I'm considering getting building a "heavy sporter" rifle using a .243 Savage action I own and was thinking that I'd like about a 24" barrel on it....just because I think that would be about the right length - not too long and cumbersone, not to short and whippy.
Looking at Shilen's website, they only list 26" barrels in the contour I want.
Are there any criteria for choosing barrel length other than balance and aesthetics?
I personaly like a big fat barrel and I personaly like flutes but thats me, my dad on the otherhad likes short compact light weight look.
Barrel conture doesen't have much to do with first or even second round hits , now when you get to 3,4 and 5 rounds through it in hotter calibers som with start to "walk" The biger heavy barrels make a bigger differance in the weight of the gun , heavier guns can generaly be shot more accuratly in field conditions.
For a sporter conture I'd say a #4 is about as light as I would consider if I were building a light weight gun. the differance is speed with a 24 to a 26 barrel is pretty slim with that chambering , so if they offer it in 26" get it and if you find that its to long then for about $50 a smith can lop it off and recrown it. I don't see why Shilen woulden't do that for you for free if you asked.
I am finiky about overall barrel length, length ahead of action before it starts to taper and expecially the shape of the first part of the curve ahead of the taper starting point.
A straight taper from about 3" ahead of action to the muzzle just doesn't look good to me. At all!
I looked at a Savage the other day that had little dinky flutes from behind the muzzle to only the tip of the fore end. Gross [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
Heavy sporter ought to have at least a 26" bbl. Why, I'm a velocity hawg. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
A 26" Remington sporter barrel on my old REM 722 in 222 REM is practically useless on a running coyote under 40 yards.
As James Jones said the choice of barrel length and shape is up to you. That's why smiths have mills/lathes and hack saws. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
"Are there any criteria for choosing barrel length other than balance and aesthetics?"
Velocity. Sometimes I think of it as "free velocity" because it doesn't take a bigger powder charge to get the velocity, it just comes as a benefit of the longer tube. How important is high velocity to you? A 24" barrel for that .243 is good, a 20" will likely churn up measurably less velocity while a 26" - 28" tube will give ya more. How much? Hard to say... There are charts but I've been surprised a time or two.
Obviously a barrel can be too long, and can make a rifle clumsy to handle. That depends on the application. I've got a match rifle with a 30" Palma taper barrel on it - that works out real well for me. But it's a match rifle, not a hunting rifle. I agree that for a general purpose hunting rifle, 24" works out real well.
I like 26, but I feel the gun balances for me there well. But the most important part is the usefulness. Don't get me wrong I am picky and I want a rifle to balance, especially when talking hunting..
the last two I built were 26 inch barrel because I went with ackley improved rifles. so my suggestion is, If you think you might want to go with the ackley, as in rechamber, I would go with 26 but If you want the straight 243 24 should do fine.