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why not a 14.5" barrel?


naim
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Im fairly new to 3 gun. The consensus on rifle length seems to be 18" barrels but, I was doing the math and most of the shooting with rifles have been inside 100yds. With that said wouldn't a lighter shorter barrel be more beneficial for the close stuff. How much do you really lose with a 16" or even a 14.5" barrel? just trying to figure things out and see what people have to say.

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You should build a rifle that is capable of shooting 8in targets at 500yd easily. Take as much weight out of it as you need to so that it swings, points, and handles the way you like. And then do everything you can to mitigate the recoil. At least thats my theory for putting together a good 3gun rifle.

The 18" barrel allows us to use a rifle length gas system for the softest possible recoil and most reliability. Most of us run low mass bolts and buffers of some sort to lower the recoil and allow the gun to cycle on less gas. While a shorter gun is great for quicker transitions, the spit times are faster for me with the heavier gun with less recoil. 18" is the compromise between accuracy and speed when talking about barrel length that most of us are comfortable with. I saw some AMU guys running short guns at the last 3gn pro series match, maybe 12.5" with eotech's. There where its all about speed it makes sense but in the majority of matches you will be shooting 3-4 times the max distance 3gn allows by rule.

Also, those longer distance targets my be worth 2 or more times a closer one.

Edited by ClutchUSMC
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Nick, Sam Travis shoots a 14.5 and whips most people's asses out to 300 yards. I would think a decent quality 14.5 would outshoot a poor quality 18. There is a school of thought the says the barrel rigidity of a shorter barrel is more of a benefit. Most of what we shoot here in AZ in 350 yards and closer, so I think there would be no disadvantage to a shorter gun. I was thinking of bringing my 11.5 to the next monthly match and trying it in Tac Irons.

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The rifle gas is a plus and you can't do that with a 16 or a 14.5 inch barrel. Also if you have a nicely balaned 18 inch gun it will not be at a disadvantage on a short course of fire. I feel 18 is the sweet spot for handling. I shot a 14.5 inch Noveske for my first few years. I much prefer my 18 inch JP with a light weight contour barrel now.

Pat

Edited by Alaskapopo
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14.5" is not bad as long as you have a barrel twist that matches your ammo. I agree with Clutch regarding the gas system.

If all you have is a 14.5 barrel, go out and shoot it and upgrade later. I shot my 14.5" for over 8 years.

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I think a 14.5 is fine for 3 gun. I use a 14.5 mid length and if I would put a 1-4x I don't think I would have an issue.

Sure you can use one but you probably will do better with an 18 inch barrel with a rifle gas. Its like you could use a stock Glock 22 in three gun but you would be better with a tricked out 2011 in 9mm. You could be fine with a Mossberg pump but you would do better with a Benelli M2. There is a reason why most people run the same general type of rifle configuration.

Pat

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I don't see the benefit of moving to a rifle gas length and an 18 inch barrel personally. As rumors are the 14.5 middy is the softest shooting combo you can get. I have seen a 14.5 hit at 730 yards pretty consistently and that changed my mind thinking a longer barrel is needed.

Hell wth am I saying I don't shoot 3 gun enough to be even in this discussion lol but a 14.5 won't have a problem making the hits.

Edited by gixxerjunky
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Thanks for all the input guys but I think I need to find out for myself. I'm going out tomorrow and I'm bringing a 18",16",and a 14.5" I'll post my findings after I run each one through a stage or two

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I don't see the benefit of moving to a rifle gas length and an 18 inch barrel personally. As rumors are the 14.5 middy is the softest shooting combo you can get. I have seen a 14.5 hit at 730 yards pretty consistently and that changed my mind thinking a longer barrel is needed.

Hell wth am I saying I don't shoot 3 gun enough to be even in this discussion lol but a 14.5 won't have a problem making the hits.

With respect how much have you shot either? (18 inch rifle or 14.5 inch middy) Have you compared with the same load and compensator on a course of fire. Do what you want but again there is a reason that most people use 18 inch rifle gas system guns. (hint they like to win). When I was new to three gun I thought I knew it all too. I used a 14.5 inch AR, a 40sw Edge, and a Benelli M4 while others were using 9mm STI's and Glocks, 18 inch AR's and M2's. Guess what I have learned that all those other shooters were not stupid and knew what they were doing. I now use an M2, a 9mm STI and a 18 inch JP. I also do better now than when I started. I did very well in Texas for me (8th out of 42 in open) this year. I hit all the targets in the long range stage (did not try for the bonus) and finished that stage at 79 seconds and change. 4 years back in my first match in Texas with my 14.5 inch gun I went to war on the steel and nearly timed out on the long range stage. I can say from personal experience that for me at least the 18 inch gun is an advantage.

Pat

Edited by Alaskapopo
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I've been running an 18" JP barrel for years. A few years back, I got one of their 16" middy as a backup upper. I shot both side by side with all things equal except for the barrel. The 18" was noticeably softer enough for me to sell the backup upper. Many years ago, I tried the a 14.5" carbine gas system with a BC comp at a match. My doubles were a lot slower because it was bouncing a lot. I'll never do that again.

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Im fairly new to 3 gun. The consensus on rifle length seems to be 18" barrels but, I was doing the math and most of the shooting with rifles have been inside 100yds. With that said wouldn't a lighter shorter barrel be more beneficial for the close stuff. How much do you really lose with a 16" or even a 14.5" barrel? just trying to figure things out and see what people have to say.

Learn the game, learn to shoot your gear. I shot a 16" carbine length gas AR the entire year last year. I also used a Benelli M4 and a stock Glock 17. I seemed to do just fine. Even in the Pro Series I am still using my M4 and stock Glock. I see tons of guys using fancy tricked out 2011's that can't shoot a lick. Shoot the gear you have and make the minor tweaks as you progress.

