It’s not just any Friday, it’s Black Friday and the busiest shopping day of the year, so we thought we’d flush out the perverts among our readership with a provocative headline. So, in this week’s shoot-the-shit we’ll discuss barrel length and how that might influence precision rifle performance.
The topic of barrel length is one of the Holy Grail conversations in the precision shooting community, it involves considering caliber, muzzle velocities, range expectations and weight so it’s generally differed to the Tibetan monks high in the Himalayan Mountains to decide. However, before we render our humble opinion, we’d like to dismiss some of the variables that often seem intransigent.
Barrel length does not in and of itself mean greater accuracy. A longer barrel will yield a higher muzzle velocity but it usually introduces more pronounced barrel harmonics. A longer barrel allows for a longer powder burn hence the greater projectile velocity, but so do faster burning powders. Operational range has little to do with barrel length; here, external ballistics and bullet performance rule the day. Ballistic coefficients do matter especially at long ranges. Lastly, longer barrels add weight – not an earth shattering concept. So, if you interpret this as our ploy for shorter barrel lengths you can consider yourself wrong.
Our theory is that precision rifle performance is greatly enhanced by eliminating, or at least significantly reducing, barrel harmonics. The rest of the accuracy equation falls to the load and its external ballistics. Moreover, we believe that barrel length should be matched to the action type. That is to say that a Remington 700 action, for example, will have one and only one barrel length for any given barrel profile that will reduce or eliminate barrel harmonics. Our question…
So, why don’t manufacturers build to that goal? Does it matter that you end up with a barrel that is 21.75 inches long – absolutely not, if it consistently shoots .25 MOA for any given load!
We hope all of our USA readers had a terrific Thanksgiving Day. Please share your thoughts with us and as always, all shoot-the-shit rules apply.
Have a great weekend get out to the range with your buds and family, but above all suck up that leftover turkey.