Recommendations on barrel length for my .308

Aug 14, 2014
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#1
A few years ago I decided I needed to try long range. I bought a Remington 700P and a Viper PST and started shooting F-Class. Then I tried PRS about 3 years ago and haven’t been back to an F-Class match since. The 700 got some updates in stock, trigger, glass, etc... but then started getting parted out as I was shooting my 6.5 Creedmoor. I parted it out to build an SPR.

Now I am shooting more team matches and am wanting to go back to shooting .308. The action is getting trued and the barrel is getting threaded for the ASR brake for the Omega can sitting in ATF jail. I think I’d like to cut the barrel down a bit from the 26” that came on it but I’m having some trouble deciding how short to go. I’ll save some weight by cutting off some barrel length but I’ll be adding the length and weight back on with the mount and suppressor.

I had originally told the gunsmith to take it down to 24” but now I’m thinking possibly going to 22”. I think 20” would just be too short. Most of my matches are only out to 1000 yards with the occasional shot further than that. I’m wondering what kind of velocity I would lose going down to 22” or even 20”. I’m looking for a happy medium of maneuverability with the suppressor but keeping enough velocity to go to 1000 yards. I’m shooting 175 grain SMKs.

If anyone has experiences similar please let me know what you think.
 

kRcu

Full Member
Jun 5, 2013
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Denver, CO
#6
I ran a 20” .308 for a while. Pretty good balance and it would still be decent length with a can. I’d go 20-22 for a match gun. I run 16-17” barrels for .308 now.
 
Likes: JayB

JayB

Another Private
Aug 15, 2017
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#7
JayB, You beat me to it. I remembered reading this article a few months back, and decided to read it again while you were posting.
This site has barrel length test for many calibers. They just did one for 224 valkyrie.
 

JayB

Another Private
Aug 15, 2017
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#8
I ran a 20” .308 for a while. Pretty good balance and it would still be decent length with a can. I’d go 20-22 for a match gun. I run 16-17” barrels for .308 now.
There is definitely a value for shorter (less than 24”) barrel for better maneuverability in a match condition particularly for those stages where they put you in a small box and make you shoot through multiple small holes on the “wall”.
 
May 19, 2011
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#10
Are you going to run the suppressor all the time? What is your preferred OAL with your suppressor? That might help you decide. My 22” .308 with a 9” Crux Archangel isn’t even a comfortable hunting-length setup!
 

JayB

Another Private
Aug 15, 2017
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#11
Why yes it does. Thanks for posting that. JayB, thank you as well. I feel like I had seen one a long time ago but done with .300 WinMag.
This site does barrel length velocity tests for many calibers, good refernce site.

Another reference point, while Tikka only offers 24” for 6.5 creedmoor and 260 remington with T3X Tac A1, they offer 308 in 16”, 20” and 24”. There is enough reason to choose any of those.
 
Aug 14, 2014
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#12
I won’t quote all your responses but they’re good. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I am finding that Match Directors are getting more interesting in what they want you to do. And in a lot of instances, what they want you to get through before you even start shooting. I think 22” may be a good trade. Keep the velocity but still give me close to the length I had before. I do tend to obsess over decisions like that because I don’t want to make a regretful decision. It’s tough to put barrel length back on after it’s been taken off.
 
Aug 14, 2014
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#13
Are you going to run the suppressor all the time? What is your preferred OAL with your suppressor? That might help you decide. My 22” .308 with a 9” Crux Archangel isn’t even a comfortable hunting-length setup!
I will probably use the suppressor most of the time. The Omega is 7” and 14 ounces, so no matter what I do it will still be longer than the 26” barrel length i started with. I want to mitigate that a bit while keeping the balance and velocity.

I know there’s no right answer but I know there’s a lot more experience here that I can learn from. A lot of first-hand info that will show me what I haven’t thought of yet.
 
Oct 15, 2011
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#14
I have he same suppressor. Just sent my barrel and action off to have it cut down to 17.5” from 20”. Shorter is better when a suppressor is the intended use at shorter distances. I couldn’t stand the overall length at 20” plus 7” suppressor. New barrel and trued action should be a nice improvement.
 
Last edited:
Dec 13, 2017
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#16
Google it. I read it in my still missed Precision Shooting magazines and am still in awe of the whole story and the shooting that went on there and then. A once in a lifetime event for sure.
 
Sep 16, 2017
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#17
There isn’t an optimal barrel length. Longer barrels equal velocity. Shorter barrels equal maneuverability. Pick the combination that suits you. I prefer longer barrels on bolt guns and shorter overall lengths on my carbines as a general rule.
 

1500varmint

New Hide Member
Aug 13, 2018
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#18
Great thread.

I'm very new to precision rifles and barrel length was something I stumbled with. I ended up with a 24" barrel figuring that I could get it cut down eventually if needed. The side by side velocity cart in the link above was very interesting.
 
Feb 13, 2017
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#21
Great thread.

I'm very new to precision rifles and barrel length was something I stumbled with. I ended up with a 24" barrel figuring that I could get it cut down eventually if needed. The side by side velocity cart in the link above was very interesting.
Keep in mind they were using factory ammo. If you are as well then it is applicable. If your handloading than it’s possible to find a slower burning powder to capitalize on velocity’s from a longer barrel.
 
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JayB

Another Private
Aug 15, 2017
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#22
Keep in mind they were using factory ammo. If you are as well then it is applicable. If your handloading than it’s possible to find a slower burning powder to capitalize on velocity’s from a longer barrel.
That is a great point.

But I also think the OP is looking for a shorter barrel for better maneuverability and was trying to identify "how short is too short"
 
Likes: Juggerxxx
Feb 13, 2017
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#23
That is a great point.

But I also think the OP is looking for a shorter barrel for better maneuverability and was trying to identify "how short is too short"
Couldn’t agree with you more. 28” barrel with a can on top of it would not be my first choice. Unless MAYBE it was on my Desert Tech but still not my first choice.
I just don’t want people to look at that article and think velocity hits a brick wall at a certain barrel length no matter what.
 
Aug 14, 2014
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#26
I am going to go with a 22” barrel. Lots of great responses and reasoning in this thread so far. I like what’s was said about going 20-22”. I can always have another 2” removed if I feel like I’m still getting good velocity or the barrel is still too long.

To answer a previous question or further explain where I’m coming from (for people who may be like the aboveboard poster and new to LR or PRS). I had a 26” barrel that came on my Remington 700P. Great shooting gun for when u started F-Class but difficult to move with in PRS type matches. I will also be suppressing this rifle, so add another 7”. I wanted to take some off the barrel to save weight and length once the can was added but still be able to reliably hit at 1000 yards.

I searched for more tests like in the link posted above about barrel lengths and velocity and found that with 175gr. FGMM Imreally won’t lose too much going down as far as 18”. I will go with 22” to start and then reevaluate after a while. It is much cheaper to shorten it up again than to lengthen it.

Thanks for all the good replies and please continue to add to it. If not for me, then for the people who find this thread later.
 
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