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Thread: barrel length

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    barrel length

    Can anyone tell me what the difference in velocity between a 45/70, 40/65 or a 50/70 using a 30" barrel and a 22" barrel. Generally speaking, is there an advantage? I'm talking BP of course

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I dont think the velocity loss will be as much as you think. BP dosnt generate velocity the same as smokeless does. It takes much more to generate a real change in velocity.Another is bullets in these weight ranges tend to promote clean complete combustion.

    Where that extra 8" of barrel or more will help and really shine is with the sight radius when shooting iron sights. There it makes a BIG difference in sight alignment and sighting.

    The other area the 8" will aid is weight and recoil reduction over the days time during a match.

    On hunting guns that 30"barrel on the falling blocks will be very close to the same length of a longer action rifle with a 24" barrel also.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I thin country gent is pretty much spot on

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy

    Knarley's Avatar
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    My Dad told me that a longer barrel gets you an inch or so closer to the game....
    For what that's worth......
    A gun in hand is worth two cops on the phone.
    MOLON LABE

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Perfect, that is what I wanted to know. I am considering a Sharps as a woods walking..well, semi arid desert walking shooter.Unlike the good old days, you only see pockets of rabbits and the gophers have disappeared completely in my part of the country. Never can tell if a jack or coyote might show themselves. Anyway, getting a shot at one with a 145 year old design rifle would make my day especially if I could say "Hold still ya varmint so I can plugs ya." I'm easily entertained.

    Not really interested in the 45/70, but the other two are in contention.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Oops, forgot, thanks for the information particularly the reasons for the longer barrel.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    The difference between a 45/70, 40/65 or a 50/70 using a 30" barrel and a 22" barrel with real BP is more pronounced than with smokeless. I don't have hard and fast numbers as to velocity differences but some insight can be gained from the old-timers method of load development. That was to shoot over snow or a white sheet and keep increasing the powder charge until you got unburnt powder. That will also change with bullet weight.

    https://www.nodakoutdoors.com/forums...ic.php?t=65162

    https://www.longrangehunting.com/thr...hunting.38191/

    http://blog.westernpowders.com/2016/...9-performance/

    Back in the 1960’s, Dixie Gun Works took a .40 caliber percussion test rifle (mostly just a barrel, lock and trigger), and conducted a series of chronograph tests…beginning with a 40 inch barrel – and slowly shortening it down to 20 inches. Shooting 47-grains of FFFg (DuPont) black powder behind a cloth patched 93-grain .395″ round ball, the 40-inch barrel gave them 1,770 f.p.s. (646 f.p.e.). With the barrel at 30 inches in length, velocity was down to 1,642 f.p.s. (556 f.p.e.), and with the barrel shortened to 20 inches velocity was down to 1,509 f.p.s. (470 f.p.e.).
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 10-24-2020 at 05:15 PM.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy MaLar's Avatar
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    I built a rifle with a 29 1/2" barrel cut it down to 22" in 2" increments. It's a 45 cal 350 Rem Mag wildcat.
    Tried loads of fast powders and slow powders plus Black.
    The loss was not as much as you would think even with the smokeless.
    Seems like the worst was 7 fps per inch.
    I'll see if I can find the data I kept.
    Do not confuse my being polite for weakness.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    I once bought an original 1885 Winchester with the barrel cut down to 18 inches. 40-70 Sharps Straight, i do not the velocity but it was a joy to carry and shoot.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I believe that is what I'm looking for, a rifle that is a joy to carry and shoot. Thanks again gang, I have dabbled casually with bp off and on for almost 50 years, but a forum like this is invaluable.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    A 22" carbine in most any caliber is a joy to carry and shoot, in an off hand, hunting or woodswalking situation. I have a .50-70 Carbine for just that purpose. For long strings at range targets, the 30" heavy barrel .50-70 comes out, and is a joy to shoot in that situation. Get what you want, for what you want.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master



    missionary5155's Avatar
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    The difference in an 1886 45-70 26 inch barrel to a 1886 45-70 with a 22" light weight barrel is the smile at the end of the day. Yes we have both.
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Male Guanaco out in dry lakebed at 10,800 feet south of Arequipa.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Something nobody talked about is NOISE from short barrels
    I wear ear muffs every shot I fire at targets but I wanna hear the bear sneakin up behind me when I am out in the bush and for some strange reason the ringing in my ears seems to go away when I am out there afoot - a blackpowder rifle with a decent length barrel I can tolerate and still hear - but a couple shots of smokeless out of a "carbine" and you are gonna be yellin at me across the campfire for several days. As far as the smile at the end of the day - its the weight that does it not the length - a slim round barrel will get you there --- 24inch on a lever gun is a nice compromise I think .

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check