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Short barreled magnum rifles

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by BullsBucksandBoars, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. BullsBucksandBoars

    BullsBucksandBoars The right place at the right time, OR Active Member

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    I'm in the market for a new rifle, one that's caught my eye is the new guide gun by Ruger in 338 Win. Ruger® Guide Gun Models (even though that stock makes me want to throw up). It would be primarily a bear gun used in the coast range and a deer might get popped from time to time but I'm also planning an Alaska trip for next year and am going to take my new rifle, whatever it may be. I really like something's about this gun, one of which is the short barrel my fear is I know shorter barrels cause a loss of velocity; would I be spittin into the wind hoping real magnum preformance out off a .338 with a 20" barrel? I'll never shoot at anything past 300 yds with gun but don't want to buy a big heavy magnum that preform as such

  2. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Unless the kind of hunting you do requires clearing rooms that short of a barrel isn't worth it. There will be a signifigant velocity loss. Magnum cartridges have alot of slow buring powder to burn. A 24-26 inch barrel would do a much better job burning all that powder.

    Do you really need a magnum? A 338 federal could get by with a shorter barrel and not loose so much velocity. What about the good ol' 30-06? There is not much it can't do.
  3. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    There are plenty of short barreled rifles out there in the .06, .308 and various 7mm calibers that fall in the so called "light weight mountain" rifle category, so why not? In reality were giving up a fist full of powder burn with those choices also, but you'll not hear someone say "damn I wish my rifle weighed three more pounds so I could get another 150 FPS out of her".

    Here's the data found for barrel length VS. velocity.

    338 Win mag
    Winchester brass
    Federal GM215M primers
    Reloder 19....73 grains
    250 grain Partitions
    27 inches.....2806 fps
    26 inches.....2787 fps
    25 inches.....2761 fps
    24 inches.....2743 fps
    23 inches.....2716 fps
    22 inches.....2697 fps
    21 inches.....2676 fps
    20 inches.....2656 fps
    150 fps from 27 inches to 20 inches.

    This data shows for 250 grain bullets, if you need the difference in speed take a look at the 200 grain slug, their still running at around 2850 FPS, not to shabby considering that's outperforming either the .308 and -06 while still carrying over 20 grains of bullet weight and diameter.

    While I'd agree that the old -06 is as good of choice as any, (she's my all time favorite) you'd be sacrificing there as well as in any short barreled rifle.:peace:
  4. lazerblazer

    lazerblazer Portland Active Member

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    Thank you Salmonriverjohn, this is a caliber i had been interested in for a while and now seeing this info regarding short BBL I am more convicted in my decisions. I had heard many times from various sources who have served in combat roles that they have seen some amazing results out of lighter shorter rifles, but i had not seen any figures to back up those claims until now.
  5. 4Given

    4Given The Gorge Member

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    Love those light, fast and super handling "Mountain Rifles". I have four, each with short barrels.

    *** Browning X-Bolt .223.............18"
    *** Browning A-Bolt 7mm-08........20"
    *** Browning A-Bolt 300WM.........20"
    *** Rem. 700 Mount. Rifle 30-06...20"

    Will be testing "Hodgdon Superformance" powder later this spring with my new chronograph.
    My hope is that I can lessen the effects of having a short barrel.

    Hope to post test results in May.
  6. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Want a .338 with a shorter than average market length barrel, fine stock and such? Contact SDR on this site (also a sponsor/advertiser: Dave's Palisades Auto Repair), and see if he still has the Winchester Model 70 I sold him a year or so ago. He's been trying to sell it ever since his son decided on something else. When I had it, it was custom wood stocked by one of the last old-time riflemakers in the region, H&K gun works in Forest Grove. Kurt Mueller is the proprietor now, but his father stocked that gun before he passed away. Primo stuff. They also built my Sako .221 Fireball.

    When I saw the gun for sale at the Portland show a couple months ago, it had been outfitted with a quality synthetic stock, but the Mueller wood was offered with it. The gun is also magnaported (cuts recoil a bit, muzzle jump more). If I recall correctly, the barrel is either 22 or 23" :maybe shorter. (Factory Winchester, post-64, but shortened probably at the same time it was ported, polished and blued).

    Please note: this is not an ad for the gun. I don't have it. I just saw someone wanting something I knew where to get. It was priced at a near-steal for what is delivered. Good luck!
  7. TKevlar

    TKevlar Eugene, Oregon, United States Active Member

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    This right here.:thumbup:
  8. gehrheart

    gehrheart fidalgo island Well-Known Member

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    My personal choice for those hunts in Alaska has been the .35 Whelen.
    I built mine for an all around deep forested area hunts in Alaska. I started with a Winchester made P17, Hart barrel, Timney trigger and a nice piece of Walnut. I didnt put a scope on it, rather I used Classic Lyman peeps I picked up made back in the early 60's.
    Very happy with the .35 whelen.

    .35 Whelen: overlooked, misunderstood, vastly underrated

    Then again... Really hard to go wrong with the .338 in any configuration. ( I own a couple different types and wanting more!)
    With that set up that you are looking at doing I would try the 210grain offering.

    Just my 2 cents.
  9. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    I used to have four 338 win mags - now I only have a 338-06 and my 9.3X62 mauser. I feel that inside of 300 yards that 9.3 would do anything I asked of it within reason. I have a interarms magnum action online for sale because I cant imagine much being better for elk inside of 300 yards than that 9.3. Just my opinion.

    James Ruby
  10. gehrheart

    gehrheart fidalgo island Well-Known Member

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    .338-06 I am thinking is my next build up!
  11. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I have a Remington 700 in 338 RUM with a 20" barrel. 1 1/2" groups out at 300 yards. I wanted to have something neat for coast range elk that wasnt a lever action or a single shot number 1.
  12. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    I have an old .45-70 double rifle that's a hoot, open sights and both dead on at 50 yards.
    Two triggers at once, ouch on both ends.
  13. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    You may not care but the muzzle blast and loudness of such a configuration is going to be intense. WHAT? I said.....
  14. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    If you are wanting a shorter barrel, but are concerned with the velocity loss and resulting impact engergy loss, shoot a heavier bullet. Or just get a 45-70 like others suggested...