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Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle?

Posted By: Blu_Cs

Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

One of the things I like about he fire is the incredible wealth of experience. Some of it is keyboard commando BS, but a lot of it is the real deal - offered subjectively, of course.

One of the reasons I haunt this board is so I can plan for future hunts (and fishing) in a way that eliminates 80 plus percent of the BS. I'm at a stage in life where I'm working on my bucket list trips, as in the mid sixties my life is getting towards the short strokes. The sad reality is, that at his stage in life, I won't have the ability to go back with lessons learned from he last trip to make the next one easier/better. I just need to go in the first time more or less GTG.

On the same vein, If someone wants to know about deer hunting or bass fishin' along the east coast, especially Georgia, Florida or New England, or for that matter shark fishing in the surf in Africa, or mahseer in South Asia, trout in Chile (or lenguado in the surf for that matter), or Nile Perch on the Oueme River, or grouper in the Arabian Gulf, or wild boar in the Sri Lankan highlands with beaters carrying spears, live baiting sailfish in the Gulf of Siam, or Vermont rabbit hunting, or squirrel hunting in the SE hardwoods, or pheasant shooting in the Midlands over beaters, or long range out of SoCal, or how to wrap a rod for pier fishing for cobia, I'm happy to opine...from experience. Not saying this to impress, its just what it is. I have been blessed, and don't mind sharing even if some my info has become dated in the fullness of time.

With that diatribe out of the way, I look to the future: I ask for my fellow CF member guidance on the issue of barrel length on a rifle used in DG country (probably Alaska, but also the PNW). I read articles on the innernet that talk about a 20" barrel on a ..300 or .338 as being the hot ticket. WTH? I always though that barrel in the 24-26 inch length was the way to roll. But that is all to do with wringing the most efficiency out of the rounds in those calibers. New variable: maneuverability is tight situations.

So if I am to take a moose hunt in Alaska, in brown bear country, carrying a .338WM which is in a stock configuration 24" barrel, should I whack it to 20"? Its a bald barrel, so I am planning to put irons on it and make the scope detachable., so cutting the barrel is no big deal. Thinking this a one and done deal, jus wanna do it ....perfect.

Thoughts?









Posted By: memtb

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

It would likely handle a bit easier especially in “pucker brush”! The slight loss of muzzle weight may, affect how quickly it “snaps” to the shoulder. The velocity loss will probably run 25 to 40 FPS loss/ inch, so I have read..... I’ve never cut one! If it’s for “up close and personal”, 150 or so FPS less velocity , is nothing I would lose sleep over! If you are guiding and it will be a back-up rifle, cutting it makes plenty of sense. If it’s a one time hunt.....”I’d “pull hard on lever B! Obviously, this is JMO.....I’m sure we have others with actual experience! memtb
Posted By: ingwe

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

Just for the sake of handling qualities I'd opt for the compromise...22" barrel...
Posted By: John_Havard

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

When an Alaskan resident and still hunting for brown bears I had a custom 375 H&H made for me with a 22" barrel. You've burned just about the full amount of powder you can with that caliber in 22" and it's a lot handier when weaving your way through thick alders with a potential close encounter in your future. Don't forget to have a scope that's (when on low power) in focus half-way down your barrel with a big field of view. Nothing like not being able to get both eyes of a very large brown bear in the view of your scope when the uh-oh happens. If you're not specifically hunting brown bears then a bigger scope and a longer barrel should be fine.
Posted By: BC30cal

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

Blu C's;
Good evening to you sir, I hope the weekend was a good one for you and this finds you well.

With the understanding that I've never hunted grizzly bears but do live and hunt in south central BC, where grizzly bears are seen once in awhile. I've chased elk, moose, black bears, California bighorn, mulies and whitetail in the local hills over the last nearly 4 decades here so that's the first part of my answer.

As well, I'm no giant at maybe 5'6" with my arms in the air and about 150lbs, so longer and heavier rifles are somewhat longer and heavier for me than say a chap who'd be a foot taller and double my weight, you know?

