Short barrel, largish caliber

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Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by Urastus » 07 Dec 2018, 11:13 am

I have my .22, now I want to work toward something bigger :D I'm interested in range, but would like to hunt deer and, really, any feral animals. Range it will definitely get used, so the priority is range with the possibility of hunting. I came across the 300 black out. It looks like it drops off big time after 100m, but I really like that nothing is wasted - all the powder is burned in 16" or smaller barrels. The calibers I'm considering, at this point, are 7mm-08 (good for all victorian deer) or 6.5mm creedmoor (easy life). I'd like to keep the barrel short and stiff - varmint. 22" or 20" would be great. I only know enough about reloading to realise there are so many variables - but I wondered why people aren't using shorter stiff barrels with loads tailored to that - no loss of velocity? I can imagine that people have explored this path to the nth degree and wandered back into the fold :) Is there a really good trade off in length of barrel for the 6.5 and 7mm-08 before significant loss of velocity sets in?
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by TassieTiger » 07 Dec 2018, 12:29 pm

My local gun shop owner built the 260 i now own.
It started as a varmint 24 inch barrel but is now 21.2 inches. It was specifically built for 120gn projectiles to 5-600m and its a bloody laser. My understanding was that this rifle underwent testing / chrono every 12mm of barrel length removed.
I’ve never owned a rifle that shoots like this and I think there are many years in front of me - learning.
2 other ppl I know who are much more experienced than me have shot it and both have made offers to purchase it...the latter shooting his first ever 5 group with all holes touching at 140m.

If your thinking of going this way - I cannot recommend enough...I used to think that long thick barrels were absolute necessities to accuracy but I’m learning - not exactly black and white.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by Urastus » 07 Dec 2018, 12:40 pm

TassieTiger wrote:My local gun shop owner built the 260 i now own.
It started as a varmint 24 inch barrel but is now 21.2 inches. It was specifically built for 120gn projectiles to 5-600m and its a bloody laser. My understanding was that this rifle underwent testing / chrono every 12mm of barrel length removed.
I’ve never owned a rifle that shoots like this and I think there are many years in front of me - learning.
2 other ppl I know who are much more experienced than me have shot it and both have made offers to purchase it...the latter shooting his first ever 5 group with all holes touching at 140m.

If your thinking of going this way - I cannot recommend enough...I used to think that long thick barrels were absolute necessities to accuracy but I’m learning - not exactly black and white.


It sounds awesome - I'm glad that you have and appreciate such a rifle :) and that such a rifle is in your hands. Yes, that is the sort of thing I'd like, then learn to load for it and shoot it :) Just reading up on that calibre - it looks really good. Geez, what else don't I know :)
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by bladeracer » 07 Dec 2018, 2:39 pm

Urastus wrote:I have my .22, now I want to work toward something bigger :D I'm interested in range, but would like to hunt deer and, really, any feral animals. Range it will definitely get used, so the priority is range with the possibility of hunting. I came across the 300 black out. It looks like it drops off big time after 100m, but I really like that nothing is wasted - all the powder is burned in 16" or smaller barrels. The calibers I'm considering, at this point, are 7mm-08 (good for all victorian deer) or 6.5mm creedmoor (easy life). I'd like to keep the barrel short and stiff - varmint. 22" or 20" would be great. I only know enough about reloading to realise there are so many variables - but I wondered why people aren't using shorter stiff barrels with loads tailored to that - no loss of velocity? I can imagine that people have explored this path to the nth degree and wandered back into the fold :) Is there a really good trade off in length of barrel for the 6.5 and 7mm-08 before significant loss of velocity sets in?


If you are going to be loading your own ammo the world is at your feet.
I shoot .30-06 and 8x57mm with subsonic loads, also 7mm-08, and many others. It takes just seconds to drop in a full-power round when it's required.
The only benefit to 300BLK is the barrel twist rate is designed for very long bullets that are unlikely to work in most .30-caliber cartridges.
I am a huge fan of 7mm-08 as a modern cartridge, but mine is a 22" barrel.
I also like .44 Magnum as the round is very compact and hits very hard, it just doesn't have the BC for longer-range work.

