Barrel contour, length and rigidity question

Nik S

New Hide Member
May 13, 2018
Have a question on barrel dimension selection.

I understand certain basics that:
  • A longer barrel increases bullet velocity (flattens trajectory), but decreases barrel rigidity and increases weight.
  • A shorter barrel increases rigidity and accuracy, decreases weight, but decreases velocity.
  • A heavier contour increases barrel rigidity, decreases heating, but increases weight.
Application: I'd like to build a kind of happy medium one-gun practical "packable precision rifle" that would be as comfortable hiking through mountains, not getting hung up on brush and hunting deer as it would at a PRS. I do like the handiness of a shorter barrel. Ammo should be reasonable on wallet and readily available. Looking at 6.5 Creedmoor, though willing to be persuaded. I'm not chasing trophies. Just want to have fun and learn, and maybe have some equipment that can hang with casual competitors, and is the same reliable rifle I take on a hunt.

I'm interested in this inherent tension between short barrel rigidity and long barrel velocity and your thoughts on an optimal barrel length and contour for this type of application.

Aug 16, 2013
North Las Vegas, Nevada
Light Palma in 22" to 24" would probably be fine. Don't get hung up on the accuracy / rigidity thing. A quality barrel like a Bartlein or Hawk Hill will be extremely accurate, if installed properly, regardless of contour of length.

To simplify things : longer barrel = more velocity
Thicker barrel = more shots to heat it up
Feb 14, 2017
What he said. Also, how far do you intend to shoot? A 6.5 creedmoor with a 20" barrel can do 1000 yards pretty easily. A tikka ctr or something similar makes a good "packable precision rifle" as you put it.


Gunny Sergeant
Sep 2, 2009
I have been after the do it all rifle my whole life. Doesnt exist. I still like to try though, and the Fix is the closest yet for me.

As far as barrel, you can go one of two ways. How tall are you? How strong? Cardio good?

Either get a longer barrel, say 24", and if that is easy enough to carry all day based on height and conditioning, then drive on. If it isnt a good fit, then have it cut down and now you know.

Or, start with a shorter barrel and see if it does what you want. I like 18" and even 16 alot, but usually I add a can to it. For hunting without a can, 20 or 22 is better for me. I wear hearing protection when hunting, but the longer barrels are easier on the ears.

Either way, a 6.5 is not a lifetime barrel, so if you made the wrong decision, you can learn to shoot on this first barrel, and then when it is toast, swap to a better length and contour.

So really, 3 ways.😁

Nik S

New Hide Member
May 13, 2018
Thanks all. Yes, out to 1000yds is important. Light Palma is pointing me in a good direction, a kind of middle ground between the hunting sporters and some the heavier barrels. Has anyone tried to set back their palma's when shot out? CTR has a lot of "fit the bill" features for a reasonable price too, though I am looking hard at the custom and semi-custom options at the moment.



May 11, 2017
I've got a 6.5 Creedmoor with a 21" Light Palma Kreiger. I use a TBAC Ultra 5 on it. It's not a pig tote around, and it's stiff enough that I see less than 1 MOA POI shift if I ever shoot it without the can. Accuracy is outstanding, even when the barrel gets hot.

I will admit that I would have picked a heavier profile if I was starting from scratch, but I got a good deal on this rifle and it was built by Beanland, so i figured I couldn't miss (pun intended.) I don't know how well the Light Palma would work with >22" lengths, but for anything under that I've been very happy. Can't shoot 1K where I am, but if I'm missing MOA sized steel targets at 600 yards it's the indian, not the box. A good smith and a premium blank carry more weight than anything, don't get caught up in analysis paralysis.


Head mop pusher
Nov 23, 2010
NW Louisiana
I'm running a marksman contour (in between medium and heavy Palma) at 26 inches with a brake for my 6 dasher. On my 6.5 creedmoor I'm running m40 22 inches with an Sas arbiter on the end..

Nik S

New Hide Member
May 13, 2018
don't get caught up in analysis paralysis.
Ha, good point!

My long range days are on hold for now. Kids happened, saving for a house, college. While I've been changing diapers, PRS happened. That looks like a ton more fun than the static lanes I used to shoot in.

For now, analysis is what I have. But that will open up in time. I've had a few factory rifles, and am exploring the world of customs. So I'm looking at this as a time to gain some insight from people who are in the game. The day will come...



Isaiah 40:25-31
Feb 10, 2017
Tuscaloosa, AL
Tikka T3x CTR in 6.5/.308. When you burn the barrel out you’ll know what you need to upgrade.

I say this over jumping full custom because it sounds like you don’t know EXACTLY what you want. By getting a Tikka, you’ll be buying a reliable and smooth action, quality barrel, good trigger, and a decent enough stock.

Shoot the thing for 2-3000 rounds (and another 5-10,000 dry fires) and then re-evaluate where you’re at. What do you need to change about it and what do you want to change about it. I think you’d be able to precisely build what you desire from the base rifle after spending some time behind it.

Bolt on a quality <30oz optic and have fun (I personally recommend looking at the SWFA SS line, really good optics/durability for what you pay for them).

Heck, there are some semi-custom Tikkas in the PX for some good deals as well.
3B bartlein contour at 24 inches is pretty phenomenal. I have a couple rifles with light medium and heavy palma contours and the 3b is the handiest, gives a lightweight yet perfect balance if you have to take an off hand shot. Its thick enough that 5-10 shot strings don't have any fliers.
Mar 22, 2006
My K&P on my 50 finished at 39.5" and shot a 3.75" 5 shot group for score at 1000yds in Raton last summer.

A straight taper from just past shoulder down to muzzle is great to get the weight off the end while keeping it rigid where it's needed.