For years the rifle I'd modified to hunt Saskatchewan whitetails when I lived there and brought to BC was a 21" barreled '06 in a BBR. I really liked the way it handled and truly when shooting 180gr to 200gr bullets it didn't loose as much projected velocity as with lighter bullets.

In the fullness of time as I started hunting with other rifles, I modified a Liberty Model 77 in .338 originally with it's 24" barrel, but ended up making it into a .308 Norma - again with a 24" barrel. Further down the road as I aged and felt less and less like packing a 10lb rifle, I built a 6.5x55 on a 98 action which is 7lb 4oz loaded.

Aforementioned Swede
[Linked Image]

If I know I'm going to chase elk or moose, the Norma goes along with me despite it being a pound and a half more than the Swede and 3" longer.

While I do prefer the handling of the shorter, lighter rifle, especially if I'm in thicker country or on a longer time afield, I don't mind the slightly heavier bullet in the Norma, but it's likely more academic than reality based to be honest.

So then to answer your question, I'd likely not be inclined to shorten a .300 Mag to much less than 22", but would consider a .338 Mag at 20" - but I'd of course go 21" based upon the "mojo" that length of barrel has given me over the years. wink

It would be nice if you could handle a few shorter rifles to see if it makes any difference to you personally, I know my hunting partner is 7" taller than me and doesn't mind longer barrels as much as I do, so that's why I comment on the individual's height as it might be a factor - or not.

Hopefully that was somewhat useful sir. Good luck on your search for a rifle for a northern hunt and for sure good luck on the hunt too. Stay well.

Dwayne
Posted By: bigsqueeze

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

Originally Posted by Blu_Cs
One of the things I like about he fire is the incredible wealth of experience. Some of it is keyboard commando BS, but a lot of it is the real deal - offered subjectively, of course.

One of the reasons I haunt this board is so I can plan for future hunts (and fishing) in a way that eliminates 80 plus percent of the BS. I'm at a stage in life where I'm working on my bucket list trips, as in the mid sixties my life is getting towards the short strokes. The sad reality is, that at his stage in life, I won't have the ability to go back with lessons learned from he last trip to make the next one easier/better. I just need to go in the first time more or less GTG.

On the same vein, If someone wants to know about deer hunting or bass fishin' along the east coast, especially Georgia, Florida or New England, or for that matter shark fishing in the surf in Africa, or mahseer in South Asia, trout in Chile (or lenguado in the surf for that matter), or Nile Perch on the Oueme River, or grouper in the Arabian Gulf, or wild boar in the Sri Lankan highlands with beaters carrying spears, live baiting sailfish in the Gulf of Siam, or Vermont rabbit hunting, or squirrel hunting in the SE hardwoods, or pheasant shooting in the Midlands over beaters, or long range out of SoCal, or how to wrap a rod for pier fishing for cobia, I'm happy to opine...from experience. Not saying this to impress, its just what it is. I have been blessed, and don't mind sharing even if some my info has become dated in the fullness of time.

With that diatribe out of the way, I look to the future: I ask for my fellow CF member guidance on the issue of barrel length on a rifle used in DG country (probably Alaska, but also the PNW). I read articles on the innernet that talk about a 20" barrel on a ..300 or .338 as being the hot ticket. WTH? I always though that barrel in the 24-26 inch length was the way to roll. But that is all to do with wringing the most efficiency out of the rounds in those calibers. New variable: maneuverability is tight situations.

So if I am to take a moose hunt in Alaska, in brown bear country, carrying a .338WM which is in a stock configuration 24" barrel, should I whack it to 20"? Its a bald barrel, so I am planning to put irons on it and make the scope detachable., so cutting the barrel is no big deal. Thinking this a one and done deal, jus wanna do it ....perfect.

Thoughts?


