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16" vs 22" barrel?


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#91 finlander

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 04:43 PM

every time i look at this post i go a pull out my .308 then sit there debating on if i should cut the barrel or not. i have read through all the post and i didnt find any references to any hard numbers such as someone who has used a chronograph. it just seems to me that you cant get a full burn on a 16" barrel. does anyone know what length barrel standard .308 is loaded to?


Well, it depends. If you're going to use it for hunting or long range shooting I wouldn't cut the barrel. If you use it mainly for range shooting at moderate distances I don't think it matters much. I'd guess that factory .308 is loaded with 20"-24" barrels in mind.

#92 JulianH

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:43 PM

The vast majority of factory loads achieve full burn in a 20" barrel. 16" doesn't lose all that much MV(~150fps), but the muzzle flash is considerable. 18" is a good compromise, it gives almost full burn without too much muzzle flash.

#93 flashburn

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 12:47 AM

If these came with factory 18-19 inch barrels I would get one without a 2nd thought. So far the only reason I havent taken the s308 plunge is hating the 2 barrel length options.....too short or too long. Ugh, I know Ill probably end up getting the longer one and have the barrel chopped....sigh.

#94 montrose1911

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:34 PM

Would you reccomend one for backwoods patrol? I usually use a Rem. 870 with slugs, but I really want a mag feed weapon bigger than .223. The Saiga 308 seems like a good economical choice. I patrol on Atv's, snowmobile and by Jeep. I have put down numerous animals and always have the threat of encountering dope growers, poachers, meth makers, etc. Is it possible to place a reddot site in the front similar to the SA socom?

#95 cbr

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 04:48 PM

as i stated before i have the long barrel. i would like to get it cut down, so i went to a local smith to see about getting a few inches cut off. he said no problem that it would be $165. then i asked he how he would cut it. he said he just puts it in a vice then uses the edge of the vice as a guide then cuts it with a hacksaw.

needless to say i declined im mean i can do that myself.

#96 Tacticool

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 10:17 PM

as i stated before i have the long barrel. i would like to get it cut down, so i went to a local smith to see about getting a few inches cut off. he said no problem that it would be $165. then i asked he how he would cut it. he said he just puts it in a vice then uses the edge of the vice as a guide then cuts it with a hacksaw.

needless to say i declined im mean i can do that myself.



Wow that's complete BS. My 'smith was going to remove the barrel and cut/crown and thread it on a lathe for $125 IIRC. I think I need to give him a call...

Edited by Tacticool, 21 February 2010 - 10:42 PM.


#97 Rhodes1968

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 11:00 PM

Hey Ive had quotes as high as 250 to cut it down, thread, and crown. Most of these guys just dont need the work it seems.
Had the Japanese got as far as India, Gandhi's theories of "passive resistance" would have floated down the Ganges River with his bayoneted, beheaded carcass. -- Mike Vanderboegh.

#98 Berzerker

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 05:05 PM

Well I've solved that problem, I have a 308 in 22" and a 7.62x39 in 16". I recently got a Tapco T6 stock set for the 308 and of course a "bullet button" to be legal in this workers paradise which is Commiefornia.

#99 GunnyR

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 02:08 PM

Would you reccomend one for backwoods patrol? I usually use a Rem. 870 with slugs, but I really want a mag feed weapon bigger than .223. The Saiga 308 seems like a good economical choice. I patrol on Atv's, snowmobile and by Jeep. I have put down numerous animals and always have the threat of encountering dope growers, poachers, meth makers, etc. Is it possible to place a reddot site in the front similar to the SA socom?


montrose, don't know how anyone missed your question (myself included) but here's my two cents:

Yes to all. You'll need a gas tube rail mount if you want the red dot that far forward. Otherwise, you can get a side rail mount and set up a red dot over the receiver cover.
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#100 choobie

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 07:01 PM

Does anyone think it's a good idea to use a pipe cutter to take a 21" barrel to about 18", recrowning like this (recrowning), and then installing a 74 front sight block? This way you get the length required for the 308 to adequately burn without a huge flash yet allows for a little bit of portability?

#101 rob-cubed

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 08:17 AM

Shooters that are much better than me with a bolt have confirmed what I've always suspected--that shorter barrels don't affect accuracy and in fact can be *more* accurate due to less whip. The only downside is more muzzle flash and a small drop in velocity.

