powerfull cartridges and short barrels.

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by BRIT, Mar 19, 2015.


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  1. BRIT

    BRIT Well-Known Member

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    Are Powerful Cartridges and Short Barrels a contradiction?

    When Building a Long Range Hunting Rifle must we always use Barrels in the 26"-30" length?

    I suppose what I am asking is are there any Long Range Cartridges suited to Barrel lengths of 20" or less?

    I note that Desert Tech offer a Rifle in .338 Lap Mag with an 18" Barrel!!!! Is this a realistic offering?

    Many thanks.
    Brit.
     
  2. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    What kind of velocities are they claiming with what grain bullet?

    Steve
     
  3. BRIT

    BRIT Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rocky.
    I can't find any claims to Velocities on their Site. I just noticed they offered this Barrel length and used it as an example as to what would maybe work with a short Barrel.

    BRIT.
     
  4. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

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    With a barrel that short you don't need a bullet to kill game the muzzle blast would work just fine. :D

    It depends on what you classify as a "powerful cartridge" and what your intended use of it would be. Check out some of the guys on the specialty pistol section and what they are shooting and doing with some of there HAND CANNONS.
     
  5. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    If long range guns worked as well with shjort barrels, then we'd all be using short barrels right?
    Probably the same length by now.

    On thing I consider is muzzle pressure, which QuickLoad provides me per load. Greater muzzle pressure(fireball) is detrimental to clean bullet release(especially with boat tails).
    And then there are matters of burn efficiency, and secondary pressure peaks, as seen with an RSI Pressure Trace system.

    Yes there are pistol folks doing the ridiculous. But this is irrational, and I award no more credibility to the irrational, than carnys walking shots into junk a mile away.
     
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Many cartridges are suited for short barrels and many are not.

    In my opinion, a 338 Lapua is not.

    Any cartridge that holds over 100 grains of powder needs a barrel long enough to burn that much powder.

    If you are looking for a powerful cartridge in a short barrel you need to look at cartridges that Hold around 70 grains of powder and capable of shooting 200+ grain bullets.

    The short mags like the 325 WSM, 338 RCM, 350 Remington Mag are some examples and are well suited for this. there are many other cartridges that are designed for short barrels.

    There is always a trade of in velocity and barrel length, But most of the Short mags perform well with 20 " barrels. There is no reason to build a rifle with less than a 20 to 22" as long as the right cartridge is chosen. and preferably on a short action to hold the overall length down.

    Winchester says that there 325 WSM is the ballistic equal of there 338 Win Mag. I have a 338 RCM that will push a 225 grain bullet at 2970 ft/sec in a 22" barrel. so it appears that Winchesters claims are correct. (At least in my rifle). A friend has a 325 WSM and he claims that his 200 grain load exceeds 3050 ft/sec.

    So power is possible using a short barrel if the correct cartridge is chosen.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  7. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    I messed around for a little bit with a 'silenced shotgun shell'. This was a teflon wad self sealing shell that projected a ~900gr sabot from any length of barrel(we're talking 6").
    Could drop a brown bear up close with 10grs of powder, and no sound!

    Power is about the easiest of all attributes to attain in a gun.
    But accuracy IMO, is the most difficult -AND the most powerful.
     
  8. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    You absolutely can have a short barreled, accurate high power rifle! You don't need to look any farther than what guys are doing with specialty pistols. Bob Carlock runs a 338 Edge from a pistol and hunts at long range just fine, Ernie Bishop will put a beating on most rifle guys and there are a number of guys that run 338 Lapua Improved versions through a specialty pistol.
     
  9. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Well, you could review IBS or NBRSA equipment lists to find no 338Edges, and zero friggin pistols. Neither are accurate or precise enough, or someone would be there with em.
    One or two anomalies is not gonna pass tests here.
     
  10. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    No you won't see them at a IBS match, but then again you won't see a Dasher playing with a 338 Edge at 2000 yards will you! I must have missed where the OP was about IBS shooting???
     
  11. BRIT

    BRIT Well-Known Member

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    Really appreciate all the opinions gents. Thank you.

    What Desert Tech had in mind when offering .338 LM in an 18" Barrel I am not sure.
    I will try find someone over here with Quick Load and run some numbers.

    Not sure about America but here in UK shorter Barrels would seem to be in Vogue. Even the Manufacturers are following this route. For instance if you buy a Tikka T3 over here that is Factory Threaded for a Moderator it will have a 20" Barrel. Even in Cartridges such as 25-06 or 270.

    Brit.
     
  12. Lefty7mmstw

    Lefty7mmstw Well-Known Member

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    We are running a 300wsm and a 22-250 from 14" savage striker pistols. Expect around a 400 fps velocity loss from the shorter barrel in a relatively overbore round like these.
    The only cartridge I haven't found a loss in velocity with a shorter than normal barrel so far is the 35 Remington. I was netting the same 2100 fps from a 200gr bullet in a 14" barrel years back that the rifles normally produce. As a rule, the more overbore, the more velocity loss.
    Mike is correct on looking for a low muzzle pressure for bullet release. However, this can also be accomplished by using a slightly faster than normal powder. I also like to light the fire with about as much primer as I can in a short barrel to get things going well quickly.
     
  13. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I think we are in different terrain than you guys and shorter ranges are the norm. Any round can be
    placed behind a short barrel , But overall velocity and energy will suffer with some cartridges.

    At 600 to 1000 yards velocity loss is not that big of a deal as long as the energy is there for good
    terminal bullet performance.

    So I feel that using a cartridge like the 338 Lapua in a short barrel limits it's potential performance
    and that there are better cartridges suited for short barrels.

    If you want a short rifle for carry that's one thing, but if you want to squeeze every ounce of performance from a cartridge like the 338 Lapua you will have to start somewhere around 26"
    of barrel minimum.

    Short barrels require efficient powder burns, and large cartridges require large amounts of slow burning powder to keep the case density up to a safe level. You can shoot any factory cartridge in
    a short barrel safely , but you end up wasting a large portion of the powder and the velocity in the big cartridges when it burns outside the barrel.

    The right cartridge in a short barrel can produce as much or more performance than a big cartridge
    in the same barrel. It just doesn't have the bragging rites or the Impressive name.

    Just My Opinion

    J E CUSTOM