...................Well imo, any assurances or preferences that you seek from the group here as to either a 20" tube or the 24" tube would simply boil down a personal preference. 4" of shorter barrel length from a 338 Win, say losing between 20 to 30-35 fps per inch, will not give you a different outcome (moose or bear) as opposed to using a 24" barrel. If you are a hardened stickler concerning velocity loss from about 80 fps to about 135 fps then stay with the 24"barrel. If you are a hardened stickler for a better handling rifle because of shorter OAL then go with a 20" barrel.

I own a 20" barreled 375 Ruger Alaskan. Gives me the same velocity ballistics as a 24" - 25" barreled 375 H&H but in a shorter handier rifle. It offers the best of both worlds, a handier OAL and the ballistics of a full lengthed 375 H&H rifle.

Me personally? My preference for moose in bear country or bear in moose country would be that Ruger Alaskan. For the more wide open country, then my 26" tubed 28 Nosler and/or my long tubed 338-378 Accumark beast would get the nod.

In your case go with your gutt personal preference. Cannot go wrong with either. Your moose or big bear will still go down.
Posted By: RinB

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20


I have had multiple 338’s with barrels between 25 and 20. 22 is my pick. Hardly any loss compared to longer.
Posted By: bsa1917hunter

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

Id just leave it alone and use the 24" barrel.
Posted By: Sheister

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

I've hunted just about any type of country you are likely to encounter here in Oregon and in Northern Alberta for moose. Even in the thickest stuff I have crawled through on the coastal rain forests and the dark pecker pole thickets of the Blue Mountains, I would doubt you would notice a difference between a 20" and a 24" barrel. I have a Pre 64 Win 70 barreled in a 22" 338 and I have a classic Win 70 Stainless with a 26" 338 and I only prefer the stainless one because I hunt in severe weather quite often. Before I had the Stainless Classic, the 22" 338 WM was my go-to elk rifle. Velocities from the two was 2650 with the 22" barrel with 225 grain Partitions and the 26" pushes 2900 with the same bullets. I've never noticed any difference in killing power or handling in deep dark timber, alder thickets, or long range pokes between the two. I could probably push a few more fps out of the short barrel, but it shoots so well at the load I have worked up for it I just leave it alone...

Do what makes you feel good and what handles best. Don't worry about the rest, IMO....

Bob
Posted By: pathfinder76

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

I’ve walked a lot of miles this spring in Grizzly country with a 20” 375 Ruger Alaskan. I’m not going to say that it has changed my life, but it’s a handy rifle.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: PaulBarnard

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

I lived on Kodiak Island for 3 years. I hunted all manner of creatures there. My rifles sported barrels from 18-24 inches. It's nice to have the shorted barrel when working through tangled alder hells and the faster swinging/handling was bonus too. The truth is though that if I had ever needed to press a rifle into service in a hurry, it probable wouldn't have mattered which one I had. My experience in brown bear country is limited to those three years, so take this for what it's worth. I think we overly romanticize dangerous game hunting and plying our outdoor passions in the dominion of Ursus.

Run what you got brother.
Posted By: Tannhauser

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

Originally Posted by pathfinder76
I’ve walked a lot of miles this spring in Grizzly country with a 20” 375 Ruger Alaskan. I’m not going to say that it has changed my life, but it’s a handy rifle.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


That’s a nice looking rifle, and a fine bear.

Is the stock aftermarket? I ask because I thought the Ruger AlaskanS came with a polymer stock from the factory?
Posted By: Theo Gallus

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

You want to avoid 80% of the BS, and you're asking on the Internet?
Posted By: Sako76

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

I bought a Ruger Alaskan in 375 Ruger to hunt Africa and moose, if I were to hunt DG, that would be the rifle I would use. It shoots Barnes 250 grain TTSX real good and is topped with a Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x36.
Posted By: Rossimp

