Best Barrel Lengths: Complete Guide (2022)

Table of Contents
Barrel Length Laws What Barrel Length Is A Rifle What Barrel Length Is A SBR What Barrel Length Is A Pistol Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Creedmoor Best 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel Length for Hunting Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Creedmoor Long Range Best Barrel Length for 5.56 Best Barrel Length for 5.56 SBR Best Barrel Length for 5.56 Home Defense Best Barrel Length for 5.56 Long Range Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel Long Range Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel Hunting Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel Pistol/SBR Best Barrel Length for 350 Legend The Best Barrel Length for 350 Legend AR Pistol Best Barrel Length for 9mm Best Barrel Length for A 9mm Pistol AR/PCC/Carbine/SBR Best Barrel Length for A 9mm Handgun Best Barrel Length for 22lr Best Barrel Length for 22lr Suppressed Best Barrel Length for 357 Magnum Best Barrel Length for 357 Magnum Rifle Best Barrel Length for 357 Magnum Revolver Best Barrel Length for 357 Sig Best Barrel Length for 6mm Arc Best Barrel Length for AR Pistol Best Barrel Length To Suppress Best Barrel Length of Common Calibers Best Barrel Length for 10mm Best Barrel Length for 17 HMR Best Barrel Length for 1911 Best Barrel Length for 12 Gauge Shotgun Best Barrel Length for 12 Gauge Slug Best Barrel Length for 270 Win Best Barrel Length for 223 Best Barrel Length for 280 AI Best Barrel Length for 300 Blackout Pistol Best Barrel Length for 308 Win 7.62×51 Best Barrel Length for 30-06 Best Barrel Length for 338 Lapua Best Barrel Length for 458 SOCOM Best Barrel Length for 45 ACP Best Barrel Length for 40 S&W Best Barrel Length for 44 Magnum Best Barrel Length for 410 Shotgun Best Barrel Length for 50 Beowulf Best Barrel Length for 50 BMG Best Barrel Length for 7.62×39 Best Barrel Length for 7mm-08 Best Barrel Length for 7mm Rem Mag Best Barrel Length for Hunting Best Barrel Length for A Hunting Rifle Best Barrel Length for A Hunting Shotgun Best Barrel Length for A Hunting Revolver Best Barrel Length for Duck Hunting Best Barrel Length for Turkey Hunting Best Barrel Length for Dove/Pheasant/Quail/Bird Hunting Best Barrel Length for Deer Hunting FAQs Videos

Before buying a new firearm, many gun owners want to know what the best barrel length is for a certain application. Different calibers will have different optimal barrel lengths for different scenarios. Longer barrels tend to be more accurate, but make the firearm heavier, while shorter barrels are more portable, but won’t be as accurate at longer distances.

There is a point of diminishing accuracy returns with barrel length. The longer barrels will increase velocity until the powder from the round is burned up. Once the powder is burned up in the barrel, any extra barrel length can decrease velocity at the muzzle.

There’s also some legal definitions around shorter barrels. I’ll quickly cover what barrel length makes a firearm a rifle, SBR, or pistol and then cover the best barrel lengths for some of the most popular calibers and their different use cases.

Best Barrel Lengths: Complete Guide (1)

Contents show

Barrel Length Laws

These requirements may vary for different jurisdictions. Examples of minimum length requirements in federal law [ATF-NFA] include: 16 inch barrel length for rifles, 18 inch barrel length for shotguns, and 26 inch overall length for both rifles and shotguns.

Everything below is accurate at time of writing but is not a substitute for legal advice. There are other firearm designations but the most

What Barrel Length Is A Rifle

There is a Federal requirement of at least a 16 inch barrel length and 26 inch overall length for a firearm to be considered a standard rifle. Lengths smaller than the Federal requirement must either meet the legal pistol definition or be registered as an NFA short barreled rifle (SBR).

A rifle is subject to the NFA only if the rifle has a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length. A weapon made from a rifle is also a firearm subject to the NFA if the weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.

[26 U.S.C. §§ 5845(a)(3)-(4), (c)] (source)

In short, your barrel has to be 16″ or longer and the entire length of the rifle must be at least 26″ to be a rifle. Some people like to get a 14.5″ barrel and weld on a muzzle device making the entire barrel length 16″ compliant. This is still allowed as far as I know at the time of this writing.

