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I have always thought that longer barrels were more accurate. Now I read that shorter barrels are more accurate. Well, if shorter barrels are more accurate, why are any rifles made with barrels longer than 16 inches?
 
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Velocity is the only thing I could think of but who would trade accuracy for higher velocity?
 
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Within reason, a shorter barrel isn't intrinsically less accurate as long as it properly stabilizes the slugs being used. By that I'd say assuming both are quality barrels, a 4" barreled revolver isn't less accurate than a 6" barreled revolver of the same type. The shooter, however, will have a shorter sight radius and is likely to be personally less accurate. Don
 

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When using irons, longer is better.
That’s what I was hoping for. I just ordered a .22LR plinker with a 28.5” barrel and long sight radius. Hoping I didn’t make an expensive mistake.
 
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Barrel length has nothing to do with accuracy. It will have an affect on velocities.
The correct rifling & twist rate as well as the type of bullet used at the correct operating velocity has more to do with accuracy than the barrel length.
I have 20" barrels that shoot just as accurate as my 26" barrels, but I can shoot the gun's with 26" barrels a lot farther because I get faster velocities out of them.
 

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This has been studied for well over 100 years. There are multiple write-ups regarding it.
Every barrel/caliber/rate of twist/cartridge variation has a "sweet spot" where all come together at that particular combination's best. Finding it is what we strive for.

Serious benchrest shooters get my vote for being the best at wringing out accuracy. My son does that stuff. To me, it's like watching paint peel as I suck at math and would rather shoot other things. One truth is that everything else being equal, when using iron sights the longer the distance between front and rear sight the more accurate a shooter will be with that particular firearm.

Even bullseye pistol shooters knew this back in the day when extended front sights were seen on ranges - sticking out beyond the front of the slide.
 

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No one answer, other than "that all depends". There are SOME shorter barrels that may be more accurate- due to a shift in the vibration characteristics of the barrel. A shorter STIFFER barrel may have a more reproducible vibration pattern than a long skinny barrel.
 

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Exactly how do you measure barrel accuracy ? Do you mean if the gun is held in a completely immovable fixture of some kind, then measure the pattern for longest dimension ? Is that how you determine barrel accuracy ?
 

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Exactly how do you measure barrel accuracy ? Do you mean if the gun is held in a completely immovable fixture of some kind, then measure the pattern for longest dimension ? Is that how you determine barrel accuracy ?
In a perfect world, yes. Some benchrest guns I've seen don't really look like their "parent" firearms and not practical at all for hunting nor even anything other than doing exactly what they are created to do. Even muzzleloading shooters have them - false muzzles, barrels several inches across, quite heavy, etc. All try to eliminate variables.

In the end, it's holes in your target that count. One ragged hole is better than a group.
 

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Just as a fr'instance- I have 2 rifles that are both .22 LR, The Garcia Bronco has a barrel that is barely .50 inches in diameter. The other is a Mossberg 144 LSB, with a barrel that is .91 inches in diameter. In the case of those two, it is not the barrel length, but how stiff the barrel is. And yes, would measure accuracy by group size- diameter of a circle that will contain all the shots.
 
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