Although you do lose some velocity as the barrels gets shorter, you also get a lot more flash, blast and noise, which is a bigger problem in my opinion. Fine in a deer rifle you're going to fire twice a year, no fun at all for practicing or doing load development. I like short barrels too, but in a lot of centrefires the muzzle blast can be mind-numbing. If you're only planning to shoot reduced loads then go for 16".
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by in2anity » 07 Dec 2018, 2:51 pm

mate if you role your own, just grab a 20" 308, your standard 1/10 will be fine up to a 180gn. Very very versatile calibre with stacks of projectile choices. I plink 165gn lead pills over Trail Boss right through to 178gn ELDs over max 06H loads out to 600m - you only lose about 70fps with a 20" (vs 24"). 300BO is more for those who only buy factory. Something like a howa 20" or tikka CTR are very versatile guns.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by marksman » 07 Dec 2018, 3:58 pm

I agree that the 308 would be everything you want in a short barrel rifle although there is plenty better it is a very good hack to learn from and hunt with

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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by Urastus » 07 Dec 2018, 4:10 pm

If you are going to be loading your own ammo the world is at your feet.
I shoot .30-06 and 8x57mm with subsonic loads, also 7mm-08, and many others. It takes just seconds to drop in a full-power round when it's required.
The only benefit to 300BLK is the barrel twist rate is designed for very long bullets that are unlikely to work in most .30-caliber cartridges.
I am a huge fan of 7mm-08 as a modern cartridge, but mine is a 22" barrel.
I also like .44 Magnum as the round is very compact and hits very hard, it just doesn't have the BC for longer-range work.

Although you do lose some velocity as the barrels gets shorter, you also get a lot more flash, blast and noise, which is a bigger problem in my opinion. Fine in a deer rifle you're going to fire twice a year, no fun at all for practicing or doing load development. I like short barrels too, but in a lot of centrefires the muzzle blast can be mind-numbing. If you're only planning to shoot reduced loads then go for 16".[/quote].

Well it's looking like 7mm-08 over 6.5 cm. The gist of what I've been reading is creedmor is better with 26" barrel. I haven't read any such thing for the 7mm-08. A 22" in 7mm-08 would be great.

No, not interested in reduced loads. And in reality I'd probably be putting in a fair bit of time at the range with it. It also sounds as though 110 and 140 projectiles are the go. I like the idea of smaller and faster, so I was toying with working between those two projectile weights. With that in mind, do you know what the ideal twist would be?
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by Urastus » 07 Dec 2018, 4:23 pm

Thanks marksman and in2anity. It's been quite a long road of research for me, and the .308 was in the mix early on. The plan is to get what I want to keep. It will necessarily be range and hunting, and my short list was 6.5cm and 7mm-08. Although tassietiger threw in the .206 which sounds good too. And then there was the 6mmBR but I want an easy life. If it was just hunting, I'd go the .308, but I think it will probably spend more time at the range. I'm leaning toward the 7mm-08 which looks great at the range and for hunting; not so good for ammo or range of rifles. But I only want one of them :) and will load my own. Even 24" would be OK.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by SCJ429 » 07 Dec 2018, 5:03 pm

There is not a huge difference between the 7mm08 and a 308, the 7mm has a small BC advantage. Both of these will only loose a small amount of velocity with a short barrel. Both can shoot 140 grain projectiles but can go much heavier if you want.

The only reason I can see to shoot 140s out of a 260 is because you want to take advantage of the BC from that long slim bullet. For this you want every bit of speed you can get. This is where the longer barrel comes in handy.

If it were me and I wanted a short barrel to go hunting deer, I would get a 308 with a varmint profile barrel. Get your gunsmith to shorten it to 18 inches and it will shoot very well at the range out to 300 metres. If you want a load to duplicate a 300 Blackout then it is easily made with some Trailboss.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by TassieTiger » 07 Dec 2018, 5:57 pm

The Load data I have from smith, shows 140gns in the 260 exiting at just over 2980fps on the shortened barrel with 46gns adi powder(can’t recall 09 or 6h) - just because it’s been optimised for 600yds with the 120’s, the 140’s should still shoot quite nicely out over 1000 yds with the applicable BC for that particular projectile.
I’d have no objection in taking any OZ game at humane distances with the 260/140...or even the 120’s at a higher FPS...
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by Urastus » 07 Dec 2018, 6:12 pm

Looking around for what's available in 7mm-08 with heavy barrel rifles. Not a lot and they seem pricey sako 85 and tikka t3x. I'm less fazed about the length now, up to 24", but still want heavy barrel, preferably stainless. 6.5 or 308?
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by bladeracer » 07 Dec 2018, 6:20 pm

Urastus wrote:Well it's looking like 7mm-08 over 6.5 cm. The gist of what I've been reading is creedmor is better with 26" barrel. I haven't read any such thing for the 7mm-08. A 22" in 7mm-08 would be great.

No, not interested in reduced loads. And in reality I'd probably be putting in a fair bit of time at the range with it. It also sounds as though 110 and 140 projectiles are the go. I like the idea of smaller and faster, so I was toying with working between those two projectile weights. With that in mind, do you know what the ideal twist would be?


