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Old May 20, 2013, 01:01 PM   #1
HALL,AUSTIN
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44 magnum, what barrel length?

I've recently started to shoot mainly pistols. I was thinking it would to be fun to get something big, I am debating between the 6" and 8 3/8". Are there any real pros or cons to either? I might eventually take it to hunt hogs at short range. But only once I am sure I can make the shot (I'm no Elmer Keith and wont try to be). Any insight is appreciated
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:15 PM   #2
PetahW
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.

I've had both lengths, and much prefer the 8-3/8" both for looks/style and performance.

When hunting, I use a cross-chest bandillero-type holster ( a Bianchi 4100 Ranger ), so bbl length isn't a carrying issue - and the guns are handheld while actually hunting/stalking.



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Old May 20, 2013, 01:17 PM   #3
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At the range, it makes no difference and I wouldn't be surprised that you would shoot the 8 3/8" better. My 8 3/8" M57 is my best shooting 41 mag. It works well for hunting, but you need some sort of chest/bandoleer type rig to carry it comfortably in the field due to the barrel length. The 6" is clearly easier to carry in the field. So, it's your choice as always.

You loose a little velocity with the 6" barrel too relative to the 8 3/8"; guessing 300 fps or about 150 fps per inch. Not a big deal in terms of killing power.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:28 PM   #4
Noreaster
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I have had several hunting handguns in various barrel lengths. 14 inch, 12 inch, 8 3/8, 7.5, 6.5. I guess it all depends what you want to do with it. When I first started handgun hunting I didn't like lugging around the longer barrels and I started moving down but now I'm back up to a 7.5 SBH and I think it's perfect. I didn't care for the noise and recoil of the short barrels, but you'd be surprised how accurate they can be. For me it's all about balance. I didn't like my T/C in 14 inch, but the 12 inch was great. I thought my Super blackhawk hunter in 7.5 was too heavy, but I love my Blackhawk in 7.5. I had a Taurus 44 that was awesome in 8 3/8, but I didn't like the 629 in 6.5 inch. My advice would be to go to the gun shops and starting picking them up and seeing how you like the feel of them. If your not shooting heavy loads then a 5 or 6 inch gun might be ok.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:38 PM   #5
Grant D
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For close range hog hunting the 6" would be fine, but I prefer the 8 3/8".

I had a Smith and Wesson Model 629 8 3/8" with a 2X Leupold scope that worked great out to 100 yards. I carryed it in a chest rig.
(shot my biggest buck with it at a 100 yards)
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:56 PM   #6
newfrontier45
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Like we all tell our wives, six inches is plenty. The 8 3/8" version is really too long to be practical and offers very little added utility.


Quote:
You loose a little velocity with the 6" barrel too relative to the 8 3/8"; guessing 300 fps or about 150 fps per inch.
Sorry but there's no way it'll make that much difference. It comes down more to variations between individual guns. A properly spec'd, tight chambered, tight gapped 6" with a smooth bore can easily shoot faster than a 8 3/8" with tolerances stacked against it. All things equal (they rarely are) it won't make more than a 50-75fps difference. Which makes no difference on the other end whatsoever. A longer barrel has a longer sight radius and that is its only real advantage.

There's been a lot of discussion among veteran sixgunners that barrel length does not make the difference once thought. Shorter barrels are louder but I have never found them to recoil harder. One well known gunsmith believes that longer barrels have more leverage against the wrist and thus, longer sixguns are more wrenching to shoot. I agree with this assessment.
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:45 PM   #7
Salmoneye
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Quote:
I am debating between the 6" and 8 3/8"
Neither...

7-1/2"

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Old May 20, 2013, 04:13 PM   #8
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As above, I am not familiar with a 6" or 8 3/8"! I am familiar with 4 5/8", 5 1/2", 6 1/2", 7 1/2" and full 10" barrel. I discount the 10" barrel as it really is only useful for silhouette shooting. Conventional wisdom is you lose/gain around 25fps per inch of barrel. All barrel lengths can be/are very accurate. Shooters 'usually' shoot the longer barrels more accurately, but only because of the longer sight radius. In .44Mag I have both a 6 1/2" flattop BH and 7 1/2" BH. I find myself shooting the 6 1/2" revolver more often. Just seems handier. My real preference is 5 1/2" as I like the 'balance'. Most all my other revolvers are of this barrel length. The longer barrels seem to 'weigh' down the wrist when holding them out there single handed (even two handed grip). That's IMO of course . Comes down to personal preference and also how you really intend to use it. For example, the perfect every day pack'n gun in my mind is not a barrel length greater than 5 1/2". Hunting gun, different story.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:24 PM   #9
HALL,AUSTIN
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Well, I lived in WNC for quite some time and learned the value of a pistol on hikes (nothing slung over your shoulder, less weight, you don't hit anything when ducking under tree limbs, ect.) so that is why I am thinking the 6 inch barrel. How well will I handle the recoil? Only time will tell, but I like 230gr rounds in a commander sized 1911. This will be a whole new ballgame but it could be the perfect excuse to get involved in handloading.
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Old May 20, 2013, 08:07 PM   #10
Flyboy_451
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Austin,

