Q: I’m puzzled about how barrel length relates to obtaining the best accuracy for the .22 rimfire. Your reply to a reader’s letter stated that a 457mm barrel gives the best accuracy with the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Why then, do so many target rifles have barrels 650mm in length? Is there a special reason for this?
A: Target rifle barrels are made longer for two reasons. A long barrel adds weight and balance. Two it offers a longer sight radius. Actually, some .22 rimfire barrels are longer than necessary for the cartridge. After a certain point which varies with each cartridge, some velocity is lost due to friction. As for accuracy, assuming the shooter doesn’t need the extra weight and longer sighting radius, it’s possible to shoot match winning scores with a short barrel, particularly a heavy one.