PDA

View Full Version : 20" Barrel lite Weight Hunting Rifle.. Is 20" too short for .308 Hunting?


insin
07-01-2012, 3:45 PM
Hello all,
Like the title says,
Is 20" too short of a barrel on a lightweight bolt action hunting rifle (Win M70 featherweight compact)? Hunting deer or pig. This is the rifle that I am currently looking at:
http://www.winchesterguns.com/products/catalog/detail.asp?family=001C&mid=535126

Thank you

Jpach
07-01-2012, 4:01 PM
Not even. To me, it's too long. I like 16" for an all purpose 308.

Merc1138
07-01-2012, 4:06 PM
the extra barrel length is good for 2 things. Sight radius(which doesn't seem to apply), and extra velocity. Is that FPS difference going to matter? Probably not.

Richard Erichsen
07-01-2012, 4:32 PM
Hello all,
Like the title says,
Is 20" too short of a barrel on a lightweight bolt action hunting rifle (Win M70 featherweight compact)? Hunting deer or pig. This is the rifle that I am currently looking at:
http://www.winchesterguns.com/products/catalog/detail.asp?family=001C&mid=535126

Thank you

20" is becoming a typical hunting rifle barrel length as many new adverts will show. Mountain and Scout rifles may have even shorter barrels, some as short as <17". You will only lose about 25 FPS per inch of barrel in a .30 cal, so I wouldn't worry about it. For typical hunting ranges (under 400 yards and even more likely under 300y) it's more than adequate and makes for a more handy and lighter rifle. Did someone tell you differently?

R

Excaliburr
07-01-2012, 5:31 PM
A 20" barrel is good for hunting in the brush and knocking off some of the weight. It is bad for open sights (not an issue here) and accuracy + velocity at longer yardages. On most typical deer and pig hunting, I think it is a very good combination. I have a Weatherby Vanguard in 20" and .243 caliber and it shoots moa at 100 yards all day long. I imagine if you wanted to shoot at 300 yards we would start to see a good separation of shots. For .308, I generally like a longer barrel in bolt action as I want to take advantage of that bullets ability to shoot long range. So, all in all, IMO you should skip the .308 and go with 7mm-08 or .243 if you want a short barrel and just hunting pig or California Deer. Who needs the added recoil for hunting deer or pig in CA?

insin
07-01-2012, 6:05 PM
So, all in all, IMO you should skip the .308 and go with 7mm-08 or .243 if you want a short barrel and just hunting pig or California Deer. Who needs the added recoil for hunting deer or pig in CA?

Cost per round is not my main concern, but it is taken into consideration. Not that shooting 308 is super cheap, but I have alot of rounds already instead of another caliber. Plus reloading tools already.

a1fabweld
07-01-2012, 6:14 PM
A 20" medium/heavy barreled .308 bolt gun would be ideal for a CA hunting rifle IMO.

2nd Shot
07-01-2012, 6:24 PM
Well, I just shot my very first rifle match of any kind at 1000 yards. After a few sighting shots on steel at 1050 yards, I shot 5 for group size and 20 more for score: 27.75" group size, and 211 score with 1 10-X. This was all in nasty, changing winds - sometimes the flags were flying in opposite directions at different places in the canyon.

Just so happens that I shot it with a lightly modified 20" barreled Remington 700 SPS-Tactical. As far as accuracy goes, I'm pretty sure you couldn't even see your animal as far as almost any 20" barreled .308 will shoot. I say go for it... You'll appreciate the handiness much more than you'll miss the velocity.

2nd Shot
07-01-2012, 6:27 PM
Oh, and since you mention that you reload, give Alliant 2000MR powder a good look. From how many (few) clicks of elevation I needed at 1K (10 Mil, 100 Clicks up from 100 Yards), it appears that I'm getting the velocity that 24" or even 26" barreled .308's achieve with more conventional 175 Matchking loads.

