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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length

.30-06 bullet weight and barrel length

03 Jun 2016
@ 11:46 pm (GMT)

Euan Simpson

Hello,
I have a humble marlin bolt action .30-06 which I use for hunting deer closer than 300m. I recently suppressed it and the 22" barrel with 4" of can makes it really horrible to shoot anywhere but off a bench. Front heavy, unbalanced etc.
I want to chop 4" off the barrel and understand this will cost me muzzle velocity; this doesn't upset me at the ranges I'm interested in hunting.
I use factory loads and this rifle doesn't seem fussy. Is there any risk to my suppressor with this calibre and an 18" barrel? And would there be any difference to this between a 150gr and a 180gr bullet? Suppressors scare me a bit and I'm keen not to blow it up with still-burning powder.

Thanks for your thoughts

Replies

04 Jun 2016
@ 02:05 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Hi Eaun, it may pay to take a step back from this and think things over for a bit.

Let me ask you (and others) a question: What is a .30-06 to you? Why have you selected it? What are your expectations?

At 18", the .30-06 is no longer able to function as it was designed. The efficient .308 would fair better. Nevertheless, you will still achieve reasonable speeds and clean killing. It is just a pity that it will be robbed of some of its strengths.

Will this be another gun thats ends up on auction? Yet another rifle hacked up multilple times until the final conclusion.

Most factory loads use a basic 2209 / H4350 burn rate. The powder charges for factory ammo are not all that high but there will be some unburned powder collection to watch for. Hornady SF uses a slow burn rate at a high charge rate. This may also collect. So again you may need to take some measures to clean the suppressor somehow, once in a while.

The reason I asked you to step back, is that sometimes, our own minds get in the way. The rifle now wears something different and certainly holds differently, but is it really that bad or are you second guessing your initial decision to suppress it. If this internal debate is as a result of you second guessing yourself rather than an actual problem, then I can tell you that you will do exactly the same after docking to 18" and you may end up quitting the rifle for far less than you paid for it, just to get it out of your sight.

Why do I say these things? Because I see it all the time.

So I would ask that you give this some more time. There are so many times when we change tools, vehicles, houses or whatever and we get that 'what have I done' thought or feeling. We are very much creatures of habit and familiarity. A change like yours can cause second guessing. From what I have seen in the gun / hunting world, this is quite normal and natural. But do give it time. If after a period of time you still feel that this is not right for you, then perhaps look at either further docking or fully changing rifles.

Just remember, your only a finger width further forwards than a regular Lee Enfield which at one time, was near the only choice available in NZ.

Hope that helps a bit.
04 Jun 2016
@ 10:00 am (GMT)

Andrew Dobbin

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Hi Euan,
I made a similar decision with the first rifle I brought before finding this site and all of Nathans wonderful research and advice. The rifle in question was a Sako 85 Finnlight in 6.5x55, I chopped the already short barrel to 21 inches, and suppressed it with a store brand suppressor. Total length is just a shade over 24 inches. This rifle has taken me nearly 2 years to come to grips with as it handles very differently to the other rifles have purchased and developed since, including the old swede that I brought the Sako to replace (after Nathans help with bedding and recrowning this now shoots 0.4 inch groups, not bad for a 100 year old barrel and non matching bolt). With careful reloading this rifle is capable of 1/2 inch groups using ADI 2208 which is a slightly faster burn rate than the recomended 2209, velocity is about 100/150 fps slower than a 24 inch barrel but it is very quiet and very little powder build up in the suppressor. Nathans latest book has some very good info on suppressors, especially the maintainance required. The Sako has become my go to rifle for goats at moderate ranges due to the noise it dosen't make.
Sorry for the bit of a rambling post , I guess I'm trying to reinforce what Nathan has said, just stick with it and it will start to feel more natural, but it may take a while and require a bit of effort and research.
And remember its still a whole lot lighter than a fully wooded 303:)
Andrew
04 Jun 2016
@ 11:16 am (GMT)

Euan Simpson

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Thanks for the good advice, I really appreciate it. I'll definitely think things over before I chop anything.