I would always go short (16-18") and get a muzzle device. I wish Saiga offered a stock 18" for .308 but I have a FAL jungle carbine with a 16" barrel and it's as accurate as the full-size version. Just barks louder!

#102 sofageorge

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 10:28 PM

I have a 16 inch 308... and I'm astounded at the accuracy I'm getting with iron site shots at 200 and 250 yards. When people describe the Saiga as "not a sniper rifle"... I can agree that it may not be... but it definitely gives you a whole lot more accuracy than many people are crediting it for. I'm not using expensive ammo... just Silver Bear FMJ and SP... and without optics I'm more than impressed with the level of accuracy the rifle provides.

#103 Hunter78

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:06 AM

I had both, the 16 and the 22" the 16 was far more accurate then the 22 and I sold the 22 no regrets so take that for what it's worth.
"Once more into the breach, my friends, once more. We'll close the wall with our dead. In peace, nothing so becomes a man as modesty and humility, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with rage and lend the eye a terrible aspect."

#104 Redwood

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 04:41 PM

I have the longer barrel version of the S308. I threaded the barrel for a muzzle brake at home using home tools and the Dinzag threading and crowning tools. I am getting very fine accuracy with mine - 1/2" at 100 yards using S&B fmj. It is a long beast with the muzzle brake and sometimes I do think of cutting it shorter but then I wonder- would cutting the barrel to say 19" really make THAT much of a difference in weight and maneuverability? So I have not done it yet... I figure I have my M1 carbine for shorter range stuff, and my long-ass Saiga 308 for long range shooting.

Edited by Redwood, 05 May 2010 - 04:42 PM.


#105 tritium

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 05:08 PM

I have the longer barrel version of the S308. I threaded the barrel for a muzzle brake at home using home tools and the Dinzag threading and crowning tools. I am getting very fine accuracy with mine - 1/2" at 100 yards using S&B fmj. It is a long beast with the muzzle brake and sometimes I do think of cutting it shorter but then I wonder- would cutting the barrel to say 19" really make THAT much of a difference in weight and maneuverability? So I have not done it yet... I figure I have my M1 carbine for shorter range stuff, and my long-ass Saiga 308 for long range shooting.

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#106 choobie

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:34 AM

Has anyone cut down their own barrel? I mean, other than using a pipe cutter and crowning it carefully with some homemade tools, is there anything else really involved?

#107 YWHIC

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 08:41 AM

choobie... good question. You could possibly use the pipe cutter to mark/groove the bbl abit then hacksaw it.

I agree with you abit. Some people do this to their MN 91/30's with good success.. IMHO>

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#108 Timbob

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 11:27 AM

IMHO, a longer barrel will get you more velocity, but not necessarily better accuracy. :smoke:

#109 mpatrovsky

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 03:08 PM

I've got two 308s a Savage bolt gun w/24" barrel and a 16" Saiga. The Savage has a 24X scope on it and the Saiga has an 8X42 POSP.
The 16" Saiga outshoots the Savage at all ranges beyond 200 yards using 1968 Lake City Match ammo. The Savage kicks harder but has a nicer trigger.

#110 TxMark

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 07:39 PM

I vote for 22. I own a 16.

You can't make a 16 longer. You can shorten a 22. Plain and simple.

Judging by all the tactical .308/7.62 field weapons, 18-20 inches is the optimal length. I would prefer 18 myself.

#111 pbwe

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 12:22 PM

I am in the process of doing exactly that; buy 22 in. and shorten it. Currently dithering between 18.5 and 19 toward mitigating blast and flash.



#112 choobie

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:51 AM

It looks to me from the other threads that the 21" is just as accurate as the 16". Maybe the barrel whip is offset by the longer sight radius?

I'm thinking about selling the 16" and going with the 21" or ver21.

Edit: does anyone know if the muzzle brake, adding about 1/2 - 1" of length helps the concussive blast? The other possibility is putting an ak-74 brake I have lying around on it and either the bulgarian flash hider or ak-74 style brake.

Edited by choobie, 24 October 2010 - 11:52 AM.


#113 hrazor

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 06:33 PM

16" Room/House CQB sweeper.

#114 DrThunder88

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 01:56 AM

22" because of post-decisional dissonance.

Both barrel lengths seem to be equally accurate. As convenient as losing 6" on the barrel would make the rifle, the extra weight seems to help soak up recoil of a real rifle cartridge. I agree with the poll: it's pretty much a wash.
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#115 tritium

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 10:34 AM

Longer barrel-->higher muzzle velocity. Accuracy is an independent factor. I'd prefer the longer barrel and have the best of both worlds. If you've worried about weight, have the barrel fluted and you'll take off a pound or more of metal.

