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View Full Version : Is there ANY advantage to a thin barrel besides weight?


Whiterabbit
09-20-2013, 10:08 AM
Hi guys,

I'm building a rifle and want to get your guys opinion about barrel diameter.

Internet "wisdom" covers all the common stuff. heat management, weight, etc.

But when it comes to really performing the compare/contrast with a thin barrel (all other factors held equal) the ONLY advantage people talk about with thin barrels is weight.

Let's take weight off the table. Let's say weight is not a factor. (but ALL other details are factors!)

is there any other advantage to a thinner barrel? any at all? is the only good thing about a thin barrel the lower weight? Is a thicker (heavier) barrel ALWAYS more advantageous in every way minus weight?

The Paper Pimp
09-20-2013, 10:10 AM
I believe so

jfifer
09-20-2013, 10:11 AM
Balance?

How about maneuverability? I know that does involve weight...

Whiterabbit
09-20-2013, 10:17 AM
I discount those because I plan to shift weight in the buttstock and/or forestock to achieve proper balance. This is actually an advantage to a heavy barrel because it's easy for me to add weight to a buttstock. it is not easy for me to add weight to a forestock or a barrel.

NorCalFocus
09-20-2013, 10:25 AM
Other than weight, no a bull barrel is better in every way.

So it comes down to are you using the gun for hunting or target shooting.

CobraRed
09-20-2013, 10:49 AM
I guess everyone is forgetting scope clearence? Being able to choose low rings faciltitates a more natural cheeck weld, and with the low ring selection you're not really limited in your choice of scope as far as objective size goes. I know with my truck axles it's not an easy fit.


And overall versatility, it feels much more managable and less delicate when light - oddly enough.

vintagearms
09-20-2013, 10:54 AM
Take a carbine class where your not sitting at a bench and at the end of the day, tell us which worked better. For defensive distances with a carbine (100yds and under) your not going to see any change in groups, but your body will thank you later.

TMB 1
09-20-2013, 11:33 AM
Like jfifer and CobraRed say maneuverability and scope clearance.

vincewarde
09-20-2013, 11:42 AM
One disadvantage to a thin barrel, that can be a problem even in a hunting rifle, is a change in point of impact as the barrel warms up and wraps a bit. This was (and is) a common problem with older Mini-14's. This can be overcome with cryogenic treatment of the barrel, but it isn't cheap....

LBDamned
09-20-2013, 11:43 AM
Take a carbine class where your not sitting at a bench and at the end of the day, tell us which worked better. For defensive distances with a carbine (100yds and under) your not going to see any change in groups, but your body will thank you later.

Not a lot of runnin' & gunnin' with a bolt gun... I don't think your scenario is what the OP has in mind (considering the section he posted in).

kel-tec-innovations
09-20-2013, 11:58 AM
Cools down faster? :confused: For hunting its usually 1-2 shots so there is not continuous firing where a bull barrel is needed.

Whiterabbit
09-20-2013, 12:05 PM
I can totally get behind the scope ring height advantage of a pencil barrel.

So, maneuverability was cited as a concern. How then do we explain shotguns, where long barrels and fairly heavy weights win the day? Folks that say a gun "points like a fine shotgun" aren't talking about 18 inch models!

jfifer
09-20-2013, 12:30 PM
Balance and recoil control. The shotgun points well because the weight is centered and balanced. Even weight distribution.

TMB 1
09-20-2013, 12:32 PM
I guess if some one was to have their weapon shouldered it might not matter. I just think a lighter weapon is faster to get into action. That's what I meant by maneuverability.

Cypriss32
09-20-2013, 12:37 PM
Go hunting with a heavy barrel and tell me how you feel. My goto is a 257 Roberts with tsx. It's got a skinny *** barrel on it. Then my 375 ruger 20" with sights. I don't shoot anything past 300 yards so it works for me. Light easy to carry and maneuver.

CobraRed
09-20-2013, 1:35 PM
I can totally get behind the scope ring height advantage of a pencil barrel.

So, maneuverability was cited as a concern. How then do we explain shotguns, where long barrels and fairly heavy weights win the day? Folks that say a gun "points like a fine shotgun" aren't talking about 18 inch models!

Have you seen the barrel wall thickness on a shotgun? Super thin, meaning most of the weight is back toward the shooter.

Meanwhile with my Remington in 6.5x55 and a 28" bull barrel the barrel itself weighs more than the stock and receaver combined.

LynnJr
09-20-2013, 8:02 PM
The most accurate rifles made only have an upper weight limit and nobody is shooting a lighter barrel if they can use a heavier barrel.
If the lighter barrel had any advantage they would use it but they don't.

M1NM
09-20-2013, 10:08 PM
My Wetherby will put 3 rounds in 1/2 inch after that they scatter within a 2" circle. It's due to the lightweight barrel heating up. They were designed to be powerful lightweight carry guns for hunting where you'll only be firing a couple rounds at a time. Once it cools down it's back to 1/2"

Whiterabbit
09-26-2013, 7:40 AM
Just to let you guys know, I ordered my barrel yesterday. I took the advice from the folks here and went with a thicker barrel.

It IS a hunting rifle, but for DG. Weight is immaterial for me. (for this rifle). Actually, weight is desirable. It's recoil control in a rifle I do not want a brake on. Furthermore, I used to have a thin barrel 338 lapua and the barrel heat got to be too excessive, too fast. This will aide that issue too.

went with a no-taper .945" (24mm) profile. (no taper after the chamber area)

If the balance is wrong, I will shorten the barrel an inch or two, or install a mercury recoil reducer (or cast lead) into the buttstock. The factory rifle balanced a half inch behind the floorplate hinge. I will shoot for that balance point.

Thanks for the advice calguns.