What Barrel Length Is A Carbine

A carbine is most commonly any barrel length less than 18 inches and greater than 10 inches. The most popular carbine barrel lengths are 9 inches, 11.5 inches, or 16 inches depending on caliber used. Carbine rifles are usually built similar to SBRs or rifle inspired pistols.

What Barrel Length Is A SBR

Short barreled rifles can have any barrel length less than 16 inches to be considered an SBR. Most commonly Short barreled rifles have barrel lengths between 7 and 16 inches with the most popular barrel length being 11.5 inches or 9 inches depending on caliber used.

Short-barreled rifle(SBR) is a legal designation in the United States, referring to a shoulder-fired,rifledfirearm, made from a rifle, with abarrellength of less than 16in (41cm) or overall length of less than 26in (66cm), or a handgun fitted with abuttstockand a barrel of less than 16 inches length. (source)

Short barreled rifles are subject to the NFA and require a tax stamp, which costs about $200 right now. Many people get around this by not attaching buttstock to the firearm, effectively making the firearm a pistol instead.

What Barrel Length Is A Pistol

A pistol can have any barrel length under 16 inches, and will often be between 3 and 16 inches. Handgun and revolver type pistols most commonly have barrel lengths between 3 and 7 inches, while AR and AK style pistols will most commonly have barrel lengths between 7 and 16 inches.

An AR or AK style pistol is normally categorized as having a barrel length less than 16 inches and an overall length less than 26 inches and has been equipped with a stabilizing brace of some sort. This sounds very similar to an SBR because it essentially is except the SBR has a stock instead of a brace.

Now we have that out of the way lets get into the best barrel lengths of some of the most popular calibers. Knowing the weird laws above can help clarify a bit why some of the barrel lengths below have become so popular.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Creedmoor

The best barrel length for 6.5 Creedmoor is 24 inches, however a 22 inch barrel will also give similar results. For hunting with 6.5 Creedmoor, 18 to 22 inch barrels are more practical. However, for precision rifle shooting (PRS) 24 to 26 inch barrels will generate higher muzzle velocities.

Best Barrel Lengths: Complete Guide (2)
(Video) What Is The Perfect AR-15 Barrel Length?

Anything above a 26″ barrel with 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t much of an improvement. You may see a little better performance but usually it’s not considered enough to offset the heavier barrel.

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel Length for Hunting

The best barrel length for a 6.5 Creedmoor hunting rifle is 20 inches. Barrel lengths above 20 inches will be more accurate at longer distances. However, most hunting shots are taken at ranges that allow a lighter more manageable 18 to 22 inch barrel to be more practical.

Many hunters will opt to add a suppressor to an 18″ 6.5 Creedmoor rifle or just go with a 20 inch rifle for hunting. When you’re taking shots at just a couple hundred yards, 20 to 22 inch or 18 inch suppressed barrels are considered optimal for 6.5 Creedmoor.

Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Creedmoor Long Range

The best barrel length for 6.5 Creedmoor long range shooting is 28 inches, however, many shooters don’t see much difference between 28″ and 26″ and will opt for the lighter, more popular, 26 inch barrel for precision rifle shooting (PRS). Another popular barrel length for long range using 6.5 Creedmoor is the 24″ barrel.

Best Barrel Length for 5.56

The best barrel length for a 5.56mm rifle is 14.5″ to ensure full powder burn. 14-16″ barrels are generally considered best for an all purpose rifle chambered in 5.56. Barrel lengths between 10-14″ are best for portability in close quarters, and 20″ barrels are best if your goal is long range shooting.

Anything above a 20″ barrel in 5.56 isn’t much of an improvement. In fact some shooters report less performance out of 26″ or longer 5.56 barrels. The M4 I used in the Army had a 14.5 inch barrel and that was considered a good compromise between accuracy and maneuverability of the weapon.

Best Barrel Length for 5.56 SBR

The best barrel length for a 5.56 SBR is 11.5 inches because many shooters will want to suppress or use at distances less than 200 yards. If the firearm won’t be suppressed and the goal is more distance shooting, then a 14.5 inch barrel is better suited for a 5.56 SBR.

