.223/AR experts. Barrel length for target/varmint rifle?

This is a discussion on .223/AR experts. Barrel length for target/varmint rifle? within the Rifles forums, part of the Sniping Related category; Alright so my next rifle will be a bull-barreled AR15 in .223 that will be used for both varmint hunting, and target shooting out to ...

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  1. #1
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    .223/AR experts. Barrel length for target/varmint rifle?

    Alright so my next rifle will be a bull-barreled AR15 in .223 that will be used for both varmint hunting, and target shooting out to the max range of the load which I would assume is realistcally close to 800 yards. The barrel will be 1/8 twist and I will be using the 77g SMKs for the most part.

    Now I have gotten mixed feelings about the barrel length. I know that for a .308 20" is sufficient, if not ideal, as it is enough tube to empty the cartridge and providers better harmonics over longer barrels, but what is the target length of a .223(in general, I know the powder/charge plays a roll)? I read that going with 24in barrel over a 20in is a loss of almost 100FPS, according to this chart. http://www.loadammo.com/Topics/October05.htm

    100FPS is definitely sufficient for target shooting, however, that is about as long as I would wnat to go with. As far as target shooting, I could care less about the weight, and would actually play a positive roll in recoil reduction, however for varmint hunting, and any shooting trips that require hiking, an extra couple inches of barrel could be more weight and matter than I would like to carry for long distances. So what do you guys thing? Any input. At this point 24" looks like my best bet...

    Thanks
    Jeremy

  2. #2
    Senior Member jeffdorr's Avatar
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    Both my AR15 Varmint rifles have a 24" barrel. The .204 Ruger barrel came with flutes, and weighs less than my .223. The length is not unmanagable, and the weight isn't a whole lot more.

    Jeff
    Jeff passed away on July 17th, 2009, he will be GREATLY missed by everyone here at Sniper Central. Video Thread

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  3. #3
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    Re: .223/AR experts. Barrel length for target/varmint rifle?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oguruma
    ...20" is sufficient, if not ideal, as it is enough tube to empty the cartridge and providers better harmonics over longer barrels
    Close, not quite though. the 20" barrel provides better STIFFNESS than longer barrels. Harmonics are another thing entirely. For example...the 168 grain Sierra from a .308 is best suited to an 11.75" twist 21.75" barrel. For harmonics anyway. If I am not mistaken, 21.75" inches from the cantilever point (recoil lug face) is a target for ideal harmonic positioning for most rifles. I don't know what the next longer one is..ask the Palma guys.

    Will most shooters be able to tell the difference between a 20" barreled Tango-51 and one with a 21.75" barrel? No.

    Now that I am off that sub-topic. I don't see any reason why the 20" barrel on a standard AR would not get the job done. I've seen firsthand what a good ultra heavy service rifle barrel will do at range..seems fine to me. But then, I don't know about velocity "problems" with varmints and the .223 service rifle. You might go with a longer barrel for that reason. 22? 24?

    Just a stream of consciousness.
    -Nate
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  4. #4
    Senior Member jeffdorr's Avatar
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    If you don't reload, it probably won't make a huge difference from 20" to 24". I reload for mine, and use slow burning powders for the extra speed. With heavier bullets like 77 grain, I like the extra length in barrel, to build up that speed. 40 grains of bullet will get you to 200 yards pretty darn fast, but after that the speed drops off rapidly. Bullet and load choice should dictate the length for you in that instance. A lot of folks in the know really like the short barrels for rigidity and weight reduction, but as a reloader, I want all the speed I can get.

    Jeff
    Jeff passed away on July 17th, 2009, he will be GREATLY missed by everyone here at Sniper Central. Video Thread

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  5. #5
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    Found this info by a smith on AR15.com a while back...

