barrel length matters

Define accuracy - depends on that definition whether barrel length matters.

For all practical purposes, especially in a hunting rifle chambered in .338 it's a matter of taste.

On the other hand - it is certainly true that muzzle velocity is directly related to the range at which the bullet speed falls so much that the bullet goes transonic. It is also true that muzzle velocity relates to rpm. The effects might well not show up from the bench at 100 yards but there will be a range at which the effects do make a difference.

FREX - the .308 at 1000 yards works better from a barrel long enough to keep the bullet sonic at the extended range.

Just as true that nobody has any business taking a shot at game with a .338 at ranges where the difference between 24" and 26" barrel matters (and it will only matter on average anyway). Balance and swing of the rifle will matter a great deal more.
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Old January 1, 2006, 11:12 AM   #7
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Barrell Length

I find short and stiff works as well as long and whippy and the weight is about the same. Short makes it handy to use out of a blind or climber and to walk through thick spots. Try 21.75" you will be surprised at its accuracy, I was.

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