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Old February 17, 2013, 10:48 AM   #1
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Shortening a barrel

I have a Remington 700 VLS .223 that shoots very accurately, which for me is 1 inch grouping at 100 yards.

It's also a beautiful rifle, but I have been thinking about the possibility of having the barrel shortened from 26 to about 21 inches, just to give it a different look.
The action has already been fiberglass bedded and the barrel free floated. The VLS has a fairly low twist rate of 1:12 inches.

Could you expect the accuracy to stay the same, or would it be totally unpredictable?



Last edited by chaz12; February 17, 2013 at 10:54 AM.
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:56 AM   #2
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As long as the Smith that cuts the barrel down and recrowns it does a good job you can expect the accuracy to stay the same. You'll want to sight it in again but that is a given after anyone does any work to your rifle.
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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If we look at 200 and 300 yard bench rest rifles we find most of them have short barrels because shorter is stiffer. You loose a little velocity by cutting back, but no accuracy. In fact if anything it probably will get more accurate, not less.
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Old February 17, 2013, 05:28 PM   #4
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You'll lose velocity which will cause more bullet drop and the wind will effect the bullet slightly more. So technically it will potentially be slightly less accurate at longer ranges.
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Old February 17, 2013, 09:27 PM   #5
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Are you shortening the barrel purely for aesthetic reasons, or because you need a handier rifle for hunting? My .308 Vanguard S2 at the gunsmith to have the barrel shortened from 24" to 21" because I hunt from a stand or on drives in heavy woods and wanted a handier rifle. Hopefully, its accuracy will improve because the barrel is stiffer. If you shoot at longer ranges you may want to reconsider shortening the barrel.
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Old February 17, 2013, 09:56 PM   #6
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I had my 597 22mag barrel cut down and recrowned to 17" and
it is just as accurate as a full length barrel.
I cut it because it was damaged, but I now do like the look
and feel of that rifle
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:06 PM   #7
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My initial thought was too much velocity loss, but you're not shooting long range (heavy bullets) with that twist rate anyway- so I don't see the velocity loss as a big deal.

As was said above, shorter for the same diameter means stiffer, so usually you would expect to see consistent harmonics- though you already have that with moa accuracy.

So here's my only caveat...
If it's shooting minute accuracy- is it with factory ammo, or handloads?

If it's with factory ammo, I'd say that rifle is shooting as good as is reasonably possible to expect. While I'm a fan of shorter barrels sometimes, if that's the case I probably wouldn't mess with it. You know the old adage, "if it ain't broke..."

While I wouldn't expect cutting/re-crowning to degrade accuracy, harmonics are very unpredictable.
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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A shorter barrel doesn't add stiffness it reduces flexing
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:05 PM   #9
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I recently had a Remington 700 barrel cut down to 18", shoots every bit as good as it did before
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Old February 18, 2013, 06:51 AM   #10
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In this case I'd do it in a heartbeat. With some chamberings you would see a little velocity loss, but a 223 works just fine from 20"-22" barrels and any gains from longer barrels are neglible.

As long as the cut and recrown are done correctly you will see no loss of accuracy and possibly a slight improvement.
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Old February 18, 2013, 05:09 PM   #11
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A little more info from the OP

My reason to consider a shorter barrel is partly just aesthetics and partly weight. Even tho I am shooting from a bench, this is still a very heavy rifle with the 26" barrel. I only shoot at 100 yards at the local range so as somebody mentioned, the velocity loss will not be critical. I have shot a friend's savage precision carbine with the 20" barrel and I liked the look and feel of it. I didn't totally like the camouflaged, hollow synthetic stock. I could sell the VLS, but I like the laminated stock and I know it shoots well with the current barrel.

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