The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: General

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 20, 2010, 09:59 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: February 28, 2009
Posts: 399
How much compromise is there really in a light barrel versus heavy barrel?

Assume that we're talking about something like a DPMS in .308. How much change is there between a light barrel and a heavy barrel in terms of accuracy, particularly for longer distances? How many people here choose to go with a lighter barrel, whatever the caliber, to save weight?
ADB is offline  
Old July 20, 2010, 10:18 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: February 11, 2008
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 149
I have a heavy barrel Sako M995 in 6.5x55 which shoots 0.5 MOA consistently. I also have a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in 7x57 which shoots 2 MOA.

When I go hunting I almost invariably take the Winchester because it is a pound or two lighter and the country I hunt is steep and I am usually humping camping gear in as well as the rifle. For some strange reason the chamois and deer which we hunt don't seem to know the difference between 0.5 MOA and 2 MOA - they drop to both rifles.

However over 250 yards or when target shooting I prefer the Sako.

David_S is offline  
Old July 21, 2010, 02:19 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: March 1, 2010
Posts: 100
The biggest difference is the rate of heating and cooling. A heavy barrel will heat up more slowly (and consequently cool off more slowly) which is good for heavy rates of fire. Unless you are doing a lot of blasting, I would go with lightweight.
sonrider657 is offline  
Old July 21, 2010, 02:23 PM   #4
Junior member
Join Date: April 28, 2008
Posts: 96
I can't testify to any testing. Although I would think you'd get more vibration and movement with the normal barrel, resulting in less accuracy.
KMG5402 is offline  
Old July 21, 2010, 02:45 PM   #5
lt dan
Senior Member
Join Date: March 4, 2008
Location: south africa
Posts: 326
one of the advantages i can think of is recoil. just received my 300H&H custom with a HEAVY barrel. the rifle with scope weighs in at 12.5 pounds. it is a 26 inch barrel and the crown of the barrel is .7inch. i had long distance shooting with knock down power in mind when i had this rifle build.

took a springbok with a neck shot at 320m (349yards) and a blue wildebeest head shot at 260m (284 yards) over the weekend. i also intend to use this rifle when we harvest game for the export venison market. then i must be able to take up to 30(per harvester) animals a night, so it helps if your barrel doesnt get to hot to fast.
If youth is wasted on the young, then Africa is wasted on the Africans
lt dan is offline  
Old July 21, 2010, 03:02 PM   #6
Dave R
Senior Member
Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,073
What sonrider said. Theoretically, heavy barrel is no more accurate than light, but is likely to hold zero and groups better as it warms.

My varmit AR is heavy, and I can shoot it a lot without heating. And it stays on target. My lightweight heats much faster. I have not compared groups from the two as they heat.
I am Pro-Rights (on gun issues).
Dave R is offline  
Old July 22, 2010, 08:33 AM   #7
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,097
Heavy barrels maintain point of impact better than light barrels, when shooting longer strings of fire. E.g., prairie dogs or 10-round strings in competition.

No reason that I know of for light barrels not to give very tight three-shot groups in a hunting rifle. Even my skinny Minis would hold 1.5 MOA for three shots--which is close to a pencil-barrelled Weatherby's one MOA for three shots and its opening up after that. Half-MOA for three shots from a sporter-weight barrel has pretty much been a standard for me for a long, long time.

But eons back I had a heavy-barrelled Swift which gave five-shot 3/8 MOA groups, and I could generally hold it to around 5/8 MOA for ten.
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is online now  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:43 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.05592 seconds with 9 queries