Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Rimfire and Airguns


Barrel length needed ??

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 10-04-2011, 08:41 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 191
Barrel length needed ??

How long does a barrel need to be to get maximum (or maybe optimum would be a better word) performance from a 22 long rife?
Reply With Quote

Unread 10-05-2011, 10:28 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 124
Re: Barrel length needed ??

Now I've never chronographed .22 LR's in any of my rimfires yet........, but my understanding, and this makes sense, is that with the small powder capacity, the .22 LR actually starts to slow down after anything longer than a 22" barrel. Based just on that it would seem a 20-22" barrel would be about the perfect length.

I was given a Remington Model 41P single shot .22 by my father when I was 10. It had a 27 1/4" barrel and shot like a house afire! It's the most accurate .22 I've ever shot. I decided to give it to my son when he got old enough so I took and had the barrel shortened to 22", it was reblued, and I had him drill and tap it for scope mounts so I could put a rimfire scope on it. It still shoots the same, lights out!

I've really cleared that question up now haven't I! I"d be curious to know what the rimfire competitors use for lengths on their barrels. That would probably tell us more.
Reply With Quote
Unread 10-05-2011, 02:43 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 191
Re: Barrel length needed ??

Thanks David. That is some very interesting and meaningful info. Maybe some others will add to it as well. Al
Reply With Quote
Unread 10-07-2011, 10:20 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 257
Re: Barrel length needed ??

don't think of barrel length and powder burn when thinking performance or accuracy, think barrel twist. you at least want to spin the bullet 1 complete turn. for example a 1 in 16 means 1 complete rifling "spin" in a length of 16".

the rifling twist helps to spin the bullet, which centrifigul force helps to stabilize the bullet in flight once it leaves the muzzle, just like throwing a football.

if it is a 1 in 16 twist as most .22lr manufacters have, a 16" barrel + chamber length will give you that 1 full complete spin of the bullet.

just like a centerfire, a longer bullet heavier (such as the 60 gr aguila) will work better in a "faster" twist like a 1 in 9 compared to one with a shorter lighter bullet (40 to 29 grains) that a 1 in 16 twist.

a wiki explaination and equations for the best twist rate for any given projectile
Rifling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rifling twist rates and bullet accuracy

if you want to think powder burn, it'll depend on the powder charge / FPS of the ammo used. again, most powder in high velocity will be burnt up in that 17 to 20 inch range, standard velocity / subsonic / match ammo will burn up in the 14" to 18" range.

i cut a 20" barrel down to 16" and chronied both HV and match velocity ammo. at 19" there was a noticable drop in FPS, but after that the amount of FPS was barely measurable. i've further cut it down to 16", and same FPS range as the -1 and -2 inch readings.

from a post elsewhere:

Whether you call it a 20" barrel as advertised, 19.75" measurement from the muzzle to receiver, or 21 1/8" by inserting a cleaning rod into the barrel againt a closed bolt, then marking and measuring the rod, we'll call it the "stock length barrel", -1", and -2".

Rifle used: Savage MKII "F" sporter barrel - 2lb 12oz trigger - shot of harris bipod and rear bag - 12x on the optic. Used 2 ammos, CCI blazer (high velocity) and Aguila Golden Eagle Match rifle. 10 round groups were shot, barrel was dry swabbed "clean" before an ammo change. At 50 yards, 1" bull was used, at 100 yards 1.5" bulls.

Groups with the stock length barrel - weather 65 deg. F., 35% hum., 3-7 mph wind from 8:00, mostly sunny.

Groups with the -1" and -2" - weather 45 deg. F., 47% hum., 3-10 mph wind gusts 3:00.

FPS per length - Chrony was set at 10 ft away from muzzle:

Stock barrel
Blazer - 1241 FPS avg., (range of 1221-1256 FPS)
Aguila Match Rifle - 1101 FPS avg., (range of 1080-1126 FPS)

-1" shortening
Blazer - 1216 FPS avg., (range of 1207-1221 FPS)
Aguila Match Rifle - 1083 FPS avg., (range of 1062-1095 FPS)

-2" shortening
Blazer - 1217 FPS avg., (range of 1173-1239 FPS)
Aguila Match Rifle - 1082 FPS avg., (range of 1062-1111 FPS)

50 Yard groups - stock length top, -1" middle, -2" bottom

100 Yard groups - stock length top, -1" middle, -2" bottom

It appears (in general) that the groups of both the ammos shrank at both 50 & 100 yards. From stock length to -1" there was a 25 FPS drop in the HV Blazer, and 18 FPS in the Match velocity Aguila. When shortened another inch to 2", no significant drop in FPS, but more consistant on paper. Oddly the -1" and -2" barrel length RAISED the POI an average of 1.5" in the HV and remained the same for the match ammo at 50 yards. On the contrary, at 100 yards the POI on the match ammo changed about 1.5" higher - STRANGE!

