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What Contour (Diameter) Should I Use?
For a gun to use for both short-range and 600-yard Benchrest competition we would use a Max Heavy Varmint taper or something very similar. This will be 1.250″ at the receiver running straight for 5″ (measured from bolt face), then tapering in a straight line to about .92″ at the muzzle, finished at 27″-28″. For 1000-yard competition, you can run a heavier taper such as the MTU, as long as the receiver or a barrel-block provides sufficient support. For point-blank shooting, if you are not planning to compete in NBRSA or IBS registered matches, we would consider a near-full contour, running 21″ to 23″.
My experience is that you can certainly have an accurate light weight barrel but the more shots thru it the more it loses it accuracy over the short period of time compared to the heavier barrel. The more rigid barrel due to larger diameter will remain accurate as you heat it up compared to a sporter barrel.