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Old December 22, 2012, 12:37 AM   #1
Newton24b
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size choice

just at what point do you really consider the barrel length of a gun compared to ballistics?

i have no issue with a small snubnose revolver. i merely seem to have a hard time even thinking of a short barreled semi auto for anything serious.

its not the cost of ammo designed for short barrels, its equally pricy in rimmed and rimless ammunition.

its not the easyness to drop a mag or open the cylinder, each gun has its own weakness in that regard tha tvaries from model to model.

its not ballance, or capacity.

how do you offset the choice between a small snubnosed semi auto with a 8-15 round capacity that will never equal the ballistics of the same cartridge shot from a full size barrel?
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Old December 22, 2012, 12:54 AM   #2
FrankenMauser
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Weight and size.

That's how you offset it.

It's worth it to some people.
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Old December 22, 2012, 01:17 AM   #3
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The Off Set would come with considerable practice. Accurate shot placement is the only way to ballance the scales.

Short Barrel guns are always harder to hit with, have reduced Impact Energy, and smaller Capacity than Full Size Guns. A trade off for being compact and easy to conceal.

I bought an LCR-22 quite a while back as my practice J Frame. I have shot bricks of Federal 550 pak through it. My accuracy with my 442 has improved dramaticly. Sight Picture, and Trigger Squeeze are the key elements of accuracy.

Bob
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Old December 22, 2012, 10:30 AM   #4
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Form (barrel length) follows function (what you are going to use it for). Form always involves compromises. It its purpose is concealed carry, you sacrifice barrel length and capacity and reluctantly, velocity. If the purpose is not concealed carry as in hunting or target, no compromises need be made. I know what I am giving up in order to conceal, but do not agonize over something that I know has no practical alternative. It is what it is.
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Old December 22, 2012, 10:39 AM   #5
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The only reason to me is for the ease of carry. Shorter barrels lose velocity and I am ok with the fact. I like the ability to pocket carry at times.

It's all about the mission called for the gun. I pocket carry a S&W 638 with a 1 7/8 inch barrel & hunt with a Ruger 45 Colt 7 1/2 inch barrel.

Same with the semi-auto's it's just what mission you want for the gun.
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Old December 22, 2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
...It's all about the mission called for the gun...
Isn't that what I said?
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Three shots are not a "group"...they are a "few".

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Old December 22, 2012, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
Isn't that what I said?
Started to post about the same time. I just type really slow.
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Old December 22, 2012, 04:51 PM   #8
dahermit
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Quote:
Started to post about the same time. I just type really slow.
I do everything really slow.
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Three shots are not a "group"...they are a "few".

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Old December 23, 2012, 02:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Newton24b

how do you offset the choice between a small snubnosed semi auto with a 8-15 round capacity that will never equal the ballistics of the same cartridge shot from a full size barrel?
If you consider all defensive handgun cartridges under powered, then you accept that it will take multiple center of mass hits to stop a determined attacker withing some number of seconds after the bullets crush vascular tissue cause hemorrhaging and blood pressure loss. This will take many seconds.

The loss of power due to a shorter barrel is something to consider. How do you calculate what is lost?

To put the calculation process that I use I will try to present an academic set of assumptions that may bear no actual resemblance to actual tested fact:
1) Let us assume a 124gr. 9mm para bullet will have a muzzle velocity of 1200fps from a 5" barrel. Let us also assume that you need three center of mass shots to stop a determined threat in 30 seconds from a full sized barrel handgun.
2) Let us assume a 124gr. 9mm para bullet will have a muzzle velocity of 1000fps from a 2.5" barrel. Let us also assume that you need three center of mass shots to stop a determined threat in 40 seconds from a short barreled handgun.

Of course I am making assumptions which fit my appreciation for how little effectiveness will change due to the loss of a couple hundred feet per second. Basically I am trying to demonstrate that since they (defensive cartridges) are all under powered, a little more under powered will not change much.

Since there are an infinite number of variables that may be involved, no two shootings will ever be the same; so comparison is extremely difficult. Basically, a given 9mm para load fired from a 5" barrel should be slightly more effective than that same load fired from a 2.5" barrel. But in actual fact it depends on an infinite number of variables and one threat might not be stopped as quickly as another due to factors beyond the performance of the bullets.

