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mrfox556 06-30-2012 03:48 AM

.308 18" vs. 26"
What are gonna be the advantages and disadvantages to long vs. short bull barrel length. I have a bolt action .308 in layaway that comes with a 26" bull barrel. I'm not the biggest fox in the forest so chopping a little off the endd just makes sense to me. This is just gonna be a rough it up shoot a ton of rounds truck farm rifle.

JonM 06-30-2012 09:39 AM

With 18 you get more recoil, less muzzle velocity, less weight, easier to use as a truck gun, more muzzle blast.

Personally i wont go below 20" with a 308, shorter than that and i think they just get downright unpleasent to shoot.

HockaLouis 06-30-2012 12:59 PM

And it'd have to be a pretty inexpensive rifle u r buying and considering cutting down as soon as u get it. Y not just buy a shorter one to begin w/unless it is a steal... I did the same once but it was intended to be shorter and sorta was a steal as the seller had goofed spelling what it was and it attracted little attention.

yayamamasami 06-30-2012 01:18 PM

I have a 16.1" on one of my M1A's. Heavy recoil, has a compensated muzzle brake (holes on the top so it pushes the muzzle down) and it is loud!! I also have a M1A with a 22" barrel. The noise difference is quite astonishing. I didn't notice it until one day my buddy loosed off a round and this DA forgot to pull his ears down. Did I mention it's loud? I know some stuff, some say just enough to get me into trouble, I don't know why it's appreciably louder. I'm sure someone will pipe in as to why. Thinking its the muzzle brake forcing the blast up instead of all around.

Axxe55 06-30-2012 01:21 PM

shorter barrel equals less velocity and more muzzle blast. you lose about 50-100 FPS for every inch from the test standard. more muzzle blast due to unburned powder. if you cut off the barrel and it isn't re-crowned properly, you won't be able to hit the broad side of a barn and it will group more like a shotgun! personally i would buy one already with a shorter barrel, but if you must buy it and shorten the barrel get a gunsmith to do it properly.

hardluk1 06-30-2012 02:26 PM

Would you mine telling us what your are willing to spend good money on just to spend more good money to cut the barrel on. This is not a project for a novice to do. Not many basic 308 rifles have 26" barrels. Savage LRP comes to mind and you really don't want to cut that barrel. Buy a different rifle or barrel first. Might be better to try to buy what you know want. A short barrel. Maybe the dealer will work with you.

EagleSix 06-30-2012 04:13 PM

We shouldn't assume any given gunsmith can do a better job than the DIY'er. Many gunsmiths, for years, have been hand turning muzzle crowns. However, the tools to properly hand turn cut the crown is going to cost more than having a Gunsmith do it. If you are going to use the crown cutting tools more than one or two times, you have a good eye, and are handy and steady with machining......that may be the way for you to go.

I have hand turned some over the years and you cannot tell by examining the crown or on paper by the groups. The muzzle can be turned/cut by machine/lathe, or with hand power tools, or by hand power. A full service gunsmith will use a lathe and it will be cut more precise than by hand, is the theory and most of the time that is true. I would question the gunsmith before letting him/her saw off the barrel.

In addition to the comment from other members, I would consider the balance and handling. On a mid-range weight heavy barrel 308 (9-10 pounds), I prefer a 23" barrel for balance and a medium between shooting solid supported positions as well as off-hand and/or makeshift partial supported positions. 22" and 24" inch barrel lengths are common, so for me to get that 23", it usually means whacking of an inch or three!! On the other hand, not a lot of difference in balance between a 22, 23, 24". If you are going to thread the muzzle and screw on a can, then the balance thing may be even more of an issue, and the shorter barrel length may be more desirable. And, if you go with quiet loads to take advantage of a suppressor, you don't need a longer barrel to get higher velocities.

But, for stretching the 308 out a bit further than it is normally believed to be effective, I would leave the 26" length. As far as the theory of effective accuracy, not much difference in the 20" through 26" barrel lengths out to short to mid-range distance (500 yards).

If you cut the barrel off, what are you going to do with the cut off piece? (....just teasing ;))


hardluk1 06-30-2012 10:49 PM

I would assume a guy that had the skill to cut off the barrel, turn and dress the bore would not be paying on a 26" barrel rifle or asking about doing it. But hey I get superised all the time.

mrfox556 07-01-2012 02:59 AM

Its the Marlin x7 varmint hunter. $327. I consider it a good deal. I appreciate all the comments. After a discussion with a personal friend, I've decided not to chop it and to instead let his master woodworking father build me a sweet stock for it. Once he said "man up p**sy. its not that heavy." my mind was made up. So....who makes some affordable glass for this thing that could take a beating?

Dillinger 07-01-2012 03:54 AM


Originally Posted by mrfox556 (Post 853947)
What are gonna be the advantages and disadvantages to long vs. short bull barrel length. I have a bolt action .308 in layaway that comes with a 26" bull barrel. I'm not the biggest fox in the forest so chopping a little off the endd just makes sense to me. This is just gonna be a rough it up shoot a ton of rounds truck farm rifle.

In research we have devised that 22" is about ideal for URBAN/SHORT RANGE encounters. 300-400 yards at the IDEAL engagement distance.

The .308 can be stretched to 1,000 yards by heavily trained PROFESSIONALS. These are people who spend their days shooting/studying/analyzing/loving the .308 ballistics chart as their Bible. They are, quite specifically, the future of the Benchrest Community.

My first custom was a .308 with a 26.75" barrel, all spec'd out. I competed a lot and learned the pros and cons of the weapon platform. I bought the best - a Krieger barrel, Titanium firing pin, Rifle Basix drop in trigger, and I was "good".

However, none let me get "sniper" accurate at 800-1000 yards. I had to rely on the ballistics and the "moon shot" to get inside the "X" ring.

Ammo (bullet weight and grains of powder, which is a WIDE category). Elevation (Above about 4500ft and you will see a difference in performance). Air Density (Humidity is a bitch on ballistics). Shot Distance (the further you go, the harder the shot).

If the platform is the .308; then you need to realize what CAN and what CAN NOT be done by the average shooter behind the trigger.

At, say, 200 yards the .308 is a devastating round! This is a round that can take your head off or cave in your chest with the force of a sledgehammer!

At 500 yards, the average shooter is going to be "meh". Not because of the round, but because of the training to put the round where it counts the most.

So. If you want to "effectively/professionally" get the rifle and "chop off the barrel length" you are going to want to pull the barrel, cinch it up in the vise, then run a measured bandsaw through it to achieve the desired goal.

You are going to need a lathe to cinch the barrel to, say, .005" difference (ROUGH - end to end), and crown the cut off muzzle so rounds out of the barrel are not impacted.

The .308 is an effective round, with single stop capabilities, but once you examine and understand the round, you will realize it's not the "End All - Beat All".


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