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A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.
- Sigmund Freud (or not)
The indiscriminate use of vulgar language is the linguistic crutch of the inarticulate motherf**ker.
-Anonymous
Complexity is easy; simplicity is difficult.
-Georgy Shpagin, mentor to M. Kalashnikov
Peace is that brief, glorious, quiet moment in history when everybody is standing around reloading.
-Anonymous

"Yes, Officer, I was trying to burn my house down.... Why do you ask ?"

#116 Predator/Terminator

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 07:55 PM

Longer barrel-->higher muzzle velocity. Accuracy is an independent factor. I'd prefer the longer barrel and have the best of both worlds. If you've worried about weight, have the barrel fluted and you'll take off a pound or more of metal.


What type of handguard is that on your rifle?

Nice setup btw

#117 samt

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 12:05 AM

I do lots of reloading and shooting. I shoot through a chronograph most of the time. This info isn;t saiga specific, but applies: The short barreld guns are just as accurate as long barreled guns at 100-200 yards, but when you want to reach out 500-600 yards you need a longer barrel to get the velocity for a flatter trajectory. Realistically a 16" saiga probably looses 250 or so fps from a 20" saiga, at 500 yards 250fps at the muzzle is a little over a foot more drop.
Also on a chronograph the longer barreled rifles give more consistent velocity, I donno why, but they do. That said with carefull reloading a guy can componsate for the shorter barrell using faster powders (to a point) I have also thought about using a magnum primer to work up a load.

Having said all of that, who buys a saiga rifle to shoot matches with??? I bought a 16" to do some massive blasting up close and personal, with cheap factory ammo mine shoots 6" groups at 100 yards. The chrono readings were all over the place, so I figure my reloads or good factory bullets will bring the accuracy into 3" or less.

#118 DaveinCT

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:04 PM

It's not accuracy that is the problem with the short barrel on the 308, it's the muzzle velocity lost due to shorter barrel that neuters the 308 round. I bought the 22" 308 because I wanted a 308 that hit hard like a 308 should. If Barrel length was my selling point and wanted a 16" barrel I would have went with 7.62x39mm.

My suggestion to all you guys thinking of cutting your 22" barrels, don't do it. Go get a cheaper to shoot 7.62 and you'll have ABOUT the same ballistics.

#119 Jim Digriz

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:09 PM

It's not accuracy that is the problem with the short barrel on the 308, it's the muzzle velocity lost due to shorter barrel that neuters the 308 round. I bought the 22" 308 because I wanted a 308 that hit hard like a 308 should. If Barrel length was my selling point and wanted a 16" barrel I would have went with 7.62x39mm.

My suggestion to all you guys thinking of cutting your 22" barrels, don't do it. Go get a cheaper to shoot 7.62 and you'll have ABOUT the same ballistics.


There is a very significant difference in potency between a 16 inch 308 and a 16 inch 7.62x39.

The longer barreled Saiga is too front heavy, especially if you want to add a muzzle device. I'd say 18 inches would be a great compromise in terms of velocity and handling.

Edited by Jim Digriz, 22 January 2011 - 02:37 PM.


#120 DaveinCT

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:05 PM


It's not accuracy that is the problem with the short barrel on the 308, it's the muzzle velocity lost due to shorter barrel that neuters the 308 round. I bought the 22" 308 because I wanted a 308 that hit hard like a 308 should. If Barrel length was my selling point and wanted a 16" barrel I would have went with 7.62x39mm.

My suggestion to all you guys thinking of cutting your 22" barrels, don't do it. Go get a cheaper to shoot 7.62 and you'll have ABOUT the same ballistics.


There is a very significant difference in potency between a 16 inch 308 and a 16 inch 7.62x39.

The longer barreled Saiga is too front heavy, especially if you want to add a muzzle device. I'd say 18 inches would be a great compromise in terms of velocity and handling.


I know the 308 will still be above the 7.62 with equal 16" barrels but it does take away it's muzzle velocity and I just can't see compromising the 308 round for barrel length. 18" would be nice, the 22" can get front heavy. I have a SOCOM 16 M1A in 308 and plan on comparing them side by side very soon and I truly expect the Saiga to out shoot the SOCOM due to barrel length alone..




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