Bear in mind that barrel length is quite often a matter of personal preference more so than actual performance. Several others have posted that they prefer the longer barrels, and while I would never disparage another man's preferences on such a matter, I do hold a different point of view.

I find that a barrel length of 4 to 5 1/2 inches provides an excellent combination of size, power and performance. The biggest advantage to the longer barrels is a longer sight radius. The velocity gains claimed by many are often over estimated. This is particularly true when we are talking about handloads vs. off the shelf ammo. check out the following link showing real world differences in barrel length and velocities of a small sampling of .44 ammo.

http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/44mag.html

As for accuracy, the shortest barreled .44 that I own is a 3 3/4" that is perfectly capable of putting an average of four out of six shots onto a paper plate at one hundred yards, shooting offhand. My handload in this gun is a 250 grain hard cast Kieth bullet that clocks just shy of 1200fps. No matter how ya slice it and dice it, that is accurate, packable power.

Shooting magnum class handguns requires patience and practice. The mental focus required to shoot small, powerful handguns well is not something that you develop overnight.

Regardless of what choice you ultimately make, handloading will allow you to practice more by reducing cost, as well gaining the ability to tailor loads to your needs and your gun. Another advantage of handloading is the use of cast bullets. Yes, this is an advantage. A cast bullet of proper design will very often out perform jacketed bullets. They can be driven faster than a jacketed bullet with the same amount pressure. Contrary to popular belief, they do not simply punch a caliber size hole, and the typically provide better penetration. To truly take advantage of the big boomers, handloading is nearly a requirement.

Good luck! You are about to set forth on an exciting and rewarding journey!

JW
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Old May 20, 2013, 08:22 PM   #11
cchesser1990
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i find 7.5 to be the best balance of everything, velocity, practicality etc; and ive shot everything from 2 to 10.5 barreled revolvers
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Old May 20, 2013, 08:48 PM   #12
Nanuk
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Like we all tell our wives, six inches is plenty. The 8 3/8" version is really too long to be practical and offers very little added utility.


Quote:
Quote:
You loose a little velocity with the 6" barrel too relative to the 8 3/8"; guessing 300 fps or about 150 fps per inch.
Sorry but there's no way it'll make that much difference. It comes down more to variations between individual guns. A properly spec'd, tight chambered, tight gapped 6" with a smooth bore can easily shoot faster than a 8 3/8" with tolerances stacked against it. All things equal (they rarely are) it won't make more than a 50-75fps difference. Which makes no difference on the other end whatsoever. A longer barrel has a longer sight radius and that is its only real advantage.

There's been a lot of discussion among veteran sixgunners that barrel length does not make the difference once thought. Shorter barrels are louder but I have never found them to recoil harder. One well known gunsmith believes that longer barrels have more leverage against the wrist and thus, longer sixguns are more wrenching to shoot. I agree with this assessment.

I have to agree, though I like my Ruger SBH with the 7 1/2" BBL at times it does feel like a field artillery piece.
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Old May 20, 2013, 08:56 PM   #13
Bob Wright
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My own observation is that the longer barrels put more weight out front and dampen recoil slightly. But I also find that the long 8 3/8" Smith to be slightly slower to get on target, especially for a quick shot.

My preference has always leaned to a single action of 7 1/2" length. I hold steadier/hit better with that length.

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Old May 20, 2013, 08:58 PM   #14
dalegribble
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i seldom do any paper target work but i like shooting bottles, rocks and other objects at ranges from close to more than 100 yards. i have a 7 1/2" ruger redhawk and a 4" taurus model 44. the taurus does as well as the ruger at the same ranges and is more comfortable to shoot. because of the 4" barrel the taurus gets more holster time than the ruger.
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Old May 20, 2013, 09:12 PM   #15
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For a range toy the longer barrels are sweet! Just my preference but I like the weight and longer sight radius. A stainless steel 8 inch barrel is a monster at the range and in my experience a little softer shooting then the shorter barrels. The Taurus model 44 was the only Taurus that I ever cared for and I do regret selling it but at the time no one was making after market sights for it and I had HiViz on all my woods guns. But now my primary hunting revolver is a SBH factory sights.
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Old May 20, 2013, 09:32 PM   #16
HALL,AUSTIN
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I think I'm just going to go with a 629 with a 6 inch barrel.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:21 PM   #17
mulespurs
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What gun will you shoot?

