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Barrel length and accuracy

This is a discussion on Barrel length and accuracy within the Ruger 10/22 Rimfire forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Has anyone ever done any testing with different length barrels and how they affect accuracy on builds? Mainly, with factory parts or with bull barrels, ...


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Old January 17th, 2020, 06:27 AM   #1
 
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Barrel length and accuracy

Has anyone ever done any testing with different length barrels and how they affect accuracy on builds?

Mainly, with factory parts or with bull barrels, does a 16.5", 18", 20", or 24" offer more/less accuracy? I know velocity will be affected, but how is accuracy affected?

I had someone on another forum say that because a shorter barrel can be more rigid since it is shorter, it will be more accurate.

I'm not sure if that is true or not, or if anyone has tested it. I was just curious since I bought a 16.5" threaded bull barrel as a replacement for my Takedown 18" barrel and was wondering...



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Old January 17th, 2020, 08:20 AM   #2
 
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While a shorter barrel is less prone to accuracy issues due to vibration it is not the only factor. Barrel quality and chamber have a lot to due with it. I purchased a KIDD barrel 18" because reviews of testing and customer feedback reported that particular length was the most accurate for them. Mine is very accurate compared to the standard factory barrel. I think if I had a takedown I would have chosen the shorter barrel as well.

I did a lot of research online before making my descision, discarding claims of extreme accuracy and inaccuracy.
I am very happy with mine.
I know many people over the years have had different experiences.
My opinion is you should purchase the length that is most comfortable for them to shoot and choose the brand based on reviews and talking to freinds and if your lucky watching what others have at the range.
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Old January 17th, 2020, 08:36 AM   #3
 
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How much barrel vibration do you get from a .22LR?
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Old January 17th, 2020, 11:05 AM   #4
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I agree with garyseven …. barrel length isn't the only issue related to accuracy. 19~20" is the optimum barrel length for a high velocity 22 LR …. 18" for standard velocity 22s. After these lengths, you will get a token increase in velocity on the order of a few fps …. not worth the inconvenience factor of a heavier and longer barrel.

Just because a barrel is longer, it doesn't mean it will be more accurate, in fact it could be just the opposite because it depends on the profile of the barrel. When a round is fired, every barrel will generate some harmonics, which are nothing more than vibrations caused by the bullet passing through the bore and making the muzzle move in a circular motion (same direction as the rifling). The heavier the bullet, the greater the effect from harmonics will be. Likewise, the faster the velocity, the greater the harmonic effects. The more massive (heavier) the barrel, the less it is effected by harmonics and the thinner the barrel, the more harmonics will make the muzzle move. Because a 22 LR uses a light bullet (40gr or less) and a slow MV, it won't be impacted near as much as a high power rifle with a much higher velocity and bullets that weigh considerably more. That said, 22 LRs can still produce enough harmonics to affect accuracy a little, especially with a thin profile factory barrel.

Obviously when the muzzle moves in a circle, POI downrange will change so you want to keep harmonics to a minimum. With a 22 LR, the best way to deal with harmonics is to use a heavy bull barrel or to use a shorter barrel. By Federal law, the minimum length for a rifle barrel is 16", which will work but you give up some muzzle velocity. Slower velocities take their toll on accuracy in the form of longer exposure to wind and gravity.

Most of the accuracy issues with any 22 LR rifle comes from "bullet damage". Some bullets, especially bulk grade are damaged right out of the box with dents, dings, and irregular shapes or weights. The feeding system, especially in semi autos, tend to influence even more bullet damage by "skinning" them during feeding. Excessive headspace or a loose chamber will also damage bullets because you lose precision bullet-to-bore alignment. Finally, the rifling itself can cause notable bullet damage if just one of the lands produces a deeper or more shallow engraving in the bullet. This type of damage results in a bullet leaving the muzzle slightly out of balance, which will make it yaw and go into a spiral at some point downrange.

So with all of that said, if you want the optimum accuracy with a 10/22, buy a 20 inch, .920" diameter match grade bull barrel with a Bentz chamber. The heavy profile virtually eliminates harmonics, a Bentz chamber will eliminate bore misalignment and the match grade bore will ensure near perfect engraving. By using match grade ammo, you eliminate any "pre-damage" and have cartridges with very uniform velocities and bullet weights.

Following my own advice, I built a 10/22 target rifle that will shoot groups under an inch at 100 yards, using Wolf Target/Match ammo. It has a Green Mountain match grade 20" bull barrel with a Bentz chamber. It also has a decent 3~10X42mm scope with a side dial, a Fajen target stock, and a bolt with minimal headspace. This rifle weighs about 12 lbs so it sure isn't intended for hunting but for benchrest shooting, it really shines.


Last edited by Iowegan; January 17th, 2020 at 11:24 AM.
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Old January 17th, 2020, 12:41 PM   #5
 
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Thanks for the reply's - I think on the takedown, the 16" is optimal just for compactness, and as long as I have a decent group at 50yds, I will be happy. My standard 10/22 or the next one I build is why I was asking- I figured at least an 18" bull barrel, decent quality would be decent, but was wondering if a 20 or 24 would be better.

I did see a chart in another thread that showed velocity in various length barrels, but that doesn't take into account the rifling, barrel thickness, chamber type etc...
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Old January 17th, 2020, 05:29 PM   #6
 
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I put a green mountain bull barrel on my 10/22 (it's amazing). I don't recall the length right now but it's a shorter one. If I recall, their website has a good write up on the appropriate length to get the most velocity out of the 22lr. I think their point was....longer isn't always better.
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Old January 17th, 2020, 06:20 PM   #7
 
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https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum...ad.php?t=84827

Good discussion on this.
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Old January 18th, 2020, 01:41 PM   #8
 
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Plus one on the Bentz chamber. A good chamber and bore make more of a difference than the barrel length and weight.
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Old February 5th, 2020, 11:34 AM   #9
 
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I have the takedown model and have never found any bull barrel over the 16 inch length. The rifle came with an 18" barrel and while I have considered a replacement bull type, I have not seen one as long as the original.
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Old February 7th, 2020, 09:10 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Ruger# View Post
I have the takedown model and have never found any bull barrel over the 16 inch length. The rifle came with an 18" barrel and while I have considered a replacement bull type, I have not seen one as long as the original.
I put a 16" bull barrel on my takedown. So far I am happy with it, but I have maybe 50 rounds through it and a 5 mil red dot which will not allow me great accuracy lol. I need to do some bench rest shooting and see how good I can get.
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Old February 9th, 2020, 08:25 AM   #11
 
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The other thing that needs to considered is pairing the barrel with the stock. I have a 10/22 with 20" target and it felt awkward. I swapped out for 16.5 inch heavy and it feels so much better. I also have a Tikka T1x MT with a 20 inch medium barrel and it feels perfect. Note both have about the same accuracy. I have not checked velocity difference between the two.
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