BULLET DROP - (shooting at 100 yards with the 50 yard setting) the amount of bullet drop changed, but only slightly by about -.75" with the shorter barrel.

1. Shortening the sporter barrel decreases group size with HV and match ammo.

2. FPS was reduced with the initial -1" (around 20 FPS), but the second inch reduction didn't show much more as i would have expected (I figured it would be -40 FPS, but was nearly identical to the -1" FPS).

3. Balance and handling was improved.

So will further shortening the barrel decrease group size more, stay the same, or actually hurt?

After the initial drop in FPS, would FPS stabilize until a more "extreme shortened barrel" length is reached?

Is it that the shorter barrel is "stiffening" up the sporter styled barrel by reducing "whip" and harmonics producing better groups?

I'm not sure at this point, but shortening my sporter barrelled rimfire by 2" actually improved my groups at both 50 and 100 yards, high velocity and match / standard velocity.
...that's what i like about toe tags; one size fits all...
Reply With Quote
Unread 10-17-2011, 11:18 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 14
Re: Barrel length needed ??

i seem to recall a test done by Ruger (?) and for some reason i seem to recall that the ideal length was 16" or 19" for max FPS from the 22 LR cartridge.

many, if not most, of today's M4/AR carbines and ruger 10/22 barrels come in 16" lengths. (My Spikes ST-22 M4 has a 16" barrel)
"The second amendment is NOT about your deer rifle"...It's about your freedoms.

If we allow the second amendment to be compromised, which freedom do you lose next? speech? press? religion? they WILL be lost if YOU allow it!
Reply With Quote
Unread 10-18-2011, 02:32 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sedalia, MO
Posts: 1,256
Re: Barrel length needed ??


are you asking about top velocities, or best accuracy? Top velocity in rimfires will usually be achieved with barrels not more than about 18"-20" at most. After that point, most longer barrels will actually reduce velocity to some degree. Accuracy is another matter, and is (to a large degree) independant of barrel length. Assuming identical quality and chambering, a short, stiff barrel will give better accuracy than a longer and "whippier" one. Most of hte longer barrels used in target rifles are selected for reasons other than accuracy per se. Balance, sight radius, etc., all come into play here. That said, there are a great many match/target rifles that use very short barrels, and shoot phenomenally well. I have a S&W M41 that will (with select ammo) hold a half inch at 50 yards for a 10 round group, time after time from a machine rest. That's a mere 5" barrel, but it shoots better than most inexpensive rifles, no problem. That said, I use a fairly long (24" heavy") barrel on my silhouette rifle, fluted, to get the balance where I want it. The price for this is more barrel time, meaning that follow through becomes even more critical.

All depends on what you want to use it for, and how you want to configure the rifle.
Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
Reply With Quote
Unread 10-24-2011, 07:56 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 191
Re: Barrel length needed ??

My main concern is accuracy. I have a Savage Mark II BTVS with a 21 inch barrel. My goal is shooting squirrels through the head.

Don't laugh...... Doesn't hurt to try.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads for: Barrel length needed ??
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Winchester Ultra Mag length action needed!!! ASAP Phewey Gunsmithing 3 04-21-2011 09:15 AM
.338 250 gr SMK length needed JARHEAD1371 Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics 3 03-06-2011 02:36 AM
6mm re-barrel brand,length and barrel twist mcseal2 Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics 12 11-07-2010 08:14 PM
Throat length help needed el si Gunsmithing 6 08-22-2010 09:12 AM
which break, barrel length, barrel cotour, and twist? nathank Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics 1 02-03-2009 08:31 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:00 AM.

All content ©2010-2015 Long Range Hunting, LLC