I'd be looking at 18-22" barrels for most cartridges at most.
I just recommend getting the tightest twist rate you can in the model you want, you can't really go too tight for most purposes. If you're building it purely for long-range target shooting you'd be best asking the F-Class people perhaps, they tend to choose a specific bullet, choose a cartridge to shoot it, and then design the barrel and chamber to maximise the bullet.

My Ruger American 7mm-08 is 9.5"-twist. I shoot 100gn to 175gn but I also have some 196gn bullets for it.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by bladeracer » 07 Dec 2018, 6:23 pm

Urastus wrote:Thanks marksman and in2anity. It's been quite a long road of research for me, and the .308 was in the mix early on. The plan is to get what I want to keep. It will necessarily be range and hunting, and my short list was 6.5cm and 7mm-08. Although tassietiger threw in the .206 which sounds good too. And then there was the 6mmBR but I want an easy life. If it was just hunting, I'd go the .308, but I think it will probably spend more time at the range. I'm leaning toward the 7mm-08 which looks great at the range and for hunting; not so good for ammo or range of rifles. But I only want one of them :) and will load my own. Even 24" would be OK.


If you are primarily looking at range shooting you probably don't want a short barrel, particularly for longer ranges - 30" is a standard I think in long-range precision shooting.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by Urastus » 07 Dec 2018, 6:32 pm

bladeracer quote.
If you are primarily looking at range shooting you probably don't want a short barrel, particularly for longer ranges - 30" is a standard I think in long-range precision shooting.[/quote]

I want to be able to go hunting. The range for me means proficiency and familiarity with the rifle ultimately with hunting in mind. 24" is OK. The LA-102 in 6.5CM is looking good. Not a tight twist though (1:8). Barrel is looks med like the .22, kind of looks OK for range and hunting - 22". I suppose my only question is, is this twist OK? I'm going to look at what you have - haven't come across it yet.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by bladeracer » 07 Dec 2018, 6:57 pm

Urastus wrote:I want to be able to go hunting. The range for me means proficiency and familiarity with the rifle ultimately with hunting in mind. 24" is OK. The LA-102 in 6.5CM is looking good. Not a tight twist though (1:8). Barrel is looks med like the .22, kind of looks OK for range and hunting - 22". I suppose my only question is, is this twist OK? I'm going to look at what you have - haven't come across it yet.


That's my view of what all range shooting should be, relevant to the real world :-)
The Ruger Predator in 6.5CM is also 8" with a nice barrel contour. 8"-twist should easily run the heaviest 6.5mm bullets - like the 170gn cast I'm playing with now.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by SCJ429 » 07 Dec 2018, 7:05 pm

TassieTiger wrote:The Load data I have from smith, shows 140gns in the 260 exiting at just over 2980fps on the shortened barrel with 46gns adi powder(can’t recall 09 or 6h) - just because it’s been optimised for 600yds with the 120’s, the 140’s should still shoot quite nicely out over 1000 yds with the applicable BC for that particular projectile.
I’d have no objection in taking any OZ game at humane distances with the 260/140...or even the 120’s at a higher FPS...


2980 fps is pretty fast out of a 260, most people struggle to get to 2800 fps.

A 1:8 twist is as fast as you generally get out of a factory barrel, it will shoot 140 grain pills easily. My advise to you is a Tikka T3, I have not seen any disappointed Tikka owners, I am a convert myself. The Creedmoor is a capable cartridge but not a giant killer, especially at long range, check to make sure it is legal for the deer you want to shoot.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by Urastus » 07 Dec 2018, 7:32 pm

SCJ429 wrote:2980 fps is pretty fast out of a 260, most people struggle to get to 2800 fps.

A 1:8 twist is as fast as you generally get out of a factory barrel, it will shoot 140 grain pills easily. My advise to you is a Tikka T3, I have not seen any disappointed Tikka owners, I am a convert myself. The Creedmoor is a capable cartridge but not a giant killer, especially at long range, check to make sure it is legal for the deer you want to shoot.


Woohoo! That's in my ballpark price wise and in 7mm-08. Varmint barrel, 24" (I can live with that). So, I've kind of come to the $1500 which suits my value/quality sense. Great - 2 options now, the LA-102 in 6.5 creedmoor (legal in tas for deer 6mm or larger, kinetic energy of 997 ft/lbs @ 100 metres), or the Tikka T3X varmint stainless in 7mm-08. The Tikka is 1:9.5. I like the look of both of these.
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Re: Short barrel, largish caliber

Post by SCJ429 » 07 Dec 2018, 7:45 pm

Tikka also have a Creedmoor or the ballistically identical 260 Rem. Lapua make brass for both and as Tassie will tell you the 260 is plenty accurate.
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