Extra velocity with 30" barrel

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by landcbeitner, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. landcbeitner

    landcbeitner Well-Known Member

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    This forum contains tons of great info, been enjoying it greatly. I've been reading lots of info about the different 338 caliber cartridges and their velocities. I haven't found much info on the extra velocity I can expect with a 30" barrel for a 338 Lapua. My reloading book gives info with a 26" barrel. Velocity listed for the 300gr SMK was 2750, I ordered my barrel with a 30" finished length hoping to get close to 2900fps. I remember reading another post where a guy had a simular question, but I haven't found it again. Is my 2900fps goal reasonable with a 30" barrel? I notice most achieving these velocities are using improved cartridges. Thanks again.

    Lucas Beitner
     
  2. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you should be able to get 2900fps with a 30" barrel.

    W.
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Me thinks the Lapua brass would make more difference than the extra bbl length.

    Having said that, it seems that 2730 out of a RUM is pretty fair, though not tops but at 1500 yards its a dead elk. 2900 would be better. 3300 would be
     
  4. landcbeitner

    landcbeitner Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info guys.

    I'm not concerned with having enough energy to kill and Elk at a certian range. I would like to do some target practice at 1760yds. A couple hundread fps at the muzzle sure helps the trajectory and wind bucking ability at such a distance. I would like to take an elk with this rifle, however, I wouldn't be shooting one at 1500yds anyway. I don't have enough experience shooting over 1000yds to take such a shot.
     
  5. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    The numbers I see and what I expect is about 20 fps per inch of barrel from 26 to 30 inches and perhaps 15 fps per inch from 30 to 34 inches of lenght. This incorporates the idea that you are matching the bullet and powder to the barrel lenght so that you achieve maximum results. Perhaps you will get more, but if so, then just be happy with it. So with a longer barrel you probably want to be using a slower powder to make more use of the barrel.

    There are point of diminishing returns where you do not get much more velocity no matter what you do.

    If you go over to Dan Lilja's web site you will find his experiment and measurements with successive cutting off of a barrel.
     
  6. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    I am certainly not questioning BB on his comments because he probably knows as much about internal ballistics as I do. I will however offer some information from some tests I have done in the past on this manner.

    I tested this on my 257 Allen Magnum, 338 Allen Magnum and 7mm Allen Magnum. The 257 has roughtly the same capacity as the Lapua and the other two have larger capacities then your Lapua so they would be more dependant on barrel length then the Lapua.

    First test was with my 257 Allen Magnum which is a 338 RUM case necked down and fireformed to sharper shoulder angle and less body taper. Case capacity is nearly identical to the 300 RUM or 338 Lapua.

    The best barrel I used was a Lilja 30" 1-10 that had originally been chambered in 257 STW. I had to set the barrel back for the slightly shorter but much fatter Allen Magnum so we started at 29" of barrel length.

    The test load was:

    105.0 gr WC872
    100 gr Ballistic Tip
    Fed-215
    3.610" OAL

    In the 29" barrel, here are the performance numbers for 10 shots:

    Average velocity...................4098 fps
    Extreme Spread....................44 fps

    I curt the barrel down to 26" and retested the same loads:

    Average velocity....................3972
    Extreme Spread.....................48 fps

    In this test, the 257 Allen Magnum would gain roughly 42 fps per inch of barrel length from 26 to 29".

    Second test was the 7mm Allen Magnum which is a 338 Lapua necked down to 7mm and fireformed to a sharper shoulder angle and less body taper for max capacity from that parent case.

    The load used was:

    105.0 gr WC872
    200 gr ULD RBBT
    Fed-215
    3.620" OAL

    I chambered a 30" Lilja 1-9 6 groove barrel for my 7mm. after the barrel break in, I measured the velocity of this load. This was an average of 15 shots in 45 degree temps with around 35% humidity.

    Average velocity..................3322 fps
    Extreme spread....................27 fps

    I then cut the muzzle down so that the barrel finished at 27" and waited for a day as close to the shooting conditions listed above. The actual conditions were 42 degrees and 30% humidity.

    Average velocity..................3245 fps
    Extreme Spread...................33 fps

    From this test out of the same barrel with same load in as close to the same conditions as I could get, the velocity gain from 27" to 30" was just over 25 fps per inch.

