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Low budget repeating precision rifle


jayjay1

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Hello everybody,

I´m a pistol guy, but do want a budget rifle for having some fun.

For a good bang for the buck, I decided to go with the HOWA 1500 system.

To hold the ammo costs down, I want a 308 (and to be able to use a magazine :blush: ).

HOWA has two heavy barrel systems in 308, a 20 and a 24" system.

Which one would you use, and how far can someone shoot with the 308 in a 20" barrel?

Hope you guys can give me some infos.

:cheers:

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Todd Hodnett has proven that you can shoot over a mile with a 16" barrel 308. I'm not saying this is typical, I'm just saying that with a good dose of skill and some rocket science the barrel length debate is kind of a moot point. The specifics of the load you shoot will have a far greater effect on your ability to shoot long range than the velocity lost/gained by a few inches of barrel. So my simplest answer to your question is that I would shoot a 20" gun exactly as far as I'd shoot a 24", I'd just have to dial more elevation and probably more windage correction. Which one I would buy would be entirely based on if I wanted a portable handy rifle or a dedicated prone gun.

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If you are planning to shoot 600-1000, you might go with the longer barrel to get all the velocity you can. There is a reason that f-class and palma guys use 30" barrels. If you are not planning on shooting that far either would be fine, go with what you like.

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Todd Hodnett has proven that you can shoot over a mile with a 16" barrel 308. I'm not saying this is typical, I'm just saying that with a good dose of skill and some rocket science the barrel length debate is kind of a moot point. The specifics of the load you shoot will have a far greater effect on your ability to shoot long range than the velocity lost/gained by a few inches of barrel. So my simplest answer to your question is that I would shoot a 20" gun exactly as far as I'd shoot a 24", I'd just have to dial more elevation and probably more windage correction. Which one I would buy would be entirely based on if I wanted a portable handy rifle or a dedicated prone gun.

I´m a reloader and now you have my full attention!

Could you tell me more about that?

What I´ve learned is, that you have to use a slower powder and a longer barrel, to get the bullet accelerated as long (and fast) as possible.

Of course it is possible to become a good velocity in a shorter barrel, but then you have to use a pretty fast powder and that results in raising pressures.

So far what I know.

Can I read about this trial with the 16" barrel from Todd Hodnett anywhere?

:bow:

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In general a longer barrel allows for more velocity which can mean better ballistics at distance. Shorter barrels are lighter and easier to carry, particularly in brush. Either barrel will work but what will you use it for?

I have no trouble shooting 1000yd with my 20" Rem700

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Todd Hodnett has proven that you can shoot over a mile with a 16" barrel 308. I'm not saying this is typical, I'm just saying that with a good dose of skill and some rocket science the barrel length debate is kind of a moot point. The specifics of the load you shoot will have a far greater effect on your ability to shoot long range than the velocity lost/gained by a few inches of barrel. So my simplest answer to your question is that I would shoot a 20" gun exactly as far as I'd shoot a 24", I'd just have to dial more elevation and probably more windage correction. Which one I would buy would be entirely based on if I wanted a portable handy rifle or a dedicated prone gun.

I´m a reloader and now you have my full attention!

Could you tell me more about that?

What I´ve learned is, that you have to use a slower powder and a longer barrel, to get the bullet accelerated as long (and fast) as possible.

Of course it is possible to become a good velocity in a shorter barrel, but then you have to use a pretty fast powder and that results in raising pressures.

So far what I know.

Can I read about this trial with the 16" barrel from Todd Hodnett anywhere?

:bow:

It's been a couple years since I toyed with long range so I'm having a hard time finding where I read about it. https://www.accuracy1stdg.com/press.cfm his website has links to a couple articles he's written, particularly the ones published in Sniper Magazine, that have some great info. http://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/04/28/how-much-does-muzzle-velocity-matter/, this blog kind of illustrates my point. If it's an all out long range gun, by all means get the longest barrel you can, the extra velocity will help. But if you plan on using it as a general purpose gun there's other factors you have to consider and prioritize based on your needs. Just like everything else in guns everything is a trade off, the more specialized a gun gets in one direction the worse it is at something else.
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Over 1 mile with a 16" .308 WIN? Wow.

Before anyone goes calling BS make sure you familiarize yourself with Todd Hodnett. The man is part scientist, part wizard and all about making hits I wouldn't even consider trying.
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I would go with the 24 inch if it is for long range. I have won 4 state f class championships. And several regional championships in long range. My load has been 185 bergers but I have a 30 inch barrel.