In response to Nathan's questions: I chose a .30-06 because it was cheap and available! I'm on a tight budget and was after a rifle which would kill deer convincingly at close range. Having seen animals heart-shot with smaller calibres run a very long way, I wanted a round that would drop them like a piano landed on them. I looked at various calibres ( .30-06, 45-70, 7mm rem mag, 300 win mag, .375, .308 etc. ) and decided .308 or .30-06 would offer the best compromise between availability ( and therefore price) and ammo availability and price. I found a 30-06 first. I have read Nathan's book on long range hunting and on rifle accurising, and if the only negative of shortening the barrel is loss of muzzle velocity I'm not too worried. I don't have the skill, the equipment or the desire to shoot beyond 200m.
04 Jun 2016
@ 11:16 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Ok, lets look at a basic factory load from Federal, the 150 grain Power-Shok. Velocity is rated at 2900fps and in your rifle will be going around 2830fps.

Docking will change the velocity by 35fps per inch average.

4 x 35fps = 140

2830fps - 140fps = 2690fps (duplicates some .308 loads at 2700fps).

Now as to my questions and your answers. You bought the .30-06 for its price, but also you wanted increased killing power. This increased killing power will be removed once you have docked the barrel. The rifle will still be effective, but it will lose its extra panache. This will be most noticeable with budget ammo. The Federal blue box for example loses around 200fps per 100 yards.

Hand loading would help a good deal, you could enhance performance by changing the type of bullet used.

With regards to factory ammo, You can regain some loss by using Hornady Superformance ammo. But this will cost you more and may go against your budget. The gains are not so great in a short barrel and unburned powder may be an issue. That said, a load that would suit you well is the 180gr SST SF load, going around 2780-2800fps in your current set up or around 2650fps in the short barrel. The 150gr load is also very good but not that well suited to bush work / taking large bodied deer at various angles. The 165gr SST is my favorite load of the bunch but you'll find that retailers (and possibly the importer) often neglect this and offer either the 150 or 180 only, failing to understand the usefulness of this all around load (that or simply being unable to afford to carry a wider stock range).

All of these things aside, if you can afford it, buy a box of cheap Highland factory ammo, check basic accuracy with a couple of shots, then switch to reactive targets. Old cans would be the go, setting them up at around 25 yards and some at 50 yards. Take an old sack or plastic bag so that you can clean up afterwards. If you want something a it bigger, take plastic milk bottles or whatever. Just something that can be shot at, then cleaned up.

It would be nice if you could just plink wild west style for a morning and get used to the new set up. You can try various positions and see how you go. Do not set any extreme challenges, just stick to 25 yards and out to 50. Many people misunderstand my approach to rifle accuracy. This is just one way (as I wrote in the shooting book) to simply loosen up and have some fun.

If you dock the barrel- try to not use Highland ammo for hunting. I cannot guarantee the burn rate (could be medium but could be 50bmg), nor can I state that you will see speeds above 2500fps.You will be lucky if you get 2700fps with their 150gr load in your current barrel length and around 2500fps in a docked barrel.


05 Jun 2016
@ 10:11 am (GMT)

Euan Simpson

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Thanks Nathan for sharing your knowledge, I really appreciate your time. I'm getting 1" groups at 100m off the bench with the rifle fully 'rested' and when the stars align, and with 150gr American whitetail. And when no one is watching. (I floated the barrel and bedded it with your kit, I think it made a difference) I'm going to try 180gr or 165gr sst but as you said, heavier Hornady sst ammo is like hen's teeth - I have been told it's on backorder from a couple of shops. Might have to order online and go through the whole paperwork thing. Reloading will have to wait for now.
100 metres at a range is one thing, but after a 10hr walk up a hill in the rain 100m seems a longer shot, and shouldering this beast with cold hands and tired arms makes me miss my little carbine. Practice.
08 Jun 2016
@ 08:35 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
hi Euan.
one thing i thought i would ask is why did you get it suppressed in the first place? if its for no particular reason you could just hunt without it.

one option is to look at the cost of cutting down a barrel $100? then look at what your rifle worth, if you want a short handy rifle is it worth thinking about trading it in on a 20inch 308? is just an idea some rifles come pre threaded so same suppressor should fit but will need a different bush.
08 Jun 2016
@ 08:23 pm (GMT)

Brendon Greig

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
I was just wondering if if weight is not a major issue for carrying ect and the suppressor has made it front heavy could you add some weight to the but stock to bring some of the balance back like a couple of fishing sinkers these could be removed in time once you get a feel back for the rifle
09 Jun 2016
@ 12:49 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
I have had a bit more time to contemplate this.

