Barrels extension tubes, sometimes called “Bloop Tubes” due to the sound they make, have been in extensive use in Olympic Rifle shooting for well over 20 years. The clear advantages they provide have made them extremely popular, to a point where today one can say that most top competitive shooters use one kind or another of Barrel Extension Tubes on their .22 rifles.
There are several advantages to the tubes, the first being the increase in the sight radius. By increasing the distance between the front and rear sights, the shooter can aim more precisely and more consistently at his point of aim. An additional advantage is the weight added to the front of the gun, which allows for more balance adjustments and often helps improve the gun’s felt recoil. A secondary advantage is the protection such a device offers to the crown of the barrel, any damage to which is detrimental to the barrel’s accuracy.
Extensive testing over the years has lead me to the conclusion that many of the barrel tubes available are not good enough! They work to some degree, in that they do increase the sight radius, but they are too heavy, most of them without a built in tuner, and their collar on the barrel is too long.
The Starik Carbon Tube is very light (about 200gr depending on tube length), allowing for “positive compensation”. This advantage alone sets the Starik Tube above the competition. But there is much more to it!
The other big advantage to the Starik Tube is its built in Barrel Tuner.
The tuner is a weight which can be precisely position by minute steps, allowing you to find the “Sweet Spot” of the tuner, by precisely adjusting the position of the tuning weight, until the barrel oscillations, create “positive compensation” thus greatly improving the accuracy with ammo of higher or lower velocity. This avoids vertical groups on the target.
Being able to “tune the barrel” is an art long since studied by long distance bench rest shooters, but largely ignored by many Olympic Rimfire competitors. This is a shame, as the tuning can make a real and meaningful improvement to your rifle’s accuracy!
As a bullet speeds through the barrel it creates a whipping effect in the barrel, much like a Sinus wave form. This is minute of course, but it does mean that a faster and a lower bullet will launch from the crown of the barrel at a slightly different angle within that sinus wave form. This leads to a vertical displacement on the target. Bearing in mind that even with good ammo, the variance in speed can be as much as 30 fps – this is a big deal! Usually, the faster bullet will hit higher on the target, and a variance of 30 fps will translate to about 5mm height difference on a 50m target. Too much! Way too much.