If I was using a shorter barrel I would use the 155 grain berger hybrid. I have been messing with these bullets in a 22 inch AR 10 and getting half minute acuraccy at 100 yards and it will stay super sonic past 1000 yards. Last night I had no problem hitting an 8 inch plate at 500 yards in a 15 mile an hour wind. And hitting a 1/3 size IPSC target at 700. This load was with varget.

I really like the howa action and feel like it is one of the best for the money. I would build all my hunting and precision rifles on it if there where more aftermarket accessories for it.

I think with 155 hybrids the 20 inch barrel will still get u out to 1000 yards so if u want a shorter handier rifle go for it.

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I noticed though that you are probably going to be using factory ammo. Which in that case u should definitely go with the 24 inch barrel. Most all the good long range 308 ammo available is loaded with 175s which really needs the extra barrel.

The ammo I would use is federals version of thier gold medal match ammo that they sell to the military.

http://www.sgammo.com/product/federal/20-rds-762x51-federal-gold-medal-match-175gr-bthp-sierra-matchking-ammo

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Thanks Tonythetiger,

that´s absolute fabulous, never heard about Todd and his skills.

I know I will get crucified in the long range forums over here, but for the heck of it, I will give it a shot.

:ph34r:

Awesome stuff!

@dyknoch,

like Tony says, it is more a all purpose weapon, mainly shot at distances at 100m, sometimes 300m and in the future anytime (so I´m hoping) 1000m.

After reading the stuff from Tony, I will go with the 20", if it doesn´t work then, you were right and I was an idiot.

:blush:

But hey, I am a reloader, absolutely sir.

:cheers:

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I know I will get crucified in the long range forums over here, but for the heck of it, I will give it a shot.

I can't tell you how important it is that you determine what you will be doing with the rifle before you get too deep into this. In this short thread, you have heard from people talking about factory 175gr long range ammo and handloaders shooting cutting edge ammunition is very demanding f class competition. One of the most common factory ammo is 168gr Federal Match and we haven't even touched military surplus ammo.

Long range means VERY different things to different people. What may work well for one may be a disaster for another.

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Jayjay, I don't think the 20 inch barrel is a mistake. If you decide to shoot out to 1000m then you can get it to work. I just made an assumption that you where buying factory ammo because you mentioned that you wanted to keep ammo costs down, which even for a hand loader a 308 does that.

I guess I saw precision rifle and just assumed long range. Have fun and I would suggest trying some 155 grain bergers when you start loading for it. A good precision rifle load is not all about wind drift a higher velocity load makes it easier to make hits especially on unknown distance stuff.

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Thanks Graham Smith, Tonythetiger, dkynoch, and all the others, for sharing your experiences with a noob like me.

I don´t know if I ever will be able to shoot those 1000m, but wanted to have the rifle for it, if it ever happens.

The ammo over here is unfortunately much more pricey than it is in the USA.

So, loading the 308 can be cheaper than buying match ammo, of course depending on the price of the bullet.

It is easy to shoot 100m over here, a bit harder (have gun, will travel) to shoot 300m, but there is no range beyond 300, so I have to leave country to do that.

Anyway some friends of mine and me want to go for it, it is more or less a "future project".

But if so, I wanted to be able to do with my own rifle.

Well, I´m cloven in this, but I think if I can´t do the 1000, I will do the 800 or so.

More precise on those distances, which I´m shooting regularly (100-300m) and more handy, sounds good to me so.

On the other hand, I can do 600m with my AR 15 (20" BB), so the 308 won´t be a big gain?

Oh man.

I have to think about this for a while, to become clear what I want.

But you guys helped me to have the knowledge to make my decision.

Thanks a lot for that!!!

:bow:

(Humm, or should I buy a 24" and shorten it piece after piece.... :ph34r:)

:blush: Yes, I know....

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Another question for you guys.

How dead on are those bullet drop calculators?

I´m having QL and might use the Hornady´s or something.

If I know the V0, the BC and the weight, how reliable will such a calculator give me my bullet drop over several distances?