Handguns are a compromise of power and availability. We trade size and power for being able to get a package small enough that we will have it at hand if needed. Personal preferences will determine which limits in size and power you will accept.
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Old December 23, 2012, 10:12 PM   #10
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I always try to carry the biggest gun I can comfortably conceal. In my mind, frame size is the bigger factor than barrel length.
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Old December 24, 2012, 01:35 PM   #11
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You've got your logic backwards. Short barreled semi's make far more sense than short barreled revolvers. Published revolver ballistics are usually from 8" long test barrels. Even with a 4" revolver barrel you only 50% of the test barrel length and only about 25% from a 2" snubbie. That is like shooting a 30-06 with a 6"-12" barrel

Published velocities from semi's are usually taken from 5" test barrels that are far closer to what people actually use. The real world bullet speeds you will get from a semi are going to be much closer to published data, even from shorter barrels. My 4" G-19 still gets 1250 fps with 124 gr 9mm ammo. A 357 mag revolver won't do any better and is a larger, longer, heavier gun. I'd need at least 6" of 357 revolver barrel to significantly better what I can do with a 4" 9mm.

The guns overall size is far more important than barrel length. A semi with a 4.5" barrel is still going to be shorter,lighter and more compact than most revolvers with a 3" barrel.

I own and use both semi's and revolvers. The revolvers are more practical in their full size configurations. If a small gun is needed you will get more performance in a smaller package with semi's.
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Old December 24, 2012, 02:55 PM   #12
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As has been stated, the mission dictates the equipment and the tactics. You do not lose enough from a 357 mag going from 4" to 2 1/2" to worry about. You will get more variation in velocity gun for gun usually. A 125 grain JHP is still doing 1350 from a 1 7/8" 357 Magnum and a 145 STHP does 1250, not much of a trade off. Different loads in different cartridges are affected differently due to burn characteristics of individual powders.

Carry what you shoot well and are comfortable with and don't sweat the tiny details.
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Old December 24, 2012, 03:09 PM   #13
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Big is always better.
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Old December 24, 2012, 04:08 PM   #14
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Form (barrel length) follows function (what you are going to use it for). Form always involves compromises. It its purpose is concealed carry, you sacrifice barrel length and capacity and reluctantly, velocity. If the purpose is not concealed carry as in hunting or target, no compromises need be made. I know what I am giving up in order to conceal, but do not agonize over something that I know has no practical alternative. It is what it is.

Very good explanation and how I too feel about barrel length. I own handguns with barrel lengths from 1 7/8" to 10 1/2". They all have their specific purpose and all work very well for those purposes. I always kinda figured that's why they made 'em.
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Old December 24, 2012, 05:12 PM   #15
DFrame
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As a devoted snub nose fan, I would not intentionally choose a gun with anything longer than a 4 inch barrel and even those are a bit too long for my tastes. Yes I own a couple of six inchers but bought them MANY years ago, when my skill level needed all the help it could get. If I need a long barreled pistol for hunting I'll take my contender. Otherwise I most often shoot 3 inch or shorter guns today and love it.
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Old December 25, 2012, 12:41 AM   #16
Newton24b
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the problem is, that in the smaller barrels, the most common self defense ammunition doesnt expand in anything under 4 inches. so is spending twice as much on ammunition that wont expand in a short barrel make that cute little semi auto more of a value then a revolver?
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Old December 25, 2012, 05:58 PM   #17
Mello2u
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Quote:
Newton24b

the problem is, that in the smaller barrels, the most common self defense ammunition doesnt expand in anything under 4 inches. so is spending twice as much on ammunition that wont expand in a short barrel make that cute little semi auto more of a value then a revolver?
I found this information on ballisticsbytheinch:
9mm Para Cor Bon 125 gr. JHP +P

Kimber Target II 1911
5" barrel = 1314

Korth semi-auto
5" barrel = 1235

Para LDA Carry 9
3" barrel = 1198 (-116fps compared to the Kimber above)

So from the 3" barrel the muzzle velocity is still close to 1200FPS. It seems likely that the bullet should be within its performance design parameters and therefore deform as designed.

This seems to be contrary to your conclusions.

Also, as stated by a previous poster, a 1 7/8 inch revolver (which has a barrel to cylinder gap) is equivalent to the 3" auto barrel (with the chamber counted as part of the barrel).
This link has data which shows that the cylinder gap usually has some effect: http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/gaptests.html

Often the revolvers will have less velocity for a given round if you can find one of each that can shoot the same cartridge; such as the Para LDA and a S&W 940. I was unable to find information on a direct comparison.
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Old December 25, 2012, 06:19 PM   #18
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Crimson Trace; laze the head, pull the trigger.... antagonist will shut down effective in calibers from .22 through .500 ....
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