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 Some surprising (to me) numbers
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5101 Posts

Posted - September 07 2018 :  6:35:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Having nothing better to do, I went on the Ballistics By The Inch website this evening and looked at their 22 Long Rifle table.

I wanted to see what approximate velocity increase I could expect from my 16” Ruger 10-22, compared to my 7” Browning Buckmark.

For those not familiar with it, BBTI starts with an 18” barrel, and tests the velocity of various loads; then chops an inch off the barrel, and tests them all again; and so on, an inch at a time, until the barrel is down to 2”. They’ve done this with a variety of pistol calibers, as well as a few .223 loads.

I was surprised to see that of the ten 22LR loads tested, the average velocity increase from the 7” barrel to the 16” was less than 8%. Results ranged from 4% increase on the low end, to 10% on the high end.

This probably won’t come as a surprise to those of y’all more experienced than I am; but it surprised me.

Of course, the 10-22 is much easier to hit with than the Buckmark. But it doesn’t give nearly as much of a velocity advantage as I was expecting it would.

For comparison, I looked at BBTI’s .223 data. For the 4 loads I looked at, the average velocity increase from a 7” to a 16” barrel was 33%.


That’s the nice thing about being relatively ignorant: you learn something new every day.


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Edited by - LittleBill on September 07 2018 9:43:15 PM

LittleBill
Advanced Member

5101 Posts

Posted - September 07 2018 :  7:34:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And for anyone inclined to quibble with my description of myself as being relatively ignorant, just remember: ‘relatively’ is a relative term....


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Edited by - LittleBill on September 07 2018 7:48:34 PM
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5262 Posts

Posted - September 07 2018 :  8:17:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've read somewhere that in a longer .22 rifle barrel the powder burn can be completed before the bullet leaves the barrel. The result is that beyond a certain length, additional inches of barrel length can actually slow the bullet down due to drag. Probably nothing you would ever notice without electronic instrumentation.

Jeff

jle3030
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5101 Posts

Posted - September 07 2018 :  9:16:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah, four loads out of the ten in the BBTI chart petered-out at 16”: velocities from 17” and 18” barrels were the same or slightly less. Of the six loads that did gain, the average gain between 16” and 18” was 23.5 fps, and 36 fps was the most any load gained.

For those loads anyway, a barrel of more than 16” doesn’t seem to make much sense.


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Edited by - LittleBill on September 07 2018 9:43:48 PM
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9681 Posts

Posted - September 08 2018 :  09:11:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Back in the dark ages I took a gunsmithing course that included a few contributions by Winchester Ammo (Olin Matheson at the time I think).

It told me a couple of things, like after about 12" the gain in velocity in a .22 LR HV cartridge is minimal. Close to the same in shotguns but their point was that an 18" shotgun barrel is likely as fast as a 32" shotgun barrel.

I've done some chrono work with 14" shotguns, their drop in vel. from an 18" is hardly consequential. I've not done any with shorter barrels, it might go "downhill" pretty fast after 14.

But yeah, barrel length matters in center-fire rifles (some more than most).

It seems to be all about the "expansion ratio" (volume of the bore vs. volume of the case).

Jim H.

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840
Junior Member

USA
171 Posts

Posted - September 08 2018 :  10:44:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Higginbotham
Close to the same in shotguns but their point was that an 18" shotgun barrel is likely as fast as a 32" shotgun barrel.
Jim H.

Since we're flipping backwards in the pages of time, I supervised a retired US Army competitive shooter who invited me out to his rural home to bust clay pigeons with him. He was going to "show me how it's done" and put this younger guy (back then) in his place since he was mocking my shotgun.

I used it for everything from doves and quail, to grouse and pheasant, then easily limited out when out waterfowl hunting. It was my Rossi double-barreled, hammered Coach Gun with fixed IC and Mod. choked 20" barrels. He used his Rem. 870 competition piece w/28" barrel.

His property, his range, hit clay bird thrower. We each went through two boxes of 12 ga. ammo, that he kindly provided, and pretty much evened out. First box full he missed 1 and I missed 2, the next box was just the reverse. He was surprised at how well the Coach Gun performed and the 'knock-em' power compared with his gun.

We went back to his house, he picked up the phone and from memory called Remington and asked for a particular individual then explained what we were shooting and the results with regard to the observed velocity and performance.

The fellow at Remington told him it would have been just about an even draw because that ammunition hit peak velocity (powder burn) at about 24" of barrel. So while my 20" wasn't getting full powder burn, it was still burning and accelerating when it left the muzzle 4" short of 'full burn.'.

But the powder burn would have been finished in his shotgun and the additional 4" of barrel would have caused some drag and, quickly factoring the two shotguns used he said it would have likely been about an even match in results.

But the other consideration with handgun and rifle comparisons is not just the barrel length, but perhaps there can be a notable difference between the rifling twist rates used in different firearms being compared.? Just a thought.

'840'

Yes, I, too, have my semi-autos, but folks need to credit the serious versatility of a good revolver with a serviceable load.
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gw
Advanced Member

4385 Posts

Posted - September 08 2018 :  10:59:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
we must use longer barreled shotguns and rifles because the Government tells us to

that right there should be a clue that it might not make any sense....

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9681 Posts

Posted - September 09 2018 :  10:32:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gw

we must use longer barreled shotguns and rifles because the Government tells us to

that right there should be a clue that it might not make any sense....



Spot on

Jim

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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9681 Posts

Posted - September 09 2018 :  10:40:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A few years ago I did some quail hunting with a few guys who were excellent wing shots. I have never really been a shotgun guy, except for riot guns - I really *like* riot guns!

Anyway, for what little shotgun hunting I do, I have this old Steven SBS 16 ga I got just before my 14th birthday. A few years ago I obtained a spare set of barrels and cut them off to 21" (no choke of course). I have a few other sporting shotguns but that one is my favorite.

