Best Barrel Length For 308 Hunting Rifle

Best Barrel Length For 308 Hunting Rifle

For many American hunters, the 308-caliber rifle is a favorite. This semi-automatic rifle can fit into most hunting setups, ranging from varmint hunting to big game hunting. However, there are a few things you need to know about barrel lengths before you purchase this weapon. Before deciding which barrels are suitable for your needs, it’s essential to know some of the properties that barrels have for you to make an educated decision.

With more people hunting deer, elk, and turkey in recent years, there has been increased interest in 308 rifles. However, some shooters are set on having a 12-inch barrel or long rifle to maximize long-range shots at these large game animals. But is having a 12-inch barrel or a rifle with a longer barrel the best choice for hunting these animals?

The right 308 rifle barrel length will depend upon the type of game you’re after and your shooting skills. For example, a 12-inch barrel will help improve long-range accuracy, but you might also compromise the speed at which you can make follow-up shots on the game or how easy it is to shoot such a large cartridge from a short barrel length.

Factors to Consider When Deciding the Best Barrel Length

There are many factors hunters need to consider when deciding which barrel length is best for a 308 hunting rifle. Factors that affect your decision include:

Trigger Pull Weight

Trigger pull weight refers to the amount of effort required to pull the trigger. A heavier pull requires a heavier finger and could cause injury, so you should consider this if you have arthritis or arthritis in your hands. That is especially important if you are hunting with a young person who doesn’t have arthritis yet and just learning to shoot for the first time.

The Hunting conditions

The hunting conditions you’ll be facing will determine what types of 308 rifle barrel lengths you’ll want to use. For example, if you are hunting in the rain or heavy wind, it’s usually better to have a short 12-inch barrel than a 20-inch barrel. A short barrel will help improve your ability to make accurate shots in such rough weather conditions.

The Hunting Distance

In addition, you should consider the distance you’ll be shooting. If your shot will be from 50 yards or more, a long-barreled 308 rifle is going to give you an advantage. But if you’re planning to shoot closer than 50 yards, a shorter barrel may be just what you need for that particular hunt. The effective range target is approximately 600 yards.

The Hunting Method

In this case, the shooter might be using a single-shot, bolt-action rifle. He might shoot a large game animal with a 308 rifle and several other rifles simultaneously. The shooter can shoot such an animal quickly and accurately with a shorter-barreled 308 rifle.

The Shooting Distance

The distance you’ll be shooting is also an important consideration when deciding what 308 rifle barrel length to use. If your shot is from 100 yards or more, a long-barreled rifle will give you the most accurate and thus allow you to make your target more quickly. Otherwise, you’ll have to get closer to that animal before you make the shot.

The 308 Rifle’s Weight

The rifle and scope should not be too heavy for you to shoot accurately. If you are a small-framed female shooter, a 20-inch 308 rifle can be too heavy for your frame as well as challenging to handle while hunting. The best 308 rifle barrel length for that shooter would be the shortest length possible, so she doesn’t hurt her shoulder or back while carrying it around.

The Hunter’s Shooting Skills

It is a significant factor to consider when choosing the right 308 rifle barrel length for your hunting needs. If your skills are not what you would like them to be, you probably should not use a 20- or 24-inch 308 rifle. That will only lead to you missing your target more often and thus waste more games. However, it would help if you worked on your skills until you can make more accurate shots with a shorter length 308 rifle.

The Hunting Type

Different hunting types require a particular 308 rifle barrel length for the hunter to make a successful hunt. For example, if you are using a single-shot, bolt-action rifle to hunt a large game animal such as elk or deer, it is better to have a short barrel length instead of longer 20-inch or 24-inch barrels. The shorter barrel length will help you get a closer shot without having to use your follow-up shots so quickly.

The Hunting Game

The game being hunted might be another vital consideration when deciding what the best 308 rifle barrel length is for you. For example, if you are hunting turkeys, elk, or deer, a 24-inch rifle can be better for that type of hunting than a 12-inch rifle.

The Barrel Quality

If you are hunting those large game animals, you’ll want to consider the quality of the barrel. If it is high-quality steel, it can add to your accuracy and help ensure the accuracy of your shots. But with a low-quality barrel, you run the risk of having inaccurate shots and may even injure yourself from shooting so much. So be sure to shop for the highest-quality barrel that fits within your budget limits.

The Ammunition

If you are using a 308 rifle with a short barrel length, you might want to consider whether the ammunition you are using is powerful enough for your caliber. A 308 caliber bullet is designed to be loaded into a standard length rifle barrel, but it may not penetrate as deeply and remain stable in the body as it would if shot from a longer barrel. So if you’re shooting ammo without enough power, there’s no point in having such a short barrel.

