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Short barrel accuracy potential

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I have a CZ 452 scout with a 16+" barrel. It is equipped with a 2x-7x Leupold rimfire special scope. Although 16" barrels generally produce the highest velocity for the .22 lr, they are not necessarily the most accurate. I basically understand the principle of "transonic" turbulance having a detramental effect on the flight of the bullet. This being said, the first time I shot this rifle I was getting 1" to 1.5" 5 shot groups using Remington and CCI standard velocity ammunition at 50 yards. The scope was set on 7 power. There was some noticable wind, but nothing significant. Although additional shooting with different brands of ammunition is necessary to find what my rifle "likes", does anyone have substantial experience with 16" barrels and their accuracy potential? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you for any responses.
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Hi. First, any wind is significant with a .22lr at 50 yards.
A 16-inch tube can be supremely accurate, don't be fooled. There is no study I am aware of linking accuracy to barrel length, it is more a matter of knowing what your needs are. Silhouette shooters tend to use short tubes to get the bullet out of the barrel as fast a possible before the ruin a good shot by moving. They use bloop tubes to keep the weight of the rifle forward.
BR shooters tend to use longer barrels, exactly why, I don't know. Positiion shooters use longer tubes for weight and because, at least in rimfire position, traditionally, the longer tube was seen as a way to even out velocity variations in ammo and to slow the ammo down so that each shot was more likely to leave the tube subsonic. Older ammo was not as good as what we have now, or so it is said. I have a "benchrest" 10/22 (or as close as i have seen to one). It has a 16-inch tube. It is in my photo gallery here. It is accurate. How accurate? I'm not sure yet as I've only fired the set up twice so far. I can say that the same barreled-action in another stock has consistently agged in the .4xx range at 50 yards. Is that accurate, sure. There are guns here that can beat it, what length tube they have, I don't know, I do know there are handguns with 5.5-inch barrels that have done that at the same distance from a machine rest. Good shooting to you. Regards. Lawboy
 

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I read somewhere that a little 5-8mph breeze can cause the 22LR slug to drift 5" or more at 100yds. That is a significant difference at 50, especially when trying to keep groups within .5in. I was out last night and was trying to shoot good 10rd groups...pfffft, forget that because the wind was blowing. All my fliers were off to the left :). Oh, and I have a 16" Clerke on this 10/22.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Accuracy potential

I guess I did not realize the effect even a minimal breeze had on the accuracy of the .22 lr. The next time I attempt to get tighter groups I will pick a day when there is NO WIND at all (hopefully on my day off!). That may have been the major part of my poor groups. Thanks for the replys. :D
 

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This is one of those debates which will probably never be resolved, and I don't pretend to do it here. However, in the 1992 edition of Gun Digest C.E. Harris wrote an article entitled "Getting the Best from the .22 Rimfire". In it, among other topics, he discussed the issue of shorter barrels. He stated he had ringed a BSA Martini barrel he had on a Ruger 77/22, so he cut it off in 2" intervals from 22" to 16.5". He said he found the barrel to be more accurate at 16.5" than at 22". In looking at his charts that was generally true, but there were exceptions based on ammunition brand/type. He stated that the reason for the greater accuracy was due to greater rigidity of the shorter barrel, but I think he was dealing with a sporter weight barrel rather than a bull barrel. So, while these were his results I think the old caveat that your actual mileage may vary applies.
For what it is worth Volquartsen guarantees the same level of accuracy from their 16.5" muzzle weighted barrels as they do their longer full bull barrels (3/8" @ 50 yds with match ammo).
It's not resolved, probably never will be. You pay your money and you take your choice.
 

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When you are taking even small amounts of metal off a barrel you are changing the barrel and gun harmonics. I'm certan that if he took off 1/8" or 1/16" slices and did the same sort of testing that there would be areas of greater and lesser accuracy for any given type and lot of ammo. Perhaps at 16.5 inches he hit one of the sweet spots but perhaps he missed 3 other sweet spots at longer barrel lengths.

The barrel length advantage for position shooters comes from sight radius - the greater the radius the smaller the sighting error. With a scope I doubt this would be an issue.
 

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G & A Article 16" Anschutz squirrel rifle

Regarding short barrels: Guns and Ammo had an article back in the Sixties (no, I don't know the exact date...!) , written by someone who converted an Anschutz 54 target rifle to a full-stock squirrel rifle. He cut the barrel down to the legal (U.S.) minimum of 16.5" and, if I recall, it was very accurate.

If anyone has/recalls this article, perhaps they'd like to post a reply!
 

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It is a known fact amoung serious .22 shooters that sometimes a Ruger MK-II bull barrel pistol will shoot better groups than the stock 10-22 rifle.

It is much harder to do with the pistol but a good shooter can do it.

This goes against what a lot of people belive but it has happened.
 
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