I decided to use that on one hunt. In spite of all the ribbing, the limit was 7 birds, I used 7 shots, the ribbing ceased

Tom Givens and I found, by experiment, that an 18" riot gun works just fine on dove (you do have to plug them to comply with federal and state law). You do also have to pick your shots and let the long ones go.

Jim H.

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gw
Advanced Member

4385 Posts

Posted - September 09 2018 :  11:15:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
the secret to bird hunting, don't use too much choke

I hunted pheasant and dove with a 20ga 1100 special field w/21 inch barrel and IC choke for years.

one good year I was shooting passing dove with that 20ga and really cleaning up, I got home and realized it had a skeet choke in it.

after that I had most of my fixed choke barrels opened up to at least IC...

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3300 Posts

Posted - September 09 2018 :  11:23:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gauge, choke, shot size all depends upon the BIQ (Bird In Question) one size doesn't fit all. But, many shooters do use too much choke for upland birds.... grouse, woodcock, doves, quail, and pheasant in some cases.

And maybe not enough choke for pass shooting water fowl... or turkey..
or those really long flushing pheasant and chukars.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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Russ Larges
Moderator

USA
2311 Posts

Posted - September 09 2018 :  2:03:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have wasted many many hours on the skeet field and shot many different guns, barrel lengths. The only thing on barrels is the longer ones swing better and that makes them shoot better. Most of my hunting friends use at least 28" barrels on break open guns maybe 26" on repeaters, I prefer 28s on my 1100 skeet gun. Sporting Clays shooter often us 30-32 inch barrels, trap shooters too.
Russ

The pistol, learn it well, carry it allways. Jeff Cooper
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5101 Posts

Posted - September 09 2018 :  6:05:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is it the weight that makes it swing better? Would a short, heavy barrel swing better too?

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast
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Russ Larges
Moderator

USA
2311 Posts

Posted - September 09 2018 :  7:12:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LittleBill

Is it the weight that makes it swing better? Would a short, heavy barrel swing better too?


The weight does help, but most shooter prefer the longer sight radius also. I should add that when I mount the gun I stack the front bead over the mid bead, so I see the whole barrel. But then when I noted that the mid bead was gone I did not know when it left. After mounting the gun so many times I no longer look for the beads I just look for the bird.
Russ


The pistol, learn it well, carry it allways. Jeff Cooper
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gw
Advanced Member

4385 Posts

Posted - September 10 2018 :  11:49:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
all guns should be patterned, but it's generally understood that if you're using large steel shot, open chokes are needed.

putting heavy steel shot loads through a tight choke will eventually bulge a barrel, I've seen threaded choke tubes blown out the end of the gun.

if you're hunting on state managed land and some private preserves you're required to use steel shot, not just waterfowl.

longer barrels can be dandy, but stock fit is the answer

proper fit helps keep the gun swing with moving targets

with the right stock fit, long barrels don't feel too long


"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Russ Larges
Moderator

USA
2311 Posts

Posted - September 11 2018 :  06:35:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gw

all guns should be patterned, but it's generally understood that if you're using large steel shot, open chokes are needed.

putting heavy steel shot loads through a tight choke will eventually bulge a barrel, I've seen threaded choke tubes blown out the end of the gun.

if you're hunting on state managed land and some private preserves you're required to use steel shot, not just waterfowl.

longer barrels can be dandy, but stock fit is the answer

proper fit helps keep the gun swing with moving targets

with the right stock fit, long barrels don't feel too long







+1
Russ

The pistol, learn it well, carry it allways. Jeff Cooper
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Russ Larges
Moderator

USA
2311 Posts

Posted - September 11 2018 :  06:35:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gw

all guns should be patterned, but it's generally understood that if you're using large steel shot, open chokes are needed.

putting heavy steel shot loads through a tight choke will eventually bulge a barrel, I've seen threaded choke tubes blown out the end of the gun.

if you're hunting on state managed land and some private preserves you're required to use steel shot, not just waterfowl.

longer barrels can be dandy, but stock fit is the answer

proper fit helps keep the gun swing with moving targets

with the right stock fit, long barrels don't feel too long







+1
Russ

The pistol, learn it well, carry it allways. Jeff Cooper
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ajt
Average Member

USA
281 Posts

Posted - September 11 2018 :  08:27:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill - Thanks for the info and the resource! Very very interesting.
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

5101 Posts

Posted - September 11 2018 :  09:14:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish, that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3300 Posts

Posted - September 11 2018 :  12:19:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gw

all guns should be patterned, but it's generally understood that if you're using large steel shot, open chokes are needed.

putting heavy steel shot loads through a tight choke will eventually bulge a barrel, I've seen threaded choke tubes blown out the end of the gun.

if you're hunting on state managed land and some private preserves you're required to use steel shot, not just waterfowl.

longer barrels can be dandy, but stock fit is the answer

proper fit helps keep the gun swing with moving targets

with the right stock fit, long barrels don't feel too long





It is often assumed that shot made from steel is needed when regulations say "non-toxic shot" is required. And, shot made from steel will damage chokes, especially internal tubes.

But "non-toxic" also includes the various tungsten/polymer (and even the old Bismuth loads) loads (legal in non-toxic zones), which act much more like lead shot in chokes. It is still harder than lead, and it will pattern more tightly than lead. But it does respond much better to choke degrees than steel, and savvy shooters will pattern their guns.

Good performance with these loads is generally achieved with 10 to 15 points constriction down from lead.... I.E, a light modified (Skeet II choke) as opposed to full or improved modified. With the proper choke they have the weight per pellet to carry like lead (which steel does not) and the pellet hardness to resist deformation to deliver true patterns per selected choke.




Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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