Speed vs Barrel life

combatcurt

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Apr 21, 2013
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washington
Ok, this topic seems to always carry extremely polarized opinions.

On one side, folks argue that accuracy is far more important than velocity, and the other side gives up a little accuracy for speed.

On another spectrum, some will worry about barrel life while some would rather not worry about it and go for the record.

Consider these questions to create a productive (or not) and friendly discussion. Remember, there are no wrong answers and we all like what we like!

Who's side are YOU on?
Who taught you?
Where is the pudding (proof)
What cartridge following do you belong to and why?
 

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BallisticsGuy

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Everything has a purpose. I compete in a few different rifle sports. Some of them are full of guys that are all about any advantage you can get, including from velocity and the competitors there routinely run things from a bit warm to scalding hot. Some are games where 100fps more or less just won't mean anything and we look for other advantages. For me, barrels are a consumable. I'll go through 2-3 barrels a year anyway but that doesn't mean that I'll just burn one up for the sake of it. There has to be some real advantage in it for me to chase velocity. If I can get an extra season from a barrel without sacrificing much ballistically, I'll go with a softer load. All that said, I like my bullets like I like my women: tall, slender and fast.
 

SidecarFlip

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I'm on both sides. On my custom built rifles and the guys I load for, I like to keep them below 3000 fps and adjust the kinetic energy produced by bullet weight as in 338 Lapua and 300 Win Mag but for my varmint rifles, speed is not a concern (22-250). I push them as fast as they will go without exploding the pill in flight from too fast a rotation.

I use the 3000 fps as a benchmark for tube erosion and I document that with my Hawkeye bore scope, I inspect the lands, chambers and rifling for copper and residual powder fouling after every build session.

Sure, you can twist on a new barrel and clock it but why bother if the stick performs to expectations and is below the 3000 FPS benchmark. My take on it. Personal or not, the way I roll. Besides twisting on a new tube means building an accurate load all over again and I use Walt Berger's loading regimen and it's time consuming and I have other things to do besides bench resting a stick and building loads to find that sweet spot.

Good friend of mine and someone who shoots my loads, just took a 350" bull elk in New Mexico 2 days ago. One shot at distance so I know things work just fine and I have his (300WM) clocking at 2950 with 185 Bergers. f course he's an accomplished shooter. Shot placement takes practice, you can have the finest custom built rifle and not be able to hit squat if you cannot shoot in the first place.

So both ways. Depending on caliber and intended use.
 

Timber338

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Accuracy is the king. Velocity is the queen. Put them together and you have a kingdom.

I come from a hunters mindset and I like any cartridge that can push a heavy-for-caliber High-BC bullet somewhere generally between 2800-3000 FPS. Where the velocity falls is secondary to accuracy.

My favorite cartridges are based on the 404 Jeffries case. Ultra Mag, Nosler and WSM.
 

Greyfox

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Jan 21, 2008
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Most of my loads whether hunting or competition are developed using high BC, heavy for caliber VLD style bullets. Speeds rarely go much higher then 3000FPS, and I have been able to get the various jobs done, achieving a good balance of accuracy, ballistic performance, and ES. While I’m not overly concerned with barrel life and replacement, this approach seems to produce barrel lifetimes(approximate) for my most used cartridges......Hunting: 1500 rounds, competition:2500 rounds.
 

BallisticsGuy

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I’ll go out on a limb here, and say the number of shot out barrels is a small portion of what is replaced.

The why’s are likely boredom, hope, curiosity.

You forgot falling for fads.

Definitions count here. "Shot out" means different things to different people. To some it's just the throat eroding beyond a certain point. To others it's the rifling down the length of the barrel going bye-bye. To others it's when the gun starts making bigger groups than they'd like. To say a barrel is shot out or not means accepting the definition of the user, not the definition of of the observer. Comments such as the one above betoken a tendency to consider the observer's POV rather than the user's POV which would be severely flawed logic of the "no true Scotsman" variety. However, the above comment doesn't state any definition of "shot out" so it's not necessarily fallacious as stated so much as imprecisely stated to a point that it's analytically useless but it does form a useful foundation for some iterative debate.

He's still dead on right no matter what definition is used. At least 95% of replaced barrels aren't even remotely in need of it. Those of us that compete usually have more stringent requirements than most but it's still about 70:30 there (70% replaced before "needing" it). Competitors usually replace either to get the latest whiz-bang uber popular chamber or because they reached a certain round count but not usually because the pipe actually stopped turning in solid groups. If we waited for the gun to poop the bed in a match we'd be being incredibly stupid by guaranteeing ourselves a surprise match loss with a surprise terrible score that could surprise put us out of a season points race.

