.308 18" vs. 26"

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by mrfox556, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. mrfox556

    mrfox556 New Member

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    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.
     
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    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.
     

  3. HockaLouis

    HockaLouis New Member

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    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.
     
  4. yayamamasami

    yayamamasami New Member

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    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.
     
  5. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    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.
     
  6. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Active Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  7. EagleSix

    EagleSix New Member

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    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 ;))

    .
     
  8. hardluk1

    hardluk1 Active Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  9. mrfox556

    mrfox556 New Member

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    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?
     
  10. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    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".

    JD
     
  11. fmj

    fmj New Member

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    more barrel = better velocity. (more time for pressures to build)

    Why would one want to handcuff all the capability of a round by hacking off the barrel. The longer the barrel, the more efficient it'll be. (in other words, why waste powder by hacking off the barrel?)
     
  12. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I had a 19" barreled 243 for my wife who is small. I loaded for the short barrel and it would put 5 rounds through 1 hole at 100 yards. When you are 5'2" 19" is not a short barrel.
     
  13. mrfox556

    mrfox556 New Member

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    Oh and I was not intending on doing this myself. I would have payed a gunsmith to do it. I'm keeping it at 26"
     
  14. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Longer barrel= greater velocity.

    But what are you using it for?? How much velocity do you need?

    My 16 inch AR style 308 "rings the gong" every time at 500 yards. But if I wanted an 800-1000 yard sniper, I'd get a 24 or 26 incher.:p
     
  15. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i have a Marlin XS7VH in 308. very accurate rifle. as mine is used as a budget target rifle, used strictly for shooting from the bench weight was not a factor for me. as a matter of fact, i added weight and it now weighs about 13.5 lbs. recoil is very light and feels more like a smaller calibered rifle.

    check out Boyd's Gunstocks. i have purchased two of their stocks for a couple of rifles, one of which went on another Marlin XS7 7mm-08. very pleased with their stocks and the prices are very good.

    scopes, there are so many good one available, and it really epends on what distances you want to shoot at and how much you are willing to spend. my XS7VH has a Swift Premier 8-32x50 on it. paid about $260 + tax for it.
     
  16. EagleSix

    EagleSix New Member

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    This is true, the general rule, theory and application, has always been, longer barrel, more muzzle velocity.

    But not always, in every case. And certainly not a defining factor when compared to other elements, such as handling and balance, storage, mission/application, etc. Although I always include barrel length -vs- muzzle velocity in the decision making process to one degree or the other.

    For example, there is no more difference in muzzle velocity, other than normal chronographed variations, between my Remington M700 26" barrel and my Savage M110 24" barrel, both 308 and both shooting the same ammunition.

    Another example is an instructors Remington M700 20" triangle barrel (not really 20", more like 19"), than another instructors Remington M700 police 26" varmint taper barrel.

    Typically the general rule is 25 fps muzzle velocity loss with each inch of shorter barrel. But that is a general rule. It could be much higher, it could be much lower. We would all agree, I'm sure, if we took the element of different rifles out of the equation, muzzle velocity loss with a shorter barrel, would be true. However, when comparing different guns (headspace, barrels, etc.) and ammo, it's not a safe bet. And, even when comparing the same gun and barrel, a small loss of barrel length, as say an inch or two, just might not be noticeable by any great degree whether we are making short range or long range shots.

    Each barrel, even the heavier varmint taper type as the OP is buying, has a certain amount of harmonic movement. Change the barrel length even a small amount, and that harmonic is changed. It may change for the better, improving accuracy, or it may change for the worse degrading accuracy, or it may not make any apparent difference, but there is a change. This may have something to do with why the accuracy of some rifles have been greatly improved with re-crowning the muzzle, especially if some of the barrel length is removed to also remove damaged muzzle rifling, common with some military surplus rifles.

    .
     
  17. cottontop

    cottontop Guest

    There is an article on barrel length and velocity loss in the current issue of Handloader magazine. Worth checking out.
    cottontop
     
  18. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    another option would be to rebarrel the XS7VH with an aftermarket barrel shorter than the current one. with Marlin's barrel design which is very nuch like the Savage design, you could do it very easily at home. a shorter barrel, set of headspace gauges, barrel nut wrench and a barrel vise. several barrel makers have relpacement barrels for the Marlins. i have read and heard that the Savage Barrels will interchange, but have not seen any conclusive proof as to that fact yet.
     
  19. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    Mrfox,

    I do not want to be the bearer of discouragement. But from experience, you are in for one trying to handle a 26" Bull Barreled Rifle inside a truck cab and similar tight areas. Sure they are very accurate and do have some ballistic advantages. But doubt if you probably will be averaging shots over 300 yards? Maybe I am incorrect on my assumption? What I am saying if you have it in layaway and you have not picked it up yet I might rethink things for a shorter barrel from the start. For a truck gun a 20" Bull Barrel I would think would be a better choice. I know from experience since I do a lot of coyote, pig and varmint shooting. And let me tell you, a 20 inch bull barrel is about all you want to maneuver around or for that matter carry as you walk around in the field. I have a Rock River 20" AR-15 Varmint "Bull Barrel" Rifle and a 26" Remington 40X Rifle. There is no way I would want to pack around the 40X or try to manipulate it in a truck cab. The 20" inch is not much better but tolerable. Also the 26" Bull Barrel Rifles are very front heavy unless you are using a bi-pod and on a stationary platform of sorts. Only some thoughts to consider. After All you are buying the gun for you! So good luck with your choice. As the guys have stated if you do cut it, crown it and so forth get a professional to do so. But also remember they are not inexpensive when it comes to their work and you get what you pay for.

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