Once I was at my local range with my precision .308 and happened to be sitting next to an older gentleman that was there shooting a .308 as well. The major difference? He was sporting a 26″ barrel to my 20″ barrel. At one point he decided to make conversation by saying to me “You will never get that thing to shoot right. That barrel is too short, you lost all your velocity and will never get it to be accurate.”
I did tell him that I disagreed, and when we went down at the next cold range and all four of my targets had mickey mouse ear groups … he didn’t bother me again.
The moral of the story here is that barrel length is becoming less and less of a issue to precision shooters then was once thought. Ashbury Precision Ordinance is working on their new .308K1 which is sporting a 16.5″ barrel with a 1:8 twist, and no, that is is not a typo, it really is going to be a 1:8 twist barrel. I know that there are some out there that are not going to believe in a 1:8 .308 barrel, but I am actually going to wait and see what comes of their testing.
Through a recent post they have been able to achieve 1/2MOA accuracy out of the barrel, which is pretty impressive for any rifle, but from a prototype shorter barreled, fast twist .308 it is really impressive. It also goes to show that while there is going to be some velocity loss with a shorter barrel, picking the right ammo can mitigate that loss and still produce a very accurate rifle that is much less cumbersome in the field, at the range or in a patrol car.
Take a look at the article they have written and the work they are doing. It is a pretty impressive rifle that they are creating.
Recently APO’s ordnance department finished up a technology demonstrator rifle that has really caught the attention of a number of our customers. We’ve had on-going discussions with Jim Gilliland of Shadow 6 Consulting for some time about the merits of a short barreled .308 caliber rifle for tactical law enforcement, urban wildlife control and hog hunting.
Jim has a considerable professional background on the use and application of .308 sniper rifles and feels strongly that barrels longer than 20” (except in long range shooting applications) are more cumbersome and heavier than need be for a given use. In fact, he’s a serious advocate for a 16.5″ precision rifle fed with the “appropriate” ammunition. Jim suggests such a rifle can fulfill a number of special needs at short to intermediate ranges which would be ideal for law enforcement tactical marksmen among other applications.
So with a bit of R&D time invested, APO’s product development team and gunsmiths got together with Jim to create technical specifications and then built a rifle. Over the past two weeks we invited some law enforcement, military snipers, a couple of wildlife control specialists and recreational rifle shooters to come over and get some trigger time in on our little .308K1 Tactical Rifle.
The APO .308K1 Tactical Rifle in the slideshow above is built on a X-Treme titanium short action receiver, Pinnacle Series 16.5″ 1-in-8 twist 5R 416RQ fluted stainless steel barrel, AAC Blackout 51T muzzle brake, and 762SD suppressor. The primary day optic is a Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44, Insight MRDS close combat optic on a return to zero GDI PROM-L scope mount. The base rifle weight is a tick over 11lbs. This is all built on Ashbury’s latest SABER RSA-A3 MOD-1 “K” model modular rifle chassis.
Now you might be wondering about what Jim meant by “appropriate” ammunition? So we gathered up some likely suspects and below you’ll see the data sets. By far the best performing ammunition in terms of “precision” in this rifle is the RUAG Swiss-P at sub ½ MOA. However, with that being said, the Hornady and Lapua supersonic ammunitions provided solid sub ¾ MOA accuracy. Subsonic ammo from both brands shot consistently sub 1 MOA, yet we did see a preference for the 200gr projectiles.
RUAG Swiss-P 175gr Match
AV: 2403 fps
Hornady 168gr TAP-FPD
AV: 2477 fps
RUAG Swiss-P 240gr Sub-Sonic
AV: 947 fps
Lapua 200gr Sub-Sonic
AV: 953 fps
Lapua 167gr Scenar
AV: 2623 fps
We shot various specialty ammunition from RUAG that provides “matched ballistics” at 100 yards and it shot awesome. That includes Styx Action (rapid expansion), Tactical (glass penetration), and Armor Piercing (AP). Here is a link to the various types of RUAG Swiss-P in different calibers other than .308. By the way Styx Action projo’s “crush” varmints and big game!
The .308K1 with its short stubby barrel has great potential in light of the fact that it’s losing only about 140 fps of velocity over a longer 20″ tube which is still shorter than the normal 24″ to 26″ standard length .308 barrels – with no loss of precision we might add! If you plug the velocity data into any popular ballistic software package like FDAC or Field Firing Solutions note how far the Swiss-P 175gr, Hornady 168gr TAP, or 167gr Scenar remains supersonic…
In the coming weeks, Jim over at Shadow 6 is going to conduct some extended range field tests to validate what the ballistic computers are reporting and confirm the stability of projectiles using the faster 1-in-8” twist rate. Jim’s data and the .308K1 will then make its way out to combat arms instructor Adam Wilson at 1 MOA Solutions in Texas to experience some of that fine south Texas heat confirming Jim’s down range data.