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Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

 
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  #1  
Old 06-21-2013, 09:15 PM
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Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

I'm considering the purchase of either a 22-250 or a 243, for varmint (groundhogs & coyotes) hunting. I'm interested in Savage rifles and a couple of their options are a Sporter barrel that's 22" long or a heavy Varmint barrel that's 26" long. I'm after accuracy and speed with 55gr. and up to 85gr. bullets, out to 400 yards.

Which barrel would you choose and why?

(Carry weight isn't an issue.)

Thank you, Bowhunter57
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:42 PM
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Re: Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

A sporter barrel is intended for a single shot or maybe 2. They are fussy regarding barrel harmonics and therefore the exact load. This might also be temperature sensitive. If you want a barrel which will shoot a wider range of loads with less sensitivity and also tolerate a longer string of shots better, then you will want a high quality varmint barrel. A 26" barrel will also deliver more speed than a 22, assuming you are reloading. Whether the difference in speed make a difference depends on the range. An extra 100 - 150fps will start making a difference beyond 400 yards. Remember, not all varmint barrels are equal. An ER Shaw is not a Shilen, for example, even though the cost difference is not all that great.

I will say that if you think you want to shoot 55gr bullets, you should run the ballistics first. Wind drift on those low BC bullets is pretty terrible at 400 yards. It seems that one can get 22-250 8 twist barrels (Shilen, saw one on midway today in stock) and those should shoot 80 gr bergers good. An 80gr berger is a whole different story at 400 yards compared to a 55gr Vmax. Run the numbers yourself with a 10pmh crosswind component.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:45 PM
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Re: Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

From my personal experience I haven't seen any deference with accuracy between the varmint and the sporter contour. As long as your not sending tons rounds down down range in a short period of time. If you are, then the varmint contour is the way to go because you can get more rounds down range without heat affecting accuracy. Also the 26" varmint contour tube will give you better velocity and accuracy over a sporter contour 22" tube.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:29 PM
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Re: Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

I really like the 24" barrel that Savage has on the Predator series. I jave one in 22-250 and use it for coyotes and groundhogs. Its between the sporter and the heavy 26" that they supply on the varmint rifles which are very heavy and impractical to carry for any period of time.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:54 AM
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Re: Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

Assuming carry weight isn't an issue, I would definitely go with the varmint barrel. You'll get extra speed out of the longer barrel and the heavier barrel should be steadier, allowing you to shoot better. Also, the heavier barrel will act as a more effective heatsink, allowing you to shoot more rounds quicker with more accuracy.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:28 AM
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Re: Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

Thank you, for the replies, gentlemen!

Other than when I'm sighting in the rifle, I have no plans to fire several rounds at one time. 1 or 2 rounds at a groundhog or coyote would be it. While bench shooting to sight in the rifle, I can take my time and allow a sporter barrel to cool, to be certain of it's accuracy.

...or just purchase the varmint barrel and not worry about it. I'll have to check out the predator series of Savage, which would be a "happy medium" barrel.

Bowhunter57
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2013, 08:24 AM
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Re: Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

If you are determined to get a sporter, still get one from a good name. Shilen, Mc Gowan, Krieger etc all make sporters where the bore/rifling/lapping is carried out to the same degree of precision as a varmint contour. On the other hand, in factory made rifles, the sporter barrel is the lowest common denominator and the quality is typically worse than the varmint barrels made in the same factory (people have higher expectations when they pay extra for a varmint barrel).

If you get a factory rifle with a sporter barrel, it is a total crap shoot, excuse the pun...
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