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Old October 2, 2011, 06:57 PM   #1
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How much will barrel length affect accuracy?

Hello Guys,
I'm thinking about purchasing a R700 tactical SPS and it has a 20" barrel on it. I have been shooting a .308 Vanguard with a 24" barrel. What can I expect when switching from the Vanguard to the R700 as far as change in accuracy? I'll probably shooting at to around 600m. Thanks
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Old October 3, 2011, 03:10 AM   #2
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The 700 likely the most accurate of the two. The shorter barrel will exhibit less harmonic vibrations, ie. Stiffer, in most case this inhances accuracy.
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Old October 3, 2011, 07:59 AM   #3
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I've read over a few experiments where people cut down rifle barrels to see what the loss is in accuracy and muzzle-velocity, cutting down the barrel one inch at at time. I think the general consensus is that for a .308, you don't lose any significant muzzle-velocity or accuracy until you get below 18". I suspect for that cartridge, the bigger concerns for accuracy are things like:

-type of stock (material) and who well the barrelled-action is bedded into it
-quality of barrel
-matching up of bullet weight and rifling-twist
-consistency of trigger pull
-shooter's skill and consistency
-many others

Basically, I think that for the .308, barrel length is a relatively minor component of overall accuracy. I'd got with the one that has a shorter, stiffer barrel so it's easier to maneuver and doesn't flex as much on the shot.
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Old October 3, 2011, 08:34 AM   #4
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The trend these days seems to be toward shorter, heavier, and stiffer barrels unless velocity is a major factor (as in very long range trajectory compensation).

As noted in post #2, this is due to reduced harmonic effects, as I understand it.
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Old October 3, 2011, 08:46 AM   #5
Jim Watson
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Just how accurate is your Vanguard? What do you expect the Remington to do for you? (I know there is a lot more Stuff available for Remingtons, and when you wear out the factory barrel, you can get a new one very readily, along with a lot of other refinements.)

As said, a short, heavy, stiff barrel is optimum for accuracy; look at benchrest rifles shot at 100-300 yards.
But there comes a time when a little free velocity from a longer barrel becomes an advantage; look at bullseye Target Rifles and long range benchrest rifles.

At "up to" 600 metres (You all there in Arkansas speaking French a lot these days?) it might well be a wash and you could do as well with a 20" barrel as a 26.

Certainly you see a lot of brag items in the gunzines and gunboards about short barrelled tackytickle rifles shooting so fine at long range.
But then my friend, just back from the F-class national championships, 600 - 1200 yards, does not report any such short barrels on guns set up for the distance.
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Old October 3, 2011, 09:22 AM   #6
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Another question

Are you re-loading your own ammunition for this gun or just buying store bought. Reason for asking this is that I've read in another thread here that cutting the barrel length down will actually cause a loss in velocity (and i believe accuracy).

Link to thread:
Another thread here

I've seen recently at one particular store that some of the 30-06 ammo says on the box that it is for a gun with a 24" or longer barrel.(this was Federal ammo) Not sure if this is also true with some 308 ammo but it's possible.

If your going to be reloading your own ammo then you can compensate for barrel length with different powders/primers/bullets - if your dealing with store bought then you may want to find something that works best with your gun. Ask others with similar/same guns what they are shooting and what they have found works best.
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Old October 3, 2011, 09:29 AM   #7
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If you do a google search, you will find highly qualified opinions making very strong arguments that barrel length effects accuracy.... roughly equal, in my searches, are those saying long is better and those saying short is better. I did a lot of searching and reading when I was pondering a 28" Encore Pro Hunter barrel. I didn't bookmark the sources so anyone interested will have to hunt them down, but it was amusing reading polar opposite opinions from experienced people on what I HAD suspected would be a fairly cut and dry issue.

It was almost like most TFL threads!
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Old October 3, 2011, 10:47 AM   #8
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You will find that the crown has more to do with accuracy than the barrel's length. I have owned sub MOA 5.56 barrels in 16" and 24" lengths. The extra 8" produced more velocity, but not significantly reduced group sizes.

I saw several 16" heavy barreled rifles this weekend at a precision rifle match down in Seven Points, Texas, both bolt and semi-auto. The best shooter I saw Saturday morning was using a 16" heavy barrel .308 bolt gun.

In other words, just because a barrel is shorter is no reason to assume it will be less accurate, or more accurate.
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Old October 3, 2011, 10:53 AM   #9
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You wont see that much difference in accuracy between a 24 & 20 inch barrel. You will see some velocity change but velocity isnt accuracy.

Where the longer barrel comes in (accuracy wise) is the longer sight radius when shooting iron sights. The longer sight radius the better.

308s out of a 20 inch barrel will have no problem in the accuracy department at 600 yards. Heck the best 1000 yard scores I've shot were out of a 22 inch M1A.
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Old October 3, 2011, 05:52 PM   #10
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Read this.

Barrel length has nothing to do with accuracy. Yes it does effect velocity to a point, but not nearly as much as many believe.
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Old October 3, 2011, 05:59 PM   #11
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Barrel length has nothing to do with accuracy. Yes it does effect velocity to a point, but not nearly as much as many believe.
Well, if you believe that you lose 40 fps per inch of bbl. loss, you'd be right on. Difference between 20 and 24 inches is 160 fps.

Whether that's "not much", "nothing to worry about", etc., I'll leave to others to decide.

Not to worry with the 20" bbl. My M700 was a HS grad. present. The year was 1963, the year the M700 was introduced---and the only year it came with a 20" bbl. Never bothered me, and the deer didn't notice any difference.

Last edited by Nnobby45; October 3, 2011 at 06:08 PM.
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