    I also tested my 338 Allen Magnum. Original barrel was a 40" Lilja 1-10. Standard load in that rifle is:

    147.0 gr H-50BMG
    265 gr AT RBBT
    Fed-215
    4.550" OAL

    In the 40" barrel for 10 shots

    Average velocity..................3544 fps
    Extreme Spread...................12 fps

    After that barrel had a good number of rounds down it, I cut off 5" of the chamber end and refitted to the receiver. Out of the 35" barrel length, this same load produced:

    Averge velocity....................3481 fps
    Extreme Spread....................14 fps

    Basically, only gaining just over 12 fps per inch of barrel over 35".

    Interestingly enough, in my lightweight 338 AM with this same load and a 32" barrel, its average velocity is 3456 fps. This is only 8.5 fps per inch slower then the 35" barrel but I am sure this is due to the different barrel. With same barrel, I would expect this to be slightly more then 12 fps, probably around 15 fps per inch from 35 to 32" in barrel length.

    With your 338 Lapua, if you use the same load, I would expect the change in velocity from 26 to 30" would be around 10-12 fps at most, so your looking at around 40-50 fps increase. The 338 bore is an amazingly efficent bore diameter so its not wedded to very long barrels.

    You will get more benefits of a longer, heavier, more stable rifle then you will the increased velocity.

    I generally recommend a 26-27" barrel for a packing long range rifle in the Lapua. For a sit and shoot rifle, 28 to 30 is great.

    All my test show is that velocity per inch of barrel length is most greatly determined by two things, case capacity and bore diameter. For any given case capacity, the smaller the bore, the more velocity will be gained per inch of barrel. The larger the bore diameter the fewer FPS will be gained per inch of barrel.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  7. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Kirby, thanks for the info, that is good stuff. Kirby, will a regular 338 Lapua Magnum, with a 30" barrel, get 2900fps?

    W.
     
  8. landcbeitner

    landcbeitner Well-Known Member

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    Great info Kirby! When reading bb's thread I was puzzled because I gained more than 25fps/per inch of barrel on a little 308 cartridge (with out using a slower burning powder). I'll be happy with 40fps/per inch on the 338 Lapua.
     
  9. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Wildcat,

    Probably not without running the pressures very hard. In all reality, the Lapua and 338 Edge are ballistic twins. Basically you will see 2800 to 2850 fps from both with the 300 gr SMK in 30" barrels with good top working pressures.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  10. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Kirby.

    W.
     
  11. crittergitter

    crittergitter Well-Known Member

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    I get 2965 with my 338 edge in a 34" bbl. I use 105 grains of US869 and 300 SMK's and have no pressure signs.
     
  12. Varmint

    Varmint Well-Known Member

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    I have a .338 RUM with a pac-nor three grove and it is 30" I use a 300 gr SMK and 93 grs of Retumo and get 2975 fps with no pressure signs.
     
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Varmint,

    I would say you have an exceptionally fast barrel if your getting that velocity with no pressure signs. How many firings are you getting per case before the primer pockets loosen up.

    When I say the Edge and Lapua will generally get 2800 to 2850 with their best top end loads, I am talking about consistancy and accuracy. For some reason they really shoot in this velocity and pressure range. Extreme spreads are often in the low teens to even single digits at this level.

    Some rifles will certainly get more velocity, some less, I was only offering an average of what I have seen with the rifles I have built in Lilja barrels. That may be something to consider. Lilja barrels are not know for high velocity, they are known for accuracy. The reason is because their bores are designed around true BR specs and the 338 cal 1-10 barrels generally run quite tight in groove diameter.

    In comparision, Pac Nor barrels are generally much different, they tend to run faster, have slightly larger bores which will allow for the potential of more velocity.

    Pac Nors are good barrels, I would not class them with the top rung of barrel makers such as those from Lilja, Krieger, Rock, Broughton or Hart. There are others but these are the most popular.

    Again, with the velocity your getting, you either have an exceptional fast barrel or your running more pressures then you think you are. Just because you have no pressure signs does not mean your not running at higher pressures. If your getting 4-5 firings per case, your fine, if your getting less then that, the pressures are to high in my opinion but thats all it is, my opinion.

    I put a 338 Edge together this spring with a 32" barrel and it was slightly exceeding the velocity your getting and it was a Lilja barrel so there are exception. I also used Retumbo in that rifle.

    Kirby Allen(50)