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Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

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Old 06-01-2009, 08:01 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 48
Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

I have been shooting and hunting for a long time, but I am in the process of putting together (or more accurately), having someone put together my first long range rifle. I want a balance between the best accuracy I can get and a gun weight that would allow it to be used for western hunting. I want to use it for my own enjoyment on the range, but will probably not be using it for serious competition.

For barrel length, I am considering a 28" #6 contour stock weighing in at 6lb. What are the tradeoffs between barrel length and contour vs accuracy and weight? I assume I would have the barrel fluted, but that probably wouldn't save more than 1/2 lb. Should I consider the 26" barrel? How about a lighter contour?

For overall weight, I thought I would try and stay in the 12-13lb range. But with 2 1/2 lbs for the scope and mounts and a 2 lb action, that means a tactical, adjustable stock at 4 1/2 lbs would get me to 15lbs. A varmit style stock at 2 1/2lb would get me close to the 12 lb target, but would I be giving up accuracy. Also, it seems that fit must very important for long range shooting, hence the adjustable stock.

I realize these are pretty basic questions, but with no real world experience I would appreciate any thoughts this knowledgeable goup could provide.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:45 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 3,218
Re: Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

Here's a couple of my quick thoughts.....

Barrel length/contour
Since you did not indicate the caliber or application (deer, varmints, elk) you might have chosen, it's tough to say what barrel length and contour would be appropriate. Generally speaking, the longer the barrel, the higher velocity you can achieve. Also, in general, the heavier the contour, the more consistant accuracy you might have. Remember...'in general' by no means is this set in stone.

I agree that an adjustable cheek piece is a nice feature to have. An adjustable length of pull is nice, but not necessary. With a little investigation, it's not difficult to determine the length of pull that would be appropriate for you.

Weight Range
If you can tote a 12-13 pound rifle around with you all day, you're a better man than me. It's certainly can be done though.

From my own experience, I have two rifles (I have more, but for the sake of this writing, I'll describe just two of them). My .280 (http://www.longrangehunting.com/foru...y-280-a-32771/) is a Rem700 action, it wears a 24" #4 douglas taper barrel and sits in an HS Precision stock. With the scope it weighs 9 pounds. It shoots .5moa and it is my 'carry' gun.

My other rifle in is also a Rem700 in .308. It has a 26" varmint contour barrel (.82 at the muzzle). It sits in a laminated stock from Sharp Shooter Supply - their LVT model (Sharp Shooter Laminate Varmint Tactical Centerfire Stock) It has an adjustable cheekpiece and after handling rifles with various lengths of pull I was able to determine my preferred length. With the scope and mounts, this rifle weighs 13 pounds. It also shoots about .5moa. Because of the weight and the bulkiness of the stock, this is my target rifle and the deer rifle I use when I just want to sit here and shoot waaaaaay over there.

You've started down a fun and addictive road and you've come to the right place for advice. This forum is a tremendous resource and many of the members here are experts in their field. Read, read, read and post your questions. It won't take long before you've got it all sorted out, just in time to be completely confused in the next moment.

Have fun.
I'm not gonna shoot here. I'm gonna shoot waaaaaaaay over there!
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:27 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 48
Re: Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

Thanks for the response .280fan. What I have in mind is something to do some range time with, and to cover the long range hunting of antelope, deer and elk.

I am planning on using a 7mm wby mag action I have as the basis for the gun. So that limits my stock selection, somewhat. B&C has a nice varmit stock for that action that would put me on the low end of the weight range and a TRR stock that is an adjustable tactical that puts me out of my weight range. That leaves barrel contour and length as the major variable. You seem to be on the low (weight )end with a 24"#4 and I had been thinking on the high end with a 28" #6. Given your experience, I probably should move my thinking down some. With the magnum, I probably shouldn't go below 26". I could save 1 to 1 1/2 lbs by moving down to a #5 or #5 1/2. Does this seem like a good move? That would give me a 4 1/2 + 2 1/2 + 2 + 2 1/2 = 11 1/2lb outfit.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:15 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4,388
Re: Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

Is the action a MK5 or a Vanguard? You realy are not limited in your stock choice what so ever no matter what action it turns out to be. There are lots of options out there Manners, Joel Russo would be my top 2.

You said what you wanted to hunt but you didnt say at what range. The round your rifle is chamber in for now affords you a lot of options as far re chambering.

