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Old January 14, 2013, 07:50 PM   #1
BoogieMan
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How much barrel is required?

I have seen revolvers from 1" to 14" barrels. What do you need to get a caliber to perform?
.44 mag- is 8" enough?
.460 mag- is 10" enough?
45/70 gov.- 10"?
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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How much barrel is required?
For doing what?
I have 44 Mags with barrels as short as 3 inch and as long as 24. Both do the job they were intended to do.
I have 45/70 from 22 to 28. The problem with short 45/70’s is burning all the powder.
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:12 PM   #3
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Everything is a compromise. Most published ballistics you see for handguns are from 8" barrrels. With that length, or close to it, you'll come close. Going longer and you might do better.

Going shorter will effect performance. Most rifles are tested with 24" barrels and folks understand very well that they lose performance with shorter barrels. Most would never consider anything shorter than 18-20" on a rifle. Yet they are surprised when they find that a magnum handgun round from a 2"-4" barrel is far slower than expected. A handgun barrel that short is about like shooting a 300 magnum rifle with a 6"-12" barrel.

My personal thoughts are that a magnum handgun round needs a minimum or 4" or you are wasting your time. I also don't want to carry anything longer than 6". If I need anything longer I'll carry a rifle for real performance.
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:31 PM   #4
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As you said its always a compromise. I am waiting for a dealer to get back to me with availability on a 460 performance center. I am thinking 10". I plan to use this for hunting whitetail but seeing as its well capable I will take it for larger game (bear, moose, etc..) given the chance. In this case thats about as large as i am willing to buy just because it gets so close to a rifle. But if I am not getting the performance out of a 10" barrel 460 I may opt to go to a smaller caliber (44mag) in order to get everything out of the given caliber. I hope I am asking this question in the right way, or at least you guys get the drift.
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:42 PM   #5
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I've been temped several times to completely remove the barrel from my Dan Wesson and shoot it using just the cylinder to see what kind of velocities it produces. But it seems like a really dumb thing to do, so I haven't.

I have the 10" BFR 460. It's very heavy. Somedays I kind of wish I had the shorter barrel. I don't think you lose that much with the shorter barrel.
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Old January 15, 2013, 01:06 AM   #6
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IIRC the .357 Magnum was originally designed with/for and 8 3/4" inch barrel.
So much depends on the load and the powder used, the spectacular muzzle flashes often pictured are usually due to a slow burning powder burning outside the barrel-where it is wasted. When I first started loading for the 41 Magnum I used 8 grains of Unique under a 210 SWC, I noted unburned powder in the cases, I cut back to 7.5 grains, same accuracy, no unburnt powder.
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Old January 15, 2013, 01:36 AM   #7
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The best resource I'm aware of for helping to answer this question.

You can take a look at their data and decide where the point of diminishing returns falls for various calibers and loadings.

http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/calibers.html
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Old January 15, 2013, 07:27 AM   #8
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Some great resources out there. Plenty of data on 44mag and other older calibers. Not much on 460mag.
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Old January 15, 2013, 08:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozzieman
I have 44 Mags with barrels as short as 3 inch and as long as 24. Both do the job they were intended to do.
Think that's called a rifle without a stock. Would be interested to see a pic.

If you want to see how the ballistics change with barrel length



in every case with the T/C Encore the length of the barrel was measured from the end of the barrel back to the breech face. This is how semi-auto pistols are measured, but revolvers are measured as the length of the barrel in front of the cylinder gap. Take this into consideration when comparing calibers using our numbers.
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Old January 15, 2013, 10:23 PM   #10
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.22 LR revolvers with cylinders long enough that a .22 mag cylinder can be substituted have a lot of bullet travel before the bullet reaches the cylinder gap, this allows fairly good velocity even if the barrel is short. The bullet moving at a fairly high velocity before leaving the cylinder.

As for barrels long enough for efficiency I'd look at the average .38 Special service revolver vs the average .38 Special target revolver. Five to five and one half inches was a compromise, but six inches was just right for maximum accuracy.
A four inch barrel is theoretically as accurate, but sight radius seems to count more than barrel length in this regard.

PS
I'm looking at accuracy and handling qualities as the measure of efficiency, rather than maximum velocity for any particular load.
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Old January 16, 2013, 10:06 AM   #11
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Believe me, I understand our love affair with handguns, revolvers in general. But I just don't get "handguns" the size, scope and power we're talking about. A 10" S&W .460 weighs in at 5 lbs for Lord's sake, a Guide gun comes in at 7lbs. I can't imagine the S&W carrying any better and quiet possiably worse than the Guide gun. Haven't even gotten into shootability.