After all, the military chose the 14.5 inch barrel for the 5.56 round for a reason. You do lose some accuracy at distances over 300 yards when compared to an 18 inch barrel, for example. But the SBR is also meant to be easy to use and carry around.

Many people like to keep an AR pistol or SBR in their vehicle, so size does matter. In closer quarters situations an even shorter barrel is advantageous, and when under 100 yards, the accuracy loss isn’t noticeable at all.

Best Barrel Length for 5.56 Home Defense

The best barrel length for a 5.56 for home defense is 10.5 inches, however, 11.5 and 12.5 inch barrels are also popular for this use. A shorter barrel will give the firearm more recoil and more flash from unspent gun powder but the trade off for more maneuverability is considered to be well worth it.

Of course, you’ll have a shorter effective range to use the firearm but for home defense you’ll rarely need to get past 50 yards. In fact a majority of firearm related confrontations are at less than 50 yards.

A lot of people like to add a suppressor especially since the intended use is probably indoors. With these shorter length barrels being advantageous for home defense, most people will opt for an AR pistol.

Best Barrel Length for 5.56 Long Range

The best barrel length for 5.56 for long range shooting is 20 inches. If shooting anywhere past 400 or 500 yards having a 20 inch barrel is beneficial. At a distance less than 400 yards a 16 to 18 inch barrel would be ideal. Barrels above 20 inches for 5.56 have diminishing returns and are not worth the extra barrel length.

Even though a 20″ barrel is best for long distance, really consider if that’s all you want to use that rifle for. Yes, a 20 inch barrel will give slightly more muzzle velocity and accuracy at that distance, but not as much as you’d hope.

I wasn’t impressed, I think the difference was like 100 to 200 ft/sec. I would rather just keep with a 16 inch barrel. That extra 4 inches doesn’t do as much you’d think. That’s what she said.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel

The best barrel length for 6.5 Grendel is 16″ for an all around decent rifle. The most popular barrel lengths range from 16″ to 22″ for 6.5 Grendel. Some shooters prefer barrels as short as 12″ for under 300 yard shots and 24″ for out to 800 yard shots or further. Most 6.5 Grendel barrels shoot well with a 1:8 twist rate.

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As you can see, there isn’t a crazy difference between 20″ and 24″ barrels with 6.5 Grendel. A bigger factor to consider will be the gas system length.

With a rifle length gas system, the 20″ barrels do almost as well as the longer 24″ barrels, and the 12″ to 16″ barrels using a mid-length gas system will be pretty similar as well.

Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel Long Range

The best barrel length for 6.5 Grendel long range shooting is the 24″ barrel. However, many shooters prefer the portability of the 20″ barrel since it doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of distance and velocity. Anything above a 26″ barrel for 6.5 Grendel doesn’t make much sense statistically.

That being said, if you will be hand-loading and are choosing your barrel length for absolute accuracy at distance for PRS, then the 24″ barrel is the way to go.

Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel Hunting

The best barrel length for 6.5 Grendel for hunting is an 18 or 20 inch barrel. If you’ll be hunting at distances less than 300 yards, a 14.5 or 16 inch barrel will work best. However, for an all around good hunting rifle, an 18″ barrel is the most popular option for 6.5 Grendel.

(Video) My favorite SBR Barrel lengths / setups

It really does depend what you plan on hunting. For me, a 16″ barrel in 6.5 Grendel is great for hunting since I don’t do much past 300 yards anyway. It makes a good middle ground hunting rifle in my opinion.

Best Barrel Length for 6.5 Grendel Pistol/SBR

The best barrel length for a 6.5 Grendel Pistol or SBR is 14.5 inches. Although some people prefer 10 or 12 inch barrels, the shorter barrels may require a faster twist rate to stabilize the bullet, where as the longer barrels don’t. The extra portability of a shorter barrel is often worth the trade off to many shooters.

I need to point out that if you plan to get a suppressor for a 6.5 Grendel pistol or SBR, then a 12″ barrel will be more than accurate to make 300 yards shots and is kind of a sweet set up.