    MK 262 VELOCITY DATA
    __________________________________


    7.5" 2053 FPS ... 10.5" 2363 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 310 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 103 FPS

    10.5" 2363 FPS ... 14.5" 2576 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 213 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 53 FPS

    14.5" 2576 FPS ... 16" 2669 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 93 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 62 FPS

    16" 2669 FPS ... 18" 2769 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 100 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 50 FPS

    18" 2769 FPS ... 20" 2818 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 49 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 25 FPS



    M855 VELOCITY DATA
    __________________________

    7.5" 2244 FPS ... 10.5" 2639 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 395 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 132 FPS

    10.5" 2639 FPS ... 14.5" 2861 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 222 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 56 FPS

    14.5" 2861 FPS ... 16" 2938 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 77 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 51 FPS

    16" 2938 FPS ... 18" 3046 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 108 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 54 FPS

    18" 3046 FPS ... 20" 3061 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 15 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 7.5 FPS


    XM193 VELOCITY DATA
    _________________________________


    7.5" 2364 FPS ... 10.5" 2755 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 391 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 130 FPS PER INCH

    10.5" 2755 FPS ... 14.5" 2984 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 229 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 57 FPS PER INCH

    14.5" 2984 FPS ... 16" 3075 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 91 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 61 FPS

    16" 3075 FPS ... 18" 3245 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 170 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 85 FPS

    18" 3245 ... 20" 3254 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 9 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 4.5 FPS
    Hope it helps ya some. I'm planning on using a stainless 1:8 twist 18" barrel from CMMG for my next one.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jeffdorr's Avatar
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    A lot of these varmint type rifles are chambered in .223 Rem, so be careful using military ammo. The cases are thicker, and pressures are higher in many 5.56 surplus ammo loads.

    Jeff
    Jeff passed away on July 17th, 2009, he will be GREATLY missed by everyone here at Sniper Central. Video Thread

    " We cannot direct the wind,but we can adjust the sails." -Bertha Calloway

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  7. #7
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    If he's using the 77gr SMK he mentioned in the OP, he should be fine. I guess I could have left the M193 and M855 part of that matrix out when I copied it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogre
    Found this info by a smith on AR15.com a while back...

    MK 262 VELOCITY DATA
    __________________________________


    7.5" 2053 FPS ... 10.5" 2363 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 310 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 103 FPS

    10.5" 2363 FPS ... 14.5" 2576 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 213 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 53 FPS

    14.5" 2576 FPS ... 16" 2669 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 93 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 62 FPS

    16" 2669 FPS ... 18" 2769 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 100 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 50 FPS

    18" 2769 FPS ... 20" 2818 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 49 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 25 FPS



    M855 VELOCITY DATA
    __________________________

    7.5" 2244 FPS ... 10.5" 2639 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 395 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 132 FPS

    10.5" 2639 FPS ... 14.5" 2861 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 222 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 56 FPS

    14.5" 2861 FPS ... 16" 2938 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 77 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 51 FPS

    16" 2938 FPS ... 18" 3046 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 108 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 54 FPS

    18" 3046 FPS ... 20" 3061 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 15 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 7.5 FPS


    XM193 VELOCITY DATA
    _________________________________


    7.5" 2364 FPS ... 10.5" 2755 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 391 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 130 FPS PER INCH

    10.5" 2755 FPS ... 14.5" 2984 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 229 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 57 FPS PER INCH

    14.5" 2984 FPS ... 16" 3075 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 91 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 61 FPS

    16" 3075 FPS ... 18" 3245 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 170 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 85 FPS

    18" 3245 ... 20" 3254 FPS
    DIFFERENCE 9 FPS
    DIFFERENCE/INCH 4.5 FPS
    Hope it helps ya some. I'm planning on using a stainless 1:8 twist 18" barrel from CMMG for my next one.
    Hmm thanks for the info. Based on the chart provided, 24" might still provide a sufficient amt of velocity over the 20" bbl that was my second choice. Does anybody know the charge and powder used in the MK 262 ammo?

  9. #9
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    I haven't seen it on here, but I've found the recipe on Google somewhere. I know that 75gr Tap has had comparable, if not better performance in some rifles. I like using 75gr BTHP HSM too. I'm pretty sure Mel sells it if you want to try it then replicate it.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator monteboy84's Avatar
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    My AR's 16" bull barrel works great. The prairie dogs don't seem to notice any velocity I may be losing, and paper doesn't seem to mind either as it shoots Ultramax 52 grain HP's into .75" consistently.

    -matt
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    Ordnance System Designs, Inc.
    Stay tuned for details.

    Be worthy of your freedom and of the sacrifice of those who protect it.

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