The Self-Defense Weapon

If your primary concern is self-defense, it would be best to keep the caliber and barrel length you want for your 308 rifles within certain limits. It is generally recommended that only a .308 Winchester caliber rifle (a long-barrel 308) be used for self-defense purposes. A short gun is less than ideal for self-defense because you would probably have to get closer to your target before shooting or miss a lot more of your shots.

Types of 308 Barrels Used for Hunting

There are four basic types of 308 barrels used for hunting:

Short-barreled rifles

These firearms have two main features: a short barrel and a typically mounted scope on top of the receiver. They are designed to be used when shooting longer distances while hunting for big games, and they usually weigh around 32 pounds. Short-barreled rifles work well for hunting elk, deer, or turkey at night or in other difficult hunting conditions. Its optimum barrel length is between 12 and 20 inches.

Long-barreled rifles

This type of 308 barrel is designed to produce high muzzle velocities, and it has the capability of firing bullets with greater accuracy. It is designed for hunting big games from a short distance using a single shot. Ordinarily, this type of firearm uses a scope mounted on the side of the receiver, and its barrel length should be between 18 inches to 24 inches long. It usually weighs around 6 to 7 pounds. Long-barreled 308 rifles are often used for hunting at night because the extended barrel length helps you get a closer shot with less effort. However, its muzzle velocity is also more significant than short-barreled rifles, so the 308 cartridges can penetrate through a game animal’s hide and pierce deep into the animal’s organs, which causes more damage to the animal.

Muzzle-brake (MBR) 223 and 308 rifles

These rifles are used for hunting at wide ranges with relatively short barrels (less than 8 inches) to keep the bullet stable in flight. Their weight is usually around 20 pounds. In general, these rifles are not as heavy as a 12-gauge shotgun. They’re excellent for people who find it easy to shoot targets farther away or from blinds, but if you cannot handle a 12 gauge, you should not get one of these. Its muzzle velocity is about two feet per second slower than full-length rifles.

Semi-auto 308 rifles. These rifles have a magazine tube and a barrel loaded with ammo, but the cartridges will not fire immediately. Instead, they will need to be manually inserted into the action chamber, and then the trigger will be pulled, which fires the cartridge. The weight of these hunting guns is usually around 40 pounds. They’re used for hunting medium-sized game animals such as deer or elk. The optimum barrel length for rifles of this type is usually around 18 inches.

Every hunter should choose their best 308 rifle barrel length to enjoy a successful hunt for maximum accuracy and speed.

Bullets Weights

The bullet weights that are used in 308 rifles are the base weight for most rifle cartridges. One can adjust the bullet weight by adding or subtracting lead to the bullet while still maintaining its shape and size. However, not all bullets come with a gas seal type or crimped tip, so it is essential to check the dimensions to ensure you are using the correct bullet for your firearm. Heavier bullet weights can be used for long-range shooting, while lighter bullet weights are often used for hunting small game.

308 ballistics is how the flight characteristics are influenced by external factors such as velocity and projectile mass. In addition, the way a 308 cartridge is formed (for example, a hollow point or round nose) can also influence its flight characteristics. For example, the energy created from a hollow point bullet will release more rapidly than full metal jacket bullets.

When choosing a bullet, you must decide what kind of game you will be hunting. For example, a bullet for deer hunting can penetrate the animal’s body more deeply and cause more damage than a bullet for bird hunting.

It would be best to use bullets with smaller diameters for a bigger game because they have a higher sectional density and cause more significant damage to animal organs. They also provide more penetrating power, which can help them go through thick hides and large bones. For the minor game, bullets with larger diameters are better because they have higher velocities to stop a small animal from running away.

Bullet Design

The components of a 308 bullet are as follows:


The tip is primarily flat with a small hollow point or tip that rises from the base. That helps keep the bullet stable while traveling inside the barrel, and its shape keeps it aligned with the barrel’s center for better accuracy. It also prevents the bullet from deforming when it hits its target. Hollow points or tips are usually covered with copper, but they can also be wrapped in lead or covered in plastic. You may consider nosler ballistic tip or accubond for your hunting bullets.


The bullet’s core contains explosive material, and it’s usually made of lead or lead alloy. Besides the explosive material, some bullets also have a heat-shielding material, a polymer coating, a jacket made of copper or brass, or even an armor-piercing tip.


The bullet’s outer surface can protect or cover other core parts for better accuracy and heat protection. The jacket can be made from copper, brass, or steel.

Bullets usually come with hollow points or rounds. Hollow points are ideal for hunting small game and varmints; they expand and cause more damage inside an animal’s body. In addition, a bullet with a hollow point will come out of its target with minor damage than one that has no hollow point in it. On the other hand, the round nose bullet is best for hunting big games. It is because itas a solid core and jacket that are cast from metal.


There are significant differences between a short and long rifle, from the feel of it in hand to the type of game you’ll be hunting. If you are new to hunting, there is more to keep in mind when choosing the right 308 rifle barrel length for you. But it shouldn’t take long to start enjoying the benefits of having the correct length of the barrel for your needs.