Keep in mind, an 18 or 20 inch barrel will still deliver more foot pounds of energy at any range when compared to a 12 or 10.5 inch barrel.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 350 Legend

The best barrel length for 350 Legend is 16 inches. Any barrel longer than 22″ for 350 Legend will have diminishing returns and is not typically considered when choosing a round for long range shooting. Barrels as short as 10.5″ are commonly used as brush guns or for close quarter scenarios using the AR platform.

Best Barrel Lengths: Complete Guide (5)

The 350 Legend is essentially a long pistol round using pistol powder so 16″ tends to be optimal. Besides, that is one of the most popular barrel lengths anyway. The 350 is a great round for deer hunting, and shooters seldom report needing to use a muzzle brake on a 350 Legend rifle.

The Best Barrel Length for 350 Legend AR Pistol

The best barrel length for a 350 Legend AR pistol is 10.5 inches. Many people even prefer using a barrel as short as 9″ for 350 Legend since you only lose about 240 feet per second when compared to a 16″ barrel. However, these barrel lengths are not recommended for shots past 200 yards.

Best Barrel Length for 9mm

The best barrel length for 9mm is 7 inches based on percentage increases of velocity per barrel inch. However, the best barrel length for a handgun type 9mm is generally considered to be 5 inches for concealability and portability, and the best barrel length for an AR-9 pistol or SBR type 9mm is 7 to 10 inches.

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With almost every type of 9mm ammo I used, the percentage increase of velocity after 7″ drops significantly. You will still get more velocity out of longer barrels, as expected, just not as much of an increase. In fact, after 14 inches, velocity started to decrease most of the time.

Best Barrel Length for A 9mm Pistol AR/PCC/Carbine/SBR

The best barrel length for a 9mm AR type pistol caliber carbine (PCC) or SBR is 14 inches. However, 7″ is ideal based on velocity per barrel inch percentage increases. Barrels longer than 14 inches start to affect bullet velocity in a negative way in many cases.

Many AR-9 SBRs and 9mm pistols are between 7 and 10 inches. If the pistol is going to be suppressed, 7 or 8 inches of barrel length tends to work best, while shooters who prefer a little more range may opt for a 10 to 14 inch barrel.

Best Barrel Length for A 9mm Handgun

The best barrel length for a 9mm handgun is 5 inches. Barrel lengths longer than 5 inches are generally less likely to be open carried or concealed. Barrel lengths as short as 3 inches for 9mm are more popular for those who want to conceal the handgun in a purse or on their person.

Personally I prefer to conceal my 3.5 inch barrel 9mm single stack in my waistband. I hardly even notice it’s there. Then I’ll put a 5 inch barrel 9mm holstered on the hip if I feel like having more ammo capacity. It really is all personal preference.

As for the ballistics, the longer the barrel, the more velocity you’ll get. However, if using indoors or in close quarters, the difference between 3 and 5 inches is hard to notice. That’s what she said.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 22lr

The best barrel length for a 22lr is 16″ for rifles and 10″ for pistols. At 16″ a 22lr reaches maximum velocity, however, many 22lr rifles are made with longer barrels to help with balancing the lighter firearms. Some 22lr rifles are even made with unusually long 28″ barrels to help make subsonic ammo even quieter.

Best Barrel Lengths: Complete Guide (7)

As you can see in the chart above, there’s not much benefit to velocity with barrels above 16 to 18 inches. The reason a lot of 22lr barrels are 22 to 26 inches is because the added sight radius and balancing is worth the extra weight of the longer barrels.

Many 22lr rifles were intended to be shot with iron sights, so having an extra 10 inches between the front and rear sights made the shooter a lot more accurate.

Best Barrel Length for 22lr Suppressed

The best barrel length for a suppressed 22lr is 14 inches for a mostly clean burn of the powder or 10 inches for increased portability. Some even opt for shorter 6 inch barrels for really compact builds that will shoot subsonic ammo from a suppressed 22lr pistol.

Best Barrel Length for 357 Magnum

The best barrel length for a 357 Magnum is 16″ for maximum velocity, 20″ for maximum accuracy, and 3″ for maximum concealment and portability. However many 357 Mag revolvers and handguns will have a 6″ barrel length and many rifles are between 16 to 20 inches.