We had a hunter visit us over the weekend, picked up an old Remington Carbine .30-06. He has been running 150gr Cor-Lokt ammo which often falls well below specs in a 22" barrel let alone an 18" tube. He was commenting on how the rifle was nice to use in the tight stuff but when he tried to shoot across a clearing, the bullet drop was huge at 200 yards and he was having to aim near the back line on game. I would say his rifle would be giving somewhere between 2600-2650fps. At 100 to 200 yards, it would be very similar to a handloaded .30-30.

Again, hand loading could help some. A high BC bullet can for example help keep impact velocities high at the target, even if they are not so high to begin with. But there are some courses of action which are highly counterproductive.

As the week has progressed, I have seen more stories of woe. One man had the following:

A 7mm WSM with 8 twist barrel that suffered bullet tumbling (a subject I have covered in the book series but also in the bullet annealing article on this site).
A .300 Weatherby Mag docked to 21" and no surprises here but its buldging the suppressor.
A 7mm-08 cut to 15" for no particular reason.
A .300 Whisper that won't produce wide wounds at subsonic velocities.
A perfectly fine and dandy .308 Win that sits and gathers dust.

The one thing I am seeing among a lot of guys now is boredom, too much head space versus too much time reading rubbish on the internet. For some reason, guys get sucked into these projects that never pan out. I hope that those of you who have read the book series have been able to avoid such traps. The thing is, there is enough in the book series, enough tasks to truly challenge yourselves without going down the path of (to quote myself in the books) the phantom fiddler.

I quite like Thomas's project because it is something truly unique, a good challenge for all involved. I have had folk email me, shooting high pressure .45/120 loads. I find that interesting too. One guy was shooting to about 2km with his rig. Ruger put out their .308 Scout rifle a while back- thats another rig with more challenges to enjoy. There are a range of interesting projects we can get into, all without butchering guns that simply don't have the efficiency to perform (or may become dangerous) when we muck around too much with them.

People tell me they want a short rifle for practical purposes but I do not believe this is always truly the case. I think more often than not, they see some project (take the gun rags for example) and then question their own set up. It is this non stop questioning, a monkey mind approach that I see plaguing hunters, especially as companies try to push more and more kit their way. The same goes for rifle weight. In some cases I see guys buying and selling rifles over and over again. They never truly become effective because they never settle on a rifle long enough to become proficient with it. Or they end up with a list of problem rifles as I wrote above.

Also, I think that when you make a rifle fat with a suppressor, this can play on ones mind but is transferred subconsciously as a length issue. The rifle can certainly be made shorter, but this will not change its overall bulky appearance. As Thomas suggests, to trim up a gun, you'll need to ditch the muffler and wear ear plugs or hearing aid type electronic earmuffs while keeping your dog back.

But for now, I suggest no sinkers, no debates, no monkey mind, no nothing. Just shoot the rifle for a while and allow. No gun rags and no what old such and such reckons (who has got a cupboard full of of 21" WBY's). After some time and distance, having put all debates aside, you will know what suits you best. If you really want the rifle trim, Thomas has the obvious answer.

09 Jun 2016
@ 02:57 am (GMT)

Euan Simpson

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Thanks again for the thoughtful advice - particularly Nathan for sharing his experience freely.
I agree with most of what was said about people liking to 'mod' their guns for fun rather than to address any real problems. I have been as guilty of that as anyone.
But this is a rifle that cost me $100. It came with a cracked stock, spray painted barrel and action, and rust. With the cost of the bedding kit and threading the whole thing owes me less than $300. It wears a 20 yr old 4 power scope in 20yr old rings. Safe to say it's not a vanity project, and it's not worth selling.
Would a 20" .308 have any advantage at all over a 20" .30-06?

I've cleaned it up and it shoots one-ish inch groups with factory ammo.
I suppressed it to save my hearing, which I rely on. I've never shot an animal from prone so I like my rifle to shoulder and 'point' quickly I suppose, which is what started me feeling it's too long. I might leave it alone for a while as suggested. I might chop it to 20" and take a baffle out of the suppressor.
I'll let you know, and thanks again for the input.
09 Jun 2016
@ 04:43 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
No worries Euan.