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A 20" barrel is fine if you are only shooting 300m. If you are trying to reach 1000m you will appreciate the extra few inches. A 20" barrel will work, but with the lower velocity you will fight wind more, and have more drop, and your brass will not last as long because you will be driving it harder (if you are reloading)

Ballistics calculators are a helpful tool to get you close, but they are not exact. You really need to develop your own drop table based on actual shooting. Then you also need to realize that your drops will change with temperature and humidity at 1000m. You really have some great skills or always shoot in the same climate if you get first round hits at 1000m...especially with a 20" barrel. A barrel can always be cut off, but you can't cut it back on. In my opinion start with the longer barrel.

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A 20" barrel is fine if you are only shooting 300m. If you are trying to reach 1000m you will appreciate the extra few inches. A 20" barrel will work, but with the lower velocity you will fight wind more, and have more drop, and your brass will not last as long because you will be driving it harder (if you are reloading)

Well, that kind of depends. I have a 20" and shoot Hornady 178gr HPBT over RL15 and am not pushing the pressure. And I have no problems hitting 1000yd targets. Prior to this load, I was shooting 155gr Palma bullets over H4895 with good results. Pressure was a bit higher but well within the spec.

Would I have a bit more velocity with a 26" barrel? Probably. But for what I am doing, I'm OK with what I have.

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A 20" barrel is fine if you are only shooting 300m. If you are trying to reach 1000m you will appreciate the extra few inches. A 20" barrel will work, but with the lower velocity you will fight wind more, and have more drop, and your brass will not last as long because you will be driving it harder (if you are reloading)

Well, that kind of depends. I have a 20" and shoot Hornady 178gr HPBT over RL15 and am not pushing the pressure. And I have no problems hitting 1000yd targets. Prior to this load, I was shooting 155gr Palma bullets over H4895 with good results. Pressure was a bit higher but well within the spec.

Would I have a bit more velocity with a 26" barrel? Probably. But for what I am doing, I'm OK with what I have.

I'm sure you can shoot 1000 with a 20" barrel. I have know of many people who have, however it is still the case that it is easier with a longer barrel. If one is carrying a rifle through the woods the 20" barrel is better, however for the majority of target shooting a 24" or even longer barrel is more ideal. There are so many variables that come into play at those distances that I will use any means necessary to minimize those variables.

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You are really wasting your time getting a 308. Buy a 6.5 Creedmoor (since good cheap ammo is readily available) and be done with it. I have seen many guys get into a 308 because of cheap surplus ammo but truly thats all it is, cheap surplus ammo, if you get even shoots 1 MOA I would be surprised. You can custom load a 308 with hybrid or juggernaut bullets and get a nice BC but in the end there just isnt enough case capacity to push the bullet fast enough.

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You are really wasting your time getting a 308. Buy a 6.5 Creedmoor (since good cheap ammo is readily available) and be done with it. I have seen many guys get into a 308 because of cheap surplus ammo but truly thats all it is, cheap surplus ammo, if you get even shoots 1 MOA I would be surprised. You can custom load a 308 with hybrid or juggernaut bullets and get a nice BC but in the end there just isnt enough case capacity to push the bullet fast enough.

I thought about saying this but I believe the OP is in Germany? Not sure if the 6.5CM even exists there. But it is a superior cartridge in that category.
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... however for the majority of target shooting a 24" or even longer barrel is more ideal.

No question, but the OP is talking about a general purpose rifle mainly for shorter ranges. As I said, for what I am doing, a 20" is OK.

The target is also important. There's a big difference between trying to keep it under 1 MOA at 100yd vs 1000yd and if that's important then every advantage you can get, you should take.

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No gentlemen, like I said, I will not get into serious long range shooting.

96% on 100m, 3,8% on 300m and then there will be those 0,2% trying to do what is possible with my rifle.

And if I then don´t reach the 1000m, 800m will be fine I think.

Thanks for all your input, I hear ya very well.

Btw.:

I´ve heard from the 6,5 Creedmoor, but never saw one over here.

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With any distance, the wind is the real devil. So, the higher the BC of the bullet and the greater the velocity at the muzzle, the better will be the wind resistance. And the further you go, the lower the velocity becomes and the ability to resist the effects of the wind go down.

A 24" barrel is an almost perfect compromise between a shorter, lighter tactical rifle and a longer heavier target rifle. But everything is relative to the shooters needs and what they have available to them.

When I started, a 20" barrel made perfect the sense to me. But I've been doing this long enough now to know that when it's time for a new barrel, it will likely be a 24" or 26" because my days of humping a heavy rifle in a backpack are done with. I've got a 6.5 Grendel AR for that now.

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