Handguns should be handy, not big cumbersome pigs. Ballistics be damned, DA prefered in 4" no more than 6, SA's prefered in 4 3/4" no more than 6 1/2". If you can't obtain the ballistics you need in those barrel lengths from a .460 you need to changing platforms. And IMO that holds true no matter if you're using a .22lr or a big super mag. And the weight! Oh my, who in the heck wants to carry that in any sort of holster?

Unless these BIG handguns get you added seasons like being able to use them during a "primitive" season, it very much seems a case of doing/creating something fo no real reason. A case of someone wondering whether they could instead of if they should.
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Old January 16, 2013, 11:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
I'm looking at accuracy and handling qualities as the measure of efficiency, rather than maximum velocity for any particular load.
You'd probably have to define "accuracy". Does that mean putting a fist sized group into a sillouette at 3 yards, point shooting in the dark? Or 1" groups at 50 yards, slow fire single action, aimed? Likely somewhere inbetween.

I'm as accurate, at any range, with my 1-7/8" Chief's Special as I am with my 4" Model 66. And for me, that means really good, "target" accurate. I can hit that center mass bowling pin at 3 yards with anything, probably with eyes closed.

I guess what I'm suggesting here is that for normal carry length bbls and ranges, I don't think there's much, if anything, to consider regarding accuracy.


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Old January 16, 2013, 04:44 PM   #13
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You'd probably have to define "accuracy". Does that mean putting a fist sized group into a sillouette at 3 yards, point shooting in the dark? Or 1" groups at 50 yards, slow fire single action, aimed? Likely somewhere inbetween.
My best accuracy from a .38 Special was an officers model target with 6 in barrel, one holers dead center in the X ring at 50 feet with very little difference in group size at 25 yards. Some shooting at pie plates at over 100 yards, but I never measured exact distance or group sizes.
I'd like similar accuracy from any full size belt gun, but probably won't find another quite that accurate.

For a quality full size .22 revolver I expect to be able to hit a circle the size of a 25 cent piece every time at 50 feet with off hand hold. Even an old Buffalo cast alloy frame single action did that well for me, and my Sentinel does better, putting all in a circle the size of a nickle.

If I can't hit well with a handgun of any sort, revolver or auto, I won't carry it.

PS
My little I frame Hand Ejector has the 4 1/4" barrel.
I haven't owned a snubby in many years, just didn't see the point in a belly gun for other than across a small room point shooting.
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Old January 16, 2013, 05:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
You'd probably have to define "accuracy". Does that mean putting a fist sized group into a sillouette at 3 yards, point shooting in the dark? Or 1" groups at 50 yards, slow fire single action, aimed? Likely somewhere inbetween.
Did ya happen to read the OP's post? Any idea what kinda gun he's talkin about? Hint..... He dang well ain't worried about point shooting at night or fist sized groups at 3 yards. Not likely in between.
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Old January 16, 2013, 05:52 PM   #15
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I am talking about moving right up to the big gun 460sw.
I agree its:
1. Overkill for the likely game
2. Heavy for a handgun
3. Etc....
Thing is I am not planning on carrying (people do) other than for the purpose of hunting. I want the fastest biggest production handgun for no real good reason other than I find it cool.
The thing is if I get it in a 4" barrel I am not getting anything close to the performance of the cartridge. I am going between the 8-3/8" and 10-1/2" barrel. I dont think I can hold anything larger on target without a rest. If I am just shooting 3' flames out the end it really isnt doing any good to shoot such a large caliber. Thus the 44mag reference.
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Old January 16, 2013, 06:50 PM   #16
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Think that's called a rifle without a stock. Would be interested to see a pic.

No it's a Ruger 44 mag carbine.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Ruger 77 44.jpg (263.8 KB, 21 views)
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Old January 17, 2013, 02:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Did ya happen to read the OP's post?
Yes I did. And I didn't read anything more than those big cal numbers. Thanks for the condescending comment just the same.

Again, I suggest a bit more specifics on what's desired out of those lead throwers would be something interesting to read.


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Old January 17, 2013, 02:55 PM   #18
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Where I am you need a 5.5" barrel to hunt deer with, so that is where I start.

As to why a pistol instead of a rifle--for me it is something different.

I've hunted with a pistol during rifle season, I've hunted with a muzzle loader during rifle season, some year I will hunt with a scope, as I have never done that...etc etc.

I hunt for meat so I learn my limits and stick to them.
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Old January 17, 2013, 03:02 PM   #19
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Seems to me that these massive handguns have their place. Not limited to but very useful as a defensive weapon against large carnivores or other very dangerous animals that you aren't necessarily hunting, but rather run across unexpectedly while going about your business in the outdoors.