You ask about the difference between a 20" barreled .308 versus a 20" barreled .30-06. Velocities are pretty much the same but due to the different powders used in each, there will be a lot less sooting in the .308 barrel, less carbon at the case neck area (keeping pressures down) and less powder build up in the suppressor.

Your description of the rifle makes this even more tricky. Rifles like this are generally borderline. Once you see rust on the outer, the inner is usually near poked. What I find (others will recall the post I made- Todays POS) is that when this type of rifle is suppressed, the already pitted bore collects carbon and this carbon attracts moisture and then further corrosion over hours, not days. You will see this accelerated rate of corrosion if the rifle is used on overnight hunts etc. Where before the rifle might have lasted a a few years, its life expectancy is now down to days and months, depending on the weather and hunting methods. It may be fine sitting in a lock up for months, then lose its marbles after only one weekend.

In this instance, if you want to shoot suppressed, you could cut down to 20" because in plain terms, the bore may already be on its way out. The docking may take you back to a cleaner area of the bore. But none of this can be considered optimal or a long term fix. I misunderstood your initial post thinking that you were on a very tight budget and had saved for a new or near new budget rifle and that this rifle was to be your do-all rig. So my main concern was getting you set up for long term success. I did not realize that this rifle was of this nature.
09 Jun 2016
@ 04:57 am (GMT)

Sebastian Shand

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
i was browsing trade me yesterday and came a across a tikka t3 lite 300 win mag thats been cut to 17inches and suppressed.
its enough to make a grown man cry.

anyway sorry to hijack the thread. i hope you get it all sorted Euan good luck!
09 Jun 2016
@ 08:32 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
from my experience with my .270 at similar length here are couple of suggestions
carry canless in the tight bush
sling rifle across front muzzle up over right shoulder
or muzzle forward under left arm
both of those will balance out nicely
forst will have left hand on can or front of forestock
the 2nd has hand on pistol grip
the added weight wont "be there" if you shooting a deer..you wont notice it at all...and try winchester 180 grn powerpoints too
09 Jun 2016
@ 10:04 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Good call Mike- this is a very soft bullet, opens extremely fast (faster than other brands) and is not completely reliant on impact velocities. Ideal for bush hunting. The powder is quite clean burning compared to some others.

Generally shoots close to factory specs. In your rifle, budget on 2650fps at 22". 2570fps at 20" or 2500fps at 18".
09 Jun 2016
@ 10:21 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
17" Tikka.

Generic factory load (e.g Rem 180gr SP) gives 2960fps in test barrel 26", around 2900fps true velocity in 26" sporter.
35fps per inch docked.
Total 9" docked compared to test barrel length.
Velocity loss approx 315fps, possibly more.
Potential velocity 2585fps while risking a suppressor rupture at any given time.

09 Jun 2016
@ 11:52 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
I think that Tikka add should read something like "Tikka magnum, donor action for sale!"

Occasionally l go to the range and many times a fella turns up on the bench next to me with a 308 Ruger Scout, aaahhhh, l stop shooting and go have a cuppa. Massive muzzle flash, big noise and powder blowing everywhere.
Always heaps of second hand ones for sale on Used Guns!!!

As l have said before "the gun Industry is in a strange place".
09 Jun 2016
@ 11:58 pm (GMT)

Grant Lovelock

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Euan how much does the suppressor weigh? We have suppressors available for 30-06 that are only 260 grams and 105mm forward of the muzzle... how does that compare with what you have ?
What suppressor do you have?
10 Jun 2016
@ 12:17 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Yes, that would be terrible Marty, being around this short rifle with a flash hider on. I really see no need to keep this on these.
10 Jun 2016
@ 12:54 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
These circumsized 308s and 06s will make for great 358 Winchesters and 35 Whelen rifles. Buyer's remorse will become Buyer's rejoice. ....... making a bad choice into Good decision. Get into the great 358!
10 Jun 2016
@ 01:33 am (GMT)

Sebastian Shand

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
So by those calculations Nathan he has created himself a handicapped 308 rifle while managing to burn twice as much powder twice as much money and overall a heavier rifle that has been cut down to save on weight and size then suppressed so now it's long again and twice as shit. Hmmmmmm I feel that this problem could have been resolved another way? I just can't quite think what tho?
10 Jun 2016
@ 01:26 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Cannot begin to understand what you meant by this Sebastian.
10 Jun 2016
@ 08:34 pm (GMT)