(Video) What is the best barrel length?

Best Barrel Lengths: Complete Guide (8)

After about 16″ of barrel length, the 357 Magnum is past the point of diminishing returns on velocity. The longer barrels will help accuracy because the shooter will have greater sight radius. The fact is, the 357 Magnum is considered a pistol round.

Best Barrel Length for 357 Magnum Rifle

The best barrel length for a 357 Magnum Rifle is 16″ for the round to reach maximum velocity. Shooters that plan on using only iron sights often opt for a 20″ or longer barrel on a 357 Magnum rifle because the increased sight radius gives the rifle greater accuracy at farther distances.

Best Barrel Length for 357 Magnum Revolver

The best barrel length for a 357 Magnum revolver is 8 and 3/8 inches because that length allows for decent velocity combined with portability. Any barrel length under 6 inches will suffer greater muzzle velocity loss, however, that loss is considered acceptable when concealment is a factor.

Many owners of a 357 snub nose will swear by the 3 inch barrel. For close quarters or indoors, it’s really personal preference to sacrifice the muzzle velocity for ease of use and concealability. It makes a lot of sense in those scenarios, but some shooters would opt for the 357 Sig in that case.

Best Barrel Length for 357 Sig

The best barrel length for a 357 Sig is 4 inches because the round was designed to be used in shorter barrels. The fast burning powder gives more velocity out of the shorter barrel. Anything above 4 inches of barrel length, the 357 magnum would be preferred as the velocity is greater.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 6mm Arc

The best barrel length for 6mm ARC is 18 inches for a rifle with good velocity that is still relatively easy to transport. Many shooters opt for a 16″ barrel if they don’t plan on shooting past 500 yards or they’ll prefer a 26″ barrel for mile shots or long range shooting.

Best Barrel Lengths: Complete Guide (9)

Hornady (the designer of the cartridge) said the round will perform well in barrel lengths ranging from 12 to 26 inches and all in between. However, most 6mm ARC rifle barrels will be found in the 18 to 22 inch range. That gives plenty of velocity and allows for longer range shots while still letting the rifle remain fairly portable.

Best Barrel Length for AR Pistol

The best barrel length for an AR pistol is 10.5″ because the most popular round for AR pistols is 5.56. 10.5″ is considered the shortest length you can go while retaining some reliability with a 5.56 AR pistol. Other calibers, such as the 300 Blackout, will maintain reliability with barrels as short as 7.5 inches.

It really depends which round you plan on using in the AR pistol. I know no one likes that answer but I just wouldn’t shoot 5.56 out of a 7 inch barrel, but 9mm I would. In general though, a majority of AR pistols are between 10.5 and 14.5 inches.

Best Barrel Length To Suppress

The best barrel length to suppress is 10.5″ for 5.56 and 8″ for 300 Blackout if the goal is shortest barrel length that still performs well suppressed. For longer range shooting, a 16″ barrel or longer will be better to suppress depending on caliber and distance.

Any barrel length can be suppressed. You want to pick the barrel that is best for your application, and then just simply add a suppressor. A lot of people like to take a few inches off their barrel length because of the added weight and length to the overall weapon that a suppressor adds.

Best Barrel Length of Common Calibers

These are some of most common calibers but didn’t seem as popular as the ones above. I either thought these were worth mentioning or got a couple questions about them in the past.

Best Barrel Length for 10mm

The best barrel length for 10mm is 14″ for maximum velocity per barrel length in inches. Any barrels longer than 14 inches will not produce much more velocity and may even reduce velocity of a 10mm. However, most 10mm ARs perform well with 8″ to 10″ barrels.

Best Barrel Length for 17 HMR

The best barrel length for 17 HMR is 18 inches to achieve the best velocity per barrel length. Any barrel length above 18″ will not significantly improve velocity. Many 17 HMR barrels will be 20 to 22 inches, but an 18″ barrel has been known to shoot just as well.