And honestly, as a well known pro says, "Winning isn't how fast you shoot a target. It's how fast you transition between targets."

Edited by jdknotts1
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The extra 3.5" of barrel length is inconsequential in most 3-Gun hoser stages. The bigger considerations are muzzle stability (heavier guns with longer gas systems are softer and smoother shooting = faster splits), and muzzle velocity (18" gives you a significantly flatter trajectory at distance, and hits reactive targets harder). What you gain inside 100yds you more than lose on those few targets outside 100yds - a few extra shots required at long range will erase any marginal time saved on hoser targets.

Edited by StealthyBlagga
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The 14.5 barrels can be accurate, but the shooting position is paramount. The gun will hit long range targets, but you need a really solid comfortable position. Or be AMU guys. Because the speed of getting in position and getting on target is the thing on long range rifle. It can be hard to find a rock solid position in 3 gun. For 3 Gun Nation Pro events it really doesn't matter-no long range targets. JD is right and he's fast, but he has time under those guns. Shoot what feels right and shoots well.

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For the "50%" shooter, there won't be a lick of difference in scores between a 14.5" or an 18". If you are a 50% shooter, use what feels best to you, shoot at distance, learn the holds, positions and trigger speeds for the various presentations and you will move up 15% or more in a year. Then you can fidget with gear and adapt it to your personal preferences.

3Gun is not cheap, and all the advice makes it more expensive. Shoot what you got and learn some stuff first.

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I don't see the benefit of moving to a rifle gas length and an 18 inch barrel personally. As rumors are the 14.5 middy is the softest shooting combo you can get.

Not true.

I have both, a JP CTR-02 18" and CTR-02 14.5".

The 18" is much smoother to shoot and is my first choice. The 14.5" has the gas setting almost maxed out, and has a noticeable more violent movement.

For double taps I know what my choice would be, and what would be quicker to shoot.

Precision is the same, but you will not get the same "punch" out of the 14.5".

Edited by 3-Gun Sweden
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Like many other people have said. I advocate shooting what you have until it actually holds you back unless you just want to spend money on something new. I spent several years trying to buy my way up the results, the only way to get to the top is to work.

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Has anyone used the 16in barrel with rifle length gas? I won a DPMS carbine last week with this barrel and am curious to see how it shoots.

shane

17 inches is about as low as you can go and get reliable function from a rifle gas system.

Pat

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Like many other people have said. I advocate shooting what you have until it actually holds you back unless you just want to spend money on something new. I spent several years trying to buy my way up the results, the only way to get to the top is to work.

It can be made to run, but the dwell time (=duration of the gas pulse) is very short and so the rifle ends up being very sensitive to any changes. It may run 100% with one load under a given set of conditions, but change anything (bullet, powder, primer, ambient temperature, altitude etc.) and your rifle turns into a bolt action.

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I've been running an 18" JP barrel for years. A few years back, I got one of their 16" middy as a backup upper. I shot both side by side with all things equal except for the barrel. The 18" was noticeably softer enough for me to sell the backup upper. Many years ago, I tried the a 14.5" carbine gas system with a BC comp at a match. My doubles were a lot slower because it was bouncing a lot. I'll never do that again.

Heh, did exactly the same thing. Even experimented with an aluminum carrier, but still couldnt get it to be as smooth as my 18 and ended up selling it.

You can definitely rock with a 14.5" barrel, but everything else equal, the same person will most likely rock more with 18".

Will it matter a lot? Probably not, but why would you want to give up any points because of equipment?

I can understand people shooting a 14.5" because that's what they have and dont want to buy another upper/gun, but if youre getting something new, make it an 18 or 20.

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Ok so here it goes.

Couple of things I forgot to mention. All of my test guns are P.O.F. Rifles which are piston guns.

My 18" gun has a mid length gas system

My 16" gun has a carbine length system

And the 14.5" I'm testing has a mid length gas system

And I had a buddy out there with a jp 18" setup

We shot all of them side by side at short range. The 18" barrel jp shot the softest but only marginally better than the 14.5" Pof

The 14.5" surprised everyone that shot it including myself. It was really flat shooting. but the softness and flatness of a gun is kind of hard to measure. But splits and transitions were a little faster with the 14.5 but not really a big difference in the grand scheme of things. We're talking .01's

We chronoed them and as expected I lost velocity with the 14.5" but not as much as I thought. There was only about a 100 fps difference between the 18" and the 14.5" with the 16" almost exactly in the middle.

I'm going to shoot it some more at the local 3gun match this weekend. If anyone wants to give it a try and tell me what they think I will be at rio salado on Saturday for the 3 gun match

Thanks for the input,

Naim "nick" Saiti

Edited by naim
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Nick, you have made some interesting observations. There are lots of moving parts here:

- First, I am surprised that the velocity difference from 14.5" to 18" is only 100fps. What bullet weight/load are you running? Do you trust your chrono conditions?

- My experience is that shorter barrel rifles recoil less because they offten produce lower muzzle velocity (Newtonian physics... equal and opposite reaction).

- The "feel" of the recoil impulse is affected by the reciprocating mass and its velocity - in general, shorter gas systems mean higher port pressures and thus higher bolt velocity, but the POF piston system may mitigate this to some extent.

- Pressure at "uncorking" will be the same as for a DI gun - again, shorter barrel = higher pressure. In the case of a match gun with a muzzle brake, this could translate into increased brake effectiveness.

Thus indeed the feel can be deceptive. You are on the right track using a timer on real courses of fire to objectively measure performance.

Seeya Saturday :)

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