.308 Barrel Length Question

hoop12

New Hide Member
Jul 9, 2018
34
5
8
Texas
#1
First post on here, figured you guys could help a ton! I’ve shot bolt guns my whole life, but never really delved into them past shooting and swapping scope bases. I’m looking at a new semi custom/custom bolt rifle for myself and I’m going with .308. Going to do the whole project myself. Baptism by fire I guess. The plan is to make it a solid do-everything rifle. I want to use the rifle for both long range shooting and for hunting. I don’t mind a heavier rifle for hunting, so I’m definitely looking at a heavy barrel. My question is, how long should I go with the barrel? I’d like to get as much velocity as I can out of the rifle, but I also don’t want to overkill the length. Any suggestions, pointers and advice would be really appreciated.
 
Likes: Joe.grey
Feb 13, 2017
292
41
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Orlando
#2
What are you hunting in? What type of fuzzy things are you shooting? Do you reload? Distance you plan on shooting? Optic picked out? Planning on match shooting as well?
 

hoop12

New Hide Member
Jul 9, 2018
34
5
8
Texas
#3
Hunting mostly in West and southwest Texas, lots of vegetation but also long shots available. The place I normally hunt I there are 350-400 yard shots available. Hunting deer, whitetail, mule and axis, along with pigs. Potentially an elk hunt in the next 2 years as well. I’d like to get to 1000 with the rifle in the long range shooting, not planning on shooting matches, at least not yet. Currently don’t reload, but plan to start within the next year.
 
Feb 13, 2017
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Orlando
#4
you could easily do all with a 18-22" barrel while keeping it maneuverable. Hell you can run a 16" and hornady superformance ammo and be good. I believe they have 165sst superformance loads too which should run pretty fast. You have a suppressor?
 
Jul 29, 2014
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#7
Not trying to persuade you against the 308 as it's a perfectly capable round for what you're planning, but have you looked a something like the 7 SAUM or 7 SS? You're looking at similar bullet weights to the 308 (much higher BC) but a few hundred extra FPS
 

hoop12

New Hide Member
Jul 9, 2018
34
5
8
Texas
#9
Thanks for all the help so far. I was thinking somewhere along the 20-22” lines so that’s reassuring. I don’t have any suppressors in my possession, but I’m on a trust with my dad and Uncle and I believe there are 5 on that trust. I haven’t looked at either of those calibers, I had narrowed down to .308 or 6.5CM, but I decided on .308 based on availability and price where I live and an idea I already had for a large frame AR build in CM
 
Apr 8, 2010
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NY
#10
i carry my 26" win mag hunting in all sorts of terrain. its a little long sometimes but it doesnt make a difference.
20 or 22?
22" if your shooting factory ammo most testing is done in a 22 or 24" barrel from the big manufactures, extra flash etc.
if you will roll your own 20" is nice.
both will get you to 800 with most factory loads and some farther....yes i have shot a 16" and a 18" (i have a tac ops) to 1075, but a longer barrel will get you a few more FPS if you are reloading.
 

Arc Light

NRA Lifer/GOA Member
Aug 13, 2012
459
315
63
God's Country, Montana
#12
I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed with Hide member's responses.

10 responses so far and not a SINGLE admonition to the OP to give up on the pathetic, anemic .308 and choose the magical 6.5 instead. Come on guys, you're better than this. He may as well throw rocks at the target if he's going with a .308 :)
 
Likes: buffalowinter
Apr 8, 2010
284
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NY
#13
that ship has passed.
the 308 is so useless and pathetic now that most guys dont even click on a post that has "308" in the name.
lol
 
Jul 29, 2014
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#16
I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed with Hide member's responses.

10 responses so far and not a SINGLE admonition to the OP to give up on the pathetic, anemic .308 and choose the magical 6.5 instead. Come on guys, you're better than this. He may as well throw rocks at the target if he's going with a .308 :)
Hey now! i recommend he look at a 7mm
 
Jan 5, 2011
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Charleston, WV
#17
I'll say this. I shot my first PRS match recently with a 20" .308 competing against some good shooters with purpose built rigs in 6 or 6.5. I placed 23rd out of 32. Every shot I missed, was my fault; not the .308's fault.

That said, put a 6 or 6.5 in the hands of any good 308 shooter, and they'll simply be a little bit better. You just can't overcome the ballistics/physics.
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
5,282
581
113
Arizona, good place for me...
#19
I don't monitor passing ships much, so I recently reestablished the 308 within my collection after going on two decades of using the .260 as my preferred LR rifle. The reason being that at the time I reentered the 308 market I was getting up some steam to add F T/R to the F Open I'd been shooting with the 260. I bought a nearly identical pair of Savage 11VT rifles chambered in 5.56 and 308 respectively, and tricked them out with better stocks, high magnification scopes and such, picking my options from column B and ending up with some capable rifles at rather economical cost.

