April 09, 2009
Petzal: Some Rifle Barrels are Faster than Others
By David E. Petzal
My revelation that I owned a .30/06 that could shoot 200-grain bullets at 2,700 fps has created a creepy and unnatural amount of interest. I checked, just to see if my memory was correct, and it was—2,712. There are, indeed, “fast” barrels that give you more velocity than you have a right to expect, and without blowing up your rifle. Over the years, I’ve owned only a few. In addition to the magical ’06, these were:
A .257 Roberts build by the late David Gentry, using a 21-inch barrel made by a company called Matco (this was in 1985) that seems to have faded from view. Even in this short tube I got 3,120 fps with 115-grain Nosler Partitions.
A .22/250 built about the same time by the late Seeley Masker with a 24-inch Hart barrel. With 50-grain Nosler Ballistic Tips, I got 3,900 fps right on the nose. I sold the rifle to Jim Carmichel who probably burned it out shooting prairie dogs.
A .270 built in 1994 by Kenny Jarrett with a 24-inch Schneider barrel. I got 3,190 fps with 130-grain Nosler Solid Bases. That is really moving for a standard .270.
A .270 WSM made by Mark Bansner in 2002 with a 23-inch Lilja barrel. 3,395 fps with 130-grain Swift Sciroccos.
A .300 Weatherby Accu-Mark made in 1998 at Saco, Maine. 26-inch barrel. I can get 3,250 fps out of 180-grain Swift Sciroccos.
The other rifles just plodded along and did their jobs.