What 40 years of experience at different targets of opertunity tells me is that you will shoot the gun that you are carrying so pick the on that you can carry the easiest. My vote is model 29 with a 4".
I have a target that is 2' x 3', an old tractor fuel tank that is about 170 large steps away from my shop. The 4" 29 will hit it 6 out of 6 if I do my part.
Don't be afraid to shoot it double action at a milk jug size target close enough that you can hit, shooting in a place that you can see you shots impact.
You will be amazed at how fast you will improve if you do that.
Try some instinctive shooting just in case you need to use it.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:27 PM   #18
ClydeFrog
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Big .44magnums...

Top choices for a entry level .44magnum would include a Taurus .44magnum Tracker or the highly rated Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 with a 5" barrel or a 7" tube.
Some like the Kahr Arms/Magnum Research BFR(single action). It comes in .44magnum & you can shoot .44spl too.
Dan Wesson made great .44 revolvers but I think CZ no longer makes them .

If you buy a Super Redhawk, you can get great after market custom work from Gemini Customs, www.geminicustoms.com .
A Mag-Na-Port barrel & Hogue grips or a CT lasergrip, www.crimsontrace.com would be good for hog hunting/home defense.
I'd suggest a .44spl round like a MagSafe or Glaser Silver frangible for home protection; www.shopcorbon.com www.magsafeonline.com .

See; www.gunsinternational.com or www.gunsamerica.com for prices or sales.
Some like the N frame Smith & Wesson revolvers but the lawyer locks may cause problems with high pressure magnum loads.
NOTE; Buffalo Bore is known for great hunting-outdoor .44 rounds, www.buffalobore.com .

CF
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Old May 20, 2013, 11:06 PM   #19
mxsailor803
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If you go with the 629 6" you will not be disappointed. I love mine.
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Old May 21, 2013, 08:34 AM   #20
Rifleman1776
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A lot has been said that is good. I used a Ruger Redhawk in .44 mag. with 7 1/2" barrel for years. It is a heavy gun but I practiced a lot, and I do mean a lot. I am not very big but it worked fine in my hands until age and shoulder injuries changed things. As for handling, only you can decide what you like. But performance and velocities do drop in a shorter barrel like 6". You may want to consider that. In the stores, hold some guns and decide what you like. Once you get it, practice, practice and then practice some more. No downside to that, it is fun.
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Old May 21, 2013, 08:53 AM   #21
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I think you've made a good choice. I feel that a 4-5 inch barrel is best for a sidearm, 6-6-1/2 inch best "all-'round", and 7-10 inch barrel the most practical for a dedicated "primary" hunting handgun.

With the 6" 629 you can do everything with only moderate tradeoffs.

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Old May 21, 2013, 08:59 AM   #22
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6" M629 is a good choice. A lot depends on presonal preference. In your shoes, I probably would have made the same decision/choice.
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Old May 21, 2013, 09:20 AM   #23
jmr40
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Velocity loss is there. Most published 44 mag ballistics are from barrels ~8" long. Shooting them from 6" barrels is about the equivalent of a rifle from an 18" barrrel.

But you buy a handgun to have something small so I'll live with some loss of velocity. It won't lose 300 fps at 6" though. Going down under 4" will cost you that much, or more. Personally if I needed anything longer than 6", I'd rather carry a carbine. I wouldn't want one shorter than 4" either.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:10 AM   #24
JD0x0
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The difference between 6 and 8 inches in velocity is actually worth noting.
A federal 240 grain hydrashock JHP will be around 1380fps through a 6 inch barrel. at 8 inches it right around 1497fps. Over 100fps gain in 2 inches. 9'' brings it up to 1535.

A longer barreled gun will tend to be slightly heavier than the same model with a shorter barrel. If you hate weight this could be a negative, but a heavier pistol will also have less felt recoil. And of course the longer barrel has a longer sight radius.
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Old May 21, 2013, 09:26 PM   #25
HALL,AUSTIN
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I feel that if it were a dedicated hunting pistol and I were already rather good with a 44 then I'd go for the longer barrel but since it might or might not go hunting I think 6 inches is plenty. The gun will almost certainly be just a range toy and a "just in caser" while bow hunting, HD would be terrible. But thankyou for all the help.
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