Barrel length question

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by SavageScott, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. SavageScott

    SavageScott Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    96
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    I apologize if this question has been asked a ton of times before.....

    I am relatively new to rifle hunting, and have a Browning X-Bolt in 300 wsm (don't be tricked by my name). I love this rifle, and it is BY FAR more accurate than I am. I have spent a LOT of range time, shooting between 100 and 300 yards. I have not had an opportunity to practice shooting any further than that however.

    Now to my question (again, I am a rookie so I apologize). I have read a ton of forums about magnum rifles needing at LEAST 24" barrels to maintain the velocities needed to be accurate down range. The barrel on my X-Bolt is 23". Am I going to have a hard time going further down range with this (beyond 300 yards)? Should I look at buying something else (I will NOT get rid of this rifle) for longer shots? Just trying to make an informed decision (and maybe have an excuse to buy a new rifle :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,779
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004

    Case capacity, normally dictates barrel length. 23" for the WSM is fine. If you add a 26" barrel
    you would not gain much. In fact if you look at the difference in the WSM and a 300 win mag
    with the same barrel length (Measured from the muzzle to the bolt face) the 300 WSM has more
    effective barrel length due to the shorter cartrige.

    26" barrel are the rule for the big magnum cases to get optimum performance. more barrel will
    get you a little more velocity,but at a cost.

    300 yards is a chip shot for the 300 WSM. 600 to 800 yards should work fine for big game and
    1000+ yards for target is very reasonable.

    Bullet choice for the longer shots is important and I would consider 160 grain bullets to be the
    minimum for long range shooting.

    Don't sell your rifle if you like it, it will do any thing you want .

    J E CUSTOM
     
  3. SavageScott

    SavageScott Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    96
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    J E Custom--- Thanks a lot for the reply! That was just was I was looking for in a reply. I wasn't sure, and I'm trying to learn as much as I can through these sites. I love this caliber, and I'm even happier that I made the decision to get the X-Bolt. I have always been a fan of Savage, but MAN did Browning do it right with this rifle!
     
  4. backwoods83

    backwoods83 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,208
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    The 300wsm was designed with shorter barrels in mind, you can use healthy doses of hotter powders like the 4350s or RE17 and get a full burn in a 22-24" barrel, although the 300wsm shines brighter in a long action with a lot more throat where oal is 3.1" and longer and very heavy doses of H4831 or MRP can be used under 190-220grn bullets in 26-28" barrels, a lot of bench shooters have went to the wsm. Hybrid under a 208 amax works great in a 24" barrel, give it a try, I get 2838fps and can still go up 1.5grns.
     
  5. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,453
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Your X-Bolt is a hunting gun & built to function in that regard. A comfortable, well balanced, light weight carry rifle, -rather than a long range precision gun(just the opposite).
    If you were to build an actual long range gun, you would be advised against going with excessively short barrels(which 23" is for capacity & LR bullet use).
    It's not that you couldn't get 'good enough' velocity, but that your muzzle pressures are too extreme for clean release of higher BC bullets. This hurts accuracy.
    Just consider that fireball at the end of your barrel on firing, and how that pushes on boat tails.
    Any slightest imperfection in the crown has greatly amplified affects with this.
    Then there is higher ES, because you haven't enough barrel to burn up that amount of powder consistently. My QL is down right now, but I'm sure a WSM's powder is not all burned in 23". Even a 6PPC at 22" requires very high pressure loads to burn up it's teaspoon of N133.

    With the implication that you should have longer barrels for that cartridge, I think you recieved good advice.
    I'm glad your gun shoots well up close, but when you go to long range shooting don't be surprised if performance falls off quick.
     
  6. 4bycamper

    4bycamper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    610
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Well said, Mikecr.
    I don't think that I have heard that idea put so nicely before.
    I had only a clue when I put a 26 inch barrel on my little 7mm saum and it worked out real well. Even better than my 24 inch 270 wsm.

    Thanks
     
  7. SavageScott

    SavageScott Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    96
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Sorry it took so long to get back to this, but I really appreciate the input. The X Bolt will do fine for any hunting I'll do with it this year. Does anyone have advice on a rifle that may be a bit better suited for the longer ranges? I don't need/ want anything custom built, but am open to any suggestions you guys have.
     
  8. backwoods83

    backwoods83 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,208
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    You could try a cooper varminter or savage 110 predator hunther in 6.5x284 or other option I'm 7mm rem mag or 300 win or wby mag.
     
  9. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,453
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    +1 backwoods
     
  10. SavageScott

    SavageScott Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    96
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    So I finally was able to stretch my rifle out today. Started out at 300 yards, then went to 400 and 500. All I can say is WOW! I admit, maybe I just got a "shooter" for a rifle, but this X-Bolt is amazing! Keep in mind that I will NEVER take a shot over 500 yards........ I was consistently getting groups (3 shots) under 3 inches. That probably won't compare to what many people can do with their custom rifles, but this is a $800 rifle. How can you ask more? That accuracy is more than what I will need for my hunting situations. Man has this made me open my eyes to Browning!!!!!!