Best Barrel Length for 1911

The best barrel length for a 1911 is 5″ for the best concealability and velocity. The 4″ barrel is also a favorite, although the 1″ difference doesn’t help much with concealing and you lose a little velocity. The 3″ barrel loses too much velocity and energy but is easier to conceal.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 12 Gauge Shotgun

The best barrel length for a 12 gauge shotgun is 26 inches for a versatile and balanced shotgun. Most 12 gauge shotguns are sold with 26″ or 28″ barrels, however, the velocity difference between a 22″ and 30″ barrel is negligible.

Best Barrel Length for 12 Gauge Slug

The best barrel length for a 12 gauge slug is 20″ for 2 and 3/4″ shells and 24″ for some 3″ shells to achieve maximum velocity. However, many shotgun owners prefer a longer barrel for the improved sight radius and accuracy.

Best Barrel Length for 270 Win

The best barrel length for a 270 WIN is 22-24″ for the optimal ratio of length vs velocity. You may gain another 50 fps with a 26″ barrel but most shooters don’t opt for the longer barrel. The 270 WIN doesn’t have the powder capacity to warrant the longer barrels.

Best Barrel Length for 223

The best barrel length for a 223 rifle is 14.5 inches to ensure full gun powder burn. 14-16″ barrels are generally considered best for an all purpose rifle chambered in 223. Barrel lengths between 10-14″ are best for portability in close quarters, and 20″ barrels are best if your goal is long range shooting.

Best Barrel Length for 280 AI

The best barrel length for 280 AI is 28″ to accommodate the slower burning powder and heavier bullet. 24-26″ barrels are also popular for the 280 AI, however, anything below 24″ and you lose too much velocity and won’t be making the most of the round.

(Video) AR-15 Barrel Selection Guide: What Length Barrel To Get? Pros & Cons Of Length (HD)

Best Barrel Length for 300 Blackout Pistol

The best barrel length for a 300 blackout pistol is 9″ to achieve maximum velocity and powder burn in the shortest length barrel. However, 8″ and even 7″ barrels are very popular in 300 blackout pistols with the use of subsonic ammunition and a suppressor.

Best Barrel Length for 308 Win 7.62×51

The best barrel length for 308 WIN/7.62×51 is 24″ for an accurate shot out to 700 yards. A longer 30″ barrel is used by professional long range shooters to consistently reach out to 1000 yards. If the goal is less than 500 yards, an 18-20″ barrel will work great for a 308.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 30-06

The best barrel length for 30-06 is 24″ for a good compromise between velocity and portability. 26-28″ barrels are more popular for those wanting to shoot long distance, while 22-24″ is more popular for hunting at less than 500 yards.

Best Barrel Length for 338 Lapua

The best barrel length for a 338 Lapua is 26″ for plenty of accuracy and power out to 500-700 yards. Increasing the barrel length to a 34″ barrel or more may gain the round an extra 200 fps and is ideal for those wanting to reach past 1000 yards.

Best Barrel Length for 458 SOCOM

The best barrel length for a 458 SOCOM is 16″ to achieve maximum powder burn and muzzle velocity. Barrels over 16″ will not increase velocity significantly because the 458 SOCOM round was optimized for barrels as short as 9.5″ and is popular in AR pistol builds.

Best Barrel Length for 45 ACP

The best barrel length for 45 ACP is 5″ for use in most handguns. However the best barrel length for maximum velocity is 15″ with the 45 ACP. After about 10″ of barrel length, the velocity increase per barrel inch slows way down though. Any additional barrel length over 15″ actually hurts velocity.

Best Barrel Length for 40 S&W

The best barrel length for a 40 S&W is 4″ in a handgun. A 5″ barrel would give more velocity, but the drop from 4″ to 3″ is more significant than the drop from 5″ to 4″ is in terms of velocity loss. A 16″ barrel is the best length for a 40 S&W used in a carbine rifle.

Best Barrel Length for 44 Magnum

The best barre length for a 44 Magnum revolver is 6″ for a good balance between weight and muzzle velocity. The best barrel length for a 44 Magnum rifle is 16.5″ to achieve good powder burn and velocity. The 4″ barrels are great for carrying, but the longer barrel offer better sight radius and velocity.

Best Barrel Length for 410 Shotgun

The best barrel length for a 410 shotgun is 20″ to achieve great velocity and accuracy. However an 18″ barrel is recommended for youth shooters which the 410 shotgun is popular with. Barrels longer than 22″ show no real improvement over the 18-20″ barrels.