I am collecting parts for a new rifle now. I have a 28" barrel blank, Vanguard action, Manners MCST stock, Pete Lincons Brake, nightforce bases and a leupold MK4. I keept the barrel profile long and light .750 at the muzzle. am hoping to keep the rifle around 10 pounds. I would flute it and use a medium contour less than .800 you have to reach a balance in a hunting rifle and I allways choose barrel length over a bigger contour.

12-13 pounds in my mind is to much rifle to lug around and Im only 29 and in above avarage shape.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:20 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 48
Re: Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

All good information, thanks for the input.

Its a Mark V. I hadn't checked out Manners and Russo - will do that.

My current hunting rifles are 1 MOA guns that I can shoot confidently to 450 yds with good rest. I have some farm land that I can practice at that range. But just found a 600yd range within a hour of my house. So I wanted to go 600+ to the limits of my equipment and ability.

Your right about the 11 1/2 lbs. I wouldn't be able to do much carrying. My .257 Accumark is 10 1/2 lbs all up and that's about max for me. That's why I am kind of confused. The .750 Shilen barrel is a 5 1/2 contour and at 28" weighs in at at 4 lb 14 oz. I guess fluting would get it close to 4 lb. To get to 10 lb you would need 2lb for the scope and mounts, 2 lb for the action and 2 lb for the stock. That's a pretty light stock.
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:30 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 5,954
Re: Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

My opinion FWIW. I can easily and have covered 10-15 miles across broken plains, up and down coulee's, up and down mountains in a full day of hunting for antelope, deer, elk and sheep. I used to do it with a sporter Ruger M77 7mm RM that weighed close to 10 lbs, after sling, scope & mounts, and ammo in the mag. I also usually had a bout a 10-15 lb day pack with me, with ammo, camera, rain gear, food and water, knife & sharpeners, compass, etc.

I recently got a Sendero 300 RUM for long range shooting and hunting. It weoghs 8 1/2 lbs, plus another 2 1/2 lbs for scope and bases, rings and ADI. Put a sling and a bipod on it and you are up to 13 plus lbs. Maybe 4 lbs more than my previous outfit, but this is the eqipment I believe I need for loooong range hunting so I must carry it. Yeah, you can probably get by with a couple lbs less with a lighter barrel and stock, but i would rather carry the extra couple of lbs, which is only a fraction of your total carry weight anyway, to have the "better" platform.

Carrying around a heavy rifle can be a chore but you can learn to live with it. It all depends on what your priorities are and your motivation. I am 53 and can pack a 50 lb bacpack 15 miles back into the Rocky Mountains to fish and climb. If I can do that, then I can carry around a Sendero and a 15 lb day pack to hunt. But hey, we are all different.

As for barrel length and contour, I think the 26" fluted Sendero contour that measures .83 at the muzzle is a great barrel for both range shooting and hunting. The longer your barrel the more velocity but also the more whip and weight. All tradeoffs. With a 28" barrel you might get anothe 50 fps out if it which in a 300 RUM (my case) might extend my effective range another 40 yds , say from 1200 yds to 1240 yds. Is the extra 2" worth it? I'll stick with the 26" barrel.

As for the stock. I think it is very important to have a good solid platform for the barreled action to rest in for LR shooting and the accuracy and consistancy required. Whatever weight you can get that in, I would place function first. The adjustable cheekpeice is a nice thing to have on the bench, but IMHO not real practicle for a carry rifle... but that's just me.

And for LR work you want a good rest. A swivel bipod is a must in my opinion. You might be able to rest on your day pack, a log or branch sometimes but sometimes you may end up loosing a shot because you cant get a steady rest. I would recomend a 9-13" bipod and some type of shooting stick for a taller rest.

Just my $.02 added to some already good info given.

Goog shooting and hunting


Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 06-03-2009 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 06-03-2009, 03:04 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 48
Re: Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

Thanks for the info Montana Rifleman.

I'm 66, and while I am in pretty good shape, I am probably past the 15 mi walk in day hunts and sheep hunting. Actually, that makes carrying a slightly heavier gun something I should be able to handle.

The sendero contour is very similar to the #5 1/2. That's where I seem to be heading. What stock do you have on your 300 RUM?

I have a harris bipod on all my western hunting guns and carry a set of folding shooting sticks.
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