Sebastian Shand

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Gidday Bryan
I speak of the tikka 300 win mag with a 17inch barrel. By doing this it has dropped velocity below what a 308 can accomplish with the same weight projectile in a barrel of average length. I'm just puzzled as to why own a 300 win mag which is burning more powder to replicate the fps of a slow 308? Sorry hope I'm making sense. I was quite tired when writing the last message.
Maybe I'm wrong as I know little on the subject.
11 Jun 2016
@ 02:31 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
There comes a point in some debates where you just have to let people be wrong? I recall an event where a Helicopter was being used to drag a 110 meter length of fire hose to replace the broken town water supply pipe as the Bridge had been washed away in a cyclone. The gap was 110 meters wide. Two Firemen in the brigade commented to the officers in charge that the hose wouldn't be long enough and where told to mind their own business. they wouldn't and stated that it wont work the hose is too short! The reply was to [email protected]#k off ...... What ensued was a tremendously frightful display of a Bell Jet ranger helicopter trying to stretch a too short a length of hose across the gap of the broken bridge ends. With the Choppers nose pointing to the ground and the rotor blades 5 foot off the bridge decks and missing the steel side rails by much less! Beating up a cloud of silt n stones around the machine, Finally the Chopper pilot released the tether and flew off between the trees and lamp posts? It was a Fail through swollen egos and People believing what they wanted too believe? And the chain of command being that you shut up and do what we the leader in charge says say!!!
Having to think requires energy! Modern people don't want to have to think. So they see something cool they want and follow the crowd or latest youtoob trend! Read in a Gunzine or see in a movie....... I'm afraid that this pattern of learned behavior is the first signs of our glorious and pathetically stupid attempt at over informed under thought out self Extinction.
The good thing in this is that these Chopped up rifles will make for cheap actions for informed folk like yourself to build up a fine and accurate food collection tool. Some shops probably make good money from these rifles buying them back fitting a new factory length barrel then talking the new purchaser into some Modification's
Ewan maybe Had you explained in your first post the circumstances behind how and what condition the 30-06 was in this thread would have gone in a different direction? It has provided a good topic and open discussion about options and the results from cutting down barrel length and is no different than the Boy racer Motorcycle chaser swapping and changing the exhaust system on their car/Bike to make it "Sound faster" and "look louder"? It seamed like a good idea at the time Officer.
Speaking of shortened Barrels.....
I saw a sawn off Shotgun( Not much longer than a large Mutton Shank) with barrels so short that you could see the crimps in the ends of the shells...... The Robber with a knife went white when my mate pulled it out from under the tellers counter pointed it at him and politely suggested that he and his knife could Bugger off? The ''Mutton Shank'' is at the bottom of the river that the above mentioned broken bridge used to span. God I miss the 80's.
Euan You could always fit a new factory 30-06 barrel or make a nice 35 Whelen with your Marlin ???
11 Jun 2016
@ 08:21 am (GMT)

Euan Simpson

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
Thanks Nathan for the advice on carbon buildup and rust - I've just spent some quality time with some carbon solvent and a brush - following your instructions from the book. I'll keep her very well oiled and keep an eye on things.
Apologies for not describing the rifle earlier - it's not in terrible shape, just neglected. I've bedded it, cleaned it, lubed it properly and - for what it is - set it up as well as I can. The bore has good, clear rifling and as I said it shoots straight - not bad considering the whole show cost less than my mate's scope rings.
Thanks Mike for advice on the powerpoints. If I do chop it to 20" I'll track some down. And for the carry advice. Grant the suppressor is a DPT modular number and not heavy. In truth there is nothing wrong or unusual with the rifle's weight or length - it just doesn't feel good. And that's to do with me not the rifle.
It will likely be carried far and shot seldom, so hopefully it'll put some meat in the freezer before the barrel's done it's dash. I'll be reading about .35 calibre in the meantime!
11 Jun 2016
@ 10:25 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: .30-06 bullet weight and barrel length
my .270 is of similar dimensions so I know what works carry wise...I do lots of walk and little shoot LOL.
the DPT and Gunworks spartan will add same amount of length give or take 1/2" and weight difference is about same as 1 round of loaded ammo........ Im thinking of getting a S/S baffle for the DPT as it is starting to eat away at baffles already with less than 70 rounds through it.
 

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