Best Barrel Length for 50 Beowulf

The best barrel length for a 50 Beowulf is 16″ for the greatest velocity vs. length. A 24″ barrel will add an extra 120 fps compared to 16″ but is not considered enough extra velocity to warrant the added barrel length. Barrels shorter than 16″ have significantly more recoil and are usually avoided.

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

Best Barrel Length for 50 BMG

The best barrel length for the 50 BMG is 32″ for a good long range rifle. However, the M2 is chambered in 50 BMG and has a 45″ barrel. Most precision 50 BMG rifles have anywhere between a 30-36″ barrel length. Barrel lengths under 28″ will cause loss of unburnt powder.

Best Barrel Length for 7.62×39

The best barrel length for the 7.62×39 is 16″ which the barrel length most AK-47s are built with. However, 18″ barrels are also very popular to achieve mire velocity and efficient powder burn. 12.5″ barrels in 7.62×39 are very popular for speed, time on target, and close quarters scenarios.

Best Barrel Length for 7mm-08

The best barrel length for the 7mm-08 is 22″ to achieve maximum powder burn and velocity per barrel inch. Barrel lengths from 20-24″ are popular for the 7mm-08 cartridge. Barrel lengths under 16″ aren’t taking full advantage of this round.

Best Barrel Length for 7mm Rem Mag

The best barrel length for the 7mm Rem Mag is 26″ for maximum velocity and powder burn. Barrel lengths between 24″ and 28″ are also popular for the round. Barrel lengths shorter than 22″ will suffer velocity loss and increased felt recoil unless a muzzle brake is used.

Best Barrel Length for Hunting

The best barrel length for hunting depends on what caliber you’re hunting with. The caliber you choose depends on what you plan on hunting. So this section will mostly cover the best barrel lengths for hunting popular birds and game.

Best Barrel Length for A Hunting Rifle

The best barrel length for a hunting rifle is between 22-26″ depending on caliber and powder burn rate. Some larger calibers with slower burning powder will do better with 28-32″ barrels. If hunting at ranges less than 300 yards then a shorter barrel between 16-20″ will work better.

Best Barrel Length for A Hunting Shotgun

The best barrel length for a hunting shotgun is 26-28″ for a shotgun with a wide range of applications from wing shooting to slug hunting. Barrel lengths between 22-26″ are more popular for youth shotguns and hunters with a long length of pull prefer a 30″ barrel.

Best Barrel Length for A Hunting Revolver

The best barrel length for a hunting revolver is 8 and 3/8″ for many hunting calibers. Hunters usually carry a revolver with at least a 6″ barrel chambered in either 44 Mag or 454 Casull. Those rounds can handle most big game in North America.

Best Barrel Length for Duck Hunting

The best barrel length for duck hunting is 28″ because duck shots tend to be at a good distance. The longer barrel gives the shooter better sight radius and evens out the swing when aiming. However, barrels as short as 22-24″ are often used to hunt duck successfully.

Best Barrel Length for Turkey Hunting

The best barrel length for turkey hunting is 22″ for taking steady aim at stationary turkeys. Many turkey hunters will use a barrel length between 20-24 inch. The added velocity of the longer 26-28″ barrels are only needed if the shooter has long arms and wants the extra length.

Best Barrel Length for Dove/Pheasant/Quail/Bird Hunting

The best barrel length for dove, pheasant, quail, and bird hunting is 28″ because hunting bird is rarely a close encounter scenario. The longer barrel allows for more velocity and range from the shell as well as a better sight radius for the shooter. However, barrels as short as 22″ can be used to hunt bird successfully.

Best Barrel Length for Deer Hunting

The best barrel length for hunting deer is 18″ for a rifle with a 308 or similar caliber or 28″ for a shotgun and no shorter than 6″ for a handgun or revolver using a caliber with adequate velocity. For distances above 500 yards, a 22″ or longer rifle barrel is best.

(Video) What Is The Best Barrel Length For In-Home CQB? 10.3 Vs.16-Inch Barrels with Navy SEAL "Tosh"

A good place to start looking for barrels is Here at OpticsPlanet. If they have it in stock, it will usually ship pretty quickly and they have good prices there too.

