Barrel Length and Stock Weight Considerations

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by winelines, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. winelines

    winelines Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    winelines:
    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.

    Stock
    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/forums/f53/my-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.
     

  3. winelines

    winelines Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  4. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. winelines

    winelines Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  6. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    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

    -MR
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  7. winelines

    winelines Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    winelines...here's another approach. Develop what your fantasy rifle would look like. In other words, draw-up a profile......

    Action: weatherby MK5
    Stock: tactical, adjustable cheek piece and length of pull
    Barrel: 26", #5 contour

    Since balancing weight and accuracy seem to be your issues, figure out how much your 'fantasy' would weigh, and if it's different than your ideal weight, then start figuring out where or how you're willing to make compromises.
     
  9. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Oh well, you dont have to go 15 miles to get game. I like walking and seeing lot's of coumtry when I hike.

    I believe the Sendero is actually very close to a #7 contour according to Lija's chart.

    Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels - Barrel Contour Data

    I have the factory HS Precison Stock on my Sendero and it's the original one. The newer SFII stocks have a much wider palm swell and wider beavertail forearm and I dont really care for them. I like the stock I have now. It's solid and it's what I like for a carry rifle.

    You could always go with something a little lighter. A #5 contour would be about a lb lighter than a #7 and if you went with a 7mm WSM or 300 WSM, with a short action, you could save another 1/2 lb and have close to a 1000 yd elk rifle depending on your load, eleveation etc. I just recently developed a load with RL17, 180 E-Tips that got an MV of 3193 out of a 24" factory barrel 300 WSM. With a 26 inch barrel you might be able to get 3230 or 3240 out of it which would make that round a 1000 yd elk rifle @ 5000' elevation. A good smith could put together a .5 MOA rifle or better and as long as you knew where that frist shot was going, you're good to go. If you can hit a 16" disk consistantly you can put one into the vitals of a deer, and if you can hit a 24" disk consistantly, you can put one into the vitals of an elk. Now a lighter rifle might not be a great range gun, but there are always tradeoffs.

    -MR
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  10. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I once carried a 13lb rifle in mountain goat hunting about 6 miles. Shot a billy goat. Had to come down the mountain and head up a second time, using another route to recover the goat. Time I got the goat off the mountain and halfway packed out to civilization, the love affair with that rifle had ended, and I just about left 13 lb of rifle along the trailside. I had already decided it would never be used again on a backpack hunt into the mountains. I was 37 yrs old on that hunt.

    In the 17 years since then, I've learned that about the most rifle weight I care to backpack in and about with is 10-10 1/2 lbs. Much more than that and the rifle can be dreaded no matter how nice it looks, or how well it shoots.

    When I read about the 14-15 lb rifles commonly being built for LR Hunting on this site, I have to conclude that the access to the hunting locations out west involves much less backpacking distance that I incur in Alaska. Because the only other conclusion would be that I'm a weenie...
     
  11. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

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    winelines,
    I understand your desire for a lighter rifle. Last year I carried a 13 1/2# rifle for 5 days on an elk hunt.
    After that, I dicided to put together a lighter rig.
    I went with a #4 contour Hart 30cal barrel 24" long w/ HS Precision stock
    With a 2.5x10-32mm NXS scope, this rig should weigh no more than 10# and give me shooting distance to 7-800 yards if needed.
    I will still carry my heavier rig at times, but need to come up with a better backpack system than what I am using now.
     
  12. winelines

    winelines Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I thought contours/weight were pretty standard between manufacturers, but there is a big difference between Shilen and Lilja. Just another variable that I didn't know I had.
     
  13. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Barrelsmiths can create just about anything you want. If there's a factory contour you like - they can do it. They have their own 'standard' contours and of course they can create just about any custom contour you might want. The possibilities are endless and can drive you batty.

    The more I read, the more I come back to my last post on this thread....develop your fantasy rifle, then figure out where you're willing to compromise.
     
  14. winelines

    winelines Well-Known Member

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    .280, I think I did that to start. That's what got me to the 15lb gun. I was then faced with the best way to get the weight down with the least impact on accuracy. I wasn't sure what the tradeoffs were. Thanks to your, and others responses, I think I am homing in on an solution. Right now I am at Wby action, Lilja 27" #6 barrel, fluted (Shilen doesn't flute), Manners MCS-T stock, Zeiss conquest 6.5-20 scope, Near bases and Warne rings. That should get me in the 10-11 lb range. To get this, I had to go down a little in contour, get it fluted and drop the idea of an adjustable stock. There are probably some things I haven't thought about, but I'm still researching.

    Thanks to all who gave of their time to help me out. I really appreciate the advice.