Velocity Testing | Thompson Center Barrels

We conducted velocity testing to help our customers answer the seemingly hardest question when it comes to ordering a new custom barrel: What length? With the velocity testing data we’ve collected, making that decision is easier than ever. Now our customers can know how much, if any, difference there is at a specific length.

We built six of our most demanded Encore barrels at 27″ (our maximum barrel length), then we tested and recorded the velocity. The barrels are: 6.5mm Creedmoor, 280 Remington Ackley Improved, 444 Marlin, 450 Bushmaster, 460 Smith & Wesson Magnum, and the 45-70 Government. We then cut an inch off each barrel and retested again, repeating the process 14 times, ending at 13″. The ammunition we selected for the tests were a combination of popular factory loaded average weight bullets, to the heavier-than-standard hand loads. We wanted to cover the most sought-after bullet weights for the caliber so our testing was as relevant as possible to anyone.

All of the barrel cleaning and shortening was done here at Match Grade Machine. The hand loads were put together by Steve’s Custom Guns, a local enthusiast. Steve also performs all of the load data for customers who don’t want to take the time to tune loads to their barrels or if they are experiencing difficulties with their own setup. We have to commend Steve for his thorough data collection and willingness to spend the time to painstakingly shoot six barrels, then shorten and repeat.

For practical reasons people are going with shorter barrels because 50-100 fps isn’t that much of a difference for cartridges and their distance capabilities. Due to many reasons, shorter barrels are easier to tune and handle, therefore have greater accuracy potential.

Take a look at the first velocity testing results we have compiled and see for yourself how length affects performance on firearms.


The information below is for informational purposes only and is provided only to help you determine which barrel best suits you. This is not meant to be instructive of the loads you should actually use, and you should not rely on the load information below in loading your own rounds. Hand-loading ammunition can be dangerous if done improperly, and mistakes may result in serious injury or death. Always use a reputable reloading manual to source information on selecting loads for your firearm. Match Grade Machine is not responsible for any mishap caused by negligent or otherwise improper hand-loading of cartridges. Be sure to always use the proper equipment, tools, and safety measures when reloading, shooting, transporting, and cleaning your firearms.  Know your firearm’s capabilities and operation procedures before use.

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