FMJBT
07-01-2012, 7:12 PM
I'm with Jpach on this one. IMHO, even a 20" barrel is too long on a hunting rifle in 308, unless of course you plan on taking game beyond about 800 yards. For what it's worth, I'm running a 16" large frame AR in 308 that is accurately pushing 190 SMK's out to 1000 yards. I wouldn't hunt with it or compete with it at that distance, but it is interesting to see just how short you can go with regards to barrel length without losing much long range performance.

FMJBT
07-01-2012, 7:21 PM
Oh, and since you mention that you reload, give Alliant 2000MR powder a good look. From how many (few) clicks of elevation I needed at 1K (10 Mil, 100 Clicks up from 100 Yards), it appears that I'm getting the velocity that 24" or even 26" barreled .308's achieve with more conventional 175 Matchking loads.

Ive read that the Alliant 2000MR is very similar to, if not the same powder as Hodgdon CFE-223. I've been using the CFE-223 for my 308 loads, it seems to do really well pushing heavy projectiles out of short barrels in this caliber. After loading up some of the same rounds with Ramshot TAC, the CFE-223 was definitely getting more velocity. I worked up loads in both to the point where I started to see flattened primers, then backed off half a grain. Ended up being 41.5 grains for TAC, and 46 grains for the CFE-223. Both loaded in Federal Brass to magazine length of 2.80"

Richard Erichsen
07-01-2012, 7:40 PM
... It is bad for open sights (not an issue here) and accuracy + velocity at longer yardages.

I disagree with the statement shorter barrels decrease accuracy. They do not. A well made barrel will retain it's accuracy when shortened, a mediocre barrel will likewise still be mediocre when shortened. However, all things being equal a barrel of a given profile will be more rigid when shortened and this change in barrel harmonics can contribute to accuracy, if slightly.

Range is a funny thing. Some bullet shapes are more efficient than others and suffer less drag slipping through the air within a given velocity range. If the bullets are otherwise identical, the bullet launched at the higher velocity will have a longer maximum point blank range. Handloads tailored to the rifle help considerably, but aren't necessary for taking a deer or putting holes in paper. A reasonable question would be how much range (and by range I'm assuming max-point-blank-range, the point at which you will zero your rifle for the load) you really need and if the loss of a what might be a couple hundred yards off the top of a 800+ yard capability.

R

Fjold
07-01-2012, 7:41 PM
Barrel length should be considered more for balance and recoil in a hunting rifle. I have barrels from 16" out to 28" all for different purposes.

A medium game rifle shot used out to 400 yards in a light recoiling rifle like a 308 would work well with 20" barrel.

smittty
07-01-2012, 8:45 PM
So, all in all, IMO you should skip the .308 and go with 7mm-08 or .243 if you want a short barrel and just hunting pig or California Deer. Who needs the added recoil for hunting deer or pig in CA?

^^^I feel the same.

I read the op's other thread and unless you're sure about hunting I would step the caliber down to "fun" level and get a bolt rifle in 223.

gun toting monkeyboy
07-01-2012, 9:20 PM
Barrel length should be considered more for balance and recoil in a hunting rifle. I have barrels from 16" out to 28" all for different purposes.

A medium game rifle shot used out to 400 yards in a light recoiling rifle like a 308 would work well with 20" barrel.

^This^

And I would stick with a .308. There is nothing in the lower 48 you can't hunt with it. The 7-08 and .243 are nice, but one lacks knock-down power on larger game, and the other is hard to find out in the boonies. I hunt all over the country. I have ended up with a rifle, but the ammo was lost by the airlines. There is no way I would have found 7-08 at the local wallyworld. And .243 just didn't seem like enough gun for large hogs. .308, on the other hand, was easy to find. And 20" is plenty for hunting. You don't need a longer barrel, as the critter won't know the difference.

-Mb

smittty
07-01-2012, 9:39 PM
^This^

And I would stick with a .308. There is nothing in the lower 48 you can't hunt with it. The 7-08 and .243 are nice, but one lacks knock-down power on larger game, and the other is hard to find out in the boonies. I hunt all over the country. I have ended up with a rifle, but the ammo was lost by the airlines. There is no way I would have found 7-08 at the local wallyworld. And .243 just didn't seem like enough gun for large hogs. .308, on the other hand, was easy to find. And 20" is plenty for hunting. You don't need a longer barrel, as the critter won't know the difference.

