Barrel length and accuracy

Discussion in 'General Rifle Discussion' started by MisterMcCool, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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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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  2. austin92

    austin92 Well-Known Member

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    Velocity? I’d assume a 10” barrel could be just as accurate as a 36” barrel at 100 yards but that 10” wouldn’t hold a candle to the 36” at 1200yd
     
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  3. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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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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  4. austin92

    austin92 Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think the longer barrel would ever be less accurate with all other factors identical.
     
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  5. DonD

    DonD Member

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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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  6. sheepdawg

    sheepdawg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When using irons, longer is better.
     
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  7. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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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  8. DonD

    DonD Member

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    You do loose considerable vewlocity. Most .22LR velocities increase up to about 16" and then decline due to friction w/o any powder burn to keep it moving. Don
     
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  9. sheepdawg

    sheepdawg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    29 1/2" barrel. 1908 Swedish m/96 FSR target rifle. 6.5X55. Will do 1/2 m.o.a. when the old guy pulling the trigger does his job.
    1908 FSR m96 wallpaper.jpg
     
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  10. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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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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  11. sheriffjohn

    sheriffjohn Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  12. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  13. AgedWarrior

    AgedWarrior Well-Known Member

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    That is a nice lookin rifle...and as you pointed out, it shoots great too!
     
  14. gambler

    gambler Active Member

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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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  15. sheriffjohn

    sheriffjohn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  16. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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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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