Sporter barrel vs. Varmint barrel

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Bowhunter57, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Bowhunter57

    Bowhunter57 Well-Known Member

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    I'm considering the purchase of either a 22-250 or a 243, for varmint (groundhogs & coyotes) hunting. I'm interested in Savage rifles and a couple of their options are a Sporter barrel that's 22" long or a heavy Varmint barrel that's 26" long. I'm after accuracy and speed with 55gr. and up to 85gr. bullets, out to 400 yards.

    Which barrel would you choose and why?

    (Carry weight isn't an issue.)

    Thank you, Bowhunter57
     
  2. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    A sporter barrel is intended for a single shot or maybe 2. They are fussy regarding barrel harmonics and therefore the exact load. This might also be temperature sensitive. If you want a barrel which will shoot a wider range of loads with less sensitivity and also tolerate a longer string of shots better, then you will want a high quality varmint barrel. A 26" barrel will also deliver more speed than a 22, assuming you are reloading. Whether the difference in speed make a difference depends on the range. An extra 100 - 150fps will start making a difference beyond 400 yards. Remember, not all varmint barrels are equal. An ER Shaw is not a Shilen, for example, even though the cost difference is not all that great.

    I will say that if you think you want to shoot 55gr bullets, you should run the ballistics first. Wind drift on those low BC bullets is pretty terrible at 400 yards. It seems that one can get 22-250 8 twist barrels (Shilen, saw one on midway today in stock) and those should shoot 80 gr bergers good. An 80gr berger is a whole different story at 400 yards compared to a 55gr Vmax. Run the numbers yourself with a 10pmh crosswind component.
     

  3. 500mag_guy

    500mag_guy Well-Known Member

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    From my personal experience I haven't seen any deference with accuracy between the varmint and the sporter contour. As long as your not sending tons rounds down down range in a short period of time. If you are, then the varmint contour is the way to go because you can get more rounds down range without heat affecting accuracy. Also the 26" varmint contour tube will give you better velocity and accuracy over a sporter contour 22" tube.
     
  4. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I really like the 24" barrel that Savage has on the Predator series. I jave one in 22-250 and use it for coyotes and groundhogs. Its between the sporter and the heavy 26" that they supply on the varmint rifles which are very heavy and impractical to carry for any period of time.
     
  5. nateisw

    nateisw Well-Known Member

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    Assuming carry weight isn't an issue, I would definitely go with the varmint barrel. You'll get extra speed out of the longer barrel and the heavier barrel should be steadier, allowing you to shoot better. Also, the heavier barrel will act as a more effective heatsink, allowing you to shoot more rounds quicker with more accuracy.
     
  6. Bowhunter57

    Bowhunter57 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, for the replies, gentlemen!

    Other than when I'm sighting in the rifle, I have no plans to fire several rounds at one time. 1 or 2 rounds at a groundhog or coyote would be it. While bench shooting to sight in the rifle, I can take my time and allow a sporter barrel to cool, to be certain of it's accuracy.

    ...or just purchase the varmint barrel and not worry about it. :) I'll have to check out the predator series of Savage, which would be a "happy medium" barrel.

    Bowhunter57
     
  7. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    If you are determined to get a sporter, still get one from a good name. Shilen, Mc Gowan, Krieger etc all make sporters where the bore/rifling/lapping is carried out to the same degree of precision as a varmint contour. On the other hand, in factory made rifles, the sporter barrel is the lowest common denominator and the quality is typically worse than the varmint barrels made in the same factory (people have higher expectations when they pay extra for a varmint barrel).

    If you get a factory rifle with a sporter barrel, it is a total crap shoot, excuse the pun...
     
  8. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    If carry weight is not an issue, and you might or might not shoot several projectiles in a row....I still say go with the Varmint contour. I like bull barrels...It's just a personal preference. I own 2 sporter taper barreled rifles....1 is the new .338 WinMag, the other is my Browning A-Bolt II 7Mag. Both will be getting rebarreled to Sendero contour barrels sooner or later.
     
  9. TOM H

    TOM H Well-Known Member

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  10. idahoorion

    idahoorion Well-Known Member

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    I bought a Savage predator in 243. it shoots great, lighten the accutrigger all way down and with all three bullets I've tested it gets under .5moa. she's a 24 incher and almost a varmint weight, and fluted.

    Idahoorion
     
  11. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I own the varmint, sportier, and predator rifles. The predator is a good compromise. I have shot it in egg shoot competitions, and found that it holds it's accuracy as well as the varmint weight with repeated firings yet have no problem toting it around the field all day. In my view it's perfectly balanced and provides a more stable platform for the long shots then the lighter sportier weight rifle. The varmint model with the heavy barrel handles like a crowbar.IMO.
     
  12. justinp61

    justinp61 Well-Known Member

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    I have a Savage model 12 FVSS with a Stockade Elk Stalker stock and a Leupold 6.5-20 scope on it. It weighs 12 pounds and does get heavy packing around, but man it's shoots.
     
  13. justinp61

    justinp61 Well-Known Member

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    If your looking to shoot a heavier bullet in a 22-250 you may want to look at Savage Model 12 VLP DBM. It can be bought with a 1-9" barrel instead of the 1-12" that the other models have.