View Full Version : Saiga .308 16" of 21"?

04-13-2009, 7:49 PM
I am looking at Saiga .308s and can't make up my mind to go with the 16" or 21" barrel... I am leaning toward 16" because of the shorter length and I hear these rifles are only good to about 300yards anyway. Does the 21" really make that big of a difference for accuracy and range?

04-13-2009, 7:57 PM
this is borrowed information I found online several months ago when doing some research....remember, everyone has their spin on things - this guy's opinion was very consistent with other writings that I found......hope it helps.

"Barrel lengths generally vary from about 18 to 26 inches. But, all lengths are not available on all models. Typically, the barrel selection from a given manufacturer of a particular model and caliber of rifle is very limited.

The length of the barrel basically affects four things: the stiffness of the barrel, the length of the rifle, the weight of the rifle, and the speed of the bullet as it exits the end of the barrel. (For us novices, the speed of the bullet as it exits the end of the barrel is typically called the "muzzle velocity.")

The longer the barrel, the more it will "wiggle" when the cartridge is fired, which will affect its intrinsic accuracy. Typically, shorter barrels, of the same diameter as the longer (reference) barrels, are inherently very slightly more accurate. However, for a hunting rifle, the difference is insignificant.

Rifles with short barrels are lighter and shorter than similar rifles that have long barrels. That makes sense, since the barrel is the heaviest part of the rifle. Lighter and shorter rifles are easier to carry on those long hunting trips and to maneuver in the underbrush.

The downside of lighter weight guns is that the recoil (that force that pushes against you when you fire the gun) is more severe than that of heavier guns. So is muzzle blast, since it is closer to the shooter. Recoil and muzzle blast are not things to ignore, as they noticeably degrade practical accuracy and are the number one "killers" of the pure pleasure of shooting.

In longer barrels, the very high gas pressure behind the bullet has more time to push the bullet to and faster and faster speeds, so the longer the barrel, the higher the muzzle velocity (MV). The ballistics for most modern rifle cartridges are developed in 24" test barrels. According to Remington estimates, a rifle cartridge on the order of the .308 Winchester loses about 20 fps of MV for each inch the barrel is reduced below the reference level of 24".

All things considered, I prefer the longer barrel and heavier rifle to reduce the recoil, with the added benefit of more bullet speed and consequently a slightly flatter trajectory."


04-13-2009, 8:00 PM
The 16" can be more accurate but the range will be greater with the 22" barrel. The main thing is it takes 18" of barrel just burn all the powder in 7.62x51 NATO ball. For .308 Win ammo it's even worse and you need at least a 20.5" barrel to burn all the powder.

With a 16" barrel you're really neutering the gun. The entire reason to use the .308 round is for the extra capability to reach out and touch something. If you want a shorter barrel I would suggest getting a 22" Saiga and getting it cut down to around 18.5 inches.

04-13-2009, 8:08 PM
This is the same theory with the SOCOM series of rifles - The longer really does make a huge difference -

04-13-2009, 8:45 PM
Read THIS (http://www.tacticaloperations.com/SWATbarrel/), find two more articles on the subject from different sources and make up your own dang mind!

04-13-2009, 8:55 PM
Read THIS (http://www.tacticaloperations.com/SWATbarrel/), find two more articles on the subject from different sources and make up your own dang mind!

I agree with this article that the difference between 18" and 26" is normally negligible. The difference between 16" and 18" can be huge. If you're not burning all the powder before the bullet exists the barrel the loss in velocity will be huge. Someone should just make special ammo with fast burning powder for short barreled .308 rifles and we could quit having this conversation over and over again.

04-13-2009, 9:02 PM
I went through this exercise when I pick my Saiga 308. I chose the factory 16". I'd reviewed my need and situation, and decided that the longer barrel does not give me any more advantage. However, the 16" barrel saved me weight, manuverability, and balance.

If you're critical beyond 300 yards, you should look at other platforms. The Saiga is a sport rifle and not built for high accuracy at long range.

BTW, my rifle is for sale HERE. (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=168421)