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Old May 13, 2013, 09:14 PM   #1
odugrad
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Barrel wall thickness

Does anyone know why some gun barrels seem thicker than others? And do you know what the reason is for the difference.

Thanks, everyone.
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Old May 13, 2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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I can give you a few reasons why and one of them is that it depends on the manufacturer. The old saying cheap gun, cheaper barrel comes to mind.

Some cheap guns use more metal and less process. It's easier to make the barrel heavier with cheaper metal than to use better more expensive metal that has to go through different heat treating or tempering processes that cost more money. Simply put, to save money.

Another reason for a thinner barrel might be exampled by the Taurus 780tcp.
It's made from strong stainless but shoots a 380 round and they simply made the barrel thick enough to handle the pressure and nothing more.

A reason for a thick barrel of high quality like a high quality stainless barrel found in many hand guns like the M&P, Ruger SR9, and the Glock 19 is a different story and implies one or more reasons and that's where it gets tricky for me. The +P and +P+ capabilities come to mind. Also that it wears so very little. Another is that they mostly are designed with the metal jacketed bullet in mind which would wear out a softer barrel much quicker.

Another that comes to mind, and I have no answer too it,other than just the aforementioned jacketed bullet is that they just beef it up beyond the necessity. They make some guns that are not +P or +P+ rated even though the barrels can handle well the normal powder charge. Much thicker than needed, but I am ok with that!
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Old May 14, 2013, 07:28 AM   #3
odugrad
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I wasn't sure. Because I noticed the barrel of the PX4 is much thicker than the barrels on my Sig 226 or XDM.

I wasn't sure if one is better than the other.
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Old May 14, 2013, 07:48 AM   #4
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There's a simple answer...

The design of the gun ends up "X" wide, so the barrel, you know, has to fit.
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Old May 14, 2013, 05:54 PM   #5
wpsdlrg
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There is no absolute rule on this....but, generally, the higher pressure the round chambered in the gun, the thicker the wall thickness of the barrel. For example, the 45 ACP is a relatively low pressure round (less than 20,000 psi, for standard loads). 9mm Para, maxes out at 35,000 psi (again, for standard loads). Using the same ordnance steel....a 9mm barrel will have the greater wall thickness of the two.

Virtually all small arms barrels (which of course includes all hand guns), from whatever manufacturer, are made from either 4140 chrome moly.....or 4160 chrome moly steel (or their equivalent). 4160, with it's higher nickel content, is the alloy used for "stainless" steel barrels. 4160 doesn't take bluing well, so 4140 is used for barrels to be blued.

There is NO absolute correlation as to the wall thickness of a barrel as regards the quality of that barrel. Thicker doesn't necessarily equate to better and vice versa.

As for your Beretta PX4.....I'm not sure which model you have (the standard and compact sizes are a bit different from the subcompact.) I believe, if I am not mistaken, that the muzzle of the PX4 subcompact model has a very thick profile, due to the muzzle lockup design. If you have that model, it might APPEAR that the barrel walls are extraordinarily thick, for this reason (but this might be misleading).
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Old May 16, 2013, 08:53 AM   #6
Carmady
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I saw this last night and noticed the thin barrel wall. It's a Bernadelli Model 80 .380.

Edit: On second thought it doesn't look so thin, might be the camera andle and glare making it appear that way because it looks thin on the left and thicher on the right.

Last edited by Carmady; June 5, 2013 at 12:22 PM.
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Old May 16, 2013, 09:05 AM   #7
Mystro
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Usually weight savings is why a thin barrel is used. Generally, thin barrels have to be made with better material so they make cost more money.
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Old May 17, 2013, 12:41 PM   #8
James K
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"Usually weight savings is why a thin barrel is used"

True, but consider the opposite. A .22 rifle could probably be made with a barrel about the diameter of a quarter inch tube, and that would be strong enough. But would such a rifle be as handy and useful as a heavier one? A gun needs some mass both to resist recoil and to have good handling properties. One of the criticisms of the old Winchester shotguns with fiber glass wrapped barrels was that they were too light - what Winchester considered a benefit turned out to be a drawback.

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Old May 17, 2013, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
One of the criticisms of the old Winchester shotguns with fiber glass wrapped barrels was that they were too light - what Winchester considered a benefit turned out to be a drawback.
My cousin bought one and was so exited. Sold it the next week, said he couldn't hit anything with it.....lol
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Old May 19, 2013, 09:03 AM   #10
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I think barrel thickness is dependent on a combination of balance (non-b.r.), cost, and rigidity (mostly rifle). The thinnest barrel I own is on my PMR30. I swear it looks like it's 1/16" thick.
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Old May 19, 2013, 11:33 AM   #11
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depends greatly on the needs too. Dan Wesson revolvers have some of the thinnest barrels out there but they are tentioned between the frame and nut on the end of the shroud. very accurate and very strong.

Weight of barrel/shroud does effect guns ballance and helps with control more than anything.
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