-Mb

The op has another thread going about a heavy barrel rifle. He posted that he doesn't hunt and isn't sure if he will and in that other thread he asks about the featherweight rifle.

The paper target won't know the difference between 308 and 223. On the other hand, the shoulder will and so will the wallet.

hermosabeach
07-01-2012, 10:07 PM
For pigs and deer i would guess most shots will be inside of 200 yards. Most of the antelope i have shot in Whyoming have all been within 200 yards

With that in mind, a longer barrel will reduce the sound pressure level / Decibel level to your ears.

I have three friends who are now either deaf or have extreem hearing loss due to muzzle breaks and or comps on hunting rifles

With milspec ammo, 19" gives you the max velocity
With hand loads and slower powders, you can speed up the .308 with a longer barrel

For hunting, i prefer what will give a good group with a good hunting bullet.

And yes, i now carry foam ear plugs in the field for big game hunts. The surefire earplugs work well as they take the edge off of the report but allow you to hear others in your group

insin
07-01-2012, 10:31 PM
The op has another thread going about a heavy barrel rifle. He posted that he doesn't hunt and isn't sure if he will and in that other thread he asks about the featherweight rifle.

The paper target won't know the difference between 308 and 223. On the other hand, the shoulder will and so will the wallet.

I don't hunt yet. That is key. When I buy a Bolt rifle, it will be purposed for hunting. Hogs first since they are most accessible in my area, then perhaps deer. I would not buy a bolt gun just to be accurate at the range. It would have to have a purpose. Hitting the same quarter sized target at whatever distance at the range seems rather boring unless it has some real world meaning behind it, like preparing for a hunt.

Thanks again

sholling
07-01-2012, 10:57 PM
22" is full length for a 308 but you don't give up much velocity with a 20". You might want to add a 5.5lb Savage 11 Lightweight Hunter (http://savagearms.com/firearms/model/11LH) to your list of possibilities which is also 20". But if a 22" barrel isn't out of the 6.5lb Tikka T3 Lite (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_445/products_id/80563) is super bang for the buck although I prefer 30-06 in the Tikka because of the Tikka's design.

jeffrice6
07-02-2012, 2:41 AM
It was my understanding that 308 reaches its full burn at 18"

Noonanda
07-02-2012, 4:59 AM
It was my understanding that 308 reaches its full burn at 18"

Depends on the powder used

Richard Erichsen
07-02-2012, 6:51 AM
It was my understanding that 308 reaches its full burn at 18"

All the propellent is burnt within the first few inches of barrel. Slower propellents change the pressure curve, they are not burning on their way down two feet of tubing.

R

ouch1
07-02-2012, 11:25 AM
I hunt with a Remington 788 with an 18.5" barrel that originally was an Xmas gift to my father (Big5 special back in 1983). My father used it to hunt hogs and deer with it an never missed a shot. I have seen him take deer at 300M with a handloaded 165Gr Speer Ballistic tip (when they first came out in the late 80's) with one shot (he hit the buck in the neck) and it was DRT. I now own this rifle and love it. The shorter barrel is great in the brush where having the ability to quickly engage targets is a must, and since the barrel is shorter it is less likely to get caught on brush when you need to move your rifle quickly. As what happened with my first deer hunt with the rifle near Traverse City, MI. I was using this very same .308 and a good friend was using a Springfield '03 .30-06 that was sporterized, but with a 22" barrel. We both saw the same buck at the same time, and because of the shorter barrel I had the rifle up, and on target fast enough to get the kill. In the meantime while trying to bring the rifle up to his shoulder to take aim the front sight on this longer barrel got caught on a tree branch and he never had a chance to get shot on the buck.

-ouch1

Thats why I love short barrel rifles.