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

A .33 bore would lose less velocity and energy (expansion ratio a bit higher in the .33 bore) to target than a .30 magnum, in which both carry about the same powder case capacity. The .30 would lose about 50 fps/inch, the .33 about 40 fps/inch. With 24-inch barrel 200 fps vs. 160 fps. That would bother some, others not so much. Handling is subjective as a shorter barrel may increase portability but reduce the shooters ability having lighter muzzle and balance (especially in a shorter weight barrel contour (.600”-.650”) as well as more flip, more noise, more flash and more felt recoil. Again, that may bother some and others will lose no sleep over it. I don’t really see the need to reduce in either on a moose hunt, both are considered long range chambers using telescopic sights and IMO would not be handicapped for such a task, even in grizz country. Only one man’s opinion.
Posted By: JMR40

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

Never been to Alaska, but find shorter barrels pretty handy here in GA where it can be pretty thick.

The velocity loss isn't nearly as much as most people think. No where near 50 fps, even for magnums. The difference between individual barrels is very often more than 2" of barrel makes. I've seen 130+ fps difference between two different 22" rifles shooting ammo from the same box . My Winchester is consistently 90 fps faster than my Remington, both with 22" barrels. I could cut 4" off the Winchester and it would still be faster. My 20" 308 is the fastest shooting 308 I own. It is 15-35 fps faster than the ones with 22" barrels.

You're going to lose speed when cutting the barrel back. And more from a magnum than from a 308 or 30-06 class cartridge, but there are numerous examples out there where people have done this and documented the results. The largest documented velocity loss I've found was 70 fps from cutting 2" off a 300 WM. Most cartridges are in the 10-25 fps/inch range.

And even then at under 50 yards you're going to be hitting game with faster impact speeds from a short barrel than a longer barrel would at 150 yards. If the rifle is adequate at 150 yards from the long barrel it certainly will be fine at under 50 from the shorter barrel.

Short barrels can be loud, and may not carry and balance well. But I'd base my decision on those concerns rather than a few fps of velocity. If you're planning on shooting at 1000 yards, then an extra 50-100 fps might make the difference.
Posted By: comerade

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

As I get older, I really economize on weight and bulk with all my gear... and have become a barrel chopper.
I live and hunt in mountain Grizzly country and my sheep rifle has a 19" long tube, it is a .270 win. Speeds those 150's along well with RL 26.
Posted By: pathfinder76

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

Originally Posted by Tannhauser
Originally Posted by pathfinder76
I’ve walked a lot of miles this spring in Grizzly country with a 20” 375 Ruger Alaskan. I’m not going to say that it has changed my life, but it’s a handy rifle.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


That’s a nice looking rifle, and a fine bear.

Is the stock aftermarket? I ask because I thought the Ruger AlaskanS came with a polymer stock from the factory?


Thanks. That is the factory stock on this particular model.
Posted By: bigswede358

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/18/20

For what it's worth, I get 2850 fps with a 225 Accubond out of my 338 with a 22" barrel. I never chronographed it when it was 24".

For where I hunt 20-22" seems to be just right for me. Thick timber with mixed clear cuts. Shots can be 10yds to 400.
Posted By: Mjduct

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/23/20

I use a 16” 338 federal in a Kimber Montana with a Zeiss Duralyt 1-5 scope on it. Weight about 6” total loaded up. I’m not going to Africa but it’s killed a ton of hogs and a deer or two offhand at whites of the eyes distance.
Posted By: Burleyboy

Re: Why not a short barrel on a DG country rifle? - 05/23/20

I had a 338 rcm stainless with a 20" barrel and factory open sights. I sold it during my mid bore purge and I've missed it ever since. I shot 225g interbonds at 2650 fps and they were sub moa.

I carried it several times wandering around island park which is loaded with grizzlies but never had to use it on one. I've often found myself wishing for the same rifle in 308 but I don't know if they ever made one.

I'm tall enough I could hold it one handed barrel down and still be several inches from dipping the muzzle in the dirt. It handled well and was rugged. Balistically it matched my 24" 338-06 but did so with a 20" barrel.

Bb
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