Barrel Length

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Greg Duerr, Apr 25, 2014.

1. Greg DuerrWell-Known Member

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What do you tell someone who is convinced that a longer barrel is more accurate than a short one..........................?? a 24" barrel will shoot more accurate than a 22"

2. FearNoWindWell-Known Member

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Tell him that it's all relative. Optimum barrel length would simply be the length at which the bullet leaves the muzzle at precisely the same moment as all of the energy applied during the firing cycle has reached it's peak. A long barrel will tend to drag down the bullet's velocity when the loads energy peaks too early. A short barrel will tend to waste energy when the bullet leaves the muzzle before the load energy has reached its peak.
Then there's the issue of how MV affects trajectory given the energy of a given load, the shape/weight of the bullet, etc.
Shoot a fifty caliber ball out of a muzzle loader with a 42" barrel and compare it's accuracy with a fifty caliber bullet fired out of a 29" barreled 50BMG
I had a relative who, many years ago, believed that a four wheel vehicle with smaller wheels in front will roll faster than a vehicle with four wheels of the same size. When I told him that extending his theory to infinity would result in a vehicle moving along a level plane without applied energy, the ultimate perpetual motion machine, he got kinda quiet.

Last edited: Apr 25, 2014

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Sep 13, 2012
Well said

RGJZ06

4. lightflightWell-Known Member

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Mar 29, 2012
Then comes in Barrel contour and Rigidity.

in the end not all barrels are created equal and any reference to length and accuracy is generalizing.

5. BarrelnutWell-Known Member

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Of course it's more accurate. Cause it's a whopping 2 inches closer to the target!
Am I missing something here?

6. 7magcreedmoorWell-Known Member

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May 23, 2012
The general principle I have gleaned from reading statements from rifle barrel makers, gunsmiths, and other folks who should know their "stuff" is this:
1. for two barrels identical in every respect except thickness, the thicker barrel will tend to be more accurate because it "vibrates" less, and-
2. for two barrels identical in every respect except length, the shorter barrel will tend to be more accurate because it "whips" less.
3. longer barrels usually offer more velocity potential (with the right powder/load combo).
4. shorter barrels can still offer impressive velocity with the right powder/load combo (witness the Ruger Compact Magnums).
5. fluting a barrel never makes it stiffer, it just allows you to use a heavier contour for the same final weight, the fact that you had a thicker barrel to start with gives the impression that you got a stiffer barrel as a result...