More than a few Africans have been eaten alive by predators that they came upon unexpectedly, as well as hunters who found themselves too lightly armed for massive animals when hunting lighter game. Same has happed in the USA in bear country.
At one time a British firm marketed a cut down No.4 Enfield with pistol grip and 14 inch barrel, built on unissued receivers to skirt the cutdown rifle stigma.
One use planned for these was to be clipped to the door panels of tourist vans used at the open air big game preserves and zoos. The drivers could use these to protect their charges should need arise.
The piece was unweildy for a handgun, but far easier to deploy than a carbine while inside or when exiting a vehicle.

A long barreled massive framed revolver clipped to a pack frame or in a torso carried holster of some sort could be very useful for sport fishermen in bear country.
It would increase the range at which rounds fired in defense would take effect, increasing probability of surviving an attack.

The Canadian government once pursued a contract for a compact all weather bolt action in .308 with folding stock, intended for defensive use by crews servicing communication towers in polar bear country.
While Canada is unlikely to authorise a handgun for use by civilian workers, the massive revolvers in ultra powerful chamberings might serve a similar purpose, and be far easier to pack while climbing towers, or any other type of climbing for that matter.
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Old January 17, 2013, 08:51 PM   #20
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I could come up with useful reasons for a big azz handgun all day. But I am an honest person and to be honest I just like the idea that whatever the game is a 460 can do it. My SD gun of choice is a Beretta 96 and my target gun of choice is either my 1911 9mm or 22/45, Much more reasonable by anyones standards. But some times you just have to do it or shoot it because its there. kind of like having a Porsche or a lifted truck. You know your not going to race around Nuremberg ring or bust through the mud pits with it. But the idea is that it will.
In my case my wife would kill me for buying a Porsche and a lifted pickup just isnt practical. So a 460 will fill that need.
Having said that. Is it useless to have one with a 8" barrel? Is a 10" any better? I cant hold anything bigger than a 10" on target. So at that point would I actually get better performance from a 44mag?
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Old January 18, 2013, 05:20 AM   #21
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Handguns should be handy, not big cumbersome pigs. Ballistics be damned, DA prefered in 4" no more than 6, SA's prefered in 4 3/4" no more than 6 1/2". If you can't obtain the ballistics you need in those barrel lengths from a .460 you need to changing platforms. And IMO that holds true no matter if you're using a .22lr or a big super mag. And the weight! Oh my, who in the heck wants to carry that in any sort of holster?

Unless these BIG handguns get you added seasons like being able to use them during a "primitive" season, it very much seems a case of doing/creating something fo no real reason. A case of someone wondering whether they could instead of if they should.
I have a friend who owns more than 50 firearms, all but two of them purchased in the last 4 years. And with the exception of two or three that are employed for carry, NONE of them, none, have or serve ANY purpose other than to own, to shoot, to enjoy and to experience.

Some of your comments make it sound like you wouldn't know what this meant if it sat on your face.

Pretty sad. And it drips from your posts.
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Old January 18, 2013, 01:11 PM   #22
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DEFINE perform. There is no substitute for velocity and no substitute for barrel length to get it.
And so it goes...
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Old January 18, 2013, 01:41 PM   #23
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I have a friend who owns more than 50 firearms, all but two of them purchased in the last 4 years. And with the exception of two or three that are employed for carry, NONE of them, none, have or serve ANY purpose other than to own, to shoot, to enjoy and to experience.
That's all fine and dandy. But the thread isn't about what your friend owns or likes to shoot, or you or me for that matter. The question is "what is enough?" I did nothing more than to say that 4"-6.5" is enough and if it isn't than you need to look elsewhere. Adding inches up front doesn't increase it's value in the field in any way but does detract from it. I'm all good if you, you're friend, the OP or anyone else likes to shoot/use a long barreled ubber magnums but there's enough, and then there's enough. 4-6.5" barrels is enough. It's what I said and gave reasons to in my first post yet you don't like it. I'm gonna go cry now.
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Old January 19, 2013, 01:00 PM   #24
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Quote:
I have seen revolvers from 1" to 14" barrels. What do you need to get a caliber to perform?
What do you mean by perform?

If you mean,"Hit what your're shooting at," your barrel length only needs to be long enough to stabilize the bullet. I carry a K-Frame .38 with a 1 7/8" barrel..I can make good hits at 20 yards.

If you mean "Maximize bullet energy when it leaves the barrel," it depends on your caliber, bullet weight, powder charge, barrel length," etc.
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Old January 19, 2013, 05:03 PM   #25
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Apparently there is no one answer for this. Thanks to the person who posted the chart. Very resourceful for my decision.
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