Lots of pro-shooters and a small proportion of non-pro competitors like to replace tubes on a round count schedule so they never cross a pre-defined line they don't want to cross in a match. So those pipes aren't almost ever fully shot out, they're just beyond 80% of their useful life span which is like replacing your tires right when the wear bars start showing. There's still a good bit of useful life left but do you really want to race on them?

When I replace a barrel, it's worn out by my definition. My definition is: I can't chase the lands anymore while still mag feeding. They'll usually still group acceptably for a good while after that point is reached but not without chasing the lands further. Jumps otherwise eventually get too big and groups go right to pot. That said, I'll order a barrel at that point and single feed until my next barrel is ready to be spun on. That could be 2-3 months later which means 400-600 rounds more will go down the old barrel.
 

Country Bumpkin

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Ha, this is just the Alaska version of “tall, slender and fast”, because if you can find one up there, she be big, mean and powerful, I think that meets your 338 standards. ;-)
Hahaha. That’s great. I’m gonna start using this quote!

But if I adapt it to my favorite .338 elk bullets I would have to change it up a little.... tall, beefy and hit like a Mac truck.
 

357Mag

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COMBATCURT -

Howdy !

I don't feel the two are mutually exclusive. IMHO - one can often obtain high comparative high velocity along w/ the desired level of accuracy.

I myself have pretty much biased highest accuracy ahead of velocity.

Besides reading all I could from knowledgeable experts like P.O. Ackley and Homer Powley, I happened to have Fred Sinclair to talk to.... who lived a scant 6mi away.
His sizeable involvement in "benchrest" probably had a noticeable influence on my thinking; as regards the post' topic.

When I went full custom for the first time, it was w/ Sinclair; having him make me world class varmint rifle chambered in a .224" cal wildcat of my own design.
I knew from the git go that I would have all the accuracy and vel I needed for the rifle's intended use on groundhogs.... and for some local target rifle shoots.

Since I don't own a chrono, and haven't chrono'd a whole lot of loads in the past 43+ years; it's pretty safe to say that obtaining highest possible vel is not an active goal for me.

I managed a 510yd groundhog kill using my .22-35 Remington wildcat, shooting a prototype of the 55"V"-Max, from a small clutch Steve Hornady sent me.
From a 24" 1-14.... 41.6gr VV160... and FED LR Magnum Match.... I couldn't have asked anything more on delivered energy and useable accuracy.

I never felt shorted in the vel department.

Today I'm shooting a 6mm wildcat of my own design from a 29" 1-8 5"C" .
I like high load density, and have once again biased obtaining best accuracy to the fore. My loads use a full case of IMR7828 under bullets like 95MK and the various
105 -108s. Loads w/ RL-22 are a very nearly full case. And while what little chrono work I did showed vel to be lower than what a more main stream powder choice like H4350 might provide, the accuracy level my loads give me is all that I could have hoped for. Here again, scope adjustments for trajectory considerations never made me feel like I was missing out in the vel department.


With regards,
357Mag
 

357Mag

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Combatcurt -

Howdy, again !

If it's not forbidden..... I'll mention a post made @ accurateshooter.com
titled... '"gentlemen I present the .220 Redline " .

The OP details the shooter's ultra-high capacity .224" cal wildcat.
His wildcat's design goals included attaining BOTH ultra-high vel, and outstanding accuracy; in his quest for devastating terminal performance.
His rifle has an expansion ratio of 4.5 . The Homer Powley Expansion Ratio chart
I am familiar with only goes as-low-as a rating of 4 on expansion ratio, so the wildcat mentioned above is fairly well " out there ".

His design philosophy, case forming, bullet and powder selection, load work-up; and down range results are all laid out. He provides video of groundhog kills and more recently, deer kill(s)

The wildcatter did realize the attainment of all his cartridge performance goals.


With regards,
357Mag
 

KyCarl

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May 10, 2017
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Petersburg Kentucky 41080
Speed is worthless without accuracy! It doesn't matter one hoot if it's going
9000 FPS if it misses! The questionable quest for speed and way overbore cartridges
really isn't worth it to me! I would rather have a .308 that drills them in there for YEARS
than a .28 Nosler that needs re barreled every other year!
 
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