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0ptimal 308 barrel length

 
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  #1  
Old 08-28-2007, 06:52 PM
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0ptimal 308 barrel length

Lately I've been considering getting/building a 308, for no other reason than I don't have one. I've been looking at Savages new F class offering or their new Precision Target Action as a building platform.

The F class offering has a 30" barrel on it which seems like overkill, while some factoy offerings are 20" or even less which is a little short for my tastes.

What I'd like is some opinions or facts on is what length barrel gets the most out of a 308, at some point the extra length has to become a detriment, but at what length.

For the sake of this discussion lets assume the use of 175 gr. bullets and up.

TIA
Chris
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:52 PM
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I'll say 25" from the breach to the muzzle.
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:05 PM
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With the heavier bullets and slow powder you will be able to take advantage of the heavier bullets by gaining some velocity but the 308 is a very effecient case and what velocity you gain will be minimal.

I have a few 308's all custom , one with a 26" one with a 24" and one with a 20" barrel and the velocity between the 26" and the 20" which are both Rock Creek barrels is less than 80fps with factory loaded Black Hills 175gr ammo. The 20" barreled gun wears a suppressor full time which adds about 4" to the over all length and helps alot with accuracy. This gun will shoot out to 1000yds with factory loaded 175gr Black Hills ammo , but accuracy falls off completely at around 700-800yds with the factory loaded 168gr stuff soe its riding right on the cusp I figure for minimum velocity.
Their is a noticable differance in noise between the 26" and 20" barrleed gun when they are shot plain barreled so their is that equasion.

My vote goes for the 20" barreled 308 , get a heavier profile to make up the differance in wieght so its still stabill and it'll be ALOT stiffer.
And by all means if your shooting paper with it get a suppressor , less recoil like with a brake and WAY less noise , on par with regular velocity 22LR ammo out of a long barreled rifle.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:08 AM
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Three .308's in my gunsafe, 20", 24" and 30" barrels. The 30" barrel is on a specialized long-range match rifle. The 20" is on a pure hunting rifle and very handy afield. I'm most fond of my 24" barrel rifle. It has a real nice balance of length vs velocity. Can't really comment on the 175's and heavier because I seldom shoot them. I do go through a mess of 155's, 165's and 168's though.

Dan Lilja wrote an interesting article some years ago on the optimal barrel length for a tactical .308 Win. It's still on his web site:

Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels - Articles: The Ideal Barrel For A .308 Caliber Tactical Rifle

He came up with a recommendation of 24" - 27" for that application, and allowed that some users might have very good reasons to select a different length tube for their .308 Win rifle.

Regards, Guy

Last edited by Guy M; 08-29-2007 at 04:12 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2007, 05:26 AM
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What needs to be looked at mostly is what the guns purpose is gonna be. Are you gonna be shooting game with it at long range say out to 500yds and more or just paper. Is the gun actualy gonna be used in a "tactical" situation? all three of my bolt action 308's were built for the porpose for being an actual police sniper rifle the first gun has a very heavy MTU profile 26" barrel and total weight of the gun is is about 15lbs with scope ,the second gun had built used a 24" Rem varmint conture fluted and the last uses an MTU conture that was cut to 20 and heavly fluted. all the guns are sub 1/2moa out to 600yds with factory loaded ammo but the 20"barreled gun does shoot tighter goups out to 300yds and is less finicky with its diet.

In the real world of tactical shooting (from a police stand point) you don't need you gun to maintain its peak accuracy with a given bullet past 300yds because the chances of taking a shot past 100yds are slim to none but I'm not gonna say "never" the furthest I have setup on a situation was just over 150yds and that was because I used a roof top accross a parking lot for a vantage point , generaly its in the 50-5yd range.

I do have an Encore that has a 18" barrel thats chambereed for 308 and shoots the 165gr Ballistic tips exclusivly , this gun is a dedicated carry thick cover gun , I have shot it out to 300yds on paper with goos success so I woulden't heisitate to shoot a deer at 300yds but I'm sure that the velocity is a good bit less than that you would get out of a 26" barrel.


So if your gonna be shooting targets at long range , then get a heavy 26" barrel with a 1-10 twist to shoot the 175-190 class VLD bullets bullets but if its gonna be a prcatical use hunting gun for shooting inside 600yds get a shorter barrel if the extra few fps arn't gonna be needed
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Old 08-29-2007, 07:51 AM
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I am very happy with my m40a1 with 26" Mike Rock 5R with 1-11.25 twist. It is holding 1 MOA or less at 1k the times I have shot it (all with wind) so I am very happy with that for a 308 at 1k.

If you are going to suppress it always, then a shorter barrel would be nice. If not, then the longer IMO.

One thing about the Savage F/TR. Hard to beat for the money and the 1-10 will shoot the heavier bullets and for $75 a gunsmith can shorten/recrown that 30" barrel if you really want to. Hmmm, $305 buys a new 308 in any length you want chambered ready to install. Two for one here???;)

how about a 300 WSM barrel and $50 bolt head and 3 for 1?

choices, choices, choices!!!!:p

BH
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2007, 04:33 PM
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BH
Stop it, you're killing me here, having a hard enough time with barrel length/contour.

DF
25" was my first thought.

JJ
The rifle will be used for hunting and paper punching for practice to 650, not comp.
I'd like to keep it carryable so I don't want a real heavy contour, something between a varmit and sporter maybe. Already have 2 Rock M24 contours in 243 and 6.5-284 and 2 Savage varmit contours in 7 RSAUM and 300 WM. I'm thinking I'd like this one to be between .600 and .700 at the muzzle.

Quote:
I have a few 308's all custom , one with a 26" one with a 24" and one with a 20" barrel and the velocity between the 26" and the 20" which are both Rock Creek barrels is less than 80fps
Thats a helpful bit of info right there, exactly what I'm looking for. I'd have no problem going with a 24"-25" barrel if I'm only giving up 30-60 fps. over something 27"-28"

Guy
Thanks for the link, that too was very helpful.

Chris
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