I had an old Rem 700 30-06 that needed a face lift. I put on a new laminated stock and made it look new. I was kinda tied of the plain old 30-06 so I took it to my Gunsmith and had him convert it to an Ackley Improved.
I've been asking around as to what are some real world velocities to expect with 165 and 180gr bullets out of this 22in barreled AI. Some of the load data I have seems to be a bit optimistic to say the least.
Anyhow, I have been told everything from, "waist of money", "no increase in velocity just burn more powder", "bad idea with a 22in barrel", "if you want more velocity, get a magnum", etc.etc. At least I wasn't called a Dumb Ass, well not in so many words.
Well, did I make a mistake?
An AI is a good rifle. But there is some truth to what they are saying about your 22" barrel. If you look at most 300 win mags, they have 26 or 24 inch barrels. This is because when you get more slower buring powder you need a longer barrel to utilize the powder better. You will get some velocity increase from the AI, but you would have been better off getting a longer barrel too.
happy hunting, Mark.
I used to re-load but now I "hand-load".
-- Well, at least I try --
I think the first question is; are you happy with it? If so, who cares what people think!!! I would "assume" the smith also did a few other tune-ups on it. Could you have gotten better performance from a longer barrel? Sure, but don't tell that to the guys on the pistol forum. You didn't mention it but do you know what kind of velocity gains you got from the upgrade? If you're happy with what you got for the money you spent; good on ya!!! A buddy of mine, who will spend $120 on a bottle of Dahlwinny wiskey, just shook his head when I told him the cost on the gun I'm getting built.
One thing to think about; heavier bullets often take better advantage of shorter barrels. They are in the barrel longer thus burning more powder.
Good luck with it and forget about what others think.
Genises 27-3: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison...
There are other AI calibers that show more dramatic improvements for the hassle, but the .30-06 should still show 100 FPS or more increase. Whether that's "worth it" depends largely on whether you're enjoying yourself.
As far as "ideal" barrel lengths, yes, a longer barrel would definitely help capitalize on the relatively small amount of extra case capacity, but, you would still show gains over a standard .30-06 in the same length barrel, the original goal of the exercise.
I have a .30-06 AI myself, and have had excellent results with various 165s and IMR-4350.