After shooting a National Level F T/R 600yd match with the 5.56, I had a second heart attack two months later, and the wise money has me retiring from serious competition afterward. Disappointing, but I definitely love the guns, and since I love the load development process, I'll be having fun with them for the foreseeable future. I would not consider them for hunting with any strategy besides the stationary hunting approach. They are just too heavy to tote about on a regular basis.

As it happens, my favorite hunting rifle also turned to to be a winning deer rifle match gun, and also took a 4th overall in a state sniper championships in 1997. It's a Win Model 70 30-06 Featherweight, 22 inches of factory sporter weight barrel, and all I can say is that they must have moaned sweetly/weirdly and waved the chicken's foot over it as it went out Winchester's door. Helluva shooter with 168gr 30-06 FGMM. These days it's harvesting deer in bunches for my Daughter and Son-in-Law.

Gotta suggest that a do-all, best of all rifle concept is no stranger to this site. It's been debated and snarled over for well over a decade. If the animal exists, it's very well concealed. The best of the outcomes turn out to be compromises, which I was told is defined as something that does nothing all that admirably. Seriously, consider two rifles with specific adaptations to A) the lighter weight, more manageable hunter, and B) the hefty brawler LR precision pill chucker.

I have several seasons of 1000yd competition under me, and it's no game for a hunting rifle; the ammunition that will work out there will beat you near to death in a lightweight rifle.

Doing some load development with the .308 and Hornady 178 ELD-X is a dream project of mine, no magic elixir 308/178 load has yet appeared; but it will. I really believe I'll have more luck with the 168SMK/165SGK fraternal twins in 308, as was most definitely the situation with the 30-06. While it's probably possible to get 30-06 performance out of the 308, it's tougher on the 308, and my bets are off beyond 800yd.

The "800yd death veil" means less to me at 4200ft altitude than it would to those lesser beings infesting the lower altitudes; on paper, the168SMK launched at 2700fps is still transsonic at 1000yd, up here near Olympus where I live. Theya Fowah, the 308 is still every much as good a performer today as it ever was; it's just been overtaken by some newer alternatives.

You're gonna need ammunition in the 175gr-ish category (308FGMM2 Federal Gold Medal Match 2) to play nice out at 1000yd, and when it gets out there, some of those newer youngster chamberings will be lying in the tall grass, waiting for that golden opportunity to savage the oldster 308. Do you need to be a better shooter at 1000yd with the 308? Some would say yes; but truthfully, my response would be that everyone who plays out there needs to bring their best game.

I'm getting the vibe that handloading is not in your repertoire just yet and not highly anticipated, either. Not a fatal flaw, Hornady and Federal match and hunting choices will serve you quite well.

Best fortune, Newling.

Greg
 
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hoop12

New Hide Member
Jul 9, 2018
34
5
8
Texas
#20
Greg, thank you for the kind words and great info. I’ve thought about 2 rifles, but for whatever reason, I want one. As for the 6.5 suggestions, I actually really appreciate those, I wondered when they would happen. I’m well aware of the better ballistics with 6.5s, as I’ve got an 18” AR in 6.5 Grendel I built that, in all reality, could probably do what I’m setting out for with this rifle, but I want more out of this gun. I’m eventually going to end up with both a .308 and a 6.5 CM at some point. I realize that it’ll take more of an effort on my part and more out of my rifle if chambered in .308 to do what I’m wanting, but I love a challenge, always have. Like I said earlier, I don’t mind lugging around a little extra weight if need be. If it helps you guys with suggestions at all, I’m about 95% sure the rifle is going in a chassis system of some sort.
 

bab029

Hammer Mechanic
May 16, 2011
233
54
28
28
Louisiana
#21
Just something to stow in the back of your mind, the Berger 168 has a better bc than the sierra 175. Ought to be able to get good speed out of an 18-20 with Xbr8208 if you wanted to shoot a match or push the 1000+ mark.
 
Jul 29, 2014
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#22
the 308 is a good place to learn if you do indeed intend to move to a 6.5. you'll learn the wind much better because you can't cheat it as easily as with a high BC bullet
 

hoop12

New Hide Member
Jul 9, 2018
34
5
8
Texas
#23
I’ve read a lot of good about both of those particular projectiles, hopefully when I start reloading I’ll learn enough to get the most out of them. That’s also another reason I want the .308, it is a good tool to help learn to play at long range.
 
Likes: Joe.grey

308220

Karma Enforcer
Jul 19, 2014
283
52
28
#24
My 308, 18" barrel, in a B&C stock weighs in at 10 lbs. Super handy. Shooting Superformance 178 bthp's. Does everything I need it to do. 1/2 MOA.

I also have a 6.5-284 Norma with a 26" barrel. Also in a B&C stock. Shooting 143 ELD X. Stupid accurate. 1/4 MOA.

I always reach for my 308 first. Each gun has its place. But for typical, every day needs, the 308 gets the nod.
 
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