How Important Is Your Barrel Length in Airsoft?
I used to be confused about the importance of the barrel length of my airsoft gun, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. There are various theories as to how barrel length affects performance. Some people think the barrel length of your airsoft gun helps improve range while others say it can help improve accuracy. Is any of this true, or are there some misleading claims here? After doing some research, I was able to get a better idea of how important the barrel length really is.
To put it simply, your barrel length does not improve the range or accuracy of your airsoft gun. The reason this myth came to be is because the barrel length does affect the performance of a real gun. When using a real gun, a longer barrel will see an increase in projectile range (ex: snipers). The longer a barrel in a real gun is (to a certain extent), the longer the expanding propellant has to provide energy to a bullet, thus increasing the amount of energy and the overall range of the bullet.
In airsoft, that’s not the case. The amount of power in pressurized gas isn’t quite the same as the power from a real gun, which is why the length of a barrel isn’t very important.
You just need to make sure a barrel isn’t too short because you want to be able to stabilize the BB when it’s fired, but you don’t want it to be too long since the BB will be “under-volumed”. This is when the pressure in the barrel begins to drop off prior to a BB exiting the barrel of an airsoft gun. If this occurs, the range of the BB will be significantly reduced.
The easiest way to make sure your barrel is the proper length is by making sure the barrel is longer than 200 mm and shorter than 450mm. This range will ensure there is enough dwell time for the BB to stabilize properly while still having enough energy to have a proper trajectory.
So to review, barrel length won’t improve the range or accuracy of your airsoft gun, but it can certainly impact range and accuracy negatively. Too short and your BB will be inaccurate, and too long means the BB won’t travel very far.
But if barrel length isn’t that important, what is?
Most Important Factor for the Barrel of Your Airsoft Gun
The most important factor for you barrel isn’t length, but the inner barrel bore quality. There are 2 things that your inner barrel needs to be considered high-quality.
- The bore of the inner barrel should have something called “high concentricity”. To better explain concentricity, I found a video that does a great job of breaking it down. What they say is that, “for a barrel to be concentric, all parts of the barrel must be made and kept true to the centerhole.” In other words, the barrel of the airsoft gun should be as perfectly circular and uniform as possible. If the BB is hitting the sides of the barrel as it’s being fired, the trajectory of the BB will be negatively impacted and would in turn make the airsoft gun inaccurate.
- The finish of the barrel is something that can impact the trajectory and accuracy of the BB. A quality airsoft gun manufacturer will have a very fine finish, which is why it’s important to get your barrel from a brand you trust. But even if you buy from a high-quality brand, you still run the risk of damaging the finish with dirt and/or scratches. These can be caused by using cleaning tools on your barrel improperly, so you have to be careful and gentle with how you clean your gun.