FAQs

What is the best barrel length for accuracy? ›

Barrel lengths above 20 inches will be more accurate at longer distances. However, most hunting shots are taken at ranges that allow a lighter more manageable 18 to 22 inch barrel to be more practical.

What is the perfect AR barrel length? ›

Performance Characteristics. 20″ AR-15 barrels provide the most consistent performance across the widest variety of loadings. There are plenty of modern specialized loads “optimized” for use in a 16″ barrel, or shorter, but the 20″ length will still do things better for any given loading.

Is 28 or 26 barrel better? ›

While a 26” barrel is lighter and more maneuverable, a 28” barrel is going to be more accurate for long-range shots and should be regarded as perhaps the best all-around barrel length. Keep in mind that choke selection can mitigate the inherent differences between 26” and 28” barrels.

What is the best barrel length for a .308 long range? ›

Our experience has shown that for a . 308 caliber tactical rifle with the overall rifle weight and shooting distances mentioned earlier, a barrel of 24-27″ is optimum in one of the fairly heavy contours we discussed. Closer ranges or other considerations might dictate a shorter barrel.

Does a longer barrel increase accuracy? ›

As long as you know your velocity—and your bullet's ballistic coefficient—you can know your trajectory. Longer barrels are not more accurate. If anything, it's quite the opposite. Shorter, stiffer barrels tend to vibrate more consistently and are probably more accurate on average.

What is the best barrel length for a .300 win mag? ›

300 Win Mags wearing 22" - 24" - and 26" barrels and using bullets under 180 grains the 22" barrel is just 44 fps slower than the 26" barreled rifle. Once you get to the 200 grain + bullets it jumps to a 110 fps difference.

What is the best barrel length for 223 AR-15? ›

For most loads, 5.56 NATO and . 223 Rem do best with a 16" barrel and 1:8 twist rate. For . 308 and 7.62 NATO, a 20" barrel and 1:12 twist rate works best for all loads.

How long should a 5.56 barrel be? ›

If you're wanting it as a home defense gun, the 5.5"-11" barrel length would be better than the traditional 16" barrel that we're all used to. Whereas, if you're looking for a rifle that can shoot accurately to 300 yards, a 16"-20" barrel would be your best bet.

What barrel length does special forces use? ›

Like standard M4s, the gun utilizes a 14.5-inch barrel, a flat-top upper receiver, collapsing stock, and railed handguard.

Is 28 barrel good for duck hunting? ›

28-inch barrels are best used for combo duck and goose hunts where longer shots might be needed. Barrels in 28-inch have a smoother swing and better sight plane for dialing in long shots past 40 yards.

Does barrel length affect recoil? ›

But longer barrel typically means less recoil. Sound: A longer barrel allows for more propellant to burn which means for a quieter sound along with less flash. The explosion at the end of the barrel is also much further away which has less perceived sound. Muzzle velocity: generally speaking, yes.

What is the best barrel length for a 357 magnum? ›

If you are looking for maximum accuracy, then go with the 20 inch barrel. The longer sight radius will allow you to be more accurate. Now there are some caveats to both. If you are using optics, then pretty much barrel length is immaterial as testing has borne out.

Does shortening a rifle barrel affect accuracy? ›

If you're using iron sights, a longer barrel will give a longer sight radius and therefore, allow for more accurate use of those sights and fewer aiming errors.

What makes a barrel accurate? ›

These include the straightness of the hole, uniformity of the rifling geometry, and the twist rate. If the width of the lands or the depth of the grooves varies, that barrel is never going to shoot accurately.

What is the best barrel length for an AR 10? ›

For a general-purpose AR10 build, an 18-inch barrel will do you just fine. However, even in 18-inch barrels, the profile and gas system length can determine weight. 18-inch barrels can range from a Faxon pencil to a thicker Big Gunner profile, and come in both mid and rifle length types.

What is the best barrel length for 45 ACP? ›

There is no doubt that a 15-inch barrel is the best length for max velocity; however, for the best overall standard deviation, 11 inches is the best barrel length.

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